Living by the Power of Faith

Instead of Living by Any Other Means

1st Corinthians 2:1-5


Sept 14, 2014 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (1Cor 2:1-5)


A.    Notice what the Apostle Paul compares with the Christian life.

B.     He compares what we all normally live by, with how HE lived as a Christian


1.      We normally think we have to live by the power of our ABILITY


a.       We believe we have to have “excellency of speech” – Moses thought that

b.      Perfect diction and pronunciation


2.      We have to live by the power of INTELLIGENCE and wisdom


a.       Believing that we must know all things – have great amounts of wisdom


3.      We are expected to have HEALTH and STRENGTH (2:3)

4.      We believe we need to be good at manipulating and enticing people to do what WE want (2:4)

5.      And he could have gone on and described how so many people live


a.       By the power of their money – without money, they have no power

b.      By the power of anger, and forcing our own way – no one listens to them unless they are angry and yelling and cursing

c.       By the power of drugs, and drink – they have no confidence unless they have shot up, drunk up, or doped up

d.      By the power of popularity


6.      That is what people normally live by, or at least SEEK to live by

7.      They think they simply don’t have a life if they lack any of those things


C.    But did you notice?


1.      That Paul’s speaking ability was RUDE and even CONTEMPTIBLE (2Cor 10:1; 11:6)

2.      Paul’s intelligence and education, got in his way and had to be dumped (Phip 3:5-8)

3.      His own health and physical strength was taken from him through years of beatings, and whippings, and stonings, and imprisonments!

4.      He lived in weakness, fear, trembling

5.      Paul’s talk and preaching, and very words that he spoke on a daily basis were not that of a great orator, but on someone who lived out a demonstration of the Holy Spirit, and of POWER

6.      You see, Paul was a contradiction of what people expected, and of what God can do (2:5) so that your and my faith would not stand in anything other than the POWER of God

7.      So that we all would live BY faith, and THROUGH faith!


D.    There is a greater power, in just believing God – in trusting Him – in knowing that He is working everything together for good, and that He will take whatever is going on in your and my life (as long as it is in HIS hands), and make something beautiful out of it!


1.      Not in understanding Him and what He is doing

2.      Not in seeing and knowing HOW everything will work out

3.      But just in trusting His wisdom, and His care

4.      Believing His promises

5.      Resting in His works

6.      There are not many wise, wealthy, popular people that experience what we are about to talk about – it is not easy to have your own power, AND still need GOD’S power


a.       Jesus said, if you are very smart, you are going to have to become foolish

b.      If you are wealthy, you are going to have to become poor

c.       If you are powerful and popular, you are going to have to become a fool

d.      If you are old, and settled in your ways, you are going to have to become a CHILD!

e.       For only then will you see the power of God


E.     I want us to experience the same power that Christians throughout history have lived by. Why miss such an opportunity that living by faith offers?


II.    Background (Hebrews 11:33-35)


A.    The Benefits of Believing God. God Reminds Us What HE Can Do When we believe Him!
To remind us just GOD can do when we trust Him, God wrote Hebrews 11 – notice what ordinary, messed up people’s faith throughout history: (impossible things happened)


1.      Through Faith … subdued kingdoms


a.       Gideon (a farmer with 300 men and lanterns) defeated the mighty Midianites

b.      Moses brought mighty Egypt to its knees

c.       David (a lowly shepherd boy, with a sling) conquered Philistines

d.      HOW? Not by strategy, or by armies, or by bribery

e.       But BY faith in the God of heaven and earth (1Sam 17:40,45-47)!


2.      Through Faith … wrought righteousness – worked righteousness into ungodly cultures


a.       Young Samuel brought a time of personal holiness and righteousness into the wicked Jewish culture of his day! Up until then, everyone was only doing what was right in their own eyes!

b.      Elijah- by himself - humbled and converted the entire nation of Israel (1Kings 18:21-24, 29-39)


3.      It was through Faith that … Obtained the promises God gave them


a.       Abraham and Sarah – held baby Isaac

b.      Joshua – obtained the entire Promised Land (Josh 21:45)

c.       Without strong faith, Abraham and Sarah would have died childless, and Joshua and all Israel would have died wandering in the wilderness to this day!

d.      It is the only way to obtain what God has promised us in the Scriptures – by faith


4.      It was by Faith that … Stopped the mouths of lions


a.       Sampson (Judges 14:6)

b.      David again (1Sam 17:34-37)

c.       Daniel (Daniel 6:16-23)


5.      It was by Faith that Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego Quenched the violence of fire (Dan 3:16-28)

6.      By Faith … Escaped the edge of the sword


a.       David escaped the sword of Goliah – actually took home Goliath’s sword as a souvenir

b.      Mordecai and the Jews escaped the sword of Haman – who set out to have every Jewish man, woman and child massacred!


7.      By faith … Out of weakness were made strong


a.       Samson, when blind, in chains, and pitiful, became mighty again and defeated more Philistines in his weakness than he did all the days of his life!

b.      The Apostle Paul was made strong IN his weaknesses (2Cor 12)


8.      By faith … Waxed valiant in fight – rose to the impossible challenges of warfare


a.       General Barak (Judges 4:4-8, 14-16)


9.      By faith … Turned to flight the armies of the aliens.


a.       Jonathan (1Sam 14:6-16)


B.     These are all the RESULTS of believing God over the obvious circumstances surrounding your life; believing God over reasoning, and especially over popular opinion

C.     Not that you determine what you want to happen in your life – but that you trust that, what WILL happen, will be good!


III. Message – How Are We to Live By THAT Same Faith? There is no better faith to live by than the kind of faith that can experience those things!


There are some things that are common with all those people who experienced the power of a faith-filled life!


A.    Know the Testimony of God (1Cor 2:1) – learn more and more about it – don’t think you ever have learned enough of GOD’S testimony (Psalm 78:1-8)


1.      Know HIS way of working (Psalm 95:8-10).

2.      Become convinced that it is perfect (Psalm 18:30)

3.      So, Don’t be ignorant of GOD’S ways of doing things. Our nation is perishing because of plain ignorance! They think God should do things THEIR way – same with Israel


a.       Folks! His thinking is not our way of thinking

b.      His answers are far beyond our requests

c.       LEARN what you can trust God for!


B.     Just Believe God – be fully persuaded (Rom 4:20), convinced that he is God (THAT he IS IN CONTROL), and not anything else!

C.     Make the faith of Jesus Christ, YOUR Own faith (Galatians 2:20)


1.      Not the church’s faith, or your pastor’s faith, or your parent’s faith, but YOUR own faith – what YOU believe!!! What you are convinced to believe, no matter what is going on around you!

2.      It does no good to only hold a Bible in your hand

3.      It does no good to only know what the Bible says

4.      It does you no good to only know about the author of your faith

5.      And yet not just trust Him, knowing HE is God

6.      You need to decide every day, even every hour, to just trust HIM!


a.       2Ti 1:12  For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

b.      1Pe 1:8  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:


D.    Go Ahead and BE Weak, and NOT Strong (2Cor 12:7-10)


1.      Most people don’t need God

2.      So, when they DO need Him, it will be too late!

3.      So, when God is making you weak, and breaking you, it is a good thing!


E.     Allow God to NOT do things the way YOU think (Heb 11:35-38), and in YOUR time


1.      We always only want God to do great, showy things in our favour

2.      But faith, trusting God, allows Him to do things or NOT do things that we may want

3.      Like when Jeremiah told everyone in Jerusalem to surrender to the Babylonians- the false prophets said NO! God wouldn’t tell you to submit to an ungodly man like Nebuchadnezzar – oh but God did just that!

4.      Like when Jesus told Peter and all the disciples that He had come to Jerusalem to be crucified! Peter argued and refused to believe it!


F.      Praise God ahead of time (Romans 4:20)

G.    God has promised that He will do something as marvellous as He has done in the past!
By faith you will be able to not only see Him do what he promises, but you will be able to experience it as well. Without faith, you will miss everything!


IV. Conclusion


A.    I listed a few of the great things that faith experiences in Hebrews 11:33-34. Listen to what simple faith STILL Accomplishes:


1.      Believing God’s Son over your own failures and sins and weaknesses, Saves anyone from sin’s penalty (Romans 1:16-18), and makes them fit for heaven!

2.      Believing God Word over your depressions, and past and bondages, Breaks anyone free from Satan’s power (Acts 26:18)

3.      Believing God KEEPS a Christian, secures them, all the way home to heaven (1Peter 1:5)

4.      And best of all, believing God, just pleases God (Heb 11:6) – makes Him happy! And thereby, makes YOU happy!


B.     You don’t have to have any


1.      ABILITY

2.      INTELLIGENCE and wisdom


4.      Money

5.      Fierce anger

6.      Drugs, or drink

7.      Popularity

8.      To experience such great things in your life


C.     Next time you find yourself worn out, defeated, not knowing what to do, or how, believe God! Trust His words. Praise Him for being GOD, and thank Him for being faithful. And ask Him to help YOU just stay faithful following Him!

D.    What you and I need is to daily, passionate, humble walk with God, just following God’s Son, and a trust in Him, knowing that He knows best, and that will only do amazing things

E.     Has the Lord Jesus been allowed to save YOUR soul from sin yet? By faith you can ask, and He will save you!