Posts Tagged ‘Doubt’


Crazy Faith of Abraham (1)“Here’s all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.” ― George Carlin, When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?

I am writing a new Christian Song and I am thinking it will be better sung in a Country Western format. I would hope Carrie Underwood would sing it, but it will probably by Taylor Swift. “Call me Christian, but don’t call me crazy.” The first line goes like this: 

I don’t mind you callin’ me a Christian. Christians can still be cool like a sixpack on a hot day in June. But don’t you ever call me crazy, cuz that would make me out to be a fool. Oh I don’t ever want to be called crazy, cuz I am nobody’s fool….

Crazy Faith of Abraham (4)We’ll you are thinking I’m the crazy one, but this is also the title of the message this morning. I am preaching on Hebrews 11:8-17, and in one of those rare moments when I stepped back and took a look at what was really happening in those verses, I just had to stop and say, man they were crazy! And then I asked, would I have done that? Would I have done any of that? No Way! Call me Christian, but never, ever would I be that crazy!

But before we explore this different angle of Hebrews 11, I want to take you back to the Garden of Eden.

Consider this question:

  • When did Adam and Eve begin to die?”
  • “What power does Satan have over us?”
  • “How does Satan work his power in this world?”

Hebrews 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

Doubt leads to deathYou may not see it at this moment, but hopefully it will hit you like a ton of bricks before you leave. Satan works his power of death in your life when he gets you to doubting God’s promises. Did you hear that? When you doubt God’s promises, when you doubt Christ’s presence, when you doubt Christ’s love and provision for your life, you are playing in to Satan’s power.

Coma Christians 

Bottom line, if you are not crazy when it comes to believing God’s Word, you are a “Coma Christian.”

I always think of myself as “pragmatic”. Here’s a good definition:

Dealing with things sensibly and realistically in a way that is based on practical rather than theoretical considerations

Well, God told me that is not acceptable to him, because I put “sensibility” before Him. That is not faith. Faith is not sensible! We will see that in a moment. So today, I am preaching at all you  “Pragmatic Christian” types today, but I want you to know, I am one of you.

Before we jump into Hebrews, I want you to read as foundation Romans 9:6-8:

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. Romans 9:6-8

Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is a born again child of God. Just as Paul writes that not all of Abrahams’ children were children of God (belong to Israel). Children of the flesh are not the children of God. The children of God are all crazy because they believe the promise of God! (My transliteration)

Faith vs. Flesh

When it comes to being a child of God, being accepted by God, only one thing works! FAITH! Only one thing allows you to believe Him and His promises to you, FAITH! And Faith can never be pragmatic. Faith can never be sensible.

Was it sensible to stay in the boat? Faith isn’t sensible because it transcends our fleshly senses to bring Heavenly Truth to reality here on earth! Christ lives! He lives in me! Chief of sinners though I am, He lives in me!

Faith doesn’t happen because you wish or plan it!

Faith is not like losing weight. You can’t follow this, eat that, exercise this and presto, you have faith. Faith doesn’t work according to a formula for your benefit. It doesn’t make you a superior Christian. Faith is for God and His promises! Faith is toward God and His promises! Faith always answers a call of God because you want to see Him! Then faith grows as you believe His Word! And yes, faith must be crazy from the world’s point of view!

Think back on your life. How did you come to faith in Christ? Did you feel all emotional and believe? How did that work out for you? Did your belief wax and wane depending upon what you were going through? Was there a time in your life where the pressures of life got in the way of your faith in Christ? Was there something that happened that made you stop and examine where your were with Him? Was there some decision or choice you had to make? What was the outcome of your decision?

For some reason, I have had a lot of trips and falls

trip and fallFor me, my faith grows more when things go wrong; when I am forced from my comfort zone. I have had several smack-down times in my life where I had to choose who I was going to listen to, who I was going to believe. There have been times where I made the wrong choice, but then God kept calling me. I am going though one of those times even now.

Faith Comes as We Listen and Obey

I learned that for faith to grow, I must stop and listen to God, and then re-confess my belief in His promises to me!

I have a passion to see Christians experience the Life that God wants us to have by CRAZY faith! Crazy Faith brought salvation to Abraham!

Regrets Feed Doubt

Regrets Feed DoubtI have visited with Christians who seem to have this weight of regret over their life. Decisions they made, wrong things they did, and after 10, 20 30 years of being a church goer, they feel as if they are further away from God than when they first felt that tingle of God’s work in their life.

I think we are looking at God the wrong way. Instead of letting our regrets drown out his voice and presence, we should take some time to visit with God about those regrets. We should really take time to see how He can use those regrets to grow our faith in Him. He speaks to us and affirms His promises even in the midst of our mistakes!

Abraham

Abraham Believed God and was strong in faithAbraham wasn’t anyone special. He wasn’t a privileged blue blood. God spoke to Him and made a simple request. I want you to go to a new land. Abraham wasn’t exactly a picture of strong faith either. He had his doubts. He didn’t go to the land at first, but went half way. Even when he got to the land, there were two times when he lied about Sara being his wife, because he did not trust God to protect him from those who would murder him to take her.

Even Sara had a problem trusting God. She got tired of waiting for a child, so she concocted a scheme to have children with Hagar her handmaid. In effect she whored her handmaid to her husband to have children. Abraham, the great man of faith(?) went along with her plan.

All the while, God kept calling, and Abraham made choices, choices of doubt or belief, or death or life!

Perhaps you have struggled as I have at times. We make wrong choices. We figure God has forgotten us, so we have to rely on our own self to get out of trouble. What does God do? I don’t know about your situation, but God keeps calling me, keeps assuring me. And as long as I don’t selfishly wallow in my regrets, my faith grows.

What are some things we can learn from Abraham and Sarah? Let’s look at Hebrews and discover how our faith can grow, and not be swallowed by regrets.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore. These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. Hebrews 11:8-19

Crazy Faith of Abraham (3)Back to my Song, “Call me Christian, but never call me crazy!” If this song title describes you (because you never would have been as crazy as Abraham), then you are a “Pragmatic Christian.” You view Abraham and Sarah through practical and skeptical eyes. You call their response to God’s Word “CRAZY!”

 The Pragmatic, “obedience for the sake of obedience” approach to Christianity doesn’t work if you are counting on reaching Heaven. That is a fleshly approach to God. His word says that no one can please God in the flesh. The only way to please God is BY FAITH!

By  Faith

By Faith is Πίστει. We see this phrase over and over in Hebrews 11.

  • Hebrews 11:3 N-DFS
    • NAS: By faith we understand that the worlds
  • Hebrews 11:4 N-DFS
    • KJV: By faith Abel offered
  • Hebrews 11:5 N-DFS
    • KJV: By faith Enoch was translated
  • Hebrews 11:7 N-DFS
    • KJV: By faith Noah, being warned of God
  • Hebrews 11:8 N-DFS
    • KJV: By faith Abraham, when he was called
  • Hebrews 11:9 N-DFS
    • KJV: By faith he sojourned in
  • Hebrews 11:11 N-DFS
    • NAS: By faith even Sarah
  • Hebrews 11:17 N-DFS
    • KJV: By faith Abraham, when he was tried,

Responding to God is not simply a matter of doing this or that. He doesn’t want robotic service. He has that in the angels. He wants people to respond to Him because they realize who He is. This is what Hebrews 11:6 is all about. You will never, never be accepted in God’s presence simply because you did this or that, or because you never did this or that. The Word says without Faith it is impossible to please (or be accepted) by God.

by-faith-we-grow-to-sonshipFaith is not an abstract force that you either have or don’t have. Faith is simply seeing God. Faith is simply having your hopes in God. It is a heart thing. Faith allows the almighty God to capture your heart.

Abraham obeyed, not because he wanted to be a good boy, or because he feared Divine lightning bolts. He obeyed because by faith he saw God and that allowed God to capture his heart. It wasn’t his brain, because God doesn’t make much sense to “intellectuals”. God wants your heart. He is all about passion! His heart is full of compassion, and He needs your heart in order to reveal Himself to you.

  • My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe (delight in) my ways. Proverbs 23:26
  • You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5
  • My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5

Abraham Believed and His Faith Grew even in the tough times, even in the “regret” moments!

Abraham made a decision to give this invisible God his heart.

Crazy Faith of Abraham (2)Love for God Results in Crazy Obedience

It did not make sense to leave the culture of Hur and go to live among the devilish people of Canaan. It was not the intelligent thing to do, nor was it a safe thing to do. But Abraham did it anyway, because He had seen this almighty God, and his heart was captured because of faith.

  • By Faith he obeyed God’s call.

Faith initiates a desire to follow God, and to listen to what he directs. Faith makes God’s Word substantial, and worth obeying.

  • By Faith he went to live.

Faith enables to settle down in the presence of this Holy God. It empowers His friendship with your life, even though you make mistakes and stumble along the way. Faith brings your heart and passion into a comfortable relationship with God.

  • By faith you endure, even though the promise is not received.

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar”

Remember that faith empowers you to see the truth and reality of God! Even if all your hopes aren’t realized in this life, your faith sees them as true in the life to come!

  • Faith will result in being a stranger to those who walk by sight.

“having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”

Once your heart is captured by God, you will never be satisfied with the comforts of this world. You have seen the glory, and it becomes all-important to you.

What Happens when you Make a Decision to Have Crazy Faith?

1.  We give birth

Crazy will give birth to more crazies! God is always growing and abounding. Just look at our expanding Universe. It is huge, yet God holds it in His hand. You start believing in His power and promises, and you will give birth!

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Hebrews 11:11

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 1 Peter 3:5-6

2.  God stakes His Reputation in your life

“Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God,”

When you believe God’s Promises even when everyone else thinks you are crazy, He says My Name is on you!

3. We see our Home

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. For he has prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:16

  • You see it in the storm
  • You see it through the tears.

You don’t need to go there to see it, for you already have it in your heart!


One day, an out-of-work man knocks on the door of a home in an upper-class neighborhood. The lady of the house answers. “Pardon me Ma’am; I’m out of work and looking for any odd jobs that people need done. I’m very handy with everything from repairs to yard work, to painting…”

“Painting?” the woman jumped in.

“Oh, yes, Ma’am! I’m a very careful painter,” the man replied, his face brightening at the realization she could provide him some work.

“I’ll tell you what. My husband just bought some green paint last week to paint the porch out back with, but we haven’t had any time. If you can do a good job, then you can paint it before he gets home and surprise him.

“Now, do a particularly good job and paint the trimmings white also, and I’ll pay you an extra bonus.”

“Oh yes, Ma’am, I’ll do an excellent job!” He was told the paints were also around back in the garage.

A few hours later, the man returns to the door.

“That was quick, did you do a good job?” the woman inquires.

“Oh yes Ma’am, two coats! But there’s something you should know,” the man says.

“That’s not a Porsche, that’s a Mercedes!”

Paul Paints Pictures for us In Romans 6

In Romans 6 Paul is painting a picture, a picture of the present that is based on the past. In verse 5 the painting is of two scenes:

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united (planted as one) with him in a resurrection like his.

1. The first painting is of our being united with Christ in His death.

Because of that fact, we see a painting of the future-our resurrection with Jesus! The reality paints the future! Because we KNOW we have died with Christ, we KNOW we shall be resurrected just like Him!

Paul is picturing our union with all that is Jesus Christ. Everything He experienced, we experience by faith. But Paul wants to drive this picture home to the reality of our daily living, not just our future eternity.

2.In verse 6 He pictures a truly unbelievable truth…

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.

Paul says that our old man, our old ‘Adamic’ self, was actually crucified with Christ, with the result being that we are no longer in bondage to sin. Paul says our fleshly body of sin is rendered powerless, brought to nothing, put out of business, unemployed.

This truth transcends our ‘fleshly’ comprehension. This truth runs contrary to our real-life experience. Sin is very much alive, and something that most of us tolerate, deal with, cope with, resent, you name it, we do it when it comes to this sin nature that plagues our Christian walk. Even Jesus told his disciples that when they pray they should say “Father, forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Jesus even acknowledged that we should daily ask forgiveness of our trespasses.

Paul wants to drive this truth further into our hearts and into our daily walk! He paints a beautiful picture of the reality of our New Life in Christ in verse 7:

For one who has died has been set free from sin.

Set free is (dedikaiōtai)-perfect passive indicative of dikaioō, a word we have seen before in Romans 5. It’s the word we translate “justified”. The word means that because of the blood of Jesus and our faith in what He did, God can declare us righteous. He doesn’t just overlook our sins, He declares there is no sin, we are Holy and Righteous just as God is Holy and Righteous. As Paul wrote in Romans 5:1:

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our faith in the finished work of Christ on our behalf places us before God as sinless and Holy as He is. Why, because we are placed ‘in Christ’ (we are planted as one), His Holy and Righteous Son. Christ’s righteousness becomes our righteousness!

A. Paul wants us to realize that if by faith, we can believe that the blood of Jesus covers our past sins, and our New Birth makes us justified before God,

B. then by faith, our death with Christ justifies us (makes us righteous) and thereby frees us from this sin nature!

  • By faith we are brought into a new birth,
  • By faith we are brought into a new walk, a walk that is freed from the power of sin!

One painting is of the crucified Christ, shedding His blood upon our sins, and making us white as snow. The other painting shows our “old man” hanging with Christ on the cross, and our New man walking free from the chains of sin as we walk hand in hand with our risen Savior!

This is what Paul paints in verse 8:

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

A cartoon read – “Well, I haven’t actually DIED to sin, but I did feel kind of faint once.”

This is not speaking of our life after death with Jesus. This is talking about our lives right now! If this is true, then this will be the reality. If your old man is dead, your new life will be entirely with Jesus Christ. There are no ifs ands or buts.

The Christian walk is not a fleshly or a self-willed walk. Our walk with Christ is to be totally with and by and through the means of Jesus Christ!

PUT ON THE NEW SELF

The believer’s new life imparted to him at the moment of believing is the life of Jesus Christ. We don’t get a piece of Him, we receive His Life!

We live by means of Him. We get every bit of our spiritual life from Jesus Christ!

Paul is not speaking of fellowship with Jesus, he is not speaking of our eternity with Jesus. He is speaking of our LIFE, our LIVING!

If God paints a picture of our eternal life with Him through the Blood of Jesus, why can’t we see the painting of our Living as Jesus because we were crucified with Jesus on the Cross?

Why do we doubt the truth that we have been freed from the power of sin? Why do we doubt that our body (of sin) is unemployed, powerless? Why do we doubt that our old man is really dead?

It is as if Paul is reading our minds as He writes verses 9-12:

9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.

Today we will look at Romans 6:7-12 and will seek to understand the first two steps of deliverance from sin. We will look at Knowing and then we will look at reckoning (or counting upon), and then we will look at the practical way this works in our daily walk.

1. KNOWING THIS

In verse six we read: knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with him.

Knowing is from the greek word “ginosko” which is objective knowledge. The knowledge you learn at school, who the President’s have been, facts about the Civil War, Vietnam War. If someone is acquanted with someone, they know that person

The other word for knowing is “oida”, which is knowledge of a more personal, intimate nature. It is an inward consciousness. It is intuitive knowledge not necessarily known from external sources. You have a gut feeling about someone. A Mom has an intuition about a hurting child.

  • John 8:55 illustrates: But you have not known (ginosko) him. I know (oida) him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word.
  • John 13:7 illustrates: Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest (ginosko) not now; but thou shalt understand (oida) hereafter.
  • Hebrews 8: 11: And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know (ginosko) the Lord,’ for they shall all know (oida) me, from the least of them to the greatest.

In Romans 6 verse nine, we find another Knowing, but this time it is from “oida”, meaning an intimate, personal knowledge.

Paul writes that we know personally, intuitively, that Jesus is rasied from the dead, and therefore He will never die again. We know within that Jesus conquered death!

So what we must know personally and intuitively, is that if Jesus conquered death by His resurrection, He also conquered sin by His death! So verse 11 says, when you know this personally, you will know and see that your old man is dead to sin. The King James says you must reckon, others count, others consider.

So, living the new life starts with:

  • Knowing that He died to set us free from sin.
  • Knowing that our old self was nailed to the cross w/Him.
  • Knowing that just as Jesus rose from the dead & will live forever, we have been raised to a new life in him that has no end.
  • Knowing that we live no longer by the tyranny of sin.

Bottom line: Once we know in our heart of hearts (as revealed by the Holy Spirit) that our old man was crucified with Jesus and buried with Him, then we must count on our old man being kept dead to sin. We reckon the old man dead!

The Four Steps of Deliverance

Last week I mentioned there were four steps of deliverance from sin. These are in our Journey in Romans 6, 7 and 8.

  1. Knowing
  2. Reckoning
  3. Presenting ourselves to God
  4. Walking in the Spirit

Here is the connection between believing and knowing. When you read the Word of God, you have a choice: believe or not believe.

“but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31

Once you believe, by faith in Jesus Christ, you inwardly KNOW you have eternal life. No matter the doubts, no matter the feelings, no matter what the Devil says, you KNOW Jesus is your Lord and Savior.

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 1 John 5:13

Believing becomes KNOWING! KNOWING turns into a life – long Believing Jesus Christ.

You don’t leave Jesus at the Cross. You don’t get up from the altar and walk away in your own strength. Your NEW LIFE is Jesus Christ! Your daily walk is a daily walk of BELIEVING JESUS!

Our Belief in the Blood of Jesus results in our KNOWING we are justified before God.

Our Belief in our crucifixion with Jesus Christ results in our KNOWING that our old man is dead to sin, and that we are (JUSTIFIED) freed from the power of sin.

Both Paul and John knew this truth:

  • I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:-20
  • For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3
  • We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1 John 5:18-20

When our belief in Romans 6:6 becomes the inward knowing of Romans 6:9, we are ready to go to the second aspect of deliverance form sin, from verse 11:

2. Count on this (Reckon)

NIV: In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11

KJV: Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:11

Phillips: In the same way look upon yourselves as dead to the appeal and power of sin but alive and sensitive to the call of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:1

ESV: So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11

The point is, that if we believe that our salvation is because Jesus is alive, and since He is alive in God, then we must see ourselves as alive in God as well. God would not have us alive in Him if we were still under the power of sin! We are alive in God, and sin has no power over God! Therefore sin has no power over us, because we died to sin and are now alive IN GOD!

How Does Reckoning Work? Reckoning Is Faith In Action!

“You Count Upon Something”

  • This doesn’t just happen! – It is something the believer can & must do daily.
  • Christ’s’ death & resurrection has altered their position & they should live in accordance w/the new reality.
  • He doesn’t say that sin is dead! But that we are to count ourselves as dead to it!

Faith accepts God’s fact. Faith is always founded upon the past. Hope relates to the future. Faith is the substantiating of things hoped for. Because we have faith in what God did in the past, we can have hope in the future.

Jesus said this about faith:

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24

Faith believes God has already done it! If you pray hoping God will do something, that is not faith! Faith always relates to the past, that God has already done something. If you say God can, God may, God will, God must, you do not have faith. Faith always says GOD HAS DONE IT!

So when do we have faith in our crucifixion? Not when you say God can, God will, God must crucify me. You have faith in what God has done when you exclaim “Praise God I am crucified!”

Reckoning makes real that which you accept by faith! Because I believe I am crucified with Christ, I am now count myself dead to sin!

The Two greatest facts in history are:

  1. All Our Sins Are Dealt With By The Blood
  2. We Ourselves Are Dealt With By The Cross

Barriers to Reckoning

  • Doubt of the divine facts

The devil comes to us and says, there is something stirring inside you. How can you say you are dead to sin? God deals directly with our sins by blotting them out with the blood of Jesus. But God deals with our sin nature in an indirect way. He doesn’t remove the sin nature, he doesn’t remove this sinful flesh, he simply kills the go between, our “old self.”

We don’t have victory over sin, wed on’t overcome our sin, only Christ has done that. What we do have is the power to be delivered from sin. That power is by reckoning what God has done in the past as true in our present.

Our daily choice is what facts to count on and live by: the facts of our daily experiences or the mightier fact that we are “IN CHRIST” and our old man is crucified in Him.

What facts are you placing your faith in?

Faith is the substantiating of things hoped for, the vidence of things unseen! How do you substantiate something? We substantiate things everyday.

I hold up a white towel. It is already white, but my eyes look at it and communicate with my brain to substantiate that it is white. Now if the socks are navy blue I may have to go outside in the sunlight to substantiate that they are not black, but indeed are navy blue.

You cannot substantiate divine things with your fleshly sight or touch.There is only one way to substantiate the invisible things of God – by faith. Faith makes the real things (even though they be invisible) of God become real in my experience!

Faith substantiates to me the things of Christ!

To faith, God’s Word is true, to a doubting mind not illumined by the Holy Spirit, it is not true, but a lie!

Whatever contradicts the truth of God’s Word we are to regard as a lie of the devil.

The devil will work overtime to convince you that you are not dead to sin, and that God’s Word is a lie. Reckoning is done not based on experience but on the basis of what God says!

  • 2 Cor 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by (appearances) sight.

Fact, Faith and Experience are walking on top of a wall. Fact walked steadily on, turning neither to the right or the left, and never looking behind. Faith followed, and all went well as long as he kept his eyes focused upon Fact.; but as soon as he became concerned about Experience and turned to see how he was getting on, he lost his balance and tumbled off the wall, taking Experience with him.

The same thing happened to Peter. As long as he focused on the fact that Jesus Christ was walking on the water, he was fine. When he started to feel the wind and the waves, he took his eyes off the fact of Jesus Christ and let the experience of the wind blow him over into the water. That is why Jesus said, “O ye of little faith!”

3. Let the Knowing be Applied by Counting

God doesn’t remove the sin nature that we inherit from Adam. He doesn’t remove our flesh. God removes the intermediary, the catalyst, our old man. If we do not know this, if we do not reckon this, then we will attempt to handle our sin nature in the wrong ways.

We Focus on sin nature

If we focus our attention on the sin nature, or the devil, or evil, or whatever we want to call it, we will constantly trying to resist sin in our own strength.  Our focus on trying to resist sin will just further enslave us to it. It like trying to break a bad habit; the more you try to quit or overcome, the more you end up doing it. So your guilt emotions run back and forth between saying you’re sorry to doing the sin, and at some point you either give up trying to quit, or you get hardened and say well that’s just me, why fight it?

Either way, sin wins. The sin nature cannot be overcome. That is not God’s way!

We Focus on the Flesh

Some people focus their attention on the flesh. These are the folks who set up a system of rules. These are your “legalistic” Christians. These are the ones who don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t dance, don’t chew and who don’t go with girls that do. Their constant attention is upon conquering the desires of the flesh. These are the Christians who see their walk as a struggle between the black dog and the white dog.

This is not God’s way either. Either way of fighting sin will produce failure, defeat, legalism, pride, a fleshly walk. If you overcome a sin or a bad habit, then you say look what I did. You may throw in a “by the grace of God”, but inwardly you are thinking “I beat this!”

So for most Christians who walk in the flesh, the Christian life is one of constant battles with what you think you must do to be a Christian.

You force yourself to do this or that, read your Bible, go to church, maybe even get on your knees once in a while and pray. You are not living the Christian life. You are not living the LIFE that Jesus died to give you. You are doing the best that you can to look like a Christian.

God neither eradicates the root of sin within nor suppresses the body without!

We Focus on Christ

  • What is true of Christ is to be true of us.

The divine principle is that God has done the work in Christ and not in us as individuals. The all-inclusive death and the all-inclusive resurrection of God’s Son were accomplished fully without us in the first place.

The history of Christ is to become the experience of the Christian. We have no spiritual experience apart from Him. We were crucified with Him, we were quickened, raised, and set by God in the heavenlies “in Him” and we are complete “in Him” (Rom 6:6, Eph 2:5,6; Col 2:10)

God purposed to include us in Christ.

To think you can experience anything of God apart from Him is wrong, and self-focused. Your spiritual experience is only entering into His history and His experience.

At a couple of points in my life I felt that I died to my old man.  The experience I had gone through was earth-shattering, stripping me of any self-esteem, of any dreams, any self-respect. On a couple different occasions my world came to an end. Through God’s grace I accepted what God was doing and died to what I wanted. I willingly accepted my execution.  But my spiritual experience was not unique to me. God had simply brought me to a point where I shared what Christ had already done.

None of us can boast in our experiences, because we have simply entered into what Christ has already done.

Even our salvation is not given to us apart from what He has done in Christ.

“He that hath the Son has life”

Your spiritual growth, your spiritual walk, your spiritual deliverance from sin, nothing is yours alone. It is all as you enter into what Christ has already done!

Since salvation has crucified our old man, sin is annulled, it has no power over our old man, and therefore, the body of sin is unemployed. We have a new King reigning in our body, the Grace of Jesus Christ:

Romans 5:21 (ESV) so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

When you are born again, the Holy Spirit places a NEW KING on the throne of your heart and life. King Jesus comes into your life, removes the power of the old self, and brings you new life in HIM!

  • Doe Jesus always stay on our throne? No, He does not !By our choice!
  • Does He want to always be on your throne? Yes He Does! And we will see from His Word how this can be possible!

A floor lamp is connected to a wall outlet. The light is possible because of the electricity that flows from the outlet up through the cord into the light bulb. Just so, a sinner has this old man, this nature of Adam that is under the domination of Sin. Remove the old man, and Sin no longer has a conduit to appeal to the man’s flesh! When a new believer understands that the old man is truly dead, that he has been crucified on the cross, it presents an entirely NEW WAY of praying when faced with the temptation of sin!

Our prayers should confess confidence in the fact that the old man is dead, that he was crucified and buried, and that now we are in Christ.

Is your every breath an expression of the fact that your new life is totally dependent upon Jesus Christ? Or do you depend upon this dead old man, have you got him on life support and are dragging him around with you?

The Christian walk is not a weekend with some guy named Bernie. You are dead. The old man is dead. Now everything you have is in Jesus Christ! Every spiritual experience He has experienced. He has already overcome sin, and if you die to the old man, whatever He has experienced will be your experience.

You simply believe. Let your faith in what He has accomplished rule your walk. Don’t walk by sight. If you do, you will allow your experiences to dictate what you believe. You’ll be like the scientist that sees the fossils, sees the rock strata, and conclude that God could not have made the world in six day.

But God said He did. Who will you believe? Will you place your faith in the facts as God has stated them, or will you walk by sight?

Faith in the facts becomes the substantiating of the unseen.

As you believe what God has said, you will see that indeed, that sin that always bothered you, all of a sudden, it has no effect upon you. You simply saw that Christ had already overcome it. You entered into the experience of Jesus Christ. By faith, you substantiated that what is unseen is definitely true.

You first knew it, then you really knew it, then you counted on it! He is faithful!

God’s way is to get us weaker and weaker until we finally see that Jesus has put our old man to death on the cross. God delivers us from sin, not by strengthening our old man but by crucifying him; not by helping him do anything but by removing him from the scene of action.

For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— Philippians 3:3

That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:29-31

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Do you want the power of Christ in your life? Do you want to experience deliverance from sin? Count on what He has already done for you. There can be no confidence in your flesh or your abilities. There can only be a counting upon His strength. In fact, glory in your weaknesses, and know His power!

Your old man is dead. This you must come to know deep in your heart and spirit. Once you see it, then count on it, and by faith enter into the spiritual victories that have already been won by Jesus Christ. His life must be your life. Your life is dead. Jesus lives in your stead!


What you BELIEVE truly matters:

A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though they were a very large mammal their throat was very small. The little girl stated Jonah was swallowed by a whale. The teacher reiterated a whale could not swallow a human; it was impossible. The little girl said, “When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah.” The teacher asked, “What if Jonah went to hell?” The little girl replied, “Then you ask him.”

An atheist buys an ancient lamp at an auction, takes it home, and begins to polish it. Suddenly, a genie appears, and says, “I’ll grant you three wishes, Master.” The atheist says, “I wish I could believe in you.” The genie snaps his fingers, and suddenly the atheist believes in him. The atheist says, “Wow. I wish all atheists would believe this.” The genie snaps his fingers again, and suddenly atheists all over the world begin to believe in genies. “What about your third wish?” asks the genie? “Well,” says the atheist, “I wish for a billion dollars.” The genie snaps his fingers for a third time, but nothing happens. “What’s wrong?” asks the atheist. The genie shrugs and says, “Just because you believe in me, doesn’t necessarily mean that I really exist.”

Today we will look at one of the greatest verses in the Bible. These Verses hold the Secret of Having a Christian walk that just staggers around or keeps Climbing Upward!

Romans 4:19-22 (KJV) And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

Beneath the Text:

  • weak (asthenéō) = “without strength, powerless, sick”. Also “to doubt, hesitate, vacillate, as meaning weak or double-minded”. CWSD
  • considered not = “paid no attention to the physical obstacles”
  • staggered not (diakrinō ou) = To be in strife with oneself, i.e., to doubt, hesitate, waver CWSD

“to judge between two,” thus, “to vacillate between two opinions or decisions.” Abraham did not vacillate between belief and unbelief with respect to his difficulty and the ability of God to meet it. He did not waver. Wuest’s Word Studies

  • promise (epangelia) = “Primarily a legal term denoting a summons or promise to do or give something. Used only of the promises of God” (except one verse) CWSD.
  • unbelief (apistia) = uncertainty, distrust, unbelief. The lack of acknowledgment of Christ; want of confidence in Christ’s power. In general, a lack of trust in the God of promise! CWSD
  • strong (endynamoō) = grow stronger and stronger; “inwardly strengthened,” suggesting strength in soul and purpose. Vines “to make strong, endue with strength,” Wuest’s

Hebrews 11:34 (ESV) quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

  • faith (pistis) = firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, CWSD

That is, his faith was strengthened in God to meet his impossible difficulty with a miracle. The thought is not here that Abraham’s faith was strengthened so that his physical powers again became equal to bringing children into the world. Isaac was the result of a biological miracle performed by God in answer to Abraham’s faith. The glory would therefore be to God. Wuest

  • being fully persuaded (plērophoreō) = “To fulfill, thoroughly accomplish, equivalent to persuade fully, give full assurance. CWSD
  • able (dynatos) = from dunamis – “strong, powerful”. CWSD

The Point of our Text

Abraham firmly believed in what God promised, because he firmly believed in God’s power. Abraham’s belief in God allowed him to overlook the visible problems to see the power of Him who was invisible. His ability to see and trust the invisible kept him from staggering over the obstacles of doubt that surrounded him. By believing, Abraham climbed to the very heights and gave glory to the Power of God! God declared Abraham righteous because He believed Him!

Faith Is Not The Means By Which We Get God To Work In Our Lives; Faith Is The Means By Which We See His Will For Our Lives!

Unbelief and the Christian Walk

A.  Unbelief is not:

  • Unbelief is not the absence of faith.
  • Unbelief is not a negative state of mind.
  • Unbelief is not an intellectual attitude, or state, caused by a want of sufficient evidence.
  • Unbelief is not a state of blank ignorance of God and of his truth.
  • Unbelief is not the state of ignorance of the existence and attributes of God.
  • Unbelief is not disbelief or belief in the opposite of what the Bible says is true.
  • Unbelief is not an intellectual state at all.

The Bible represents unbelief as sin; therefore it is not a state of mind, it is a condition of our heart.

B.  Unbelief is:

1.  Unbelief is SIN.

Hebrews 3:12 (ESV) Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

2.  Unbelief is a CHOICE.

Mark 16:14 (ESV) Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.

3.  Unbelief is a lack of CONFIDENCE.

Withholding of confidence in one who is worthy of our confidence. Unbelief of the heart darkens one to committing your heart and soul to the will of God. Belief is giving God our confidence, in voluntarily yielding ourselves up to him, confiding in him, trusting in him, casting ourselves upon him, voluntarily receiving his truth, and committing ourselves to him.

UNBELIEF IS AT THE HEART OF OUR LACK OF COMMITMENT TO GOD!

It is hard to love a God with all your heart, soul and strength if you don’t believe Him!

Let’s take a little time to understand unbelief by looking at the New Testament words for doubt and unbelief.

C.   Understanding Doubt & Unbelief

1.  Doubt: Diakrino & Distazo.

To be in strife with oneself, i.e., to doubt, hesitate, waver.  Being uncertain of what to believe or do.

  • Rom. 4:20 He staggered (diakrino) not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith giving glory to God.
  • James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering (diakrino). For he that wavereth (diakrino) is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

This doubt comes through giving up one’s conviction of faith based on what one sees or feels.

Mat. 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt (distazo)?

Peter was fine walking on water as long as he focused on Jesus. But as soon as he looked at his surroundings, focusing on the physical, on the wind, and the waves, he was a goner.

2.  Doubt Leads to Unbelief

Doubt, or focusing on circumstances or your own resources, allows unbelief to grow. When unbelief starts to grow, it destroys confidence, makes one uncertain, and builds distrust. Unbelief then leads to further unbelief and finally a hardening of one’s heart!

a.  Apistia

Lacking confidence in the performer, to put no confidence in, to disbelieve; uncertainty, distrust, unbelief. In general, a lack of trust in the God of promise. Apistia is a form of unbelief that often shows a lack of a confidence in God to do what He has promised to doApistia is a choice!

  • Mat. 13:58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief (apistia).
  • Heb. 3:19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief (apistia).
  • Rom. 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief (apistia); but was strong in faith giving glory to God.

Apistia can develop into:

b.  apeithéō

Obstinate, rebellious, disobedient; refusal to believe, apathetic. A person who does not allow them self to be persuaded or believe, in fact, he stubbornly disbelieves and is even disobedient.

  • Eph. 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience (apeithéō).
  • Hebrews 3:7-8 (KJV) Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
  • Heb. 4:6 We see they entered not in because of unbelief (apeithéō). (Notice their unbelief in Heb 3 became hardened disobedient unbelief in Heb 4)
  • Heb. 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief (apeithéō).

1. Unbelief is the Basis of all Sin

All Sins Come from Unbelief in God’s Word and Promises. Anxiety, misplaced shame, indifference, regret, covetousness, envy, lust, bitterness, impatience, despondency, pride—these are all sprouts from the root of unbelief in the promises of God.

Consider the message of 1 Timothy 6:10:

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

What did Paul mean? Is the love of money behind every sin? Is money on your mind when you sin? I believe that the evils of the world come from a certain kind of heart that loves money.  Now what does it mean to love money? It’s not being like Scrooge McDuck and going into your vault and playing with your money! What is money? Money is simply a symbol that stands for human resources. Money stands for what you can get from man, from man’s resources.

God resources can’t be bought with money! “Ho everyone who thirsts, come to the waters. He who has NO MONEY come buy and eat!” (Isaiah 55:1).

Money is the currency of human resources. So the heart that loves money is a proud, independent heart that places its hopes, pursues its pleasures, and puts its trust in what human resources can offer. So the love of money is the same as faith in money—belief (trust, confidence, assurance) that money will meet your needs and make you happy. Therefore the love of money, or belief in money, is the flip side of UNBELIEF in the promises of God.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:24—you cannot serve God and money. You can’t trust or believe in God and money.

Belief in one is unbelief in the other. A heart that loves money—banks on money for happiness, believes in money—is at the same time not banking on the promises of God for happiness. So when Paul says that the love of money is the root of all evils, he implies that unbelief in the promises of God is the taproot of every sinful attitude in our heart.

2. Unbelief is Calling God a Liar.

1 John 5:10 (ESV) Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar…

Unbelief, doubt, withholding of confidence, is a practical denial that God is worthy of confidence. You are denying His trustworthiness. What an infinitely awful sin it must be to make God a liar!! If anyone here was to stand up and say God is a liar, I’m sure some of us might grab them and forcibly remove them. We would call that person a blasphemer.

Hebrews 6:17-18 (ESV) So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

It is impossible for God to lie. Yet when you doubt God’s word, when you do not believe what God says, you are calling Him a liar. We are to agree to the truth of his promises, and the certainty of their accomplishment.

RC Sproul, Jr. wrote a book titled – Believing God: 12 Scriptural Promises Christians Struggle to Accept

These verses, while promises of God, are not really believed by many Christians.

  • 2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV) All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
  • 1 John 3:1 (ESV) See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
  • 1 John 1:9 (ESV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • James 1:5 (ESV) If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
  • Psalms 127:3-5 (ESV) Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
  • Psalms 37:4 (ESV) Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
  • Malachi 3:10 (ESV) Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
  • Mark 11:22-24 (ESV) And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
  • Romans 8:28 (ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
  • John 16:33 (ESV) I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
  • Philippians 1:6 (ESV) And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
  • 1 John 3:2 (ESV) Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

III. The results of unbelief.

A.   Unbelief produces a heartless religion.

There is only ritual, no satisfying of the soul. If it is not up to God, then it is up to you, and that produces frustration and sorrow. There is no enthusiasm of the heart. Are you filled with the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit? Do you wake up with a spontaneous love for God? Then your heart is filled with unbelief.

B.   Unbelief produces a legalistic religion

Unbelief will cause you to do a great many things without regard to God. Unbelief clouds your eyes and heart to seeing God’s will and His glory. Unbelief leads to an obedience that is selfish, and based on getting what you want.

C.   Unbelief produces an religion void of salvation

Belief in God is absolutely essential to knowing God, and knowing His salvation. If someone doesn’t believe in God, what interest is heaven to him? It’s only a selfish interest, lacking any desire to glorify God, or of having fellowship with Him.

D.  Unbelief produces a disobedient heart.

Disobedience of heart to God is always a result of unbelief. Unbelief will lead you to disavow God’s sovereignty, God’s government, and will lead you to do what is in your heart, what you believe is best.

This is the root of sin in man–withholding confidence in God.

E.   Unbelief produces RESTLESSNESS in your Soul.

Now, when you do have no confidence in the promises of God–do not believe that “all things shall work together for good to them that love God”– your are carrying your burdens upon your own back, and you will grow weary.

Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV) Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Your unbelief keeps you from resting in Jesus, it keeps you from His yoke, and it keeps you from His faithful promises.

F.   Unbelief results in an absence of peace in your life.

Where there is real faith, although there may be much to disturb and distress the mind, there is deep peace and joy in God, in the midst of it all; but where persons have not peace, real joy, and great satisfaction in God, in his truth, and in his promises, you may know that there is unbelief there.

Just as Paul told the sailors in Acts 27, that despite the furious storm, if they remained in the ship, no lives would be lost. Even in the most furious of storms, Paul had complete peace in the power of God

G.  Unbelief results in bondage to sin

“There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” Now, when you are in bondage to any sin, you are under the influence of the world, and are condemned by the law.

I John 5:4 declares “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith.”

If you are living in bondage to sin because of unbelief, you are living in a state of condemnation; your own conscience condemns you because of your unbelief.

H.  Unbelief produces Servants and not Sons

By servant, I mean one who serves his master from fear, not love. People who don’t believe see God as someone who must be worshipped, who must be served, or they run the chance of getting on His bad side. There is no love, no anticipation, and no patient waiting upon a loving Father. There is no child-like belief in a loving heavenly Father! They don’t rely on the Father every day; they never ask Him for anything unless they get desperate. They pray, but only out of duty.

Belief will lead you to come before the throne with anticipation, with expectation, for you are a son needing the Father, depending upon the father!

I. Unbelief produces a Worldly Person.

You are given over to a worldly way of thinking and acting. After all it is up to you, because you don’t believe God. You mind earthly things; you don’t layup treasures for heaven. The Word of God is not your constant companion. The Holy Spirit is not your paraclete. No one neglects the Bible if you believe it!

IV. The Power of Believing Faith

Believing Faith Glorifies God!

A.  We glorify God by believing his promises.

Faith . . . honors him whom it trusts with the most reverent and highest regard since it considers him truthful and trustworthy. There is no other honor equal to the estimate of truthfulness and righteousness with which we honor him whom we trust . . .On the other hand, there is no way in which we can show greater contempt for a man than to regard him as false and wicked and to be suspicious of him, as we do when we do not trust him. (Martin Luther, Selections, p. 59)

Trusting God’s Word is the most fundamental way that you can glorify God. You can say “Glory to God” all you want, but if you do not believe His Word, stop wasting your breath! When you believe a promise of God, you honor God’s ability to do what he promised and his willingness to do what he promised and his wisdom to know how to do it.

  • If our goal is to glorify God in all that we do, then we must make it our aim in all that we do to believe the promises of God.

Because it was when Abraham believed the promise of God that God was glorified. John 3:33 (ESV) Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.

  • Believing God is like setting your personal seal on God!
  • Sarah received power to conceive:

Hebrews 11:11 (ESV) By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.

This is of the nature of faith: “The judging him faithful that promised and agreeing to the truth of his promises. You See and Believe in the Power of God!

1.  It Is Future Oriented

Belief that honors God means banking our hope for happiness on the promises of God. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac… He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead…Heb 11:17-19

People who say, “I believe that Christ died for my sins, and that he rose again from the dead,” but then don’t bank their hope on his promises day by day—those people don’t have faith that honors the God who justifies sinners.

  • Paul says, “That is why his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness.” So how did Abraham get justified in God’s sight? Why did God look at this imperfect man and count him as righteous in his sight?
  • Answer: because he believed the promises of God. It was future oriented faith that justified.

Now read on in the application to us. Verses 23–24,

The words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord. Notice! It does not say, “It will be reckoned to us who believe the past historical fact that God raised Jesus from the dead.” As utterly crucial as that is! It says we will be reckoned righteous if we believe in God! Like Abraham believed in God!

You don’t get justified by believing that Jesus died for sinners and rose again. You get justified by resting your hope on the promises that God secured and guaranteed for you through the death and resurrection of his Son.

2.  It Produces Fruit

Abraham became the Father of a multitude. Of many nations! He is the Father of every born again Christian!

Romans 4:16 -That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all…

Believing Faith in the promises of God produces what Paul calls the “work of faith.” Two times, once in 1 Thessalonians 1:3 and once in 2 Thessalonians 1:11 Paul refers to the “work of faith.” What he means is that there is a dynamic to this kind of faith that always changes the heart (Acts 15:9 (ESV) and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.) and produces the works of love.

The clearest statement of this is Galatians 5:6: “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.” God was able to give Abraham a Son because He Believed.

What fruit has your belief produced?

Faith is a power. It never leaves the life unchanged. What you place your hope on always governs your life. If you bank your hope on money, if your bank your hope on prestige, if you bank your hope on leisure and comfort, if you bank your hope on power or success, it governs the choices you make and the attitudes you develop.

If you bank your hope on the promises of God every day, it will change the way you think, pray, and act. Belief in the promises of God is the taproot of all righteousness and love. Belief in the promises of God is not a dead and fruitless thing. What you bank on for happiness controls your life.

B.  We Must Battle Unbelief Every Day

Paul said to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold on eternal life to which you were called.” Fight against sin by fighting against unbelief in the promises of God. Fight for righteousness and love in your life by fighting to maintain faith in the promises of God. Unbelief requires a conscious decision.

Take warning from those who fell away in unbelief:

  • Some no longer have faith at all (II Thessalonians 3:2).
  • Some have shipwrecked their faith (I Timothy 1:19).
  • Some have left the faith for the doctrines of devils (I Timothy 4:1).
  • Some have denied the faith by not providing for their family (I Timothy 5:8).
  • Some have cast off their first faith (I Timothy 5:12).
  • Some have turned aside after Satan (I Timothy 5:15).
  • Some have erred from the faith for the love of money (I Timothy 6:10, 21).
  • Some are reprobate [disqualified] concerning the faith (II Timothy 3:8).

The saddest example of unbelief comes from the generation of Israelites who failed to reach the Promised Land.

“But with whom was he grieved forty years? Was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief”(Hebrews 3:17-19).

Those Israelites were initially saved: they were delivered from the bondage of Egypt, they were spiritually baptized in the Red Sea (I Corinthians 10:2), and they were led by a pillar of cloud and fire through the wilderness. But they refused to believe when God promised that He would give them the promised land. They looked at their own resources and refused to see God’s.

So we read in Jude 1:5: But then, “the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not” (Jude 1:5);

As a result, that generation did not reach their final destination of salvation in the Promised Land.

  • “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness” (II Peter 3:17).
  • “Therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it …Labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:1,11).

How is your Christian walk? Are you stumbling, or are you climbing? Examine your hearts. Is there doubt and unbelief in your life?

  • Does your life have Stability?
  • Are you growing in Christian maturity?
  • Do you seem to stagger in your Christian walk?
  • Is your Christian walk stagnating?
  • Is God producing visible fruit through your life?
  • Do you struggle with doubts and fears?

Are you ready to climb the Mountain, trusting God’s Word? Abraham did with his boy Isaac. Abraham staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;

Come to Jesus, Believe in Him, and He will give you rest!


Most people are on guard when they spend private face time with their Pastor. Especially if you are a bit older and have been in church a few years. You may have known a pastor who used your or a friends situation as a sermon illustration. You may have experienced the judgmental statements of a pastor. So we normally treat a visit with the pastor as an interrogation at the local police precinct. We watch what we say and what we do. We make sure everything is put up, nothing lying around that shouldn’t be.

Personally I would rather visit people when they are lying on a gurney waiting to be operated on. They tend to be more honest. You can tell if they are anxious. Transparent honesty is such a rare thing anymore. We wonder about our politicians, our church leaders, our teachers. We grow up learning to question people in authority, exactly because we have seen so much dishonesty

I know some of you question the truth of God’s will. To most everyone under the age of 35, the subject of God’s Will is strange, foreign, and for the most part irrelevant. They believe that life (shit as the saying goes) happens. God rarely has anything to do with it.

Let me assure you, whatever your concept about the importance of the will of God, what you think is not truth. We are easily deceived into believing any old lie the world or the devil wants us to believe. What matters is the Word of God!

This Word is Life, not just for after you are dead, but it is Life NOW! It is health, it is forgiveness, it is peace, it is hope, it is safety, it is security, it is the most powerful force this world has ever know. I can say this because this word says that Jesus Christ is the Word. No other person in the Universe ever lived a sinless life, ever faced Satan one on one and defeated Him, ever stared death in its face and defeated it! If you fail to give your life totally to Jesus Christ, you are robbing yourself of real Life. You are robbing yourself of the very presence of God! You are robbing yourself of ever being a part in the will of God. You may think you know God, but you are believing a lie. Your mind is dark, you are confused and stumbling over the falsehoods of your mind. One day instead of waking to an eternal life of joy in the presence of God, you will wake in the agonies of Hell, screaming in torment for all eternity, ever sorrowful because you knew the truth but you rejected it. There will be no second chance.

WHAT IS GOD’S WILL FOR ME?

We are looking at what the will of God for me is. And number one, the will of God for you is to know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. He doesn’t want part of you, even three quarters of you. He doesn’t want to be just one of your beliefs, and share space with Hinduism, Buddhism, humanism, or even you ism. He must be your GOD! Anything less and your mind is fooling you. You are lost in a lie. You will never know God’s Will. This is because you put your will first.

So what is the will of God for me and for you? It is to Put Him First! It is to Trust completely and confidently in Him.

Now I know you are thinking how much easier it would be if you could sit down at Applebee’s and have a nice long lunch with Jesus. I assure you that the football playoffs would not be the topic of conversation. Who is going to win the Super bowl would be the farthest thing from your mind. You would want to know what He thinks of your life, if you are going in the right direction. You would want clarity on His will for your life. You would want to know what you should be doing for Him.

If life was only that simple. So many decisions we must make. We make decisions and then our decisions make us.

  • Should I go to college? Which one? What should I major in?
  • Should I get married? Which one?
  • I can’t stand my job. Should I look for another, or should I just quit and hope something pops up?
  • A friend of mine wants me to share a place with him. Should I? Should I live at home?
  • I’m getting ready to retire? Can I afford to? Where should we live?
  • We have two children. We’re thinking about having a third. Should we have another one? Or should we think about adopting?
  • I feel like God is wanting me to go into the ministry. What does He want me to do? Missions, Youth, Pastor?

Here is how I taught my six children the importance of knowing God’s Will. I told each of my children that in order for them to get married, they had to go to college. I also did not want them to go to state colleges. I also wanted them to live on campus.

No state college because I wanted them to apply to colleges that were a bit more difficult to get into, so it made them work harder on their grades. Live in the dorms because I wanted them to grow up faster, face decisions on their own, what types of friends were best for them, how to manage money, how to do laundry, all the things they need to learn to live on their own.

So our children moved away, Pepperdine in Malibu, University of Denver, Emory in Atlanta, Mid America Nazarene,  Rockhurst, Texas Christian University.

It would have been much easier if I had just told them to go to KU, or if God had just sent a chorus of angels singing Pepperdine, Pepperdine! Instead I went with them to the College Fairs and we tried to see which colleges fit what their plans were. They had to apply and then wait to hear if they were accepted. They had to seek God in their decision. We prayed abouth where they were going to go. We also studied the colleges based upon they wanted to do with their life. They had to ask tough questions. That’s what it takes to have our eyes open to God and His Will.

I wanted my kids to learn something about KNOWING direction in life. I wanted them to learn Four simple things about discovering direction and God’s Will.

1) Honoring Parent’s is Really Important

What your parents desire is one of the greatest indicators of what God’s will is. If you are rebellious toward your parents, you are rebellious toward God. Anything you do in that state, no matter how righteous or well-intentioned, will be without God’s direction.

2) Make Decisions That Require The Lord

Jesus said to walk the narrow path. God always wants us to be in places where we must rely on Him. We are not made to live on easy-street. So put yourselves in places where you MUST rely on God for direction.

3) Finish What You Start

(The two youngest both started at one college and then after the first year transferred. That’s OK, because they still graduated. Four of my kids earned advanced degrees. They learned to finish what they started. I did not accept quitting, or delaying, or figuring out what they wanted to do.)

4) Life Has No Entitlements-No Guarantees

They are the key to becoming anything in this life.  There is no guarantee they will get a job, that Dad will always provide for them when they goof up, that there will be an automatic income, automatic retirement. They are the key to what life gives them. They need to have goals, ambitions, desires for the future. They can’t just sit around and hope the government will provide for them, or their parents, or a rich uncle. They need to look to themselves. Life is about becoming Men and Women of Character. It is by our Character that we accomplish anything in life.

NO MOANING OR GROANING ALLOWED

Sometimes moaning and groaning about not knowing God’s will is just an excuse for laziness, or selfishness, or stubbornness. God has probably been shouting at you through the authorities in your life but you don’t like what they are saying, so you are holding out for a better option.

God doesn’t operate that way. He doesn’t tolerate continual laziness, he doesn’t tolerate selfishness. And he certainly doesn’t tolerate disobedience. God will never drag you or browbeat you into obeying Him. If you chose to do what you want to do, so be it. You will have your chance to explain yourself at either of two judgments- the Great White Throne or the bema seat.

Did my kids make mistakes? Of course they did. I made mistakes when I was in college. I was even kicked out of Bible College. Would we have made those mistakes if we had gone to the college that God wanted us to go to? IT DOESN’T MATTER! THERE ARE NO DO-OVERS, ONLY DO-LEARN!

One More Thing:  Why because of a few failures would I think God had intended me to go to a different college? (or get married to someone else, or work somewhere else or _________?) How do I know that God wanted me to go to a different college? I don’t. I know that at the time I went to the college I thought would be according to His will. Was I 100% sure? NO! I had been accepted at another that would have offered a better education, more freedom. But I believed God wanted me to go to that college. The thing about the college I went to was that God used it to build character in my life because no matter the problem, I responded with humility and a willingness to learn from my mistakes.

We are such quitters in America! As soon as we experience problems we think we made a mistake. It can be our job, our marriage, the college we go to. I looked at going to another college after I was kicked out, but I believed God wanted me to finish what I started, and I did. I am so glad I did. God doesn’t like quitters either. He doesn’t like people who run away from their problems or their marriages or whatever is causing them fits at the time. Blessed are all those who ENDURE!

No matter where you go to school, or don’t go to school, or work, or marry, what defines you is not your education, or your spouse or even your job. What defines you is your character. What kind of man or woman am I becoming. That is God’s will for you-to become a man or woman of character. A man of character will always stand in the gate.

Here is what GOD values:

Psalms 11:7 The Lord is Righteous; He loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold His face.

I don’t care what my kids do in this life, as long as what they are doing develops their character and their righteousness. If that happens, I know they will behold the face of God! The same is true of each of us.

God brings this truth to our hearts through His Word to us:

  • Psalms 36:10 Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
  • Psalms 140:13 “The upright shall dwell in your presence!
  • Prov 2:21 For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it!
  • Prov 3:32 The devious person is an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in His confidence!
  • Prov 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them
  • Eccl 7:29 “I have discovered that God created people to be upright (or virtuous) but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.” NLT (ESV -made people upright, but they pursued many schemes.)

From these verses we discover the first truth of Knowing God’s Specific Will for Your Life:

TRUTH #1.  GOD’s Will for You is to be UPRIGHT!

If this is God’s Will for you, whatever you do will always work toward that end. No matter what happens in your life, you will be given the opportunity to walk uprightly before God. The way you respond to the events, the snubs, the hurts, the heartbreaks, your stupidity, your foolishness, your transgressions, will determine the state of your heart. Everything that happens in your life, good, bad, ugly, beautiful, is either a stepping stone toward an upright heart, or a stumbling block that will keep you from God’s presence and power in your life.

God doesn’t care how you appear to the world. You may think it is all about your profession, your house, your property, your car, but NO God prizes those of Upright Heart. All that stuff will be burnt up. God’s eyes run throughout the entire earth, looking for those whose heart is upright toward Him.

You are never as Upright before God as when your are before Him in humility and prayer. Being Upright does not refer to your physical stature but the condition of your heart!

WHAT ABOUT OUR FAILURES?

Will you make mistakes? Yes! Were they God’s Will? Maybe, maybe not. But as long as you allow God to teach your heart, God will work His will in your life.

God uses earthen vessels, and yes, cracked and broken vessels, so that the Excellency of the Power might be of Him and not us!

So God  uses our mistakes, even our failings to conform us to the uprightness of His Son. Now there is a caution as to the patience of God. If you keep making the same mistakes, watch out! Stubbornness will keep you from God’s Will.

Remember what happened to the Hebrews wandering in the wilderness!

FOUR MORE VERSES TO CONSIDER…

When you read the Proverbs you immediately notice a strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God over our personal decisions. Let’s look at four verses that help us see how God works in, with, through, and sometimes in spite of our decisions to accomplish His will in us.

Proverbs 16:9-“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” (HCSB)

The word used for determines is “kun, pronounced koon”. It is has a much stronger meaning than the way the KJV translates. The KJV uses “directs” which gives us the idea that God directs our steps along a path, but where we step is up to us.

The word kun is much stronger than that. It speaks of God’s control of every detail of the universe. It pictures the action of setting in place or erecting an object.

God determines and establishes your steps.

You can make your plans, you can have your life mapped out step by step, but in the end, God determines every step you take. You can only tack so far. Pretty soon you have to go with the wind.

Proverbs 16:33-“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” ESV

Casting lots was used in the Old Testament to determine God’s will. God even prescribed ‘casting lots’ to determine which tribe got which parcel of land when they had conquered Canaan. We believe it involved different colored balls or rocks, mixing them together, and then seeing which one fell out of the bag first. In that sense casting lots is like rolling dice. It appears to be a random act of chance. But God is behind those colored stones. He determines which one falls out of the bag first. This means that there are no “accidents” in life, no “random” events, and no such thing as “luck.” Even seemingly meaningless things fit into his plan.

To paraphrase Forest Gump, ’Life is like a roll of the dice, but God is in charge of how the numbers come up.”

Proverbs 19:21-“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”

“You can make all the plans you like, but God gets the last word.” His purpose always prevails. Some translations say that God’s purpose shall stand. Most of our plans don’t stand. They are like the leaves that blow away in the autumn wind. But when God determines to do something, He will do it! There is no if ands or buts about it. Abraham knew that God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Why else would he keep lowering the number of righteous. God saw Abraham’s heart, and so He rescued Lot, but His purpose prevailed.

You can make all the 5 and 10 year plans you want, but just remember this. God always gets the last word. Better learn to be flexible. O, and another bit of advice, never tell God NO.

Proverbs 20:24-“A man’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?”

What this verse is really communicating can only be understood by understanding the Hebrew words. The word translated “man’s” comes from the Hebrew word gibbor, which refers to a mighty warrior, or a great leader. Solomon is saying that even the steps of a mighty man are directed by God. The word “anyone” in the second phrase comes from the Hebrew word “adam”, which is the generic word for man. The meaning is, “If God directs the steps of mighty men, how then can an ordinary man understand his own way?” The answer is, he can’t!

That’s the whole point of the verse. We’re like a man stumbling around in the darkness, bumping into things, tripping over ourselves, trying to find our way forward. We can’t say for sure where we’ve come from, where we are right now, or where we’re going to be tomorrow.

Only God sees the big picture of life.

So these four verses lead us to the next rule of knowing God’s Will for your life:

TRUTH #2: GOD IS GOD AND YOU’RE NOT!

Understand this and you’ll be OK. Forget this and you will keep lapping Mt Sinai.

When we forget that rule, we think that we’re in control of our own life and that everything depends on us. So we obsess, we hyperventilate, we try to control everything and everyone around us, we worry over all our decisions, and we spend hours fussing over the minutiae of life.

What a relief to realize that God is God and you’re not. Now you can rip that big “G” off your sweatshirt. You don’t have to play God anymore and you don’t have to try to control everything around you. You can sleep well when you realize that God is God and you are not.

Corrie Ten Boom was having trouble going to sleep one night because she was so worried about the affairs of her life. She tried praying but it didn’t help. Finally, the Lord said to her,

“Go to sleep, Corrie. I’m going to be up all night anyway.”

But I know there are some of you who would confess you need help. You are saying “Pastor Jim, I’m still needing some guidance about God’s Specific Will for my life. Can you give me any help?”

SHOULD I MARRY LYDIA?

When I was asking God if I should ask Lydia to marry me, I said, “God, give me a sign from your Word”. I prayed, and then I dropped my Bible on the desk so it would open to an arbitrary page. I looked down and the first verse my eyes came upon was Acts 16:14. Sure enough, there was her name Lydia. I thought, boy, you are good God.

“One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira (I thought, boy God you are really good, because she had a Chihuahua named Tyra.) a seller of purple goods (her favorite color was purple), who was a worshiper of God. Amen God, she must be the one. But then my heart sunk as I read the rest of the verse. “The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul!Oh No! She’s going to marry some Paul guy!

Just kidding. I made this up to demonstrate this: If you wait for circumstances to tell you what to do, you open yourself up to being deceived. Satan can appear as an angel of light. Satan can even arrange circumstances to get you to do what He wants.

There was a woman coming to our church in Edgerton. She seemed very spiritual, very enthusiastic about God. I visited with her and was asking about her salvation experience. She shared with me that she had grown up going to church (not Baptist) but had fallen away through the years. Just a few months prior she was lying in bed when a bright light filled the room and she saw a miniature Jesus standing on her bed by her feet. She felt a warmth come over her and she knew from that vision that she was saved. I thought it was a very interesting story, and she seemed to know all the right answers as we talked more. However, as time went on she stopped coming to church, (she got upset about some piddly thing someone had said about her friend) and we still remained friends, but she fell back into her lackadaisical attitude toward God. Was she saved? All I know is that if she was depending upon that vision to save her, she could be very disappointed come judgment day. We are saved by Faith in the Word of God.

This leads me to some practical principles for knowing the Will of God for your Life. Never depend upon circumstances to guide you, never put your hope in a miniature Jesus standing on your bed.

PRINCIPLE #1:USE THE LIGHT, WISDOM AND INTELLIGENCE THAT GOD HAS GIVEN YOU TO MAKE WISE DECISIONS.

Sometimes people talk as if you shouldn’t use your brain at all but should wait for some mystical sign from God. I know the Bible says, “lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5), but that doesn’t mean to throw your brain away either. It simply means submitting your will and your mind to God and what He wants to do. But you will still have to study the different colleges, etc, do legwork, use your experiences and the wisdom He builds into your life. God will use all of that to show you what to do.

Peter was miraculously rescued from prison hours before he was to be beheaded. Acts says an angel opened his cell, made the chains fall off of him, walked him right past the first and second sentry checkpoints, out the huge iron gate and finally out into the street. But then the Bible says “immediately the angel left him.” The angel didn’t even tell Peter where to go after that. In fact, Peter wondered if it was all a dream. What did he do next? Did he kneel down and say God, what do you want me to do? No, he used the good sense God had already given him and got out of their quick!

I have a friend that told me he was out to dinner with one of these “serious Christians” and when it came time for desert, this “serious Christian” had prayer to ask God what they should get. Do you really want to go before the throne of God for something so insignificant?

If you need to make a major decision, don’t wait for the angels to knock on your door. Use your head, study the situation, gather the facts, talk to your friends, seek godly counsel, and then submit it all to the Lord. Get yourself in a place where you wait for Him, with no personal pressure about what you secretly want.

I know from experience that often we give it to God, but we secretly have a desire to do so and so. So we wait just a bit, and when He doesn’t give us any clear direction, we do what we want to anyway. He knows your heart-and will let you do it anyway.

that’s what happened to the Hebrews in the wilderness. They said they would follow God, but they secretly wanted their old fleshly Egyptian lives. Psalm 106:15 “God gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul” Sometime we get what we want, but God sends leanness to our soul, hoping we realize we don’t need that fast sports car or huge house or Rolex watch. (Believe me, I know of what I speak.)

PRINCIPLE #2: SINCE YOU CAN’T SEE THE FUTURE, DON’T EXPECT 100% CERTAINTY.

I understand that if you are facing a life-changing decision–a potential marriage, a cross-country move, a new career, which college to attend, whether or not to begin chemotherapy–you want to without a shadow of doubt that you are doing what God wants you to do.

But  too often that leaves us paralyzed by an inability to make a decision. My youngest son would always take the longest time to decide what to order at a restaurant. We are not talking about, ‘come back in a couple of minutes’. We’re talking the rest of us are finished eating before he is ready to order. I’m happy to report that with our prayers and working with him, he is much better at making decisions. He can order with the rest of us.

I understand if you have trouble deciding what to do.  Some decisions are so important they can’t be left to chance, or be made in a moment. Some of us have the personal philosophy:

“When in doubt, don’t.” If you aren’t sure about the new job, don’t take it, don’t make the move, don’t say yes, don’t make any decision with less than total certainty.

But is that good advice? Is that the way God works?

LOOK AT THE HEROES OF OUR FAITH

  • Did Noah know all about the flood? No, but he built the ark anyway.
  • Did Moses understand what it meant to lead God’s people out of Egypt? No, but he said yes when the Lord called him.
  • Did Abraham have a road map? No, but he left Ur of the Chaldees anyway.
  • Did Joshua know how the walls were going to come tumbling down? No, but he marched around Jericho anyway.
  • Did Gideon fully grasp God’s plan to defeat the Midianites? No, he doubted it from the beginning, but God delivered his people anyway.
  • Did young David have a clue of what was to come when Samuel said to Jesse, “This is the one”? No, but the Spirit of the Lord came upon him anyway.
  • Did Jehoshaphat know how God was going to defeat the Ammonites? No, but he put the singers at the front of the army and sent them out to battle anyway.
  • Did the three Hebrew children know how they would be delivered?
  • Was Daniel totally sure the lions would welcome him dropping in on them?
  • Did Peter know he could walk on water?
  • Did Paul know what would happen when he finally got to Rome?

We could add a hundred other examples from the Bible!

NONE OF THESE GREAT HEROES OF THE FAITH KNEW THE OUTCOME! THERE WAS AN ELEMENT OF DOUBT, BUT THEY DID IT ANYWAY!

The life of faith means living with uncertainty even in the midst of doing God’s will.

That’s the whole point of Hebrews 11. Those great men and women didn’t know the future, but they trusted God anyway, sometimes in the face of great personal suffering. And because they kept on believing when circumstances turned against them, they received a great reward.

Too many people want what God has never promised–100% certainty before they will act. So they wait and dilly-dally and they stop and start and hesitate and ruminate. They might as well be transformed into a stupid cow or sheep. They refuse to go forward because they are waiting for 100% certainty. That’ why I believe that it is rarely God’s will to give you 100% certainty. That will leave faith out of your life every time.

PRINCIPLE #3: GOD WANTS GUIDABLE PEOPLE WHO WILL TRUST HIM (EVEN WITH THE DETAILS).

Are you GUIDABLE? I didn’t say GULLIBLE. I said G*U*I*D*A*B*L*E.

Guidable People are also teachable. Guidable people look to God and not to themselves. They understand that after they have done all they can, it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

  • Like Young Samuel, they say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant heareth.”
  • Like Isaiah they cry out, “Here am I, Lord, send me.”
  • Like the Lord Jesus they pray, “Not my will but thine be done.”

Guidable people always receive guidance from God! Always. Why? Because God always speaks loud enough for a willing ear to hear. Are you a guidable Christian? Or do you still feel like you have to be in the driver’s seat of life. If you are struggling with this, let me suggest these two simple prayers:

  • “Lord, let your will be done even if it means that my will is not done.”
  • “Lord, right now I’m not sure I want to do your will. But I am willing to be made willing. Do whatever is necessary to change my heart. Amen.”

PRINCIPLE #4: WHEN THE TIME COMES, MAKE THE BEST DECISION YOU CAN AND LEAVE THE RESULTS WITH GOD.

When the time to decide comes, when you’ve thought about it, prayed about it, talked it over, sought godly counsel, researched your options, looked at the circumstances, searched the Scriptures, and waited on the Lord, when you’ve done everything you know how to do and the moment of truth comes, take a deep breath, close your eyes if you need to, and then just go ahead and make the best decision you can make.

When you’ve done that, there’s one other thing to do-leave the results with God. Remember he’s God and you’re not. His purposes will stand.

I’ve already said that he wants you to know his will more than you want to know it. Knowing God’s will is His desire for your life. If you truly want to know and do God’s will, He will show you.

Jerry Sittser, author and professor at Whitworth College writes: “God has enough trouble getting us to do his will, without making it hard to find.

You are probably thinking, well, he lives in an Ivory Palace, has a comfy professorship. What does he know about finding God’s Will? How much faith does it take to be a college professor? A few years back Jerry was confronted with a horrible tragedy that no man wants to experience. He was in a car accident, and there on the side of the road, one by one, he held his Mom, his wife and his four year old daughter as they died in his arms. Following that tragedy he wrote with honesty and candor about the despair that threatened to overwhelm him-but amazingly never did. He survived because he believed in the ancient Christian doctrine of grace. He believed in grace because he lived it. And he named the book he wrote, “A Grace Disguised.”

He writes, “. . . Though I experienced death, I also experienced life in ways that I never thought possible before—not after the darkness, as we might suppose, but in the darkness. I did not go through the pain and come out the other side; instead, I lived in it and found within that pain the grace to survive and eventually grow. I did not get over the loss of my loved ones; rather I absorbed the loss into my life, like soil receives decaying matter, until it became a part of who I am. Sorrow took up permanent residence in my soul and enlarged it.”

If you are willing to be guided by God, you will discover that he will lead you step by step by step. Even through tragedies. His Grace is truly amazing. It not only carries you to the cross and into the loving arms of your Savior, but it carries you every step of your life. All that is required is the same thing that led you to ask Jesus into your heart.

VALLEY OF DECISION

To know the specific will of God for your Life requires you to go to the Valley of Decision.  If you have never gone there now is the time. In this valley you must discover the faith that God wants you to have that is the beginning point of living in the will of God. The beginning point is believing by Faith that there is a Mighty, Eternal God who cares intimately and particularly about you and what happens in your heart and life.

If you can take that step, the battle is over, all that remains is for you to submit your will to His. Every day you pray as Jesus instructed:

May your Kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!

How is God’s will done in heaven? It is done by the angels!

Psalm 103:20 says, “Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!”

When you pray for God’s will to be done on earth, you are telling God you want to obey His Word. It means giving up control of your own life. Oftentimes we’re scared that if we give God control of our lives, He’ll mess it up somehow. We wouldn’t say it that way, but that’s how we really feel.

More than once I have heard people say, “Pray for the opposite of what you want, because God always gives us the opposite of what we ask for.” Or they say “don’t tell God what you won’t do, becasue then that is what He will want you to do” We laugh when we read that because it seems so absurd. But many of us secretly wonder if it isn’t true. We’ve all known the frustration of unanswered prayer. Either God calls the shots or you call the shots. Either He is in control or you are in control. It’s not easy to pray like that because it means giving up control of your own life. But you aren’t really in control anyway. It only seems that way.

Bob Pierce is the founder of World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse, Christian relief organizations that helps millions of people around the world. He was probably the most unlikely man to found and lead such large organizations. He didn’t have much education, he butchered the King’s English, and he lacked many social graces. In fact, he called himself a second-rater. When asked the secret of his life, he said that in his early years as a Christian he had prayed like this,

“O God, I give you the right to change my agenda any time you like—and you don’t have to inform me in advance. Amen.”

That’s the kind of prayer God can answer because it’s based on the truth that God is God and He has the absolute right to do whatever He wants. Many of us are unhappy because we’re fighting God at the point of His sovereignty. We’ve never surrendered our agenda to His control. When You Pray “Your will be done” you are trusting God to do what’s Best for You!

Many of us have gone through periods when we doubted that God wanted the best for us. Perhaps you are doubting even as I speak.

GOD HAS PROVEN HE WANTS WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU

God has SHOWED each one of us that He wants what is best for us. He showed us how serious he was when he sacrificed His only Son on the Cross. He showed us how Powerful He is when He raised Him from the Dead. He assures us that that same power can be ours. Power to conquer, power to overcome, power for joy, power for forgiveness, power to become like Jesus Christ.

Do you want that power? You knew what you had to do to receive Jesus as your savior-you had to humble yourself, admit you were a sinner, worthy of death, but rescued from sin, death and satan by the death and resurrection of God’s only begotten son, Jesus Christ.

If you can pray “Jesus, forgive me of my sins, please be my one and only Lord and Savior”, how hard is it to humble yourself again and say “Father, not my will but thy will be done?” Or did you simply ask Jesus into your heart to benefit your supposed eternal life? If you were motivated by selfish concerns and not by the fear of Eternal God, perhaps that is why you are unwilling to seek HIS WILL for your life! Perhaps you should check your heart condition!

WE MUST BE WILLING TO LET GO OF THE CUP

Jesus asked if the cup could be removed, but He never asked not to do the will of His Father. Quite the contrary, Jesus was quite open about ONLY doing His Father’s will. But the fact that He asked if the cup could be removed meant that it might have been possible to do His Father’s Will without the cup. However, God said, “No, you must drink of the cup of My Wrath!”

There is an amzing revelation about the Will of God in these verses. In order to do the Will of God we must be willing to let go our our ‘CUP’. So many times I have heard people say, “I want to do God’s Will as long as it means doing this, or having this, or not moving there.” We always seem to have conditions that we want to hold on to if we consider doing ANYTHING for the Lord.

God will show you, as He has me, that doing the Will of God means being willing to let go of whatever ‘CUP’ we are holding onto. In fact, God will often knock the cup over and even break it in order to get us to let go.

What are you struggling with right now? What are you holding on to so tightly that it almost makes your hands hurt? What is it that you are afraid to give to God? Whatever it is, you’ll be a lot happier when you finally say, “Your will be done” and open your clenched fist. But you’ll never know until you let go.

C. S. Lewis said there are two kinds of people in the world, and only two kinds: those who say to God, “Your will be done” and those to whom God says in the end, “Your will be done.” Which kind are you?

A Simple Prayer

Here’s a simple prayer that may help you loosen your grip on the things with which you are struggling:

O Lord, Your will be done–
nothing more,
nothing less,
nothing else.
Amen.

As always, if you pray that prayer you will be called upon by God to be part of the answer. When we pray, “Your will be done,” God will hold us to our word. The path will be straight if we let Him direct us, or the path will be filled with potholes and dead man’s curves if we stubbornly refuse His direction.

Your will be done …

  • in my life
  • in my family
  • in my finances
  • in my career
  • in my children
  • in my dreams for the future
  • in my words
  • in my friendships
  • in my world.

Are you brave enough to pray that God’s Will be done in your life? Are you brave enough to seek to know His will? Are you brave enough to stand in His presence! If you walk in His Son, Jesus Christ, you will never fear!


Abram Had his doubtsAbram behaved as a True Elder Brother when he went after and rescued his nephew Lot. The Elder Brother is to be the responsible one, and protect the family. He spared no expense in rescuing his nephew. Yet after wards, he did a very ‘un-elderly brother’ thing when he refused the loot offered by the King of Sodom. This is what made Abram a Godly Elder Brother – his focus was on his relationship with the Father, not on “stuff”.

But he must have had his doubts. It is hard for Elder Brothers to not think ‘practically’. That is why God appeared to him in Genesis 15:1,

“Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”

God never wastes words. He would not have told Abram not to fear if fear was not in his heart. Perhaps he was afraid his following this invisible Jehovah was a waste. After all, Jehovah had still not provided him with an heir. What kind of God is that? So he complained to Jehovah:

“O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.”

Abram the Elder Brother was responsible, obedient and childless. His labors would all be in vain if he had no heir. So fear was in his heart. Do I keep following Jehovah, or return to the gods of my forefathers? After all, Abram began life as an idolater in a foreign land.

milky-wayGod could see the fear and hesitation in his heart, just as He sees the fear and hesitation in every Elder Brothers heart. So Jehovah took Abram outside and showed him the Milky Way. “Your descendants will be as many as the stars!” In that moment, Abram believed Jehovah, and it was counted unto him as righteousness.

A simple display and Word from Jehovah was all it took to dispel the fear in Abrams heart. When fear gripped his heart and he started to lean on his own understanding, he looked to the stars and believed the Word of God!

Abram Believed God

Elder Brothers, if you have doubts and fears about your labors and what good they are, open the Word of God and look for His promises to you. Ask Him for a special Word that will dispel the fear from your heart. Elder Brothers mask their insecurities with hard work, tasks and accomplishments. Yet inwardly we are beset by fear and doubt. Is this all worth while? Will anyone appreciate what I have done when I am gone? Will my children realize all I have sacrificed for them?

Look to the heavens, and hear the Word of Jehovah! His love for you is overwhelming. He is building His Kingdom on the backs of His faithful and hardworking Elder Brothers. We are the ones who must rescue our captured kinsmen.

Father: Open my heart to hearing your assuring voice, open my eyes to see your wondrous power!