Summary: A message of walking by faith and not by sight
Faith: Believing is Seeing
Introduction: Hope motivates us to keep going and not give up. Without hope we don’t want to do anything. I heard Hal Lindsey give a good illustration of the necessity of hope: he mentions how man can survive without shelter for 3 months, he can survive without food for 30 days, he can last 3 days without water, and 3 minutes without air, but no one can last 3 seconds without hope.
Peanut’s cartoon: Lucy and Linus were sitting in front of the television set when Lucy said to Linus, "Go get me a glass of water." Linus looked surprised, "Why should I do anything for you? You never do anything for me." "On you 75th birthday," Lucy promised, "I’’ll bake you a cake." Linus got up, headed to the kitchen and said, "Life is more pleasant when you have something to look forward to." (D. Greg Ebie – sermon central)
What are you looking forward to? What is it that motivates you to get up and go every day? For some its looking forward to marriage, children, or grandchildren, fir others its hope for an early retirement or a promotion, for someone else its a vacation or being with family. But for the believer their hope is n Jesus and to someday leave the body and go to heaven.
Paul had been speaking about longing for Heaven and although he was in the body, it wasn't where he planned to be forever. And by faith, we also have hope of heaven. Our new motivation is a new destination and that destination isn't determined by our circumstances, it's determined by our faith.
Scripture: “We walk by faith not by sight.” -2 Cor. 5:7
I. We walk
We are all walking somewhere in life. We are either walking toward heaven or we are walking toward hell. But one thing is certain, we are not all walking in the same direction. Some walking toward hell will later walk toward heaven, and some appear to be walking toward heaven but later walk toward hell, (like Demas, Judas, Hymenaus, and Alexander.)
Walking is an action. To walk by faith is to put faith in action. Walking is a continuation, it is progress, 'forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.' To walk is to live. If we walk as a Christian, then we live as a Christian. We don't just sit on a pew learning, we practice what we learn. We not only hear the word, we build our house on the rock, by obeying what we hear. We don't set what we know on a shelf somewhere, leaving it alone collecting dust in the ack of our mind. We don't set by faith, we walk by faith. We take what we believe and apply it to our daily life.
The apostle separates believers from the rest of the world. We are called to come out from among them and be separate. We are different. The salt is different from the dirt and light is the opposite of darkness. And these two are what we are to be: salt and light. Not everyone has the same hope. Not everyone has the same faith. Not everyone walks the same walk or hikes the same trail, but true Christians walk the same narrow way of faith toward Heaven, while the rest of the world unfortunately, marches toward hell.
And just as all the men in the world are not walking in the same direction, all Christians do not walk at the same pace, or at the same rate, some have a shorter stride than others and some are speedier than others, and there are those that take baby steps. Some have been in the church for many years and they are are just as mean, cold, and ill-tempered as they were in the beginning. They're just as spiteful and critical as they were at first. And it makes you wonder if they walk by faith at all. But that's for God to judge, not us. And then there are those who just became a Christian and are full of excitement, zeal, and youthful enthusiasm. They ask everyone they know to come to church, to follow this wonderful savior.
We have a new Corgi pup, at home. She has two speeds, run and sleep. If she isn't biting your ankles or running here and there, you know she is asleep somewhere. Energy comes with youth, but if you expend all that energy at once you're n danger of sleep. We must be careful not to run ourselves out, we have to remind ourselves that it's a marathon not a sprint. Paul said “...Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” It seems that we begin the race of faith, with great excitement and energy but after a few miles the test of stamina comes in, and while some give up, we must go forward, not growing weary in doing good, but straining ahead toward the finish.