Summary: This message focuses on how far our Church has come in 10 years. This is my 10th year anniversary message.
We’ve Come This Far By Faith!
One of my favorite gospel song that I learned as a child is “We’ve Come This Far By Faith.” This song meant a lot for me when I was a child as I was constantly surrounded by people who were forced to walk in faith. I did not understand at the time what faith was, but I witnessed people around me discussing how they did not know how something would work out and later giving God thanks for the situation being resolved. These situations included food being provided, bills being paid, etc. Although they did not know how their needs would be met, they knew that they would be. This was my introduction to faith, even though I did not know that is what I was witnessing at the time. As I grew older and began to read and understand the Bible, I became aware of what the older people were talking about. I understood why they believed their situations would work out even though they were clueless as to how it would happen. I began to pray that way, telling God that I knew He would work something out even if I could not see it.
This morning I stand before you to tell you something that you already know, “we’ve come this far by faith!” This morning we will examine one of my favorite songs as the foundation for this message. As we examine each line I want us to think about this song as if we are the authors and we are speaking from our own personal experiences. Let’s begin with the first line.
I. We’ve Come This Far By Faith
The first line of the song says “We’ve Come This Far By Faith.” The two key words in this line are “this far”. I know that faith is important, but think of what these two words say. They say “this far” which represents the past and the present. “This far” denotes a measurement of time or achievement and it only states that something has been accomplished but has not been completed. “This far” indicates a beginning and a present state. You see, if I am standing here, and I want to get to the back of the church, if I take five steps, I would have gone “this far.” I will not be at the back yet, but I am further along from where I started. This line is a declaration of a fact; not a hope for something to be done, but a statement of what has been done. This is a statement saying that we have achieved something and it was achieved by faith. It does not say that the work is completed but acknowledges that where we are right now is due to faith. Second Corinthians 5:7 says the following: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” If I walked by what I could see then the decisions I make would be based on my own understanding of what I was seeing. That is not walking by faith. Walking in/by faith means that I am choosing to walk towards something that has yet to be seen; realized; or available. I cannot see it being manifested yet, but I know it is coming. By faith, we have come this far and by faith we shall continue on. This first sentence says how far we have come (this far) and by what means we did it (faith). The next few sentences begin to fill in the gap of how we did it. Let’s look at the next line in the song.
II. Leaning On The Lord
The second sentence in the song says “Leaning on the Lord.” What does it mean to lean on someone? To lean on someone means you are choosing to allow them to support you – to help you carry your load. You are depending on this person to help you accomplish whatever it is you’re working on. This line in the song makes it plain that we came this far by faith leaning on the Lord. I was not leaning on my own understanding, but the Lord. Proverbs 3:5: “And do not lean on your own understanding.” We could not and did not lean on our own understanding but the Lord’s. You see, I can go to school and learn some things. I can learn math and understand that 1+1=2. I can learn this in school and use my own understanding of this equation to work out some of my money problems. But what this song is talking about in this line “leaning on the Lord” is when we see a problem that says 1+God=Enough! You see what I am saying? When we add God to any of our equations, He changes the formulation in such a way that our understanding cannot comprehend what the answer will be. When we are leaning on God, 1+God will always equal enough. I do not care what you are facing, bring God into the equation. The song “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” says “What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms; what a blessedness, what a peace is mine; leaning on the everlasting arms. Leaning, Leaning, safe and secure from all alarms; leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.” Depending on how you sung the song, the person hearing it never hears that it’s Christ’s arm you’re leaning on. But for the one singing it, you know Whose arms are being referenced! Quit leaning on your own understanding and begin leaning on the Lord. Let’s move on to the next sentence.