Faithlife Sermons

Fear or Faith..You Choose

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Remembering God's faithfulness allows your cause for fear to be transformed into a cause for faith

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Transcript
Introduction
Randy Stonehill wrote and recorded an interesting song back in 1984. “Stop the world I want to get off - this is too weird for me!”
In 1984, the world was tame compared to what is happening presently
Every day I watch the news I am convinced that we have reached our limit.
Every new day I am proven wrong
There always seems to be a new level of madness and confusion
If the news clips represent even a little bit of truth about what is taking place...
In city streets
In city halls
In the halls of congress
In hospitals and nursing homes
We are in for one of the roughest rides in our history
I have an opinion about this
It think it is biblical and reasonable to consider a few possibilities
God is allowing the United States to go down this path for His own righteous reasons
I have another opinion that is equally as strong
I believe God is leading His church on this seemingly catastrophic wilderness journey because He loves us
He is allowing His universal church to face some unique tests
He is allowing the American Church to take this uncertain journey
He is allowing Powerhouse Christian Fellowship to face these tests because our role is uniquely ours to fill
From my perspective we are being led through the fire
We are being led through a barren wilderness
God is allowing enemies to doggedly pursue His people to the very brink of an “uncross-able” Red Sea of our own
Why?
Is He done with us?
Is He punishing us?
No!
It is a test
We have a choice
We can allow these things to be the cause for fear in our lives
Fear will destroy individual believers
Fear will destroy the church if we allow it
The other choice is to understand these trials as a cause for faith.
God’s deliverance of Isreal from their Egyptian bondage provides a perfect backdrop for this discussion (Exodus 1-15)
Through Moses and Aaron’s obedience God paved the way for His people to walk right out of Egypt unhindered
The Israelites followed Moses into an uncertain wilderness trek
But let’s not forget...
They were now a FREE people
God’s people today must choose to follow Jesus through the minefield of this world
But listen!
We follow Jesus as liberated and set free people
We follow Jesus together united under the banner of Christ
At the end of this journey the glory of God’s presence awaits all that have followed Jesus
How did God test His people after He led them out of Egypt?
In chapters 15-18 of Exodus God performed miracle after miracle
The cloud by day and the fire by night to guide them
He opened up the Red Sea so they could escape the pursuit of Pharaoh and His charioteers
They crossed safely on dry ground while the Egyptian army died in the waters of the sea
The people grumbled that they were thirsty
Moses threw a stick in undrinkable bitter water and the water became sweet and refreshing.
The people grumbled that they were hungry
They blamed Moses and God
God provided quail
God provided daily food from Heaven for the remainder of their long sojourn
God even gave them a beautiful oasis for a season
In Elim where there were 12 springs and 70 palm trees
Then God lead them to another place with no water
They had seen miracle after miracle every day of their journey
Yet they didn’t see this as a cause for faith to arise
In their eyes, the lack of water was another cause for fear
It was another cause for them to grumble
It was another reason for them to doubt
We must choose to learn from this story
Let’s work through this truth together:
Big Idea: When you remember God’s faithfulness He will transform your fear into faith
Prayer

Expect crises along the journey

Exodus 17:1 NIV
The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.
No water in the middle of a barren wilderness does constitute a crisis
God wasn’t taken by surprise when there was no water to drink
He led them to that specific place
Will God lead us to places that force our thirst to the surface?
Absolutely
They were given another opportunity to put their faith in God’s ability to provide
If you are literally dying of thirst, water is the only thing that matters.
It’s the same spiritually
Sometimes God leads us to places where we long for His living water
Transition: Yes there are crises but God is our leader

Choose the attitude with which you face the crisis

Exodus 17:2–3 NIV
So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?” But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”
Nobody denies that extreme thirst can bring panic
Maybe you’ve been really thirsty and had to wait longer than you wanted for a drink of water
But have you faced the possibility of literally dying of thirst?
I can see why they might get angry if they expected Moses to lead them to water and he didn’t
They had reason to be concerned
However,
They also had a choice to respond in faith or in fear and anger
God had proven Himself many times
Yet
They “quarreled” with Moses
To strive, contend, argue, complain, find fault, dispute
Moses was faced with an angry mob demanding water
He couldn’t just run down to Costco
He count’d order a water truck to be delivered
He didn’t know any good rain dances
What did they expect from him?
“Your quarrel isn’t with me; it is with the Lord.”
They didn’t seem to care about Moses’ words
The whole lot of them focused their emotion and anger upon their discomfort and fear
What a lot of ungrateful babies!
Before we get too judgmental, how often do we blow a gasket because of our own crisis?
Do we at times get so fearful or angry that the last thing on our mind is the condition of our heart and our relationship with God?
“Why did you bring us out here to kill us?”
Earlier they accused God of sending the Egyptians to kill them
They had accused God of trying to kill them with bitter water
They accused God of wanting to starve them to death
Now it was dehydration God was using against them
How could they not acknowledge God’s constant compassion and care?
Yet
"Is the LORD among us, or not?"
Really?
How did they explain the unexplainable?
The cloud and the fire that guided them?
How in the world did they get something like 1.5 million gallons of food every morning?
How could bitter water suddenly become sweet?
What could possess a massive flock of quail to fly into right into their hands at dinner time?
Did they have amnesia about the Red Sea rolling back for them?
“God has abandoned us”
“Let’s stone Moses because it is his fault”
Before we get too judgmental on them
Do we doubt God’s presence?
Do we question His care for us?
Do we blame Him or His leaders for our suffering?
Transition: If not for the loving mercy of God what would happen to us?

God is compassionate even when we question Him

Moses cried out “God, what am I to do with these people?”
Exodus 17:5–6 NIV
The Lord answered Moses, “Go out in front of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.
Moses obeyed God’s Word
God mercifully provided water for His people and their animals
Some estimates say it would take approximately 10.8 million gallons per day to accomplish this merciful miracle
APPLICATION
The Apostle Paul urged the church at Corinth to remember this incident and apply it to their own church
1 Corinthians 10:1–4 NIV
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
God’s people were never alone on that journey
More amazing than the physical miracles was the spiritual miracle of Christ in their presence.
We are never alone as we follow God’s adventure
What are we to learn from the story of Exodus?
The people considered personal comfort more important than the treasure of learning to trust in God
They questioned His character
They ignored His promise
They forgot His many acts of compassion
So let us learn from their story
1 Corinthians 10:12–14 NIV
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
How do we overcome our fallen condition?
How do we get free from our grumbling and unthankful attitudes?
When you remember God’s faithfulness He will transform your fear into faith
Jesus has provided what we need to turn crises into cause for faith instead of cause for fear
Just as His words satisfy our hunger, Jesus sent His Spirit to quench our thirst and enable us to move closer to Him and the family of God
John 7:37–39 NIV
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
The Holy Spirit is to our spiritual well-being as water is to our physical well-being
When you remember God’s faithfulness He will transform your fear into faith
Will we believe God or not?
Will we bend to His will?
Will we drink from the Living Water or complain that there is no water?
Challenge
Confess your rebellion and unbelief.
Cry for His restoration
Call out for His refreshing
Confess your trust in Him.
One of the most important ways to remember God’s faithfulness is to remember Christ’s sacrifice for each one of us
The Lord’s Supper
The Cross (tree) of Christ transforms the bitterness of our sinful hearts
He refreshes us with the the sweet water of Life that He is
The life and words of Christ are our daily manna from Heaven to bring health to our inner man and light for the journey ahead
The broken and pierced body of Christ is our spiritual sustenance
His life’s blood poured out for our sin purchased new life and hope
We do not partake of these elements on our own
We partake as a people longing for His return
Jesus our Rock was struck down and mistreated
His suffering paved the way for our healing and salvation
We give thanks for the continual refreshing presence of God in the midst of our journey
As we await His soon coming let us remember
Let us surrender to His will
Let us be refilled with the power of His Spirit
Let us be reminded of the bond we have as His people following His commission until He comes
Pray over and serve the elements
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