Living by Faith is Powerful
keep God at a safe distance, or is his presence in our lives up close and
personal. The only way for you to have an up close and personal
relationship with God is by allowing God to live through you. The
outstanding Biblical characters became outstanding because they allowed God
to express himself through their lives. When we read Hebrews chapter eleven
we find ourselves surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. Each of them became a
credible witness because they allowed God to express himself through their
names are mentioned in Hebrews 11. Abel, Noah, Sarah, Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, then there are those names we hardly remember.
Names such as Rahab the harlot, Jephthah, Samson. The unique feature of each
life mention in the Hall of Faith is that each person allowed God to live
through them. Faith is about allowing God to live through us. Through a each
oneís personal faith God was able to conquer kingdoms, administer his
justice, shut the mouths of lions, and quench the furious onslaughts of
these individuals paid a price to allow God to reign through them.
Many were tortured, faced jeers and flogging, while others were chained in
prison. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted
and mistreatedóthe world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts
and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
God brought the kingdom of his Son into existence through them so that he
could bless us. Today God wishes to bring his kingdom into existence
in our communities through his will coming to life in us. But more than
this, God wants you to become a witness to his power working in you to
enable those you meet to see his glory shine through you.
Discovering The Power of
gospel only becomes Godís power to save us when it is lived out in our
lives. Paul writes, ďI 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. 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: ĎThe righteous will live by faithí" (Romans 1:16-17
The gospel on
has power to salvage our lives when we believe. When we begin to live by
faith in God we experience his power. When our righteousness is motivated by
our faith in God we experience the power of God.
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves
because they take refuge in him. NIV
said something to me a few months ago that made an indelible impression upon
me. The person said, ďI donít know why I am going to church, God
isnít doing anything for me.Ē The person felt as if life was going bad for
them. This person was experiencing negative circumstances. However, I wanted
to say, ďYou will have to start doing the will of God before you experience
his presence and power in your life.Ē I wasnít free to respond with that
answer because I would have driven them away. But what I was thinking was
true; it is still true about that personís life.
The power of
God for salvaging our lives can only be realized as our lives are moved to
do his will.
I have a diet
book at home I truly love. You can eat anything you want. Thereís only one
catch: you can only eat so many calories each day. Once I lost down to 180
lbs. eating anything I wanted, but I watched my calories. You can tell by
looking at me that I have apparently lost the calorie book. I asked my wife
if she knew where it was, she said she didnít know, but she would try to
find it for me.
book empowers me to take control of my weight, but Godís book is much
different. The Bible empowers God to take control of my life. The
diet book offers no power to lose weight for those who refuse to follow
itóneither does God offer his power if we refuse to follow his book. I
wonder if this is what we are doing with the Bible. It has the answers, God
offers us his power, but we donít follow.
Personal Knowledge of Godís
cannot begin living through us until we have a personal knowledge of his
will for our lives. I am beginning to wonder if it is possible that
some of us have knowledge of Godís word without a personal knowledge of his
will for our lives. Godís word is designed to become his living word through
each of our lives. When we fail to allow God to bring his word to life in us
we end up with knowledge of the word without a true knowledge of his will
for practical living. Knowledge of Godís word without application leaves us
proclaiming a form of godliness but denying the power of God.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible
times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of
money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful,
unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control,
brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of
pleasure rather than lovers of God- 5 having a form of godliness but denying
its power. Have nothing to do with them. NIV
Bible classes are designed to impart knowledge of Godís word without
imparting the will of God. We formulate church doctrines. We seek to
imitate what the greats of the past did, but our task is to become what they
became. The only way this can happen is by allowing Godís will to reign in
study the Bible with an understanding of the context of scripture.
The best way to understand the Bible in its context is to seek an
understanding of the problems of the people to whom it is written. In my
Bible study I realize that an understanding of the problems first century
Christians were facing is the key to understanding the message of the
Scripture. The writing of the Scripture arose from the context of their
lives. This is true throughout the Bible. In essence their lives became the
context of Scripture.
Jesus did became the substance of his teaching. The doctrine Jesus
formulated rose from his personal effort to live out the will of God. When
Luke wrote the gospel of Luke, he wrote about all Jesus began to do and
teach. He didnít write about what Jesus taught and did, but he wrote about
what he did and taught. The order is important. What he did was the will of
God. Jesus said, ďMy meat is to do the will of the Father who sent me.Ē
Therefore his teaching began with what he began to doóit began with doing
the will of the Father. The gospel accounts are about the LIFE of
Christ. His life became the substance of his teaching.
of Acts is about the ACTIONS of the first century apostles. Likewise
Luke is writing about what the apostles didó the apostlesí actions became
the living word of God. What they did was the will of God. We can read the
book of Acts today or any part of the Bible, but it will never become Godís
will for us or impact our world until we start allowing the precepts found
in their lives become the precepts we live out in our lives.
When we allow
Godís word to activate our lives our teaching will arise from our personal
experience of God and only then will Godís power be displayed in our lives.
12 For the word of God is living and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and
spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the
heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight Everything is
uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
word can never really become powerful until we allow it to become active in
our lives. The Hebrew writer says the Word of God is living and
active, but we will not experience its power until it begins to live and
becomes active in our lives. Without living it, it simply remains dead
letter. The word of God is the seed of the kingdom, but the word will never
become effective in getting Godís will done in our lives until we seek to do
his will. It will remain as dormant as the seed found in the Egyptian
pyramids until it is allowed to grow in our hearts.
substance of what we teach must rise from our personal experience of
allowing Godís word to become active in our lives. We must recognize
the truth that has always been taught, but it will never become effective
for our generation until our lives are moved by it.
refers to Jesus as the Wordóthe Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
Through Jesus the Word of God became living and active. Today the Word
dwells among us as we allow Godís will to be fleshed outólived outóin our
lives. The difference in the Old Testament law and the New Testament is that
the New Testament was designed to be written upon our heart. The old law was
written on stone.
The World Needs to A Living
knowledge of the Gospel is proclaimed by our actions toward others.
4 Pray that I
may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward
outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be
always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer
that refuses to experience the truth lived out in the everyday existence is
not a life marked by faith in God.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man
claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a
brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says
to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing
about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by
itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, "You have faith; I
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will
show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good!
Even the demons believe that-and shudder.
20 You foolish man, do you want evidence
that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our ancestor Abraham
considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the
altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and
his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was
fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as
righteousness," and he was called God's friend. 24 You see that a person is
justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the
prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to
the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without
the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. NIV
lives experience Godís truth daily we become the light of the world.
14 "You are the light of the world. A city
on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it
under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to
everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men,
that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. NIV
Lordís Supper forever holds before us the kind of life we must live. If it
is divorced from having an impact on our lives it is useless.
1 Corinthians 11:17-22
17 In the following directives I have no
praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first
place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions
among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be
differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. 20 When you
come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each
of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry,
another gets drunk. 22 Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you
despise the church of
God and humiliate those who have
nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly
The Jews in the
Old Testament period could not bring acceptable sacrifices to God if their
lives were not pleasing to God. Their animal sacrifices had to be
accompanied with sacrificial lives.
3 They offer sacrifices given to me
and they eat the meat,
but the LORD is not pleased with them.
Now he will remember their wickedness
and punish their sins:
They will return to Egypt. NIV
we have not truly accepted the sacrifice of Christ until we live sacrificial
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles'
teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43
Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were
done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything
in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he
had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.
They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere
hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the
Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. NIV
25 Let us not give up meeting together, as
some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the
more as you see the Day approaching. NIV
is not just a church doctrine, but it describes a way of living. Baptism
into Christ cannot be effective until it affects the way we live.
John the Baptist called those coming to be baptized a brood of vipers who
needed to first bring fruit meet for repentance.
15 He said to them, "Go into all the world
and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is
baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. NIV
38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized,
every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your
sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is
for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord
our God will call." NIV
essence of baptism has to do with how we choose to live.
6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on
sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can
we live in it any longer? 3 Or don't you know that all of us who were
baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore
buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was
raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new
5 If we have been united with him like this
in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of
sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin- 7
because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. NIV
0 I have been crucified with Christ and I no
longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by
faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
come to Christ in baptism so that his powerful life can be resurrected in