Summary: Faith and endurance go together. Faith is not faith without endurance. Let’s stop bragging about our faith, and let’s live out a faith that will endure any situation that we may face.
January 25, 2009
Pastor John L. Harper
Warden Assembly of God
Introduction: A small boy riding a bus home from Sunday school was very proud of the card he had received, which had a picture and a caption that read: “Have Faith in God.” Then to his dismay the card slipped from his hand and fluttered out the window. “Stop the bus!” he cried. “I’ve lost my ‘faith in God!’” The driver pulled the bus to a stop, and as the lad climbed out and went to retrieve his card, one of the adult riders smiled and made a comment about the innocence of youth. A more perceptive adult observed, “All of us would be better off if we were that concerned about our faith."
Contributed by: John Beehler
I. CONFIDENT FAITH (vs. 30-32)
A. Faith must be persistent
1. Sometimes faith is not rational
a. Marching around the walls for 7 days
b. They marched around in silence (for 6 days) as they followed the Ark of God.
c. They were shout on the seventh day
2. Sometimes faith requires us to do the right thing without seeing the results
(Luke 18:1) And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
(Luke 18:2) Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
(Luke 18:3) And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
(Luke 18:4) And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
(Luke 18:5) Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
(Luke 18:6) And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
(Luke 18:7) And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
(Luke 18:8) I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
a. The Unjust Judge/Persistent widow: she would give the judge no rest.
b. The Unjust Judge did not fear God, but was tired of the persistence of the widow.
B. Faith must be practical
1. We must look for the deliverance of the Lord
2. We must seek the protection of the Lord
C. Faith must be personal
1. Faith is able to give us courage when we fear (Gideon)
2. Faith is able to give us the word of confirmation to fight the battle (Barak)
3. Faith is able to use what is in our hand (Samson) (donkey’s jawbone 1,000 Philistines)
“If Samson had not had a strong faith as well as a strong arm, he had never performed such exploits.”
(Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible courtesy e-sword)
4. Faith is able to overcome our dysfunctional childhood (Jepthah, son of a prostitute)
5. Faith is able to help us overcome the giants in our lives (David)
6. Faith is able to bring power out of barrenness (Samuel, his Mother Hannah)
Application: Are you willing to be persistent in your faith. Keep knocking until the answer comes
II. CONQUERING FAITH (vs. 33-35)
A. Faith to overcome unexplainable situations
1. Righteous people see God bring victory in the midst of the battle
2. Righteous people who know the promise and rest in the promise
a. Abraham obtained the promise of a mighty nation
b. Daniel prayed and found God’s protection in the Lion’s Den
B. Faith to overcome unthinkable situations
1. This power gives us the ability to align our will with God, and see Him work a miracle.
a. Moses held back the fiery hand of God by his prayers made in faith.
b. The Three Hebrew Children obeyed God and trusted Him to deliver them from the fire.
c. Esther delivered God’s people from Haman and certain death by her prayers.
2. This power gives us strength in the midst of the battle
a. Hezekiah was healed from a terminal illness
b. Samson was strengthened in the battle
c. Barak was given courage instead weakness
C. Faith to overcome unacceptable situations
1. The Shunamite Woman whose son died from a head injury. Elijah prayed for the young man and he was raised from the dead.
2. The Widow of Zarephath: after God provided the meal and the oil, her son was dying and Elijah prayed for his resurrection, and it happened.
Application: Faith is not just a badge we wear; it is a powerful weapon in the hand of God.
III. CONTINUING FAITH (vs. 36-40)
A. Faith to endure suffering
1. These saints were tortured. The word for torture has the meaning of being beat like a drum. They would stretch them out on a rack so that the beating would slice deeper into the skin.