The purpose of the Church and therefore the mandate of all local churches can be boiled down to several simple yet profound truths. In no partial order as a body of believers we are called to Encourage one another with biblical truth, to edify or teach one another about the truth in the bible, the exalt or glorify in worship and deed the God of the Bible, to evangelize which is to spread the message of the Gospel truth found in the Bible. The first purpose is summarised in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 which is to comfort and encourage.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 So comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, just as you are doing.
What does biblical comfort look like?
To encourage and comfort someone with biblical truth can take many forms but here in 1 Thessalonians, we read it as a command to The Church as clear as day. But it is more than just a few kind words or a pat on the back. Biblical comfort is one part sympathy, one part intersession in prayer, and one part the act of physically comforting your fellow Christian. Be a shoulder to cry on, send a gift, or flowers, send a WhatsApp message, just be there. You will hear the word “exhort” being used in older translations and it has the same meaning. We do this every day. Rinse and repeat until the Lord takes us away. This is our solum responsibility to our fellow brothers and sister in Christ. God knows we all need true biblical meaningful comfort in our lives.
How does encouragement help us grow?
It does not end there because biblical encouragement for a local body of believers should lead to growth. “Building one another up” implies strengthening, growing in resolve, and reaching taller than before. Encouragement is not simply soothing raw emotions or licking fresh wounds. When the church exhorts one another by pointing our downtrodden minds and worn-out hearts back the wonderful truths of scripture in a loving and compassionate way then we all grow stronger together.
The Bible commands and requires this of us in many others passages as well. Here are a few cross-references you can look up: 2 Corinthians 12:19, Ephesians 4:29, Hebrews 3:13. Hebrews 10:25, Romans 15:14.
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