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Dare to make a Difference - 2 Fresh Faith

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INTRO:    How’s your dash? (I want this to be a statement that is asked often in our church)

Born 1964 – Died ?

God’s plans or my plans

That timeline between birth and death is to be reserved for fulfilling the will of God for your life.  God has a plan for you.  You see, we have a tendency to fill our lives with OUR plans and God is very patient with us. 

He says today, Pr 19: 21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.(NKJV)

If a plan, the counsel of God is going to stand and my plans fall over – lets trade plans today!  Who wants to devote their life to something insignificant that has no bearing on ETERNITY?!!!!

God is unstoppable in his purposes

Job 42:2 (NKJV) "I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.

 

Jeremiah 32:27 (NKJV) "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?

 

God can do what He has said He’s going to do.

Is there anything more significant than to contribute the vapour of our lives to the plan of God??

Turning the Common into the EXTRA-ordinary

How do common, ordinary people become great people?  By having a commitment to the great cause of heaven.  Our existence then takes on eternal significance!

The greatest thing you or I can do with our lives is to wrap it around God’s eternal plan of the AGES!  My money, my life, my children.

What is the Lord’s counsel regarding the Master plan for planet earth?

God’s plan is that mercy and justice flow into the nations of the earth

Isaiah 42:4 (NKJV) He will not fail nor be discouraged, Till He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands shall wait for His law."

Right now injustices abound on our planet – despots, dictators, poverty, slavery, child sex slaves!  The list goes on and on…Terrorism – innocent victims.

BUT God has a plan – an unstoppable plan!

Habakkuk 2:14 (NKJV) For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea.

This is God’s plan.

Psalms 22:27 (NKJV) All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You.

A plan is in place – it’s huge, its great

Friends today I want to share with you what I consider to be one of the KEY ingredients for you and I to be fully involved in what is about to unfold on PLANET EARTH.

It is an unseen but very TANGIBLE commodity that has the ability to move all of heaven and earth.

Without this ingredient we live at a SUB-PAR level.

Without this ingredient we often get STUCK.

Without this ingredient the bible says we cannot please God.

What am I talking about?   FAITH

FRESH FAITH

 

WRONG MEASUREMENT STICK:   When most of us think about how we are doing spiritually, we think about surface things.  We zero in on behaviour patterns like:

  • Gossiping, criticizing
  • Impure thoughts
  • Have we been reading our bibles
  • Have we been true in our tithing?

We concentrate on outward works, while forgetting they are the fruit of a deeper spiritual factor.

Pastor’s are often most interested in church attendance alone, which does not always reflect a churches health.

What matters most is not so much how many are showing up on a Sunday, but how ACTIVE and VIBRANT their faith is in the God they serve.  YOU CAN EASILY PACK A BUILDING WITHOUT PLEASING GOD, BECAUSE CROWDS DO NOT EQUAL SPIRITUALITY.

1.  Faith is the temperature reading of our spiritual health - Church at Thessalonica

Paul sends Timothy to check up on the new Thessalonian church (where he had only been able to spend three weeks before getting run out of town).

You’d think he’d want to ask them firstly about how many were turning up? Did they have their own church building yet? Were the offerings enough to cover the bills?  And what about the individuals that received the Lord: Had they stopped swearing, drinking, committing adultery? Going to see bad movies?

NOT AT ALL!

In 1 Thess 3, Paul reveals that his primary concern is for the faith level of his precious converts.  He wants to take a temperature reading of their spiritual health, and faith is what he is looking for!

  • “We sent Timothy …. To strengthen and encourage you in your faith (v.2)
  • “When I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith” (v.5)
  • “But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love” (v.6)
  • “Therefore brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith” (v.7)
  • “Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith” (v.10)

What is Paul most concerned about? The condition of their faith. He has sent Timothy to “strengthen and encourage” the people in their faith.

Timothy comes back with a report that says nothing about the building, the lighting or sound system or condition of the carpet!

No – he tells Paul about the condition of their faith!

Then right at the end of the chapter in verse 10 he wants to make another trip there in order to “see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.”  Faith – faith – faith – faith!

Why?

2.  Faith moves the Heart of God

What we seem to so easily forget is that when people break down in their behaviour, backslide into sinful living or grow cold in the Lord, it is because their faith has broken down first!  Deep down underneath is a weakness of faith!

What do you think it took to amaze Jesus when he was walking on the earth?

Remember – not easy to impress someone in whom the world was created through, someone who has forever existed in heaven itself!  Could anything possibly impress the Lord?

Did Jesus ever exclaim – WOW! AWESOME righteousness! Amazing INTELLECT!  That Matthew – a real financial genious!

NOPE – but he was amazed by one thing:  people’s faith!

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

 

  • Centurion’s faith – when he told this man that he would go to his house and heal his servant, and the centurion said not to bother but just to speak the word of healing.
    “Jesus was amazed at him and turning to the crowd following him said, ‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel’” (Luke 7:9)
  • Canaanite woman pleads to jesus to come and heal her demon-possessed daughter and won’t take no for an answer. Jesus exclaims, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted” (Matthew 15:28)

Lack of faith hinders the hand of God

Back in Jesus hometown he’s desperately wanting to help some people and do some miracles but he couldn’t:

Mark 6:5-6 (NIV)
5 He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 And he was amazed at their lack of faith….

Was it that there were particularly powerful demons in Nazareth, some sicknesses that Jesus himself could not heal?!  No – no, his hands were tied by their unbelief!

Faith is the trigger that moves the hand of God and the heart of God!  Faith is the key to our relationship with Him.

 

Achieve or Receive?

 

Many western church goers have a dormant faith.

Yes - They still come to church services, they still sing Hillsong choruses – but their faith is dead!  They are trying to survive by achieving in their Christianity – “trying harder, struggling to obey the Lord and do His will – we all struggle you know!”

This reveals we are reverting to a Christianity focused on our ability rather than God’s!

Faith is the conductor that connects us with HEAVEN and the heart of God – the power of God – His strength in place of our weaknesses.

The GREATEST Christian is not the one who has ACHIEVED the most, but rather the one who has RECEIVED the most!

God’s love and power, grace and mercy has come into his life because he has simply believed and received what he needs!

3.  Faith has eyes that see the future

Faith travels in the vehicle of VISION and DREAMS.  That is the language that faith communicates through.

 

"Faith is seeing what can't be seen…."

As soon as a real faith for anything arrives in your heart, you will see that thing. Paul says, in 2 Corinthians 4:18.

"look at things which are not seen"

 

Hebrews 11:1 says that

"faith is the …evidence of things not seen."

That is, it is the seeing of things that are not seen.

The Amplified Bible translates this as:

"Faith perceiving as reality those

things that are not revealed to the

natural senses."

To perceive is to see.

Faith can see a reality that is invisible. This also relates to the realm of impossibility - a thing that can't be seen as ever happening because of the impossibility of it.

Experience can tell you that it doesn't happen.

 

Knowledge tells you that it can't happen.

 

The facts tell you that it won't happen. Yet your faith tells you that it's a reality. It will happen. You can see it happening, against all the odds. You need faith for what you cannot see, not for what you can see.

Abraham – stars in the night sky

We are told to walk in the faith of our spiritual father Abraham  What kind of faith was that?   He has no children and God prophesies over him that he is going to be the father of a multitude.  God helps Abraham to grasp it by pointing to the sky and says “See the Stars Abraham – so shall your descendants be!”(Gen 15)   Whenever Abraham walked out into the night sky – there it was a visual picture of his future – all my children – wow look at them all!

When you look at the church what do you see?

The church is the hope of the world!

 

I see the NATIONS of the world pouring through our doors because they feel loved, accepted and forgiven inside the walls of this building.  As a church we are called to reach NATIONS!

I see families and marriages that are almost shipwrecked coming and meeting Jesus, to follow him and watch their whole existence restored to shiny brand new and becoming the bedrock of our community because of the incredible life changing power of Jesus Christ that has shook them upside down and inside out.

I see BUSINESS people hatching BREAKTHRU plans to help finance the vision of the church and further the cause of Christ here in NZ and in the NATIONS.

I see our church establishing MICRO-enterprise projects – helping lift communities overseas out of the poverty cycle.  Giving them dignity and respect – a life to be LIVED instead of a life to be ENDURED.

I see car loads of people driving to the Airport all excited about their first ever overseas missions trip into the nations of the world.

I see us conducting large evangelistic meetings in nations like INDIA – 1000’s are being saved. Lives transformed and changed.

HOW?

Introduce concept of Faith Promise Offering.

On November 12th, my goal is that we will all participate in helping to fund our global vision as a church.  I introduced this concept to our last congregation and it was so exciting seeing people’s faith begin to wake up as they began to believe God over a 12 month period to supply a sum of money over and above their normal income streams and give it to God’s plan for reaching the world.  We will be handing out to the church a simple profile sheet for you to pray over and ask God to place a figure in your mind to believe him for. 

Your job is to simply BELIEVE – His job is to simply PROVIDE.

PROMISE part – you promise to hand it over when he supplies.

Testimony after testimony of people’s faith being activated afresh to believe God and become a channel of supply for global mission.

What can you see today?

Prov 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish:

When people have no vision they stop – We eventually become dry bones in a valley because our vision is gone.

CONCLUSION

 

Listen:   Your faith may be feeling a little fragile today.  Maybe that sense of a CRISP and FRESH FAITH has long gone from your spirit and you have just been going through the motions.

Matthew 8.23-27

Ø      Storm buffeted the boat – we feel buffeted and very alone at times

Ø      We sometimes feel that God has gone to sleep and can’t see our situation

Ø      What’s happening Jesus?  Why are you asleep – I could die!

Ø      God allows us to feel like this at times so we can WAKE UP to what’s inside of us!  Where is that faith God has put inside you?  What are you doing with it?  YOU OF LITTLE FAITH.

Ø      There are measures of faith.  God wants your faith to grow.  Faith flourishes in an atmosphere of IMPOSSIBILITY!

Ø      That’s right it’s time to wake up and rebuke the storm yourself.  To use that which God has placed on the inside of you and see God’s power flow through you as a vessel, a conductor of God’s power!

 

Today is an opportunity for FRESH FAITH to be imparted into our lives and hearts.

Salvation & Ministry call

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