Taking Courage

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Acts 28:1-16


I.         Suppose your boss never gave you any feedback concerning your job. You come in, do your job and leave, but you never hear a word of criticism or praise.

            A.        It almost sounds like the ideal job. But I think most people would soon find it to be a nightmare.

                        1.         Did he like that presentation? Is he happy with the results?

                        2.         Am I going to get fired because sales went down last month?

            B.        Not just at work, but in all aspects of our lives we thrive in getting information about were we stand.

                        1.         An experiment where a young man was placed in isolation chamber to see how his natural sleep cycles would be affected, ended after three weeks as he experienced panic disorder. [“A case of panic disorder induced by complete isolation experiment”, European Psychiatry, 11(5), p. 268-269, 1996].

                        2.         Humans are adversely affected by social isolation

II.        Taking courage after no contact - Acts 28:15

            A.        Paul longed to see the Roman brethren - Romans 1:11-12

            B.        But the trip took far longer than Paul planned.

                        1.         He was jailed for two years in Palestine

                        2.         On the trip to Rome he was shipwrecked for three months.

            C.        Now he finally met the brethren and what he found gave him courage.

                        1.         The presence of brethren of like faith, willing to travel a long ways just to meet him, raised Paul’s confidence.

                        2.         What he longed for, a sharing of faith, came about, though perhaps not as he expected

III.       Courage from hearing of other’s strength - Romans 1:8-10

            A.        It is good to know that you aren’t traveling alone, that there are others going the same way, that others are doing well - Romans 16:19

            B.        When a person is struggling in a difficult area, even if the work doesn’t go well in his immediate place, it is heartening to know that progress is being made elsewhere.

                        1.         Paul’s praise of the Colossians - Colossians 1:3-4

                        2.         Paul’s praise of the Thessalonians - I Thessalonians 1:8

IV.      Courage from other’s support - II Timothy 1:15-18

            A.        When others turned away, Paul was encouraged because Onesiphorus came frequently and didn’t let Paul’s imprisonment interfere.

            B.        Others came to see Paul and that encouraged him - I Corinthians 16:17-18

                        1.         It is good to know that other people haven’t forgotten you

                        2.         It is good to know that other people consider you important enough to search you out

            C.        The Philippians sent Paul aid - Philippians 4:15-18

            D.        We demonstrate the love of God when we help other Christians in their needs - I John 3:17-19

V.        Courage from memories - Philemon 1:3-7

            A.        Paul had good memories of the brethren he had known

            B.        Knowing that others were doing the work of the Lord even while he was in chains gave Paul courage in his own difficulties.

VI.      Courage from the unexpected - II Corinthians 8:1-5

            A.        When you teach someone, there is the nagging thought – did I get the message across? Did he understand? Did I make a difference?

            B.        Then with no warning you find that person no only doing what you taught, but excelling at it – going beyond your expectations. Well, that is encouraging!

            C.        The Macedonians excelled beyond what Paul had expected. They not only gave aid, they also gave of themselves to God.

VII.     Our gatherings are for the purpose of worshiping God, but they are also a time for brethren to encourage each other - Hebrews 10:23-25

            A.        Have you encourage a brother today?

            B.        Are you leaving memories to encourage him in the future?

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