A Life of Faith
Posted on 02/28/2010 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)
*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***
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** there are no public prayer requests this week **
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I WALK BY FAITH
I walk by faith
each step by faith
to live by faith
I put my trust in you
I walk by faith
each step by faith
to live by faith
I put my trust in you
Every step I take
is a step of faith
No weapon formed against me
And every prayer I make
is a prayer of faith
And if my God is for me
who can be against me
BLESS THE LORD
I will bless the Lord at all times
I will bless the Lord at all times
His praise shall continually
be in my mouth
WORD OF GOD SPEAK
I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say
Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak
I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice
*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***
Today, I want us to talk a little about faith. Not necessarily what faith is, at least not an in depth definition, but rather what it means to life a life of faith; and that's the title of today's message, "A Life of Faith."
Romans 1:16-17 (NKJV) tells us this:
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
Are you just? Or, righteous? You must live by faith. As Hebrews 11:6 says, without faith it is impossible to please God.
As we've talked about before, faith is something that comes from God. We can't create our own faith. It is a gift. It is spiritual. It is supernatural. It is the undeniable proof that the unseen is true.
But today, I'd like for us to take a look at our only reasonable response to faith, the part in which we cooperate with God to grab hold of his gifts of faith and to nurture them so they grow and bear much fruit.
Let's take a look at Hebrews chapter 11, verses 6 through 11.
Hebrews 11:6-11 (NKJV)
6 But without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;
10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.
Okay. So let's take a closer look at these examples.
First, we see Noah, who accepted God's warning by faith. Let's just get real here -- it took real faith to believe that God was going to flood the whole earth, especially when it had never even rained. It took real faith to build a huge boat in the middle of dry land while his neighbors all scorned him to shame.
But it says Noah moved with Godly fear. He had what we seem to be sorely lacking today -- the fear of the Lord that causes us to do the ridiculous in obedience to God, to look past the way things are, the way things appear, the way things have always been, and how everyone else sees life.
Noah wasn't seeker friendly. He was radical in his faith. And he was unapologetic in his obedience to God.
How about Abraham. This says he obeyed when God called him to travel to a land God was going to give him, a land he didn't know where it was, a land he had never seen, a land that no one else could confirm even existed.
How about his wife Sarah? This says she received strength to conceive. She was an old lady, almost 100 years old. And God said she was going to become pregnant by her century-old husband and give birth to a healthy baby.
She needed strength both to conceive and also to carry and give birth to this child of promise. She needed power. It was physically imposible. But she grasped hold of that power and strength by faith, and the impossible happened.
What do all of these examples have in common? All these people accepted something that, to the natural eye, seemed absolutely obsurd; impossible; ridiculous; even insane. And because they exercised the measure of faith God had given them, the obsurd, impossible, ridiculous, and insane became an unstoppable fact that changed their lives and the lives of the whole human race.
Romans 12:3 says that God has given each of us a measure of faith. YOU have a measure of faith, if you have been born again. God has already given it to you.
By faith, you accepted the Jesus died for your sins and then rose again from the dead. By faith, you accepted that the Word of God is true, and that you are ordained to live by it. By faith, you believe that some day soon, Jesus will return to establish his everlasting kingdom on earth, and we will rule and reign with him.
You already have faith. And God gives you gifts of faith as you exercise the faith you already have.
What do I mean? Well, let's think about it. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. God has a great plan for your life. He has created you in his image and likeness. You have an incredible potential. You can accomplish any good thing to which you set your mind. You are destined to prosper and succeed in anything to which you set your hand.
But how do you act? How do you think? What do you say? By watching and listening to what you do and how you think, would a passive observer see you as all those things?
For most of us, the answer would be "no." Why not? God has given you faith, he has give you amazing promises, and he has placed a miraculous destiny inside of you. He already said that with Christ, ALL things are possible.
God has given you a measure of faith. And he said that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can command a mountain to move, and it will obey, and NOTHING will be impossible.
Has God given you a mustard seed-sized faith? I believe he has. But I also believe he so often asks us the same question he asked the disciples when they thought they were going to drown in a storm. "Where is your faith?"
Where IS your faith? God has given it to you. It's in there. But it's hidden by doubt. It's hidden by unbelief. It's hidden by your faithless thoughts, negative feelings, Godless perceptions, and carnal beliefs.
If you believe that by Jesus' stripes you are healed, then why do you say "I'm always sick?" Just maybe it's because we're all just a little like Peter. Or maybe a lot. Jesus tells us to walk on water. But the facts tell us it's impossible and we're going to sink.
So we do. We sink in unbelief. And we drown in defeat.
God has told you that in Jesus, you are more than a conqueror. You are victorious in all things. No weapon formed against you will prosper. You are ordained to perform greater works than Jesus did. That's what he said. And he said it to YOU.
So why do you accept defeat? Why are you afraid of the weapons formed against you? Why do you think if God does something miraculous, he'll have to do it through someone else?
You already have faith. Where is it?
2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NKJV) says this:
6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you [through the laying on of my hands].
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Stir up the gift. Faith is a gift. And you have it. Stir it up!
"Oh, I wish I had even a grain of faith so I could speak to this mountain and see it removed." Well you do! You DO have that faith that can move mountains! God has given you a measure of faith. Stir it up!
When you say, "I'm always sick," you are denying your faith.
When you say, "I'm not good at anything," you are denying your faith.
When you say, "I'll always be poor," you are denying your faith.
When you say, "I'll never be able to overcome this addiction," you are denying your faith.
We weaken our faith when we say and think faithless things.
But we strengthen our faith when we say and think the miraculous, the unbelievable, the impossible.
If you know anything about iceburgs, you probably know that what you see above the water is only very tiny compared to what lies beneath.
Well, the same holds true for you and me. God has created us to strive for greatness, to go beyond the boundaries and to always reach new heights.
And the same principle applies to our lives. Your life on this earth is just the tip of the iceburg.
At the moment of conception, you are born into this earth, into your newly-forming body. After what is, in the big picture, the blink of an eye, you leave the womb and are born into the world.
A couple more blinks, and you are old and gray. Another breath, and you leave this earth, this place where, for just a moment in time, you choose your own eternity.
I think all too often, our focus becomes so narrow. We see our life as long. We make choices based upon only how they affect our life on this earth. And we perceive things according to this tiny little tip of the iceburg, while we struggle with things that don't fit neatly into our time-shackled perspective.
Life, and I don't just mean life on this earth, Life is so much bigger. It doesn't fit into our experiences. It doesn't bow to our imaginations. It doesn't change with our shifting opinions.
Think about it. Some of us see, for example, the results of our position of co-creators of what happens in time. From this realization comes ideas such as the law of attraction, which is based upon truth. But our minds are so small, this goes every single one of us, that we think this means that everything that happens to us is created by our own minds.
The truth is, none of us are islands to ourselves. Even if we were, islands are part of the earth and are subject to its turning and tides.
We are small. We are but a spec on this earth, and even smaller than that in this virtually endless universe.
And yet, God knows you by name. And as small as you are next to the enormity of God and his vast creation, he has placed within you a measure of the same power which spoke that creation into being.
It's faith. Even a mustard seed-sized portion of faith is bigger than the tallest mountain. That faith is given to us by the Word of God, and when we change our words, thoughts, intents, and actions to agree with God's Word, then the measure of faith God has given us begins to spark to life.
Isn't that worth guarding your heart dilligently? I dare you to think about it for a moment. Consider how much Godly faith is portrayed by the music to which you listen. Or the things you watch on TV. Or the books and magazines you read.
EVERYTHING that goes inside you becomes a part of you, a part of your heart.
Why do we feel in ways that contradict faith?
Why do we think in ways that contradict faith?
Why do we speak in ways that contradict faith?
Why do we act in ways that contradict faith?
It's because we feel, think, speak, and act out of what is inside -- who we have become. The spirit behind what we see and hear over and over becomes the spirit, the atmosphere, that surrounds us. It becomes an intimate part of who we are.
But let's remember this one important truth: who you have been is not what's important; what really matters is who you are choosing to become.
Who you have been is not what's important; what really matters is who you are choosing to become.
Are you choosing to become more than a conqueror?
Are you choosing to become the righteousness of God?
Are you choosing to become a man or a woman of faith?
Fill yourself with things that are of faith, and this is what you will become.
That seed of faith God has placed within you -- water it with faith. Feed it with faith. Warm it with the sunshine of faith. And it will grow, and grow, and grow, and no mountain will stand a chance against it.
In Mark 4:30-32 (NKJV), we read these words of Jesus:
30 Then Jesus said, "To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it?
31 It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth;
32 but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade."
This is the Kingdom of God. And what is the Kingdom of God? As Romans 14:17 tells us, the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy. Righteousness, peace, and joy. Well what do you know, that's the stuff of faith!
The seed of faith is in you. God put it there. Water it! Feed it! Shine the light of God's Word on it! Get rid of the herbacides of the world and of your own doubts which poison it, and watch your faith grow!
Your garden is your heart and your mind. It is vast. The parts you see are like the tip of the iceburg. We underestimate its power, so we become careless with what we plant in it.
Romans 10:17 says that "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Scatter GOOD seed in your garden, and watch the vast horizon of your mind spring up with trees of faith.
Root out the weeds. As 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, cast down faithless imaginations, and every thing that disagrees with what God says, because those things try to exalt themselves above God; and bring every thought captive, into obedience to "thus says the Lord."
Until now, chances are you've not thought too much about your heart and mind and what grows there. You've just watched as the tops of the weeds spread their pollen and their seeds into your life and into your mind. Maybe you haven't even considered where these seeds are coming from. Maybe you've thought they're just the way things are.
Maybe you really are a failure.
Maybe you really are unloveable.
Maybe you really are meant to always be sick.
Maybe you really are not very important.
Maybe you really are meant to always be bound by addiction.
Where are these seeds coming from? What is polinating your mind and your life with this poison?
It's the weeds that are growing in your garden. Weeds that have been growing and multiplying for years. Weeds that have been watered by the things you watch, read, and hear.
Well, just maybe it's way past time for some maximum strength herbicide!
True, weeds choke out everything else. But what happens when they stop getting watered and fed? What happens when you watch for their pollen and seeds floating around in your mind, and you take hold of them, destroying them with words of faith? What happens when, instead of shining the light of your attention on these weeds, you leave them in total darkness as you instead focus on positive things, things that are of a good report and worthy of praise?
Your weeds will begin to die. The thoughts they spew into your mind will begin to thin out. And as your weeds become more sparse, the trees of faith will have room to grow. And instead of faithless seeds and pollen poluting your mind, the branches of your faith will fill the skies of your mind with power and with life.
Are you ready to begin your transformation? Begin today. Join with others who are taking back the ground the enemy has infested with weeds.
It's time to stop being a spectator, and instead become a gardener.
I'd like anyone here today who's a part of the ministry team to come stand at the front.
This altar is open. Come dedicate yourself to this high calling, this calling to be the gardener of your mind, to dilligently guard your heart, and to clear the seeds and pollen of faithlessness from the skies of your mind.
Let's dedicate ourselves to agreeing with what God says is true. Let's dedicate ourselves to being men and women of faith, who stir up that gift of faith God has given to each and every one of us.
You're all invited to get out of your seats and come gather at the front for this time of dedication and prayer.
If you'd like someone to pray or talk with you, please instant message me or someone else on the ministry team.
Whenever you need to go, you're dismissed, and if you can stay for awhile, you're invited to meet with us in the room to your left after this time at the altar, and we'll have some fellowship.
Come to the front, and dedicate yourself to do whatever it takes to live A Life of Faith.
Lord God, thank you for your Word. We ask that this not just be another day, but that today would mark the beginning of a brand new life, as we change the direction of our minds and start sailing in the direction you created us to go.
Your Word says that our tongue is like the rudder of a ship; it is very small, but it controls the direction of our lives. And today we dedicate ourselves to using our tongues to steer our hearts, minds, and lives in a new direction; as we, instead of going in endless circles, point with purpose and power toward the endless horizon; watching it with great anticipation, as we steer our vessels toward the promised land.
Give us the power, motivation, and direction to make this a way of life. And we give you all the thanks and praise. And it's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen!