Summary: A look at having a "spirit of faith" and three of the things that brings into our lives.
OUR ACTION: We speak (and live) with a spirit of faith.
- Paul quotes Psalm 116. In that Psalm the writer cried out for mercy and God came through for him. This sentence drawn from that speaks to the writer’s faith in God. “I believed” – he had faith in God to come through for him; “therefore I have spoken” – he spoke up asking for God to come through as well as declaring that God was going to take care of him.
- Paul then goes on to share the point he wants to draw from it. We should have that same spirit of faith – the spirit that led the psalmist to believe and speak out. That’s why we are able to believe and speak out.
- We are called to have a spirit of faith. What does that look like?
a. We step out trusting that God will come through to fulfill His promises.
b. We aren’t afraid to speak up that we’re trusting in God.
- I know this is obvious, but I guess it needs to be stated: it’s not faith if you never step out sight unseen.
WHAT IS OUR ASSURANCE TO DO THAT? God came through strong in Christ’s faith about His resurrection.
- Who raised Jesus from the dead? It was the Father through the power of the Spirit. Jesus, in His weak human body, entrusted Himself to the rest of the Trinity to come through for Him. He had absolute confidence that the Father and the Spirit would take care of that. To put it another way, Jesus had absolute faith in the Father and the Spirit.
- Our ultimate hope is in life beyond this life. We want to live longer than the fleeting years we have on this earth. Our confidence that we will be resurrected finds its strongest branch in Christ’s resurrection.
- Let’s pause a moment to note how central the resurrection is to our faith.
- The core of our faith is not the Bible, though it is important.
- The core of our faith is not the church, though it is important.
- The core of our faith is not evangelism, though it is important.
- The core of our faith is the death and resurrection of Jesus. Even within that statement, we too often emphasize the death to the detriment of the resurrection. Absolutely, the death of Christ was essential for the removal of our sins, but it’s ultimately useless without the resurrection. We need to emphasize the resurrection of Christ more.
- The core of our faith is an historic event. It is something that happened in space and time. It’s not a vague spiritual principle or generic moral platitude. It’s a fact.
- We find our confidence in the reality of the resurrection.
- One of the best proofs for the resurrection is the change in behavior among the disciples. By their own admission, they were cowardly during and after the trial of Jesus. Yet the early chapters of Acts (and the historically indisputable spread of Christianity across the Roman Empire) speak to a dramatic change in their lives. The most logical explanation for that change is the one that we believe: they personally saw a resurrected Jesus.
WHAT'S THE RESULT OF LIVING WITH THIS SPIRIT OF FAITH?
1. People get grace.
- 2 Corinthians 4:15b – “. . . the grace that is reaching more and more people . . .”
- Salvation comes by grace. We want people to know Christ by grace through faith. (Talk about what that means and looks like.)
- What’s the connection between people getting grace and our faith? We are the messengers and our lives are the billboard. When we live out faith in a God who is loving and good and who can be trusted, people are drawn to want the grace of God for themselves.
2. We overflow with thanksgiving.
- 2 Corinthians 4:15c – “. . . may cause thanksgiving . . .”
- When we are seeing our faith come to life through the movement of God as well as seeing people come to know Jesus, it’s inevitable that we’re going to have overflowing thanksgiving.
- There is nothing that brings more joy than seeing God move in and through our lives. Seeing people come to know Jesus – it doesn’t get better than that.
- In our materialistic culture, we presume that thanksgiving comes when I get what I want. I get fed. I get gifts. I get my desires. There are certainly things to be thankful for there, but those are relatively shallow reasons to be thankful. Deeper and fuller thankfulness comes when we see God moving in our lives and when we see others coming to know God through that movement.