Summary: Even secular 'experts' know that people need faith, hope, and love - three things Christianity uniquely offers.
“Building Quality Relationships: With the World – Share M & M’s!”
Eph. 5:8-14; 1Cor. 12:27-13:13
A renowned pastor was reflecting on a conference where the main speakers were psychologists and psychiatrists. One had spoken about people’s desperate need to have something to believe in; without that, life was meaningless. Another spoke about people’s need to have something to look forward to, something positive down the road to hold on to; without that, life was purposeless. Still a third speaker spoke of people’s need to be loved to love; without that life was cold, discouraging and depressing. Suddenly it dawned on him. What these speakers were sharing was that people were in need of faith, hope, and love – three things that Christianity uniquely offers.
We do, in fact, have A MESSAGE OF FAITH TO TRUST. Faith is trust that rests upon evidence and leads to action. (1) It is the foundation of our relationship with God. Throughout the Bible we are, repeatedly, INVITED TO A LIFE OF FAITH. Noah was invited to build an ark in the middle of a prolonged drought. Abraham was invited to leave everything he knew and go to a place he had never been so he could be a father to nations he had never seen. Moses was invited to stop shepherding and go back to Egypt to free the Israelites from the grip of Pharaoh. The Israelites were invited to cross the Red Sea on dry land. Joshua was invited to lead those Israelites across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. The Israelites were invited to march around Jericho for seven days so the walls of Jericho would fall. Mary and Joseph were invited to believe that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit and would give birth to God’s Son. As Hebrews 11:6 stated years later “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” FAITH RESTS ON THE EVIDENCE THAT GOD IS FAITHFUL.
Numbers 21 records that following a major Israelite rebellion against God, “…the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.” When the people came to Moses and repented, “The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” Years later Jesus said (Jn. 3:14-16) “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” CHRISTIAN FAITH HAS A SURE FOUNDATION; IT IS BUILT ON THE REALITY OF CALVARY. In Jesus God proved His faithfulness.
So Peter, on the day of Pentecost, extended the invitation to us: “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Paul told the Romans (5:1-2) “Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. He has brought us by faith into this experience of God's grace, in which we now live.”
Our Heidelberg Catechism states it very clearly (Q & A #21): “True faith is not only a sure knowledge by which I hold as true all that God has revealed to us in Scripture; it is also a wholehearted trust, which the Holy Spirit creates in me by the gospel, that God has freely granted, not only to others but to me also, forgiveness of sins, eternal righteousness, and salvation. These are gifts of sheer grace, granted solely by Christ’s merit.” Faith rests upon evidence THAT ENABLES TRUST. In his book, “Sun Stand Still”, Steven Furtick wrote “…faith is not a drug to sedate you through a life you hate; it’s a force to transport you to another realm of reality.” (2) Consider Abraham. (Rom. 4:18-21 CEV) “God promised Abraham a lot of descendants. And when it all seemed hopeless, Abraham still had faith in God and became the ancestor of many nations. Abraham’s faith never became weak, not even when he was nearly a hundred years old. He knew that he was almost dead and that his wife Sarah could not have children. But Abraham never doubted or questioned God’s promise. His faith made him strong, and he gave all the credit to God. Abraham was certain that God could do what he had promised.” WALKING BY FAITH MEANS BEING PREPARED TO TRUST WHERE WE ARE NOT PERMITTED TO SEE. As Martin Luther King put it, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Faith enables trust.