Over the last several weeks we have been studying the idea of “Living by Faith”!
We say this as if a person has a choice about “Living by faith”. In reality, a person always lives by faith….the faith they have in what they believe.
Some people SAY they have faith in God or God’s word but they don’t believe that this “faith” requires any action. In other words they DO believe they DON’T have to do anything, therefore, their life shows no difference in their action.
A person’s actions will eventually align with their true belief. If you believe God is real and will judge us, then your life will reflect that.
There are two types of faith that James talks about. Faith with works and faith without works. Which one will save you? That is what we discussed in Sunday’s lesson.
You can hear it here.
As we live by faith, we run a race that we, ourselves chose to enter. On May 20th, we discussed the need to lay aside our hindrances and sins; and in this sermon preached on May 27th, we discuss the ways in which we are to run that race.
We are to run with endurance. We cannot just give up and quit.
We are to look to Jesus because He is the end of the race for us. We know where we are headed and so we need to keep our eyes focused.
We need to consider Jesus. Looking at His life and what He did, how He lived it and what He went through. With careful consideration of the life of Jesus, we will not grow weary in our race. We will be able to endure.
The sermon can be heard by clicking this link
Living by Faith is the life that follows the instructions of God. It will also require some actions on our part to remove things from our life that keep us from being able to serve God effectively.
As this series of sermons on living by faith comes to a close, we note that the Hebrew writer urges his follows to imitate the people mentioned in chapter 11.
We are to “Also” lay aside weights and sin. They did it and we can too; their lives testifies to the fact that they laid aside weights and sin and we can follow those footsteps–even though he is going to quickly point us to follow Jesus. Those of chapter 11 may be considered heroes of faith but really, it is their faith that made them that. They were ordinary men and women doing ordinary obedience-the kind that anyone can do if they are willing too.
Weights are not sins but they are hindrances and obstacles to us achieving our goal. The Christian goal is to get to Heaven, to find that city whose foundation was not laid by man.
Serving God is not only done at a worship service. Working hard, tending to your family, helping neighbors, raising children, even resting can all be things which we do in such a way as to serve God. The problem though is when those things take such a priority as to put them first in front of God. At that point, they become a hindrance.
In my experience it is the recreational area that creates the most hindrance. How much time do you spend in recreational, “me time” pursuits? Binge watching your favorite series or binge playing Candy Crush is almost never a good use of your time when there are so many things to do in the kingdom of the Lord.
Sins, of course, are violations of God’s law and need to be stopped. However, as many of us find out, we may be free from sin after being baptized into Christ (Romans 6) but we are not mechanically kept from sin and sin….is still there to tempt us. It is clingy and needs to be removed and laid aside too.
As we do this, we are then able to do the positive things which the lesson from March 28th will deal with. The first part is posted on our website if you wish to listen to the sermon, click here.
If Faith come by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17), then it follows that we want to give everyone a chance to hear the word of God so that faith has an opportunity to develop.
However, the Bible tells us that there are different types of hearers: those who are hard of hearing, dull of hearing, having itching ears, and those who hear with a good and honest heart.
Sunday’s sermon discusses these different types of hearers and offers some suggestions on how to be a better hearer/listener. You can listen to the sermon online by clicking this link.
One of the problems with having heroes of faith is that we tend to forget that they were men and women like us. “They put their pants on one leg at a time” just like we do and because of this, we should remember that when they weren’t building arks, slaying giants, escaping fiery furnaces, or conquering cities they had a regular life.
If someone were to write a biography about your life, would they be able to say that you lived by faith? If you think only in terms of “BIG” things then probably not but if you think in terms of “simple obedience in faith” to what God says in His word, then the answer is absolutely!
Today’s lesson sets the stage for next weeks lesson where we will try to apply the lessons of Hebrews 11 to ourselves but it is important to take time to note….even ordinary people can be people who live by faith.
The sermon can be heard by clicking on this link.
The Hebrew writer is definitely encouraging his readers to live by faith and by the time he gets to chapter 11, the foundation has been well laid. Encouragement to live by faith surely can be given by pointing out those that have successfully done so. However, I think that we can, at times, find encouragement (or perhaps resolve) when we consider those that did not live by faith and the consequences it had.
Today’s lesson mixes both the faithful and the not faithful to help us realize we do indeed learn something from those who did not live faithfully. Zedekiah, king of Judah, and the first generation of Israel who came out of Egypt are our examples of the ‘not so faithful’ and after you listen to this, hopefully we will say: “I don’t want to be like them”
You can listen to the sermon by clicking this link.
Living by faith requires that we listen to God’s instructions. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17) Which is to say, as I understand it, that living by faith requires living by the Word of God.
When we do things based on what God’s word says we are doing things by faith. When we presume that God will act on us our behalf when he has not said so then we act upon non faith.
Joshua’s battle against Jericho shows us the benefit of listening to God’s instructions.
Do you live your life by faith? Look into God’s word and see! The sermon on this topic can be heard by following this link.
Of the many great things we can reflect on about Abraham’s life, his faith in God’s promises is an important one.
Living by faith involves believing what God says will happen. Sometimes, we don’t want to believe the promises and other times, we want to see promises which God never made.. Both are a problem.
Knowing the word of God will help us trust God’s promises. One or two examples will help illustrate.
God promised Abraham a son. That is God’s word. Sarah thought, perhaps, that God might need some help with that promise and so gave Abraham another wife, Hagar. That was not part of God’s promise. It caused more problems
Other times, we think we are acting on faith when God has given us no promise. If we refuse to bow down to an idol and God delivers us (cf Dan 3), the faith is NOT that God will deliver us from a fiery furnace but that God CAN DO SO if He chooses. Our Faith is in God’s word that says “Thou shalt not worship any idols” and previous statements that show God’s ability to deliver the righteous from the unrighteous. The subsequent obedience to God’s command to not worship an idol….now THAT is faith.
Perhaps I could use a modern day example. So many times in today’s sports, you will hear star players occasionally state that they had faith in God that they would win. If God had sent them a messenger and told them that they would win then such would be a true statement. But barring that, it is not true. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17) They surely had a desire but no assurance or evidence from God (Heb 11:1) that they WOULD win. Now playing a game in faith would involve being a good sportsman, playing by the rules, competing lawfully, etc and all of those actions are found in God’s word. One can play in faith and please God and yet not know that they will win-in fact, sometimes they lose.
We need to walk by faith in God’s promises. Let’s just be sure that we know what the actual promise is.
This sermon was presented on February 7th and you can listen to it here.
In last Sunday’s morning lesson we continued our series on living by faith or walking by faith by looking at the sacrifices Moses made in choosing God.
Anyone who chooses to serve God is going to have give up something and may wind up suffering because of it. The problem is that we are often willing serve God as long as it doesn’t cost us anything….or at least not much of anything.
Are you one who will choose and refuse? Choose God and His people, refuse the offers of Satan.
You can listen to the sermon by clicking this link.
As we live our life by faith, we need to recognize that part of that life involves listening to God’s warnings! Noah did and we can too.
Noah is our example of Listening to God’s warnings in our life of faith. Imagine building an ark to prepare for something that you had never seen and imagine the reactions of your neighbors.
God does not warn us to stay away from things because he doesn’t want us to have fun, He does it because He wants what is best for us. Will you listen to God’s warnings?
Which of God’s many warnings do you think is most important?
You can listen to last Sunday’s sermon on this topic here.