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Fellowship is Evangelism

Fellowship is Evangelism

Fellowship = Evangelism

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 14 Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.15 For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep.16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

As Paul writes here to the church in Thessalonica, he exhorts the disciples to encourage each other with the good news of Jesus´ return. This word rendered "encourage" in the Holman Christian Standard Version comes from the Greek word parakaléō, which literally means to call another person to your side for comfort. In other words, you are inviting each other into conversation for the sake of mutual encouragement and exhortation.  

Is the call to world evangelism not also the call to internal discipleship?

This same word parakaléō appears elsewhere. But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin's deception. (Hebrews 3:13)

The call for Christians to encourage other Christians is one not to take lightly. Rather, it is the responsibility of each Christian to encourage those inside the body.

Often times, the word parakaléō is rendered "beg" or "plead" in the New Testament. One of the instances we see this is in Mark 5:18, for example. Jesus healed a demon-possessed man, and the man "begged" Jesus to be with him.

Another instance is in Mark 6:56. Whenever Jesus entered a new place, people "begged" him to only touch his robe so they might possibly receive his power.

Both of these examples are from parakaléō.

A third example is in a familiar verse in Acts 2:40: And with many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, "Be saved from this corrupt generation!"

"Strongly urged" comes from parakaléō.

The call for Christians to encourage Christians is not something that should or will be done passively. Rather, the call inside the church for encouragement is an act of lifestyle evangelism.

Next time you are with your body of believers, consider encouraging them in a way you never have before. Not just with words of affirmation or of personal praise, but by sharing your faith, the deepest parts of your faith, so that you might comfort a brother or sister in the body of Christ with a lifestyle of evangelism.