Summary: This sermon deals with the difference between faith and fantasy.

Faith Or Fantasy

1/14/2001 Nehemiah 2:10-20 1 Peter 5:6-11 Text Chapters 2-4

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 to cross a weak rickety bridge or would you prefer to have a little faith in a strong concrete bridge.

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 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 that’s all we will need to stay together." Faith says, "If we submit ourselves to each other and constantly repent and forgive each other, we will have a lasting 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. Faith says, "Lord, I’m trusting in you and demonstrating it by giving you a full tithe of 10%." Fantasy says, "I can handle temptation and what I see or hear does not bother me." Faith says, "Lord my heart can very easily choose to disobey your word, keep me from all that will hurt 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. Last week, Pastor Toby introduced us to Nehemiah. Nehemiah was a person of God who was heart broken over the city of Jerusalem, which bore God’s name was in ruins and disgrace. The walls around the city were destroyed which meant enemies could come and attack it as they pleased. He knew that something needed to be done.

To give a brief history. 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 they 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 again. God has a heart for His people. Even when God see us living in fantasy land 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. God gave Nehemiah favor with the king and the king offered to give to Nehemiah whatever financial resources and security he might need to go to the city of Jerusalem to rebuild its walls.

Fantasy says, "The Lord has laid this on my heart, the king has given me his blessings, and now everything is going to be smooth sailing." It is fantasy to believe that because we are choosing to do what’s right and what’s of God, that people are going to be happy for us. Faith says, "Jesus when you did what was right it got you crucified. You said a servant is not greater than his master. If they were opposed to you doing the will of God, then what about me."

When Nehemiah came to Jerusalem, he had not done anything wrong to anybody, but the good He wanted to do started some problems. When Sanballat and Tobiah heard that Nehemiah was coming to try to help out God’s people, they were very much disturbed. They were disturbed because they wanted to keep things just like they were. They had the positions of power and influence and they were not open to change. It’s not possible to lift up others or to lift up yourself at times without forcing somebody else to make a change.

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