Sunday, October 9, 2016 am                                                    Others 2016 Index


Comfort One Another With These Words
1 Thessalonians 4:18

 We have been studying numerous “one another” passages in the New Testament.   These passages are all related as they describe our relationship toward “one another” as brethren, which is certainly a part of the Christian’s life toward others.  AND many of them are interrelated, meaning they complement each other and work together.  But each one has its own set of applications which is what we are trying to glean in this study.  Today we want to address in more detail, some “one another” passages related to how we speak to one another. 

 I.                     Comfort one another

a.       The Greek word, παρακαλέω (parakaleō), is a word with many meanings.  Its literal meaning is “to call to one’s side” (BDAG).  It is the idea of standing beside someone who is struggling, in sorrow or distress.  Words associated with this include:

1. Comfort - To comfort one is to give them emotional strength and/or to console them.
2. Exhort - to appeal to, urge, or to exhort (BDAG).
3. Implore (cf. Philippians 4:2) or beg (cf. Acts 13:42, 16:15) or urge (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3), etc.
In the New Testament, we find both comfort and exhortation as they relate to how we address one another in in our conversations and manner of life.  Let us consider these things.

b.       Another form of this word, (παράκλητος, paraklētos), is found 5 times in the NT in reference to the Holy Spirit as Jesus called Him “the Helper” (John 14:16, 26, 15:26, 16:7) and of Jesus Himself in 1 John 2:1 when we sin, we have an Advocate with the Father…  This gives us some insight into what this word includes.  Think of how the Holy Spirit helped the apostles in revealing the word and as they stood beside Him (cf. Luke 12:11-12 – as they taught, the HS would be with them). 
Think of Paul at the end of his life in 2 Timothy 4:15-16 – at his first defense he was alone (no one stood with him, “but the Lord stood with me and strengthened me…”)
When we think of comforting one another, I want us to consider how Jesus is by our side!

c.        There are also other words, with similar meanings that are translated comfort and reflect what we think of when we use this word. 

d.       That we need to consider this conduct goes without saying.  As we have noted frequently, we are living in troublesome times.  And now, more than ever, we need each other!  EVEN in the best of times, we face individual struggles and troubles.  And we need to be there for one another with proper attitudes, demeanor and conduct.
ALL OF US become discouraged from time to time.  Some handle it better than others, some hide it better than others and some don’t handle hard times well and you know it.   
Therefore, some need more attention than others as they deal with whatever it is they are dealing with (i.e. the ones not handling it so well). 
As a whole, these “one another” passages are given without qualifiers.  In other words, they apply regardless of who our brethren are.  In fact, our love calls for us to be willing to go that “extra mile” for the brother that needs it the most, or the one that might present a little more of a challenge.  NOTE Philippians 2:1, “if there is any comfort of love…” (Paul is making rhetorical observations).

e.       Comfort

1.       1 Thess. 5:11 therefore comfort (encourage - NASB), each other and edify one another.

2.       1 Thess. 4:18 – therefore comfort one another with these words (more on this in our next point).  In BOTH of these passages, Paul is dealing with our Lord’s return and how we can use that to strengthen both ourselves and each other.

3.       2 Cor. 1:3-7 – our God is a God of comfort.  He comforts in such a way that we are able to comfort one another.   Romans 14:5 notes that He is a God of patience and comfort

4.       2 Corinthians 13:11, “Become complete.  Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace…”

f.         How do we comfort one another?

1.       By simply being there for each other when needed – as the word is used in its literal sense.  I think of one who has suffered the loss of a loved one.  When Lazarus died, as Jesus made His way to him and the family we read of those around – John 11:19, 31 – where many Jews where with Mary and Martha comforting them.
while there are many times where we can be a help to others (i.e. Galatians 6:2 – bear one another’s burdens), sometimes all we can do is be there.  But it is so appreciated. 
This is a principle found in scripture – Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 – two are better than one…
1 Thess. 5:14 – comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak…
1 Thess. 2:11 – Paul speaks of how he and those with him had properly conducted themselves properly in their midst – acting devoutly, blameless, and just as they behaved themselves.  Then we notice, “as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children.

2.       By being a proper example in dealing with struggles – show those who are young and weak HOW to properly handle difficult times and situations.  Show them that it can be done WITHOUT surrendering your faith. 
Consider the sufferings Jesus endured, yet He leaves us an example – 2 Peter 2:21-24
Paul dealt with all sorts of adversities as he preached the gospel, but he kept his faith.  Philippians 1:12-14 – in his sufferings he notes all turned out well for the gospel’s sake – some believed, and among brethren most became more confident.
MY point, how you handle adversity can be a comfort to others who are struggling.

3.       With patience – 1 Thessalonians 5:14, Warn the unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.  NOTE how patience is called for “‘with all” in a context addressing struggling brethren.  This is the same word describing how God is longsuffering toward us, not willing that we perish (2 Peter 3:9).  The same word in 1 Cor. 13:4 describing love.

4.       With our words - Usually comforting one another involves what we say and the way we say it.

a.       Comfort one another with these words -1 Thess. 4:18.  
God’s word is intended as a source of comfort (cf. Romans 15:4 – what is written gives us hope).  To the godly it is!

b.       1 Corinthians 14:3 – he who prophesies speaks edification, exhortation and comfort to men.  In a text dealing with teaching in worship involves revealing God’s word in a coherent way, we find that it will comfort others. 

c.        When brethren are struggling, remind them of what awaits the godly on the other side of eternity.   TELL them words of comfort. 
NOTE: When someone is deeply distressed, usually the last thing they need to hear is about your problems!  That is not the time to “pile on” with more adding to their burdens. 

d.       Be reminded that we are to guard our tongues – Colossians 4:6.


  II.                   Exhort one another

a.       The same Greek word we are discussing for comfort is sometimes translated exhort.

b.       It is found in Hebrews 10:25 – exhort one another as we assemble together
Hebrews 3:13 calls for us to exhort one another daily lest we be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

c.        IN this, I want us to think about how comforting one another doesn’t mean we ignore the problem or offer empty platitudes.  Instead it means with compassion we encourage them in the right direction.  Don’t let someone who is in sin think they are ok if they remain there!  That may involve some stronger conversation.  BUT let us NEVER forget Colossians 4:6 – let your speech be with grace, seasoned with salt.   

d.       Exhorting one another also involves “these words” or what we say.

1.       Acts 14:22 – after first journey, Paul and Barnabas returning through Galatia they strengthened the disciples and exhorted them to continue in the faith.

2.       Acts 2:40 – on the day of Pentecost, Peter testified and exhorted them to “be saved from this perverse and crooked generation.”  

3.       Acts 11:23, Barnabas, having heard of brethren in Antioch having received the gospel was sent by the apostles.  When he arrived he was glad “and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue in the Lord.

4.       Titus 2:15 – in matters of denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, and living soberly, righteously and godly, Titus was told “speak these things, exhort and rebuke with all authority…”

5.       1 Timothy 5:1, “Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father…

6.       2 Timothy 4:2, “reprove, rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering…”

7.       Finally, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, “we exhort you brethren…warn…comfort…uphold…be patient.


As we consider one another as brethren, it is imperative that we chose our words carefully.  And this is not just about what we say, but when we say it and how we say it.  May we strive to be the GREATEST source of comfort to one another as brethren.  Let us be there for each other so that we are not turning to the world instead of God for our strength.   Think about it.