OceanSide church of Christ
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SPIRITUAL DISCOURAGEMENT (2)
Victor M. Eskew
A. Spiritual discouragement has always plagued the people of God.
1. Last week we saw a very discouraged psalmist in Psalm 38.
2. We could have examined the children of Israel when they heard the evil report of the 10 spies and the Jewish nation that left off building the temple after they returned from Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity.
3. There is also the example of the Jewish Christians who were exhorted with these words in Hebrews 12:12-13.
Wherefore lift up the hands that hand down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
B. When spiritual discouragement sets into a congregation, it can take a toll on the whole church.
C. We need to learn to fight against discouragement as God’s children. Last week we looked at three things we can do when discouragement comes our way.
1. Acknowledge our discouragement.
2. Give the discouragement completely to God.
3. Look to Jesus Christ.
D. This morning we want to examine several other things Christians can do to fight the spiritual disease of discouragement.
I. LOOK FOR THE POSITIVES IN THE SITUATION
A. A discouraged person sees all of the negatives and usually magnifies them.
B. Positives usually exist if a person will look for them (Ex., Elijah, I Kings 19)
1. In I Kings 19, Elijah is in an extreme state of discouragement, even wishing he were dead.
2. He was looking only at the negatives (I Kings 19:10).
And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
3. In magnifying the negatives, Elijah overlooked a positive (I Kings 19:18).
Yet I have left seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
II. REVEL IN THE GRACE AND LOVE OF GOD
A. As a Christian, we have received the grace of God in our lives (Eph. 1:7; Tit. 3:7).
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
B. The grace of God involves His unsearchable love, tender mercy, exceeding kindness, and divine forgiveness.
C. It should excite us and energize us in our Christian walk (I Cor. 15:10).
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
III. DRINK DEEPLY FROM GOD’S WORD
A. The Word of God is a very powerful agent (Heb. 4:12).
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword…
B. It has the power to accomplish many things in our lives, including helping us to overcome discouragement (Ps. 119:1-7).
I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word.
1. The word “quicken” means “to bring to life, to make alive.”
2. The spiritually discouraged are down, dragging, and ready to perish.
3. A dose of the Word of God can bring them to live again.
IV. KEEP SERVING GOD FAITHFULLY
A. Spiritual discouragement makes us want to give up. In our minds we wonder: “What’s the use?”
B. It is such times, that we must put our heads down and press forward.
1. I Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
2. Galatians 6:9
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
3. Hebrews 3:14
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.
4. Hebrews 10:35-36
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.
C. NOTE: Just refusing to attend the worship services can be debilitating.
1. We miss the Lord’s Supper that reminds us of the love of God (II Cor. 5:14).
2. We miss the proclamation of the Word of God which is food for our mal-nourished soul (I Pet. 2:2).
3. We miss the fellowship of the saints that is designed to provoke us unto love and good works (Heb. 10:24-25).
4. We miss the song service that can fill our hearts with cheer (Eph. 5:19; Ps. 147:1).
5. We miss the hour of prayer wherein we can give our burdens to God (I Pet. 5:7).
V. SPEND TIME WITH THOSE WHO ARE NOT DISCOURAGED
A. Two passages;
1. Proverbs 27:17
Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
2. Hebrews 10:24
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works.
B. David was a man who suffered much at the hands of King Saul. For years, he fled for his life in the wilderness. David had a good friend named Jonathan. In this friend, David often found strength (I Sam. 23:16).
And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.
VI. FIND WAYS TO GIVE TO OTHERS
A. One of the best ways to overcome our difficulties is to focus our efforts upon others who are in need.
B. The Macedonian brethren had every reason to be discouraged.
1. This was a group of Christians that were being persecuted. Their persecu-tion led to their deep poverty. They could have blamed God. They could have become discouraged and quit.
2. Instead, they gave bountifully unto others (II Cor. 8:1-5).
Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed upon the churches of Macedonia; how that in great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
VII. REMEMBER YOUR ETERNAL REWARD
A. When your eyes are fixed upon the darkness and lack of spiritual concern here upon the earth, we grow discouraged.
B. When we begin to think that our lives as experienced here is all there is, we grow discouraged.
C. When our gaze turns heavenward and we peer into eternity, our afflictions here become light. We can press on with joy knowing that something better awaits us in the hereafter (II Cor. 4:17-:51).
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if, our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
A. I sincerely believe that God knew His children would grow discouraged.
B. Thus, He gave us things that will help us to overcome discouragement: prayer, Jesus Christ, the Word of God, His grace, a ministry, the family of God, and a reward that awaits us in the hereafter.
C. Psalm 145:9
The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.