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Summary: How to keep from falling away from the initial commitment made to Christ.

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HOW TO KEEP THE FAITH

1 Pet 1:3-9

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-- kept in heaven for you,

5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

7 These have come so that your faith-- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Over the course of years I have witnessed many people coming to the Lord for the very first time. Some went to the altar, some stood or sat where they were, in a living room setting, in my office, alone with me in the sanctuary. Some cried, some showed no emotion at all. But regardless, hearts were touched, wills were broken, and Jesus Christ was glorified as folks yielded their lives to Him.

But we know from the teaching of scripture and from personal experience that our faith will be challenged. Satan will come against us in an effort to destroy it. And God will test our faith as well, in an effort to enlarge it.

The question is, HOW CAN I KEEP THE FAITH? How can I remain true to my commitment to God? How can I keep from falling away from God like so many others do?

Illus.: Ted Turner’s Testimony

Turned his back on Christianity because of his sister’s untimely death.

Parable of the sower and the four soils:

 Path

 Rocky places

 Throns

 Good soil

Mark 4:16-17

16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.

17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

We often begin well but fade fast—like spiritual sprinters—off the mark quickly, full of excitement and energy, but soon out of breath and strength. God is looking for long distance runners!

Look at our culture. We’re a bunch of quitters! Dieting is a discipline, so we quit and stay fat. School is a hassle, so we bail out. Sticking with an occupation is tough, so we start looking elsewhere. Working through conflict in a marriage is tiring, so we walk away. Ours is a culture of quitters!

The same is often true in the spiritual realm. How can I keep

the faith? Well, I don’t have all the answers, but I can tell you one thing for sure: OUR FAITH IS WORTH KEEPING! Look at verse 7 of our scripture. Peter says that our faith is of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though it is refined by fire.

Further, this faith resulted in the new birth and a living hope (vs.3) And in verse 4 it means that we have a spiritual inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade because it is kept in heaven for us.

And that’s not all. Verse 5 tells us that because of this faith we are shielded by God’s power and verse 6 says that it produces joy in us, even in the midst of severe trials! PTL! Now that’s a faith worth having and keeping!

Let me share 4 ways we can keep the faith.

1. KNOW Your Faith

 Well-defined, not fuzzy in your thinking

 We must clearly understand what it means to be a Christian

 We must know how the Bible defines Christianity, not what the culture says

The Great Evangelist George Whitefield once asked a coal miner what he believed. “Oh,” the miner answered, “That’s easy. I believe what my church believes.” “And what does your church believe?” asked the evangelist. “Well, the church believes what I believe.” “But what do you believe?” persisted Whitefield. The miner thought for a moment and said, “The church and me, we both believe the same thing.”

An elusive, cloudy faith can never be safe-guarded. The Bible tells us that we are to be ready to give an answer to every man that asks us a reason of the hope that is in us with meekness and fear” (I Peter 3:15).

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