Summary: Message focus is on Christian optimism. It is taken from the 4 times Christ states "Be of good cheer.’
“Be of Good Cheer!”
It’s during this time of the year that a flu epidemic quite often begins. As a matter of fact I believe it hit me last night. Many people, myself excluded, to avoid the flu visit their doctor for a flu shot. At the end of 1999 in our country and around the world there was another epidemic raging. However, it’s from an all-together different kind of bug. This epidemic’s bug was called the Y2K bug. The Y2K bug had people running around thinking that it was going to be a catastrophic event. We were going to lose electric power, the banks wouldn’t work we’d lose our money, all the computers were going to go bonkers, you name it was said.
The truth is people didn’t know what was going to happen. Many were fearfully of losing everything they had worked so hard to attain. The big question in the minds of millions was, “What would take place at the stroke of midnight come the year 2000?”
To answer this question I could give you a thirty-second sermon. I could honestly say that our God is sovereign, He’s in charge and no matter what would’ve crashed or cratered because of Y2K it wouldn’t affect His perfect plan. But I realize many would think this answer is way to simple and I know all the kids would complain if there was only a 30 second sermon this morning.
This morning I want focus on a phrase that was spoken from the lips of Jesus Christ. It’s a phrase that all believers could’ve put their concerns about in Y2K. It’s also a phrase for you to rest on when you feel down hearted or dejected.
The phrase as read from the NKJV is “Be of good cheer,” in the NIV it reads, “take courage” or “take heart.” These are words from our Savior that encourage optimism. Now I realize that there are some Christians who may blindly say these words and as they do they close their eyes to the facts of life. It’s when they do this that it leads to an empty and swallow philosophy; it’s like saying “You can smile anytime, anywhere, all the time.”
But this type of philosophy gives no real consideration to the realities of life, does it. The reality of life is that we encounter heartaches, sorrows and grief. Who wants to smile at the funeral of a loved one? Yes, it is a home going for the believer, but for us who remain it is the lose of a dear one. As we begin to look into the occasions when Jesus spoke the words “be of good cheer,” I want us to discover the ground upon which our Christian optimism securely rests. I would like you to realize this is the very ground you are on if you are in Christ Jesus. One of my goals today is to help each person in this sanctuary to leave this morning full of encouragement and optimism.
“Be of good cheer” is spoken by Christ on four different occasions. Three of these are on this earth and one is from heaven. As we hear these words and understand the reason for Christ uttering them I believe if you let the Holy Spirit work on your hearts and minds your will come to a more intimate realization of the Lord’s presence in your lives and in life of our church.
Today we’ll learn four facts from this simple, yet wonderful phrase “be of good cheer”:
First we’ll learn in Christ Jesus the sin question is forever settled (Matt. 9:2). Second in Christ Jesus the course for the believer’s life has been charted and planned (Matt 14:27). Third in Christ Jesus there is the assurance of peace (John 16:33). And fourth in Christ Jesus our lives of service are fully known (Acts 23:11).
Let’s turn to the Word of God. Matthew 9:2 reads “Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.’” I call this the blessedness of forgiveness. In this passage a paralyzed man is brought before Christ. Christ full of grace and mercy physically heals the man, but the greater miracle is seen because of their faith in Christ. It is because of their faith that the man is healed spiritually as his sins are eternally forgiven. In this instance Christ speaks the encouraging words “be of good cheer” to let those who are in Christ Jesus know that their sins are forever forgiven. What a wonderful truth for those who believe. I truly believe that nothing in this world can cheer a person as much as knowing experientially that their sins are forgiven.