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Faith Hope & Love Pt 1 - Faith that Orients

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Faith Hope & Love - Faith that Orients

What is Faith?

Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John. He was a bishop in the early church, a very prominent leader. He was eventually caught and brought to Roman Colosseum to be brought before the Pro-Consul to be tried for being an Atheist (believing in only 1 God).
when he was brought forward the Pro-Consul asked him if he were Polycarp, and when he admitted it he tried to persuade him to deny, saying: “Respect your age,” and so forth, as they are accustomed to say: “Swear by the genius of Caesar, repent, say: ‘Away with the Atheists’ ”; but Polycarp, with a stern countenance looked on all the crowd of lawless heathen in the arena, and waving his hand at them, he groaned and looked up to heaven and said: “Away with the Atheists.” 3 But when the Pro-Consul pressed him and said: “Take the oath and I let you go, revile Christ,” Polycarp said; “For eighty and six years have I been his servant, and he has done me no wrong, and how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”1
What makes a watch, a dog, a friend, a spouse faithful? How are they similar/different?
1 Pope Clement I et al., The Apostolic Fathers, ed. Kirsopp Lake, vol. 2, The Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge MA; London: Harvard University Press, 1912–1913), 325.
Polycarp was then threatened to be attacked by wild animals, but when Polycarp showed no fear, he was condemned to be burned. It is storied that when Polycarp was about to be nailed to stake where he was about t obe burned, he asked ““ Leave me thus, for He who gives me power to endure the fire, will grant me to remain in the flames unmoved even without the security you will give by the nails.”1
i.e. what makes a watch, a dog, a friend, a spouse faithful? How are they similar/different?
1 Pope Clement I et al., The Apostolic Fathers, ed. Kirsopp Lake, vol. 2, The Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge MA; London: Harvard University Press, 1912–1913), 331.
so instead he was bound and burned.
Hypothetical Situation - What makes me a faithful husband.
Let’s say, I told my wife, you know Wendy, I really love you. My heart is completely and wholy yours. And then, the next day, I cheated on her.
Could I go back to her and say, Dear Wendy, I have to tell you that I cheated on you. But, I want you to know that my heart is still wholly yours. I know it looks bad, but what I did reflects nothing of my heart! I am a faithful husband and my heart is wholly yours.
Could I say that I am faithful?
No, Why not?
Because faithfulness is not just intention, but it is intention manifesting itself in action.
False Promises - Changing Ezra’s Diaper
Here is another situation. Let’s say, and this is a more realistic situation. Maybe I just got home, and I am helping my wife take care of our son Ezra, and he jut pooped. My wife says, hey dear, would you please change Ezra’s Diaper. Then I say, of course my love! It would be my honor to do so. But, 10 minutes later my wife asks again, Dear, did you change Ezzie’s diaper? And I say, I am just about to. An hour later, when Wendy is about to give Ezra a bath, she finds out that Ezra still has a poopy diaper! She, giving me the benefit of the doubt as a loving wife says, Dear, did you change Ezzie’s diaper? I think he may have pooped again. I am remorseful and say, Wendy, I am so sorry! I totally heard what you said but I just didn’t do it!
Was I a a faithful husband then? No, because even if I intended to follow through, I did not.
Faithfulness is keeping one’s word through action.
See, for me to be a faithful husband, it means orienting my life toward and around my wife. It is to uphold the promises I made to her when we got married. To say that Wendy, that from the day we got married, for better or for worse, for richer for power, in sickness and in health, I promise to love and to cherish you, until death do us part. This is my vow.
So for me to be faithful to Wendy, I must hold true to this. My actions my reflect that I love and cherish her, through all circumstances, I can’t just say that I do.
What is faithfulness?
Faithfulness is keeping one’s word through action.
Third Scenario

The Story of Hosea & Gomer - A Faithful God

The story of Hosea & Gomer (ch 1-3)
Hosea Ch 1
God tells Hosea to go marry Gomer
Hosea 1:2 ESV
2 When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.”
They then have three children - Jezreel, Lo Ruhamah (not loved), Lo Ammi, (not my people).
Gomer is unfaithful to Hosea and leaves him. We don’t get a lot of details as to what happens, but it is clear that she has left Hosea for another lover.
It is in this situation that the Lord tell Hosea this.
Hosea 3:1–3 ESV
1 And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. 3 And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.”
Hosea 3:1–2 ESV
1 And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley.
Why is Gomer called a woman, not, “her wife?”
- She has lost the status of wife due to her adultery
Why does Hosea have to go “buy her”
It is likely that she was sold into slavery, possibly by her other lover
how often does this happen? We pursue something so desperately, but when we actually get it, we realize that we have been left in somewhere far worse than we thought.
A few years ago I got a job as a salesman that was 100% commissions based. I was excited because if I was successful I would have the opportunity to have my own mini business and hire college students that I was ministering to. It also would provide me with a flexible schedule to serve at UCSC. I had this idea that if I was successful with this opportunity.
Week after week, I prepared, made calls, arranged meetings, met with business owners and gave them my pitch. Day after day, week after week, month after month, I found myself having no success. I would often come home dejected and feeling like a failure. This was the job I was suppose to succeed in, but I am failing! I would go from I can’t do this to giving myself a pep talk and trying a new strategy only to fail again.
Much like Hosea, my hope was in something that would not and could not treat me well. I was subject to the whims of the business owners that I met with and I failed repeatedly. After deciding this wasn’t for me, I realized that I had been rejected over 100 times in person appointments (not including on the phone). But, through it, God not only redeemed me but significantly humbled prideful me.
So I don’t know what your idol may be, maybe its a relationship, a job, pleasing your parents or peers, a social identity, travelling, shopping, school, etc., but if it is significantly affecting you and how you see yourself & the world around you, then it likely is an idol.
So I
Hosea 3:3 ESV
3 And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.”
What does this mean?
Hosea bought her back
Now that Hosea has displayed His faithfulness, she needs to display hers to reattain her status as wife.
While Hosea paid for Gomer’s freedom, there was a new law or covenant to be made
Consequences for rebellion, but there is hope for future restoration
you shall not play the whore (be an idolator)
I know what some of you, even myself want to think. I want to be the noble person, Hosea. But, in this story, before God, we are all Gomer. We are idolators who live lives that chase after promises of this world - money etc etc etc., instead of living a life that is fully and completely committed to God. And, like Gomer, we often find ourselves stuck in slavery, stuck in a situation that we didn’t think we would be in because our idols, dreams and goals have failed us.
You shall not belong to another man (worship God)
And what this is foreshadowing is God, sacrificing his only begotten son Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for us, so that we may no longer play the whore, or belong to another man.
It means that He keep’s his word through his actions.
If we believe and say that God is faithful, what has God promised to us?
compare jesus + hosea
So what can we learn about God’s faithfulness to us?
Like Hosea, God had the right to leave us in our sin doomed to die. But, like Hosea was called to love a woman who loved somebody else, God loves us when we love things other than him.
Like Hosea paying for the freedom of the woman who had wronged him, Jesus Christ paid with his blood to atone for the people who have sinned against them.
And like Gomer, having received the grace and mercy from Hosea she is called to live a life that rejects her prior idols and accepts the one who had pardoned her, we have the same call. We have received grace from God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and are called to live lives that that turn away from the idols in our lives and to live and be with God.
significance of God being faithful to us first
I want to emphasize this, because you guys, this is the Gospel! This is the good news for you, and for me. I also want to point out the significance of God being faithful to us first. We are not engaged in a you need to be good enough religion, but we are loved by God, and having received this love, we are compelled to live lives that are faithful to Him.
This begs the question...
What does being faithful to God look like?
Hosea 11 ESV
1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols. 3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. 4 I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them. 5 They shall not return to the land of Egypt, but Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. 6 The sword shall rage against their cities, consume the bars of their gates, and devour them because of their own counsels. 7 My people are bent on turning away from me, and though they call out to the Most High, he shall not raise them up at all. 8 How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. 9 I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath. 10 They shall go after the Lord; he will roar like a lion; when he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west; 11 they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria, and I will return them to their homes, declares the Lord. 12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit, but Judah still walks with God and is faithful to the Holy One.

What does being faithful to God look like?

4
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What some of you may be thinking is this - Thomas, you have made us question so much about what we have faith in, so what are we supposed to have faith in?
In my church’s tradition, we have a saying,

Lex Orandi Lex Credendi - The Law of Prayer is the Law of Faith

The Law of What is prayed is the law of what is to be believed

What this is saying is that the way in which we are to be faithful is determined by our prayers, worship, and lifestyle. And so, in order for us to understand together how we are called to be faithful in response to God’s faithfulness & mercy, we are going to look into the Lord’s prayer together. If you want to go more in depth on the Lord’s prayer, Redeemer’s Thursday Night gathering is going over the Lord’s prayer and you can talk to myself, Wendy or Kyle if you’re interested!
5 points of faithfulness - The Lord Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer (:9-13)

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
hallowed be thy Name, hallowed be your Name,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
thy kingdom come, your kingdom come,
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
thy will be done, your will be done,
now and forever, Amen.
on earth as it is in heaven. on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, And forgive us our sins
as we forgive those as we forgive those
who trespass against us. who sin against us.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your Name,

And lead us not into temptation, Save us from the time of trial,
but deliver us from evil. and deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, For the kingdom, the power,
and the power, and the glory, and the glory are yours,
for ever and ever. Amen. now and for ever. Amen.
Matthew 6:9 ESV
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
hallowed be your Name,
Matthew 6:
Do I believe that God is Holy, to be revered, perfect?
What does this look like:
Do I acknowledge God’s glory and study/strive to be like him in order to determine what’s important in life? Or do I determine what’s important in life by my culture/prefences
Do I look to the standard of God outlined in his Word, or the standard of man preached to us by our peers and culture?
Do I submit myself to him with my life?
Personal example: My parents divorced and I was mad at God for making my family different and my life so hard. As I have grown and matured, I have realized that while my parent’s divorce isn’t a good thing, God has grown and matured me significantly because of it.
could talk about FOMO is a cultural issue, but the standard of God tells us that we are secure in Him.
Often times we grow from the biggest trials in our lives.
What does Faithfulness Look like?
#1 Faithfulness recognizes God as Holy

your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Do I believe that the ultimate goal of creation is the kingdom of God to be here on earth
Matthew 6:10 ESV
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Do I believe that the ultimate goal of creation is the kingdom of God to be here on earth
Do I believe that the ultimate goal of creation is the kingdom of God to be here on earth
What does this look like
Do my life choices align with being apart of the kingdom of God? Does my life look like it is apart of the kingdom of God?
When I think about my goals, do they align with/are they apart of God’s kingdom
Maybe my goal is to find a significant other - How does this align with God’s Kingdom?
There are good reasons and bad reasons to want a significant other
How does this align with God’s Kingdom?
Bad reason - I want to satisfy sexual desires.
Good reason - God uses the marriage metaphor to describe his love for us (described in Hosea), and I want to do sacrifice for the sake of the one who has wronged me, and humble myself when I have wronged my spouse.
What does faithfulness look like?
#2 Faithfulness aligns one’s goals and life with God

Give us today our daily bread.

Do I believe that God gives us all things.
What does this look like?
How do I utilize the opportunities that I have been given. Who do I attribute them too?
Often times we attribute the good situations in our lives to ourselves/those around us
parents pay for my college/invest in me so I owe it to them to make them proud at al lcosts
I worked to get here, so I deserve what I have
We need to be challenged, even if God used your parents to give you this opportunity, do I attribute all my provisions to God? This should not only humble us, but make us question how we use our resources if nothing is of our own but given to us by God.
What does Faithfulness look like?
#1 Faithfulness recognizes God as Holy
#3 Faithfulness attributes all provisions to God

And forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

Do I believe that God forgives us for our sins?
What does this look like?
implications of do we actually believe that we need to be forgiven?
If we do believe that we need to be forgiven, do we believe that we are forgiven
as we forgive those who sin against us.
If we believe that we are forgiven, do we forgive as we have been forgiven
This is the only part of the Lord’s prayer that involves our action/ability. And to be honest, this is really scary.
If God were to forgive me as I have forgiven, would I really be forgiven?
Why does Jesus think that this is so important? If we just read this passage, it is arguable that forgiveness is the mark of a Christian, and if you read the whole of the bible I think that forgiveness is definitely a significant part.
And while I don’t have time to dive into forgiveness, I think it is something for all of us to consider, am I holding onto bitterness against those who have sinned against me, or can I forgive as God has forgiven me.
Remember: We love because he loves us, we forgive because we have been forgiven.
IF you are struggling with forgiveness, it is likely that the problem is that you don’t understand just how much God has forgiven you. Seek out help, talk to somebody older and wiser than you, because if there is one thing age can tell you, it is how much of a fool you once were.
What does faithfulness look like?
#4 Faithfulness forgives as we have been forgiven

Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.

and deliver us from evil.
Do I believe that God is in control of everything - the good and the bad that happens to us?
What does this look like?
Do I believe that God will deliver us from the trials/evils of this life?
When there is suffering in your life, do you blame God? Or do you submit to God acknowledging that God has a purpose for this suffering in your life
Matthew 6:11 ESV
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
Personal example: My parents divorced and I was mad at God for making my family different and my life so hard. As I have grown and matured, I have realized that while my parent’s divorce isn’t a good thing, God has grown and matured me significantly because of it.
Often times we grow from the biggest trials in our lives.
and the glory are yours,
What does Faithfulness look like?
#3 Faithfulness attributes all provisions to God

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever, Amen.

now and forever, Amen.
#5 Faithfulness trusts God’s even in suffering
Do I believe that God gives us all things
Do I believe that God has/can forgive us for our sins?
Matthew 6:12 ESV
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever, Amen.

Do I believe that God has/can forgive us for our sins?
implications of do we actually believe that we need to be forgiven?
If we do believe that we need to be forgiven, do we believe that we are forgiven
If we believe that we are forgiven, do we forgive as we have been forgiven
Do I believe that everything is for the kingdom and glory of God?
Matthew 6:13 ESV
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Do I believe that God is in control of everything - the good and the bad that happens to us?
Do I believe that God will deliver us from the trials/evils of this life?
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.

Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John. He was a bishop in the early church, a very prominent leader. He was eventually caught and brought to Roman Colosseum to be brought before the Pro-Consul to be tried for being an Atheist (believing in only 1 God).
when he was brought forward the Pro-Consul asked him if he were Polycarp, and when he admitted it he tried to persuade him to deny, saying: “Respect your age,” and so forth, as they are accustomed to say: “Swear by the genius of Caesar, repent, say: ‘Away with the Atheists’ ”; but Polycarp, with a stern countenance looked on all the crowd of lawless heathen in the arena, and waving his hand at them, he groaned and looked up to heaven and said: “Away with the Atheists.” 3 But when the Pro-Consul pressed him and said: “Take the oath and I let you go, revile Christ,”
Polycarp said; “For eighty and six years have I been his servant, and he has done me no wrong, and how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”
1 Pope Clement I et al., The Apostolic Fathers, ed. Kirsopp Lake, vol. 2, The Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge MA; London: Harvard University Press, 1912–1913), 325.
To explain this one, I want to end with sharing a story with you guys about a man named C.T. Studd, who lived from 1860 to 1931.
Polycarp was then threatened to be attacked by wild animals, but when Polycarp showed no fear, he was condemned to be burned. It is storied that when Polycarp was about to be nailed to stake where he was about t obe burned, he asked ““ Leave me thus, for He who gives me power to endure the fire, will grant me to remain in the flames unmoved even without the security you will give by the nails.”1
1 Pope Clement I et al., The Apostolic Fathers, ed. Kirsopp Lake, vol. 2, The Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge MA; London: Harvard University Press, 1912–1913), 331.
so instead he was bound and burned.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen.
Do I believe that everything is for the kingdom and glory of God?
Matthew 6:9–13 ESV
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

C.T. Studd

CT Studd was of three sons born in England, born in 1860. His father was a wealthy man who made a fortune in India and came back to spend his fortunes.
Became a professional cricket player, was captain of his team at Cambridge and was offered the opportunity to play cricket for his nation.

Polycarp’s Martyrdom - A story of Faith

This guy was a stud, and had it made.
He then was called by Christ and became a missionary in China.
When 25, his father passed and he was to receive his portion of the inheritance. He felt convicted to give it all away to ministries, and after giving all away, he was left with 3400 pounds. He met and married another english missionary in China, and he gave the remaining money to her.
She told him, “Charlie, what did the lord tell the rich young man to do? So we will start with the upon our wedding.” and they proceeded to give the remaining money.
After 10 years, ill health forced the Studd’s to return to England.
While in England, Studd began to minister to universities and a large movement of students began to follow Christ.
Then in 1900, the studd family went to India where they ministered for 6 years.
in 1906 they had to return due to poor health. But Studd was stirred by the need for missionaries in central Africa. Despite being told by his financial supporters (businessmen) and medical supporters (doctors), CT studd said this.
“Gentleman, God has called me to go, and I will go. I will blaze the trail, though my grave may only become a stepping stone that younger men may follow.” He ministered in Africa for 21 years before he died.
And this quote, by C.T. Studd sums up his life, and a life that is lived by faith.
“Only one life, twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John. He was a bishop in the early church, a very prominent leader. He was eventually caught and brought to Roman Colosseum to be brought before the Pro-Consul to be tried for being an Atheist (believing in only 1 God).
- C.T. Studd, missionary to China, India, and Africa
when he was brought forward the Pro-Consul asked him if he were Polycarp, and when he admitted it he tried to persuade him to deny, saying: “Respect your age,” and so forth, as they are accustomed to say: “Swear by the genius of Caesar, repent, say: ‘Away with the Atheists’ ”; but Polycarp, with a stern countenance looked on all the crowd of lawless heathen in the arena, and waving his hand at them, he groaned and looked up to heaven and said: “Away with the Atheists.” 3 But when the Pro-Consul pressed him and said: “Take the oath and I let you go, revile Christ,”
Polycarp said; “For eighty and six years have I been his servant, and he has done me no wrong, and how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”
1 Pope Clement I et al., The Apostolic Fathers, ed. Kirsopp Lake, vol. 2, The Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge MA; London: Harvard University Press, 1912–1913), 325.
Polycarp was then threatened to be attacked by wild animals, but when Polycarp showed no fear, he was condemned to be burned. It is storied that when Polycarp was about to be nailed to stake where he was about t obe burned, he asked ““ Leave me thus, for He who gives me power to endure the fire, will grant me to remain in the flames unmoved even without the security you will give by the nails.”1
1 Pope Clement I et al., The Apostolic Fathers, ed. Kirsopp Lake, vol. 2, The Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge MA; London: Harvard University Press, 1912–1913), 331.
so instead he was bound and burned.
Will you all end with me, praying the lord’s prayer together?
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever, Amen.
Hope that Perseveres
Love that Redeem
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