Exhort, do not just give sugar pills
Acts 20:2 -
And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece,
We find preachers, ministers of the Word and Church leaders give great importance to encouragement. They encourage people to be positive, to have faith and not to let go of their hope in the Lord. We find a large majority of the leaders doing this and yet we find there is not much effect of their words to the Church on the long run. Their words have a temporary or a short term effect on the people and after some time they tend to go back to the very state.
We read after the uproar in Ephesians on a matter of a goddess which almost comes to a riot situation, Paul moves out to Macedonia and other places to exhort the people. This action of his has great effect in reviving the Church so we need to understand what Paul did.
The word in Greek translated as exhort is the word 'parakaleo' it has two meanings to it, one which means to encourage and the other to summon.
Speaking words of encouragement is like the sugar coating on medicine pills. It is necessary sugar coating to give to people when they are weak spiritually or disturbed in faith since they cannot take the Truth directly. But imagine a doctor giving you just sugar pills when you are ill.
We see Paul not only gave words of encouragement but also summoned people to the purpose of the Kingdom of God and among them were Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. Along with them was Luke who wrote the book of Acts. All these had great part in the building of the Church of the early years.
We who minister to others need to remember when we exhort people during times of trouble we should not give just sugar pills by words like 'all will be well, trust in God' or 'God will not let Satan crush you, He gave the sacrifice of His only Son for you' etc.. These words are important but with them we should summon them unto to Lord for long lasting and real healing.
Words without action or faith without work is meaningless. When we stand in the Lord we are safe and standing in the Lord does not mean just vocal confession of words. It means to be part of what the words spoken. If we speak love it needs to be demonstrated in actions, if we speak light it needs to be seen in us, if we speak faith our actions need to show faith, if we speak salvation we need to go out and give it unto others for salvation is to the whole Body of Christ - the Church. Everything we speak needs to backed up with action.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, your Word is complete and every instruction is complete in itself. It is because your people do not follow your Word completely they do not bear good fruit. Lord, we pray those whom You have chosen to lead your sheep do not just give sugar pills to your people who are suffering and weak. We pray that they along with encouraging also summon them unto your Truth...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scriptures ]
1 And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.
2 And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece,
3 And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.
4 And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.
Also read Acts 19:24-41
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
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