How God Encourages a Believer

John 16


August 28th  2011 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (Numbers 21:4)


A.    Discouragement is normal (Numbers 21:4)


1.      People get discouraged – that is not a sin

2.      The problem is when people STAY discouraged – that is when it becomes a sin


B.     Jesus shows us how to prepare for times of discouragement, and how to get encouraged

C.     Because WE need encouragement – there is not one of us that doesn’t need some!


1.      Not flattery

2.      But comfort, inspiration, a confidence of success

3.      We need encouragement from time to time

4.      Just like the disciples did


D.    Jesus never got discouraged (Isa 42:4) – and if anybody SHOULD have been discouraged, it should have been Him


1.      The men He spent 3 ½ years with, failed Him when He needed them most

2.      The nation he had so impacted and loved, rejected Him in the end!

3.      His own heavenly Father abandoned Him on the cross – on purpose mind you, but still

4.      Yet he never got discouraged – He never lost confidence in the plan that God had


E.     Let’s listen in as Jesus prepares His disciples for the coming big emotional dip that was just ahead


1.      Up to this point, there was nothing but successes, and accomplishments surrounding Jesus

2.      But now, sorrow, and discouragement would stalk these disciples like a lion does his prey


II.    Background (John 16:20)


A.    Jesus is surrounded by His eleven disciples


1.      He has been walking with them to the Garden of Gethsemane

2.      Judas has left and is at that very moment betraying Jesus to the Pharisees. They, along with armed solders would soon be on their way to come and arrest Him


B.     It is the eve of the Passover.

C.     He has already eaten the Passover meal with His disciples, and has gone to the garden of Gethsemane to pray with them

D.    But before He prays,


1.      He explains in great detail, what lay ahead of them all

2.      And He explains that He was trying to keep them from getting offended, upset at what was about to happen


E.     Take a look at what Jesus said usually discourages us:


1.      Rejection (16:1,2) – there is not much worse than rejection


a.       And boy were they going to be rejected

b.      Emperor Nero would one day burn down Rome, and then blame the Christians for it

c.       1Cor 4:10-13 pretty well sums it up!

d.      The kid who is not liked at school; the Christian who is made fun of every day at work; the soul-winner who never gets beyond “Hi, my name is…” before the door is closed in their face!

e.       Well, they know rejection, and they know discouragement!


2.      Persecution (16:2,3)


a.       Not reasonable persecution either – there are some people who NEED to be persecuted: criminals, liars, thieves, politicians…

b.      But this was just plain ignorance! The people didn’t realise what they were doing

c.       Yet they believed with all their heart, they were doing God’s will

d.      As do the Muslims, and the people all during the dark ages!

e.       Burning William Tyndale, and John Huss


3.      Loneliness – without Jesus physically here (16:4)


a.       Being on your own can quickly demoralise anyone!

b.      Jesus was leaving!


4.      Reality – Jesus didn’t sugar coat what was about to happen (16:5,6)


a.       Jesus wasn’t going to lie to them

b.      He was leaving, and they would face things now alone, without Him

c.       And the way he was leaving (via the crucifixion) was going to be hard to watch

d.      These were things the disciples did NOT want to hear

e.       And sorrow filled their hearts – they began to be very discouraged


5.      Failure (16:20) – they were about to watch the most awful disaster of their lives ever!


a.       Jesus was not going to fail, but everyone around Him would!

b.      They would fail the one person they thought they would stand by forever

c.       They would watch their Messiah die a horrible, unjustified death

d.      They would run and hide from the storm surrounding their Friend

e.       They would fail miserably as disciples

f.       Peter was only ONE of the eleven who’s failure is recorded, but they ALL ran!

g.      Today, most people feel like failures deep inside for all sorts of reasons


F.      How Could God encourage a bunch of defeated men like these were?

G.    God is definitely in the business of working everything out for good in the life of a believer


III. Message


A.    Jesus said first, Remember My Words (John 16:1,4)


1.      That’s where we all have to start! With constantly reminding ourselves what This Book says


a.       Far too many people are eternally depressed because the only words that ring in their ears are the words of…

b.      Economists


1)       “It looks as if we are headed into a double-dip recession…”

2)      “The Euro is at risk of falling apart…”


c.       Parents           


1)       “You are no good”

2)      “You will never amount to anything”

3)      “You’re just like your father…”


d.      Your friends

e.       All the stupid world’s songs that constantly blare in our ears for 20 hours a day


2.      There is something oh so powerful in the words of Jesus (John 15:11)!!!


a.       He prepares us for troubles. By giving us notice of the coming troubles, He was removing the terror of it, that it might not be a surprise to us.

b.      He has told us that all these things were coming

c.       He has been attempting to prepare us – like warning you that an thief is headed up the street to your house – now you can be ready!

d.      If only we took heed – paid attention, and obeyed Christ’s words!!!


3.      Examples


a.       At the sepulchre (Luke 24:1-8) What a joy to remember what Jesus said!

b.      At the resurrection (John 2:18-22)


4.      We need, to read, to remember!


a.       It is no good just glancing at the words of this Book. They were written to be remembered!

b.      Write down what you understand – mark up your Bible!

c.       Recall to mind what you learn (Lam 3:19-25)

d.      Remind yourself over and over what God has SAID in this Book (Col 3:16)!

e.       Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”


5.      This book was written for our admonition – our instruction – our encouragement (Rom 15:4)


a.       It is filled with the records of the lives of normal people

b.      Who lived extraordinary lives because they believed God, and trusted His word


6.      Remember His INSTRUCTIONS – they are so important! He knows what we should be doing


a.       This Book is filled with commandments – instruction on how to live – they are the opposite of how our world lives!


1)      Honour your parents

2)      Ye MUST be born again – not trust in your own goodness, or your religion

3)      Love your enemies

4)      Preach the Gospel as the most important news

5)      Pray about everything

6)      Praise God for everything! Quit complaining


b.      In the midst of the deepest discouragement, REMEMBER His commands!


B.     Rest in God’s Presence (John 16:4-7) – that He is NEAR! Not far away! Or too busy!


1.      These eleven men had experienced the miracle of miracles…


a.       They had seen and even held the Person of the Son of God

b.      They had walked with Him, and heard His voice, and eaten with Him

c.       And during the entire time, they never lacked anything!

d.      It was awesome having God, in the flesh, right there with them – Emmanuel!


2.      But now He was leaving – not just “dying” but “going His way” – going back to heaven where He had come from

3.      And all this talk about leaving them was scaring them – causing them to worry about things. It discouraged them

4.      But He was not really leaving them…


a.       Physically yes

b.      But there was more to Jesus than just his flesh and bones

c.       He would come back and stay with us – as the Holy Spirit

d.      The third person of the Trinity


5.      The presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer…


a.       Just as real as the physical Jesus – just spiritual (13:19-21)

b.      He will continue teaching us (16:13)

c.       Honours and glorifies Jesus – not ourselves (16:14)

d.      Is permanent (13:16) – he will never leave you

e.       Comforts us (13:17,18)

f.       Will constantly try and remind us of Christ’s words (13:25,26)


6.      Jesus gave us the presence of His Holy Spirit to encourage us!


a.       But only when we stop and listen to Him speak to us through the word of God

b.      Only when we stop and pray and cast all our care upon Him

c.       It is too easy to turn to drink, and a drug, to a cigarette, and to the friends, when God is trying to get you alone with Him, so that HE can encourage you!


7.      That’s why you should never miss a church meeting – where two or three are gathered in my name… there I AM!!!


C.     Allow God to Work in Your Life (John 16:8-14)


1.      Not always pleasant


a.       Yes, God is going to work everything out for good… Thank God for that!

b.      But He usually has to humble us and break us before He can bless us!


2.      Christianity is FIRST negative – before it encourages, it has to correct us!

3.      Notice how the Holy Spirit must first…


a.       Reprove us – show us where we are wrong (Heb 12:5,6) – perfecting the rough edges

b.      Show us what true righteousness is


1)      Everyone seems to have their own idea of what is right and wrong

2)      The Holy Spirit of God, working from the Scriptures, shows us true righteousness, and it is not pleasant!


c.       The Holy Spirit must first scare us, into fearing God and His judgment


1)      John the Baptist warned of the coming wrath of God

2)      Jesus warned the crowds

3)      Paul warned every man he met


d.      Only AFTER that, will He guide us into all truth!


1)      Guide you while in the troubles and trials

2)      Too many Christians never learn the Scriptures, because they won’t let God teach them those Scriptures that are only learned under pressure and under stress!


4.      Allow God to work in your life, to show you that He is and always will be RIGHT!

5.      Through everything you end up going through, the Holy Spirit’s main work will be to bring glory and honour and praise and worship of Jesus Christ (16:14)!

6.      Hey, look back on your past, and take note of all the times


a.       God was trying to bring you to your knees

b.      God was trying to get you to trust only in Him

c.       God was at work trying to mould and shape you into a Christian

d.      Always have a GOOD LOOK, when looking back! Ps 77:10 “And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.”


D.    Trust God’s Promises – no matter how impossible they may be (John 16:16-22)


1.      Jesus was telling His disciples all these things beforehand – He is good at this!


a.       So that when the sorrow came, when the discouragement was overwhelming them, they would remember what He said, and trust what he promised!

b.      You see, we all can read these words, and then choose not to believe them

c.       But what a waste, when these were written to give us encouragement


2.      Trust God’s promises!


a.       It’s what Jesus tried to get Mary and Martha to do when Lazarus died

b.      It’s what Jesus tried to get the disciples to do when the ship they were in was sinking

c.       It’s what Jesus tried to get the dad of the dying girl to do when they heard that she had died before Jesus was able to get to her and heal her – “only believe!”


3.      Can you imagine the pain of childbirth for a moment? Most of us can’t!


a.       But imagine if going into that pain, there was no hope that it would soon be over and a baby would be in your arms? That would make the pain unbearable!

b.      But, every woman instinctively forgets all about the pain after a birth, because the pain of childbirth has a promise connected with it – that a baby was coming! That JOY was on its way!


4.      The promises of God are all good (2Cor 1:18-20)

a.       God is not up and down, on and off, yes today and no tomorrow

b.      They are all right, and good, and trustworthy

c.       They may be hard to believe, but they will all work out right

d.      Trust His promises!


5.      Make sure you remember His promises


a.       Oh the promises of God – so much more encouraging THAN ANYTHING

b.      Name a promise of God!


1)      How about Isa 43:1-3

2)      Isa 41:10

3)      Gal 5:16

4)      Heb 13:5

5)      Romans 8:28


IV. Conclusion


A.    Every Christian experiences terrible times of sorrow and discouragement – that is to be expected

B.     But the Christian who…


1.      Remembers God’s Words (16:1,4)

2.      Rests in God’s Presence (John 16:4-7)

3.      Allow God to Work in their Life (16:8-14)

4.      And, Trusts God’s Promises – no matter how impossible they may be (16:16-22)


C.     Can look forward to great joy and rejoicing!

D.    As a matter of fact, can confidently face into any storm, and rejoice!

E.     Are YOU a Christian? A true blue, born again, child of God?

F.      Here is how to be born again…




Craig Ledbetter |  Pastor  |  Bible Baptist Church  |  021-4871234  +353-21-4871234  |