Introduction - He was a prophet who was called to encourage. He spoke to the Israelites just after they had come out of Babylonian captivity. Imagine getting out of prison and the then seeing the devastating results of your crime. The ruined temple was a reminder of how they had turned away from God. God knew they would need encouragement. When you are reminded of an area in your life that was ruined because of disobedience to the Lord, you need to be encouraged, to know confessed sin is forgiven sin. Sometimes it may not be a sin but some seemingly insurmountable situation. Remember the thicker the cloud the brighter the rainbow. The storm will pass and the God will make something beautiful out of your trial. He says to us TAKE COURAGE.
I. Take courage leaders, remember what God can do. Is.61:3-4
A. The reason they had suffered loss in the past is because they had forsaken God.
1. 1:7 - consider your ways. Have you turned from the Lord?
2. 1:9 - are the things of God your first priority?
B. Remember the good old days! Vs. 2:3
1. Do you remember your first love for Christ, hunger for word, etc. Rev.2:4, Ph.3:7-10
2. Your love for Jesus and the joy of salvation can be restored. Ps.51:12-13
Then you can and will want to go to work for the Lord.
C. Take courage in remembering what God can do.
II. Take courage in His promise, I am with you. Two experiences remind me of this truth.
A. Grabor family, Mennonite home bible study. God be with you - 42 Heb.13:5
did many things as a youth but this stuck with me - parents make your kids go,
B. Car accident in Mpls. Made me aware of Gods protection.
Conclusion - Heb.6:18 God wants to give you strong encouragement. As we come to communion we can do so with grateful, joyful hearts praising Jesus. Reminded of His sacrificial love and encouraged by His presence.