Courage

1.    Introduction

·           There is  a great need for believers to develop and demonstrate courage

·           Ok to pray for more anointing…God needs people who will show courage

·           We need to use what God has given us and act with courage in life’s pressures

·       Acts 12:1-2 As James was led to the place of martyrdom, his accuser was brought to repent of his conduct by the apostle's extraordinary courage, and fell down at his feet to request his pardon, professing himself a Christian, and resolving that James should not receive the crown of martyrdom alone. Hence they were both beheaded at the same time. Thus did the first apostolic martyr cheerfully and resolutely receive that cup, which he had told our Savior he was ready to drink.

Fox’s Book of Martyrs - The Martyrdom of James the Great

·           Heb 12:1Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls NKJV

2.    What is Courage?

·           Dictionary: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, overcoming fear; bravery; to act in accordance with one's beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.

·           Heb.12:1-3 Note the word “endure” appears 3 times

·           Endure: NT 5278= Hupomene=Calm steadfast courage

To remain unmoved, to refuse to withdraw or flee in the midst of troubles and difficulties

To persevere in holding faith in Christ in the face of setbacks and resistance

To endure and bear ill treatments bravely and calmly

3.    Jesus: Our Example of Courage

Heb.12:2 Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

·           Jesus demonstrated great courage…Confronted religious leaders, confronted his disciples, resisted family pressure, refused crowd pressure, did not back down when people rejected his words, courageously pursued his life purpose even to death

·           Jesus is our example…”Looking”=NT872= to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something

·           Courage is not a feeling…You do not feel courage…it is a quality of character

·           Heb12:2-3 Rewritten…Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him with a brave calm and a steadfast courage endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that so bravely and courageously endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.

4.    Examples of Great Men of Courage

·           Stephen was stoned,  Philip was crucified,

·           Matthew was slain with the sword, James (the brother of Jesus) was stoned and clubbed,

·           Matthias was stoned and beheaded,  Mark was dragged to pieces, Jude was crucified

·           Bartholomew was cruelly beaten and then crucified, Thomas was thrust through with a spear, 

·           Luke was hung, Simon was crucified, and  John was thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil (and removed unscathed) and then exiled to Patmos.

·           Peter Jerome wrote that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was. Fox’s Book of Martyrs - The Martyrdom of Peter

·           Paul . . the soldiers came and led him out of the city to the place of execution, where he, after his prayers made, gave his neck to the sword. Fox’s Book of Martyrs

·           Eustachius Eustachius, a brave and successful Roman commander, was by the emperor ordered to join in an idolatrous sacrifice to celebrate some of his own victories; but his faith (being a Christian in his heart) was so much greater than his vanity, that he nobly refused it. Enraged at the denial, the ungrateful emperor Adrian forgot the service of this skilful commander, and ordered him and his whole family to be martyred. Fox’s Book of Martyrs

·           Polycarp

Polycarp, the venerable bishop of Smyrna, hearing that persons were seeking for him, escaped, but was discovered by a child. After feasting the guards who apprehended him, he desired an hour in prayer, which being allowed, he prayed with such fervency, that his guards repented that they had been instrumental in taking him. He was, however, carried before the proconsul, condemned, and burnt in the market place.

The proconsul then urged him, saying, "Swear, and I will release thee;--reproach Christ."

Polycarp answered, "Eighty and six years have I served him, and he never once wronged me; how then shall I blaspheme my King, Who hath saved me?" At the stake to which he was only tied, but not nailed as usual, as he assured them he should stand immovable, the flames, on their kindling the fagots, encircled his body, like an arch, without touching him; and the executioner, on seeing this, was ordered to pierce him with a sword, when so great a quantity of blood flowed out as extinguished the fire. But his body, at the instigation of the enemies of the Gospel, especially Jews, was ordered to be consumed in the pile, and the request of his friends, who wished to give it Christian burial, rejected. They nevertheless collected his bones and as much of his remains as possible, and caused them to be decently interred. Fox’s Book of Martyrs

·           Modern Martyrs

Indonesia, Pakistan, Turkey

5.    We  are also Called to show courage

Heb 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with Courage the race that is set before us,NKJV

1 Peter 2:19 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently?

But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, ( Courageously)  this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:NKJV

We are called to live out our Christian life with Courage

6.    God does not Give up on us if Our Courage fails

·           Abraham lost courage and lied……………………………….God intervened to help him

·           Peter lost courage and denied Christ……………………….Jesus recommissioned him

·           The disciples lost courage and fled from Christ………Jesus gave them The Holy Spirit

·           Mark lost courage and abandoned Paul………………….Barnabus restored him

7.    Courage is developed in Your small daily Choices

Rom 5:3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance(Courage) NKJV

·           Courage is developed daily in small choices that we make

·           Saying No to the crowd…alcohol, drugs, premarital sex

·           Speaking up instead of remaining silent

·           Standing up for your friends

·           Following through your commitments

·           Facing and dealing with personal pain

·           Facing personal failure and putting it right

·           Making an apology

·           Courage can be drawn from intimacy with and commitment to Christ the Courageous One

·           For Thought: Where do you need to develop courage? How will you do this