Summary: This sermon deals with the difference between having faith and simply fantasizing.
Faith Or Fantasy
When was the last time you heard some one say "I’ve got faith this is going to work?" Faith is not determined by how much of a feeling you have about something, but rather by what it is you are putting your faith in. If you have to cross a bridge over a raging river, would you rather have great faith in a weak rickety bridge or would you prefer to have a little faith in a strong concrete bridge that is not about to budge.
Biblical faith is not rooted in our feelings, but in our confidence in God and what God Has revealed to us in the Scriptures. Far too often people confuse fantasy with faith and end up sorely disappointed. Fantasy says, “I want a comfortable life. I’m counting on God sending down a blessing from heaven or on winning the lottery.” Faith says, "if I obey your word, go back to school, study hard, and commit my ways to you Lord" I will get a good job."
Fantasy says, "we’re in love, and we’ve got God on our side. That’s all we will need to stay together. We were made for each other.” Faith says, "If we submit ourselves to each other and constantly repent and forgive each other, we will have a loving and lasting relationship. Because marriage is going to show both of us just how selfish we can be. It’s going to be hard work to find the joy we want in the relationship.”
Fantasy says, "my kids are going to be good kids and behave themselves because they’re my kids." Faith says, "Lord, I don’t know how to be the parent you want me to be, but I know you can provide me with the strength and wisdom to train up my child."
Fantasy says, " I’m trusting in the Lord to take of my needs, but I will not trust God with my money. There is no way I can afford to give 10% of my money to the Lord and make it on what I make.” Faith says, "Lord, I’m trusting in you and demonstrating it by giving you a full tithe of 10%." I know you can do more with my 90% than I can with my 100%.”
Fantasy says, "I can handle temptation and what I see or hear does not bother me. As long as I love Jesus, I do not have to worry about falling into sin." Faith says, "Lord my heart can very easily choose to disobey your word, keep me from all that will hurt my testimony and my relationship to You."
When it comes to growing in the Lord, we will always have the opportunity of choosing to walk in the realm of fantasy or of faith. Yesterday we looked at the difference between having a dream and having a vision. Together we looked at Nehemiah who was a cupbearer to King Artaxeres. Nehemiah was a person of God who was heart broken over the city of Jerusalem, which bore God’s name and the city was in ruins and disgrace. The walls around the city were destroyed . This meant enemies could come and attack it as they pleased. Nehemiah knew that something needed to be done.
To give a brief history once again, God’s people had turned away from serving God. God begged and pleaded with them for years to turn away from the wrong they were doing so that He could be their protector. The people refused to change. God told them a fierce nation would come to destroy them and the city, and the new gods they had chosen for themselves could not help them, because they were not Gods at all.
The people would not buy it. They laughed in God’s face. God told them, “ the Babylonians will come and they will destroy this city and take you away as captives. But because I still love you, in 70 years I’m going to bring you back to this land and restore the nation once again.” God has a heart for His people. Even when God see us living in our fantasy lands of disobedience, God does not give upon us.
After the 70 years were over God touched the heart of Nehemiah to go and rebuild the walls of the city of Jerusalem. Nehemiah was a cupbearer to the king. He got to taste the king’s drink to make sure no poison was in it. We ended the message with Nehemiah praying the prayer, “Lord give me favor with this man.”
Now if Nehemiah had been living in fantasy, he would have gone to the King and said, “now king, God has told me to go rebuild the walls, so you’ve got to let me go and do it.” Sometimes the most dangerous thing we can have is a word from God. Every word that comes from God does not mean it will happen by the end of the week.