Paul tells us in Romans 1:17 "The just shall live by Faith." This is a quality lacking amongst many in the old testament. What can we learn about how to live by faith? We should welcome trials and tests as opportunities to strengthen and stretch out our faith and trust in God because we will need a lot more faith and endurance as the end time approaches.
10-16-10 Faith = Trusting God & Those Who Lead Us
Introduction – My topic today is one of the 3 most basic “enduring qualities”—a quality that we must have in order to endure to the end, and lack of which was the main reason for the failure of the first generation of OT Israel that God led out of Egypt. NKJ Romans 1:16 ¶ 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."
• NLT 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. • Faith is the foundation of life for God’s people. SPS – What does it mean to live by faith? NKJ Hebrews 11:1 ¶ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
• Faith fills in the gap or the void from lack of visual evidence of what God promises. NLT Hebrews 11:1 ¶ Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. NET NIV 2 Corinthians 5:7 for we live by faith, not by sight.
• That requires unconditional confidence and trust in God. NKJ Romans 4:21 Abraham was “fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” NLT Genesis 15:1-6 ¶ Some time later, the LORD spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, "Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great." 2 But Abram replied, "O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessings when I don't even have a son? Since you've given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. 3 You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir." 4 Then the LORD said to him, "No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir." 5 Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, "Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That's how many descendants you will have!" 6 And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.
• But Abraham had to wait many years before there was even any evidence that God would perform what he promised to do.
• However, he continued believing and trusting God. • We often have to wait for God to provide what He has promised to us. NKJ Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: NLT James 1:2 ¶ Dear brothers and sisters,1 when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. God also tested Israel with the goal of doing good for them. Deuteronomy 8:15-16 15 "who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water; who brought water for you out of the flinty rock; 16 "who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do you good in the end.
• But unfortunately, they failed the tests. NKJ 1 Corinthians 10:1-5 ¶ Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness. NKJ 1 Corinthians 10:11 Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
• What is the lesson for us?
• What was the basis of Israel’s failure? Exodus 14: 5-9) Pharaoh & his armies pursue the Israelites. 10) The Israelites were “very afraid.”
• That is certainly an understandable human reaction.
• The physical evidence told them that they were trapped and doomed to die. 11-12) Israel accuses God & Moses of ulterior motives—seeking to kill them. 13ff) God opens up the Red Sea and delivers them. Exodus 15: 1-20) Israelites sing praises to God. • But their faith didn’t endure (not even to the end of the chapter). 22-25) Israel “murmured” against Moses. Exodus 16: 1-4) Israel again accuses Moses of killing them with hunger. NLT Exodus 17:1-7 ¶ At the LORD's command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sin 1 and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. 2 So once more the people complained against Moses. "Give us water to drink!" they demanded."Quiet!" Moses replied. "Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the LORD?" 3 But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. "Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?" 4 Then Moses cried out to the LORD, "What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!" 5 The LORD said to Moses, "Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. 6 I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai.1 Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink."
So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on. 7 Moses named the place Massah (which means "test" ) and Meribah (which means "arguing" ) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the LORD by saying, "Is the LORD here with us or not?" Numbers 13-14 – Israel’s final failure Numbers 13: 1, 17-20) 23-33) The Israelites react to the visual, physical evidence. Numbers 14: 1-4) Israel makes plans to return to Egypt. 5-9) Only Caleb and Joshua trusted God to lead them to the promised land. 26-38) The tragic result—only Caleb & Joshua spared. Hebrews 3:5-19 5 Moses was certainly faithful in God's house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. 6 But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God's entire house. And we are God's house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.1 7 ¶ That is why the Holy Spirit says, "Today when you hear his voice, 8 don't harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness. 9 There your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years. 10 So I was angry with them, and I said, 'Their hearts always turn away from me. They refuse to do what I tell them.' 11 So in my anger I took an oath: 'They will never enter my place of rest.' " 1 12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters.1 Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. 13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still "today," so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. • “warn” = Gr. parakaleō – can also mean to comfort or encourage, as in ref. to the resurrection. NKJ 1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
NLT 1 Thessalonians 4:18 So encourage each other with these words. 14 For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ. 15 Remember what it says: "Today when you hear his voice, don't harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled." 1 16 And who was it who rebelled against God, even though they heard his voice? Wasn't it the people Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And who made God angry for forty years? Wasn't it the people who sinned, whose corpses lay in the wilderness? 18 And to whom was God speaking when he took an oath that they would never enter his rest? Wasn't it the people who disobeyed him? 19 So we see that because of their unbelief they were not able to enter his rest.
• They didn’t trust God and they didn’t trust Moses—the man that God provided to lead them. NKJ Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:7-12 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.
• Where was the evidence of an impending flood?
• Can’t you imagine the ridicule and scorn of his neighbors?
• Ex. – Field of Dreams – turning a cornfield into a baseball diamond solely because of the conviction that this was what he was supposed to do. 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. • Likewise, Abraham followed God’s instruction to pack up and leave at age 75 with no explanation of details. 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. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude -- innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
• Sarah trusted God to give her a child despite the fact that was well beyond the age of childbearing. Hebrews 11:17-19 17 ¶ By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called," 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.
• Abraham passed the supreme test of faith & trust in God by following instructions that made no sense and were contrary to what God had promised earlier.
• But he knew that God would still fulfill His promise. Hebrews 11:20-21 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
• Without trust in God, these blessings would simply be well-wishes. Hebrews 11:22 22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.
• A simple request based on his assurance that God would come through on His promise to give Israel into the promised land. NKJ Genesis 50:22 ¶ So Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father's household. And Joseph lived one hundred and ten years. 23 Joseph saw Ephraim's children to the third generation. The children of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were also brought up on Joseph's knees. 24 And Joseph said to his brethren, "I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." 25 Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here." 26 So Joseph died, being one hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. NKJ Exodus 13:18 So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt. 19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you."
NLT Hebrews 11:13 ¶ All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.
• They believed and trusted God and based important decisions in life on God’s promises.
• But they had to endure for a long time before seeing results, and of course they all died without yet receiving the promise of eternal life. NKJ Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: NKJ Matthew 24:12 "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 "But he who endures to the end shall be saved. NET Matthew 24:12 and because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the person who endures to the end will be saved.21 NLT Matthew 24:12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. NLT James 1:2 ¶ Dear brothers and sisters,1 when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
• We should welcome trials and tests as opportunities to strengthen and stretch out our faith and trust in God, because we will need a lot more faith and endurance as the end time approaches. NLT Hebrews 13:17 ¶ Obey (“trust, have confidence” in) your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit. NLT Ephesians 4:11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Conclusion – Living by faith involves believing and trusting God and the leaders that He has provided to see us through the trials and tests of life and to protect us against the subtle strategies of Satan the Devil. • We all need God and we need each other.
• Much can be accomplished by trusting God and our leaders and working together as a team.
• Ex. recent rescue of miners in Chile.
• “If you’ve ever doubted the importance of teamwork and collaboration, just look to the rescue of the miners in Chile.”
• “Miners’ Rescue Shows what Teamwork can Do” (Vancouver Sun article).
• Our calling involves helping Jesus Christ rescue a dying world.
• This also requires teamwork—trusting God and our team captain Jesus Christ and also trusting those that they designate as our leaders.
• This, plus living our lives based on the laws and promises of God is what it means to live by faith.
• The just shall live by faith—not only in this life but for all eternity.