This is the Sunday Morning sermon for December 9th 2007. Please excuse the typos.
GOTTA HAVE FAITH PART 3
THE NECESSARY BELIEFS OF FAITH
We are going to look at the Necessary beliefs of faith this morning.
Every morning when I roll out of bed and then get ready to come to the church, I have several necessary beliefs that literally control my life. One of them, is I believe that when I put my key into the car, it is going to start. I almost never put my key in, wondering if it will before I try to start it. I just put it in and turn it, expecting the car the start.
It is the same with faith. Faith for the mature Christian, should become second nature. Why? Because we should be living our lives everyday by faith. Again, not faith as a philosophy, or even faith in an idea, but faith in a person – that person being the Lord Jesus Christ.
Saint Anselm of Canterbury has a very interesting quote I’d like to share with you this morning. “Nor do I seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand. For this too I believe, that unless I first believe, I shall not understand.”
What is so interesting about this quote to me is the fact that according to Saint Anselm, you don’t understand to believe, you believe to understand. So if you are going to try to understand why things are happening, or the plan of God and then you will put your faith in Him, you are going in the reverse. You first put your faith in Him, and then in His timing, He will bring understanding.
We are in our series “Gotta have faith this morning.” Last week we looked at, “The spiritual power of faith.” We saw in the examples of Abel and Enoch that there was spiritual power to: (1) be declared righteous by God; (2) The power to walk with God and please Him.
This morning we are going to look at the Necessary beliefs of faith.
Let’s read our text this morning.
Hebrews 11:6 ISV – Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently search for him.
1. It is impossible to please God without faith.
Hebrews 11:6a ISV – Now without faith it is impossible to please God…
Now again, we are not talking about a faith to get your needs meet, or to have a nicer house or car. Neither are we talking about a faith in a particular expression of church and worship, or a philosophy.
The faith we are talking about is an absolute trust and dependence on God as revealed in His Word – the Bible.
God gave approval to all the Old Testament saints because of their faith.
Hebrews 11:2 ISV – For by it (faith) our ancestors won approval.
It wasn’t the rituals they performed, or the fact that their names are mentioned in Scripture – but the fact they had an unshakable faith in the Almighty God. This is the kind of faith that God requires of us – unshakable, unwavering.
This passage goes on to tell us 2 ways to develop unshakable, unwavering faith.
2. We first must believe that God exists.
Hebrews 11:6b ISV – For the one who comes to Him must believe that He exists…
God is not some myth of our human imagination. He is very real, so real that through Jesus Christ, all things were created by Him.
John 1:3 ISV – Through him (Jesus) all things were made, and apart from him nothing was made that has been made.
But believing He exists is just the first step. In and of itself it is not enough. For even the Demons believe in Him.
James 2:19 ISV – You believe that there is one God. That’s fine! Even the demons believe that and tremble with fear.
3. We must also believe that God will reward the diligent, sincere seeker.
Hebrews 11:6c ISV – He rewards those that diligently search for Him.
What was the reward that all these Old Testament saints received as they endeavored to seek God and draw near to Him. They all had one thing in common when it came to these rewards – I believe they received His righteous, or justification by faith.
Church, you will notice that this verse does not say diligently searching after things, but it says diligently searching after Him. So we are not talking about shallow things that people diligently seek after today. Things like: finances, health, the good life (though we may by God’s mercy and grace receive these).
We are talking about the ultimate of rewards that we can have here on this earth right now.
What are these ultimate rewards we can have now if we diligently search after Him:
His righteousness given to us- much more than just being declared righteous, but it is literally given to us.
His mercy – Which is not giving us what we deserve.
His grace – Which is giving us what we do not deserve.
Eternal life – We are not right now waiting for eternal life, but we can walk in it right now. We have His presence (Holy Spirit) abiding, leading, and guiding.
In light of this, what should be our response to God as we approach Him?
1. You are not coming to a myth, or a theological or religious idea, you are approaching a real person – The Great I AM, the Lord of Heaven and Earth.
Approach Him with reverence and the respect He justly deserves.
2. When approaching Him in prayer remember this: You are not coming by your own deeds or works of righteousness, you are approaching through Jesus Christ and His work He did for you and I at the Cross.
Approach in Jesus name, thanking the Lord for the access you have through Jesus.
3. Don’t just be seeking things, or needs, or wants, or desires, but diligently search and seek for Him, His will, His desires, and His ways.
Think of every time you pray and study Scripture, both at church, or in your privacy as a time to grow in the Lord and learn from Him.
If you do this, your prayer time and study time will not become a drudgery, but more meaningful.
4. Listen with your spirit and be obedient when the Lord speaks to you.
Be sure to test it with Scripture, but if it passes the test, obey.
I want everyone to understand something this morning: God wants much more than our mere acknowledgment of His existence; He wants a personal, dynamic relationship with us that will transform our lives. This can only come when we put our absolute faith and trust in Him and begin to draw near to Him.
So this morning, whether you are going through a difficult time, you are not a believer, but you sense a tugging to come forward for salvation, or if you just feel a urge or a desire to surrender more to the Lord – please be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leading. The front is open for prayer. We want to pray for you and see the Lord’s hand at work in your life. If the Lord is leading you this morning, please come forward and diligently search for Him.
Next time we will loot at Noah’s faith.