Acts 17 Lesson

Courage And Putting On The Full Armor Of God

Courage is defined as:

  1. “The ability to do something that frightens one,”
  2. “Strength in the face of pain or grief.

(source: Google dictionary)

Courage is not the absence of fear, courage is carrying on despite the presence of fear.

PAUL’S EXAMPLE

In addition to being the author of more than a dozen books of the New Testament, Paul was also extremely brave!   In the Book of Acts, Luke documents three examples of the immense adversity that Paul faced while serving the Lord.  In each example, Paul was courageous and kept focusing on the work of the Lord that he was called to do.  We should do the same in our lives.  

  1. “The Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district.” – Acts 13:50,
  2. “The people of the city were divided; and some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. And when an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and the Jews with their rulers, to mistreat and to stone them, they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region.” – Acts 14:4-6,
  3. “But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.” – Acts 14:19.

THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS

 As Jesus prepared to die on the cross, He offered three separate prayers:

  1. “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” – Mathew 26:39,
  2. “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” – Mathew 26:42,
  3. After finding His disciples asleep the second time, Jesus returns and prays a third time. Mathew records this prayer and writes, “And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more.  Then He came to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!’” – Mathew 26:44-46.

In these three prayers, we see both the human side and the Deity of Jesus. On the one hand, Jesus was determined to fulfill the scriptures and to complete His mission as Savior of the World. On the other hand, Jesus understood the agony and the horror that awaited Him on the cross. Jesus was courageous as He finished the work that His Father had called Him to do.

In the same way, we should not let anything come between ourselves and God’s plans for us.

BIBLE VERSES ABOUT COURAGE

The Bible is full of scriptures about courage:

  1. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9,
  2. “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” - 2 Timothy 1:7,
  3. “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” - 1 Corinthians 16:13,
  4. “Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the Lord.” - Psalm 31:24.

PUTTING ON THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD

When we face adversity, we need to remember that we are not alone.  God is always with us!  

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul wrote about the divine protection that is available to all Christians by "Putting on the full armor of God."

  • “Stand firm, therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:14-17.

To help us in times of adversity, God has provided us with His word, His example, His Spirit, and above all faith!  We are never in this battle alone!  When we find ourselves under attack, we need to protect ourselves by putting on the full armor of God, and then we need to be courageous and continue the work at hand.  

CONCLUSION

There will be times in our lives when our service to the Lord will require courage.  Jesus said:

  • “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.” – Mathew 16:24.

Paul wrote to Timothy:

  • “Indeed, all who want to live in a godly way in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12.

As we study the Bible and our faith grows, Satan will not sit idly by. He will mount formidable attacks to try and frighten us and cause us to sin (1 Peter 5:8). When this happens, we need to put on the full armor of Godand remember the examples of Jesus and Paul who pressed on to finish the work they had been called to do.    

We will end today’s lesson with the following two scriptures.  They remind us that God wants us to be courageous in times of adversity. 

We have every reason to be courageous! 

With God by our side, there is nothing to fear!  

  1. “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.” – Hebrews 13:6,
  2. “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, I will also help you, I will also uphold you with My righteous right hand.” - Isaiah 41:10.

Comments

Pat Dermody

Paul was not only courageous but when he arrived in Athens he was for once restrained.. He did not condemn their worship of many gods when he arrived. Instead, the emotional Paul was restrained and said he had seen how religious they were. After complimenting them, he then told them about an unknown God . We must be patient when we are spreading the word of God and careful not to offend but speak in an open way and let them decide what they want to do with the information we give them. Trust the Holy Spirit to do his thing and follow up for us.

Reply
Michael
Pat Dermody

Nice thoughts Pat

Reply
John

As I read Acts, I think about why God selected Paul to be such an important apostle. He persecuted Christians. I think to the point of imprisonment, beating them, and maybe even having them put to death. Then I think that may be the point. God can use all of us, no matter our past. Paul is as good an example of any with respect to that.

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