Remind, Encourage and Build Up

November 19, 2023
Remind, Encourage and Build Up

Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5: 1 - 11 (NIV)

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Message: "Remind, Encourage and Build Up”

What church is supposed to be

What you have just read, is one of the most powerful blueprints for the functioning of the church in all of the New Testament letters

I think we need to hear this today, because these words are at the same time a blueprint for the church, but also an instruction for individuals (me and you) about our participation in being church

It helps to contradict some of what the church has come over time

It helps us to get back to some of the basics of what church is supposed to be

Sadly, over many years the church has become way too much of a formal organization with membership rules that include and exclude

Ironically, it is the strong emphasis on morality that was so popular in the 19th century and driven by the church, that has become the achilles heel for the church today - the church was not meant to be a morality machine where everything in life is being judged and measured

Way too often you people are being hurt in the church that being healed… have you been hurt in the church before?  So have I!

That is not what church is supposed to be!

And this is what today’s message is about - what church is supposed to be

Paul helps us with this

Three powerful verbs comes to the fore in the passage we read:  remind, encourage and build up

But before we dig into these verbs, let’s just take note that they are all three actions - actions that we are called to do

Just think about this for a moment - we are called to do these actions so that we can get to the real meaning of church… 

Another way of saying this is: If we want to fix what is wrong with the church, we need to start by doing these actions:  remind, encourage and build up


Church is the place where we are reminded that we are free

Just look up - see the cross in fort of the church, a cross with light around it

Coming together in the Name of Jesus every week is a way we remember that it is done - Jesus died for us, but He is risen

We are free!

I want you to reach out to someone sitting close to you and touch that person - look him/her in the eye and say:  “you are free!”

Now turn to someone else and say: “you are a child of the light!”

We need to hear this more - we need to be reminded more

We need to live reminded lives 

We need to be living with the inner knowledge that we are free

And we need to allow ourselves to be reminded about that time after time

No matter how dark we feel our circumstances are - we are children of the light!


That does not mean we won’t experience hardships and troublesome times

Let’s keep ourselves from believing that our faith is an insurance policy against the troubles of life

Because it is when we believe that God is only there to keep out of hard times, that our faith runs into trouble when the hards inevitably comes

You will have trouble in this life 

You will feel overwhelmed 

You will experience loss

You will run out of answers

But when that happens, God will be there for you!

God never promises we will not have hardships, but He does promise He will never leave us alone or let us go

And do you know what?  God has put your family of faith in your life to encourage you!

You just need to embrace your family of faith - they will be there for you

They will be there to hold your hand

They will be there to pray for you and with you

They will be there so that you never feel you are alone

They will be there to give you a word of encouragement when you really need it

Build Up

And by actively being being part of your family of faith, your life will improve

You will be built up when you show up

Yes, your heard me - this is a space for growth, the place where you are built up

Woe the day when we think we have arrived and feel we don’t need to learn anymore

Here we are built up by the Word of God

Here we are built up when we hear the soft whisper of the Holy Spirit speaking into our live

Here we are built up when we have fellowship in the form of eye contact and the warmth of good conversation

And yes, here we get built up by sharing good food and coffee - around a table!

We need to be together to build each other up

Show up

The question today is not:  Have I been hurt in the church?  Or what is wrong with the church?

The question is:  What can I do about it?  How can I be the difference?

We all need to be reminded that we are free - be the person that reminds others that they are free - that Jesus died and is risen so that they may live

We all need encouragement in life - be the person that says “keep going, you’re on the right track… you’re gonna make it!”

We all have our moments where we fall down in life - be the person who reaches out to give a hand so that those who fell down can be built up again

So, show up and do this, and I promise you - when you really need it, there will be someone to remind you that you that you are free or encourage you when you feel discouraged and build you up when you fall down



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