ONLINE Sunday Service (M914) | Mount Zion Church | 10 May 2020 | THE POWER OF BROTHER & SISTER IN CHRIST | 1Samuel 23:14-18
Christianity is about togetherness! We are not meant to do everything by ourselves. We are not supposed to be a lonely ranger. We must not forget that all believers are called to be one body. We must always remember that we are the body of Christ and we need each other. Facing challenging times is a good opportunity for believers to put the power of brother and sister in Christ into action.
We are going to learn from the life story of David. The great David was a result from tons of challenges. And in the midst of those challenges, there was someone who may be easily forgotten but what he did was something amazing and was definitely needed by David, and it was encouragement!
David in Wilderness Strongholds 14 And David stayed in strongholds in the wilderness and remained in the mountains in the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand. 15 So David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. And David was in the Wilderness of Ziph in a forest. 16 Then Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God. 17 And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Even my father Saul knows that.” 18 So the two of them made a covenant before the Lord. And David stayed in the woods, and Jonathan went to his own house. 1Samuel 23:14-18 NKJV
David faced problems every single day. Even he said like this: “Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; They are mighty who would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully; Though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it Psa.69:4.” David had so many troubles and that was not his fault. Saul sought him every day, but God did not deliver him into his hand! How wonderful God protected David. But David still need to run here and there, hiding himself in a forest, until one day Jonathan was stirred by the Holy Spirit to find David in the woods and strengthened his hand in God!
1: THE STRONG AND THE WEAK
1 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbour for his good, leading to edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” Romans 15:1-3 NKJV
David was living in poverty and difficulties as he had to run away from his normal life, while Jonathan lived peacefully inside the palace with his dad as the king of Israel. David was distressed with his problem, while Jonathan lived freely. The strong must help the weak! Sometimes we may in the strong position, but sometimes we may also in the weak position. There is a time to receive a help, and there is a time as well to give help. If we always looking for our own pleasure, we may always say that we need help. But if we want to think just like Jesus think, we will be able to see others who is in need. Jonathan might have his own problem as well, but in that case, he realised that there was someone that really need help more than his own problem, and that was David!
Paul said: “Let each of us please his neighbour for his good, leading to edification.” Neighbour is someone that we can see with our eyes, someone that we can talk with, someone next to us. In this modern day, we are blessed with so many neighbours as the technology bring everything closer together and we can be so close with people who live far from us. Let’s think for their good, for the edification. Let’s pray so that Holy Spirit will remind us about someone in need during this online service, we will pray for that and then let’s strengthen them. Let’s put ourselves in the strong position because we still have a good opportunity to sit and listen to the Word of God this morning. We are strong because of God who strengthened us, we are strong because we have God’s Words, and let’s bear with the scruples of the weak (NIV: We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves).
31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:32 NKJV
Once Peter was also weak, even very weak, so that he denied Jesus, not only once, but three times! But Jesus encouraged him to return to Jesus immediately, so that his life could be a blessing for others. Are you weak just like Peter this morning? This is good news since you are sit and listen to God’s Words. Return to Jesus and you will be strong! We are strong because of Jesus, and let’s help others, let’s strengthen our brother and sister.
2: EVERYONE NEED ENCOURAGEMENT
41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. Luke 22:41-43 NKJV
Even Jesus, as a full man during his life, also need encouragement. In that case, an angel was sent from heaven to appear and to strengthen Jesus. PAUL also was encouraged when he was in his last journey to Rome. Paul said: “For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed, God has granted you all those who sail with you Ac.27:23-24.’” MOSES was strengthened by Jethro, his father-in-law, when Moses was very tired as he did his job from morning until evening Ex.18:14-23. We all need to be encouraged and that’s why we must encourage each other. The congregation need to be encouraged, so do the pastors also need to be encouraged. Our children need to be encouraged, and so do the parents also need to be encouraged.
As David opened his ears and gave his time to listen to Jonathan, so do we need to open our ears and listen to anyone that God will sent to us. Compared to David, Jonathan was nothing as Jonathan never kill any giants, Jonathan was not good at war, Jonathan was not a good man of war just like David. But still David opened his ear to Jonathan. God will not use only very strong people to encourage us. God can send anyone to encourage us and strengthen us, and that’s why we need to always have a humble and a meek heart so that we can get more encouragement that God want to give to us.
3: THE POWER OF ENCOURAGEMENT
Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. Proverbs 12:25 NKJV
A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
Proverbs 15:23 NKJV
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs 25:11 NKJV
Words in not only a word, there is great power behind our words. A good word will overcome anxiety and depression, a good word will make someone glad! One word fitly spoken is like apples of gold, not only one apple, but so many apples, so many powerful influences. Let’s ask anointing of the Holy Spirit so that we know what to say, when to say, and then we are able to release power of heaven through our words. You will never know how big the impact of encouragement that proceed from your mouth! We can speak encouragement to others, we can also do self-encouragement by the words of God as well.
Jonathan came to David and strengthened his hand in God! This is the powerful secret of encouragement. Anyone can try to encourage but there is no encouragement that stronger than encouragement that is built upon God’s promises! We must strengthen each other in God. We must bring back people to God and that’s why we must abide in God first. We also must always find encouragement that will bring us closer and deeper in God rather than just doing a random search to find any encouragement. The true and powerful encouragement will bring us to God, that’s the one that we need, and everyone need!
God asked Moses so many times to encourage Joshua. Moses was not a perfect man, even he was not allowed to enter the Promised Land, but he was asked to seriously encourage Joshua so that Joshua would be able to bring the people of Israel to the Promised Land. God said: “Joshua the son of Nun, who stands before you, he shall go in there. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it Deut.1:38.” That encouragement worked very well, Joshua did everything that Moses said so that everything came to pass. The Word of God that is echoed again and again by real people next to us will definitely help us to remember more and create a deep impression in our life!
A good encouragement from God’s Words will work in both sides, not only for those who receive it but also for those who give it. Proverbs said: “A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth Pro.12:14.” If we produce a good word through our mouth, it will make us satisfied. We will be happy as we help others and God also being pleased with what we did.
CONCLUSION & CHALLENGE
12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:12-13 NKJV
We are called to bless others, to be salt and light for this world. We are called to strengthen others, specially in these challenging moments. Let’s allow Holy Spirit to strengthen us first and then let’s take our first step to start encouraging others. Let’s open our mouth and speak the Words of God that will definitely encourage people.
The hands that hang down and the knees that feeble are something that easy to see, and we are not supposed to be silent about that. Let’s strengthen it, let’s do something for those who need encouragement, let’s say something, do something, pray for them, asking if there is any prayer request, we may start to call someone and checking them in for their situation. Let’s the Promises of God overflow from our heart and bless others and our soul then also be satisfied as we receive God’s blessing continually. AMEN.