Faith: Explained


Uploaded by RealAnswersRealLife on 23.07.2012

Transcript:

Lord, we're here, and we know You are.
We wouldn't be here, unless You are. You're the one that brought
us here; You've brought us together, uniquely
for what it is--what it is that You've prepared today.
So, as always, I pray that people won't be
listening to me, but that they'll be hearing Your words,
Your Spirit will be inside of us,
sinking the meaning of these words; deep, deep
deep into us, so that when the time comes to respond,
we know why we're responding, and what we're responding to.
In Jesus name,
Okay, I've been painting a picture over the last couple of weeks, and
today I want to finish the picture.
We started and we'll do this every
one of these teachings, we'll start with this
statement: Please define faith.
[murmur from audience] Okay, I heard one..
anybody else?
[chuckles] It's okay.
[murmurings from audience] Okay, and where is that found?
Hebrews 11:1. So here it is
in the NIV. You're going to see this again
next week, so you might as well learn it. "Now faith is
"being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see,"
The picture I've been trying to paint,
over the last two weeks, and hope to finish today, is all about
being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we don't see.
Surprise, surprise, God has been
amazingly obliging in creating that picture for us.
It--it--it's almost beyond
belief that He would do the things He's done, and yet,
we're faced with this question following:
Given that that's what faith is, so what?
Right? I mean, be honest,
all my life, even in the bad old days, in the days of
gross legalism that I put myself under, I always
claimed to have faith; and then I would run head long into a wall,
and say, "oww! So what?"
I mean what good is this 'faith' stuff?
I asked that question of myself because faith is hard.
It's intangible; you can't put your hands on it and control it.
It's not like driving your car.
It's not something
you can touch. Because of that,
we tend to take way too low a view of
faith. We kinda presume that faith is
for somebody else. Because I've tried it,
notice the way I stated that: I tried faith, and it didn't
work.
Only so many bloody noses do you get before, you
start questioning your beliefs. Some
of us, it takes until we're 80, some of us
it takes until you're 9 and 1/2, and everything in between.
But we've got this problem with faith and
so what we need is a picture of what's going
on. So the first week we looked at faith in the Old Testament.
There is faith in the Old Testament. What
was it's characteristic? Faith in the Old Testament was
a human response to God's initiative.
God initiated to Israel through the Law,
on the prophets, through all the history and the poetry
and all of that stuff, God kept alive the
idea of what? Messiah.
Nobody could see Messiah, nobody can sense
Messiah, but from the very beginning,
immediately after the fall, God says,
"I'm going to bring Messiah, and He's going to crush the serpent's
"head," and He keeps that idea alive
through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. From Jacob to Judah,
and Judah through David, and eventually to Jesus.
Along the way, He says, "I'm going to show the world
"just what I can do, and I'm going to create this people, and I"m going to call them Israel.
"They're going to be a stiff-necked people.
"these aren't going to be people that any one of you would want to lead,
"and I'm going to convince Moses to lead them.
"I'm going to lead him, and lead them through him.
"and I need to create this people by creating a Law for them."
So He created the Mosaic covenant.
Remember, the Mosaic Covenant was not a covenant given to Judah
where the line of Jesus came through, it was given to Moses. It was a temporary
thing. Always intended to be temporary. And yes, when you
look at the Law, and say, "I'm going to keep this
I'm going to be saved because of this," You miss the whole point of faith.
If you just respond to God,
and say, "Yes, God, You are the One!" (as an Israelite)You are the One
"Who brought me out of Egypt, I"m Yours"
Things would have been a whole lot different.
But instead, they do what humans do. "oh sure
"Lord, we'll keep it!" and from the
first moment, from the very first moment they were on their faces in failure.
Wasn't the Law's fault.
But they missed faith. God initiated
all of this amazing stuff, and we looked at all of those prophecies in Isaiah,
and you can go all over the Old Testament and find it, but we concentrated on Isaiah,
"Messiah's coming! Messiah's coming! Messiah's coming!" Just
accept it! Be My people!
Quit trying to do it on your own.
Then, we get to what are called
the synoptic Gospels; Matthew, Mark and Luke, which tell the story
of Jesus.
The nature of faith changed there a little bit.
God didn't change, but what He asked of the people changed.
Why? Because He wanted a response to His initiative
in Jesus. In person.
Jesus was there, in front of them.
So now you have
God in the Old Testament, and Jesus
in these Gospels, and what was the response to Jesus
in these Gospels? It was about
as positive as the Jews' response to God in the Old Testament.
You know? We really like the miracles Lord, but,
how do we know You're God? [chuckles]
We looked at the idea of Jesus
talking to His disciples primarily and saying, "Oh you of little faith,
"You spend the day with Me, and watch the multitudes heal,
"or fed, or the dead raised, or the blind see,
"and, so many things that were prophesied are being
"fulfilled right here in front of you,
"and after spending the day, we get in the boat, and head across the lake,
"and I go to sleep, because I'm tired. A little squall blows up,
"and you're in a mass panic. Oh you of little
"faith. Oh by the way, stop."
The wind's quiet, the waves are calm,
and then they're amazed all over again. Yet they didn't get it.
They didn't get it, they didn't get it, and He had to go to the Gentiles
to find people who got it. A centurion: "Oh no, Lord,
"just speak. I know about power.
"You have the power, I trust You to do what You need to do.
"Just speak." Or the Syrophoenician woman:
"I know I'm a dog, Lord. I mean, you Jews tell me that all the time,
"But, even dogs get to eat crumbs from the table."
"What faith! What
faith!" The disciples are.. just...
just confused.
It's what they were--just confused.
So we asked a couple of questions last week.
Asked this question, and made a couple of statements: "How does
"this apply to us? How do we see ourselves in the stories of the Old Testament
and in the --Matthew, Mark and Luke?" Well, first
of all, we tend to look to ourselves, or to
external factors for strength.
We assume we can do it
by and for ourselves.
This is the attitude that says, "Well God's over here,
"and if I get in a pickle, I'll call Him."
You know, so, I'll do things. I'll live my life, I'll work my job,
I'll raise my family, then something bad happens, I go, "Ohh Lord!"
I can do it myself.
That leads to all kinds of problems. The other
attitude was, we feel that God has abandon us,
therefore we assume we must do it by and for ourselves.
The first one leads directly to the second one.
When I think I can do something by myself, and I
put myself in a giant hole,
then I call to God for help, and I'm really miffed
when He allows me to reap what I've sown. So
I accuse Him of abandoning me: "If You loved me Lord..."
You know, because I'm lovable..
I am! Just ask me!
Back in the day when I was writing a lot of music, and
I would go to Estes Park, Colorado. We had a
musical festival there--Christian music festival, and
one of the first things they always told us in the song writing class,
was: Just because your mom likes it, doesn't
make it a good song. Because they've
heard that a million times. Some terrible
I mean, no structure to the melody, terrible lyrics, maybe not even
true, and they're critiquing it, and the person would say, "Oh but my Mom
"liked it!" That's what we do to God.
We go out there, face first into a wall.
then we say, "Looorrrd!!" and He doesn't stop the bloody nose.
Then we say, "Well Lord? I guess
"You don't love me! I knew it all along, you know. I was just hedging my bets
"a little bit, but I knew You didn't love me, and so I've got to do it
"myself." Israelites did that,
the disciples did that, the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Essenes
did that. But we added a little
wrinkle last week. When we trade
faith for works, and we tend to do this all the time.
Faith is hard, so I'll substitute works for faith.
When that happens, we lose both, faith and
works. We try to be holy.
We discover that there
is no holiness, and there's no faith.
The problem is, it's kind of like an addiction cycle.
Because there's some good feelings that come when you're acting holy. Because people
will pat you on the head, or they'll like you in the neighborhood, there are all kinds of things.
You get better promotions at your job, so
there's a pleasure cycle to this-
this legalism. Then there's a pain cycle when you fail, and you can't
let anybody know you've failed, because if you do,
then they'll know you're a faker. You can't
be a hypocrite and admit it.
It's the whole nature of hypocrisy, right?
Where did the word hypocrite come from? The Greek Theater.
Was the person who put on a mask, and assumed a role
"Oh, that's not Bill,
"that's... Hermes! He's playing Hermes today..
"in the play," So he's a hypocrite, he was playing a role
somebody else's role. Well, we sign on for these roles,
and we think they're for life! "Let's see, I've got to be a
"Baptist. What does it mean to be a Baptist?" Okay, and you get out the handbook,
They do have one, you know. Every denomination has a handbook.
And you read what it means, and so you
take on that persona. You wear that mask.
Some days it goes well, and some days it goes
horribly, but you can never take off the mask, because if you do, somebody's going to
point at you. If they love you, they'll say, "Hey Richard,
"your--your mask slipped... put it back on"
if they don't love you, they'll go, (mock laughter) "Hey everybody look at Richard!"
and so
we're constantly trying to get approval from people and from God, and we've
discovered that there's no such thing as faith or works when you're in that position.
Everything is a loss.
So, we learn those things from
God in the Old Testament, and Jesus in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Well,
now we want to look at the letters.
Faith explained.
So, you would think that what I'm going to
do, is ..is.. a whole sequence of verses
in Paul's writings or John's writing... or.. you know, Peter
and will explain faith. If you've looked in a concordance
there are hundreds of examples of the word faith in the letters.
There's no way we could talk about faith in
the letters. I was scratching my head going, "How am I going to get this into 40 or 45 minutes?
"or an hour and a half, or..one week"
and God said, "Stop looking
"at the trees and look at the forest,"
I think you'll see a pattern here.
"The world cannot
"accept the Spirit of Truth" that's been referred in the previous
verse, "because it neither sees Him nor knows Him.
"But you know Him, for He lives with you, and will be in you.
"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you."
Jesus is talking to the disciples. So,
the Spirit of Truth, the disciples knew the Spirit of Truth
for He lives with you. Who's that?
Jesus. Jesus was right there. He
was the Spirit of Truth.
and will be in you.
Something's going to change. I will not
leave you as orphans. I'm going to leave you, but I won't
leave you as orphans. I will come to you. Does this
sound like anything that we read in Isaiah?
"Behold the virgin will conceive"
"will bear a son; but thou, oh Bethlehem
"though you are least, out of you will come
"the Messaiah."
God told Israel over and over and over and over again
Messiah was coming. Jesus tells the disciples,
Something is coming! The Spirit of Truth.
"All this I have spoken
"while still with you. But the
"counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name will teach you
"all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."
That's pretty important.
The difference between where we are in this part of
the story and the Old Testament, is that the Old Testament took place over 2,000
years. So people had to wait a long time, and we
know, because we're on this side of the event, that this was just going to be
a few days, you know, 50 days max from
Passover to Pentecost. But
still, the disciples didn't know anymore about what was coming than
did Israel back in the Old Testament.
But the promise was made.
"But I tell you the truth, it is for your good that I am going away,"
You know... this sounds on the surface sort of like
a Dear John letter. (chuckles from audience) You know, it's better if we're just
friends. If I go away,
if we break up, if we get divorced, if we... you know... whatever. Really, it'll
be better. In your heart of hearts, you're going,
"Who's kidding whom? This is going to hurt."
"Oh, it's good for you that I'm going away, because unless I go away,
"the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go away,
"I will send Him to you." Again, Jesus is saying
away, but I'm not going to leave you as orphans,"
He's painting a picture, He's setting them up
for something. So then He
dies, and He's raised, and He's hanging out with the disciples afterwards.
On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command:
"Do not leave Jerusalem,
"But wait, wait for the gift My Father promised.
"which you have heard Me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you'll
"be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
Do you think all of them were sitting there eating with Him and going,
"Well yeah, we got that,"
No. No more than we get when we hear it
before we're saved. They just
being human. They're just being what happens
when ...when..you're dead spiritually.
Something is tickling your soul, saying
"Listen to this!" Yet you can't get your hands on it.
You can't wrap your mind around what Jesus is saying.
Yet, He's saying it and...and.. you know that because He's
Jesus, that something's going to happen.
So He tells you to wait,
told Israel to wait.
"For you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.
"You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria.
"to the ends of the earth."
Told you before, that verse used to scare me to death.
Because the way I always read was: You will do witnessing.
That's not
what it says. "You will be my witnesses" Very
big difference. What do witnesses do? They witness.
So there is an action to it. But you notice you can't
witness, unless you are a witness.
The last thing
I needed as a teenager, was to be asked to go
door to door, or..whatever witnessing, because
I wasn't a witness. How could I witness
if I wasn't a witness?
I missed the whole first part of this. "When the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be
"My witness," so the
picture is being made a little clearer.
"When the Day of Pentecost came, they were all together
in one place." They did that a lot They all got together, because they were afraid
to be out in the crowds.
"Suddenly, a sound like the blowing of a violent
"wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting."
This would get your attention. It got
the attention of the people in the city. Imagine if you were right in the room.
Couple of weeks ago, we went to the Ranger game on Sunday
night. That was the game where the had "the bolt" of lightening
and the thunder...? And I'm sitting there
and I'm watching, and..and... you know, we..you can tell
the clouds were coming and all of that. All of a sudden, there's this flash of
light, it's the kind of light that, if you were watching a cartoon, all the
people in front of you, you would see their skeletons? *POOSH!*
and then BOOM!!! and it was a whole lot louder
than I just did it. I jumped in my seat. 43,000 people
went *GASP!* It was an amazing sound
in that stadium, and the whole game, people had been
trying to get the wave going..? At that moment, 43,000 people
"WHOA!" It was
amazing to watch. I'm sure you saw the news coverage,
and um, you know... the catcher..(laughter) the pitcher's
winding up, and he's just hoofing out of there, man! The umpire
right on his... and everybody runs off the field..
Suddenly, a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came
into that room. Got their
attention big time. BIG time.
"They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on
"each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak
"in other tonuges as the Spirit enabled them."
This is probably the shortest time prophecy
ever done in the Bible.
Jesus starts during the upper room
conversations, just before He's
killed; and He starts talking about, "I'm going away
"but I'm not going to leave you as an orphan, I'm going to send
"something...the Spirit of Truth; the Comforter, the Counselor"
Then after He's raised from dead, He says, "Just wait a few days,
"and the Holy Spirit will come."
A few days later, the Holy Spirit came. I mean, this whole
thing takes less than two months.
But they had to wait. Now, I think
the reason it took so long for Jesus to come in the first place, is that
God needed Israel to finish somethings, and because
of their hard heartedness, stiff-necked attitude,
it took a long time to get things ready. But as soon as
Jesus came back from the dead, when He was raised,
excuse me...making it sound like you know..a kid's birthday party,
Holy Spirit is going, "Can I go? Can I go? Can I go? Can I go? Is it..are we there yet?"
YES! and He comes.

This changes everything.
You see, God initiated Messiah. That's
the only word He used: Messiah.
Messiah included a lot of things, it wasn't Jesus
God initiated Messiah.
Messiah finally came, His name was Jesus, and HE initiated
the Holy Spirit.
Then the Holy Spirit came, and brought it full circle,
so that God was all and in all.
Scratching my head, thinking about
how to explain this? Let me try this,
for you: We've got the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We know that they are one. It's not
three different beings trying to
figure out how to work as a committee. They are One.
But they have chosen to play these
roles for us in order to make things
clearer for us, because we are stupid.
We couldn't figure this out if they
wrote it out and handed it to us. They had to demonstrate
it. They had to make it real.
I picked a triangle, because a triangle
is inherently a very strong structure.
When you're driving home, if you see old style bridges,
anywhere on your way home, notice how many triangles are in those bridges.
If you see new style bridges, and you can actually
stop under the bridge and you can look up at it? You will see that they have braced it
so that there are triangles in the bridges.
It's so strong, because all of the forces
act equally against each other and hold it steady.
If you just have two parallel pieces, one can bend.
But when you've got that triangle, you have to
completely destroy everything to break the triangle.
Just within it's design perameters, nothing is stronger.
So, we have the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
And the one of them, the Father,
worked the most in the Old Testament.
Then the Son came, and He worked for only 30 years,
30 something years, much shorter period of time. Then there wasn't even
shorter period of times--50 days,
and the Holy Spirit comes. Now the holy Spirit is here.
What was the point of all this? This is the point:

All of the power of God
is focused on you and me.

All the initiative taken by God from Adam and Eve clear through
to Jesus; and from Jesus to the Holy Spirit to right now, today.
has been focused on you and me.
and the you's and me's that came before us, and the you's and me's that will come after
us. Here's another way of looking
at it. Everything God
is, has been focused to you
and me.
So, it's not that Paul and
John and Peter and James and the writer of the Hebrews explain
faith to us, it's that the
Holy Spirit explained faith to them.

Get it?
God the Father explained a
bloodline in the Old Testament:
hang in there folks; I'm going to make sure that whatever happens
this bloodline continues, and Messiah will come.
Then Jesus came, and He said,
"Just hang in there folks; I'm going to do
"something that has never been done or imagined before," and He took
away sin. Then He was raised.
Then He said, "Wait a little longer, and you will see the results
"of Me being raised, when the Holy Spirit comes. " Then the whole
Holy Spirit comes and says, "Now are you
"beginning to see what this faith is? Now are you
"beginning to see why it makes sense to respond to Me
"God, and no one else? Don't be God
"yourselves, don't try it yourselves, don't look for it in anybody else,
"just look to Me." We have this entire
story tied together in God, by God,
for God, on our behalf.
This is radical stuff.
Because if we don't understand this, then the whole New Testament,
all those wonderful letters become
legalism. Alright?
Anybody can find any little piece of a phrase in the New Testament
just like they could find any little piece of a phrase in the Old Testament, and prove to you
that God's gonna slap you silly if you mess up.

We're all afraid of that! I don't want to get slapped silly by God; He's strong!
I don't want to get hit by any one of you, but think
about God. The Holy Spirit
says, "no,no,no! It's finished!"
So, what are some of the things that the Holy Spirit has been trying to
explain to us? We don't have time to go through all of these,
and this is just a smattering of number of things that we've looked in the New Testament.
before. But put it in this context, in this picture of God
the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit saying, "Here's
"what we're going to do to make things real.
"and we're going to bring this to pass, and we're going to offer this to people."
Satan, the whole time is going
"Hey! Hey! You can't do that!"
and what does God say to Satan? "Get behind Me"
Go away.
Well of course, Satan doesn't go away.
One of these days, God's going to say, "You're gone"
So, let's take a look at a few
things. The Holy Spirit is explaining to us
in regards to faith that we have eternal life.
I John 5:11. You have this testimony in your heart
you HAVE eternal life. The Holy Spirit told you that, I didn't.
If the Holy Spirit tells you that, how dare
anybody in my position tell you otherwise.
I'm telling you, I've tried to be patient
with people who say that you lose your salvation, but I'm coming to the
point that I'm going to have to sit down and shut up.
Because I... I.. the damage
it causes to people. If the Holy Spirit
says this, how dare we?

We have forgiveness. This is just one of the places where it talks about we have forgiveness.
(mockingly) Oh no, no you don't have forgiveness, you have to earn it
every day. Have to keep a clean slate
Get behind me Satan.
We have everything needed for life and godliness.
Oh no, no, no, you need an accountability group.
You need my book. That's what you really need, is my book.
So, because I need to eat, you need my book, it tells you how to have
everything you need. You know, what ridiculousness
we go through, and yet the Holy Spirit is standing there every day saying,
"You have this; this is yours. If you belong to me,
"this is yours." We have every spiritual blessing.
Again, what do we do? (mockingly) Well, no, no,
I've.. I know I have to do something on my own. There must be
something I have to do, you know, Lord. I must not have everything.
Every day of our lives, when we walk
outside of faith, we are calling God a liar to His face.
He will finish His work in us.
Oh!
Why do we spend all this time on Christian "disciplines"?
Well you know, you oughta do this,
you oughta do that, and you oughta do that, because you do this.. all of it
because you love God. If you loved Him,
you would keep His commandments, wouldn't you??
He will finish
His work. That's His job.
There is no condemnation.
Then why do I feel so condemned?
Well, apparently we've all been listening to the wrong voice.
Right? Later in the chapter, what does Paul say? Who is
he that condemns? Well, clearly the answer is: Not God!
Not Jesus! Must be somebody else.
Instead, we put people under condemnation
in Christianity.
Why is it that Islam has such an easy time recruiting
nominal Christians? Because nominal Christians don't have
a clue.
Nominal Christianity is inconsistent.
Islam is not. Islam is very consistent. You do this,
you do this, you do this, and you get the virgins at the end.
Sorry, that's probably a little pejorative.
But, I mean it's very cut and dried.
Well Christianity, generally, tries to make
everything cut and dried, and it all comes down to, "I've got
"to do something, or I'm going to catch it," We don't
like that. We don't like that at all. So we
water it down, and we get mealy-mouthed about it. We wonder why our
people wander off with the nearest Imam.
Of course, Islam is a lie, because
they're not talking about Jesus to the average person.
Who can tell? Who can tell?
Nothing can separate us from His love.
Except umm(laughter) drinking...pornography...
...and ooooo...don't get divorced. That "D" word, you know,
the Scarlett Letter..Either nothing can separate us,
or we're separated. It's not that something else can separate us,
it's that we are separated. Yet the Holy Spirit is saying this to us.
No one can snatch us
from His hand. Notice this comes from John. We didn't cover
John last time, and the reason that John is not included in Matthew, Mark and Luke, is because
his point of view is so radically different than theirs.
He's writing way down at the end of 1st century and Gnosticism is starting to make a mess
of things. He's calling people back to Jesus.
He reports Jesus as saying
because the Holy Spirit brought it back to his remembrance: "No one can snatch
"you my hand,"
Then we have the gall to say (mockingly) Oh yeah, but you can craw out on your
own. Well, which
is it? Is it what the Holy Spirit is telling us, or is it
what our minds come up with? It's the Holy Spirit.
Let's look at some other really positive stuff. Okay?
We will have trouble in this world.
Whoop! Back it up a little bit.
You just told us all this wonderful stuff.
and the Holy Spirit says, "you're going to have trouble in this world."
We will suffer.
We will face hardship.
We will face trials, and some of us will be
killed. Oops.

We don't talk about this stuff much. Because it's uncomfortable.
But what makes this stuff bearable?
The previous stuff.
If we have learned, if we have come to a conclusion
that we have eternal life; that we are forgiven;
that God's going to finish what He started, etc, etc, and
hundreds of other verses that I didn't show; then we can look at
this stuff when it comes--not before the fact,
but when it comes, and say, "Lord, I still trust you,"
If you're looking at it before the fact,
No. There's no faith in grace before the fact.
Because it hasn't happened, so why spend your life in fear?
Isn't that the
real problem with what went on... the results, the aftermath of what
went on in Colorado? I mean, the event itself, horrific.
We got to see evil on Friday.
Nicest looking guy you'd ever want to
to meet on the street. Look at his eyes.
when you look at the picture? You can always tell from the eyes.
He's dead inside, folks. He's dead inside.
But the real issue is now the country
is afraid. We're going to probably
have suggested all manner of ways to keep us from being afraid. People
are going to run to their governments, or run to their local police, or run someplace
and say, "Save me! Save me!"
Can those people save you? No!
They're really good at picking up the pieces afterwards.
I mean, it took the police less than 90 seconds to respond to that call.
That's a world record, seriously.
But they still couldn't do anything about it.
If someone wants you dead, you are dead. You had better
know who you are in Jesus Christ. Today, this
moment, because you never know when something like that's going to happen.

There's a million ways that this happens. Some of them are intentionally
done by satan; some of them are caused by accidents
because we live in this sinful world. Some are caused by the
break down of the human genome, because we live in the sinful world and
bodies go nuts and kill themselves.
I mean, there's a million ways to die. There's only one way
to live.
So, don't let the, "You will have trouble" verses
in the New Testament throw you off.
Just take them for what they are. Okay, we'll have trouble.
What do I know today? What do I know at this moment?
That I'm saved; I have eternal life; I'm forgiven;
nothing will separate me... there's no condemnation...and on and on
and on. I KNOW those things.
then, this stuff, is manageable, when it
happens. Never before, only when it happens.
So, in light of this, we've still got some prophecy
sitting in front of us. I'm going to show you
just a few New Testament verses, but there's all kinds
of stuff still hanging fire in the Old Testament. Jesus fulfilled a bunch of it,
but He didn't fulfill it all. There's still things yet to happen.
So, the first thing
the Holy Spirit tells us that Jesus is coming back.
And then He tells us that Jesus is coming
back. (laughter) Then He tells us
that Jesus is coming back. Then He
says, Guess what? Jesus is coming back.
He's still coming back.
See a pattern? Little pattern here?
Oh! He's coming back!
Well there is a restatement of this, a little later: Jesus is coming
soon.
Soon.......and soon.
Has Jesus come back?
No. Do you want Him to come back?
How do you wait?
By faith.
It's the certainty of those things
we hope for. If the Holy Spirit
has said that I am saved, that I have eternal life; and the Holy Spirit
is telling me the truth, then when the Holy Spirit says, "Jesus is coming soon,"
Jesus is coming soon! I don't have to
get all wrapped up in (mockingly) well when?
Because this is the ultimate! This is what the whole thing is pointing
for. You know I show that arrow-it's pointing to you and me..?
Just for the sake of that slide, that was meaningful. But you know
it doesn't stop with you and me. That power goes through the entire world
to all the you's and me's who will respond
because Jesus is going to finish this!
He finished sin, but He
hasn't finished salvation completely.
How is the Holy Spirit described? As a downpayment,
a deposit, but it guarantees what's to come.
This is what's to come! Jesus
is coming, and then all of this stuff is going to be remade.
We've been recreated on the inside,
we have yet to be recreated on the outside.
Yet, it's coming. Now, if we
took all of this stuff in the New Testament, and just tried to figure out what it means.
and say, Okay, faith applies here this way, and here this way.
and sometimes faith means belief, and sometimes faith means THE faith, as in
the set of beliefs... and you know, there's a dozen ways..50 ways,
that faith is used. We've missed the point.
The point is that God
in every way that He has revealed himself to us, Father
Son and Holy Spirit, has taken the entire
history of humanity and wrapped it up
in His purposes and said, "Watch Me,"
"Watch me.
"I'm going to do things that will blow your mind.
"Just watch Me. Wait for it...wait for it!"
and we get to wait.
We get to live life, and we get to do all of the things
that are prepared for us in advanced. Okay?
These issues:
We tend to look to ourselves or external factors for
strength, therefore, we assume we can do it by
and for ourselves. Here's the answer:
There is nothing we can do for ourselves.
We must live in the vine.
You couldn't tell the Israelites this, because
it wasn't true yet. They could only wait for Messiah,
by faith; waiting for Messiah. Jesus comes. He is Messiah.
Even though He tells the disciples,
"abide in me; I'm the vine, you're the branches," they still don't
get it. They can't get it! Why can't they can't get it? Because the Spirit of
Truth was with them, it wasn't in them.
But now, on this side of that whole thing, the disciples
and all the rest of us, get to know what it means
to live in the vine. Why do
we keep going back to this idea that we can do something on our own?
Don't worry Lord, I got this one!
There was a kid I went to school with that was so nearsighted that it was painful.
He loved to play baseball.
If there was a fly ball ever hit to him, he would stand
there..'I got it! I got it! I got it!' and it would always fall about
6 inches on the other side of his glove, because he couldn't see. But he loved
to play baseball. He caught it once! Talk about
a happy dance! He was thrilled!
The rest of us were shocked... (laughter)
Whoa! Larwrence caught one! YAAAYY Lawrence!
*PPOOM!* oh! You know.
That's us, when we're trying to do it on our selves, we miss it every time.
Then once in a while, we accidentally get it right, and that just ruins
it. Because, 'See? I told you I could do it!" Okay, you're 1 for
175,000. But I did it! (laughter)
No! Live in the vine. We can't do anything.
Sometimes we feel like we've been abandoned, so we must do it by and for ourselves.
There is nothing we must do by and for ourselves.
Everything necessary was accomplished by Jesus
and given to us, as the free gift of grace.
Are we going to accept that gift?
I suppose I could ask the question,
"When are we going to accept it?" In some ways it's like preaching to the choir here,
everybody 'amen's at the right time, but when you think about your own
private life, when you're not in this room; how many times
do you say, "Ahh, I guess I gotta do this," and we forget
that we've been given everything.
We tend to trade faith for works.
We lose both faith and works.
It's time for faith, folks.
Will we take God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
at His word? He
is our faith. He is the only source of works worth
talking about. It's all
or nothing. All
or nothing. Either He's done it all, or He's done nothing.
Either I receive everything He has done by grace,
or I reject all of what He's done by sight.
Very clear choice.
It doesn't make the definition of faith any easier. It's still not
tangible; still not something I can control. Still based on the
promise of a future event; but
God Himself has initiated all of it.
this to us. It's time for us
to respond by faith.
So, what I've tried to do over the last three weeks is paint
a picture. A picture of God's initiative.
God's initiative is always perfect.
Our response, isn't.
Next week, I don't know quite how I'm going to do this
yet, it's still spinning around in my head. By God's
grace, we are going to talk about the rubber meets the road.
I've spent 3 weeks talking about faith and what God has
done to initiate reality to us.
How do you deal with the freedom part of it?
How do we apply faith in our lives?
Part of the reason I"m nervous about next week, is because I can't
claim any special ....you know, I'm no better than the rest of you
you know... if you wanted to talk about playing the keyboard, I've done
that, so I can..you know.. but faith is different.
So, we will all learn together next week. We'll support each
other as the body of Christ is supposed to do.
Folks, it really is done.
Really is done. We can trust that, we can take
that to the bank. Let's pray.
Lord,
Father and Spirit,
You have done everything.
You told us You would do it, then You
did it, and now You're telling us that You've done it, and maybe the veil
available to us. We
have such a hard time on a moment by moment basis,
living with that reality. It's so easy
to believe the lies. It's so easy to try to
take some responsibility for ourselves.
It's so easy to reject you. Thank
You for never rejecting us. Thank You for reaching
into our lives and saying, "you can be Mine"
"Just come to Me"
"Just come to Me. "
So, we come to You.
We thank You for everything You've done,
we thank You for everything You're going to do, and we thank You
for Your incredible, infinite patience.
as we learn how to walk by faith. In Jesus name,