Wednesday, March 27, 2013


Can you describe what a person of faith acts like?

 John Ortberg states: "The decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort. This means that to be a follower of Jesus, you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life. And that’s sobering news to most of us, because we’re into comfort...but water walkers master failure... Did Peter fail?...Failure is not an event, but rather a judgment about an event. Failure is not something that happens to us or a label we attach to things. It is a way we think about outcomes...Did Peter fail? Well, I suppose in a way he did. His faith wasn’t strong enough. His doubts were stronger. 'He saw the wind.' He took his eyes off of where they should have been. He sank. He failed. But here is what I think. I think there were eleven bigger failures sitting in the boat. They failed quietly. They failed privately. Their failure went unnoticed, unobserved, uncriticized. Only Peter knew the shame of the public failure. But only Peter knew two other things as well. Only Peter knew other things as well. Only Peter knew the glory of walking on water. He alone knew what it was to attempt to do what he was not capable of doing on his own, then feeling euphoria of being empowered by God to actually do it. Once you walk on water, you never forget it--not for the rest of your life!" (Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat, page 21-23).

Hebrews 11:1-13
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.  By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.  By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.  All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”

Our faith in God calls us to worship Him!   Right out of the gate we get our first example of someone worshipping God which is Abel.  The text reminds us that “By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings.”

Abel had a genuine heart!  It lead him to not only be obedient to God but caused him to simply worship God for who He is. It was pleasing to God.  Abel produced a better sacrifice than Cain because he had a righteous heart and he put forth all that he was in his offering to God.  He didn’t simply do offer God “a half-hearted” offering like Cain.  Abel’s offering spoke about his character.  Abel’s faith in God caused him to simply worship the Father.  It was genuine worship. 

How often do you look forward to giving tithes and offerings with a grateful heart?  This current economy is tough.  It’s hard to give especially when money is tight when bills need to be paid to keep things on or to continue to have roof over your head and to continue to eat.  I want to ask a question not only of you but of myself as well:  Have you ever had the faith of the widow we read about in Luke 21?  Think about that for a little bit.  God has told us that He will always provide what we need and we are called to faith in Him that He will do what He says He will do.  That kind faith leads us to worship our God because He is great and He loves us.  When was the last time you just simply worshipped God because He’s God?

Our faith in God calls us to walk with Him! I would like to have a little more info on Enoch but we only get a few verses.  Genesis 5:24 tells us, “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”

 Paul explains to Hebrews that, “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.”

Apparently Enoch’s walk with God was so close that God took him home without Enoch having to experience physical death. From Enoch we learn that to walk with God is to please God.

Faith is essential to please God.  How do we do that?  Well having faith in God means to choose to walk in righteousness and obedience towards God and His will.  It means to respond and to act on His Word.  It means to simply trust in His guidance.  It means that completely believe that God will do what He says He will do.  Is your walk pleasing to God?  Are you more concerned with pleasing others or God?

Our faith in God calls us to work for God!  So God calls Noah to build an ark.  He tells Noah about a flood, rain, a boat…which was all foreign to Noah and the people of the time.   It took Noah around  100 years! 7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. Hebrews 11:7

The things that God spoke to Noah had not occurred.  But here is the thing:  Noah trusted what God an acted in his faith.  Noah’s faith showed the light on the disobedience and sinfulness that surrounded him.  Noah was righteous in God’s eyes.

 Do you have faith that leads you to work hard for the Kingdom of God? We are too comfortable! We sometimes want someone else to do the work.  We rather spend time doing what we want rather than what God wants.  Which makes sense for the unbelievers but not for Christians.  There is too much evil in this world; too many lost for us to be comfortable.

 Noah’s faith called him to work even when the situation didn’t make any sense. How do you respond to God’s calling when the circumstance doesn’t make sense?  Your faith requires action! 

 James 2:17-18“Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.  But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

Warren Wiersbe says, "Faith enables us to understand what God does. Faith enables us to see what others cannot see. As a result, faith enables us to do what others cannot do."

Our faith calls us to wait on God!  When Abraham left Ur, he didn’t know his destination.  He had no clue where he was going but he trusted in God to lead him.  He obeyed the instruction of God to leave his land.  Abraham’s faith wasn’t quickly rewarded, either.  Abraham waited for a home in the Promised Land where he spent his entire life living in tents. Abraham was willing to spend his whole lifetime in temporary dwellings because he had his eyes on something greater…heaven (whom God was the builder).  He waited…and waited…and waited on God.  Do you have the patience of Abraham?  If not, why?

Also, God promised Abraham a son…it took 25 years.  He was 100; Sarah was around 99 when Isaac was conceived.  He never wavered in his faith that God would do what He said He would do.  Even in the face of reality!  It’s impossible to reproduce at their age, but not with God! 

9By faith he made his home in the Promised Land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:9-10

Do you wait on God or do you rush?

How is your prayer life?  How long do you bathe a particular circumstance in prayer?

Is it easier for you to give up?

All of these examples we read here in Hebrews mimicked what Paul tells the church in Corinth “for we walk by faith, not by sight” – 2 Corinthians 5:7

We (Christians) are taught and called to a life that “walks by faith.”  God allows us to deal with the events of life, all the trails, the tragedies and the traumas which will prepare us for glory.  He uses the all the above to remake us into His image.  If we remain grounded in God’s Word and being active in being a “doer of the Word”, committed to following Christ’s example, and obedient to God our faith will continue to grow! 

As Christians, as we walk in faith…our faith knows hope (Jesus).  Our faith expects to receive from God what He has promised us in His Holy Word. It tells us that there is no place for fear or worries. It encourages us surrender and put our burdens in God’s hands.  Faith reminds us that God is not in a box and can do anything!  Faith continually repeats to us how real God is! Faith helps us wait…and wait!  Faith moves into action!  Faith convicts us to preach the Gospel to the lost!

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