Summary: If you would just trust God’s word your life would change forever.
March 30, 2008
Text: Romans 1:16-17
Subject: Faith in the Gospel
Title: Radical Faith for a Radical Life
There is a radical movement in Christianity called the “Word of Faith” movement. One of the pioneers of the movement in this recent generation was Kenneth Hagin. Brother Hagin has been accused a teaching heresy and has been rejected by much of mainstream Christianity. Did I ever tell you that I don’t want to fit into mainstream Christianity? My goal is to fit into the word of God. You know what it is that I believe and I also believe that the Bible teaches. We are called to be a different kind of people – a people who walk by faith in the word of God. I believe most of the same things that Kenneth Hagin believed. I have come to that belief, not by studying and reading Kenneth Hagin books, but by studying the Bible. So when I say that I am a word of faith preacher I mean that if the word promises it, I am going to believe it and accept it.
There is a vast difference between what many of today’s churches teach about faith and what the Bible teaches. Too often we are told that the things that have occurred in the Bible are not for today. Miracles, signs and wonders, healing and blessing don’t have any relevance for today’s Christian. But I believe that they are more relevant now than ever before. And I believe that Christians today are called to walk by faith and not by sight more now than ever.
When a traveler in the early days of the west, came to the Mississippi, he discovered there was no bridge. Fortunately it was winter and the great river was sheeted over with ice. But the traveler was afraid to trust himself to it, not knowing how thick it was. Finally with infinite caution, he crept on his hands and knees and managed to get halfway over. And then he heard--yes he heard singing from behind. Cautiously he turned, and there, out of the dusk, came another traveler, driving a four-horse load of coal over the ice, singing as he went!
That is the kind of faith that God desires for Christians to have today.
Listen as I read just two verses from the word today and then believe with me that God desires for you to have radical faith for a radical life.
I. THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL. 16I am not ashamed of the gospel… I want to do a word study on a couple of words here. That’s really a good way to get to the meaning of a passage. “Ashamed” means “to feel” shame for something. It is an emotional response. Paul says, “I am not ashamed” of the gospel. Gospel means “good news” of “good message”. Some translations say “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ…” but the oldest manuscripts omit “of Christ” . So when it says “I am not ashamed of the gospel” it refers to the whole Word of God. There really isn’t a conflict here because the gospel – the good news of Jesus Christ - is the same as the rest of God’s word. It is the message of hope for a lost and dying world. It is the message of the grace of God who invites all to come to Him by faith. It is the same now as it was 3500 years ago when Abraham walked by faith and was called a friend of God. Listen to the words of Jesus from Mark 8:38, 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Notice that Jesus said that if anyone is ashamed of Him and His words… in this adulterous and sinful generation. That’s talking about a generation not in reference to time or heritage but in reference to the world system that is prevalent right now. It is talking about the age in which we live now. Even though this is the church age, the age of the dispensation of grace, satan is still the god of this world or this age, but if you are not ashamed of Jesus or of His word you have overcome the devil. Who do you think it is that is behind the teaching that the Bible is not relevant today? The devil! Who is it that has placed in the hearts of men from the beginning, “Did God really say…?” It’s the devil! Who is it that has placed it in the minds of theologians that you can believe part of the word but you have to throw out other parts? You know who it is! Don’t fall into that trap. The Word of God is timeless. Jesus said that heaven and earth would pass away but that His word will never pass away. That is why Paul could write to his young friend in 2 Timothy 1, 12That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. Hallelujah! 16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God… the word power means,