ENCOURAGEMENT

ENCOURAGEMENT PRODUCES REFRESHMENT

Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California

Copyright 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved



 

Refreshment is used as a spiritual term in this chapter. It means to restore the strength of the soul by reviving the divine viewpoint in another believer. Bible truth learned and metabolized in Bible class refreshes the soul of the believer. Another very important source of refreshment is other believers that convey their own divine viewpoint in times of adversity or disaster.

As maturing believers, we are to have unconditional virtue love toward others. We also are to have conditional personal love toward our loved ones and friends. From these Biblical possessions of love we can be very thoughtful, kind and considerate as well as a stimulant, a blessing, and a refreshment to other believers. That is what the Bible means by refreshment. It means to supply what is necessary in spiritual blessing to a fellow believer in time of adversity or disaster.

May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. (2 Timothy 1:16)

The Greek verb ANAPSUCHO in 2 Timothy 1:16 means to breathe again and again and to revive the soul. This becomes a part of sincere, honorable, and true friendship which is based on soul virtue and strength of character. When we are with our loved ones or friends, we can communicate warmth, stability, and encouragement. It is always a two-way street. They do the same for us. This is the great blessing of having friends who are like-minded believers and who are maturing under Bible doctrine.

You should make sure that your friends are Christians who are taking in and living the Word of God. We may know many people as acquaintances or social friends, but your personal friends and intimate friends should be fellow believers who are taking in the Word. They will be a blessing to you as you are to them. Refreshment is always a two-way street.

THE MINISTRY OF REFRESHMENT THROUGH MUSIC

Although a rhythm can be catchy and a tune can be appealing, the words are what is important. The words or lyrics of a song are very important. The Spirit of the Lord, God the Holy Spirit, in Old Testament times would come upon certain believers and "endue" them or empower them to perform a specific job or ministry.

Old Testament believers did not have the same ministry of the Spirit which we have as New Testament or Church Age believers. This is because, at the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells your body making your body a temple for the "Shekinah Glory" or presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit never indwelt believers' bodies. They (the Jews) could actually see the Shekinah Glory as the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. By seeing these, they knew they were under divine blessing. We know that we are under divine blessing when we are filled with the Spirit and thereby producing the fruit of the Spirit. 1 John 1:9 says that if we confess or simply acknowledge our known sins to God the Father in prayer, we are immediately filled with the Spirit, and walking in the Spirit by means of applying Bible truth.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

In the Church Age, every Christian is indwelt by God the Holy Spirit. This begins at the moment of salvation. Also, there is the universal possibility of the filling of the Spirit. Any Christian can be filled with the Spirit. Salvation is through faith alone in Christ alone. If you believe in Christ, you are saved forever. Spirituality, or the filling of the Spirit, is obtained by naming your known sins to the Father and believing that they are forgiven. If you confess or cite your sins, you are instantly spiritual and your soul is 100% controlled by God the Holy Spirit. The Greek word for "filling" is PLEROO and it means to be fully influenced or to be fully controlled. This is full control of the Spirit over the soul. This is absolute status quo spirituality.

Right now, you are either spiritual or carnal. Carnal means you are under the control of the old sin nature. Spiritual means you are under the control of God the Holy Spirit. They are mutually exclusive conditions. You are never partially filled with the Spirit or partially carnal. You are at all times either carnal or spiritual. Remember that PLEROO means to be fully influenced, not partially influenced. The filling of the Holy Spirit is an absolute.

The filling of the Holy Spirit and indwelling of the Holy Spirit were given to Old Testament believers on a very limited basis. When God had a defined purpose for them, the Holy Spirit would come upon them, fill them, and empower them to fulfill the ministry that God had mapped out for them. An example of the Holy Spirit leaving an Old Testament believer can be found with King Saul.

King Saul was to be the King over the United Kingdom of Israel. This was before the kingdom was divided later on after the rulership of King Solomon. The Jews had a Theocracy where Jesus Christ ruled Israel, but the Jews, under arrogance, wanted to set that aside. They wanted a king like the other nations, so they chose Saul because he was intelligent, young, very tall, and handsome.

In the beginning of his reign, Saul was very humble and had tremendous grace orientation. He could not figure out why he was chosen to be king and had meekness before the Lord. It did not take very long for him to begin to believe what the people were telling him. They were telling him he was great, handsome, attractive, had charisma, and was going to be a great leader. Saul became very arrogant and preoccupied with himself. As a believer, he departed from grace orientation, humility, and God's plan for his life. Saul's spiritual retrogression became so bad that he developed a mental illness. He became a manic-depressive. One moment he would be ranting and raving and trying to pin David to the wall with a javelin and the next moment he would be deep in depression to the point of being catatonic. His mental illness developed from his arrogance.

A respected psychiatrist, Dr. Adler, has stated that mental illness does not stem from your environment or genetics, but from personal arrogance. The Bible says that personal arrogance is the root of all mental illness. This is completely different from what Freud or Jung emphasized in their psychotherapy. Saul was arrogant and retrogressive and the Spirit of the Lord departed from him. This loss of the Holy Spirit could never happen to you as a Church Age believer. We can "quench" and "grieve" the Holy Spirit through arrogance and antagonism towards God's plan for our lives, but we cannot lose the indwelling of the Spirit.

David prayed to the Lord to not take the Holy Spirit from him because Old Testament believers were sovereignly endued with the Holy Spirit. That means that God the Holy Spirit would decide to temporarily empower them so they could fulfill the ministry that He had for them. An Old Testament believer could pray that the Lord would not take the Holy Spirit from him because of carnality. But when the carnality became spiritual retrogression because the believer was continually out of fellowship and negative to the Word of God, then God the Holy Spirit would remove His presence from him. The sovereignty of God would then permit demon influence within that individual believer. As a believer, he belongs to God and he would never be indwelt by a demon. He could, however, be influenced by demons.

As a New Testament believer, the Christian is indwelt by God the Holy Spirit at all times and, therefore, can never be indwelt by a demon. God the Holy Spirit cannot share residency within a Christian's body with a fallen angel.

Saul's attendants said to him, "See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. (1 Sam 16:15)

Saul was not demon possessed. The phrase, "an evil spirit from God" means that the permissive will of God was allowing demon influence within the life of a retrogressive believer. A Christian cannot be demon possessed, but he can wind up worse than an unbeliever who is demon possessed by coming under the demonization of Satan's cosmic system of evil. The believer can come under maximum demon influence through false concepts, false doctrines, doctrines of demons and Satanic principles. Any believer who is retrogressive is afflicted with self-manufactured misery and divine discipline. Demon influence of the retrogressive believer produces intense unhappiness and misery. This is self-manufactured misery from wrong decisions. You reap what you sow! If you sow bad decisions, you will reap misery. This is what we see in the life of King Saul in 1 Samuel 16:16-18.

Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes upon you, and you will feel better." So Saul said to his attendants, "Find someone who plays well and bring him to me." One of the servants answered, "I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the harp. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him." (1 Sam 16:16-18)

Saul's servants are looking for a skillful player of the harp to calm Saul when he is having a mental crisis. They are looking for musical therapy. One man said he had seen a young man who was a son of Jesse, a skillful musician and a mighty man of valor who was handsome and the Lord was with him. Saul told his servants to find this man and bring him to him. David was under the enduement ministry of God the Holy Spirit.

Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, "Send me your son David, who is with the sheep." So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul. (1 Sam 16:19-20)

In 1 Samuel 16:19-20, Saul sent messengers to Jesse to request that David be sent to him. Jesse sent David along with gifts to King Saul. David attended Saul and Saul loved him greatly. Saul promoted David to be his armor bearer. It is possible for a believer who is negative to God's Word and who is retrogressing rather than progressing in the spiritual life to have a personal love toward someone. There can be great attraction. There was great compatibility and rapport as well as a father-son love relationship, but without integrity or strength of character on Saul's part.

Without unconditional virtue-love that depends on your own strength of character, you are not going to be successful in personal love relationships. The same young man that King Saul loved greatly will be the same young man that he tries to kill over and over again. You can be madly in love with an individual, but if it is not based on virtue and strength of character, you can have fits of antagonism when you will want to destroy that individual. So it was with King Saul.

David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers. Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, "Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him." Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him. (1 Sam 16:21-23)

David, as a spiritually mature teenage believer, was used by the Holy Spirit to temporarily relieve the psychotic condition of Saul. In 1 Samuel 16:21-23, we see that music can soothe the savage beast. Often, when we are feeling sad or depressed, a song that conveys a wonderful, Biblical message or a hymn of praise can be uplifting and refreshing. This was the effect it had on Saul, who was psychotic. Refreshment through doctrinal music can be a source of soul recovery from an adverse condition. Remember that it is only temporary refreshment. You cannot grow spiritually on music. It can be a wonderful source of information and inspiration, but your main source of information and challenge is the day-by-day teaching of the Word of God.

Whenever the "evil spirit" came to Saul, David would take the harp and play music in order to soothe the King. The harp is not a solo musical instrument, but usually requires an accompanying instrument. David sang while he played. David was a good musician and singer. Saul was refreshed by the David's music and lyrics. The lyrics would convey his need to return to the Word of God. Upon confession, he would be well and the evil spirit would depart from him. This was a temporary alleviation of psychosis.

Music can be a good thing. Music can be a blessing and an encouragement. Saul had a temporary mental illness and psychotic condition. This condition came over him at different times during his life whenever there was any kind of pressure. Apparently, it was triggered by jealousy. This jealousy was based on arrogance and envy which manifested itself as hostility and antagonism. The result was mental illness. Eventually David came into his life and was able to help him.

Saul was retrogressive and negative to the Word of God. Because of this, an "evil spirit" came over Saul and influenced him. God, through His permissive control of history, permitted demon influence in the life of retrogressive Saul. Saul would be refreshed by the music of David and he would temporarily recover from his psychosis. He recovered because of the music that David played and the lyrics that he sang. David was a young man and a mature believer. He was a teenager that had become spiritually mature in thinking and decision making. Whenever David sang, it was doctrinal lyrics and it was the doctrinal message that refreshed Saul.

If the Word of God can be a blessing on a temporary basis to someone who is mentally ill, just think of what it can do for you. If Saul had become positive and had confessed his sins and had taken in the Word and grown spiritually, this mental illness problem would have been removed. He could have then grown spiritually and become a mature believer once again. That is exactly what happened with Nebuchadnezzar. Nebuchadnezzar became psychotic, thought he was an animal and lived out in the field. He ate grass like an animal. What made the difference in Nebuchadnezzar's life? Daniel gave him the Gospel and he received Christ. This was the miracle of regeneration. He began to take in the Word, grew spiritually, and became one of the greatest Gentile believers in Old Testament times.

For Saul, it was a temporary alleviation of psychosis. There was no permanent alleviation because Saul never got positive to Bible truth. He would become refreshed and well temporarily because of the music therapy of David. Whenever David played and sang it reached into Saul's soul. It brought his soul back to reality and temporarily relieved the psychotic condition. In other words, refreshment came to his soul and the refreshment alleviated the suffering and caused him to calm down. There is refreshment in the ministry of doctrinal music. It revives your soul as a part of the worship service. It can be used for soul recovery from an adverse condition whether it is a backslidden condition, psychosis, neurosis, the influence of evil or some other form of apostasy. It might even be from a minor depressive condition from some disappointment. Refreshment in the Bible always connotes soul recovery and soul blessing.

THE MESSAGE OF REFRESHMENT

Those with positive volition send for the communicator of Bible doctrine and are refreshed by the Word of God just like those working in the hot fields during the harvest are refreshed by ice water. In the Old Testament, the communicator of Bible truth was the prophet or the priest. He was God's water boy and he refreshed the souls of his masters. The water boy worked for everyone else, and so does the pastor in studying and teaching. He is working for everyone in the congregation. Refreshment to the believer comes through the one who is faithful in communicating the Word. It is like ice-cold water. Refreshment in the Scripture is always related to the soul.

The doctrine of refreshment refers to a believer being a blessing, a source of spiritual stimulation and a delight to other people. This comes from the Word of God in Proverbs 25:13.

Like the coolness of snow at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the spirit of his masters. (Proverbs 25:13)

This is a three line poem in the Hebrew. The first line is the illustration of the next two lines. The first line gives us the illustration - "Like the coolness of snow at harvest time." Harvest was a time when the workers got very hot at their work. Although it was in the fall of the year and even approaching early winter in Palestine, it still got very warm in the fields. On warm days when they were very uncomfortable, they had water boys bring water. The water boys would be sent off to some nearby place where there would be snow and they would bring the snow down where it melted and became cold water. The melted snow was still cool and refreshing to drink.

The analogy is the communicator of doctrine, the prophet or priest, giving the message of doctrine. The priest would teach what had already been recorded in the Bible. The prophet would handle new revelation from God communicated to his contemporaries and then reduce it to writing under the inspiration ministry of God the Holy Spirit. In the Church Age, the main communicator is the pastor-teacher. So, in the analogy we have the pastor or the communicator as the water boy. The pastor, the water boy, refreshes the souls of his masters. The water boy worked for everyone else. Every pastor should be a "doctrinal Gunga Din!"

The greatest among you will be your servant. (Matthew 23:11)

The pastor-teacher works for the entire congregation in his leadership authority of studying and teaching. He sets the example as far as meekness and humility are concerned and their manifestations in Christian service. The refreshment that comes to the believer comes through the one who is faithful in the communication of God's Word. It is like ice-cold water.

The teacher of doctrine is the key to the ministry of refreshment. Your ability to take in doctrine is the greatest delight to the pastor who is faithful. The pastor is refreshed by seeing his congregation growing in grace and becoming spiritually mature believers. This is the point of total refreshment for the pastor and is the greatest blessing and stimulation. A mature believer drinks the water of the Word and is a source of refreshment to those in his life. This is a part of blessing by association and it is reciprocal. The congregation is blessed in association with the pastor who studies and communicates the Word and establishes his authority through teaching The pastor is blessed by seeing his congregation mature.

There should be a balance between the priesthood of learning the Word and the ambassadorship of the believer in outreach to others by means of his spiritual gifts. As believers take in the Word and grow spiritually and fulfill God's plan and purpose for their lives, that becomes a blessing to the pastor. It is wonderful to realize that we can be a source of refreshment and challenge to one another!

MISERY FROM REJECTION OF THE DOCTRINE OF REFRESHMENT

The rejection of refreshment on a national scale means national discipline and misery to a nation. The nation that rejects the ministry of refreshment or the Word of God winds up under misery.

Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim's drunkards, to the fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley--to that city, the pride of those laid low by wine! (Isaiah 28:1)

The word translated "woe" from the original Hebrew in Isaiah 28:1 is not simply a declaration of someone who is heartbroken and very sad for his nation. It has the connotation of divine discipline. There was judgment upon the nation because people were arrogant and preoccupied with themselves. They did not have the poise, courage, strength of character or the virtue to face and handle their problems. They did not use reason and common sense to work out their problems. They got into sublimation and tried to forget about their problems rather than dealing with them. They used alcohol to temporarily escape their problems. Alcoholism had even extended itself to the crown, the King and his advisors. The phrase "the fading flower, his glorious beauty" refers to the Northern Kingdom going down under degeneracy. They were so wrapped up in sublimation that it had even affected their agricultural economy.

See, the Lord has one who is powerful and strong. Like a hailstorm and a destructive wind, like a driving rain and a flooding downpour, he will throw it forcefully to the ground. That wreath, the pride of Ephraim's drunkards, will be trampled underfoot. That fading flower, his glorious beauty, set on the head of a fertile valley, will be like a fig ripe before harvest--as soon as someone sees it and takes it in his hand, he swallows it. (Isaiah 28:2-4)

The phrase "powerful and strong" refers to the Assyrian Empire which would soon destroy the Northern Kingdom and put the Southern Kingdom under the fourth cycle of discipline. That was how swift the destruction came upon the nation.

In that day the LORD Almighty will be a glorious crown, a beautiful wreath for the remnant of his people. He will be a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, a source of strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. And these also stagger from wine and reel from beer: Priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions. (Isaiah 28:5-7)

Visions were one of the ways that prophets got revelation from God in the Old Testament. Through the grace of God, He would communicate His Word to the prophets even when they were completely drunk and reeling around. This was really God's grace in action. They certainly did not earn or deserve it. God, in Isaiah 28:5-7, was still trying to break through to the people even though their leaders, political and spiritual, were completely consumed by alcoholism. God was still giving His message through these drunken prophets to show the people how much He loved them and wanted them to recover through His Word. Under the principle of double reference, verse 5 skips down to the Millennium. In the Millennium, everything is set right and there is no longer the problem of national degeneracy and destruction.

All the tables are covered with vomit and there is not a spot without filth. "Who is it he is trying to teach? To whom is he explaining his message? To children weaned from their milk, to those just taken from the breast? (Isaiah 28:8-9)

God's Word talks in this graphic way in Isaiah 28:8-9 for us to see how terrible this situation was. There were a maximum number of alcoholics. The children were the ones who were abused, molested, kidnapped, and terrorized. Some children were even used in Satanic sacrifices. The children were the ones who were victimized because of the decadence of the adults. The adults used their volition to either say yes or no to the plan of God. They could either take in the Word or neglect it. They chose to neglect it and in verses 10 an 11 we see the principle.

For it is: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there." Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people, (Isaiah 28:10-11)

Mandates are the commands of the Word of God that are arranged point by point in logical sequence. This is categorical doctrine. The phrase "rule on rule" in Isaiah 28:10-11 refers to exigetical teaching. The phrase "a little here, a little there" means a little teaching here and a little teaching there and refers to the daily intake and utilization of Bible truth. The "foreign lips and strange tongues" refers to the Assyrian language that they did not understand.

to whom he said, "This is the resting place, let the weary rest"; and, "This is the place of repose"--but they would not listen. So then, the word of the LORD to them will become: Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there--so that they will go and fall backward, be injured and snared and captured. Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers who rule this people in Jerusalem. (Isaiah 28:12-14)

Isaiah 28:12-14 indicates they rejected refreshment and rejected Bible truth. These are all of the do's and don'ts that enable us to make the right decisions in life. A little teaching here and a little teaching there. And here is what happens when Bible doctrine is rejected. They backslid into apostasy. Here was the challenge that they had before them. The message was directed toward the political and spiritual leadership. The Northern Kingdom was destroyed because believers rejected Bible truth. Even the Kings and the prophets rejected the Word of the Lord.

The term "people in Jerusalem" refers to the Southern Kingdom. The Southern Kingdom was not going to escape. When Assyria destroyed the Northern Kingdom, they also put the Southern Kingdom under the fourth cycle of discipline. Which means as a nation, you have a semblance of national sovereignty, but you are controlled by a foreign power. The word repent in Acts 3:19 means to change your mind toward Bible doctrine.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, (Acts 3:19)

This was Peter's message to the Jews in the beginning of the Church Age. This is the same emphasis that we have in Isaiah 28. The times of refreshing is the only thing that could save any nation as far gone as the Northern Kingdom was. A time of refreshing is a revival in the souls of believers. The believers in a nation who respond to the Word grow are blessed by God which results in blessing to other people by association with those believers. These believers are a challenge and a delight to other people. In this way, they make Christianity so contagious. Other people see it and they want it. This is a revival of doctrine in those who are believers. Revival in the nation is always the result of revival in the souls of believers.

You boast, "We have entered into a covenant with death, with the grave we have made an agreement. When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place." So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed. I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place. Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the grave will not stand. When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by, you will be beaten down by it. As often as it comes it will carry you away; morning after morning, by day and by night, it will sweep through." The understanding of this message will bring sheer terror. (Isaiah 28:15-19)

Rejection of Bible truth as a source of refreshment leads to misery for the believer. The rejection of refreshment can also mean misery in a nation through national discipline. Isaiah 28:15-19 tells the story of a nation that rejected Bible truth which ultimately resulted in its destruction. The prophets were faithful in teaching. They taught and taught and taught, but the nation turned its back on Bible truth. They rejected refreshment which is the Word of God and were destroyed by their enemies.

In Acts 3:19, Peter gave the same message to the Jews, especially the Jewish rulers both political and religious of the Southern Kingdom of Judea. They would be destroyed in 70 A.D. because they rejected Peter's message. He told them to repent or to change their mind about Bible doctrine. He urged them to return from their backslidden condition.

The only thing that can save a nation as far gone as the Northern Kingdom was in Isaiah's day, and as the Southern Kingdom of Judea was in the Apostle Peter's day is the Word of the Lord. Times of refreshment and revival in the souls of Christians through doctrine in the soul can deliver a nation. Revival in a nation must always come as a result of spiritual awakening and the revival of Bible doctrine in the soul of believers.

METABOLIZATION OF BIBLE TRUTH PRODUCES REFRESHMENT

so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. (Romans 15:32)

In the Greek, the words "with joy" in Romans 15:32 really mean "in the sphere of happiness." You do not find your happiness in people, things, circumstances, or situations. You carry your happiness around with you. Paul said he wanted to come to them in the sphere of happiness. Wherever Paul was, he carried around his own happiness. His happiness was inside him. He had peace, contentment, tranquility and he was sharing the happiness of God. In the Greek, the word for happiness is CHARA. This is the happiness of God. We actually share the very happiness of God. Paul was conveying the principle that whether he stays in Corinth or whether he is permitted, under the will of God, to go to see the believers in Rome, wherever he is, he wants to be in the sphere of God's happiness.

Paul related everything to God's will. Paul is thinking God's thoughts. Therefore, he realized that wherever he was located, that was where God wanted him to be. Whatever he was doing, that was what God wanted him to do. He fulfilled the operational and geographical will of God because he was thinking the will of God. It was more important than anything else in his life. He had the viewpoint will of God.

The word refreshment in the Greek is ANAPSUCHOS. It means to breathe life into the soul. A believers' soul can be distressed and under disappointment. If another believer comes along and shares divine viewpoint with them, he or she is sharing the happiness of God. This is the only true source of refreshment to other believers. Your presence under blessing by association can be a source of encouragement to them. This comes by teaching also.

Paul was communicating Bible doctrine that taught them and refreshed them. Because of this, they also refreshed Paul with their response to the Word, with their love for the Lord, and their love for one another. Paul was refreshed by their faithfulness and their loyalty to the Truth. These are the things that refresh any communicator of the Word - to see people faithful and loyal to the Truth.

By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you. (2 Corinthians 7:13)

2 Corinthians 7:13 is a verse about Titus, the greatest trouble-shooter in the ancient world. Whenever Paul had a problem church, (Corinth was the most trouble-filled local church of the apostolic generation) he would send in Titus. In Corinth, they were loaded with legalists that were so self-righteous in their arrogance that they would not let converted women into church who had been prostitutes unless they continued to wear a veil. They looked down their noses at them and did not want to see their faces. They looked upon them as second-class believers. On the other hand, there were also those who were involved in the harlotry of the phallic cult. They were saved, but they were still involved in sex in the name of religion. Here is a horrible, carnal, evil church with all kinds of problems. They had terrible mental attitude sins from their arrogance. Paul sent Titus to Corinth. Titus was the kind who could rebuke, but he followed Paul's admonition in Titus 2:15.

These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. (Titus 2:15)

Be patient in your rebuking of other believers. Was Titus refreshed by the legalism of the legalistic crowd? Was he refreshed by the licentious crowd? No. He was refreshed because those who were involved in these horrible overt sins had had a complete turnabout. They had true confession as well as true repentance. Repentance is that necessary change of mind that must go along with confession. They returned to the Word. They were recovering under the Word. They responded to the hard-nosed ministry of Titus. They stayed filled with the Spirit and had the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, long-suffering even when listening to a hard-nosed preacher. They stayed filled with the Spirit and benefitted from Titus's hard-nosed ministry.

By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you. (2 Corinthians 7:13)

The Greek word in 2 Corinthians 7:13 for "encouraged" is PARAKALEO. The word PARA means along side. The word KALEO means to call. PARAKALEO means to call along side or to help, to give comfort, aid, or encouragement. This is in the perfect tense which means they were encouraged in the past and keep on being encouraged.

This is inner happiness with a tremendous ecstatic overflow. Titus had an overflow of his inner happiness. How? Because his spirit has been refreshed. The Greek word for "spirit" is PNEUMA and does not refer to the Holy Spirit or an angel or the human spirit. It refers to the mental attitude of Titus. Sometimes the word "spirit" is used for a system of human perception like rationalism and empiricism as in 1 Corinthians 2. In other cases, it is used for a mental attitude. Here, we see that in his mental attitude he had great happiness and contentment. He was delighted with the way the Corinthians had recovered from their backslidden condition. Because his spirit had been refreshed, most of the Corinthians were making the recovery. Some had recovered more than others. Reversionism recovery depends entirely on one's area of weakness, because sometimes the area of strength of the old sin nature can cause more problems than the area of weakness.

Sometimes, it can be harder for the legalistic and self-righteous person to replace religious concepts in the recesses of his soul with divine Truth. It may be hard to change their mind about it and get with grace 100 percent. It is easy to say, "I believe in the Gospel by faith alone in Christ alone" at salvation. But, after salvation, we may still think that there is something we have to do to gain spirituality and grace from God. This may even be the idea of listening to doctrine every day as an automatic "rabbit’s foot" for divine blessing. That is just as legalistic as the person who witnesses to ten people every day thinking that, if he does, he is going to be a spiritual giant. Spirit-filled intake of the Word of God gives you the proper mental attitude. With that mental attitude, you will realize that in metabolizing and correctly applying accurate Bible doctrine, God's blessings will be conveyed to you for the rest of your life.

Metabolized Bible doctrine is what creates such a wonderful mental attitude. Titus had a mental attitude that was eager and gung-ho. He was delighted, refreshed, and stimulated by the recovery of the Corinthians. He was motivated from his inner happiness. He was motivated because he had communicated the Truth of God and, as a result, these people were recovering from reversionism. Not only did Titus straighten out the Corinthians, but in the process, he made some lifetime friendships. Many of these people had been a source of problems and bad testimony because of their hypocrisy. They had became a source of refreshment to Titus because of their spiritual growth.

THE MATURE BELIEVER HAS A MINISTRY OF REFRESHMENT

The word "minister" in the Bible is used for political leadership within a nation and for the administrative leadership in the local church. Administrative leadership involves the deacons and, in the professional sense of the word, the pastor-teacher. It is also used of every Christian. Every Christian is in a full-time ministry. Pastors are in full-time ministry, but every Christian is also in full-time ministry as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever niche that God has placed you in is your ministry. There is a universal ministry of maturity. Whatever God has placed you in you know it is your niche and you fulfill your niche as a mature believer. As a mature believer, you can have the ministry of refreshment. This is a part of your full-time ministry. It is being a source of encouragement to other people.

I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition. (1 Corinthians 16:17-18)

The Greek word for "glad" is CHAIRO and means "inner happiness." Regardless of what the circumstances were, Paul had tranquility and, in some circumstances, he had ecstatics. Paul was really experiencing an emotional overflow. The Corinthians made the reversionism recovery and gave to Paul's ministry as the Lord motivated them to give based on their love for the Lord. In addition, there were certain things that Paul, as a pastor, rejoiced in and found great delight in that had absolutely nothing to do with his financial situation. It had to do with the souls of mature believers and how a communicator of the Word can be blessed by being associated with spiritually mature Christians.

They refreshed Paul's spirit in the past with the result that it kept on being refreshed. Every time he thought about these three men he was delighted and refreshed. He was stimulated and encouraged. When you think about some believers, you are always encouraged by the memories of their fellowship, the memories you have of their maturity, and the impact of their ministry of maturity. This is the kind of honor and respect that you pay to the leaders of your congregation because of the example of encouragement and refreshment that they provide for you.

May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. (2 Timothy 1:16-18)

Onesiphorus in 2 Timothy 1:16-18 was a man who was a source of refreshment to Paul when Paul was imprisoned at Rome. He was not ashamed to go right in to see Paul when Paul was under house arrest. Some people might have thought he had done something wrong if he is going to see someone in jail. They might have thought that because he is visiting a Christian in jail, he is a Christian and should be put in jail too. He had great courage. He had unconditional love and the ability from his tremendous faith-rest function to put himself into a situation that might be dangerous.

This is like men or women who go into prisons to give the Gospel and to teach the Word of God. What a great ministry it is! I know of someone who had this kind of ministry in another city and the Lord really used him. He was used in teaching the Word of God in several penal institutions. Here, Paul was very encouraged that this man had such tremendous courage. This was one of those great mature believers who refreshed Paul.

To be a refreshment to the Apostle Paul you had to really be something spiritually. To be a source of blessing to Paul meant that he was a mature believer fulfilling God's plan for his life. Many people were blessed by Paul, but here is a man who was a blessing to Paul. That ought to humble us. No matter how mature you become, and Paul was the most mature of us all, there is always somebody who can be a blessing to you.

Some people, especially communicators, put themselves up on such a pedestal that no one can teach them. They have the arrogant attitude that no one can give them any information or can tell them anything. They do not believe that anyone can share anything with them that would be a blessing to them. No matter how mature you are, or think you might be, there is always someone that God can use to be a blessing to you. There is always someone who can be a source of encouragement and refreshment to you. Remember, refreshment is the stimulation and delight that we get in the company of fellow mature believers.

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. (Philemon 7)

Philemon had unconditional virtue-love toward everyone and this great strength of character was the basis of the fantastic friendship-love that Paul and Philemon had for each other. Paul didn't say in Philemon 7, "the heart or thought pattern of a few here and there." He said, "the hearts or thought pattern of the saints." Whenever any believer in the ancient world thought of Philemon, they were encouraged and refreshed. Can that be said of you? Are believers who know you encouraged and refreshed when they think of you? That would really be something. That was the way it was with Philemon.

I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. (Philemon 20)

Philemon 20 indicates that Philemon was a source of stimulation and delight to Paul's thought pattern. When he thought of Philemon, there was always blessing. What a testimony! Philemon was a mature believer with the wonderful ministry of refreshment.

THE MAINSTAY OF REFRESHMENT

When you refresh others and others refresh you, it is a great thing. When you encourage others, they can also encourage you. Refreshment can be a two-way street and it causes you to hang in there when things get tough. If you say Christianity and Bible doctrine are real in your life, it would be wonderful to be able to point to another believer who is a challenge and an encouragement to you. It would also be great to say that they really challenge, encourage, and refresh you. This causes people to sit up and take notice of what Christianity is all about.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. (Psalm 138:7)

The term "preserve" in Psalm 138:7 refers to the ministry of refreshment of one believer to another and how God provides a temporary respite in your continued times of adversity through other people. When you are under testing, what does the Lord use to give you a temporary respite? The Lord sends someone along to pick you up and to encourage you. This is how God provides that temporary respite of refreshment in our continued times of adversity.

The word in the Hebrew for "walk" means that it has been going on for some time. David had developed a modus vivendi and modus operandi of trusting and relying on the Lord during a time of continual trouble and adversity. In fact, it was almost seven years long. It was the six and one-half years of the civil war. After the death of Saul, David was anointed King in Jerusalem over the Southern Kingdom of Judah. Then he had six and one-half years of civil war with the house of Saul. This involved the dynasty of Saul in the person of King Ishbosheth and his army. Finally, David was made King over all the land. He had to trust the Lord. He had to continue to walk with the Lord and to realize that God would bring blessing out of this time of great adversity and disaster.

God has the power and the ability to get the job done. David's ultimate victory in the civil war was based on his belief that if God anointed him to be King, he would be King over the entire land. One thing that is a great source of revival and refreshment in your soul is that when you are under pressure or adversity, God sends someone along at the right time to encourage and refresh you. This causes you to keep your eyes on the ultimate goal that God does have blessing for you and this too shall pass (the period of adversity). God is going to bring some fantastic things out of all of this adversity. God will deliver you and bring you great blessing.

Like the bumper stickers say, "Be patient with me - God is still working on me." Or, "I'm not perfect, just forgiven." We need to be patient with ourselves and with others. God is still working on us. Through intake and consistent application of Bible truth, we can become a source of encouragement to everyone around us. Through God's plan for each of us, we continue to grow and mature spiritually. As we grow, we refresh others by the manifestation of God's grace in our lives. By this, we demonstrate God's grace plan in action.


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