Warnings and Encouragement

Almost everyone will agree that life if filled with moments that are characterized as trials, hardships or sufferings. In 1 Peter 1, we learn that ” In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” I will readily admit that most of us, save the persecuted church, do not face the type of persecutions that the early believers faced. Nevertheless, it is clear that we will have spiritual trials that manifests as challenges of life. 

Before it all began, Jesus issued Warnings and Encouragement to His disciples. We see Jesus plainly convey that to the disciples in John 16.

All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.

In John 15, Jesus said, “18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[b] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me.” This is what He is referring to when He says “all this …”. First, Jesus is about to be put to death for following the will of God. Similarly, the followers of Jesus were about to be persecuted and killed for following Jesus.

Jesus wanted the disciples to know what they would face. They would face a people who would persecute them because they thought they were doing something for God (v.2). Jesus says that He provides Warnings and Encouragement to His disciples so that they will not fall away. The term fall away is termed made to stumble in the New King James Version. The Greek word for the concept is skandalizō (skän-dä-lē’-zō). Strong’s Concordance provides this perspective. It means to.

to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall, metaph. to offend

to entice to sin
to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey
to cause to fall away
to be offended in one, i.e. to see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from
acknowledging his authority
to cause one to judge unfavourably or unjustly of another

Jesus was preparing the disciples for life without Him being physically present, so He provided Warnings and Encouragement. He had shared that He would send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit in His place. The main point is this. Jesus’ Word provide Warnings and Encouragement for us. His Word contains all the Warnings and Encouragement we need in order to live a life holy and pleasing to Him. He has provided the Spirit to guide us in His Word by giving testimony about Christ (John 15:26).

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The “Word Hand” by the Navigators

Since God’s Warnings and Encouragement is contained in His Word, it would benefit us greatly to give greater attention to hearing, reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on the Word of God. The Navigators provided the Word Hand Diagram to show the importance of those endeavors. In Psalm 119, David asks and is given the answer about living life. He asks “9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” He is given the answer “1I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Will you hide God’s Word in your heart to help with your  Warnings and Encouragement? Make a commitment to hear, read, study, memorize, and meditate on God’s Word, so you can be aided through the trials of this life. God has commissioned the Holy Spirit to help you, but you must arm yourself with the Word of God.


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