2 Cor 5:6-8
INTRO: As I read through the New Testament, I see the subject of faith in numerous aspects. Certainly, Hebrews the eleventh chapter gives us a serious exposition of this subject. And various of the epistles call attention to this subject. Among the abiding things of faith noted in 1 Cor 13:13, faith comes first. By faith and through faith are expressions which preface so many great truths in the New Testament. Faith is our shield against the weapons of Satan. This morning I would like to suggest three concerns of faith
I. THE DISCIPLINE OF FAITH - 1 PET 1:5 ... KEPT BY ...
A. The instruction necessary
1. discipline would always build on instruction
2. so, Eph 6:4 discipline and instruction (NASV)
3. without good instruction discipline is weak and inconsistent at best
4. 1 Tim 4:16 ... and them that hearthee (2 Tim 2:15)
B. The obligation necessary
1. Acts 6:7 faith brings obedience (Rom 16:26)
2. Acts 20:24 faith brings commitment to duty
3. Gal 5:6 faith joins with love to serve
C. The correction necessary
1. within discipline is present potential for correction
2. so, I note at 2 Tim 3:16 for correction
3. further, Heb 12:5,6 our being kept by the power of faith most assuredly requires such correction
II. THE DESTITUTION OF FAITH - MT 14:31 ... OF LITTLE FAITH
A. Note some references ...
1. Mk 16:14 - Mt 17:19,20 - Heb 3:19;4:1,2
2. this is not reference to unbelief among the pagan!
3. it suggests a problem which can exist among Gods people
B. Our need for honest self-examination
1. is our own faith weak ... tenuous?
2. do we find ourselves drifting away from God ... interest in spiritual things?
3. 2 Cor 13:5 presents us with a needed challenge
C. Our need for honest realization
1. note Mk 9:23,24 and Lk 17:5
2. examination must make some observation - reach some conclusion
3. if we see weakness in our faith, we must realize - in a personal way - that unpleasant truth
D. Our need for a growing faith
1. any weakness of faith requires faith maintenance work
2. I cannot emphasize enough these things: scripture, prayer, worship, godly companionships!
3. Ps 92:13 where are you planted?
III. THE DECISIONS OF FAITH - HEB 11:4 BY FAITH ...
A. Know that there are choices, options in life
1. one of the great freedoms God has given is choice
2. so, every day is a confrontation with choices
3. fortunately, most are not faith choices - but somewill be ... what then?
B. We simply must test, weigh those things
1. decisions about entertainment, integrity, truth/honesty, moral behavior ... and such require thought and study
2. Phil 1:9,10 knowledge, judgment lead to approving things that are excellent ... testing
3. before faith decides, it tests!
C. Hold fast ... abstain .. - 1 Thes 5:21,22
1. here are decisions of faith ... not of carelessness
2. according to Heb 11, faith decisions are often counter to conventional wisdom or custom
3. this is one very important reason that we should be concerned about destitution of faith!
CLOSE: I wonder ... while I know we are outwardly people of faith, are we making to many decisions carelessly? Is ours a by faith life? Are we really walking by faith?
Cecil A. Hutson
17 November 2002
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)