Evaluation and Encouragement

June 24, 2016

Good Afternoon Church,

I pray you are finding the joy of the Lord to be your sufficient strength for another week as you seek to live for the glory of Christ. We had a wonderful visit with the Mandigo family on Tuesday and Wednesday as Tom and I were deeply encouraged by how the Lord is both growing and using Dan, Michiko, and their children in gospel ministry. What an undeserved privilege we have at Belcroft to partner with other faithful believers who seek to penetrate the darkness with the light of God’s Word so that those trapped in the dungeon of sin may be released into the Kingdom of God’s beloved Son! I will be giving an encouraging missionary report this Sunday, as I will explain both where the Mandigos are in their missionary ministry, as well as why we are doing these trips to touch base with our ministry partners. In light of Sunday’s update, allow me to remind you of the critical nature and inseparable link between evaluation and encouragement.

Evaluation and Encouragement

search-heart

You may not realize this, but the Bible commands us to evaluate, to examine, to test, to recognize honestly, and to contemplate humbly where we are as believers¹. While we are to examine ourselves privately according to the Scriptures, we are also to test the teaching and ministry of others to make sure it is in accord with God’s Word². Therefore, as we evaluate our lives privately and our ministry publically, we compare both with the standard of the Scriptures, and then bring all that is out of line back into order with the Word of God. Daily and regular evaluation personally is the foundation to the ongoing repentance that is nonnegotiable to growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ³. Furthermore, dealing with sin privately, because of this biblical evaluation, is what keeps our sin from being a matter that must be dealt with publicly⁴.

However, there is another side to this evaluation process that is often overlooked and underrated as it sadly goes unnoticed. I am speaking of the great and motivating encouragement that comes from honest, specific, heartfelt biblical analysis of our lives and our ministries. True and lasting encouragement ultimately comes not from what I do, but more from where I am as it relates to God and His Word! Thus, as I evaluate my life, not by your life but by Christ, I receive an honest assessment, but also I am strengthened as I see all that God is doing through His Spirit as He conforms me into His Son! This is, in part, what these missionary trips are about as we rightfully evaluate our partners to make sure they are living and serving in accordance with God’s Word. Then we revel in the biblical encouragement that flows from faithfulness to God’s calling that both motivates and sustains all involved.

Praise the Lord, as I will have the great opportunity to share with you all that God has been and continues to do through our missionaries in Wisconsin, as they remain faithful to the God of the Word, and the Word of God! I look forward to sharing my heart further with you on this as well as opening God’s Word together and learning more about how we fight sin from a Christological focus. May the Lord bless your weekend as you prepare to worship Him with us this coming Lord’s Day!

For His Glory,

Pastor Matt

Scriptures:

¹ Lam 3:40; 1 Cor 11:38; 2 Cor 13:5; Gal 6:4

² Acts 17:11; 1 Thess 5:21; 1 Tim 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Jn 4:1

³ 1 Thess 2:10-13; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:6-10

⁴ Mt 18:15-20; 1 Tim 5:19-21

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