Christ

2 ways to be encouraging

Acts 4:29  "And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldn  ess,"

Acts 4:29 "And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness,"


The beauty of the book of Acts in the New Testament is that for the first time we see the church learning to live for Christ after Christ had ascended into Heaven. As terrifying as that may have been for them Christ commanded them, before he ascended, to go and teach all nations of what he had done.

And they did just that.

They grew in number, they gathered in fellowship as believers, and they encouraged one another daily. Persecution would soon follow, but they held fast to their belief in Christ.

So, how did they do it?

What should we do?

Be generous

In Acts 2 we read that people from all walks of life that began to follow Christ now mingled with one another like never before. Many people repented of their sins and devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, they sat down to eat with one another, and they sold their possessions and gave generously to any person that was in need.

No, I don't mean you need to sell all that you have.

However, we should seek to be generous with what we do have. Being generous for some may surely be with their treasure, but for others it might be their time. 

Be generous in giving your time to encourage others to live for Christ. As part of the church we are to gather in fellowship to exhort and build one another up, encouraging one another. 

ask god for courage

In Acts 4 we read about the growing persecution the church faces after Christ has ascended. Peter and John had just finished healing a man and teaching a crowd in Jesus' name. Because of this, the Jewish leaders came and arrested them and threatened them to stop teaching in Jesus' name. Since the Sadducees could find no fault in them Peter and John were released. Once Peter and John gathered with other believers they prayed for God to give them boldness to speak God's word. 

They could've stopped right there... but they didn't.

God is our Creator, He is our Provider, and He is our Healer.

When we are discouraged and struggling, we as believers should come together and pray for God to give us courage to speak His word. 

 

Who can you encourage this week?

What will you do to make a difference?

What does it look like to Step Up in faith?


WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO STEP UP?

Life consists of a multitude of daily decisions. With each of these decisions we must come to a conclusion on whether we say yes or no. There is no backseat to these decisions that we face. When we answer the call to accept Christ into our lives we are actually giving a two-fold answer. First, we answer that we believe in Christ's complete sacrifice for all sin. The second of which is that we choose to live our lives for Christ, in the same way that He lived, to the best of our ability. In James 1:19-27 we read that we should not only be hearers of the Word of God, but doers as well. We aren't called to live life with a backseat mentality, we are called to Step Up and take action.

HOW DO I TAKE MY FIRST STEP?

Our first step starts with having faith in Christ and that he will be glorified in our decisions. Colossians 1:15-20 tells us that everything begins and ends with Christ. Our faith in Christ is what saves us, but our faith should produce works. James 2:14-26 explains that our faith is to be active along with our works, and that our faith is completed by our works. Faith and works aren't separate. When we choose to STEP UP in our faith in Christ, genuine love will be the product.

Maybe you're trying to decide to STEP UP to a new relationship, an engagement, or marriage. Maybe you've wanted to STEP UP to a new job opportunity. Maybe you've been afraid to STEP UP and share your faith in Christ. We weren't made to remain idle. We were made to do. We were made to love.

 

What step are you trying to make now?

There is a first step for everything, but our first step is only the beginning. 

Three benefits of joining a small group


ACCOUNTABILITY

When we give our lives over to Christ and choose to follow Him we give up the way we use to live our lives. Colossians 3:1-17 talks about putting to death everything that is earthly in us. This sounds easier said than done, and rightly so if we attempt putting to death our earthly desires on our own. But we weren't designed to live this life alone. The saying that, "there is strength in numbers," applies to our lives as we live for Christ. In the same passage about putting to death our desires it also says in verse 16, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom." Joining a small group gives you the opportunity to live out Christianity by bearing each your burdens with other Christians as we all are putting to death those earthly desires within us.

ENCOURAGEMENT

But it doesn't stop at accountability. Small groups don't stop with us only holding one another accountable. We need encouragement. Through encouragement we build one another up so that we have strength to persist through the difficulties that we face. Living for Christ isn't always easy, but that's why God gave us each other. 

WATER

Water serves many purposes. Of all it's purposes, the most important of which is that water brings life. We need water to live. The same is true for us as Christians, but our water is the Word. Joining a small group is refreshing. It's an opportunity to learn more about living for Christ. We need the Word so that we can grow as Christians. The thing that is so amazing about water is that, if there is enough of it, it can carve through mountains and terrain. The water that we drink, the Word of God, is just like that water. When we have it behind us it will cut through anything.