Too often spiritual decisions are based on emotion and not on knowledge. Then once the emotion is gone, there is no follow through with the decision. During the next four services we are going to lay the foundation for living by faith. While I hope your emotions will be stirred, it will be knowledge of God’s Word on which you will be asked to base your decision. Hebrews 11:6makes a promise to everyone who will believe…
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
First we must believe that He is. Genesis 1:1 states plainly, “In the Beginning God…” It makes no attempt to give proof of God’s existence. In fact, Psalm 14:1 states that anyone who says there is no God is a fool! In the first of eight foundational studies produced by Light of Life Ministry we deal with the subject of what we can know about God and why it is both reasonable and rational to believe in Him. But for our purposes here, we will begin just as Genesis, with the accepted knowledge that “God is!”
Second, we must understand the promise that He is “a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” One reason I believe so strongly in every believer being a student of the Bible is just this. The best way we can diligently seek God is through the divine revelation of Himself to us. For those who will, there is great reward. As Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find!”
Before we begin, there is one more important principle that the Bible makes very plain concerning our making a spiritual decision. In Luke 14:28-32, Jesus gives two parables that teach the importance of counting the cost before making a decision. The first has to do with a man who is desires to build a tower, yet does not count the cost before he starts to build, whether he has enough to finish the job. The second is about a king who must consider the size of the army of his enemy compared to his own before deciding to go into battle. So we must consider the cost of our commitment to the Lord, not out of emotion, but out of knowledge and will. Knowing this, we will now proceed!
There are four stages to living by faith. Each must be understood with the mind and a willful decision made with the heart to accept it before you will find success in the next step. You will discover that each step on this journey is received by the grace of God through your faith. Here are the four stages to living a life of faith:
- Defining Faith – The Condition of our Salvation
- Defeating Sin – The Call for our Separation
- Declaring Surrender – The Challenge for our Service
- Discovering Communion – The Channel for our Strength
During the next four services we will learn and hopefully implement these four requirements to successfully live by faith. I trust that every one of you will make the effort to be here for each service. But be advised – You will be challenged as a Christian by the very Word of God. If you truly want revival in your life and in your church, if you truly want to live a life of faith pleasing to the Father, and if you are sincerely willing to count the cost of such a life, then come with an open heart that the Spirit can fill. Let us pray together!
Defining Faith – The Condition of Our Salvation
Habakkuk 2:4 states that “the Just shall live by faith.” This is repeated in Hebrews 10:38, “the Just shall live by faith.” How does faith come? Paul tells us in Romans 10:17, “So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” So let us hear what the Word has to say about faith.
Hebrews 11:1 KJV – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 NASB – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Romans 5:1 KJV – Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Therefore, the first step in our path to living a life of faith is to come to an understanding of what faith is and how it is tied to our salvation.
I hope no person will leave this place tonight until you have this understanding; until you know what is involved in your salvation, and have the assurance and conviction that you are “In Christ.”
*** Tell the personal story of “What It Means to be Lost” as experienced at the age of three.
¨ Being Lost is being separated from the Father.
¨ Sin is what causes that separation.
¨ Jesus is the Solution to Sin and Separation.
There are two aspects of Sin: Guilt and Depravity.
Guilt makes us subject to God’s wrath and punishment of sin.
Depravity is the power in one’s life that causes him to commit sin.
There are also two aspects of salvation
designed to deal with the two aspects of sin:
Justification – which settles the problem of guilt.
Sanctification – which deals with the problem of depravity.
Tonight we are dealing with Justification and the issue of our guilt. Tomorrow night we will deal with Sanctification and the issue of our depravity.
Understanding why we are guilty before God
The Reality of Genesis: In the Beginning God created…and on the sixth day God created Man, in His image and after His likeness. Man was created in the very image of God. And God declared everything He had created was “Very good!”
Tell the story of the creation, the fall, and the curse. Emphasize Jesus as the Creator (the logos of God). The image of God in man was destroyed, and God’s creation was no longer “good.” Sin separates… God is Holy; man is sinful; the wages of sin is death.
Because God loves His creation, in His wisdom He devised a plan whereby sin could be punished just as His holiness demanded, but that man could be restored to fellowship with the Father. This plan required the Creator to become as His own creation: God must become man!
The gift of salvation is really the gift of Jesus Christ. That is why we Arminians teach that you must “continue in faith”, that is to “continue in Christ” in order to be saved. Salvation comes when we place our faith in Christ. It is secure as we continue in faith with Christ. There is no salvation outside of Christ. The truth of the Gospel is found in John 14:6
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No man comes to the Father except through Me.
Salvation comes when we place our faith in Christ. But the assurance of salvation comes when we place our trust in God’s Word!
In order to live by faith there must be an understanding of the grounds and the condition of our salvation. We must know that we are eternally secure in Christ!
Tell the personal story of my lack of assurance. Then relate the difference of belief, faith, and trust with the illustration of the tight rope walker and the burning building. All believe he can walk the rope (belief). Many believe he can walk the rope while carrying a person to safety (faith). Few are willing to allow him to pick them up and start across the rope (trust).
Read “What Does God Do?” in the Laying the Foundations study guide, on page 88 (page 90 in newer editions).
It is likely that everyone here believes in Jesus. It is probable that most here actually have put their faith in Jesus as being able to save. But it is likely there are several here who have never had assurance of salvation by putting their trust in God’s Word. Tonight is the time to settle this issue once and for all time. You will not be able to successfully proceed in your walk of faith until this issue is settled. Do not let Satan use this tactic on you ever again. Settle the issue now. Do not let pride get in your way.
Tomorrow night – Defeating Sin. What it means to be crucified with Christ. Must we die before we can be free from sin? How to live in victory and the three gifts God gives to us that provide for that victory.