Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

*******************Baptism at Singles Retreat 147 Baptized!!! ***********************

* Sharing times in the Word and looking for growth. Let's Commune Together!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fruit - Faithfulness Pt 2…Faith is by the BOOK, not our feelings.

I remember once while living in Antipolo, the house we stayed in had a large closed in garage with a sliding wooden door. One day I decided to do some cleaning, so I pulled the door open to get air in. As I worked, I kept having this strange feeling that I was being watched. I would walk in and out of the garage, but no one was there. This feeling persisted and eventually I stopped working and just stood very quite. Suddenly in my peripheral vision I caught a movement. I looked to my right and straight up into the rafters of the garage. There, staring at me was a 4-5 foot long Bayawak! (Monitor Lizard) His tongue was what caught my eye.

I did not quite understand how to explain it, but I knew I sensed something. True faith has that element in it also.

Before we look at our other points let’s review:

1. If it is true faith we will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

2. If it is true faith we understand our authority.

Here are three more aspects of what faith looks like.

3. If it is true faith it incorporates our intuition.

Many might call this a “sixth sense” – it is the subjective part of our walk. We wish it was objective and that’s why so many in the church have moved away from faith walking into sight walking. What do I mean?

When faith is objective, it is sight walking, we want to be spoon fed life, no risk, no unanswered questions, which leads in the end that God must prove Himself to me!

When faith is subjective, it is faith walking, we are learning to eat and digest life one step at a time. We have objective truth to guide us, the Scriptures, yet we must still make that final step without seeing how it will end. This will lead us to live with the mindset that I must prove myself to God!

This turns faith into an exciting adventure that can become a treasure of memories on the trustworthiness of our Lord!

Mark 9:21-27 And He asked his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood.  "And it has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!"  And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can!' All things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the boy's father cried out and began saying, "I do believe; help my unbelief.  When Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.” After crying out and throwing him into terrible convulsions, it came out; and the boy became so much like a corpse that most of them said, “He is dead!” But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and he got up.

God is not hard hearted and will not judge harshly when we have difficulty with our faith. Jesus illustrates this compassion. Also, consider what this boy’s father will believe the next time he is required to show faith. 

As God matures our faith we will grow to the point where we follow immediately.  

Acts 16:9-10 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a certain man of Macedonia was standing and appealing to him, and saying, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." And when he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. 

4. If it is true faith it is based on Biblical theology

Much of what we see called “faith” today has very little to do with Biblical truth.

The “health, wealth, prosperity” movement has prostituted the true meaning of Biblical faith. Yes, I can trust that if God wants something to happen, nothing is impossible. However, when statements like: “Don’t ask God for things, Demand!” “Speak into existence what you want!” “Claim from God your desires” – All of these and others have NO foundation in Scripture. Our theology is what determines what kind of faith you have. How can you trust God for anything if you don’t know what He is like, how He thinks, what He expects, what His desires are for you?

Romans 10:13-17 for "WHOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED." How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GLAD TIDINGS OF GOOD THINGS!" However, they did not all heed the glad tidings; for Isaiah says, "LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. 

1 John 3:24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us. 

5. If it is true faith it builds our History with God.

This is what I call “The Jordan Rock Principle”  - We do our faith harm if we have a short memory. God desires that we keep before us His faithfulness; so that each time we come to another mountain to climb, we can reflect how consistently our God has been in our past, which emboldens us in our faith!

Joshua 4:20-22 And those twelve stones which they had taken from the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the sons of Israel, "When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, 'What are these stones?' then you shall inform your children, saying, 'Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.' 

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

If it is true faith it looks like this:


Challenge: When you and other people look at what drives your life what do they see? Would it be that you walk by faith or by sight?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Faithfulness – The question is not “how much” but “what kind!”

I have a brother that if he sees or smells mayonnaise he will become nauseated and even lose his stomach. Why? When I was 3 years old I can remember him loving mayonnaise so much he would eat pure mayonnaise sandwiches. One day while we were both in the kitchen, he climbed up on the counter and grabbed a 16oz unopened jar of mayonnaise and a spoon. He jumped down and told me he was going to eat the whole jar! He did…and then he spent the rest of the night giving it back in the bathroom. He was so sick. He laid such a solid foundation to dislike mayonnaise, that to this day, 50yrs later, he still has a great disdain for mayonnaise!

This next fruit is so important to our walk, but we need to lay the proper foundation so we can best understand it!

Galatians 5:22–23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,  faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

When we try to understand “faithfulness” we must first understand what “faith” is. I want to talk about this fruit in detail, but must spend the time digging the proper foundation, which is understanding “faith.” So many today talk about "great faith" but when you find out what they believe, you discover their faith is not Biblical faith. The issue is never "how much," Jesus' story about the mustard seed points that out, the issue is to make sure you have the right kind of faith!

Define: Faith – When we say “faith” it really depends in what way we mean it and it also depends on our world view.

Consider it’s many uses: 1. Complete trust or confidence. 2. Firm belief, esp. without logical proof. 3. A system of religious belief (the Christian Faith). 4. Belief in religious doctrines. 5. Spiritual apprehension of divine truth apart from proof. 6. Things believed or to be believed. 7. Duty or commitment to fulfill a trust, promise, etc.; obligation, allegiance (keep faith). 8. (attrib.) Concerned with a supposed ability to cure by faith rather than treatment (faith healing).

There is more but I think you get the point. Some of those statements have truth in them, however, some are very lacking. To think that our faith is – “Firm belief, esp. without logical proof” really defies the very idea of logic. There is so much evidence for the intelligent design of the universe and over whelming evidence of the Historicity of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. Which is more logical, to look at everything, including how humans are made, and believe in an accident…or a Creator?

It is clear that for those of us that hold a worldview that there is a Creator we must seek a clearer definition of “faith.” Scripture gives this definition:

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.

Faith is being sure, that is having the confidence, in the things we hope for. What is a believer’s hope? All the promises that Christ has made; which leads us to being convinced of what we do not see, to say it another way…we are positive and persuaded that, even though God is invisible and works invisibly so much of the time, all God is and does is true!

The long version would take a book, so let’s bring it down into a palatal thought so we can keep that before us.

Faith is the realization of hopeful expectation!

We know what we hope for is coming and take confidence in that. Circumstances, emotions, and even what this world calls facts cannot take away our confidence!

When we walk by faith we are telling God that we believe Him in spite of our lack of visual confirmation or of mental comprehension. We are not living with blind faith; blind faith is when you trust in something, yet you do not know the source of the Truth that is being put forth. We know Who our God is; we are just refusing to allow our eyes to focus on the physical world and control our actions.

First, let’s look at what “faith” looks like?

1. If it is true faith we will be filled with the Holy Spirit.

This means to be under the control of the Holy Spirit. True faith is something clearly shown by a person that is yielded to the Holy Spirit.

I have experienced many times, sadly, someone telling me they married the person they did because they believed (this is faith) God had led them to. But now they are convinced they married the wrong person, because they are not finding the marriage satisfying anymore. How to deal with that problem is another message, what I want to state is that most times I have found out later that the couple had been having premarital sex. They were living in sin, yet they believed this is what God wanted them to do??? How would they know?

When you are living in the flesh – your guessing!

Only the Spirit knows the mind of the Father, so to follow Him we must be in tune with the Spirit.

1 Cor. 2:10-11 For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

The Spirit knows our deepest thoughts and needs.

Romans 8:26-27 And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

2. If it is true faith we understand our authority.

Unger’s Dictionary states this about authority – The power or right to perform certain acts without impediment. It is based upon some form of law, whether divine, civil, or moral. Supreme authority is God’s alone (Romans 13:1), hence all human authority is derived from God

We must approach God’s promises, as they are – His promises! Doubt has no place here!

James 1:5-8 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Sadly, many today have moved from approaching our God based on faith to now intimidation.

What’s the difference? Intimidation tells God what He is supposed to do and when. Words like “claim,” phrases like – we "loose" you Holy Spirit. To guarantee we get what we want, we say...usually loudly...“in Jesus name!” Our tone is demanding, and our expectation is immediate.

Faith tells God that we believe; and acknowledges that He will do what He has promised. If what we desire is an area that there is no promise then we are trusting He will do what He desires, taking our desires into consideration, but always tempered by His omniscience! He always will do what is best. If our desire matches His desire we can know we will receive.

Acts 3:16  "And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.

Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "But the righteous man shall live BY FAITH."

Romans 5:1-2 Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.

2 Cor. 5:7  for we walk by faith, not by sight

“Faith” is used over hundreds of times in Scriptures. In the chapter that gives us the greatest examples of men and women of faith it is used 19 times. We will continue looking at faith next time, but just for meditation, contemplate this passage.

Hebrews 11:1-40 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared  / By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain / By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death / By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen / By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed  / By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise /  By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive / By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac / By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau / By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph / By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel / By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents / By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter / By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king / By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood / By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land / By faith the walls of Jericho fell down / By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient /  And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised.

Can you still have faith...even if you have to wait?