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Tools for growing your faith

Practical Christianity Series  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:15
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God’s Tool-belt

(insert picture of a tool belt-saved on computer already)
Do you have a tool-belt at home? Do you use it to make jobs easier? God gives us a tool belt and the tools to put in it, all free of charge so as to make life here transformable.
When do we grow in our faith? How do we grow in our faith? Why do we grow in our faith? - - - pretty good questions, huh?
(stop here; let that sink in, then ask if anyone has any input on the questions)
God uses many tools to help us grow in our faith, tonight we will look at a few of the tools God may use. And sometimes we may have tools, but need to add more to our tool belt like in this story (Mt19:16-21)
Matthew 19:16–17 NASB95
16 And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” 17 And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
Matthew 19:18–19 NASB95
18 Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; 19 Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Matthew 19:20–21 NASB95
20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
This man had works, he had obedience, but that did not earn him salvation did it? He lacked growing and trusting faith.
May we be willing to, 1. put on our tool belt, 2. know the tools we are given. 3. use the tools we are given. 4. be willing to add more tools to help us to get the job done!

I. Tool One - Practical Teaching

Tool one comes in the form of practical teaching. So first what does practical mean? -of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas. Let’s use (Mt7:24-27 as a starting point)
Matthew 7:24–25 NASB95
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
Matthew 7:26–27 NASB95
26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
See knowing God’s worth is not enough is it? We can read a book, know what it says but it does not do any good unless it is applied, unless it is practical. We need to put into practice God’s Word.
Practical teaching
For doers are justified (Rom2:13)
Romans 2:13 NASB95
13 for it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.
(expand; written to Jews about Law of Moses showing there had to be application)
Without works, faith is dead (Jam2:14-18)
James 2:14–15 NASB95
14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
James 2:16–17 NASB95
16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
James 2:18 NASB95
18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
(expand) - works cannot earn salvation, but works are a great proof of your salvation!
We all need to put practical teaching into action (Mt8:5-10); see example (Mt9:20)
(Have everyone turn in Bible to Mt8:5-10)
Matthew 8:5–6 NASB95
5 And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6 and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.”
Matthew 8:7–8 NASB95
7 Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
Matthew 8:9–10 NASB95
9 “For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.
In looking at this passage how was the centurion’s faith found?
Matthew 9:20 NASB95
20 And a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak;
(Expand) her thoughts moved her to actions, her actions proved her faith, her faith resulted in her healing. (not long passage you can look at Mt9:20-22)
So, going back to where we started today with the rich young ruler, what was the practical teaching He needed?
Scripture not only reveals where we are, but where we should be going, and gives us the road map how to get there. The scripture is practical!

Tool Two- Providential relationships

God brings people into our lives to help us. To help us on our journey. People that influence us, do you remember any of those people, are you one of those people to someone? Providential relationships are a great tool to have in our tool belt and to use too! (Pro13:20; 1Cor15:33)
Proverbs 13:20 NASB95
20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.
(expand) who you walk with matters -
1 Corinthians 15:33 NASB95
33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
So let’s look at some scriptures dealing with providential relationships
Nathan to David to confront (2Sam12:2-7)
2 Samuel 12:2–3 NASB95
2 “The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. 3 “But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him.
2 Samuel 12:4–5 NASB95
4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die.
2 Samuel 12:6–7 NASB95
6 “He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.” 7 Nathan then said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘It is I who anointed you king over Israel and it is I who delivered you from the hand of Saul.
(expand) Ever had anyone point out sin, or ungodly character in you? - was it for your own good? was it for God’s glory?
Providential relationships build-up and encourage one another (Rom15:5; 1The5:11)
Romans 15:5 NASB95
5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NASB95
11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
God gives us perseverance and encouragement, so we can encourage one another!
Providential relationships help protect us (Heb3:13)
Hebrews 3:13 NASB95
13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
We encourage one another so not to be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin
Again, have you had people, do you have providential relationships in your life? Take a few minutes tonight and thank them in prayer. Also, be a providential relationship to someone.

Tool Three- Spiritual Disciplines

Spiritual discipline has been a catch phrase for the last 10-20 years but that is something that is personal, between you and God. May we take a moment and look at just a couple of the tools o spiritual disciplines.
Prayer (Mk1:35) - get away, get alone, get praying
Mark 1:35 NASB95
35 In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.
(expand) be it morning, be it night, be it at lunch, make it be! Jesus did.
Meditation (Psm63:6) get God’s word in and meditate on God’s Word
Psalm 63:6 NASB95
6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,
May the Lord be in your thoughts when you lie down and when you get up, even if He gets you up in the middle of the night. Those are the times when you have less on your mind and He can oftentimes get your undivided attention.
Walk worth (Eph4:1) having prayed up, spent time in reflection of God’s Word now it is time to get up, get out and put it into action.
Ephesians 4:1 NASB95
1 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,
You were called by the gospel, you were called to be a Christian, as a Christian you are called to walk in a Christ like manner!
When we make time to get ourselves before God and get our relationship right with Him; then God can use us in mighty ways beyond what we think or could ask.

Tool Four- Personal Ministry

God wants to use each of us, has given each of us talents to use for the kingdom of God. Sometimes, oftentimes, what He has called us to do means getting out of our comfort zone.
Out of comfort zone- feeding 5,000 (Mt14:13-17)
Matthew 14:13–14 NASB95
13 Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.
Matthew 14:15–16 NASB95
15 When it was evening, the disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and the hour is already late; so send the crowds away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!”
Matthew 14:17 NASB95
17 They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”
You know the rest of the story (expand)
Out of comfort zone - leading to victory only 600 men (Judges 6-8)
Called while hiding
Called who he was to be for God (mighty man of valor)
Called to prove God will deliver
Other good examples
David slew Goliath (1Sam17)
Peter walked on water (Mt14:28)
YOU!
You are one of God’s examples by stepping up and out in faith in receiving Him and now serving Him.

Tool Five - Pivotal Circumstances

God uses pivotal circumstances to help us to grow our faith (Jam1:3-5; Rom8:28)
James 1:3–4 NASB95
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:5 NASB95
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
(expand) on the above; set up expand on what is below!
Romans 8:28 NASB95
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
We all go through things in our life here
unplanned things
unexpected things
unpleasant things
unwanted things
Sudden things
Life on life’s terms things
In all of these life things we are to count them a joy (Jam1:3-5), knowing our faith is being grown and our character is being proven (Rom5:3-5) and it is for our good (Rom8:28 as mentioned before)
Let me give you the one scripture we had not looked at that I just mentioned.
Romans 5:3–4 NASB95
3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;
Romans 5:5 NASB95
5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Pivotal circumstances are not easy, oftentimes they are hard, difficult. Why? We cannot see things from God’s perspective. God knows the big picture, we know the here and now with some history to back it up, but our future takes faith. He has given us a measure of faith so we can grow through the pivotal circumstances.
Something to consider: What pivotal circumstances has God allowed you to go through that has helped you to be able to help someone else?
(lead to encouragement)
(put picture of belt of truth-1; already saved on computer)
God’s tool belt is held together by the belt of truth as noted in Eph6, what is truth? It is God’s Word. For the sum of His word is true (Psm119:155) - - so put on your tool belt and lets get to work for the kingdom of God and the glory of the King!
(insert exit slide)
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