Today we conclude the Body Language series. If this is your first time here, we have been going through the one another statements in the Bible. The Bible says things like love one another, serve one another, forgive one another and restore one another. In your bulletin you will find a sermon outline that you can use to help you follow along, but also you will find a summary sheet of the “One Another Statements” we have looked at over the past several weeks.
Today we are focusing our attention on Hebrews 10:24 which says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (NLT). There are acts of love that are difficult and time consuming and there are good works that are emotionally draining and inconvenient. You will find yourself getting wearing loving some people, because they are hard to love. They disappoint you, make bad decisions, and it often feels like they are using you. As a result you become tired of loving them and doing good toward them. You may become generally worn out of loving people in general and doing good in general.
This is why the Bible says things like Galatians 6:9, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up” (NLT). Sometimes doing the right thing, saying the right thing, being kind, forgiving, patient, generous, and loving is hard work. If you haven’t already, you will face a day when you need someone to come along and motivate you to keep “doing what is good.” That’s what I want us to think about today.
Let me give you some Biblical principles about motivating one another.
Motivating one another involves concentration
Number one, motivating one another involves concentration. I know this sounds very simplistic, but there is more going on here than meets the eye. The Bible says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (NLT). The word “think” (katanoeo) means to put one’s mind onto something, to observe or consider carefully and attentively. It means to study and examine. This will take concentration.
In practical terms, here is what this looks like when it comes to motivating others. In thinking about the person we are trying to motivate we ask these questions:
- What motivates him or her?
- What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses?
- What’s the best way to motivate them?
- What discourages them? What encourages them?
- Who would be the best person to talk to them?
- Why are they not inspired?
- How do we inspire them?
With information about the person you are wanting to motivate, you think “of ways” to motivate them.
- Talk to them.
- Pray for them. Pray with them.
- Introduce them to someone who is doing what they need to do.
- Do they need something to help them to do what they need to do.
This phrase “let us think of ways” is really about developing a strategy to motivate another believer to experience victory in life and to do what God wants them to do. Here is a practical suggestion, when you are thinking of ways to motivate someone try to come up with three different ways that will inspire them to do what needs to be done.
Motivating one another involves inspiration
Motiving one another involves in concentration and number two, motivating one another involves inspiration. Look again at Hebrews 10:24, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (NLT). The word “motivate” (paroxusmos) is a strong word which literally means to sharpen and figuratively speaks of sharpening of one’s mind or to stimulate to do some action. To help you apply this to your life let me give you four pictures of what “motivate” looks like.
To motivate is to promote. Take a look at this picture. When you are promoting something you are placing a spotlight on it. The Holman Christian Standard Bible uses this image when it says, “Let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works.” You are placing the spotlight on acts of love and good works.
- For example, if you are promoting an event you are wanting people to know about it and to attend it.
- If you are promoting a candidate you are wanting people to vote for that candidate.
- When you are promoting love and good works you are wanting that person to demonstrate love and good works in some way. When you are encouraging someone to love their spouse, you are promoting love.
You are spot lighting their attention on something that you think they need to do. To motivate is to promote.
To motivate is to stir up. Take a look at this picture. Have you ever taken an old can of paint and opened it. The paint ingredients separates. So you place a stick in the can and begin to stir up what’s at the bottom and mix it the paint to where it’s ready to be applied. Motivating others is like that. It’s stirring up what’s already there so they can apply it to their life. As a believer, the love is already there in them and the opportunities for good works is already in front of them. They have been sitting on the shelf spiritually for so long that love and good works has settled at the bottom of their life. Motivation stirs it up.
The Amplified Version uses this idea of stirring up when it says, “And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities.”
To motivate is to stimulate. Look at this picture. I have back problems and I have used those things quit often. They place them on your back and a small electrical current goes between them through your muscles stimulating them for healing and growth. The New American Standard Bible uses this idea when it says, “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” God’s wants to use you to stimulate others toward healing and growth that involve love and good deeds.
To motivate is to spur on. One more picture. Have you ever ridden a horse? I remember the first time I rode a horse, it was one of those rent a horse for an hour places. I got on the horse and I said, “Gitty up.” But it didn’t go anywhere. This guy said, “Put your heels up here and tap him with your heels.” I did that and the next thing I knew we were on our way. If I was a cowboy wearing boots and spurs, that would have been called spurring the horse on. Some believers are sitting still and they need someone to come along and spur them on.
The NIV 84 uses this idea when it says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
No matter how you look at it, motivating one another is about inspiring each other to live for God by loving others and doing good deeds in Christ name.
Motivating one another involves cooperation
Number three, motivating one another involves cooperation. Look closely at Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (NLT). You are not the only source of motivation for people. You are not the only source of godly inspiration for your spouse, your children, or anyone else. For example, God will make sure that the people you are trying to inspire for Him have other believers in their life doing the same. You don’t have to do it all, you only need to do what God wants you to do or say.
Motivating one another involves action
Number four, motivating one another involves action. Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (NLT). This is not motivation in general. This is motivation with two actions in mind.
- First, we are motivating one another toward acts of love. This type of love (agape) is the unrestricted, unrestrained, and unconditional love that can only come from God working through you. Showing “acts of love” is not always easy and that’s why we are encouraged to motivate one another to acts of love. There will be those times when you need to show an act of love toward someone you don’t like and it will be difficult to sacrifice for them. To say that kind word, to help them, to bless them, and to not say what you know will hurt them. You will need to be motivated to do the right thing and sometimes you will need to do the motivating of someone else. Loving your enemy, loving your neighbor, or loving others in general can be difficult and that’s why we need one another to motivate us.
- Second, we are motivating one another toward good works. Acts of love and good works overlap. Your good works, like helping someone move, leading a Life Group, buying groceries for the single mom, serving on the Welcome Team, helping your neighbor with his car, providing a meal for a family during a time of loss, etc. These good works not only bless others, but they say a lot about you. Look at 1 Peter 2:12 says, “Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation” (HCSB). Even when people speak badly of you, your good works will defend your character and bring glory to God.
Motivating one another involves the Lord’s return
Number five, motivating one another involves the Lord’s return. Let’s take a look at Hebrews 10:24 one more time which says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (NLT). The Bible says that one day Jesus will return. Those who are His followers will be taken up and those who do not believe in Him will be left behind. Each day that passes brings us one day closer to this incredible event. Until that day happens we are encouraged to “think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” As his return draws closer and closer we are to motivate one another more and more in the things of God.
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