INTRO: Discouragement is real. I do not know many people who have not experienced a time ... or season of discouragement. It seems to me that disappointment and discouragement are kindred in some respects. But discouragement is more dangerous because it tends to bring us to despair, cynicism, immobility. There are Biblical examples of discouragement - perhaps Elijah is one of the best. But I want the scope of these thoughts to consider the cure! All of our thoughts will center in the lesson text.
1. Keep your focus on the Lord - v.4
a. discouragement results often from misplaced trust
b. trust in things, in expectations, in people ... and these are subject to every sort of variable
c. the Lord is the only constant - Heb 13:8
d. variables do not affect God - Jas 1:17
e. we must keep the Lord ever the center of our plans, our lives, our hopes
2. Accept that injustice exists - lifes not fair - v.5a
a. and we will experience this injustice
b. thats just not fair - and we retreat into emotions which are not helpful
c. but gentleness, moderation, poise are qualities of the Christian life
d. so, a good viewpoint is Rom 8:28
e. how can I make something worthwhile out of this situation? can it become a blessing?
3. Be aware that it is momentary - v. 5b
a. there are other possibilities here, perhaps
b. but I see that at worst , the situation is not without end
c. I recall 2 Cor 4:16-18 ... there is something better and lasting!
d. its easy, though, to see only the storm
e. Youll Never Walk Alone
4. Continue in prayer - v. 6
a. discouragement derails so many things
b. and one thing which may be neglected is prayer
c. I believe God wants me to inform Him of my discouragement - my stresses and strains!
d. Rom 12:12 instant in prayer
e. I suggest that being instant is a preventative measure against discouragement
5. Count your blessings - v.6
a. is the disappointment, discouragement accentuated by my forgetting Gods blessings?
b. in discouragement we tend to have tunnel vision
c. but life is more than this one thing!
d. life is the blessing of friends, of family, of sufficiency to necessities, of a good day, etc.
e. Ps 118:24
6. Be confident of Gods peace - v.7
a. peace in disturbing times is available
b. but disturbance may shake confidence!
c. note Isa 26:3,4 - discouragement becomes spiritually serious because it often means our minds are distracted from the Lord!
d. so, back to rejoicing in the Lord!
7. Change the direction of your thinking - v.8
a. discouragement grows because it occupies our thoughts
b. discouragement diminishes as we think of other good, needed things
8. Consider and act on counsel of the word - v.9
a. the word can straighten out our thinking
b. Ps 73:16,17 then understood I ...
c. so, Prov 29:18 abiding in the word of God!
CLOSE: Discouragements are likely to come. But they do not need to take up residence with us. Use the cure!
Cecil A. Hutson
07 November 1999
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)