Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Exhort and Strengthen

Im my reading yesterday this verse really stood out to me. Acts 15:32 -"Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words". What encouraged me about this verse was the result of two men using their God given gifts to exhort and strengthen the brethren. The spoken word can have such a powerful effect on people. Here we see not only did these two brothers read the letter from the Jerusalem church but they spoke many words to exhort and strengthen the brethren. Prov 18:21a -"Life and death are in the power of the tongue". Jesus said in Jn 6:63b "the words that I speak to you they are spirit and they are life". One of the most spiritual things we can do every day is to speak words. Our words just like Jesus' words can bring life or death. The words that these men spoke did something for the church in Antioch.

Exhort - to encourage, comfort, admonish through speaking or teaching.

Strengthen - to render more firm or to confirm. To give more strength.

I don't think they used just any words to accomplish these things. I think they brought and spoke the words of Jesus. They spoke by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The words of Jesus or words inspired by Jesus bring life it's that simple. This is how the church and family of God should operate. We are to speak to one another. According to the scripture we are to speak to one another with Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. By the gifts and inspiration of the Holy Spirit we are to use prophecy. We are to speak in other tongues with interpretation so that the body of Christ can be edified. In Mark 16 one of the distinguishing marks of the people that believe in Jesus would be that they spoke with new tongues. What a powerful understanding that the believer in Christ should speak with other tongues. I believe in speaking with and in other tongues. What about the tongue that you spoke with before you became a believer. How about the tongues that are being spoken everyday around you. Are you speaking with other tongues or using the same tongue of the world.

I am so concerned with the condition of our nation today. Listen to the words that are being spoken around you in conversations. Many are bitter, hateful, angry, etc. concerning other people. As Christians we have the power through the spoken word and the leading of the Holy Spirit to bring light in the midst of darkness, peace in the midst of turmoil, and life in the midst of death. Folks Jesus and His gospel message is the only thing that will save this world. Not conservative or liberal politics. As Christians are we being caught up in the fervor of the times. If so we cannot bring Jesus to a lost a dying world. May we be found today exhorting and strengthening each other with the words of Jesus.