Summary: Christianity is the Good News that we can be saved, not by trying harder and depending on ourselves or our own promises, but in trusting God's power to save through the cross and the blood and the resurrection.
We've been hearing about those fires in Southern California and floods in Louisiana. And I found this story that really spoke to me...
One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, "Jump! I'll catch you." He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, was flame, smoke, and blackness. As can be imagined, he was afraid to leave the roof. His father kept yelling: "Jump! I will catch you." But the boy protested, "Daddy, I can't see you." The father replied, "But I can see you and that's all that matters."
Do you believe in a God who is there with us through the fire and the flood?
Faith. The Bible teaches us to live… by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7)
Many times we cannot see what's up ahead or where God is leading us, but we can trust Him because we hear His voice calling us to take that leap of faith and He'll be there… to catch us.
From “Fresh Faith” By Jim Cymbala, Page 39- What do you think it would take to amaze Jesus? While on earth, was there anything that impressed him to the point of exclaiming, “That's really something! Wow!” Never in any chapter of the four Gospels was Jesus astounded by anybody's righteousness. Never was he impressed with anyone's wisdom or education.
But he was amazed by one thing: people's faith.
Almost every time that Jesus healed someone he said, “Your faith has healed you” or that they would be healed because of their faith. And he forgave people of their sins because of their great faith.
When those who brought the paralytic to Jesus tore through the roof just so their friend could be healed, Jesus saw their faith.
When the disciples cried out in the midst of storm, “Lord, save us! We're going to drown!” Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” just before he calmed the storm.
In Jesus' own hometown of Nazareth it says that he was unable to perform many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
When Jesus walked on the water and Peter also tried to do so but took his eyes off of the master and sank, Jesus caught him and said, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
When Jesus spoke to his disciples about forgiving those who sin against us, they begged him to, “Increase our faith!”
Once while traveling through Capernaum Jesus was met by a Roman Centurion. The soldier wanted Jesus to heal his servant who was at home paralyzed and suffering terribly.
Jesus agreed to go with him, but the man said, “No, I'm not worthy to have you enter my home. Just say the word and I know my servant will be healed.” And Jesus said, ““Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. Go, and let it be done just as you have believed it would be done.” And in that very moment his servant was healed.
FAITH means the conviction about the truth of something.
In Hebrews 11:1New American Standard Bible (NASB) it says…
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Faith means that we can trust in it, believe in it, and depend on it… Why? Because you believe that God is good and trustworthy, faithful, just, fair, and cares about you. So you read your Bible and do what it says. You pray faithfully asking for God's blessing and provision. You go to church to hear God's Word spoken and to Worship Him. Why? Because of your FAITH.
From “Fresh Faith” By Jim Cymbala, Page 43- By contrast, there are many others going to church today in America whose faith has gone dormant. You will see people who think that the object of Christianity is to read the Bible every day, try to live a good life as best they can, and thus earn God's approval.
What this reveals is a Christianity focused on our ability rather than God's.
Transition- Today I want to talk to you about your FAITH. And I want to ask you: Is seeing believing or is believing seeing?
Please Turn in your Bibles to... Romans chapter one
Faith is one of main topics discussed in the Bible, mentioned 236 times in NIV and 257 times in the ESV. The word “faith” occurs 40 times in the Book of Romans in 35 different verses. In fact the only other book in the Bible that comes close to this is Hebrews (36 times in 32 verses). No other book in the Bible talks about faith as much as Romans.