Summary: 2 Sermon series on the need to be a better "taker". Take the Yoke of Christ, Take Up Your Cross Daily, Take the Whole Armor of God, Take Courage, Take Heed To the Condition of Your Heart, Take and Eat.
As we have just come through the season in which we are constantly sharing with our children, as well as reminding ourselves about the fact it is better to give than receive, I want to continue with the second message on being a “better taker”.
Seems a bit odd you might think, and comparable to a certain degree of hearing all your life that Chocolate is bad for you, and finding out all of a sudden that it’s actually good for you! Or, hearing all your life that coffee is bad for you, and then finding out if you have a certain kind, and in a certain way, it’s actually good for you!
So, in this season of giving, I’m sharing with you a couple messages on TAKING!
Last week, we shared on the first three of our “TAKE” messages:
I. TAKE THE YOKE OF CHRIST AND LEARN OF HIM - SERVICE
II. TAKE UP YOUR CROSS DAILY – FELLOWSHIP
III. TAKE THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD – AS SOLDIERS
Today, we are going to continue with this thought as we look at some more of what we need to “take”, and will be sharing 3 more for a total of 6 between the 2 messages.
Our first point today, and 4th overall is:
IV. TAKE COURAGE
Now, before we get into this point too deeply, I think it’s good to be reminded of the fact that when we are told to “take” something, it implies an act of the will on our part.
I was thinking for awhile on what the difference might be between “courage” and “faith”. While I believe they go hand in hand, it seems there is a difference between courage and faith. You may see it differently, but that’s ok with me.
When I looked up the meaning of the word “courage” at dictionary.com, here is what came up:
“the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”
It seems to me that in scripture “courage” often comes following a realization of the strength available to you in addition to your own gifts or abilities that helps you face times of danger or hardship. As we assess our resources, whether they are spiritual, financial, or emotional we take courage as a result of knowing those resources are at our disposal if we should need them.
To explain this a little further, let’s look at the main scripture for this point:
Acts 28:11-15 (NKJV) 11 After three months we sailed in an Alexandrian ship whose figurehead was the Twin Brothers, which had wintered at the island. 12 And landing at Syracuse, we stayed three days. 13 From there we circled round and reached Rhegium. And after one day the south wind blew; and the next day we came to Puteoli, 14 where we found brethren, and were invited to stay with them seven days. And so we went toward Rome. 15 And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
This portion of scripture shares of the time that Paul had been arrested and was being transported to Rome where he would appear before Caesar. (SEE MAP) This was a long journey by ship, and we read in the previous chapter of the shipwreck that took place, and those that were on the ship were washed up on the Island of Malta where the miracle took place of Paul being bitten by a viper, then he shook it off in the fire instead of being overcome by it’s poison. Also, a well known and influential citizen of the island was healed, and we then see many others coming to be prayed for as well, and were healed.
No doubt, each time Paul prayed he prayed in faith and assurance that God was going to heal those he prayed for. The Bible defines Faith perfectly when it says this:
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
I believe today that Courage comes from what we DO SEE, and Faith has more with what we believe and hope for in SPITE of what we see!
Listen to Acts 28:15 again: Acts 28:15 And from there, when the brethren heard about us, they came to meet us as far as Appii Forum and Three Inns. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
Paul knew what was ahead to a certain degree, and he knew that he was going to stand in front of the ruler of the known world at that time in Caesar. I’m sure there were times that Paul had to wonder a bit what was going to happen, yet as he gathered with people of faith who no doubt said they would be praying for him as he stood before Caesar, there was something powerfully encouraging about it.