Believing God As He Promised In His Word
2 Corinthians 5:7
I. Introduction - Christianity begins with FAITH (Acts 27:25)
A. Faith is believing and trusting in God
B. You start with faith as the first step, and then constantly add to it.
1. The Christian is saved by faith
2. And the Christian continues to lives by faith. That's the only way to live.
C. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, "We walk by faith, not by sight."
D. Many people say, "We're worried about what's happening in the world" or "If things don't change in our world, we're finished." Christians shouldn't live that way. We don't live by the media; we don’t live in fear! We live by faith in the eternal God.
E. God wants us to live in absolute dependence on Him. By faith we believe God enough that He is still able to bring more people into His Kingdom, and able to send out more to preach, teach, and serve. We believe God for the funds, for the buildings, and whatever it takes to do the work He wants us to do. God has always proven Himself faithful. People can get upset over many things, but I can't get upset over them when I know that everything is under God's control – that’s faith!
II. There are Two kinds of Faith: Wrong Faith and Right Faith
A. Wrong Faith – Wasted Faith
1. Blind faith, guessing kind of faith, hoping, trying, wishing for something to happen, with no idea and no guarantee that it will happen
2. A neglecting faith that leaves firm beliefs to parents, and to pastors, and to religious fanatics
a. Many trust their priest’s faith, who may be trusting their bishop’s faith, who may be trusting their cardinal’s faith, who may be trusting their pope’s faith, who may be dead!
b. Don’t try and ride on ANYONE’S spiritual coat-tails!
3. Trusting ANY other source for truth other than the Bible – period!
a. Your Experiences – “well, I know what I saw…”
b. Your Feelings – “I just can get over how I feel…”
c. Your Past – “How could God ever forgive ME?”
d. Astrology, evolution, superstitions
B. Right Faith – or Real Faith (Heb 11:1; 2Peter 1:1)
1. Real Faith has substance – it is the substance of my hope – it is built upon the facts of things you have not seen (Job 26:7; Isa 40:22)
2. Real faith is precious (rare) – so many claim to “believe” but all they do is “go along with what they are taught” – they have the faith of devils (James 2:19).
a. Not everyone who says Lord Lord (talks spiritual) is a child of God
b. Not everyone who prays and tries their hardest is going to heaven
c. It is rare to find someone with the faith of a child
d. The FIRST step here is to GET YOUR FAITH RIGHT!
3. Real faith is common – it is universal – it’s for everyone – not just pastors, missionaries, evangelists, old people, and people who have nothing else to live for
a. It is for thieves on a cross (thief on the cross)
b. It is for Kings on their throne (Agrippa)
c. It is for Moms (2Tim 1:5)
d. It is for Dads
e. It is for Rebels
f. It is for the quiet ones too
g. It is for absolutely everybody, no matter how messed up your life may be
4. Real faith is Proven (2Pet 1:4; 1Pet 1:5-7)
a. Did you know that you can prove your faith to be real, and right?
b. If your faith grows stronger in the fires and trials, then it is real!
c. If however, your faith weakens and shrinks in the troubles and trials of life, then clearly, it is somehow flawed, and filled with dross, and with wrong concepts (PICTURE OF IMPURE SILVER)
5. Real faith is Biblical (1Thes 2:13)
a. To be a Christian at all, in any true sense, you must believe the words of the Word of God – the Bible; that is the starting point.
b. Do you believe the Word of God?
c. Do we take the Bible's attitudes for our attitudes? Never mind what some clever men and women (Oprah Winfry, etc) are saying on TV to the contrary;
d. Do we believe that God created the heavens and the earth in six days, just as he said?
e. Do we believe that God is Lord of history and of destiny? Most people are FATALISTS – plain and simple – NO FAITH AT ALL!
f. Do we believe that GOD is in charge of the international affairs of the world, and He is steering and guiding world events, and even overruling them in order to bring about His purpose? (Thank God)!
g. Do we believe He is Lord over our life, and has a supreme claim upon your life and mine? Supreme claim!
h. Do we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Come in the flesh
i. Do we believe that He is the only Saviour of this world?
j. THAT is what it means to have 'faith'.
k. “Faith is an empty hand taking the gift of truth from the hand of God.”
6. Reality Check: If we haven't got faith, then of course, we are not really Christians at all. To go to church, and NOT believe in the words of this Book, is to admit you are NOT a Christian, and are in need of the Saviour! Jesus said to His Father, “Thy word is truth!” (John 17:17)
III. The Effect of Faith
A. Accesses the free gift of forgiveness and salvation from hell (Eph 2:8,9)
B. Accesses peace with God (Rom 5:1)
C. Pleases God – not your efforts, but your faith in Him (Heb 11:6)
D. Gets answers to your needs (Mk 11:24)
E. Brings all good things into your life (2Pet 1:3) just by personally knowing Jesus!
IV. How to Grow Your Faith (Luke 17:5; Mark 9:24)
A. Constantly Feed it (Rom 10:17) – I know I am a broken record here
1. God help us all to feed on the pages of this book
2. I love devouring a good cup of coffee – same with reading and studying the truths in the words of this Book!
3. Does your faith stand up well against troubles? If not, then MORE BIBLE!
4. There is not a person in this room who couldn’t confess that they are too busy! Not feeding on this Book – maybe snacking, maybe being spoon fed on a Sunday – but too many in this room are STARVING their faith!
5. To grow your confidence IN GOD, then get into this Bible starting in Matthew and work your way through to Rev, and then genesis through to the very end!
6. Suggest a notebook – write something down every time you read! Something, anything! Just write down a thought from what you read – it will be sweet what happens to your faith and your very life!
B. Constantly Force it – use your faith, doing good works, trusting God for every outcome – make yourself obey that Book!
1. You may say, “I don’t have much” – you have enough, believe me
2. It is not the amount of faith you have, it is whether it all rests on Jesus Christ and His promises!
C. Constantly Fight with it
1. Wrestling with your spiritual enemy by FAITH instead of by sight will make you stronger and better at it with time and experience (2Co 10:3-5)
2. This is hard because by habit we only fight like we always have – hard to learn how to think differently, and act differently
3. That’s why we first FEED on the word of God – it DOES change us - miraculously
D. Constantly Live in it
1. Faith in not something in a Book, or a creed to memorise: it is the key to the unseen world of the Spirit-filled life of the believer that walks above the world, and above the trials, and above the limitations of the flesh.
2. This one step (increasing your faith) will enable you to take each of the next steps presented in 2Peter 1 – without a good strong foundation of confidence and faith in God’s promises, you will lose your footing, and fall hard (2Pet 1:10).
V. What if You Don’t Increase Your Faith?
A. Simply, you will fall – you won’t lose your salvation, but you could lose everything else: Your joy, your peace, your purpose, your confidences, your blessings
B. Secondly, you will never succeed at anything of value – every success without dependence upon God is vanity (Solomon finally figured that truth out) – everything will only pass on to someone else, will only crumble to dust, will be stolen, or will die. Faith in the eternal God is where eternal life is found, and eternal rewards and eternal treasures, and eternal joy!
C. Lastly, without strong, growing, vibrant faith, the devil will make mince out of your life – ruin your mind, and especially your heart (1Pet 5:8,9)!
D. A Christian cannot live without a confident faith in the Lord! They will ONLY shrivel up, dry up, and ultimately die!
VI. Conclusion (Luke 8:25; Hebrews 12:2)
A. Where is your faith?
1. Do you have any? Has it been stolen, been run over, been ruined by sin, and the world?
2. Thankfully, according to Hebrews 12:2, Jesus is the author and the finisher of our faith
3. If you let Him lead, and you just follow, by faith, you will finally have found life – eternal life
4. It all begins on the level ground, just under the cross
5. Come to God as a sinner (I am talking to Moms and dads, teens and grandpa’s, Nans and businessmen, and women), and if you will come to Christ Jesus by faith – not by sight remember (no statues here) – but by faith, believing this Bible to be true, and if you will ask God to forgive your sins, He will! And better than that, He will make you His child!
B. So. How big is your faith? I think all of us need some serious boosting, some serious growth in the area of our trust in God, and His word
C. This week, we all need to take a good look in this Book of books, and read it tonight and stay reading it until our faith starts shining bright and strong no matter how dark the night!
D. Let’s stand together!
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Ireland