What Not To Expect
Faith Expectations part 11
[This lesson and this series are drawn from the writings of Tom Allen in his book “What to expect now that you believe.”]
This lesson is the last in the Faith Expectations series. The purpose of this series was to explore those things our faith brings to us as we strive to walk in the way of Jesus. It is probably fair to say for many of us, if not all, that when we obeyed the call of the gospel, accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and been Baptized into Him there were some expectations of what our faith would do in us, for us, and through us. And we are justified in these expectations:
2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
John 10:10b “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
As believers we should never lose the “great expectations” of our faith especially since the greatest expectation is yet to come, that being the return of our Lord and Savior. Until that day it remains for us to balance our expectations with the reality of living as sojourners in this world. And so let us consider What Not To Expect.
We have explored much of what a believer may expect in their Christian walk. We have revealed that we may expect forgiveness, blessings, joy, and peace. We can also anticipate trials, temptations, persecutions and doubts. We are privileged to expect service and we can count on life, abundant and eternal. Even the seemingly “negative” topics in our series we have found can be counted a plus in our relationship with the Lord.
In this final lesson we are going to examine the opposite question from what we have asked in previous lessons. Today we ask: Are there some things we should not expect?
I.What Not To Expect
A.Do Not Expect an easy road
1.Jesus always provides the truth of the matter, so that we may count the cost of following Him. Read Luke 14:25-33
a.Read Matthew 7:13-14 This is a strait gate,
1)It is hard to find, and hard to get through; like a passage between two rocks.
2)There must be a new heart, and a new spirit, and old things must pass away.
3)It is a strait gate, for we must stoop, or we cannot go in; we must become as little children; put off the old man; we must be willing to forsake all for our interest in Christ.
4) The gate is strait to all, but to some straighter than others; as to the rich, to some that cling to the idols of the world. The gate is strait; blessed be God, it is not shut up, nor locked against us.
b.That the way is narrow.
1)We are not in heaven as soon as we have passed through the strait gate, as the Israelites were not in Canaan as soon as they passed through the Red Sea; no, we must go through a wilderness, must travel a narrow way; daily temptations resisted; duties to be done. We must walk with care and circumspection.
c.The gate being so strait and the way so narrow, it is not strange that there are but few that find it, and choose it.
1)Many pass it by, through carelessness; they see no need to change their way.
2)Others look upon it, but avoid it; they do not like to be so limited and restrained.
3)Those that are going to heaven are but few, compared to those that are going to hell; a remnant, a little flock, as the eight that were saved in the ark, 1 Pet. 3:20
d.Enter ye in at the strait gate.
1)The matter is fairly stated; narrow and broad; life and death are set before us; both the ways, and both the ends: now let the matter be taken entire, and considered impartially, and then choose you this day which you will walk in.
2.Don’t expect an easy way (we don’t want one but sometimes we forget.)
a.1 Peter 4:12 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;”
b.2 Timothy 2:3 “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”
c.Read Acts 14:19-22
B.Do Not Expect Perfection
1.There is only one person in all of time that has lived a perfect life. This was Jesus and it is why we worship Him.
a.Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
Hebrews 4:15 [Jesus was] “tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”
b.We can and should be moving towards perfection in our growing and striving to be more like Christ but we are not there yet.
c.When Jesus comes to take His Church home we will be changed and perfection will be our new state but trapped in these flesh and blood bodies we cannot expect perfection.
Matthew 26:41b “…the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
d.We need also realize that we cannot expect perfection in anyone, ourselves or anyone else, except Jesus. He will never fail us, never disappoint us, never lie to us, never cheat us, He will never forsake us.
e.1 Thessalonians 5:14 “We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
2.Related to this: Do not expect everyone to like you
a.Sometimes we have the idea that as Christians everyone will like us and we will like everyone.
b.Paul offers a practical word on this: Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” The implication is that there will be some with who we cannot be at peace.
c.We will have personality clashes with certain individuals. We won’t like everyone the same and not everyone will like us. We won’t see eye-to-eye with other people on doctrinal issues, styles of worship, child rearing practices, a host of issues.
d.We need to learn what it means to “agree to disagree agreeably” in gentleness and love.
C.Not Expect To Have All The Answers
1.Following Christ will lead to increase wisdom and insight, enlightenment as the psalmist says: Psalm 119:130, NKJV “The entrance of Your words gives light”.
a.But we won’t have the answer to every question which comes long because we ourselves are limited (only God is omniscient.)
Matthew 24:42 “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”
1)When it comes to things knowable, my answer may need to be “I don’t know but I’ll find out” and then strive to know through study, meditation, and prayer.
b.But it is also because we are called to a life of faith
Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.”
c.There are times when faith will call us to trust in God when we cannot trace Him. To believe in the darkness what He has showed us in the light. God does not call us to blind faith but He will call us to trust in Him when we do not know everything there is to know. At those times we should have the attitude of Job: Read Job 42:1-6.
Today in my Christian walk I cannot expect an easy way, I cannot expect to be perfect nor can I expect to have all the answers but I can expect that my Lord will come again to call His church home and then I will know all the answers and in a blink of an eye I will be made perfect and I will enter into a shining city where there will be no darkness and no trouble and no tears and my way will be easy as I enter into the rest of my Savior and Lord.