Faithlife Sermons

Impossible Faith

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PREP a mic to carry around.
Leave my Bible and water bottle on the stand prior to service
STAY ON THE MAIN FLOOR!
This month, we have been worshipping God who is not limited by earthly rules. God loves doing mind-blowing things. He uses mind-blowing things to point the hopelessly lost into a humanly impossible relationship with Him. First we learned about God’s..
Impossible mercy:
(SLIDE: Horse/blinders)
Our sin blinds us to everything good and glorious. Sin blinds us to who God is and what He can do. Sin limits our field of view and prevents us from worshipping. Zechariah forgot God created his body and his wife’s body. He doubted God could show mercy to them by giving them a baby.
Zechariah learned that God is all powerful. He does exactly what He intends to.
He is merciful because he grants us the desires of our hearts. He mercifully grants us strength when the odds are against us. He mercifully gives us reason to praise him though we are people of unclean lips. Next, we considered God’s...
Impossible favor:
This came from Mt 1 and Luke 1. Why would God favor Mary? Why would God overcome all impossibilities for Mary to become the favored mother of Jesus? Mary believed she was inadequate. Certainly, she was right for Rom 5:8 “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
We are just like Mary. In our lowliest state, God chose to favor us. God’s favor has absolutely nothing at all to do with us and everything to with God’s great glory.
God’s favor should cause us to get out of our seats and rejoice. God has done and continues to do impossible things in us and through us! Immanuel - God with us! His favor is proof that He is with us around us and still accomplishing things. Then last week, we considered Jesus’...
Impossible love:
Jesus came in the form of a baby causing impossibly lost sinners to Come, Adore, Rejoice, Repeat, and Yearn to be near Him. We should carry the Gospel just as diligently, just as passionately as Mary and Simeon would have.
(5-8 minutes?) Have these reminders from God’s Word made a difference these past couple weeks? What impossible obstacles has God been moving? What impossible situations has He made possible? If you have something to share, please stand and we will get a mic to you… What impossible thing has God done for you lately?
I have been diligently praying for each of you to deeply encouraged and increasingly passionate for God because of what Jesus accomplished. This is why testimony time is so important… sharing what God has been doing reminds all of us that He is actively involved in our lives.
Jesus’ birth changed everything! It changed everything 2023 years ago and completely changes everything about our lives today! This morning causes us to consider one final “impossible.” Impossible Faith. Hebrews 4:14–16 (ESV) will be our main passage this morning. You may wish to bookmark Hebrews 4 because we will be keep returning to these verses.
While you are locating Hebrews 4, please keep in mind that...
Faith is why Jesus was born.
Jesus came … “to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 (ESV)) and John proclaimed that all flesh would see the salvation of God because of Jesus.
Let’s read our main passage,
Heb 4 beginning at verse 14...
14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Faith is in Jesus, our High Priest. (Heb 4:14-16; 7:23-28; 9:11-27)

Before Jesus’ death, the high priests ministry was a constant reminder that Jesus would one day be offered as the final sacrifice for sin. The high priests knew that once Jesus died, no human priest would ever be an acceptable mediator between God and man. Please flip forward a few chapters and locate Heb 10:3.
Pause
Hebrews 10:3–4 (ESV) But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
What does this mean? Had the priests been wasting their time? Had all those sacrifices been a waste of blood, energy, and time? Are all those people who once offered sacrifices doomed to hell?
No, at least not all of them are in hell. Think of it like this.... even today, people come to church out of habit. You and I are guilty of fulfilling some ritualistic obligation. Ritualistic obligations will never complete what faith in Christ completes. Many Jews in the Old testament offered sacrifices out of habit, but it was simply an act. They did the deeds, but God proclaimed their “hearts are far from me.”
Others who offered sacrifices were indeed saved… their works (sacrifices) were proof of their deep faith in Jesus. Sacrifices were not an obligation, they were proof of deep faith in the coming Messiah because, as Heb 9:22 states
Hebrews 9:22 (ESV) ...without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Jesus, the perfect, spotless lamb was the last sacrifice. Jesus who now acts as our high priest makes us acceptable before God in Him.

Faith is Critical...

Faith is critical for salvation. (Acts 16:31, Heb 11:1,2,6)
Acts 16:31 states “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” If you look at our main text, Heb 4:14-16, you will notice words that are always closely linked to faith. Do you see the words… “Confession,” “confidence,” “mercy,” and “grace?” All those words are completely connected to “believe” in Acts 16:31 or “faith” in other passages. Faith has always been critical for salvation. Let me show you this from Hebrews 11.
Pause
Hebrews 11:6 (ESV) And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
Faith in Jesus pleases God and causes him to forgive our debt in full. Heb 11 is full of verses that prove faith pleases God and is critical for salvation, but would you please look at verses 1-2?
Hebrews 11:1–2 (ESV) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation.
Then the author of Heb 11 lists examples of people who placed their faith in Jesus who was yet to come. Consider two other examples of faith in lk 2...
In luke 2:29-32, Simeon, a devout Jew who was still living under the law, spoke of his faith in Jesus. He said...
Luke 2:29–32 (ESV) “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation 31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
Simeon had faith in Jesus.
Then, Anna, a priestess living under the law also declared her faith in Lk 2:38...
Luke 2:38 (ESV) And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Jesus birth changed everything. His perfect sacrifice covered all of our sins! As Hebrews 12:2 (ESV) states… we are...
2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus gave us a reason to have faith, he came as the perfect God-man to complete our faith, and through faith we will be radically transformed into people who look more and more like God.
Faith is critical for salvation. This was Jesus’ plan all along. Jesus birth was was a miraculous joining of God and man. We find this in Philippians 2:7–11 (on screen)
7 but (Jesus) emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Faith is critical for salvation. Faith is also.....
Faith is critical for life on this earth. (Mt 17:20, Heb 12:2)
In Matthew 17:20 (Jesus) said to them… “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
According to Jesus, faith is critical for life on this earth. We are surrounded by impossible situations every single day. If you don’t believe me, think about the last time you got angry with someone, or the last time you cried about something, or when you felt stressed by something, or the last time you took action on something without praying about it first.
We felt those emotion because we lack faith that God will provide. I was stressed on Monday (and other Mondays) because I did not see how it would be physically possible to complete every ministry related thing this week. I was trying to rely on God, but still lacking faith. We act on our emotions/feelings/physical state because we believe God cannot or will not act. This is why Heb 12:2 is critical...
Hebrews 12:2 (ESV) looking to Jesus...
Wait, wait, wait... I am not supposed to look to myself for answers? No wonder I get so stressed sometimes! You can also fill in the blank… No wonder I was so angry, or discourage, or yelled at my kids or… whatever it was. We brake down because our faith is in ourselves our because, we don’t have faith in anyone at all. Heb 12:2… looking to who?
looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Faith in the wrong person causes evil responses. Faith in the right person, Jesus causes joy and hope and a way out.
pause
Faith is critical for life on this earth because we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil. We must have faith in the one who always wins.
Thirdly...
Faith is critical for fellowship (Col 1:17-20)
We are faithless people. We regularly despair and sink into the waves instead of hoping for deliverance through Jesus. Countless times in my life Jesus would have rightly pointed a finger at me and said, “O ye of little faith.” Because I fail at faith and because you fail at faith our church body suffers. Lack of faith effects our church body.
Right now, as a church we are struggling with a gossip problem. Why? Following Matthew 18 and going to a person is scary and takes time. Why listen to and repeat gossip? Because we don’t have faith in God’s power to redeem impossible situations:
we believe we can accomplish more than Jesus. Faithlessness destroys the church Jesus intends to build.
Faith is critical for fellowship. We are struggling to love a brother in Christ who has publicly repented. Why? Because... we don’t have faith that can redeem that impossible situation for His great glory. We believe we can accomplish more than Jesus.
First Baptist Church of Randolph is God’s church, not our church.
Colossians 1:17–20 (ESV) And he (Christ) is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Jesus reconciles all things. Faith in Him is the only way we can be reconciled to each other.
HOE Illustration:
How many of you still balance a checkbook? How many of you have agonized over a few missing cents from an improperly balanced checkbook?
When my wife and I first became houseparents, we had to reconcile about $1,200 of ministry expenses for our group home each month. I remember early on miserably failing at this task. Somewhere along the line, we lost track of a rather large expense and it was impossible to reconcile the balance.
Our supervisor did not know about our personal finances: we did not have the funds in our own bank account to pay to make things right (we were pretty poor!) but he did know we really messed up. Do you know what he did for us? He told us that our debt had been paid. He forgave us and the ministry forgave us.
We did not deserve it! The law (our contract) said we needed to pay those funds to make it right, but the ones who made the law chose to alter the law and they declared our books reconciled, and they declared us reconciled to the ministry. Faith is essential for fellowship. Their actions resulted in a wonderful and prosperous ministry together for many years.
This is God’s church. Christ is it’s head. He who has written the law is the only one worthy to declare “reconciled” or “not reconciled.” Without deep faith in Jesus we might not be around as a congregation for many more years. Faith is not easy, but Heb 4:15 tells us that...

Faith is easier because of Jesus. (Heb 5:1-2, 4:14-16)

Hebrews 4:15 (ESV) For we do have a high priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses because...
He endured testings and temptations in the wilderness for 40 days and lived to be about forty years old in a human body. He knows how challenging it is to master this weak human form.
Jesus suffered rejection. Everywhere he went, he was challenged by doubters, scoffed at, gave instructions which were not obeyed, and at least once and angry mob attempted to murder him. Is 53 tells us Jesus was despised and rejected. He knows the intense emotions we feel when we are despised and rejected by our loved ones, neighbors, co-workers, and society.
Jesus suffered the death of loved ones. In John 10, we have an account when Lazarus, whom Jesus loved died. Remember how Jesus responded? He wept. One cannot live for about 40 years and escape death’s sting. It also seems that Jesus’ father died at some point during Jesus’ life. Jesus knows what it is like to lose a loved one. He sympathizes with our weakness.
Jesus suffered betrayal when one of his closest friends turned on him. This was a man who was with him constantly, one who made and shared memories with him, and who accomplished all kinds of wonderful things alongside Jesus. Jesus was betrayed by his own ministry partner and lifelong friend.
Then Jesus suffered physical, painful, terrible death in front of a large crowd. He was humiliated, mocked, and tortured by the very ones he came to rescue.
Faith is easier because of Jesus. He knows how to bear our burdens. He knows exactly what you and I are going through because He experienced those same exact things.
In fact, JESUS DID LIFE BETTER!
Hebrews 4:15 ESV
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
this is why we can in verse 16...
16 ...with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
to
receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Jesus knows how to do life better. He knows how to do life perfectly which is more than you and I can do.

How do we grow a deep faith?

If you are struggling with faith, I encourage you to read the book of James this week. James is full of practical ways we can act out our faith. I’ll share just one verse from James. It is a paraphrase of James 1:25 that I learned at camp when I was a teen. I love this paraphrase… “Whoever listens to God’s Word and does what it says will be blessed in what he does.”
Listen and do. Trust and obey. When we do this, Jesus will do impossible things in us and through us as a congregation.
pause
Do you believe that nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing, nothing is impossible for God? Jesus knows how to do life better. Are you willing to trust our God of impossible situations?

Prayer:

That we will deeply know Scripture.
That Scripture will point out our failures over and over and over again.
That we will respond to our failures with a deep faith that you will forgive us of our sin and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.
That we will not take matters into our own hands, but watch and pray to see how you will provide for your church.
Thank you God for knowing how to life better.
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