Summary: God has always blessed men and women of faith. He still does today. However, God will take a people and His church as far as their faith will take them.
THE EFFECTS OF FAITH
A. FEAR is certainly prevalent in our society.
1. Saturday, a week ago, our nation marked the third anniversary of 9/11.
a. Although we heard the word "TERRORISM" in newscasts and read about in newspapers, it was something that did not affect America only other countries.
b. That is, until September 11, 2001.
TERRORISM hit home. And now it is a word that we hear every single day. Both the Republican and Democrat Presidential Campaigns are run on the platform of who’s the BETTER MAN to KEEP America safe from TERRORISM.
2. We are a GENERATION consumed by FEAR.
a. However, FEAR certainly isn’t NEW to the 21st Century.
Although TERRORISM wasn’t a concern in the 1950’s and 60’s, people were AFRAID of "THE BOMB!" Special made BOMB SHELTERS sprung up all over the PLACE. My uncle built one equipped with everything imaginable needed for their SURVIVAL in case Russia ATTACKED. I can remember asking my COUSIN if my family could come stay in the SHELTER with his family if the "BIG ONE" was dropped. He told me, "No. Because the SHELTER wasn’t big enough." He said that we would just have to DIE. Talk about SCARING a 10-year-old kid. When I heard a PLANE fly over I often wondered if RUSSIA was coming to DROP the BOMB.
Then there was the BOMB DRILL at school. How many of you remember the "DUCK AND COVER" drill?
2. Last week I stated that HEALTHY FEAR steers us away from HARM.
a. However, if we allow FEAR to keep us from courageously SERVING the Lord, then our FEAR becomes SIN.
b. John said that the "FEARFUL--the COWARDLY" will be CAST into the BURNING LAKE of FIRE"- Revelation 21:8. WHY? Because the FEARFUL hinder the WORK of God.
B. FAITH is the CURE for FEAR.
1. Hebrews 11:6- "Without FAITH it is impossible to PLEASE God."
FEAR is not what PLEASES God, it is our FAITH. But there have been times when I have allowed my FEAR to PARALYZE me from truly SERVING the Lord with BOLDNESS and CONFIDENCE and STEPPING out on FAITH. How about you?
2. Last week we saw the EFFECTS of FEAR. FEAR PREVENTS A PERFECTED LOVE FOR GOD,IT CREATES A SPIRIT OF SLAVERY, AND IT SUPPRESSES ACTION.
3. This morning I want to look at the EFFECTS of FAITH.
I. FAITH SEES BEYOND THE VISIBLE- "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we
do not see" - Hebrews 11:1
A. Every example the Hebrew writer gives presents men and women BELIEVING in God’s PROMISES and ACTING upon that BELIEF even though they could not be SEEN.
These people did extraordinary feats because they SAW beyond the VISIBLE and ACTED upon the UNSEEN.
B. I believe God still WORKS through the FAITHFUL today, but the problem is we often allow FEAR of the SEEN to replace FAITH in the UNSEEN.
1. There are many examples in the Bible of how people allowed the SEEN--the VISIBLE--to prevent them from ACTING on FAITH.
a. Remember the 12 men that God sent SPY OUT the PROMISE LAND? - Numbers 13.
When they saw the GIANTS of the land 10 of them said there was no way they could take the land. They reported, "We seemed like GRASSHOPPERS in our OWN eyes, and we LOOKED the SAME to THEM"- Numbers 13:33. What they could SEE suppressed their FAITH, so they were made to WANDER in the WILDERNESS for 40 years until they all DIED.
b. When the giant Goliath made his CHALLENGE, the entire army of ISRAEL trembled with FEAR- I Samuel 17
Eighty times, morning and evening for 40 days, Goliath raised this CHALLENGE to the Army of Israel: "Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us."
The entire Israelite ARMY shook in their BOOTS. They compared their size to Goliath’s size and felt in their HEARTS that not one of them could DEFEAT him in BATTLE. They were allowing the ENEMY of God to PARALYZE them and DISSIPATE their FAITH.
Enters young David who couldn’t tolerate this Philistine "taunting the ARMIES of the living God." Given permission by King Saul to fight the GIANT, David goes to the BATTLEFIELD to meet Goliath with only a SLING-SHOT and five smooth stones.
Goliath saw that David was just a teenager and said, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" David replied, "You come against me with sword, spear, and a javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel whom you have defied." With one throw of the SLINGSHOT, David brought the GIANT to the GROUND.