This is the sermon for Sunday, February 24th 2008.
GOTTA HAVE FAITH PART 13
The accomplishments done in Faith
Last time we looked at Rahab’s faith and saw that she had a saving faith. This week we are going to look at a grouping of some of the heroes of faith listed in our text. We are going to see how that through their faith in God they accomplished some things.
As I was preparing this message this week, I asked myself the question, “Does our faith in God really accomplish anything?” Of course I knew the answer to that question. Yes it does. You see, faith in God is not a passive thing, although at times God may ask us to stand still and trust Him. But there is also this reality that God wants to work through us as we put our faith in Him. It is the idea that God wants to accomplish things, but He wants to accomplish some things through us, not outside of us.
Throughout this series we have seen God use these Old Testament saints. They had to believe outside of themselves. They couldn’t trust in their own ability, but they had to trust in God.
Laura and I at the beginning of this week at first thought we received good news. I was unsure about it, and Laura jokingly said, “You sound like the children of Israel complaining to Moses.” I told her I wasn’t complaining, but that something didn’t seem right about it. When we went to our meeting, Laura discovered the problem, and our initial joys went to anger and sorrow. You see, I was right that the good news was incorrect. Laura took it well, while I spent Monday night calling some church people, trying to encourage them, while I really needed encouragement myself. I wasn’t feeling it. I had to spend this week re-learning to completely trust God with this situation.
There was a song that Jim Nabors of Gomer Pyle fame made popular, it is called, “The impossible dream.” Here are some of the lyrics: “To dream the impossible dream,
to fight the unfightable foe, To bear with unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave dare not go. To right the unrightable wrong, to love pure and chase from afar, To try when your arms are too weary, to reach the unreachable star! This is my quest, to follow that star, No matter how hopeless, no matter how far … And the world will be better for this;
That one man, scorned and covered with scars, Still strove with the last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable stars.”
This is what Christianity is about: dreaming the impossible, fighting the unfightable, bearing the unbearable, righting the unrightable, and reaching the unreachable. In other words, facing challenges and meeting them!
This is what these people did in our text as they put their faith in God. Let’s look at their example this morning.
1. These heroes of faith accepted the challenges placed before them.
Hebrews 11:32 ISV – And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets.
A. After the Author of Hebrews has given us example after example, he quickly is trying to sum up his message here.
He quickly gives us a few examples of people and their faith. Let’s look at them quickly as well.
His army was reduced from 32,000 to 300 men. He had to believe that with 300 men he could route the Midianites (Judges 6:11 – 8:35).
He served with a woman (Deborah, which by the way was unheard of at that time). He along with Deborah, conquered the army of General Sisera from Hazor, inspite of some cowardly actions on his part (Judges 4:4-23).
Despite his weakness for women, God used him against the Philistines, slaying many in his death (Judges 13-16). Let me also say this, that God never condoned Samson’s sin, but He used Samson to fulfill His purposes.
Inspite of being an illegitimate child, he rose to power to deliver Israel from the Ammonites (Judges 11:1-33).
God used David in many victories over many enemies. But the only way he could defeat his greatest enemy – himself – was to repent of his sins and fall into the hands of his Merciful God.
He was the last of Israel’s Judges and the first prophet of the nation. He was God’s man when the priesthood had fallen into corruption. He was also the spiritual leader in the midst of ungodly leadership (King Saul).
H. The prophets.
Too many to list in this sermon. They all had one thing in common. They were to call God’s children back to Him.
2. What was their reward – They accomplished things through faith.
Hebrews 11:33-34 ISV – Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, received promises, shut the mouths of lions, (34) put out raging fires, escaped death by the sword, found strength in weakness, became powerful in battle, and routed foreign armies.
A. They conquered kingdoms.
B. They administered justice.
They did the right thing, they ruled, lived, and led with God’s approval. Righteously.
C. They received promises.
God made covenants and promises with many of them.
D. They shut the mouths of lions.
Daniel, Samson, and David were all victorious over lions.
E. They put out raging fires.
The 3 Hebrew Children survived the fiery furnace.
F. They escaped the edge of the sword.
David escaped Saul’s attacks. Elijah escaped Jezebel’s threats. Elishah escaped from the King of Syria.
G. They found strength in weakness.
Hezekiah regained strength after sickness. Jael, a woman, a member of the weaker sex, killed Sisera with a tent peg (Judges 4:21). Ehud, being left-handed (which was considered a weakness back then), killed the King of Moab (Judges 3:12-22).
H. They became powerful in battle.
Gideon, Joshua, David.
3. What is the lesson to be learned – True faith finds its courage and strength in the Lord God.
A. It doesn’t look anywhere else.
B. It knows that God is their only source for courage and strength.
What can we take from this sermon and apply to our lives?
• When God calls, don’t let fear hinder you from walking in His calling.
• Ask the Lord for the strength and courage you need.
• Step out in faith, expecting Him to give you that strength and courage.
Are you fearful about being used by God this morning? It is normal to be fearful when looking at the tasks ahead of each of us. If you are fearful this morning, I’d like to pray for you, love you, and encourage you to go on and take the step of faith.