Summary: This message discusses the process of faith from crisis, cost, and then crown.
Following by Faith (Hebrews 11)
"For we walk by faith, not by sight:" (2 Cor 5:7)
REFLECTION: If the LORD is our shepherd then He desires us to follow him. (John 10:27)
In fact Jesus specifically called his people to “Follow me” 17 times in the Gospels. In this world of distractions God is still at work directing his people. God tells us we are to walk by Faith. Faith involves both Discerning and then Doing God’s will. God uses His Precepts (the Bible), Prayer (Time with Him), People (the church), and Providence (circumstances) to reveal His will to us. We use our wills to determine if we will obey.
DIRECTION: When God does reveal his will in any given matter, it will usually produce some kind of crisis that requires faith. Genuine faith is active, not passive and requires us to make some adjustments to our lives and sometimes to our thinking.
1. THE CRISIS OF FAITH We must determine…
A. IS THIS REALLY YOU GOD?
1) Many times we miss God’s direction for our lives because He doesn’t “Fit” our preconceived ideas of what He is like.
2) This was the major stumbling block to Israel, and particularly to the Pharasees.
B. ARE YOU REALLY MY GOD?
1) Lordship is the bottom line issue when God asks us to do what we don’t want to do. (John 7:17) "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."
2. THE COST OF FAITH
A. YOU CANNOT WALK WITH GOD WITHOUT MOVING. (Making Adjustments)
1) You may need to make major adjustments in your Circumstances, Relationships, Thinking, Commitments, and Actions in order to follow God.
> What types of adjustments did the following people have to make?
a) Noah. Vs 7
b) Abraham. Vs 8-10
c) Moses chose the dessert over the palace. Vs 24-28
d) Rahab changed her loyalties. Vs 31
e) Jesus Heb. 12:1,2 (2 Cor. 8:9)
f) Paul (Acts 9)
2) How we respond to God reveals what we really believe about God.
a) There can be no obedience without adjustments.
b) Adjustments prepare us for God’s will. (Example: Debt and the sale of my house.)
B. OBEDIENCE IS COSTLY. Luke 14:28,33
"For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?…So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”
> Genuine obedience will involve at least the following:
1) Personal costs: Your obedience (or disobedience) may cost you:
a) Prosperity: Financial Adjustments (From Owner to Manager)
CT Studd (Missionary to China, India, and Africa)
b) Popularity: People may misunderstand you and your motives.
William Carry (Missionary to Africa and India)
c) Problems: Anything that moves causes friction. 2 Cor 11:26
Paul: "For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake." (Acts 9:16)
d) Principalities: (Spiritual Warfare) Those in front make the easiest targets.
2) The Cost to others. Your obedience (Or disobedience) will cost others.
a) Since no one is completely independent, our response to God will affect others. (1 Cor 12)
1) Noah’s obedience affected his family.
2) Abraham’s obedience cost Sarah.
3) Moses obedience cost:
a) His family’s relocation and wandering in the dessert.
b) The Israelites increased work load. (Ex. 5)
4) Jesus’ obedience cost Mary much grief. (Lk 2:35)
5) Paul’s obedience cost Jason. (Acts 17:1-9)
3. THE CROWN OF FAITH. 2 Tim 4:1-8
A. NOTHING DONE IN OBEDIENCE WILL GO UNREWARDED. (Mt. 10:41,42)
GOD IS KEEPING ALL THE RECORDS. (Luke 12:2)
1) Hudson Taylor did go to China and in spite of the cost of his reputation and relationships he obeyed the Lord. By the time he died (in 1905) he was used of God to found the China Inland Mission with 205 missions, 849 Missionaries and 125,000 Chinese Christians. He wrote in his diary the same day he recorded his departure from England:
“Praise God, the number is increasing who are finding out the exceeding joys, the wondrous revelations of His mercies, vouchsafed to those who ‘follow him’ and emptying themselves, leave all in obedience to His great commission.”
2) David Livingstone: “God forbid that we should ever consider the holding of a commission from the King of Kings a sacrifice, so long as other men exteem the service of an earthly government as an honor. I am a missionary, heart and soul. God himself had only one Son, and He was a missionary and a Physician. A poor, poor imitation I am, or wish to be, but in this service I hope to live. In it I wish to die. I still prefer poverty and missions service to riches and ease. This is my choice.”