Profiles In Courage   1 Corinthians 16:1-16

Kent Bailey

Within the borders of the kingdom of Christ exists an unending need for courage in the lives of all Christians. By the term courage we refer to that of mettle, spirit, resolution and/or tenacity. We are referring to that of mental and moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship.

      Courage implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty. Mettle suggests an ingrained capacity for meeting strain or difficulty with fortitude and resilience. Spirit also suggests a quality of temperament to hold to one’s own or keep up one’s morale when opposed or threatened. Resolution stresses firm determination to achieve one’s ends. Tenacity adds to resolution implications of stubborn persistence and unwillingness to admit defeat.

      In 1 Corinthians 16:13 the admonition is given by Paul for Christians to adapt our lives to set forth courage during times of difficulty and to accomplish those things in our own lives as necessary to our own personal faithfulness to Christ in addition to being an encouragement to other Christians. We need to be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men and be strong. We must be definite in both actions and thought to allow all things to be accomplished in love–love for God, truth, one another, and also to depict our love for lost souls.

      Those who are strong are those who both conquer and win victories for Christ and truth. As Christians we must be victorious over Satan. Those who are weak both falter and fall before the temptations of the Devil. Rather than being weak, the Christian needs to be strong. The means that God has provided for us is described in Ephesians 6:10-18 by putting on the entirety of the gospel armor. 

      Within the Bible we read of various individuals (both in the Old and New Testaments) who demonstrated significant courage in opposition to all odds in fighting the good fight as spiritual warriors. Let us note these profiles in courage.

Caleb and Joshua: Having been led out of bondage, wandering in the wilderness, and being prepared to enter into the promised land twelve spies were sent out to bring back a report to the people of God as to what were before them as they were about to make entry into the land. As the report was given it was observed that indeed the land was rich. It was as if it overflowed with milk and honey. It was also noted that the heathen who lived there were very strong and lived in walled cities that were very great. They were mighty warriors who would fight bravely to defend sin and error. Both Caleb and Joshua were men of courage who stated that Israel needed to go up at once and posses the land. They knew that with God’s help they could do so (Numbers 13:27-30).

Esther By the providence of God Esther was “come unto the kingdom for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). She became Queen of Persia about 478 and saved the Jews from massacre (Esther 4). She appeared 40 years after the temple had been rebuilt and 30 years before the wall of Jerusalem was restored making possible the work of Nehemiah.

Nehemiah Nehemiah was cup-bearer to King Artaxerxes, which brought him into a position of great honor of having association with the king and other leaders. Nehemiah demonstrated tremendous courage in leading God’s people not to compromise in the rebuilding of the walls about Jerusalem that would offer them protection from the enemies of truth and of God (Nehemiah 4). Sanbalat, Tobiah and Geshem desire to meet with Nehemiah to work out a compromise. However, Nehemiah had the courage to say no (Nehemiah 6:1-3).

Jeremiah In his preaching to the people of God Jeremiah’s sermons were not popular. He barely escaped with his life (Jeremiah 26:7-16). He was beaten and imprisoned. The people of his day from the king to those on the streets of Jerusalem did not want to be told that they were sinners in need of repentance and that destruction was coming (Jeremiah 37).

Christ The purpose of the coming of the incarnate Christ was a fulfillment of divine prophecy to enable God to be both just and the justifier of accountable humanity from sin (John 1:1-14). During his earthly ministry Christ demonstrated himself to be the mighty Son of the most high God as well as the fulfillment of God’s scheme of Redemption to bring about the salvation of all of those who submit to his rule in becoming components within the church that would be built (Matthew 16:18; Acts 2). The majority of the Jews rejected him, repudiated his true kingdom and turned away to walk with him no more (John 6:66). Christ demonstrated courage in accomplishing his Father’s plan.

Stephen Stephen has been correctly identified as the first Christian martyr. Because of his love for the Father, Christ the Son, truth, the church, and those who of his day were lost in sin he mustered enough courage to lay down his life that the truth of God might live (Acts 7:54-60).

Barnabas A careful study of the book of Acts identifies Barnabas as being a truly good man. His goodness is demonstrated by his courage regarding his standing up for the apostle Paul when it was not popular (Acts 9:26-31).

Antipas: In writing to the church at Pergamos, Christ knew of the faithful Christian, Antipas, who out of great courage had held fast unto his name, had not denied the faith and because of his love for truth had laid down his life (Revelation 2:12-13).

      May we as Christians today take note of such profiles of courage. May we hold fast to the faith and demonstrate the same courage in our own lives as we fight the good fight of the faith.

Source: Northside Anchor Bulletin articles for Sunday, March 29, 2020, elder & editor, Ron Hall

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