1 KINGS 19:9,10
INTRO: Satan has an incredible arsenal of weapons which he can use to undo the faith of saints of God. The apostle Paul wrote, Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Cor 2:11). And Satan is shameless; he does not fight fair; he will use whatever device (or, trick) he thinks will gain him a foothold in our lives. Among his devices is discouragement. True, discouragement may not be in our mental category of sins, but discouragement does have a tendency to affect our faith and to take us away from our confidence in Christ. For a few minutes look with me at some of the discouragements Satan can use to harm our faith.
I HE CAN CAUSE US TO FEEL WE ARE ALONE IN OUR LOYALTY
A. 1 Ki 19:4,9,10,14 - ...and I, even I only, am left...
1. this is Elijah, the prophet of thunder ... confronting idolatry, lethargy
2. he responds to God by telling Him how faithful, loyal he has been
3. and what has he gotten for his trouble? they seek my life, to take it...
4. how does he feel? I am totally alone in my conviction and service
B. I wonder if there are not times we may feel this way?
1. do our students who take stands of conviction have this feeling?
2. do our people in the work force who take stands of conviction which really do set them apart have this feeling?
3. do we ever think no one cares about spiritual things like we do?
4. in the crucible of testing I wonder if this may not be a common feeling?
C. Are we really alone in our spiritual loyalties?
1. 1 Ki 19:18 - here was the reality ... there were others remaining loyal
2. Heb 13:5 - and this is another great reality ... He is with us in our loyalty
3. can Satan bring us to the point of Oh, whats the use? (1 Pet 5:9)
4. I have learned, too, that one person of conviction often will be joined by others when they see his courage and steadfastness
II HE CAN DRAW US AWAY WITH SPURIOUS REASONING
A. 1 Sam 8:4-7 - ...for they have not rejected thee...
1. Samuel had been a faithful, devoted judge of the people
2. he had invested himself selflessly in service to them
3. now, they want a king to judge them
4. Samuel apparently thought the people were rejecting him
B. Lifes circumstances can lead us into such reasoning
1. whats wrong with me that I should be treated this way?
2. what have I done to deserve this kind of treatment?
3. where have I failed?
4. the truth? it may have nothing whatever to do with you ... with me
C. Our feelings can cause thought processes which are very inaccurate
1. true, it is always good to be able to objectively examine ourselves
2. but we must remember that we cannot, do not control the sentiments and thoughts of others ... nor can we control their motives
3. what we can control is our own conviction, faithfulness, determination
4. 1 Cor 15:58 - here is our challenge, our charge ... no matter how others may behave
III HE CAN PROMOTE MISUNDERSTANDINGS, HURT FEELINGS
A. Phil 4:2,3 - ...that they be of the same mind in the Lord
1. exactly what the misunderstanding was we simply do not know
2. but the misunderstanding was serious enough that it was hurting
3. two Christian women who should have known better - others watch and become discouraged because their expectations are shattered
4. is it right to let that sort of thing discourage our own faith? - no, but Satan can still use it to his benefit
B. Disharmony is one of Satans excellent tools
1. misunderstandings can result from social contacts, work arrangements, even from Bible classes ... and feelings are injured, disharmony sets in
2. two passages which may help: 1 Cor 1:10 & 1 Pet 4:8
3. further, the apostle sought the help of others to resolve the difference - misunderstandings have a way of becoming discouraging division!
4. Ps 133:1 - this is so true ... we must not let Satan use misunderstandings to separate us, to discourage us, to hurt us
CLOSE: Discouragement, whatever its cause, can take the wind out of our spiritual sails. Prayer, communion with the word, the counsel of wise and caring brothers and/or sisters help us to combat and overcome discouragement. And remember, 1 Pet 5:8 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
Cecil A. Hutson
05 September 2004
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)