Summary: Sometimes living a Christian life in a strong soul-winning church is much like my initial experience with the cardio-vascular machines. We become exhausted and there is a stitch in our sides, as we suck spiritual air and we wonder how we can go on. Some
Running On Faith
Believe it or not, for the past four months, this preacher has been working out in a gym on the average of 1 ½ hours a day, five days a week. Most of the routine was bearable at the beginning, except for the cardio-vascular machines. I hated anything that seemed like running! To add to the hatred, I found out that unless I maintained 20 minutes or more, the exercise was not working. I would set the timer and glance every 30 seconds. Those seemed to be the longest and most grueling 20 minutes of my life!
Sometimes living a Christian life in a strong soul-winning church is much like my initial experience with the cardio-vascular machines. We become exhausted and there is a stitch in our sides, as we suck spiritual air and we wonder how we can go on. Some quit the race in their minds. They are saved… but are going through the motions – no longer running to win.
In our passage tonight, we will find the secret to spiritual endurance. We will see that it is not a program, a method, a movement, or even the following of a particular spiritual leader. Tonight we will find that the secret to spiritual endurance is for the believer to be running on faith.
I. We are surrounded by a cloud of faithful witnesses!
32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Look at verse 33. This great multitude of people that are so numerous they resemble the appearance of a cloud, all obtained their victories through faith! My friend, the reason that the saints of old withstood the attacks of the forces of darkness was because they were able to access God’s grace through faith. Most folks reading this letter have already accessed God’s saving Grace through faith. That is just the beginning.
9 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Not only did the saints obtain salvation by accessing God’s grace through faith, they also obtained the ability to stand and to gain victory through their faith. Listen, my friend, raw determination will not keep you on the firing line. Some new program or method that you bring home from the latest conference will not be enough to keep you from fainting in your minds. It is faith or taking God at His word, that will sustain you.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Look with me please at verses 33-35. We will see that these witnesses that the saints of old were able to do great things because the pipe line to God’s Grace, faith, was clear of any obstruction. Kingdoms were subdued, righteous works were accomplished, divine promises were obtained, the lion’s mouths were shut, the fire of the furnace was ineffective, the sword was dull, strength rose out of weakness, armies were turned to retreat, and mothers received their dead alive again all because the saints of old accessed the mighty power of God through faith!