Discouragement is one of the chief weapons in Satan’s arsenal for hindering the work of God. People become discouraged about their church, marriage, other Christians, their temptations, the rigors of the Christian life, and a host of other things. One of the greatest benefits in meeting together as a church is the opportunity to be called alongside one another for encouragement. Hebrews 10:24-25 declares that encouragement should mark our gatherings. We should all be ministers of encouragement.
There was a man in the New Testament whom we would call today “Mr. Encouragement.” We are introduced to Joseph in Acts 4:36-37. We know him better by the name Barnabas. There were four occasions in the life of Barnabas in which he shined as “Mr. Encouragement.”
1. To a struggling church, Barnabas shined with the grace of generosity, Acts 4:36-37.
2. To a recent convert, Barnabas shined with the grace of acceptance, Acts 9:26-27.
3. To a new church, Barnabas shined with the grace of forbearance, Acts 11:19-26.
4. To a failing brother, Barnabas shined with the grace of forgiveness, Acts 15:36-40.
The light of “Mr. Encouragement” only flickered once in the Scriptures — Galatians 2:11-13. “The fear of man lays a snare . . . “ Proverbs 29:25.