Sermons

Summary: God will give you the encouragement your faith needs to grow

I. SCRIPTURE READING

A. Acts 1:3-11

II. FORTY DAYS

A. Jesus spent 40 days with the disciples

B. Why 40 days?

C. 40 days was a common period of preparation in the Scripture

D. God often used that time period to instruct people for their future work

E. Moses was on Mt. Sinai for 40 days and nights as God prepared him to lead His people. (Ex. 24:18; 34:28)

F. Nineveh was given 40 days to prepare for God’s wrath (Jonah 3:4)

G. Jesus was tempted for 40 days by the devil before he began his ministry (Lk 4:1-2)

H. Jesus was with the apostles for 40 days

I. In those 40 days Jesus spoke about the kingdom of heaven to his disciples

III. ENCOURAGEMENT

A. Jesus had already spent three years with the disciples

B. Why would they need another 40 days?

C. Well, it seems they needed a little encouraging

D. Their faith was challenged when Jesus was arrested, persecuted and crucified

E. They thought he was going to be their new king and restore the kingdom

F. When he was killed, they didn’t know what to think

G. Luke symbolically demonstrate their damaged faith when he describes where they are when Jesus hangs on the cross

But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. Luke 23:49

H. These were those who knew Jesus

1. The disciples aren’t even directly mentioned

I. Even after Jesus showed himself to the disciples following his resurrection they struggled to believe

J. The disciples needed encouragement!

K. That’s why he was with them 40 days

L. They needed to be reassured of Jesus

M. They needed to be reminded of Jesus’ goals and purpose

N. They needed his presence and encouragement

IV. OUR ENCOURAGEMENT

A. Sometimes we need God’s encouragement don’t we?

B. When our faith is young God gives it to us almost daily

C. I still remember an adult leader from a youth ministry share her faith

1. She said, “God kept giving me green lights”

2. Her faith needed the encouragement that young faith requires

D. When we are young in our faith, we need God’s encouragement for a young faith

E. Just the way when we were kids and we were learning something new

1. Swimming, riding a bike

F. When we learned how to swim our parents were with us, encouraging us

1. Saying, “I know you can do it,” “I’m here,” and “good job!”

G. After we learn how to swim we don’t get that kind of encouragement anymore

H. Example using Michael Phelps

1. When he gets in the water nobody says, “I know you can make it to the other side Michael. Remember to hold your breath when you put your head under the water. It’s ok, I won’t let go of you.”

a. Those things would almost be demeaning

2. When Michael Phelps gets in the water he still needs encouragement.

3. But not the encouragement he got when he was learning how to swim

4. Now he’s encouraged to blow the competition out of the water

5. To break world records

6. To do what no one else had done before

7. Michael Phelps doesn’t need that first, simplistic encouragement he had before

8. Encouragement like that would simply keep him where he is

9. It would not help him improve

I. When our faith begins God gives us the encouragement that we need for it to grow

J. As our faith grows, God’s encouragement changes so we can continue to develop our faith

God’s encouragement changes so our faith can develop.

K. We must encourage our faith to develop and grow

L. So we don’t stay where we are… we grow to better things

V. DISCIPLES DEVELOPING FAITH

A. The disciples faith was still developing

B. Jesus had spent three years with them

1. Teaching, leading, witnessing, doing miracles

2. Even they had done miracles

C. But they had never met a man who was raised from the dead so they could have salvation

D. This was a totally new faith for them

E. They needed time to process what was going on

F. So Jesus encouraged them

G. For forty days he encouraged them and taught them about the kingdom of heaven

1. He walked with them

2. Talked with them

3. Ate with them

4. He gave proof of his life

H. So at the right time, as their faith developed, Jesus could help their faith grow even more

I. At the right time, Jesus left the disciples

1. He let go

2. Like a parent letting go of the bicycle seat

3. Like a swim instructor letting go of her student

a. You can do it.

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