Keeping Ourselves Unspotted from the World (Lesson 08)
1. According to James 1:27, "keeping ourselves unspotted from the world" is an important part of "pure and undefiled religion before God." 2. One key to keeping ourselves unspotted from the world is overcoming the issue mentioned in Deuteronomy 1:21: "discouragement." 3. In our lesson we are examining several great Bible characters who faced discouragement. 4. As we do so, we are emphasizing what they did to overcome their discouragement. Discussion: I. ELIJAH
A. Elijah was a great man and a great prophet. 1. He served God as a prophet during a very difficult time. a. Ahab and Jezebel were king and queen of Israel. b. Because of their influence many Israelites were worshipping idols. 2. Elijah won a great victory on behalf of the Lord when he challenged and defeated the 450 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18). B. Even though Elijah was a great man and a great prophet, he became discouraged. 1. (1 Kings 19:2) Jezebel threatened to take Elijah's life. 2. (1 Kings 19:3-4) Elijah fled into the wilderness and wanted to die. 3. It seems from 1 Kings 19:9-10 that Elijah thought that God had forsaken him. C. Elijah overcame his discouragement. 1. God sustained Elijah, and God talked to Elijah. 2. Elijah learned that things were not as bad as he thought (1 Kings 19:18). 3. Elijah held on through this difficult period, he continued serving God faithfully, and he was eventually taken up into heaven by a whirlwind. II. JOB
A. (Job 1-2) Job is introduced as a righteous man, but he suffered greatly. B. Even though Job was a righteous man, he became discouraged. 1. To his credit, Job did not curse God. 2. However, he eventually expressed how he felt (Job 3:1-6). C. Job overcame his discouragement. 1. Job never found out why he suffered as he did. 2. Job eventually realized that God had not forsaken him (Job 42:1-3). 3. Job held on through his trials, and God blessed him (Job 42:12-13, 16). III. DAVID
A. Many passages help us understand why David was known as "a man after God's own heart" (see Psalm 21:1-2; Psalm 23:1). B. The same man who wrote these verses also wrote Psalm 22:1-2. 1. When a man talks like this, he is discouraged. 2. Saul's treatment of David helps us understand why he made these comments. C. David overcame his discouragement. 1. David remembered how God had demonstrated His goodness in the past (Psalm 22:3-5). 2. David's confidence in God was restored (Psalm 22:11, 19, 24). IV. JESUS
A. Psalm 22 is also a prophecy of the Lord's crucifixion. 1. Contrast Psalm 22:1, 7-8, 18 with Matthew 27:35, 39-43, 46. 2. When someone questions whether God has forsaken him, he is discouraged. B. Jesus overcame His discouragement. 1. Jesus said something else (Matthew 27:50; Luke 23:46). 2. Jesus committed the care of His spirit into the hands of the Father, and He died in peace.