This is the sermon, that my Dad, Jerry Trammell preached on August 15, 2004 at First Assembly of God, Dumas Texas.
2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV – We live by faith, not by sight.
INTRO: Notice with me the text, it simply says, “We live by faith, not by sight.” That is such a simple statement; yet though simple it is profound. For living by faith is essential if we, as Christians, are to live a triumphant faith in Christ. For a few moments I want to preach to you from the subject of, “Triumphant faith.”
Let me ask you the question of, “What is triumphant faith?” Triumphant simply means, “victorious.” So then when we talk about triumphant faith, we are, in essence talking about victorious faith. This type of faith is a faith that overcomes. It is a faith that lives in victory, and not defeat.
1. But what does triumphant faith overcome. It overcomes the world.
The world in which we live must be overcome. It we do not overcome it, it will overcome us. Life here on earth is really a struggle. If you, as a Christian, think that you are going to get through this life unscathed you are going to be sadly disappointed. Sometimes people when they come to the Lord think that because they have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, and are serving Him that life is going to be smooth sailing ahead. But I warn you, as a Christian, don’t expect life to always be easy. Don’t expect to simply drift along on the ocean of life without having to be confronted with some storms that have some very dangerous waves.
If we are to overcome the world it is imperative that we learn to, “live by faith, not by sight.” All of us I think had rather walk by sight. We all have the tendency of wanting to know the end before facing the beginning. Most of us would like to know how things are going to turn out before we begin.
Jacob was kind of like that, he was a man who, in the beginning of his relationship with the Lord, wanted to walk by sight. Notice the vow that Jacob made.
Genesis 28:20-21 NIV – 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God…
Now on the surface that sounds like such a beautiful statement, and commitment that Jacob was making to the Lord. But a close examination of what said reveals that at this point Jacob was not a man of faith. His vow to the Lord was, “God if You will bless me, watch over me, and protect me, and give me food to eat and clothes to wear, and then if You will bring me safely back to my father’s house, then I will serve You.”
You see, his commitment was not a commitment of faith. His commitment was a commitment of sight.
What Jacob should have prayed was, “God, I dedicate and give you my life to you, and from this day forward I’m going to serve you to the best of my ability. I ask Lord that You would meet my needs, and protect me, but regardless, I’m going to serve You.”
Listen, brother and sister, we must commit ourselves to serve the Lord in faith, regardless of how bleak or circumstances may be at the time.
Jacob even tried to make a deal with God that if God would bless him materially in abundance that he would give a tenth, or tithe to the Lord.
What he should have done was in faith commit himself to give the tenth of all the increase and trust God for the rest.
This is kind of like people today who will want to be sure that they have enough to pay all their bills before they commit themselves to tithe unto the Lord.
Church, don’t be like Jacob, learn to, “live by faith not by sight.”
Faith says, “I will give in faith as God has commanded, and trust Him to meet the need.”
Faith says, “I will trust God for my healing even though the symptoms of sickness is still there.”
Faith says, “Though God slay me, yet I will trust Him.”
Faith says like Job, “And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes.”
Jacob was a man of sight, but Joseph was a man of faith and it is his example that we should follow. As a young man, Joseph had received dreams that in his heart he knew was from God. The dreams where that one day his father and mother and 11 brothers would one day bow in obedience to him as one does a ruler. It seemed that those dreams of Joseph would never be fulfilled in his life, but in faith he clung to what he felt God was telling him. You know his story: his brothers, sold him into slavery, and told their father Jacob, that a wild animal had killed him. While in slavery he was accused of trying to seduce the wife of Potiphar, and was thrown into prison. The years passed with Joseph hopeless imprisoned in a dungeon. It seemed that his dreams were nothing but the fantasy of a child of past years gone by. Yet, Joseph in faith clung to the promise of those dreams. He never failed, he never faltered.
If he had been walking by sight he would have given up long before, because nothing appeared as if those dreams would be fulfilled. In fact, they seemed farther away from fulfillment than any point in his life, but Joseph kept believing.
You know the rest of the story. Joseph was taken out of that prison and made the second ruler in the entire land of Egypt, and it was during this time when his brothers and his mom an dad bowed to him in obedience as second ruler in the entire land of Egypt, the greatest and most powerful nation on the face of the earth.
Oh Church, how we need to live by faith and not by sight. This is the only way that you overcome the world.
2. Throughout Scripture we see those who walked by sight instead of faith, and always the sight-seekers failed, while men and women of faith succeeded.
Lot was a man of sight, not faith. When there was a problem between the herdsmen of Abraham and the herdsmen of Lot, and the two decided to go their separate ways. Abraham gave Lot the choice as which direction he would go.
Genesis 13:10 NIV – Lot looked up and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan was well watered, like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, toward Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.)
Lot made the unwise choice of “pitching his tent towards Sodom,” all because of what he saw. Abraham took what was left, but in faith he claimed the promise of God.
Genesis 13:14-15 NIV – 14 The LORD said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.
You know what, the promise that God gave Abraham still has not come to fruition yet, largely because if Israel’s walk of disobedience throughout there history as a people.
But friend, the faith of Abraham is still going to avail, his faith, though he has long been in the grave, still will cause Israel, who are his descendants, to one possess all that God promised. One day the land from the river of Egypt to the River Euphrates will be possessed by Abraham’s descendants. Abraham’s faith shall win out in the end.
CONCL: Child of God, learn to “live by faith, not by sight.” For if you will you will have a triumphant faith. Yours will be a faith that will be able to overcome every obstacle that you face in life. Oh, how I admire the faith and tenacity of some of God’s people right here in our own church. Like Paul they are fighting a good fight, and are keeping the faith. And I’m confident they will continue to do so until the very end. Church, you and I need that kind of will power, that kind of perseverance. You’re going to face a lot of difficult times in this life. At times everything is going to seem to be going wrong, but if y9ou will be a map or woman of faith you will be triumphant over every trial that you face in life.