A SERMON I BROUGHT AT THER FEAST OF TABERNACLES 2018, COLLINGWOOD, ONTARIO, WITH THE CANADIAN CHURCH OF GOD.
HAVING COURAGE !
TURN TO 1 CORINTHIANS 16: 13
“WATCH YOU, STAND FAST IN THE FAITH, QUIT YOU LIKE MEN, BE STRONG!” [1 CORINTHIANS 16:13].
THIS IS SAYING BE COURAGEOUS!
“ONLY LET YOUR CONDUCT BE AS IT BECOMES THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: THAT WHETHER I COME AND SEE YOU, OR ELSE BE ABSENT, I MAY HEAR OF YOUR AFFAIRS, THAT YOU STAND FAST IN ONE SPIRIT, WITH ONE MIND STRIVING TOGETHER FOR THE FAITH OF THE GOSPEL” [PHILIPPIANS 1: 27].
THIS IS SAYING BE COURAGEOUS!
“FOR GOD HAS NOT GIVEN US THE SPIRIT OF FEAR, BUT OF POWER, AND OF LOVE, AND OF A SOUND MIND” [2 TIMOTHY 1”7].
WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS TO BE COURAGEOUS!
THE BIBLE IS LOADED WITH EXAMPLES OF COURAGE!
WE HAVE NOAH WHO WAS COURAGEOUS TO BUILD A WOODEN SHIP OVER A PERIOD OF 120 YEARS, WHILE HIS SOCIETY PROBABLY LAUGHED AND RIDICULED AND MADE JOKES ABOUT HIM.
WE HAVE MOSES WHO BELIEVED GOD SPEAKING TO HIM OUT OF THE BURNING BUSH; WHO HAD COURAGE TO GO TO PHARAOH IN THE NAME OF THE GOD CALLED “I AM” AND DEMAND HE LET GOD’S PEOPLE GO.
THERE IS JOSHUA WHO LED THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL INTO THE PROMISED LAND TO POSSESS IT. THAT TOOK COURAGE.
THERE IS RAHAB WHO HELP THE ISRAELITE SPIES TO SAFETY, WHICH COULD HAVE COST HER LIFE IF DISCOVERED WHAT SHE HAD DONE. THAT TOOK COURAGE.
THERE IS GIDEON AND HIS 300 MEN WHO ROUTED THE MIDIANITES; THAT TOOK COURAGE.
SAMSON WITH COURAGE AND STRENGTH BROUGHT DOWN THE COLISEUM OF THE PHILISTINES, AND KILLED MORE IN HIS DEATH THAN IN HIS LIFE.
THERE IS THE LAD DAVID WHO WITH COURAGE WAS WILLING TO FIGHT THE MONSTER MAN GOLIATH. IN HIS COURAGE MANY MISS THAT DAVID WAS NOT PRESUMPTUOUS AND BIG-HEADEDNESS WAS NOT PART OF HIS COURAGE. HE TOOK 5 STONES FROM THE STREAM—— IN CASE HE MISSED THE MARK A FEW TIMES. COURAGE IS NOT EQUAL TO STUPIDITY; COURAGE HAS WISDOM. 1 SAMUEL 17.
MOST OF US KNOW ABOUT THE COURAGE OF DANIEL IN THE LION’S DEN. YOU CAN READ ABOUT IT ALL IN DANIEL 6. A PLAN TO CATCH DANIEL DISOBEYING A COMMAND AND LAW OF THE MEDES AND PERSIANS. AND PUNISHMENT WAS TO BE THROWN TO THE LIONS. DANIEL WENT INTO THE DEN OF LIONS WITH COURAGE. GOD CLOSED THE MOUTHS OF THE LIONS AND DANIEL LIVED..
THERE IS DANIEL’S THREE FRIENDS: SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO. THEY WERE TO BOW DOWN TO THE GEART IMAGE OF GOLD; THEY WOULD NOT SO THE FIREY FURNACE WAS HEATED UP 7 TIMES HOTTER. MANY ALSO MISS WHAT THESEE THREE SAID. IT WAS “IF IT BE SO, OUR GOD WHOM WE SERVE IS ABLE TO DELIVER US FROM THE BURNING FIERY FURNACE, AND HE WILL DELIVER US OUT OF YOUR HAND, O KING, BUT IF NOT, BE IT KNOWN UNTO YOU, O KING, THAT WE WILL NOT SERVE YOUR GOD, NOR WORSHIP THE GOLDEN IMAGE, WHICH YOU HAVE SET UP” [DANIEL 3: 17, 18].
THAT TOOK GREAT COURAGE!
Someone Once Said...
Courage is that quality of mind which enables men to encounter danger or difficulty with firmness, or without fear or depression of spirits.... The highest degree of courage is seen in the person who is most fearful but refuses to capitulate to it.— Oswald Sanders
When you're accustomed to standing before God, kings don't matter much. Big potentates are just small potatoes when you have been standing in the presence of the Most High.— Vance Havner
Courage is being the only one who knows you're afraid.— Anonymous
SOMETIMES IT TAKES COURAGE WHEN ANOTHER WAY WOULD SEEM EASIER AND MORE DIRECT
NAAMAN CAPTAIN OF THE HOST OF SYRIA; HE GREAT FOR HIS MASTER, HE WAS HONORABLE, HE WAS A MIGHTY MAN OF VALOR; BUT HE WAS A LEPER [2 KINGS 5:1].
WELL THERE WAS AN INTIAL CONFLICT AS TO HOW THE MAN OF GOD CALLED ELISHA, SHOULD HEAL NAAMAN OF HIS AFFLICTION. ELISHA FINALLY SEND A MESSAGE TO NAAMAN: “GO AND WASH YOURSELF SEVEN TIMES, AND YOUR FLESH SHALL COME AGAIN TO YOU AND YOU SHALL BE CLEAN [VERSE 10].
NAAMAN WAS EVEN MORE FURIOUS, IT JUST SEEMED A SILLY WAY TO BE HEALED. HE THOUGHT ELISHA SHOULD COME TO HIM, WAY HIS HANDS, CALL ON TH NAME OF HIS GOD, AND “BINGO” BE HEALED! NAAMAN WAS ALSO UPSET THAT HE WAS TOLD TO WASH IN THE WATERS OF ISRAEL; HE THOUGH THE RIVERS OF DAMASCUS WERE BETTER WATERS [VERSES 11-12].
NAAMAN’S SERVANT WAS A WISE MAN, HE SAID TO HIS MASTER, “MY FATHER [RESPECT TITLE] IF THE PROPHET HAD BID YOU DO SOME GREAT WORK, YOU PROBABLY WOULD HAVE DONE IT. SO THIS LITTLE THING, SURELY IT’S NOTHING FOR YOU TO DO, TO WASH IN THE WATERS” [PARAPHRASED - VERSE 13].
NAAMAN DID AS HIS SERVANT SAID; HE WENT DOWN AND DIPPED HIMSELF 7 TIMES IN THE JORDON, ACCORDING TO WHAT THE MAN OF GOD HAD INSTRUCTED—— AND HIS FLESH CAME AGAIN UNTO HIM AS LIKE A LITTLE CHILKD, AND HE WAS CLEAN FROM LEPROSY! [VERSE 114].
SOMETIMES IS TAKES COURAGE TO DO WHAT MIGHT SEEM STRANGE, MAYBE SEEMS EVEN SILLY, MAYBE WELL BENEATH YOUR MENTAL COMFORT ZONE. NOT ALL THINGS IN LIFE ARE CLEAR-CUT WHEN IT COMES TO COURAGE.
THERE IS THE EXAMPLE GIVEN IN 2 KINGS 6.
THE SYRIAN KING WARS AGAINST ISRAEL. THE MAN OF GOD WARNS THE KING OF ISRAEL ABOUT A CERTAIN PLACE; THE KING LISTENED AND SAVED HIMSELF AND HIS MEN. BUT THE KING OF SYRIA FIGURED SOMEONE WAS A TRATOR AMONG HIS MEN TO WARN THE KING OF ISRAEL. ONE OF HIS SERVANTS SAID, “NO MY KING, IT IS THE ISRAEL PROPHET THEY HAVE, HE IS THE ONE INFORMING THE KING OF ISRAEL” [VERSES 8- 12].
THE SYRIAN KING TOLD THEM TO GO AND SPY OUT WHERE THIS PROPHET WAS— HE WAS IN DOTHAN. THE SYRIAN KING GATHERS A GREAT ARMY AND BY NIGHT CAME AND SURROUNDED DOTHAN [VERSE 13-14].
GOD’S PROPHET AWOKE, FOUND A GREAT ARMY ALL AROUND HIM. HIS SERVANT SAID, “O MY MASTER, WHAT ON EARTH ARE WE GOING TO DO?” [VERSE 15].
ELISHA THE PROPHET REPLIED, “FEAR NOT, FOR THEY THAT ARE WITH US ARE MORE THAN THEY THAT BE WITH THEM” [VERSE 16].
ELISHA PRAYED TO THE LORD TO OPEN THE EYES OF HIS SERVANT, SO HE COULD PLAINLY SEE WHY ELISHA HAD SPOKEN THIS WAY.
THE YOUNG MAN’S EYES, IN THE VISIONARY EYE, COULD SEE—— AND BEHOLD THE MOUNTAIN WAS FULL OF HORSES AND CHARIOTS OF FIRE ROUND ABOUT ELISHA” [VERSE 17].
MY O MY, WHAT A SIGHT! AND IN PASSING YOU’LL NOTE IN GOD’S SPIRIT WORLD THERE ARE HORSES AND CHARIOTS AS NEEDED. MANY MANY THINGS IN OUR WORLD ARE JUST A COPY OF THE HEAVENLY WORLD!
ELISHA PRAYS AGAIN “LORD, SMITE THE PEOPLE WITH BLINDNESS; AND HE, GOD, SMOTE THEM WITH BLINDNESS ACCORDING TO THE REQUEST OF ELISHA [VERSE 18].
THAT TOOK COURAGE FOR ELISHA; HE KNEW GOD WAS WITH HIM, BUT COURAGE IS STILL NEEDED AT TIMES TO STAND AGAINST THE ENEMY.
THEN….ELISHA GOES ON TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM OF SYRIAN ARMIES COMING AGAINST ISRAEL, BY SHOWING MERCY AND KINDNESS—— SEE VERSES 18-23.
Of Course You Can
Author Muriel Anderson says that four of the most important words in her life are "Of course you can." "I was fortunate," she wrote, "to have had a father who was good at shouting of course you can at just the right moments."
Once when she was in high school her family had moved to a city from a small town. She loved the place and wrote an article about it, wanting more than anything to have the article published in the smalltown, weekly paper. She didn't expect to be successful, though, because the paper was a weekly with a tight budget who bought practically no freelance material.
"I don't think I can get it published," I said. "Of course you can," said my dad. And she did— launching her career as a writer.
By and By
Joseph Webster walked wearily into the little drugstore in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. It was a lovely day in the late fall of 1867, but Webster looked as though he had lost his best friend. His problems had gotten the best of him, and his mood was heavy. The proprietor of the little shop was Samuel Bennett, thirty-one, who not only filled prescriptions—he sometimes wrote them. On this day, he had just the prescription for his discouraged friend. After listening carefully to Webster's accumulated burdens, he picked up his pen and began writing on a 5x7 piece of paper. In a few minutes he handed his friend a poem, one he had composed on the spot. Webster read the poem, picked up his fiddle, and began improvising a simple melody. "Hand me some paper," he said, "so I can jot down the notes before I forget them."
He played the tune two or three times, then, recruiting a couple of customers who had walked into the store, they formed a makeshift quartet and sang it. Thus the world was given the popular gospel tune:
There's a land that is fairer than day, And by faith we can see it afar
For the Father waits over the way, To prepare us a dwelling place there.
In the sweet by and by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore.
In the sweet by and by, We shall meet on that beautiful shore.
Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.
John Wayne (Conviction, Sacrifice)
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.
G. K. Chesterton (Life, Death)
In A Pretty Good Person, Lewis Smedes writes: federal judge had ordered New Orleans to open its public schools to African-American children, and the white parents decided that if they had to let black children in, they would keep their children out. They let it be known that any black children who came to school would be in for trouble. So the black children stayed home too.
Except Ruby Bridges. Her parents sent her to school all by herself, six years old.
Every morning she walked alone through a heckling crowd to an empty school. White people lined up on both sides of the way and shook their fists at her. They threatened to do terrible things to her if she kept coming to their school. But every morning at ten minutes to eight Ruby walked, head up, eyes ahead, straight through the mob; two U.S. marshals walked ahead of her and two walked behind her. Then she spent the day alone with her teachers inside that big silent school building.
Harvard professor Robert Coles was curious about what went into the making of courageous children like Ruby Bridges. He talked to Ruby's mother and, in his book The Moral Life of Children, tells what she said: "There's a lot of people who talk about doing good, and a lot of people who argue about what's good and what's not good," but there are other folks who "just put their lives on the line for what's right."
Bob Campbell (Action, Racial Reconciliation)
SOME PUT THEIR LIFE ON THE LINE FOR WHAT IS RIGHT!
YES THAT IS COURAGE!
YES ONE COURAGEOUS LADY DID JUST THAT—— HER NAME—— ESTHER!
QUEEN VASHTI IS DEPOSED—— ESTHER TAKES HER PLACE; A JEWISH GAL. BUT KEPT SECRET FOR THE KING, WHO HAD COME TO LOVE HER.
A GUY CALLED HAMAN WAS PROMOTED BY THE KING. HE FINDS OUT MODECIA WHO HAD HELPED ETHER TO BECOME QUEEN, WERE JEWS. HE DEVISES A PLOT TO DESTROY ALL JEWS. IT LOOKS LIKE IT WILL ALL HAPPEN, AND THE JEWS WILL BE DESTROYED.
BUT ETHER SAYS SHE WILL GO TO THE KING, WHICH WAS NOT TO BE DONE ON PAIN OF DEATH, IF NOT INVITED BEFORE THE KING. SHE ASKS HER PEOPLE TO FAST AND PRAY [CHAP. 4:16].
NOTE WHAT SHE SAID, “…AND I WILL GO UNTO THE KING, WHICH IS NOT ACCORDING TO THE LAW; AND I I PERISH, I PERISH”
NOW THAT TOOK SOME MIGHTY BIG COURAGE!
SHE WAS ACCEPTED BY THE KING; ORDERS WERE GIVEN THAT THE JEWS COULD DEFEND THEMSELVES—— THE JEWS SURVIVED—— NAMAN AND HIS SONS WERE HANGED.
THE JEWS STILL CELEBRATE THIS HISTORY IN THEIR FEAST OF PURIM, AROUND THE END OF THE ROMAN YEAR ON OUR CALENDARS.
THE BIBLE IS FULL OF PEOPLE WHO WERE COURAGEOUS!
HEBREWS 11: 32— TO THE END.
WE ARE SURROUNDED IN HISTORY BY COURAGE; PEOPLE OF COURAGE!
“WHEREFORE SEEING WE ALSO ARE COMPASSED ABOUT WITH SO GREAT A CLOUD OF WITNESS, LET US LAY ASIDE EVERY WEIGHT, AND THE SIN WHICH DOES SO EASY BESET US, AND LET US RUN WITH PATIENCE [ENDURANCE] THE RACE THAT IS SET BEFORE US—— LOOKING UNTO JEUS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH; WHO FOR THE JOY THAT WAS SET BEFORE HIM, ENDURED THE CROSS, DESPISING THE SHAME, AND IS SET DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE THRONE OF GOD” [HEBREWS 12: 1-2].
Keith Hunt - November 2018