Summary: In Christian Apologetics or defending the faith, it is paramount for believers to know what they believe and why. Our faith in God leads us to believe and have faith in His word which in turn leads us to Jesus and our saving faith in him.
When it comes to the word Christian this days I much prefer to use the terminology “Followers of Jesus” To be a Christian these days is almost like belonging to a club, or some right of passage that we all go through.
However to be a follower of Jesus declares a conscious personal choice on our parts to be like our Master, to learn and imitate Him in every way.
Cotton company slogan – “Cotton, the Fabric of Our Lives” Comfortable, covers us, keeps us warm, provides.
A play on words for this morning the title for our sermon will be, Christ, The Fabric of Our Lives! Our comforter, our provider, our redeemer, our friend
But how do we know this to be true? FAITH
WHAT IS FAITH? Hebrews 11:1 – The Definition
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (NKJV)
More than a definition is a description of what faith does for us!
In its larger usage, the word faith represents at least four varied ideas:
1) As above, it can be personal confidence in God
a. Saving Faith (trusting in the one who alone can save us)
b. Serving Faith (divinely bestow gifts from God)
c. Sanctifying or Sustaining Faith (taking a hold of God’s power for our daily lives)
2) As a creedal or doctrinal announcement. Our faith, our belief, our religion
3) Signifying faithfulness – (the believer being faithful to God – also the fruit of the Spirit)
4) Belonging or representing Christ - Galatians 3:23-25
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation, which, if it is the foundation upon which our life is built and makes life worth living.
It’s our handle on what we can’t see. Faith indeed, vindicates the character of God and frees His arm to act on behalf of those who trust Him.
WHAT GIVES OUR CHRISTIAN FAITH ITS VALIDITY AND AUTHORITY?
The first doctrine or statement of belief of The Salvation Army tells us where it is that our faith, receives its authority and validity and that is from the scriptures themselves.
By faith we believe this statement and by faith we take the authority of the Bible and apply its teachings as they relate to our relationship with God and His purpose and plan for us, His most precious creation.
The three great words commonly used by Christians in connection with the Bible are revelation, inspiration, and authority.
Revelation – comes from the Latin word unveiling, meaning that God took the initiative to make Himself known to us. This is necessary because who or what God is, is beyond any of our understanding (Job 11:17), so for us to know him He must make himself known.
The word inconceivable may best describe God in making this point.
Inspiration – indicates the chief mode by which God has chosen to reveal Himself to us.
He has revealed Himself partly in nature and creation and supremely in the person of Jesus Christ, but also through the speaking to particular persons.
This verbal communication is what we know as inspiration. But this inspiration does not denote the meaning that a poet or writer would get.
In fact the Bible refers to it as all scriptures being God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) In other words God spoke through those He inspired and breathed on through the ministry of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:13). They were His spokesmen.
Authority – relates to the power and authority that the Scriptures carry as a consequence of their divine revelation given through divine inspiration.
Therefore God’s word carries God’s authority.
Recognizing that the word of God (The Bible) is the main source for our belief system, we must recognize that the reason we believe all of this is simply based on the faith that we put in such a teaching.
HOW IS OUR FAITH VALIDATED IN OUR LIVES?
Well that is simple! It is validated by the grace and the hope and even the mercy of God upon our lives. That is to say how we personally experience God’s love!
Indeed the doctrine of faith in the church tells us that faith in its simplest from is knowing the one true God.
But how do we know God? Matthew 11:27 its clear in the fact that only by knowing the Son can we know the Father. After all Christ is the object of faith in our Christian belief.
And it is through a life changing and conscious change by our salvation from our sins and our justification and reinsertion back into the family of God that we come to recognize that indeed our faith validates our belief.
In the fact that because God loved the world so much that He gave us His only Son – JESUS CHRIST – so that whosoever believes - or put their faith in Him - will not be lost but will enjoy eternal fellowship with God! John 3:16