Summary: This sermon teaches what you need to believe about your “union with Christ,” “your identity in Christ” when your faith is weak; not what you need to do, but what you need to BELIEVE!
Riding by churches you see a lot of quips and quotes on church signs. One that I see from time to time has to do with our walk with the Lord. It goes something like this, “Exercise Daily, Walk with the Lord.”
That’s well and good, but what happens “When Your Walk Wanes”? What happens when you stumble in your walk with the Lord, when you fall in your faith? Have you ever felt that God’s ready to give up on you because instead of walking confidently in faith, you sometimes stumble and fall? Do you ever fear that there’s a limit to God’s tolerance fir your failure and that you’re walking dangerously near the outer edge or have already crossed it? Many Christians thing God is upset with them, that He’s ready to dump them or that He’s already given up on them because their daily performance is less than perfect.
Now, it’s true that the walk of faith can sometimes be interrupted by moments of personal unbelief, rebellion or even satanic deception. It’s during those moments, that we thing God’s surely lost His patience with us and is ready to give up on us. And how do we respond when we suspect that God’s given up? We give up too! We stop walking by faith in God altogether, slump by the side of the road and wonder, “What’s the use?” We feel defeated, God’s work for us is suspended and Satan is elated.
When your walk of faith wanes, there’s two things you need to BELIEVE to get back on the road with your walk of faith. I didn’t say there are two things you need to DO, but I said BELIEVE. What you believe determines your behavior not the other way around. So the first thing you need to believe is:
I. God Loves You Just The Way You Are verses 8b,16b
The primary truth you need to know and believe about God in order for your faith to remain string is that His love and acceptance is perfectly unconditional towards you. When your walk of faith is strong, God loves you. When your walk of faith is weak, God love you. When you’re strong one moment and weak the nest, strong one day and weak the next, God loves you. God’s love for you is the great eternal constant in the midst of all the inconsistencies of your daily walk.
Many Christians ask, “How can God love me, when I’m such a failure and my life’s such a mess?” The truth is: God loves you, not because you’re loveable or perfect, but because it’s His nature to love you. God simply loves you – period – because God IS Love as the last phrase of verse 8 says and the middle phrase of verse 16 indicates, “God is love.” Others may say, “But when I do bad I don’t feel like God loves me.” My response is, are you going to trust you feelings or the truth of God’s Word? Don’t trust those feelings, but the fact that God loves ALL His children ALL the time, whether we do good or bad. That’s the heart of God.
When the ninety-nine sheep were safe in the fold, the heart of the shepherd was with the one that was lost. When the prodigal son squandered his life, the heart of his father was with him and he lovingly welcomed his son home. Those parables in Luke 15 show us that God’s heart is full of love for us. So when your walk wanes believe the truth that God loves you just the way you are! Secondly, you need to BELIEVE another truth that’s not much unlike the first:
II. God Loves You No Matter What You Do verse 10
Of course, God wants you to be holy and do good. However, the apostle John wrote back in 1 John 2:1-2, “I write this to you so that you will not sin.” But he continued by reminding us that God has already made provision for our failure, so that His love continues constant in spite of what we do. Therefore, John writes there, “But if anybody does sin . . . (1 John 2:1-2)
One reason we doubt God’s love is that we have an adversary who uses every little offense to accuse us of being good-for-nothings. But your advocate is more powerful than your adversary! He has cancelled the debt of your sins past, present and future. No matter what you do or how you fail, God has no reason not to love you and accept you completely, perfectly and unconditionally.
A Parent tells the story of his baby-sitter giving his two children Heidi and Karl a pet hamster each. One night arriving home from work his wife said, “you better talk to Karl. I thing Karl threw Johnny today.” Asking point blank, Karl answered, “No!” “Yes he did” Heidi accused. Unfortunately, an eye witness was there, Karl’s friend Cal who testified, “Yes, he did throw the hamster.” Again the father confronted his son with a waffle ball bat as he said, “Now throwing Johnny’s not that big of a deal, but you need to be honest with me Karl. Did you throw Johnny? “No.” Wack! Karl, tell me the truth. “No!” No matter how much dad threatened, Karl would not confess. Dad was frustrated and finally gave up.