"And He Took Courage"

Kyle Campbell

Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, "Therefore encourage one an-other, and build up one another, just as you also are doing." We come together not only for the purpose of worshiping God, but also for encouraging and building one another up. In fact, encouragement is a major function for Christians. The Hebrew writer said in Hebrews 10:25, "Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near."

Acts 28:15 says, "And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage." Paul had just arrived in Italy after his long and arduous voyage from Caesarea. He naturally would have great anxiety and discouragement since it had been so long since Paul had received word about his brethren in Rome. He did not know if they would still be faithful or if persecutions had driven them from their homes. However, he found them well and resumed his journey with an eager and buoyant hope.

The word "courage" means "confidence" and is used in Acts 23:11 where the Lord told Paul to take courage in prison and in John 16:33 where Jesus told his disciples to be of good cheer. The point is we are here to build up one another. Paul spoke a number of times of Christians who had refreshed his spirit. We are going to examine six items that encouraged Paul when he saw them in his brethren. These are also items that will encourage us when we see them in our brethren.

He Took Courage Seeing Brethren Of Like Faith

In Romans 1:11-12 Paul longed to see the Roman brethren because their faith would encourage him. In 2 Peter 1:1 Peter wrote to those who had received a faith of equal standing with the apostles through their careful study and conduct of life.

Nothing is more encouraging than spending time with brethren in Christ. They lift and refresh our spirits because we share one of the greatest bonds God ever created. I don't know about you, but working with non-Christians is depressing. We need the encouragement that being around brethren of like faith provides (Rom. 12:10).

 He Took Courage Seeing Brethren

Rightfully Praised

The Roman brethren were worthy of praise because their faith was being proclaimed throughout the whole world (Rom. 1:8). As Paul concluded the letter, he reiterated the great faith and obedience of those brethren (Rom. 16:19).

Our purpose should always be one of reproving and rebuking where necessary, but we also need to be praising where necessary. We need to know that sometimes we do things that are right.

He Took Courage Seeing Brethren Concerned

Galatians 6:2 gives us a command to bear one another's burdens. This is an excessive weight that needs the help of other children of God. John asserted that we demonstrate the love of God within us by how we help other Christians in their time of need (1 John 3:17).

The Lord's people are to be compassionate. We need to be diligent to have a tender heart toward those who struggle with the trials of this life. Let us not close our hearts against them.

He Took Courage Seeing Brethren Unashamed

In 2 Timothy 1:12-16 Paul gives commands to follow the truth and cites examples of both those who held fast to the standard of sound words and those who fell away. The only way the Lord's church will expand is through the hard work of its members who are unashamed to present the full gospel message to those around them.

I think it is disgraceful to see how many "churches" try to market the gospel as they would market a car and to make churches as "user-friendly" as possible. The truth which will save people's souls is sometimes a hard pill to swallow and deliver.

He Took Courage Seeing Brethren

Being Thoughtful

Paul outlined the humility of mind necessary for a Christian and then gave Christ as the perfect example (Phil. 2:3-5). In Philippians 4:15-17 Paul commended the Philippians for their participation with him in the spreading of the gospel. It was not the money that he needed, but he was appreciative of the gift because it taught the Philippians about the grace of God. When working with Paul, their gracious spirit would grow to even greater heights.

All of the gospel surrounds the tenet of viewing others as more important than ourselves. God wants sacrifice, not self-centeredness. The quicker we lose ourselves the quicker we will start living appropriately with our fellow man.

He Took Courage Seeing Brethren

Do The Unexpected

In 2 Corinthians 8:3-5 Paul was truly touched by the gift of the churches of Macedonia. They had a genuine concern and deep liberality, even though they were in poverty themselves. In Acts 2:44-45, we read of brethren who took these sacrificing steps because they wanted to, not because they were forced. They wanted to make sure the poor were cared for.

It thrills the heart to see brethren act in a manner which would please the Lord. We live in a cynical society and it is easy to take the approach that brethren will only do the least amount they have to, but that's not true. The Lord's body is full of brothers and sisters in Christ who are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to help those in need.


Let's encourage one another and make sure our lives reflect all the good qualities of the Lord's people. When we learn to associate with brethren of like faith, praise what is good, be concerned for the welfare of others, be unashamed to proclaim the true gospel, be thoughtful and do the unexpected, we grow.

The world is so full of evil and wickedness and lies in the power of Satan. How refreshing it is to surround our-selves with men and women whose characters reflect the supreme character, Jesus Christ. It is only through living according to this example that we become like the Lord. We can only live after the Lord by becoming obedient to the Lord.

Guardian of Truth XLI: 20 p. 3-4
October 16, 1997