Summary: Sermon about faith as a principle for living every day of our lives and having the kind of faith that is pleasing to God.
Well let me ask you a question. What difference did your faith make to you yesterday? What effect did your faith have on what you did yesterday? Now what was yesterday? It was Saturday. What did you do on Saturday? Well you might have cut the grass, maybe you went to play golf, maybe you played with the kids, maybe you went shopping, to the store, maybe you cleaned up the house. What difference did your faith in Christ make yesterday? Now the second question I want to ask you is this: What difference will your faith make to you tomorrow? What effect will it have on what you do tomorrow? What is tomorrow? Tomorrow is Monday. What will you do on Monday? You’ll go back to work or school or back to the factory, wherever it is you happen to work and you will pick up your life where you left off on Friday. Now the question is what difference will your faith make on you tomorrow? Now here are the two questions: What difference did your faith make yesterday and what difference will your faith make tomorrow? You say wait a minute pastor you’ve left out something. There’s a middle day in here. I notice that you didn’t ask the question what difference is your faith making today? Well I didn’t ask that question. Well you say “you outta ask that question because pastor, today my faith is really kickin’, today is Sunday, and everybody knows that faith is for Sunday.” Sunday is for faith but there inlies the problem. I suspect there are a lot of us who really believe that to be true. We really believe that faith is for Sunday, Sunday is for faith, and faith is a Sunday-go-to-meetin’ kind of thing. Well let me be clear about this so that you will understand. Faith is not a Sunday-go-to-meetin’ kind of thing. Faith is an everyday living kind of thing. It isn’t just what you do on Sunday for a few hours. It is your life. It is what effects every part of your life. Romans 1:17, The apostle Paul says, “ The Just Shall Live By Faith.” He doesn’t say that the just will pray in faith, though that’s true. He doesn’t say the just will be healed because of their faith. He says “The Just Will Live by Faith.” Every moment of every day we’re to live by faith. Now, the question is this. How do you have an every moment, every day living faith? That’s what we want to talk about. Take your Bible if you will and I want you to open them up to an Old Testament book that talks about faith. Would you turn in your Bible to the book of Habakkuk? Can you find that book? The Old Testament book of Habakkuk and I want you to look in the back of chapter two. Now this ought not be hard for you to find. In fact I’m backing up a little bit here. We preached from the book of Habakkuk not very long ago. Now for those of you, who weren’t here, let me just let you know where it’s found. It’s snuggled in very nicely between the book Nahum and Zephaniah. That outta give you a clue. If you have difficulty finding Habakkuk the easiest way to find it is to go the beginning of the New Testament and back up to Habakkuk. It’s about 4 blocks back. So you turn to the end of the Old Testament or the beginning of the New and just back up 4 or 5 books and you will be in the book of Habakkuk. Paul in Romans 1 says, “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith unto faith” and remember faith is the issue with God. Always has been always will be. Hebrews 11:6 said “without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Let me again make sure you know what that means. It means no matter what else you do in life, no matter how good you are, kind you are, moral you are, how successful you are. Life lived outside the perimeters of faith is not pleasing to God. In fact the Bible says “Whatsoever is not a faith is sin.” What a tough verse that is. The scripture says “without faith you can not please Him.” Now the implication is this. With faith you can please Him. And we want to be pleasing to Him so we’re studying the subject of faith. Now let me just bring you up to speed. Thus far, in our study, we have looked at two things. We’ve talked about growing faith and we’ve talked about maturing faith. We began by dealing with growth and faith, growing faith. And I said there are two ways God wants your faith to grow. He wants it to expand and He wants it to extend. He wants your faith to expand from little faith to large faith. From mustard seed to mountain size. And then He wants your faith to extend to cover more and more areas of your life. You begin with a little bit of faith in the area of salvation. That faith grows and you begin to let that faith touch other areas of your life like family and finances and relationships. And then lastly we began talking about maturing in the faith and I said not only does God want your faith to grow, he wants it to grow up. He not only wants your faith to expand and to extend. But he wants it to mature. The problem is there are a lot of folks who have big faith, great faith, but it’s very immature. And so we looked at Romans 14 and Paul told us about a mature faith. We saw some unusual things. Paul said a mature faith was gracious and it was conscientious and flexible and resilient. Now this morning we want to move one step further in the process. Today we want to talk not about not about growing in the faith and maturing in the faith, but living in the faith. Every single day, living in your faith. And that’s what this passage is about. Let me show you. Look if you will. Habakkuk 2:1. Now this will sound familiar to you. A moment ago I quoted from Romans 1:17. Do you remember where Paul said, “The Just Shall Live by Faith?” You need to know that I love Paul and I think he was a brilliant man. But though he was brilliant, he was not always original. He would often quote other people. Three times in the Old Testament Paul says, “The Just Shall Live by Faith.” And we give him credit for it but the truth is he was quoting from the Old Testament book of Habakkuk. Let me show you. Chapter 2 verse 1. He says, “I will stand at my watch and station myself on the ramparts; I will look to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.” And then the Lord answered me and said, “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets. That he may run who reads it.” I have always loved that statement. That means write it out big and bold so a man jogging down the street can read it on a billboard. And then he goes on to say this, “For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it will speak and it will not lie. Though it tarries wait for it. Because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” That means that it will not terry forever. And then he writes this statement, verse 4. “Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him.” Now watch. Here’s the statement. “But the just shall live by his faith.” Now what’s happening here? Well in the book of Habakkuk, Habakkuk and all the people of Jude are struggling. They are wondering where God is in all of this. And some are deciding to take matters in their own hands and then God says to Habakkuk, “Habakkuk, the just will live by faith.” Everyday in every way their faith is going to effect them. Now here is what I want to do very quickly. Let me take you through the book of Habakkuk. We are going to study all three chapters. And I want us to learn what it really means to live everyday in the faith. Before we get into in I need to say a word to you. And as I know where some of you come from. And I know what some of you have been taught. And I know as I have been preaching about faith some of you have been sitting on the edge of your seat concerned that I haven’t been preaching exactly what you thought. And I know some of you come from a faith theology background. And you come from the background that says faith is all about believing and receiving. And faith is all about naming and claiming. It’s all about getting the desire of your heart. Some of you have come from a background where you have been taught that faith is basically a formula for getting from God what you want to get. And some of you have been somewhat concerned that I haven’t gotten in that direction. Well let me be clear about this. We are going to move into deeper stuff concerning faith. But my problem is some of us have wanted to dive off the deep end of the faith pool before we learned to wade in the shallow end of the faith pool. Do you know what I am talking about? Now we are going to get into to some very deep stuff about faith about believing and receiving. How do you pray in faith? But before we can get there we need to know what it means just to live everyday by faith. And that is what we are going to talk about this morning. So lets dig in. Now what does it mean to live by faith? Let me give you two or three things and we’ll move in a hurry. Here’s the first one. The person who lives by faith, living faith, acknowledges the presence of God. Living faith recognizes that God is in absolutely everything. Living faith gets up in the morning and realizes everywhere he goes God goes too. And everything we’re in, God’s in. Living faith has the constant consciousness of God’s presence in life. Let me show you. Take your Bible. Look if you will. Habakkuk 1:1. Let’s read a little bit. Habakkuk 1:1 The prophet Habakkuk writes, “The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw. Oh Lord how long shall I cry and you will not hear. Even cry out to you violence and you will not save. Why do you show me iniquity and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me. There is strife and contention arising therefore the law is powerless and justice never goes forth. The wicked surround the righteous therefore perverse judgment proceeds.” Stop but don’t lose your place. Do you understand what he just said? In verses 1-4 Habakkuk is speaking. He is saying, “God, where are you? It just doesn’t seem like you are anywhere around. Justice. Injustice. Rules. There’s all kinds of violence all around me. God I pray and you don’t answer.” Habakkuk and the People of Jude have basically come to the conclusion that God wasn’t involved anymore. Maybe he was in the temple, but he wasn’t in everyday life. Now watch what happens. Look if you will in verse 5. God speaks to Habakkuk and he says, “Look among the nations and watch the udderly astounded for I will work a work of your days which you would not believe though it were told you.” Now watch this statement. “For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, a bitter and hasty nation. Now I am going to give you an interpretation very quickly. Habakkuk says in the first few verses, “God I don’t know where you are. I wonder if you are anywhere. I’m praying but you’re not answering.” And then God speaks and he says, “Habakkuk, let me tell you the truth. I am right in the midde of everything that’s going on.” Habakkuk was concerned that the Chaldeans were rising to power. Chaldeans is an ancient name for the Babylonians. Habakkuk was saying, “God, don’t you see what’s happening? Can’t you see the Chaldeans rising to power? Where are you God?” And then God says, “Habakkuk, I’m right in the middle of all this. You misunderstood. I am the one raising Chaldeans to power.” Now I don’t want you to misunderstand what I am getting at here. Habakkuk had come to the point he thought God wasn’t there. God wasn’t present. And God said to Habakkuk, “I am in the middle of all of this. I am always there.” In fact notice if you will what Habakkuk says. Look across to verse 12. He said, “Are you not from everlasting oh Lord, my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. Oh Lord, you have appointed them for judgment. Oh Rock you have marked them for correction. Habakkuk was saying, “God, I see that now. I see you are there.” Let me make this very simple. I’m trying not to be complicated with it. Living faith gets up every day and says God I know you are here. I may not understand what you are doing but I know you are here. I know you are in every part of my life. Do you get up in the morning realizing that when you go to work God is going to be there? When you go through that hard time? When you go to the doctor’s office and you go through that trial? Do you realize that God is with you there? One of my favorite stories in the Bible is in Genesis 5. It is the story of a man named Enoch. Do you remember Enoch? Hebrews 11 list Enoch as a hero to faith. I love Enoch. He is one of the guys that gets raptured. Those of you who do not believe in the rapture. It’s already happened twice. Elijah went up and so did Enoch. And one day we are going to go too. But do you remember what the Bible says about Enoch? Scripture says that he had this one claimed fame. Enoch walked with God. What does that mean? Everyday he was conscious, constantly conscious that God was with him everywhere. You live by faith like that? Let me show you a passage of scripture. This is oldies but goodies day. So let me show you an oldie but goody. Turn if you will to Psalm 139. I read this passage ever so often because we need to be reminded of it but I want you to see it again. Look in Psalm 139. For those of you who tend to think that God is someone you walk into his presence and then leave his presence, let me show you what David says. Psalm 139 is a Psalm of David and David is amazed that God is present. Have you found it? If you haven’t found it then just pretend. Look if you will at verse 1. David writes, “Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down, my rising up. You understand my thoughts afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down. You’re acquainted with all my ways for there is a word on my tongue but behold Lord you know it all together. You’ve hedged me behind and before and laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me its high for me. I can not attain it.” Don’t lose your place. What did David just say? He said, “God everywhere I am you are. You are with me when I rise up. You are with me when I sit down. When I speak you know what I say. When I think you know what I think. God you put a hedge in front of me and a hedge behind me. That means that if I go this way I am heading right toward God. If I turn around then I am heading right toward God. You are with me all the way.” In fact he says, “I can’t get away from you.” Look in verse 7. “Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” I love this next statement. Listen to it. “If I ascend into heaven you are there.” I often read that and want to say duh. Of course he is. “If I ascend to heaven you aren’t there. He said if I made my bed in hell behold you are there.” That’s a weird statement. “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell to the outer most parts of the sea. That means if I go as far away as east is from west. He says even there your right hand shall lead me. And your right hand shall hold me. If I say surely the darkness shall follow me, even the night should be light about me. What is he saying? He’s saying I can’t get away from you God. No matter where I go you’re there. Have you ever tried to escape God? I suspect I have. I suspect there are some of you who are trying to escape from God in your work. You bury yourself in your work. You think you’ve left God behind. Nah. He’s right there. Some of us try to escape God in a bottle. Some try to escape God with pills. Some of you take trips, conventions, and vacations. You go miles away. You get in a hotel room somewhere and you think you have left God behind. Nobody knows. Guess what? When you registered God registered. In fact he got there before you did. That’s what Psalm 139 says. In fact notice what else he says. “Not only can I not escape from you, you know everything about me. You are with me when I rise up and I sit down. Look in verse 13. He said, “for you even form my inward parts. You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are your works that my soul knows them well. My frame was not hidden from you.” Do you know what he means? He was saying “God you were even with me in my mother’s womb. You saw me there. Before I was born. The moment I was conceived. God you were there.” Let me tell you what living faith is. Living faith begins with this understanding. Everywhere you go he goes. Everything you are involved in he is involved in. Some of us have the idea that we walk in the presence of God and out of the presence of God. We come in to church and we think we have walked in to the presence of God. That is why you guys act the way you act. You coming to church you act like you are in the presence of God. You think I don’t see you before you come in? I know how you are. I watch you guys out there with that last draw on that cigarette. Put on your best suit. You hardly ever cuss in church. God’s here right? I watch what you do. You watch your watch. I watch you watch your watch. I know you are waiting so that you can go outside the presence of God. Let me give you the truth. You don’t walk in nor out of the presence of God. He is in you. And where you go he goes. You can not escape him. Living faith begins with the knowledge he is present everywhere. Let me give you a second thing about living faith. Now first of all living faith acknowledges his presence, second living faith awaits his guidance. Let me show you. Take you’re your Bible if you will and look at Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 1. Habakkuk again is speaking. Now remember the situation. He believed at first that God wasn’t there. Then he finds out that God’s in everything. And then he says in verse 1 of chapter 2, “I will stand my watch and I will set myself on the rampart and watch to see what he will say to me. And what I will answer when I am corrected.” Stop don’t lose your place. What did he just say? He said now that I know God is everywhere. God now I am going to wait and hear what you have to say. God I want everything in my life to be done your way. If God is everywhere that means that he has a will about everything. In fact this is what he means in verse 4. Look again. “Behold the proud his soul is not upright in him but the just shall live by faith.” Interpretation. Paraphrase. The proud man’s soul isn’t what it ought to be. He’s always doing things his way. The just man is trying to do things God’s way. He says God what do you want me to do? In fact you aren’t going to understand this package very well until you see the rest of chapter 2. Let me point out to you again what chapter 2 is about. 6 weeks ago there is where I was preaching from. You have probably forgotten. In chapter 2 beginning with verse 6, God pronounces 5 woes to those people doing something outside of his will. For example look in verse 6 in the middle of the verse it says, “Woe to him who increases what is not his how long and to him who loads himself with many pledges, will not your creditors rise up suddenly?” Do you know what he is describing? He’s describing people who aren’t doing things God’s way concerning their financial affairs. They’re head over heels in debt because they’re doing it their way not God’s way. Look again. Verse 9. “Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house that he may set his nest on high that it may be delivered from the power of disaster.” Now he’s describing someone who is trying to get security for his family but not God’s way his own way. Look in verse 12. “Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed who establishes a city by iniquity. Behold it is not of the Lord of hosts.” What does he mean by that? Now he’s describing someone who is trying to succeed. But not God’s way, his way. Look in verse 15. “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor pressing him to your bottle. Why? Even to make him drunk that you may look upon his nakedness.” Now he’s talking about someone trying to satisfy the desires of the flesh. But not God’s way, his way. Look in verse 19. “Woe to him who says to the wood awake to the silent stone arise it shall teach behold it is overlay with gold and silver yet in it there is no breath at all.” What does that mean? Now he’s talking about people who have religion their way but not God’s way. Do you get the picture? You say, “Well pastor do you think God has a will concerning everything in my life?” Look up here. Yeah. You think God’s even interested in the secular stuff? What do you mean by that? What’s secular? For a child of God what constitutes secular verses sacred? There is none secular verses sacred for a child of God. Living faith recognizes everything as under the will of God. You recall the verse in Romans 12 where the Bible talks about the good acceptable perfect will of God. By they way let me repeat to you what I have said on many occasions. That does not mean 3 different wills. God does not have a good will, an acceptable will, and a perfect will. Some folks read that and say well God has a good will and its good for you to follow it, an acceptable will, its okay with Him if you do it, and a perfect will ideal for you. No. God has one will. It’s good for you, it would be acceptable to you if you understood it, and its perfect for your life. That word perfect means more than just flawless. It means complete, it means total, it means everything. I believe God’s will for your life is all incomposant. Do you think God for example is interested in your financial affairs? Do you think he cares about your investments? Do you think he cares about your debts? Is there a particular way a Christian ought to face his financial affairs? Yes there is. God does care. There is more said about the financial affairs of a believer than almost anything else in the Bible. Hey do you think God is really interested in your job? Do you think he even cares how you act on the job? Sure. This is why he said in his word “Do all things as though you are doing them under the Lord.” Do you think God cares about your marriage? How you act towards your wife or husband? If anything is secular Pastor that’s it. Right? God cares about that. That’s why in Ephesians 5, wives are told to submit to their husbands and the husbands are told to love their wives like Christ loved the church. Do you think God cares how you treat your children? Of course he does. Do you think God cares about your sex life? Sure he does. This is why in 1 Corinthians 7 he speaks to husbands and wives and he says don’t defraud one another in this area. That’s why in Hebrews the Bible says marriage is honorable in all things in the bed undefiled. That is why Paul speaking to the church of Corinth warned Christians not to be sexually tied to immoral people. He said for you are joining the very body of Christ to immorality when you do that. Of course he’s concerned. About all of that. Here is what the living faith does. The living faith gets up in the morning with the knowledge everywhere I go God goes. And says God everything I do I want to do your way. I want to be your person. I don’t just want to be a business man. I want to be the kind of business person that you want me to be. I don’t just want to be a lawyer. I want to be a lawyer who’s law practices honoring to you. I don’t just want to be a doctor. I want to be a doctor who has not only a physical healing touch but a spiritual healing touch. I don’t just want to be a husband. I want to be the husband you want me to be, God. I don’t just want to be a wife or a mother. I want to be the kind of wife and mother you want me to be. I would venture to say that most of us never think about that. Most women I know don’t even ask the question what kind of wife does my husband want me to be? But most of all what kind of wife does God want me to be? And we husbands are no different. What is living faith? Living faith acknowledges the presence of God and awaits the guidance of God. Let me give you one more. And then I will let you go home. And this is the one I usually get in trouble about. Living faith accepts the sovereignty of God. Now I want you to pay attention for just a moment. Cause this is where I am going to have a little bit of difficulty. And usually when I preach on the subject of faith this is the thing that makes a few people mad. But I want you to turn if you will to Habakkuk chapter 3 verse 17. And I know what I am about to say is going to fly in the face of some people’s theology. But let me tell you what living faith says. Living faith says, “God I know you are in everything. And I want to do everything the way you want me to do it. And God I am trusting you and if you answer my prayers I am going to believe in you. But if you don’t I am not going to take my faith away. If you bless me I’ll believe, but if you don’t bless me I’ll believe. God the truth is I just trust you regardless of what you do. Living faith says God I know all day long you will be with me. I want to do things your way and no matter what happens whether I like it or not whether its what I wanted or not whether it’s what I prayed for or not, I’m going to trust you. Let me show you. Look at verse 17 of chapter 3. Habakkuk writes, “though the fig tree may not blossom, nor the fruit be on the vine, though the labor of the olive may fail. And the field yield no food and the flock may be cut off from the fold. And there be no herd in the stalls.” Do you hear that? Yet. That means anyway. “yet I will rejoice in the lord. I will join the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength. He will make my feet like deer feet. He will make me to walk on my high hills. And notice that is h-i-l-l-s not high heels. He said, “ I’ll make you walk.” Now. Hear me and I don’t want to be offensive. But this flies in the face of so much faith theology these days. Let me tell you what real faith says. Real faith says God, I believe in you and I trust you. I am asking for these things but God, if I don’t get them I will still believe in you. And I still trust you.” See there is a kind of faithology that a lot of us have been taught. That says real faith never accepts anything but the desire of its heart. You believe it and you receive it. You name it you claim it. Real faith grits its teeth and makes it happen and you don’t stop claiming it until God gives it to you. If you have cancer and God heals you of that cancer. Will you believe in him? Yeah you will won’t you? But if you have cancer and you ask God to heal you of that cancer and God doesn’t heal you of that cancer, will you still believe in him? Will you still trust him? If you lose your job and your finances are desperate, you say God I need this money I need this job. And God doesn’t give you that job. Will you still trust him? Do you have the kind of faith that says God if you give me this I will believe but if you don’t give me this I will still believe. I just trust you. You see there is a theology of faith being taught these days. That simply says if you believe it will happen and if it doesn’t happen then you must not really believe it. Well Habakkuk says, “Lord, if the unthinkable happens and the fig tree and the olive tree and nothing ever blooms and the herds die and I don’t have any food and God I will yet rejoice in you.” You say well that is Old Testament, Pastor. That’s Old Testament. See I believe in the New Testament faith and the New Testament faith says, “Believe and receive it.” Why don’t you tell that to Paul? Who suffered from a thorn in the flesh and prayed about it for 3 years and said “God heal me and deliver me.” And finally God said, “No I will not however my grace is sufficient.” Why don’t you tell that to Jesus who in the Garden of Gethsemane prayed, “Father if it be thy will let this cup pass from me but nevertheless not my will but thy will be done.” Pastor you don’t understand. I really believe. I believe in the miracles and I believe. Have you heard someone say that? Pastor don’t you believe in miracles and don’t you believe in healing? No. I don’t. Now before you stone me or stare me to death. Let me make myself very clear. I don’t believe in miracles. I believe in a miracle-worker. I ask for miracles. I don’t believe in healing I believe in a healer. And I ask for healing. But it’s God I believe in. And if he heals I am going to rejoice. If he doesn’t heal I am going to believe and I am going to rejoice. That’s faith. I don’t see it that way. See Pastor I believe God gets the glory when faith gets the answer. After all the faith brings the victory. The Bible never says that faith brings the victory. The Bible says faith is the victory. That means that having faith is the victory. So I just believe that if God answers the prayers, he gets the glory. Sometimes God gets glory in ways that you and I can’t even fathom. How many of you know who David Ring is? Do you know who David Ring is? David Ring is a great evangelist. Suffers from surreble-pausy from birth. If you have ever heard him preach he has a haulting way of talking, he walks funny, and his hands shake. If you have ever seen him eat he can’t get his fork to his mouth. Oh how God has used that man. David Ring said that someone asked him not long ago, “David, don’t you want God to heal you?” David said, “I want God to heal me. But I want God to use me more than heal me.” Then he said that someone came up to him and said, “David, don’t you want God to make you normal?” And I loved his answer. David said, “Normal. What’s normal? Are you normal? God didn’t make me normal. God made me unique. I would rather be unique than just normal.” David understood something. He understood that God knows what he’s doing. And he trusts God. That’s living faith. Now to be sure there is much more. And we will talk about how to believe and receive and we’ll talk about how to pray in faith. And we’ll talk about a God who answers. But before we can get there, we have to put our feet down here. Living faith says God I believe. Regardless of what you do. Everliving faith. I suspect it’s only when you and I get to the point where we never let them go enough to say God you know what’s best that we begin to experience the best God knows how to give. Let’s pray together. Father, there are a lot of things about faith that are tough to understand. We are so inundated with this idea that faith is a formula, a force, a concept that gets from you what we want. But in the bottom line analysis of things faith is believing you. I know you perform miracles and I do believe you heal. God I thank you that you do and I thank you that I experience and witnessed the mighty power you have. But God if my faith is ever in anything you do rather than in you please show me. I want to be has a person that trusts you. Like a little child faith in and trust in a father. I want to have that in you. Father, those of us who are here this morning whose walk of faith needs to begin. It needs to begin with a simple confession. Inviting Christ to be Lord of your life. Trusting Christ and confessing him as Lord. Now I have been speaking to believers. But there are those who are here this morning who I know are not. They want to be and they have come to that point to make a choice. Would you give them the courage to make the choice even today? And Father, for other decisions that ought to be made, for those who are wanting to join the church but are waiting to join. May this be the day they stop postponing everything and just say God I am ready to do what you want me to do. In Jesus name I pray. A-men