God’s Miracle Grow
People blossom a little better if you’ll encourage them along the way.
Alright, thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing all right? Well, I trust everything’s okay at your house and I want to greet you once again in the name of our Blessed Lord and savior Jesus Christ. He’s the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and our savior. And we love Him, don’t we? I’ve been looking with you at Romans chapter 14. You want to come back with me now to that passage? We were working around in verse 19 where Paul says, “Let’s follow,” and that word follow means “pursue” like a hunter pursues his quarry, “Let’s pursue the things that make for peace and the things wherewith one may edify,” that means build up, like you build a house, “build up another.”
And we talked about how to go about this matter of helping to build someone else up. Now remember this chapter started by saying “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye.” Let him in. Don’t throw him out. And don’t argue with him so as to turn him off of the Lord and the truth of God but bring him in and open your heart to him. Now, part of this matter of receiving a person who is weak is to go systematically about the business of building him up wherever and however you can, not making a federal case of it, necessarily but just because you care about him or her, because you care about the individual, you’re going to look for ways to strengthen that person’s faith.
Now, there are two concepts that Paul raises there in verse 19. One is “things that make for peace,” because a harried and harassed and troubled person doesn’t do much spiritual growing. That doesn’t mean that you have to get out from under the pressures in order to grow. It does mean that you have to learn the secret of the peace of God in your own heart and in your relationships before you’re going to grow very much under pressure. When I was a little boy I would plant a garden on one day and then the next morning I’d be out there digging around to see if the seeds had start to come up yet.
By and by with the moisture and the rain and the sun, those little plants would start to come up and then I would be digging about them and maybe changing their position or whatever. And many of them proceeded to die on me. I felt so bad about it. Of course, a wiser adult soon told me, when you plant a thing, you have to leave it alone. You can’t dig at it and pull on it and disturb it. “If you disturb the plant, you’ll kill it,” that’s what they told me. And so I learned that growth regardless of the circumstances around my life which may be circumstances of pressure or harassment or sorrow or disappointment or whatever.
Regardless of the pressure or circumstances around me, real growth is possible only when there’s inner peace so the growing can take place at God’s pace. “Things that make for peace.” To be right with God, to learn how to pray through things, everything by prayer and supplication, to look for the other person’s interests and the other person’s point of view. Find out what you do agree on and take steps of action and involvement. Be occupied with the Word of God and the will of God and the purposes and plan of God and you’ll find that the atmosphere of peace is real in your life.
And you can transmit all of that truth to the other person, can you not? Follow, he said, “pursue the things that make for peace.” What makes for peace? Get right with God, pray about everything and take steps of obedience as He leads you. You can transmit that kind of truth. That’s what Bill Bright calls “transferable concepts.” That’s highbrow for you can learn it, too. Transferable concepts. You can project these truths into the lives of other people and in so doing they themselves will learn the secret of abiding peace and joy.
And the second concept, he says the word pursue in building up this weaker brother. “Things wherewith one may edify another,” he says. The second concept that’s going to build him up is this idea of like a person builds a house piece by piece, block by block, timber by timber- things which make for peace and things wherewith one may edify- build up- another. How do you do that? Be sure the shine of God is in your life. Remember I told you about the Christian Sadhu who all he did was just to shine for God in that local assembly of believers there somewhere in India?
Pray with the person. Open the Word with the person. Spend time with the person. Give yourself to him. It’s not the quantity of time, it’s the quality of time that is spent with another. And remember your example is your best sermon. “Things wherewith one may build up another” involve to go a step farther. Involve your friend with you in productive Christian activity. Are you a deacon? Take your friend with you on house to house calling. Are you going to call on somebody who’s ill or whatever? Involve the person with you in worthwhile and meaningful activity.
Now, he doesn’t have to do a thing. Assure him. “Just come along with me, John,” you know, “Just come along with me and you don’t have to do a thing. If you want to, you can say whatever you want or you can pray if you want but you don’t have to do anything. Just come along with me.” And you’ll be surprised how the Lord blesses that person and let’s say you’ll go into one home where someone is ready to receive Christ and you’ll bring the matter around to the place where there is a commitment to the Lord Jesus and the individual does pray to receive Christ, well, I’ll guarantee you, if that call was made on a Tuesday night, the next night at prayer meeting, you’re friend is going to be there and when it’s time to give testimonies, he’s going to say, “I’d like to say a word. Brother so and so and I made a call last night at such and such a place and the person prayed to receive Christ and it was wonderful.” He is so thrilled.
He is so thrilled because he was involved in something that was eternally worthwhile. You get the idea? So every chance you get, if you want to build a person up, take him or her with you in matters that count for eternity. You follow that? Involve the person with you in matters that count for eternity. Remember the value of repetition. Don’t think that because you said a thing once, that the individual will get it. I attended a series of courses years ago that had to do with communications. And the man who was teaching the course said that ordinarily, if you say ten things, the average hearer will only retain three.
And if out of those three that average hearer is asked to tell somebody else what he heard, the person who hears will only retain one thing. So in two hearings, it’s down from ten things to one thing. In the military, they say 10% never get the word. There are always people who just don’t quite get it. That being so, don’t take for granted that because you said a thing once that it soaked in. The dear missionaries used to discuss this with us when I was in Youth for Christ. And we’d come into a country somewhere and we’d set up big meetings and we preached the gospel.
And the missionaries would say to us, “You can’t expect in one hearing that these people are going to change all around.” Well, there were two things, three things, maybe they were true. Number one, the missionaries had been there and that word had gotten around before and these people had been thinking about it. Number two, God the Holy Spirit had sovereignly prepared them as it was in post-war Japan. God the Holy Spirit had sovereignly prepared them to receive the gospel. And number three, whenever you preach the word of God, you become part of God’s harvesting process.
One plants, another waters, and another harvests. Now, whenever you preach the gospel and go for souls, you become part of God’s harvesting process. But the missionaries were right; you don’t grow in grace overnight, you don’t learn the lessons of God’s truth overnight. It takes a patient repeating and plowing and pounding away at it until the individual finally sees that God’s Word is indeed true. Can you remember that now when you’re dealing with someone who seems quite obtuse and doesn’t quite seem to get the point?
Remember that it takes a while. You didn’t reach your present state of saintliness overnight, did you, now, brother or sister? It took God a little while to get you where you are, didn’t it? Well, if that be so, let’s be patient. Let’s be patient, you and I with other people and let’s remember that repetition is a good idea. When you spend time with your friend, go over the points that really matter: the points that have to do with facing temptation, the points that have to do with praying your way through a situation, the points that have to do with reading the word of God and getting something out of it and then obeying what God says to you.
Go over these points. Remember, repetition is helpful if you don’t do it in a boring fashion. You’re trying to build this person up. “Things wherewith one may build another up,” says Paul. One of them is, now and again, review with your friend, review with your friend the key issues, the great truths of eternity so that he or she will know that it has a chance to soak in, in other words, and the Holy Spirit will be able to apply it to their lives. “Things wherewith one may build up another.” Strangely enough, there is a real relationship between encouragement and spiritual growth.
People blossom a little better if you’ll encourage them along the way. Someone gave me a layout of the famous words—the five most powerful words are “I am proud of you.” The four most powerful words are “What is your opinion?” And the three most powerful words are “If you please.” And the two most powerful words are “Thank you.” And the one powerful motivator word that you want always to remember is the word “You.” If you can avoid it when you write letters, avoid starting it with “I” or “We.”
You want to sell a carload of widgets, you don’t start the letter to say “Dear Mr. so and so, we want to sell you a carload of widgets.” Well, he could care less but not much. You have to get what they call the “you- Y-O-U response” in your letter writing, in your sales pitch, and most importantly, in your dealings with people whom you want to encourage in the Christian life. Look for ways to encourage people so they can blossom and grow and bear fruit in their Christian life. “Follow after things wherewith one may edify- we could use the word ‘encourage’- may encourage one another.” Good idea?
Dear Father today, help us to specialize in encouraging other people along the way with You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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