OceanSide church of Christ
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Victor M. Eskew
A. There are many difficulties that can plague congregations.
1. False teaching (Gal. 1:6-9)
2. Public sin (I Cor. 5:1-2)
3. Struggles between brethren (Phil. 4:2-3)
4. Persecution (Acts 8:1)
B. Any problem takes its toll on the church, but one problem seems to hurt churches more than some of the others. It is the problem of “Spiritual Discouragement.”
1. Discouragement does not afflict the unfaithful.
2. Discouragement does not impact the lukewarm.
3. Discouragement inflicts the hearts and minds of the faithful, the workers, those who are truly concerned about the ways of God.
C. For the next few minutes, let’s look at this disabling, and possibly, deadly disease.
I. THE DEFINITION OF DISCOURAGEMENT
A. Note that the word “courage” is part of the word “discouragement.
1. Christians are to possess courage or boldness.
a. Three times God exhorted Joshua to “be strong and of a good courage” (Josh. 1:6, 9, 18).
b. The New Testament word for courage is “boldness” (Eph. 6:19-20; Heb. 13:6).
2. Courage is defined as “having heart.”
B. When one is discouraged, his courage has been negated. In essence, one has lost heart. This loss of heart is manifested in one’s countenance, his words, his behavior, and service to God and to his brethren.
C. The discouraged psalmist (Ps. 38).
1. Verse 6
I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.
2. Verse 8
I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.
3. Verse 10
My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.
4. Verse 17
For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.
II. THE DERIVATION (ROOT, SOURCE) OF DISCOURAGEMENT
A. All discouragement comes from the archenemy Satan.
1. Satan wants us to sin, that is, to violate God’s will.
2. If he cannot do this, he seeks to remove the joy of godly living from our lives.
3. Discouragement is one means of doing this (II Cor. 2:11)
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
B. The list of the causes of discouragement could be very lengthy.
1. Church problems
2. Unmet goals
3. Unconquered sin
4. Focus upon self-interests that go unfulfilled
5. A constant focus upon the negatives
6. Unconcern and apathy shown by others
III. THE DEFEAT OF DISCOURAGEMENT
A. Acknowledge discouragement quickly.
1. Discouragement can grow from ounces to pounds very quickly.
2. We need to confess our discouragement to our brothers and sisters (James 5:16).
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
3. NOTE: This is all some people like to do. They talk about their discourage-ment over and over again, but do nothing else about it.
B. Give it to God.
1. We often say: “Take your discouragement to God.”
a. By this we mean talk to Him in prayer about it.
b. Just talking about it, however, is not enough. We must “give it” to God (I Pet. 5:7).
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
2. What does “giving something to God” look like?
a. It does involve going to Him in prayer (Luke 18:1).
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.
b. One must release the problem into God’s care.
1) Example: Parent having to release a sick child into the care of a babysitter.
2) Example: Hannah
a) Hannah was not able to have children (I Sam. 1:5).
b) Peninah, Elkanah’s other wife, had children and constantly provoked Hannah (I Sam. 1:7a).
c) Because of this Hannah wept and could not eat (I Sam. 1:7b).
d) She went to God in prayer and gave Him the problem (I Sam. 1:10-11).
e) Her actions after her prayer are interesting (I Sam. 1:18b).
…So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
C. Look to Jesus Christ (Heb. 12:3).
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be weary and faint in your minds.
1. Jesus struggled with
a. Emotional pain (Matt. 26:38)
b. Physical pain (John 19:28)
c. Loneliness (Mark 14:50)
d. Why? questions (Matt. 27:46).
2. Jesus gave it to God (Matt. 26:38, 42, 44).
3. He overcame (John 19:30).
A. All discouragement in our spiritual life is instigated by Satan.
1. It can be a lethal type of emotional cancer.
2. It can drive a wedge between us and our brethren.
3. It can drive us away from fellowship with our heavenly Father.
B. At the beginning of our lesson we saw a very discouraged psalmist in Psalm 38. He, however, was not going to be overcome (Ps. 38:15).
For in thee, O Lord, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.