ENCOURAGEMENT – EXTREMELY ESSENTIAL YET OFTEN LACKING!

15th of the 2nd month 2016/2017

Shabbat Shalom,

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 3:12-13Look out, brothers, lest there be in any of you a wicked heart of unbelief in falling away from the living Elohim, 13 but encourage one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened by the deceivableness of sin.

In a clear encouraging call to not harden hearts but listen to the voice of Elohim we see here the call given to encourage one another daily. Tonight I want to highlight the importance and necessity of encouragement and therefore in a message tonight called, ‘ENCOURAGEMENT – EXTREMELY ESSENTIAL YET OFTEN LACKING!’ I would like us all to be encouraged to remember to encourage each other daily in order that hearts can be kept from becoming hardened by the deceivableness of sin! Encouragement is clearly emphasised as something that is essential and important because it is an absolutely necessary part of our set-apart walk of belief in our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah.

The Greek word that is translated as ‘encourage’ is the word παρακαλέω parakaleō – Strong’s G3870 which means, ‘call near, invite, invoke, exhort, encourage, appeal, beg, aid, help, comfort’. This word is used in a variety of forms, for example: a) when summonsing someone to an action that is required; b) to beseech others for an urgent response to help; c) to ‘exhort’, as in the context used to encourage soldiers headed for battle; as well as d) to ‘comfort and encourage’, especially in times of hardships and grief. This word comes from two words: 1) παρά para – Strong’s G3844 which is used as a primitive participle meaning, from beside, by the side of, by, besides, near, and 2) καλέω kaleō Strong’s G2564 meaning ‘call, to call, called out, invited, summoned’. What we take note of here is the value of hearing the voice and call of our Master and Elohim and how valuable it is for each of us to be encouraged daily by one another as we remind one another of the comforting and strengthening call of set-apartness that our Master has given.

It is from the root word καλέω kaleō Strong’s G2564 that we get the Greek word ἐκκλησία ekklēsia – Strong’s G1577 which means ‘assembly or congregation’, coming from the words ἐκ ek Strong’s G1537 which means ‘from, from out of, belonging’ and καλέω kaleō Strong’s G2564. The True assembly is made up of those who have responded to the invitation and call to come out and be separate and it is for this reason that we ought to encourage one another daily, in order to be strengthened in our Master as we walk in set-apartness and face the daily challenges that rage and battle around us.

I would like us to take a look at a few verses where this word παρακαλέω parakaleō – Strong’s G3870 is translated as ‘encourage’.

Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, as indeed you do.

In an urgent appeal to be sober and watchful as faithful servants who are armed and guard the Word we see Sha’ul telling us to encourage one another for this builds up one another!

Qolasim/Colossians 4:8 “I am sending him to you for this purpose, to know your circumstances and to encourage your hearts

In this letter to the believers and Colossae, Sha’ul encouraged them to stand fast, walk in wisdom and keep their speech always be seasoned with salt, and told them that he was sending Tuchikos, a fellow brother and servant of the Master, to them in order to encourage their hearts! Here we recognise the value of being encouraged by a good report or news of others that can strengthen the hearts of the hearers. I will often share with you all news that we hear from those that we have made connections with around the world so that our hearts can be strengthened in the Word of Truth, especially as we hear how our brothers and sisters around the world are experiencing similar circumstances as we are, for this encourages our hearts to be strengthened in guarding set-apartness!

In Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 3:2 we see how Sha’ul sent Timotiyos to the believers in Thessalonica to establish and encourage them concerning them belief. We need to be established and encouraged in the belief, which highlights for us how essential encouragement is for the body!

In Tas’loniqim Aleph/1 Thessalonians 4:18 Sha’ul writes that they were to encourage each other with the words of encouragement that he wrote, and remind each other what they had been called to – set-apartness and that they were to live set-apart for this is the desire of Elohim, and in doing so hold fast to the firm belief of the sure hope that we have in the Master’s soon return, who is coming for His called out and chosen set-apart ones!

Amidst intense persecutions Sha’ul reminds these believers to encourage each other in the Truth!

In giving Titos very clear instructions regarding an overseer he writes in Titos/Titus 1:9 that an overseer should be as he describes, in order that he may be able both to encourage by sound teaching, and to reprove those who oppose it.

What is worth taking note of here is that the best encouragement comes from sound teaching of the Truth as opposed to ear tickling fantasies that soothe the ears of the lawless!

We take note how the call to encourage one another daily is given in Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 3:13 (the verse I opened with) for a clear reason; and that is to guard hearts from becoming hardened by the deceivableness of sin!

When a heart is hardened then the Truth is not considered properly as it should be, or as it would normally be; and this teaches us the vital lesson that we must learn about being on guard against selfishness and pride that hardens one’s heart! Selfishness and pride shuts out the ability for one to pay a calm and focused attention to the Truth, rendering the one with a hardened heart unable to give a proper ear to the hearing of the Word! That is why we see the instruction that is given to us in Iḇ’rim/Hebrews is of vital importance; as we are to encourage each other daily so that none be hardened by the deceivableness of sin! What becomes very clear from the passages in Scripture with regards to being encouraged is that true encouragement comes from the Word and the Truth of the Word and true encouragement causes the one being encouraged to look to the Truth and be reminded of the need to guard the Truth and trust in our Master who has overcome the world in which we have great pressures:

Yoḥanan/John 16:33These words I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you have pressure, but take courage, I have overcome the world.

The encouragement that our Master gave His taught ones here was that they were to take courage amidst the pressure they would have in the world, for in Him they would have peace for He has overcome the world. These words are still very much alive and applicable to us today as it was for the taught ones back then!

The Greek word that is translated as ‘take courage’ is the verb θαρσέω tharseō – Strong’s G2293 which means, be of good courage, be of good comfort, be of good  cheer, and is written in the ‘imperative mood’ which could also be expressed as ‘take heart’ or ‘cheer up’ and is a word that is spoken by way of encouragement! When facing intense pressures we need to be reminded to be of good courage and cheer up and not let pressures get us down!

The Greek word that is translated as ‘overcome’ is νικάω nikaō – Strong’s G3528 which means, to conquer, prevail, overcome, victorious. As we stay in our Master and Elohim by guarding His commands and walking in set-apartness, we are equipped with courage to overcome! The promises given to those who overcome in the messages given to the assemblies in Ḥazon/Revelation give us a boost of encouragement to hold fast to the Truth and endure!

To those in Ephesos:

Ḥazon/Revelation 2:7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I shall give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of Elohim.”

To those in Smurna:

Ḥazon/Revelation 2:11He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He who overcomes shall by no means be harmed by the second death.

To those in Pergamos:

Ḥazon/Revelation 2:17He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I shall give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I shall give him a white stone, and on the stone a renewed Name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”

To those in Thyatira:

Ḥazon/Revelation 2:26And he who overcomes, and guards My works until the end, to him I shall give authority over the nations

To those in Sardis:

Ḥazon/Revelation 3:5 He who overcomes shall be dressed in white robes, and I shall by no means blot out his name from the Book of Life, but I shall confess his name before My Father and before His messengers.

To those in Philadelphia:

Ḥazon/Revelation 3:12He who overcomes, I shall make him a supporting post in the Dwelling Place of My Elohim, and he shall by no means go out. And I shall write on him the Name of My Elohim and the name of the city of My Elohim, the renewed Yerushalayim, which comes down out of the heaven from My Elohim, and My renewed Name.

To those in Laodikeia:

Ḥazon/Revelation 3:21To him who overcomes I shall give to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

One can be greatly encouraged as we see the collective blessing of overcoming the pressures and trials that we face, for those who overcome will get to eat of the tree of life and the second death will have no power over them as they have access back to the tree of life! Overcomers get to eat of the hidden manna and authority over the nations will be given to them for they will be able to rightly rule with proper discernment! Overcomers shall be dressed in white robes and have assurance that their names will never be blotted out and will become supporting posts in the Dwelling Place of Elohim and be given to sit with the Master on His Throne!

This in itself ought to be sufficient encouragement to endure and overcome!

Romiyim/Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 5:3-5For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands, and His commands are not heavy, 4 because everyone having been born of Elohim overcomes the world. And this is the overcoming that has overcome the world: our belief. 5 Who is the one who overcomes the world but he who believes that יהושע is the Son of Elohim?

Our Master made it very clear that the world will hate His taught ones for we are not of this world for He chose us out of this world and if they persecuted Him they will certainly persecute us! (Yoḥanan/John 15:18-20).

Knowing this enhances the need for encouragement to be an integral part of a functioning body, for without encouragement the hardships and trials and pressures that many face, often seem to become too tough and meaningless to carry on struggling through, causing the will to carry on to wane, as pictured by a moon that wanes when it loses its light day by day until it becomes dark! This cycle of the moon in itself is a clear reminder to us of how we are to guard the light that is in us and not let it fade or be hidden due to pressures and hardships and persecutions!

While Ěliyahu was certainly a very great prophet we also take note of how he also struggled with discouragement when he feared the vain and empty threats of Izeḇel, which you can read about in Melaḵim aleph/1 Kings 19.

What we must always remember, as Sha’ul reminds us, is that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood:

Eph’siyim/Ephesians 6:12 “Because we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against authorities, against the world-rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual matters of wickedness in the heavenlies.

He then tells us that because of this we need to take up the complete armour of Elohim and highlights how important encouragement is as we face the battles of life on a daily basis!

It is not just that we face the world’s displeasure of the purity of set-apartness; we also get caught in the crosshairs of spiritual battles that rage around us, especially as we recognise how the enemy is constantly seeking to devour someone and steal their joy. While we encounter battles that manifest in the flesh we recognise that the battles are against spiritual matters of darkness that are presented in the flesh and can only be overcome in the Spirit, as we walk in the Torah which is spiritual and guard to do all that our Master has commanded us to!

The joy of יהוה is our strength and the enemy wants to weaken us by stealing our joy and this is why daily encouragement is extremely essential, both to give and to receive, yet is often lacking when needed! It is more blessed to give than to receive! How are you at giving encouragement to others through the power of the Living Word? I know from my own experience that when I may be facing some challenges and pressures and in need of encouragement that may not always be as forthcoming as it should be, as I reach out and encourage another I find myself being strengthened in the process as my focus is taken off of self and directed to another which helps my own focus to become realigned with the Truth and the hope we have, that is secure, in the Master! That being said, we need to recognise the need to encourage each other on a daily basis and not only do so when we are being discouraged or pressed down but be reminded to encourage continually in all circumstances! Something I fear that is often lacking within the body and this needs to be revived so that the members of the body can stand upright and armed in the Truth will the strengthening joy of our Master!

Neḥemyah/Nehemiah 8:10Then he said to them, “Go, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom none is prepared. For this day is set-apart to our יהוה. Do not be sad, for the joy of יהוה is your strength.

These were the words that were spoken to the people on the day of Yom Teruah after they had heard the Torah, which had not been heard for a long time! The people were cut to the heart and were commanded to not weep on this day of יהוה Feast of Trumpets and were reminded that the joy of יהוה is what would strengthen them to not be sad on a day of rejoicing! We can learn from this the clear truth that our ability to cheer up and take courage in the most pressured of times is that the joy of יהוה is our strength! His joy over us is what strengthens us!

Sha’ul tells us to be strong in the Master:

Eph’siyim/Ephesians 6:10 “For the rest, my brothers, be strong in the Master and in the mightiness of His strength.

How are we able to be strong in the Master? He goes on to tell us to put on the armour of Elohim! This armour, as previously discussed, can be likened and linked to the garments of the High Priest and teaches us how we are to be in the Master and serve faithfully as a set-apart priesthood that is armed in His Torah, for the Torah is a light (Mishlĕ/Proverbs 6:23) and His Word is that light to our path (Tehillah/Psalm 119:105)! Therefore when Sha’ul teaches us to put on the armour of Elohim he is speaking of putting on the garments of a set-apart priesthood that is dressed in righteousness and guards to do what is commanded in His Torah and walk in the light!!!

Romiyim/Romans 3:12-14 “The night is far advanced, the day has come near. So let us put off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk becomingly, as in the day, not in wild parties and drunkenness, not in living together and indecencies, not in fighting and envy, 14 but put on the Master יהושע Messiah, and make no provision for the lusts of the flesh.

 

When we are properly encouraged in the strength of our Master then we are enabled to be equipped with His strength to properly put on His armour and stand and be steadfast in our ability to stand, not letting pressures put us down!

While you may not necessarily face or experience overt persecution or hatred – that is to say that while you may not face open and direct persecution and hatred, it is easy to recognise that life itself can get extremely difficult, even when just trying to make it through the day or week and in the process of facing daily struggles that battles against this life, discouragement is not an uncommon human experience! Knowing that you are not alone in facing struggles can in itself be an encouragement, especially as many think that they are the only ones facing a continual crisis.

What is clear to see is that more and more people are becoming depressed and are without hope as their stress levels are reaching dangerous and deadly heights and it can be so easy to get caught in the stream of depression and anxiety if one is not encouraged regularly. We have a sure hope in our Master, who is our strength, and in Him we have strength to do all, for His favour is sufficient for us in our weaknesses and struggles! We have each other to remind and encourage each other of this fact! The question is, ‘are you encouraging others or not?’ While we all need encouragement and many would often like to sit back and wait for everyone else to come and encourage them, we take not that the instruction given in Scripture is to all of us in regards to the need to encourage each other on a daily basis. We all have a part to play; and while it may not be practically possible for everyone to encourage everyone on a daily basis what we do recognise is the responsibility that each one has to encourage at least one other member of the body! Do not get upset if you do not get encouraged by everyone in the body every day; just be concerned about your need to encourage someone as long as it is called ‘today’! ‘Who are you going to encourage and build up today?’

Sometimes it may feel like the mundane and seemingly insignificant things that we need to do on a daily basis have no meaning or purpose and when many feel like this they often think about throwing in the towel, so to speak, and give up all hope as they give up the need to keep standing and fighting the good fight of the belief!

What we must remember is that we serve a faithful and trustworthy Elohim who does not leave us nor forsake us and that He is intimately concerned with every detail of our lives!

In the early assembly that we read of in the Book of Ma’asei/ Acts we take note of a young man, a Lĕwite, who gives us a powerful picture of one that greatly encouraged in word and deed. His name was Yosĕph: Many of you may have thought for a sec, ‘Yosĕph who…?

Ma’asei/Acts 4:36-37 “And Yosĕph, who was also called Barnaḇa by the emissaries (which means Son of Encouragement), a Lĕwite, a native of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the proceeds and laid it at the feet of the emissaries.

This man, who was a Lĕwite, was called Barnaḇa by the emissaries! The text tells us that this name means ‘son of encouragement’; and boy what an encouragement he was! He went and sold a piece of land that he had and came and brought the proceeds to the emissaries and laid it at their feet! No demands of what was to be done with it but rather a very encouraging offering that would have encouraged all, as many needs would have been met by some who had been facing much pressure. We also know what happened in the next chapter when Ḥananyah and Shappirah tried to put on a show by making it look like they were also being an encouragement through their generosity, while they had lied and were struck dead for their deception!

This is a clear lesson in teaching us that we cannot be a true encouragement when there are ulterior motives in play!

The Greek rendering of this name is Βαρνάβας Barnabas – Strong’s G921 which means, son of consolation, son of encouragement and is of Aramaic origin, coming from the two words:

1) בַּר bar – Strong’s H1247 which means, son which corresponds to the Hebrew word בֵּן ben – Strong’s H1121 which means, ‘son, grandson, child, member of a group, children (plural for both male and female)’.

2) נְבִיא neḇiy – Strong’s H5029 which means, prophet which corresponds to the Hebrew word נָבִיא naḇiy – Strong’s H5030 which means, prophet, spokesman, speaker, prophesy.

Why I find this interesting in understanding that he was called this by the emissaries for being marked as one who encourages is that we know that the role of a prophet is to call people back to יהוה by being obedient to the Torah and encouraging them to do so and he was the one who encouraged the emissaries to listen to Sha’ul and he went with Sha’ul on many journeys, encouraging and calling many back to the Truth. This son of encouragement certainly encouraged in both word and deed and through prophesy brought many to the Truth.

Prophesy builds up the body and encourages the body to stand and this highlights the clear truth that true encouragement must be that which calls the hearer to be reminded of the Truth and hear with open ears what the Spirit is saying. True encouragement is not necessarily something that will always soothe the ears, for the difference between true encouragement that strengthens and builds and the ear tickling nonsense that puffs up with no substance is that true encouragement reminds and calls back the hearer to the Word and the need to guard to do the Word, while ear tickling simply sets aside the need to hear, guard and do the Torah by promoting a compromise that soothes the deaf who do not hear what the spirit is saying but prefer to listen to myths!

Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 4:3-4For there shall be a time when they shall not bear sound teaching, but according to their own desires, they shall heap up for themselves teachers tickling the ear, 4 and they shall indeed turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to myths.

Sha’ul told Titos to encourage through sound teaching and here we see him telling Timotiyos that there will be a time when most shall not bear sound teaching but rather seek teachers that will tickle their ears, according to their own desires. Many today are doing this as they refuse to submit to being part of a fellowship where sound teaching is given as they would rather heap up for themselves many ear tickling teachings that they find agrees or lines up with their own desires and lack the desire for proper sound teaching in the Truth of the Word and the need to obey the Torah!

In the process we find that no proper discernment can be grown and nurtured which leaves the danger of many that are being turned aside to myths and false teachings that might sooth and tickle their ears yet is not sound and therefore is not properly able to encourage them in the Truth! It is through sound teaching that we are able to encourage one another on a daily basis!

 

Timotiyos was told by Sha’ul to proclaim the Word and be urgent in all seasons, ready to reprove, warn, and appeal with all patience and teaching:

Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 4:2Proclaim the Word! Be urgent in season, out of season. Reprove, warn, appeal, with all patience and teaching.

The Greek word that is translated as ‘appeal’ is the word παρακαλέω parakaleō – Strong’s G3870, the word we have looked at that also means ‘encourage’.

 

Encouragement in the Truth makes it easier to stand and live set-apart lives amidst a world that is full of sin and helps us love as our Master loved. Encouragement of the Scriptures gives us hope:

Romiyim/Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written before was written for our instruction, that through endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have the expectation.

Setting aside the Scriptures as of no value for instruction will leave one without any hope and many are sadly holding fast to a false hope that has no firm foundation! We are encouraged through the Scriptures!

That is why we are to speak to each other in psalms and songs of praise that is rooted in the word of Truth!!!

Eph’siyim/Ephesians 5:18-19 “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is loose behaviour, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to each other in psalms and songs of praise and spiritual songs, singing and striking the strings in your heart to the Master

Qolasim/Colossians 3:16 “Let the Word of Messiah dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing with pleasure in your hearts to the Master in psalms and songs of praise and spiritual songs.

Song and praise has a profound way of striking the strings of one’s heart, especially when encouragement is needed and we also take note that it is through praise that we enter into the courts of Elohim.

What is also worth taking note of is that when Dawiḏ assigned the mean to the service of leading the worship that they were assigned to prophesy with instruments:

Diḇre haYamim Aleph/1 Chronicles 25:1And Dawiḏ and the commanders of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, and of Hĕman, and of Yeḏuthun, who should prophesy with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals. And the number of the workmen according to their service was

You can go read on and glean from the list of names that are given. If you would like more on these names you can go and read a message I gave on this chapter a few years back called “SING, O BARREN ONE, SING!” were I looked at this chapter along with Yeshayahu/Isaiah 54:1-10. What I do want to pint out tonight is that the instruction for these men was that they were to ‘prophesy’ with the instruments, and the Hebrew word used here for ‘prophesy’ is נָבָא naḇa – Strong’s H5012 which simply means ‘to speak or sing (by inspiration) or communicate a message from Elohim - either of proper behavior to a standard, or of future events’. 

In verse 5 of this chapter we see that Hĕman was the sovereign’s seer in the words of Elohim, and the Hebrew word used here for ‘seer’ is חֹזֶה ḥozeh – Strong’s H2374 which means, seer, prophet, which was one who received and communicated a message from Elohim. The reason for me highlighting this is to show how important praise and worship is in terms of the necessary encouragement that is extremely essential, yet is often lacking! Missing out on singing songs of praise can cause one to miss out on some much needed encouragement!!!

Singing songs of praise and spiritual songs in a form of encouraging prophecy that causes one to turn back to Elohim and encouragement helps us through the necessary discipline that His Word brings, for we are reminded that we are sons and daughters of the Most High and are passionately loved by our Master and Elohim!

 

Without encouragement the burdens of life may often seem too much to bear and without encouragement many often get so overwhelmed by the very real pains of daily pressures and battles that they lose hope. Without true encouragement in the Word we may often tend to feel unloved! Scripture teaches us the value and importance of encouragement and our need to encourage one another on a daily basis – as long as it is called today!!! Do not put off today’s encouragement towards another for another day – do it while it is called today!

We are to remind, strengthen and encourage one another in the truth of the Word and continually remind and encourage each other with the truth that יהוה is for us and that He equips us in His Truth, giving us all we need for life and reverence, and if anyone lacks wisdom he should ask Elohim and not doubt and it will be given to Him!

We are His treasured possession, His סְגֻלָּה segullah – Strong’s H5459 meaning valued possession or property!!!

When one is properly encouraged in the Truth, the will to go on in strengthened and burn out can be prevented through timely encouragement, causing the hearer to overcome all they face and do so with joy in the Master!

 

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 16:24Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the being, and healing to the bones.

Pleasant words and a honeycomb are pictures of refreshment and nourishment that is brought to the inner being and bones of a person. Encouragement in the Word brings healing and restores and refreshes the life of another!

In Hebrew soldiers are often told ‘חֲזַק וֶאֱמָץ ḥazaq veematz which means, ‘be strong and courageous’, and is a phrase we see being used a number of times in Scripture. The Hebrew word for ‘be strong’ is חָזַק ḥazaq – Strong’s H2388 and carries the meaning, to grow firm, fasten upon, strengthen, take hold ofand can have the concept of ‘grasp between your ears’, and the Hebrew word for ‘courageous’ is the root word - אָמֵץ amats H553 which means ‘to be alert both physically and mentally, be fully alert – awake and not asleep, be steadfast’.

We must remember to put on the armour of Elohim and fight the good fight of belief; therefore as soldiers of Messiah we need the encouragement to be strong and courageous and are equally responsible in encouraging each other in this regard! Tonight I have emphasised the importance of encouragement and appeal to you through the Truth of the WORD to go and do as the Word instructs, for encouragement is extremely essential yet often lacking! Let it not be so with us here, but rather let the encouragement for each other grow and overflow to many who are in desperate need of it!

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!