June 14, 2015 – Pastor Matt James – “An About-Faith”
“About-face”: A drill command in which a unit or soldier makes a 180-degree turn.
- Faith in Christ is turning our attention to God.
- When we are living in the world we are doing what the world does and we put our faith in things around us.
- We believe that our abilities, goodness or beliefs will get us where we need to be as a person. We believe that they will form who I am or who I want to be.
- People spend their lives trying to discover who they are and getting to that point. They go on “soul searches” to find the true person inside.
- There are “churches” that use chemicals from plants to gain a spiritual experience with God.
- Kids do the same thing their parents do to get peace from what their parents do that caused the pain in the first place.
- These are perfect descriptions of living in spiritual darkness and they never lead people out of the deception and confusion into the light or the truth.
All this confusion about who we are comes from not having a clear understanding of God and who He has created us to be.
- God finds us in the darkness and calls us to do an “about-face” in His direction.
- God calls us to change the direction of our lives. He wants to draw the attention or focus of our lives from what everyone is doing to what God is doing and saying.
- He calls us out from the world-crowd to become a holy-crowd.
- He calls us to have an “about-faith” in our lives to have faith in Him and not the visible things or the patterns of this world its thoughts, beliefs, ideas or concepts that only give more confusion to our situation in the darkness.
- He wants us to know the Truth and to put our faith in something that is real and life changing.
Romans is a powerful book of God’s promises giving confidence to our faith.
- What good is faith if there are no promises? No forgiveness, no resurrection, no communion with God…
- What good is faith if it doesn’t change anything? No help in our troubles, no burdens lifted, no rest for our souls, no Holy Spirit…
- Faith does two things: Gets us saved and keeps us holy.
- Saved because faith in the Gospel of Christ brings us life.
- Holy because faith in Christ separates us from the worldly things.
The theme of Romans is: God redeems mankind through faith in Jesus.
- God is real. Though the world tries to conceal Him.
- We sin. Though the world tries to deny them.
- Jesus saves. Though the world tries to disown him.
Text: Romans 1:8-17
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.
14 I am obligated both to Greeks and Non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.
16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
- Faith in Christ builds a good reputation in the world and with God. Vs. 8
- It doesn’t bully people into being saved or serving God (avoid the Bully Beat Down Show).
- People do things in the name of the Lord that are not biblical. Ex. The Crusades. Something the Kings and Catholic church dreamed up.
- Faith in these religious acts misleads because eventually we make up our own views on what religious acts are best.
- Being religious about bringing glory to God is a good thing because our faith in Christ gives us a desire to know what pleases Him.
- Faith is not concerned with winning an argument like the Westboro Baptist Church.
- Faith always wants to bring praise and glory to God because it comes from and relies on God.
- Luke 2:52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
- If we do what Christ does then the world that loves the devil and hates God may still complain but it will be put to shame for protesting against what is good.
- And what is good? Justice and mercy, Love, hope and truth, forgiveness and kindness… all these good things are brought into the world through faith in Christ. They all make the world a better place.
- Faith in Christ strengthens our faith in Christ. Vs. 11-12
- Our faith in Christ allows God to work in and through our lives to be the witness for Him that He promised we would be!
- Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” And Citrus Heights!
- AND in 1Cor. 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
- Paul wants to give them/us a spiritual gift so that Paul and the Romans will be encouraged in their faith!
- Our faith in Christ allows the Promise of the Holy Spirit to be alive and active in our lives, to receive the spiritual gifts that Jesus promised!
- A person can be a Christian and not have the power of God working through them. They can see God working in their lives but notice that the Power God spoke of is absent or restrained. So they pray for the Holy Spirit and receive that Power to be His witness during the times the people around them need a spiritual gift from the Lord.
- Faith in Christ allows us to accept the Power of the Holy Spirit to work through us as He lives in us.
- Things happen all the time that I don’t understand but they are not against the Word. (The time I let someone push me over/ oil from hands / gold and feathers from the ceiling…)
- We need to have the faith to allow God to work in us and do miracles but we also need to have the faith to check it all with the Word of God. Faith allows us to search the scriptures for the truth.
- Faith in Christ changes the direction of those in the world-crowd. Vs. 14-15
- God needs us to “Go into all the world” with the message of the Gospel.
- Our faith in Christ is like the city on a hill directing people to the safe haven.
- 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
- Why would we want to hide the light of Christ that brought us out of the darkness?
- Heaven is the refuge for the lost, displaced, refugee, burdened, hurting, tired and dying.
- Many find the road to destruction but we have the light that leads them to Heaven. Faith in Christ shines in the darkness!
- People notice when we are not going the same direction as they are.
- We are on our way to the Kingdom of God’s Righteousness. Seek first…
- Christ is continuously looking for more people to become citizens of Heaven.
- Faith in Christ creates righteous living.
- Our sinful nature will not allow us to live right on our own.
- There must be something stronger than will break the chains of our sinful nature.
- I am bound by the sinful nature from birth. No one had to teach me to be selfish.
- Faith in the Gospel of Christ is the Power of God to break those chains.
- We don’t have to be at the crucifixion to be saved by it, we have to believe in it.
- John 3:14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
- For many years I was proud of my sins and the evil things I did. I was stuck in my sinful nature boasting of my evil behavior.
- I was ashamed of Christ because I saw Him as weak and pathetic.
- Now because of faith in Christ I am ashamed of my sins but I am glad for the Gospel that broke me out of darkness!
- Christ has given me a spirit of clarity to my mind. He has brought wisdom and understanding to a foolish person.
- I live by Faith in Christ. He has broken every chain in my life.
- I still sin but He does not abandon me, He redeems me.
- Lord, your faith gives us everything we need to excel in this world.
- Keep our eyes on You, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
- Help us to look past our troubles to see You.
- Help us to thank You for all that You have done and will continue to do.
- Give us faith to seek You out and glorify You daily.
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