May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. —II Thessalonians 2:16-17

Are you eternally encouraged? You ought to be if you know the Lord Jesus because He has given His sheep “eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). “And so we will be with the Lord forever” (I Thessalonians 4:17). This is eternal encouragement “so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7). Eternal life with Jesus! It is such a joy to know Him now and then to be with Him in glory forever. All who have called on His Name should be greatly encouraged (Romans 10:13).

Now, this encouragement that the Lord has given us is not just for ourselves. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:8-10). This encouragement from God should “strengthen you in every good deed and word” that God has “prepared in advance for us to do.” We are to be “a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). Serving in those works He has prepared for us gives evidence of our faith in Him. The context James 2:14-26 puts it this way— “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.” In this portion of James both Abraham and Rahab are given as examples of evidencing their faith by their deeds. Does my life and your life bear evidence by our deeds that we truly have faith in God and know the Lord Jesus Christ? A person can say they believe in one God— “Even the demons believe that—and shudder” (James 2:19). Working the work God has prepared for me and you gives evidence that we have truly called on the Lord Jesus and know Him.

It is interesting the things we are to be encouraging each other on in as the day of Jesus’ coming draws closer and closer. What are those some of those things? ”Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25). So many people miss these basics as to why believers get together and we are told here to not give “up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.” It is clear here that we gather to encourage each other on toward love and good deeds.

There are those who do not think they need to gather with other believers. They are in error, not knowing God’s Word or being disobedient to what He says. They only pick from God’s Word what they want. Those who do not attend a local assembling of believers also have the tendency to speak against those who do. They would be less critical if they would be about God’s business and not their own. These professing believers that do this are anything but encouragers— they are discouragers. Something God does not want us to be. Beware of the discouragers. They do not have God’s desires in mind.

Dear Father, may I encourage others on in love and good deeds for Your honor and glory. Be pleased to work in and through me to encourage others to be what You desire them to be and may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

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