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January is the time of year when many make New Year's resolutions. Why do people set New Year's resolutions? Because they are not pleased with some characteristics of their life. What might be examples of unacceptable personal characteristics of a person's life? Inability to lose weight or inability to quit smoking or inability to get a better job or inability to get along with people or displeasure with the workings of an organization one is associated with. There's an unlimited list of such problems. Unacceptable personal characteristics have led many to be discouraged with the way their life has led them. How many of us have been discouraged sometime in our life? Probably all of us.

I guess we should begin by asking, "What is discouragement?" Webster says of discouragement: To deprive of courage, make less confident or hopeful; dishearten.

How discouraged can one become? Discouragement's extreme is the self-destruction of the mind. When the mind destructs, it destroys you. The final result of extreme discouragement can even be suicide.

Today I want to give you 10 common causes of discouragement; then give you some pointers on how to avoid ever being discouraged:

1. Self-pity

Self pity is developed to gain attention. Many walk the streets every day feeling sorry for themselves because they think no one likes them. If you want love, affection, admiration, attention - you must earn it. Feeling sorry for yourself will gain you nothing.

2. Some people set a time limit on God. When the time runs out, they become discouraged.

Rev 2:1-5 "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: {2} I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. {3} You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. {4} Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. {5} Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

This message was written to describe the church of Ephesus. Now I happen to believe that Rev 2 and 3 are describing church eras, so to me, this message is describing how the people in the times of the apostles clambered to be a part of the church and then, even before Paul's death, they began to fall away with former church leaders. Like Paul, they expected Christ to return soon, to evict the Romans, and set up his Kingdom on earth. When He did not return, they became discouraged and went with other charismatic leaders, or returned to what seemed like the easy way of the world. Whole church areas fell away during this era or period of time.

2 Th 2:1-12 [NIV] Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, {2} not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. {3} Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. {4} He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. {5} Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? {6} And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. {7} For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. {8} And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. {9} The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, {10} and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. {11} For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie {12} and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

Yes, Paul knew what was holding up Christ's return. In verse 7 he says that the secret power of a law breaking religion and church leaders (the Wicked one or mystery of iniquity in the KJV and NAS) was already at work. The Wicked one must still be around doing it, because Christ hasn't returned yet. What Wicked one was around during Paul's day and is still around? Satan? The Catholic church, orthodox churches, main stream Protestant churches who are daughters of older churches?

In verse 3 Paul points out that there will be a falling away first... before Christ returns. We saw this in the WCG's demise and can probably apply this event as a fulfillment of this prophesy. At least as a rebellion of the many who have left religion all together. Others saw the whole WCG as falling away and were glad to be able to then follow God's instructions rather than leaders they questioned. My point is that some people are prophesied to give up waiting on God and for Christ's return. After they give up waiting, some just plain give up. Are any of us in this group or lean in that direction?

(Mat 24:13 NKJV) "But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

We must stick it out in spite of the wait and any adversity.

3. Some people seek self importance in this life. Some raise their expectations too high in this world. Both attitudes make distresses harder to bear.

(Jer 45 NKJV) The word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he had written these words in a book at the instruction of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, saying, {2} "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch: {3} 'You said, "Woe is me now! For the LORD has added grief to my sorrow. I fainted in my sighing, and I find no rest."' {4} "Thus you shall say to him, 'Thus says the LORD: "Behold, what I have built I will break down, and what I have planted I will pluck up, that is, this whole land. {5} "And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I will bring adversity on all flesh," says the LORD. "But I will give your life to you as a prize in all places, wherever you go."' "

The frowns of the world would not disquiet us if we did not so eagerly covet its smiles. There are times when it can be folly to seek great things for ourselves, especially when everything is deteriorating and nothing is certain. We must look at ourselves in the light of God's end time plans and not expect too much for ourselves other than the hope for His mercy.

4. People become discouraged when they compare themselves with others. We should be thankful for other's blessings; not envy them.

(2 Cor 10:12 NKJV) For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
(1 Cor 4:3-5 NASB) But to me it is a very small thing that I should be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. {4} For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. {5} Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.

We should not even try to compare with others. Many use verse 5 to explain why they will not sit on a jury but let's look at what verse 5 really says: Paul is simply saying that we should not be concerned about the judgment of others on us. In fact verses 3 and 4 show that if we are forgiven of a sin by God, we do not even have to worry about the judgment of a court or our own conscience. We may not be innocent of the sin or crime or weakness but if God forgives us, the judgment of others on us, and the judgment of ourselves on us means nothing.

As a sidelight, since I mentioned jury duty, let's look at scriptures often used to condemn our participation in jury duty and other situations where we judge others:

(Mat 7:1 NKJV) "Judge not, that you be not judged.

The word "judge" here comes from the Greek word "krino" [kree'-no, G2919]and means to condemn or criticize. The central theme in Mat 7 verses 1-5 is about criticizing someone else's faults while ignoring your own. In other words, work on your own big problems before you worry about the problems of someone else. In today's world we might say, "don't criticize your neighbor's yard while you sleep with his wife."

(Luke 12:13-14 NKJV) Then one from the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." {14} But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?"

Notice here that Christ did not say that someone should not be an arbiter between the two inheritors. Christ knew well the situation in Exodus 2:14 when Moses was rejected as he tried to settle an argument between two Hebrews. The influence of religious teachers in the external relations of life has always been immense as long as it is only the indirect effect of their teaching. But whenever they inter-meddle directly with secular and political matters, the spell of their influence is broken.

(2 Cor 5:20 NKJV) Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.

The usual explanation of this scripture is that ambassadors do not judge. The point of the scripture, however, is that we are representing Christ wherever we go, as is indicated in the second sentence of verse 20.

(Rev 18:4 NASB) And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues;

This verse is used by some to indicate that God's people should not participate in the world's affairs, including jury duty. The chapter, of course, is talking about the fall of Babylon. I believe a Christian can associate with the government without being a part of the government. Christ associated with publicans to the dismay of the religious leaders of his day. Babylon seems to be the Roman church dominated political system of the end time and it is with this that we must have no part. The European Union will probably be the prime mover of this political system but there may be other very influential supporters who are equally deceived.

(Phil 3:20 NKJV) For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Some will say that if we are citizens of heaven, we should have nothing to do with earthly governments. But Christ said to give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. There are situations when we must fulfill our duty to both God and country.

(1 Cor 6:1-5 NASB) Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? {2} Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? {3} Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, matters of this life? {4} If then you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? {5} I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren,

Paul is instructing the Corinthians to set up their own jury to judge disputes in the church instead of taking the matter to an earthly jury or judge. Isn't he here encouraging the use of juries? He admits that judgments must be made by someone, but wants them made by believers instead of the ungodly. I would say that these verses encourage the use of juries instead of condemning them.

Back to the subject of discouragement.

5. Discouragement can come from wanting your own way and not getting it. Obedience precedes entrance to God's Kingdom.

(1 Sam 15:23 NKJV) For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
(Mat 26:39 NKJV) He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."

Christ did not want to die the death he knew was ahead of him. Yet he was willing to obey the wishes of our Father whatever they were. Neither he nor we can get into God's Kingdom without obedience.

6. Discouragement can come from negative viewpoints. If you can't change your facts, change your attitude. My mother frequently used a saying which fits this situation: "Whatever can not be cured must be endured."

7. Discouragement comes from too many burdens.

In Numbers 11, there is an example of how Moses felt extremely discouraged and wanted to give up:

(Num 11:10-15 NASB) Now Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, each man at the doorway of his tent; and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased. {11} So Moses said to the LORD, "Why hast Thou been so hard on Thy servant? And why have I not found favor in Thy sight, that Thou hast laid the burden of all this people on me? {12} "Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that Thou shouldest say to me, 'Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which Thou didst swear to their fathers'? {13} "Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, 'Give us meat that we may eat!' {14} "I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me. {15} "So if Thou art going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Thy sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness."

As you may remember, at this point, God told Moses to select leaders to help him lead the people. The point is that God helped Moses when he needed it.

In 1 Kings, Elijah was ready to give up from apparent failure:

(1 Ki 19:4-13 NASB) But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, "It is enough; now, O LORD, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers." {5} And he lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, "Arise, eat." {6} Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. {7} And the angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, "Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you." {8} So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.

Let's pause at verse 8 to read another reference to the Mountain of God. Please hold your place in 1 Kings and turn to the third chapter of Exodus.

(Exo 3:1 NKJV) Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

OK. Please return to 1 Kings; this time verse 9.

{9} Then he came there to a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

Recent explorers of Mount Horeb in Arabia state that the cave is still there.

{10} And he said, "I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant [like Israel today], torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." {11} So He said, "Go forth, and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. {12} And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. {13} And it came about when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

Elijah was discouraged and ready to give up life. Then God displayed His awesome power.

(1 Cor 10:13 NASB) No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.

Our temptations are no different than anyone else's. But God will provide us all a way of escape through the power of His Holy Spirit. The more of His Spirit you have, the greater the power of your resistance to temptations.

(Psa 30:5 NASB) For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

A lot of times in bad or difficult stages of our life we tend to despair but this is a mistake. God will help us especially if we do our best to help ourselves according
to our ability and the opportunities that come our way. By being good, praying, and
learning the Bible we often develop an inner instinct that tells us what right decisions to make.

8. Discouragement comes from defeat.

(Josh 7:7-9 NIV) And Joshua said, "Ah, Sovereign LORD, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan! {8} O Lord, what can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies? {9} The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?"

Joshua was discouraged. But Joshua did not know the cause of the defeat which resulted in his discouragement. When God told him in verse 10 to get up off the ground and correct the sins which caused the defeat, Joshua's discouragement was over and he went forward.

(Josh 7:10 NASB) So the LORD said to Joshua, "Rise up! Why is it that you have fallen on your face?

9. Discouragement can come from serious illnesses.

(Isa 38:9-20 NIV) A writing of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery: {10} I said, "In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death and be robbed of the rest of my years?" {11} I said, "I will not again see the LORD, the LORD, in the land of the living; no longer will I look on mankind, or be with those who now dwell in this world. {12} Like a shepherd's tent my house has been pulled down and taken from me. Like a weaver I have rolled up my life, and he has cut me off from the loom; day and night you made an end of me. {13} I waited patiently till dawn, but like a lion he broke all my bones; day and night you made an end of me. {14} I cried like a swift or thrush, I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens. I am troubled; O Lord, come to my aid!" {15} But what can I say? He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this. I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul. {16} Lord, by such things men live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live. {17} Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. {18} For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness. {19} The living, the living--they praise you, as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about your faithfulness. {20} The LORD will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the LORD.

Notice the change of attitude between verses 14 and 15. When you have a serious illness, most are pretty discouraged. But when God intervenes and you are healed, your spirits pick up in a hurry.

10. Discouragement comes when a person gets a good look at himself.

(Rom 7:21-25 NIV) So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. {22} For in my inner being I delight in God's law; {23} but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. {24} What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? {25} Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Paul was discouraged because he knew what was right, but he had to force himself to do right because he continually wanted to do what was wrong. He then asked how he could be delivered from his sinful body.

(Mat 26:69-75 NIV) Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said. {70} But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said. {71} Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth." {72} He denied it again, with an oath: "I don't know the man!" {73} After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away." {74} Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. {75} Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Peter finally had a good look at himself that overcame his fear but caused him great discouragement and grief.

(Psa 51 NIV) For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. {2} Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. {3} For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. {4} Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. {5} Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. [indirect proof that fetuses are human] {6} Surely you desire truth in the inner parts ; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. {7} Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. {8} Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. {9} Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. {10} Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. {11} Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. {12} Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. {13} Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you. {14} Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. {15} O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. {16} You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. {17} The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
(2 Cor 7:10 NIV) Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Now let's look at examples of becoming encouraged.

Notice what God did when Elijah was discouraged. We read 1 Kings 19 verses 4-13 but lets pick it up in verse 9 again and read through verse 18:

(1 Ki 19:9-18 NIV) There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the LORD came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" {10} He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." {11} The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. {12} After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. {13} When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" {14} He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." {15} The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. {16} Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. {17} Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. {18} Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel--all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him."

Don't be discouraged by all the problems of our lives. God's way is above and outside all the problems. Let's look at some more scriptures which tell us why and how we should be encouraged.

(Psa 55:22 NIV) Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.

Moral: If we are discouraged, ask God to help us. God will never let the righteous fall.

(Mark 6:31NIV) Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest."

When you are discouraged, one of the best cures is to go to a quiet place, rest and meditate on God's word, especially His promises.

(Luke 21:28 NIV) When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

The coming of God's Kingdom is closer every day. Look at today's fulfillment of prophesy and have hope. The end of our troubles draws closer every day.

Sorrow must generate change, not discouragement. Each of us must get rid of his own discouragement. Others can offer encouraging words but can't do it for you.

Hebrews 12 probably provides the most encouraging words of all.

(Heb 12 CJB) So then, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us, too, put aside every impediment—that is, the sin which easily hampers our forward movement—and keep running with endurance in the contest set before us, {2} looking away to the Initiator and Completer of that trusting, Yeshua [Jesus] who, in exchange for obtaining the joy set before him, endured execution on a stake as a criminal, scorning the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. [See Psa 110:1] {3} Yes, think about him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you won't grow tired or become despondent. {4} You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in the contest against sin. {5} Also you have forgotten the counsel which speaks with you as sons: "My son, don't despise the discipline of Adonaior become despondent when he corrects you. {6} For Adonai disciplines those he loves and whips [corrects] everyone he accepts as a son." (Prov 3:11-12) {7} Regard your endurance as discipline; God is dealing with you as sons. For what son goes undisciplined by his father? {8} All legitimate sons undergo discipline; so if you don't, you're a mamzer [bastard] and not a son! {9} Furthermore, we had physical fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them; how much more should we submit to our spiritual Father and live! {10} For they disciplined us only for a short time and only as best they could; but he disciplines us in a way that provides genuine benefit to us and enables us to share in his holiness. {11} Now, all discipline, while it is happening, does indeed seem painful, not enjoyable; but for those who have been trained by it, it later produces its peaceful fruit, which is righteousness. {12} So, strengthen your drooping arms,and steady your tottering knees; [Isa 35:3] {13} and make a level path for your feet; [Prov 4:26] so that what has been injured will not get wrenched out of joint but rather will be healed. {14} Keep pursuing shalom [peace] with everyone and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. {15} See to it that no one misses out on God's grace, that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble and thus contaminates many, {16} and that no one is sexually immoral, or godless like Esav, who in exchange for a single meal gave up his rights as the firstborn. {17} For you know that afterwards, when he wanted to obtain his father's blessing, he was rejected; indeed, even though he sought it with tears, his change of heart was to no avail. {18} For you have not come to a tangible mountain, to an ignited fire, to darkness, to murk, to a whirlwind, {19} to the sound of a shofar [ram's horn], and to a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further message be given to them {20} for they couldn't bear what was being commanded them, "If even a beast touches the mountain, it is to be stoned to death;" {21} and so terrifying was the sight that Moshe said, "I am quaking with dread." {22} On the contrary, you have come to Mount Tziyon, that is, the city of the living God, heavenly Yerushalayim [Jerusalem]; to myriads of angels in festive assembly; {23} to a community of the firstborn whose names have been recorded in heaven; to a Judge who is God of everyone; to spirits of righteous people who have been brought to the goal; {24} to the mediator of a new covenant, Yeshua [Jesus]; and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better things than that of Hevel [Abel]. {25} See that you don't reject the One speaking! For if those did not escape who rejected him when he gave divine warning on earth, think how much less we will escape if we turn away from him when he warns from heaven. {26} Even then, his voice shook the earth; but now, he has made this promise: "One more time I will shake not only the earth, but heaven too!"
[Hag 2:6]{27} And this phrase, "one more time", makes clear that the things shaken are removed, since they are created things, so that the things not shaken may remain. {28} Therefore, since we have received an unshakeable Kingdom, let us have grace, through which we may offer service that will please God, with reverence and fear. {29} For indeed,

"Our God is a consuming fire!" ( From Deut. 4:24, 9:3; Psa 21:9.)

In conclusion, the Saints of God need never be discouraged. They have the greatest future imaginable.

Sermon given by Wayne Bedwell
14 January 2012
Copyright 2012, Wayne Bedwell

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