Summary: The right kind of courage is an indispensable part of the Christian life.
Griffith Baptist Church – 5/18/08
Text: Psalm 31
Main Verse: Psalms 31:24 - Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear—not absence of fear.” - Mark Twain
Woody Allen said, “It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens."
Woody Allen, Courage - You Can Stand Strong in the Face of Fear, Jon Johnston, 1990, SP Publications, p. 34.
The right kind of courage is an indispensable part of the Christian life.
Most Christians are so anemic about their faith
This faith is the greatest in the world yet we bottle much up inside for lack of courage.
“Be of good courage.” Christian courage may thus be described. It is the undaunted audacity of a sanctified heart in adventuring upon difficulties and undergoing hardships for a good cause upon the call of God. Simeon Ash’s “Sermon preached before the Commanders of the Military Forces of the renowned Citie of London, 1642.”
Why do we need to be living courageously? (31:9-13)
1. Because that is the spirit God has given us – 2 Timothy 1:7 - For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2. Because Satan gains power with the grip of fear
3. Because fear is a sign of incomplete love – 1 John 4:18 - There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
4. Because this life is a journey fraught with fearful things (31:9-13)
A. There is emotional stress –distress, grief (9), sorrow, sighing (10), and grief (12)
B. There are spiritual struggles –failing strength because of sin (10)
C. There are unstable relationships –the reproach of enemies and fickle friendships (11)
D. There is the feeling of loneliness – forgotten (12)
E. There is unfair accusations that damage a reputation – slander of man (13)
F. There is physical difficulties – terror on every side (13)
G. There are confrontations with threats took counsel together against me, schemed to take away my life (13)
H. Not to mention the other unstable areas of life (finances, health, etc.)
Transition Statement: Let’s look at the five provisions that we can rely on as we hope in the Lord to give us courage to face any of life’s issues. First we can see that God provides strength.
1. God Provides Strength (31:1-5)
A. Psalms 31:4 - Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.
B. A Churchgoer wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I’ve gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all." This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher: I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"
C. There is a connection with our submission to God - Psalms 19:14 – Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
D. We must become weak to obtain His strength - 2 Corinthians 12:9 - 9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Transition Statement: Second, He provides security for us.
2. God Provides Security (31:6-8)
A. Psalms 31:8 - And hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: thou hast set my feet in a large room.
B. The Camden, Maine, Herald ran 2 photos on the same page: one was a picture of Camden’s town board and town manager; the other was of a flock of sheep. Enter Murphy’s Law. As fate and humor would have it, the captions were accidentally reversed. So, under the picture of the sheep, the caption identified them left to right, as all the town officials; under the photo of the town fathers sitting around a table the caption said, “The Sheep Fold - naive and vulnerable, they huddle for security against the uncertainties of the outside world.” from Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations