July 28, 2019
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Good morning, today we will be continuing on the topic the Good Fight of Faith. Now I must confess Pastor Justin has been shaking my whole understanding of faith the last few weeks so I bear with me as I am learning to embrace the very things I am going to talk about today. But if you have any questions or concerns with my message, make sure you ask Justin after service. In all seriousness, this concept of faith really pushes the envelope for me internally. Justin actually told me I could minister on something else if I preferred, but I felt I was supposed to continue on this topic for two reasons:
1. I think it was necessary for me to study and to think about.
2. I think by you seeing some of my internalizations and how I am attempting to figure this out, may help you to do the same.
Throughout my Christian life, there have been times where I have viewed faith as a formula or a process to get to obtain something I desire or to get to a destination. I see a need, a problem, or a difficult circumstance and I find scriptures concerning that area and I begin to confess those scriptures to build my faith in that area hoping that my faith will finally get strong enough to produce what I am desiring. I’ve often had a view of faith as a means to get something I want. But faith is not just a formula or a mechanical process; it’s the breath by which we are to live.
Romans 1:16-17 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.”
A few years ago, we were having our yearly conference at a church I used to attend and the week before I was asked to speak on what should we believe for? Sharing that message was eye opening to me even then. So let me ask you, what is that we are to have faith for? What are we to believe for? I’ve heard people say if you’re not using your faith for something, then you’re not using it at all. If you don’t use it you lose it! As I shared that message even several years ago, I realized that I wasn’t really interested in the stuff faith could get me. Would I like a new car? – sure that would be great. Would I like a new house – that would be nice to? But that’s not what captures my heart to expend the energy I need to exert for faith.
Now let me say this, God’s been so good to me that last year I moved into a new house. This past month I purchased a new car. I live in a home I never dreamed of living in at a price I never dreamed of affording. Based upon my education I have far exceeded the salary limits of my occupation. So we are not against prosperity, we are not against wealth, but it’s not our pursuit. Let me illustrate what I mean and why I say this:
A few months ago Pastor Justin showed the map of the Israelites journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. It was an 11-12 day journey and it took 40 years. That has bothered me. To make it worse, Moses, the guy that led this crazy bunch of 2 million didn’t even get to enter the Promised Land because he got mad at the people and struck the rock instead of speaking to the rock for water to come out. That has bothered me too. Like God that is so unfair, how could you do that? Why would you do that?
The Promised Land was not God’s goal. I don’t think God’s primary focus was the Israelites comfort – a land of milk and honey and watermelon sized grapes. Look what God was interested in:
Exodus 6:7 I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
Exodus 8:20 And the Lord said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh as he comes out to the water. Then say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me.
Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.
Moses had his priorities right. When it came to having God or getting to the Promised Land – Moses willingly gave up the Promised Land. – think about it big grapes, watermelons, or the presence of God.
Exodus 33:1-3 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Depart and go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ 2 And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. 3 Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I [a]consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked[b] people.”
Exodus 33:15 Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.
So what are we to believe for because I’ve heard two sides of the faith scale:
Side A: faith tends to be methodical formula I that use to try and avoid bad circumstances or to make me more comfortable. The problem for me with this is that Jesus promised us persecution, and trials, and tribulation. The enemy is going to fire his fiery darts. Faith doesn’t stop them from coming so if being in faith is determined by how comfortable I am – then I’m always failing. I’m always out of faith. And if my joy and mood is dependent on whether or not I have an difficult being thrown at me I’m always going to be depressed.
Side B of the faith scale is Que Cera Cera, whatever will be will be , whatever God’s will is that’s what’s going to happen. The problem with this is I’m a wave of the sea tossed to and fro – I have no confidence. I’m really not sure what the will of God is so I never know what to believe.
I Timothy 4:12 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses
1. Believe in the goodness of God
2. God’s love for us
3. Our new identity
4. What God says about us