28 Jun Romans #9 – Start Here Faith Come First For You (Romans 4:13-25)
– Well, this week got us shocked, right? My job is to tell the truth. It wasn’t a great week, I don’t know if you guys heard. You guys hear we had an election? Theoretically, we did. And where we’re at now, it looks bad. Like if you’re a Christian, and you deal with reality, you’re a little freaked out today, and if not, you’re not paying attention, ’cause it looks like we lost the House, maybe lost the Senate, lost the White House, and then we could pack the Supreme Court, and then we’re all living in the people’s Republic of America. It could get really bad. I mean, it could be zombie apocalypse very, very quickly. How many of you have really not enjoyed 2020? Amen? 2020 has been a horrible decade, that’s this year. It’s just going so slow and so painful. And so let’s throw COVID in, some race riots, and while we’re at it, let’s throw in election controversy and lots of drama. All right, fun. All right, I’ll close and pray, you guys can all go home. Or we could have a little bit of faith. Amen?
– [Congregation] Amen.
– Let’s try that for a change since you can’t get that anywhere else, so let’s just start by saying that right now, a lot of people are freaked out and disappointed ’cause whomever or whatever they had faith in isn’t working. So, who or what did you lose faith in this year?
– [Congregant] People.
– People, okay that’s it, everybody. Okay. Pray for you. Covers it, yeah. Other than people, I feel like things are awful. Okay. Anything else you’ve lost faith in this year?
– [Congregant] The economy.
– The economy, polls. If you still believe in polls and you don’t believe in Jesus, you’re crazy. I mean, you’re crazy. If you have faith enough to believe in polls, you have plenty of faith to believe in Jesus. What else? What else have you lost faith in this year?
– [Congregant] Media.
– Media. Media, anybody lost faith in the media this year? Yeah? How about social media and technology? Amen? Woop woop. Okay, what else you lost faith in? Mass Fox News? It’s weird when these things come together. It tells you how bad it is. You’re like, I hate the liberals and the conservatives. I go, okay. Number seven months ago, 15 days to flatten the curve. You’re like, what the heck? What else have you lost faith in this year?
– [Congregant] Arizona.
– Arizona. They’re still counting. There’ll be counting ’till Jesus comes back, and then Jesus will cast the final vote, and we’ll all be happy once and for all. All right, so here’s where we’re at. If you had faith in the economy, if you had faith in medicine, if you had faith in the mask, if you had faith in the polls, if you have faith in the election, if you had faith in anything, your faith was misplaced. All right? So here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna talk about faith in God ’cause that’s the only faith left. Amen?
– [Congregation] Amen.
– It’s the only faith left, and when it comes to life, you’re either gonna live by fear or by faith. We choose faith and we say no to fear. And we’re gonna look today at a case study in the Book of Romans. So we’re in Romans. And Romans has been super fun. Love you guys, thanks for being in it with me. What’s really interesting is this week we hit Romans 4. And oftentimes pastors will say, “We can’t just preach through books of the Bible. You got to wait to see what happens and then respond to the issues.” What I am telling you is, God’s Word is timeless, and so it’s always timely for troubled times. And so, just lo and behold, this week, the whole subject is about faith in spite of everything you see. Seems like God really sequenced that. And we’re gonna look at a guy named Abraham. He’s the father of faith. And he has no knowledge of God, but God just shows up unexpectedly in his life. It’s an Old Testament story from the Book of Genesis. And God says some things to him, like, leave your country; he’s in a godless government, leave your family; he’s got an ungodly father, leave your business, your economic security, and go to a place that I will show you. And you’re just gonna need the trust me, the God you just met. He didn’t even have the full Bible as we do, but he did have a word from God. Sometimes all it takes is just one word from God. And if you believe it and obey it, it changes and unlocks your whole life and your future destiny. Amen?
– [Congregation] Amen.
– And so, it doesn’t matter what everyone says, it matters what God says. And so, what we’re gonna look at, we’re gonna look at the fact that, ultimately, there is a time between the times. There’s a time when God speaks, and then there’s a time when God acts. In the middle, after He has spoken and before He has acted, that’s the time of faith. That’s where we trust Him until we see Him show up to do what He says He would do. So let me introduce this theme of faith, and then we’re gonna jump right in, and tell you a little bit about what faith is and is not. And we’re gonna choose faith over fear. And in Romans 4:18, this is where we’re going to be today. It says, “In hope he believed against hope.” So there’s hope, and then there’s hope against hope, or hope beyond hope. Okay? How many of you right now, if you have any hope in the future, it’s beyond hope. Amen?
– [Congregation] Amen.
– God came to him when he was 75, he had a 65 year old barren wife, and God told them, “I’m gonna give you a baby boy, he’ll produce a nation, and from him will come, not only a son, but the Son of God, Jesus Christ, to be the blessing to all the nations of the earth.” He 75, you know what that is? Hope beyond hope. He’s 75. How many of you are not ready to start your family at 75? How many of you 65 year old ladies aren’t coming forward for prayer after service, hoping to get pregnant? Please give me a baby, I wanna spoke to be in diapers at the same time. That’s where they’re at. They’re elderly, she’s barren, and they’ve never had a kid, it’s hope beyond hope. Hope beyond hope is supernatural hope, hope beyond hope is the God factor. And this is one of the great statements of what faith is in the Bible. Romans 4:20-21, he was fully convinced that God was able to do what He had what? Promised. God promises. And faith is trusting in what God says, until we see what God does. Faith is trusting what God says until we see what God does. Okay? So let me tell you a little bit about what faith is and is not, ’cause there’s counterfeit versions. Number one, faith is not irresponsibility. Sometimes religious people who are irresponsible and disobedient like to say, Well, I’m just trusting the Lord.” Okay, I always say, we believe in Jesus and math. You’ve got to get a job and you’ve got to balance your checkbook. That sometimes what people will do, they will think that just claiming God’s name is faith. It’s not, it can be a responsibility. So God tells Abraham, “Move,” and he moves. God tells Abraham, “Start over, ” so he starts over. Sometimes if you want a new life, you got to leave your old life. Sometimes if you want the good to start, the bad needs to end. Faith is an internal conviction that leads to an external action. You can’t just say, I’m not doing anything ’cause I trust the Lord. Sometimes the Lord is asking you to join Him in what He’s doing. Okay? And so, if God’s told you to do something, you need to be obedient to that, and that act is an act of faith. Faith is not positive thinking. In faith, God speaks over our life and we trust Him. The counterfeit of that is we speak over our life and trust the positive words that we said to ourselves. This is self-help. We don’t need self-help, we need God help. And what we have is this power of positive thinking that has really captured Americans. It’s like, just speak blessing over your life, speak hope over your life. Let me tell you, you don’t have that kind of authority. You don’t know the future, you don’t control the future, you need to listen to the one who does. You need to hear His voice, not just your voice. And faith is not optimism. How many of you you’re like, I just always look at the bright side. I’ll just tell you this, sometimes there’s no bright side. There’s nothing to look at. It just looks really bad and dark and bleak. And it’s trusting beyond what you see for what God says. Faith is not hoping a possible outcome, like, well, it could go either way, and I hope it goes my way. It’s more certain than that, because it’s something that God has stated. And it’s not proof. There’s no evidence, other than the the Word of God backed up by the character of God. So when God tells the 75 year old man and the 65 year old woman, “You’re gonna have a baby,” even though she’s barren and they’re elderly, there’s no what? There’s no proof. And then God’s gonna make them wait 25 years. How many of you have been waiting a really long time for God to show up and show off? And there’s no proof. Everybody’s like, well, He’s not coming, He’s not gonna do it. What God often does, He waits until we have completely exhausted all of our natural resources, so that He can show up with His supernatural resources. Okay? And so, the reason God does that is oftentimes He’s in it for a glory story; He wants us to know who He is and the power He has. And then in addition, it is not a fleeting feeling, but a concrete conviction. If your faith is contingent upon your feelings, you’re like, I feel pretty hopeful today, I feel pretty hopeless tomorrow. Therefore, my faith ebbs and flows. Your faith is consistent and concrete, and it floats above your circumstances, and it rises above your circumstances. And lastly, faith is marching forward based upon what God says, not what you see. And that’s exactly what happens with Abraham. He leaves his family, he leaves his nation, he leaves his economy, he leaves his household to an unknown future that he trusts God to make known to him. It says this in Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction of things not seen.” Everyone trusts someone or something. This is the secular language for the biblical concept of faith. If you go to a doctor, you say I’m sick, and they give you a prescription, and you go fill that prescription and take that medication, you’re trusting that the researchers did their job, and you’re trusting that the doctor made the right diagnosis, and you’re trusting that the pharmacist filled the right prescription. When you jump on an airplane, you’re trusting that the engineer knew how to make one, you’re trusting that the mechanic certified it, and that the pilot is sober and knows how to fly it. Okay? You’re trusting a lot of people and things. Perhaps one of the greatest acts of faith is getting married. Amen?
– [Congregation] Amen.
– You’re like, I trust you. Okay? I trust you with my whole life. I trust you with decades, I trust you with children, I trust you with grandchildren, I trust you with my life. We exercise faith in people and things all the time. And then the question is, is God worthy of our trust? Is He trustworthy? Is God worthy of our faith? Is He faithful? And that’s the study that we’re going to examine today. That’s the question that we’re going to answer today. And so the first thing is you’ve got to find God’s will. That’s what Abraham does. You find God’s will by getting a word from God. And first and foremost, you need to spend more time in God’s Word. As things out there get darker and bleaker, things in here need to get clearer and louder. That ultimately, you need to hear from God, so you’re gonna need to spend more time in God’s Word. In addition, you’re gonna need to spend more time in prayer and journaling and fasting and worship and solitude with God. You’re gonna need a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, as Jesus had a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. And you don’t know the future, but God does. And you can’t prepare for an unknown future, but you can follow a God who has a future prepared for you.
– [Congregation] Amen.
– And ultimately, this is what faith is and this is what faith does. I’ve got time carved out this week, hours, and I have a list of things that I’m just gonna ask God, and I’m going to listen, so that I can help prepare our family and church family for 2021. And what I’m telling you is that faith sees reality, and then it sees God above reality, and it trusts that God has a way to help us navigate what would otherwise be a fearful future with a faith filled future, which is exactly where we find ourselves. And let me just give you a bit of a testimony to encourage you on God’s faithfulness and provision for us this year as a church family. The end of last year, God spoke to me around the end of last year and said, “Son, you’re gonna have a lot of growth at The Trinity Church in 2020. And you need to prepare for that. So be prepared to expand your HVC and your restrooms and your seating and your parking and your kids.” And just gave me this whole download of all these things we needed to prepare for. And I was like, “Lord, I don’t know how we’re gonna pay for this,” ’cause I believe in Jesus and math. Okay? So, I believe at some point the numbers need to add up. And God said, “Don’t worry, I’m gonna provide, trust me.” So I start making plans, sequencing work. That’s what we’re doing. Now, I tell Grace and the kids and the staff, our family and our church family, here’s what God said. Then I was like, “Okay, Lord, how are we gonna do all this work when we’re open every week?” He’s like, “Don’t worry, you’ll get the work done.” So I go to Grace and the kids and the staff, and I’m like, “God says somehow we’re gonna get the work done.” I didn’t know we’d be closed. God knew. So He had me sequence all the work for when we were closed, but He didn’t tell we were gonna close. Sometimes God doesn’t tell you the future because He loves you and know you’re gonna freak out. He’s just like, “We’ll get there when we get there.” So then God said, “You’re gonna need to go online, you’re gonna need more digital ministry, and the church is gonna grow, and you’re gonna need more sound, light, video, technology, to love and serve more people.” I said, “Okay, Lord, how are we gonna pay for that?” He said, “You need to be in the pulpit on this weekend, and somebody is gonna come and then they’re gonna pay for it all.” I was supposed to be off that weekend. I told Grace, I told the kids, I told the staff, “Okay, I got to preach this weekend. Pray, God says somebody is gonna come in and they’re gonna wanna pay for all the technology.” It happened. I already had it all ordered. I had it all ordered before the person showed up ’cause I knew that God was going to provide through them. He told me. And they came up and they’re like, “I wanna pay for technology.” I was like, “I know, it’s in the checkout.” I just got a click. It’s in my cart. I didn’t pay for it yet ’cause I also believe in math. But I do believe in Jesus, so I put it in the cart. So then while we’re closed, we upgrade the sound, the light, the video. We go to Real Faith Live, we’ve doubled what we do online. Thank you for everybody who joins us online. And then it was amazing. God has provided in every single way this year. All the finances came in, all the needs were met. And again, we could have never predicted the year that was coming, but God knows in advance ’cause He knows in rules of the future. And He can reveal it to His children who follow Him by faith. And then this year earlier, teach the three books of the Bible, as God told me to do. We hit the whole section, I decide, you know what? God wants me to tell you that Black Lives Matter is a counterfeit gospel. And it opposes biblical Christianity. And it’s a Trojan horse to take down personal repentance of sin, and replace it with institutional and organizational repentance of sin. And as a result, people think that if they attack other people they’re godly. And that guarded our church from getting off the rails of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
– [Congregation] Amen.
– And I hammered for you critical theory, which is now the counterfeit gospel for a counterfeit kingdom. It is now demolishing and dismantling everything that would lead to faith in Jesus in biblical Christianity. And it safeguarded our church from division and in fighting. We’re enjoying a supernatural season of unity and peace and love and joy in the Holy Spirit, because we reject that spirit of criticism, which is really the spirit of the accuser. I was doing a little work on it. Here’s a little thought. Satan is called the accuser. You know what that means in the Greek? It means the critic. You know what critical theory is? It’s demonic, it’s the voice of the accuser. When we hit Romans 1, I told you about sex, marriage and gender, to help clarify, particularly for the emerging and younger generations, what God says and how we are to live. ‘Cause God blesses those who walk in obedience and He does not bless those who walk in disobedience. God has been gracious to us in every single supernatural way through the course of the entire year. The average church in America is running 36%, we’re running over 200%. We have doubled in every way. And all of that I am telling you is ultimately because God knows the future and God has a good and a purpose and a path for His people. And as the world has faith in everyone and everything, but Jesus, and it fails, we’re gonna keep the doors open and the Word open, and we’re gonna give them the hope, the peace, the blessing, the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because in addition to all the mess we do see, there is a Messiah that we will see, and we’re waiting for Him to come and make up for all of the mistakes that we’ve all made. Amen?
– Our hope is in Jesus, our trust is in Jesus, our faith is in Jesus, and He rules and reigns over at all. And so we’re declaring this a place of faith, not a place of fear, and we’re declaring this a year of faith, not a year of fear, and it looks worse next year, that means it’s gonna be even better here. Okay? And I wanna thank you for your generosity. We gave away $100,000 to other churches, ministries and missions this month alone. We’re convening pastors in the Valley this week. We’re gonna encourage them, we’re gonna feed them, we’re gonna bless them and we’re gonna help them because we want to be about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and anyone who’s had faith in anyone or anything other than Jesus, has all come to the conclusion that that was the wrong object of faith.
– [Congregation] Hallelujah.
– Okay? I’m excited, I don’t know about you. And just tell you this; I’ve been yelling for two days, I’m 50, and like you all, I’ve been up all week watching the stupid election results. So, welcome to our peaceful protest, and a little bit of back and forth is totally fine, okay? So, the way this is gonna work with the story of Abraham, he’s gonna tell us or model for us, before you look forward to the future that could give you fear, you need to look back to the faithfulness of God to give you faith. So you need to look back at God’s faithfulness and then look at the future, and trust that what God says will happen, and you march forward, trusting what God says until you see what God does. And he’s gonna give us seven case studies where God did unbelievable things, to give us hope that God could do unbelievable things in our life and in our day. So, number one, God can make a mama out of the barren and the virgin. Romans 4:13, for the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he’d have a kid who would have kids who would have a nation who would bring forth Jesus, that he would be heir of the world. That’s a big inheritance. Did not come through the law, him being a great guy, obedient, but through the righteousness of faith. God didn’t come to Abraham and say, “You’re a great guy, I’m looking for a great guy.” God said, “All I got is bad guys, so I’ll start with this one.” That’s where God starts. If God only worked through the good people, He couldn’t get any work done. So He has to pick a few bad people and put ’em on team Jesus and fix ’em. That’s what he does. And what he’s saying here is that the promise came to Abraham through his wife, Sarah. Sarah’s womb was a tomb. She’s 65, barren. Okay? You’re like, “That’s offensive.” We’ve only started. I mean, you’re obviously new. This is my spiritual gift. And so, what happens is God makes a promise and then He waits 25 years to give her a baby. Sometimes God waits until it’s hope beyond hope. Sometimes God waits until the only possibility is a miracle, and then He does the supernatural. And then through Sarah ultimately comes Isaac, whose name means laughter, ’cause God always gets the last laugh. She laughed at God. God’s like, “You’re gonna be a mum.” She’s like, “Ha ha ha ha.” She’s like, “Ha ha ha ha.” Little duel chuckle. And then through this nation comes Jesus, who’s born of a what?
– [Congregation] A virgin.
– A virgin. So God shows up to Mary; teenage, rural, hesitant girl, probably in junior high. Now, imagine if you’re God, you’re gonna trust a junior high girl with the Messiah. How many of you are like, “I won’t give her a phone.” She’s 14, she can’t handle that. So Mary’s a teenage girl. God shows up through an angel and says, “You’re gonna give birth to the Messiah that was promised through Abraham.” She asks a very fair question, what’s the question? “How?” She was like, “I went to school, I know how babies are made. This is not a solo sport.” Okay? So, how are we gonna do this? She’s a virgin. I’m saying things I shouldn’t, I’m really tired. Okay. And what God says is, “I’m gonna do a miracle.” The Holy Spirit’s gonna show up, and when he shows up, the impossible would become possible, because nothing is impossible for God. Now, how does Mary respond? Does she laugh at God like Sarah does? She worships God. She’s a little girl, but she’s got big faith. She’s a young girl, but she’s got mature faith. And she says, “Okay, great Lord, “if that’s your plan, then I worship you.” And she stops and worships God. What he’s saying is this; if God could bring us Jesus through a barren elderly woman and a young virgin, then God can do whatever God wants to do. Amen? That’s the hope, that’s the hope. I feel like a golfer with all the golf claps. That’s awesome, that’s like golf claps. I love you, but don’t make me trade you on Craigslist for Pentecostals. Okay? Okay, number two, God trades rebellion for religion. Romans 4:14-15, “For if it is the adherence of the law, who are to be heirs?” If the good people get to go to heaven. It’s not the good people, it’s the loved people. It’s not the good people, it’s the forgiven people. “Faith is null and void and the promise is void.” If you are good, you don’t need Jesus. Okay? For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law, there is no transgression. When he’s talking about here in transgression, there is trespassing and there is transgressing. Trespassing, let’s say you’re out hiking or hunting, and you don’t know that you’ve wandered off of the appropriate piece of land. Now, there’s no sign or no fence, but you’ve wandered off, now you’ve crossed the boundary, you’re not supposed to be here. That’s trespassing. Transgressing is actually worse; there’s a fence and there’s a sign: Keep out, private property, no trespassing. And you ignore the sign and you hop the fence. That’s transgressing. And what he’s saying is that God has given us laws, He’s given us boundary markers between right and wrong, good and evil, obedience and disobedience. He told us earlier in Roman, this includes our conscience. God’s put some warning signs in here, and also the Word of God or the laws of God out there. And what He’s saying is, we have all transgress God’s law. We have all hopped the fence, we have all ignored the signs. Morally, sexually, physically, financially, whatever the case may be, we have all rebelled against God. Who’s rebellious? We all are. We’re just rebellious in different ways. The question is not, are we rebellious? The question is, where are we rebellious? What boundaries of God’s moral law have we transgressed? And what he’s saying is, if God has these lines and laws and we’ve all rebelled against them and transgressed them, we’re all over on the side of the line that is unrighteous, guilty, sinner. And he uses the word, wrath of God. How do we get to that other side where we’re declared righteous in the sight of God? And the hole that he’s been driving toward from Romans 1,2,3 and 4, it culminates here. Let me just tell you some really good news. Jesus takes care of us. Jesus lives the perfect life that we’ve not lived. He never crossed one of God’s moral lines. Jesus died the substitutionary death and paid the penalty for sin that we should pay. And Jesus rose to give the gift We cannot earn; righteousness, forgiveness of sin, and eternal life. And what he’s saying is this, he’s saying that all we need to do is just trust Jesus. And if you trust Jesus, you were declared righteous in the sight of God. Even though you’re rebellious, you get declared righteous by grace from, through faith in Jesus Christ. So let me just tell you this. The most important thing about you is what you think about Jesus. The most important decision you will ever make is whether or not you decide to belong to and to believe in Jesus Christ. Let me tell you that whatever problem you’ve got, the biggest problem you have is a problem with God, and Jesus alone takes care of that problem. Okay? This is why we love Jesus. Amen? This is why we trust in Jesus. This is why we sing to Jesus. This is why we celebrate Jesus. That Jesus makes rebellious people into righteous people, including us. Amen?
– [Congregation] Amen.
– All right. And then he continues, that our God can rescue anyone, anywhere, anytime. This is really good news. He goes on, Romans 4:16-17. “That is why it depends on,” there’s our word again, “Faith, in order that the promise,” that’s trusting in the Word of God, “May rest on grace,” what Jesus does, not what we do, “And be guaranteed.” Let me ask you this. How many things in life right now are guaranteed? Nothing but Jesus is guaranteed. How many of you have any guarantees about the economy? How many of you have any guarantees about the vaccine? No, no, no. How many of you have any guarantees about the election? No. Jesus alone guarantees. See, this is such good news. We get so frustrated when we put our faith in someone or something, and then they fail us. If you put your faith in Jesus, He never fails. There’s a guaranteed, 100% return on investment for those whose faith is in Christ. Okay? To all His offspring, that’s you and me, not only to the adherence of the law, but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, as it is written, “I’ve made you the father of many nations,” in the presence of God in whom He believed, who gives life to the dead. What he’s saying is this, that ultimately, the faith of Abraham is the prototype of faith for all. So people will ask, well, long before Jesus came, how did people get saved? By trusting that Jesus was coming. We look back and we trust that Jesus lived, died and rose, and then we trust that He’s coming again. They were awaiting in His first coming, we’re awaiting in His second coming. They were awaiting Him dealing with our sin problem, and then we’re awaiting for Him to come to make all things new, to bring a new heaven, new earth, new Jerusalem, to raise people from the dead, to give eternal life, and to bring a kingdom that never ends. Okay, that’s what we’re waiting for. And so his point is this; it doesn’t matter where you live, Jesus is your Savior. It doesn’t matter when you live, Jesus is your Savior. What this means is that, practically people, times, locations, situations will come and go, but the. salvation of Jesus Christ never changes. What this means is that people will talk about morality and spirituality and their ideology and their philosophy, maybe even their political party. We’re gonna keep proclaiming this one unchanging message that our biggest problem is sin. That’s our one problem. That our only Savior is Jesus Christ. The one Savior. And that ultimately relationship with Him is only made possible by faith in the person and the work of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter where you live or when you live, it’s always about Jesus. Okay? So what we like to say is, Democrats need Jesus, Republicans need Jesus. Old people need Jesus, young people need Jesus. Black people need Jesus, white people need Jesus. Americans need Jesus, Canadians really need Jesus. We believe that everybody needs Jesus. Amen?
– And that’s what he’s saying. And then here’s the fourth one, it’s pretty fun, this is perhaps my favorite. God needs nothing to succeed. This is really good news for those of you that have nothing. He says it this way in Romans 4:17; he speaks of the God in whom he believed, Abraham did, who calls into existence things that do not exist. This is a theological doctrine called ex nihilo. It means in the Latin, out of nothing. This is what people just speculate about. Like, they look at the world that we live in and the university we inhabit, and the question is, where did this all come from? And some people say, spontaneous generation, it came from nothing. We’re gonna drug test you. Do you know what nothing makes? Nothing. Some of you are like, it’s eternal. What where it came from. And it’s not eternal, it’s winding down. If it has an end, that means it had a beginning. And some people believe in a big bang, we believe in a big God.
– [Congregation] Amen.
– And so ultimately what he’s saying here is, the whole of creation came from nothing, and God simply spoke, and the power of God’s word brings things forth, from nothing into everything. It’s the same thing that it says in Hebrews 11:3, “By faith, we understand that the universe was created by the Word of God.” I’ll tell you what, that’s why there’s so much opposition to the Word of God. When the Word of God goes forward, people change, things come into existence, the power of God is unleashed. There’s no force in the world that is as powerful as the Word of God. This is why there is so much resistance to the Word of God. It’s why churches are being closed, it’s why Bible teachers are being throttled, it’s why critics and enemies and accusers rise up. Because if the Word of God goes forth, things will change. And those who don’t like God or change, they resist the Word because they’re fighting against the change that God could bring. It’s always a battle over the unleashing of the Word of God. Says in Hebrews 11:3, again, “By faith, we understand that the universe was created by the Word of God.” So that what was seeing was not made out of things that are visible. What he’s saying is this, God needs no one, God needs nothing. Now that’s hope. If you’re no one and/or you have nothing. ‘Cause see, we look at the future and we’re like, “I don’t have God, it’s like I don’t need it.” I bring my own resources. I don’t need you, and I don’t need it, and I don’t need them. I’ve got my word, that all I need. Just think of that. See, as you and I look at the future, we have a hard time seeing all the resources. God, where am I gonna get the time? Where am I gonna get the money? Where am I gonna get the energy? Where am I gonna get the perseverance? Where am I gonna get the relationships? Where am I gonna get the opportunity? God, where’s all the resources? God’s like, “I don’t need them. When the time is right, I’ll speak, and I’ll bring everything forth out of nothing.” Okay? Our God is an independent God, not a dependent God. Our God is a resource rich God, not a resource poor God. Our God doesn’t work with what we see, He brings things into being from the unseen realm into the seen realm. He’s talking about the supernatural power of God. And so this is the X factor of God for the children of God. We look into the future, we’re like, “Oh no.” God’s like, “Oh yes.” I have no lack. And so it’s trusting what God says until you see what God does. This is where living by sight is different than living by faith. Living by faith is trusting until you’re seeing what God is doing. And this is why right now, lots of people are gonna freak out. We’re not gonna freak out. We’re not going to freak out. We’re gonna trust God by faith. And other people, all they’re gonna do, they’re just gonna pick another object of faith. It’s adorable, every election. Let’s just do this ’cause I got nothing else to do. There’s a crisis, here’s our savior, vote for our savior. Our savior won. Yay, let’s all go in the streets and worship our savior. And believe how and he’ll bring heaven. Yay, we’re all in heaven! And then a little while later, you’re like, “No, we’re still in hell.” Wrong savior. You’re dealing with a leader that can only use your resources, and does not bring their own. He takes what you have, he cannot give what you need. Not Jesus. Jesus doesn’t take what we have, He gives what we need.
– [Congregate] Amen.
– Okay? Our God is proven 100% trustworthy. Romans 4:18-19, “In hope he believed against hope.” If you’re gonna hope now, you’re gonna hope against hope. “That he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be,’ He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was good as dead, since he was about 100.” Around 100, the check engine light comes on, right? You’re running out of miles. “Or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.” What he’s saying is this, God made some promises to Abraham, and Abraham by faith, clung to those promises for 25 years until he got to hold his baby. Here’s the big idea; you hold God’s promises until you hold the reality that God provides for you. Before he held that kid, he held the promises, and he held them for 25 years. And what he’s saying here is this, that God had proven faithful. Now here’s the thing about Abraham. He knew a lot less than we do, but he trusted a lot more than we do. He didn’t have the whole Bible. He didn’t have any of it written yet. He didn’t see Jesus show up, live, die, and rise. He had the Spirit of God and he had promises from God, and he clung to those by faith. Sometimes friends, you don’t need to know more, you need to believe more. Some people are like, “I just wanna learn more.” I’m not against learning, but you need to believe in what you know, and then you need to behave according to that belief. And what he’s saying here is this, that God has proven 100% trustworthy, unlike other human leaders. Give you some examples, since we’re in a political week, we’ll make fun of politicians, ’cause it’s fun. 1916, Woodrow Wilson promised to avoid war. 29 days into his second term, he declared war on Germany. 1928, Herbert Hoover promised prosperity: “A chicken in every pot and a car in every backyard.” Eight months later was The Great Depression. Ro, ro. 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.” And then we got bombed at Pearl Harbor and we went off to war in Japan. In 1964, Lyndon B. Johnson promised not to send American soldiers to Asia, and then had multiple deployments to where? Vietnam. In 1976, Jimmy Carter promised to solve the energy crisis. And he did not. Here’s one of my favorites. 1988, George Bush, “Read my lips, no new taxes.” And then recession hit and increased your taxes. What he should have said was, “Read my lips, we all lie.” That’s what he should’ve said. And so what happens is there is this longing in everyone; we’re in hell, we wanna be in heaven. We need a savior who will take us from hell to heaven. As soon as they make the promises, we’re gonna have faith in the leader to deliver on their promises, and they never do. And then four years later, we vote for the next messiah. And then we realize, it’s just a different kind of mess. We always get the mess, we never get the messiah. The point is this; if your trust is in Jesus, He is the only leader proven 100% trustworthy. He’s the King of kings, Lord of lords. And the good news is, He’s not running for office, so we don’t need to vote. That’s really good ness. And at the end of the day, if you know the Bible, 25% of the Bible was prophetic in nature, meaning that God was predicting, prophesying, promising the future, and God has proven 100% faithful to all of His promises. I’ll give you some examples, just a little riff. So we sin, Adam and Eve do, God shows up and says, “I’m gonna send a son to defeat Satan and deliver sinners.” That was promise of Jesus. God speaks through Isaiah, “The virgin will give birth to a child. His name will be Emmanuel, which means God with us.” That’ll all happened. The Bible says that He’d be born in Bethlehem, this tiny little town, and God worked it all out to get Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem just in the nick of time for her to give birth to Jesus. The Bible says that He would then arrive at the temple, and the temple was destroyed in 7O AD. So it not only told us where He would be born, it gave us a deadline by when He would be born. The Bible says that then He would be betrayed by a close friend, for not 29 or 31, but 30 pieces of silver, Zachariah tells us. That ultimately, He would be flogged and beaten beyond recognition, Isaiah tells us. That He would be high and exalted and lifted up, Isaiah tells us. That He would be pierced through His hands in His feet, Psalms tells us, crucified. That He would die, that He would be buried in a rich man’s tomb, Isaiah tells us. That three days later, He would rise from death, that He would conquer Satan, sin, death, hell, and the wrath of God, that He would verify His resurrection to 500 people at a time over the course of 40 days, and then He would ascend back into heaven. Let me tell you right now, Jesus isn’t dead, He’s alive. He’s ruling and reigning. He’s King of kings and He’s Lord of lords. He’s answering prayers and He’s changing lives. And so, you just need to know this; if your faith is in Jesus, your faith is in the only person who is trustworthy.
– [Congregation] Amen.
– And what’s gonna happen is, right now, one team had faith, they now lost faith, now the other team has faith. Guess what? They’re gonna lose faith too. And so we’re gonna tell everybody about Jesus ’cause both teams need Him.
– [Congregation] Amen.
– Both teams need Him. Okay? Yay, yay, yay. Okay, our God makes weak people strong. The point is, is we’re leaning and looking into the future. I mean, you guys nailed it. You’re all like, yah! Okay, you’re gonna get stronger right now. Romans 4:20-22. “No unbelief made him waiver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong.” Guys say it like that. “In his faith as he gave glory to God.” While you’re waiting, spend your time worshiping. Okay? “Fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was counted to him as righteousness.” Now, what’s interesting, let me just back up a little bit here. It says, Abraham had no unbelief, did not waiver, was fully convinced and grew strong. Okay. Some of you don’t know the story of Abraham, for those of you who do, let’s just feel test these concepts. Did Abraham have amazing, continuous, unfailing faith? No. Okay, so let’s look at some of the bad days in Abraham’s faith journey. What are some things that he did? You’re like, “That doesn’t look like a lot of faith.” The girlfriend would be one. When God says, “I’m gonna give you a child through your wife,” and you wait 25 years. And husband and wife decided, God’s probably not gonna show up. So Sarah, of all people, the wife, she’s like, “Maybe you should get a girlfriend and get her pregnant.” Abraham said, “Well, honey, I’ll do anything for a family.” So, next thing you know, he gets a girlfriend, gets her pregnant. What did God say? I’m gonna give you a son through the girlfriend?
– [Congregation] No.
– I’m gonna give you a son through your wife. So, how many of you ladies would think, that was maybe not a real faith filled day. For sure, okay? Ladies, should we vote? If your husband gets a girlfriend, does he lack faith? Yes or no?
– [Congregation] Yes.
– Yes, he lacks faith, and he will lack breath, that’s how this goes. Okay. Okay, other things that happen in the life of Abraham, they were like, that doesn’t look like a real faithful move. Gave his wife away twice. It’s like a Groupon; give her away once and throw on a freebie. God gave him a promised wife through whom would come a promised son, and then a political leader sees his wife who’s elderly, but apparently she’s attractive, and he’s like, “She’s really beautiful.” And it’s like, “Oh, do you want her? She’s my sister.” ‘Cause he doesn’t wanna get hurt. And then God has to bring her back. No, that’s your wife. And then another guy’s like, “She’s pretty.” He’s like, “Well, I know how this works. You want her?” He gives her a way again. Two miracles; God brought her back, and she came back. Okay? Not only that, God gave him promised land, it would be the nation of Israel, he gave the land away. And God brought it back. So how do we reconcile what God is saying here? No unbelief, did not waiver, was fully convinced and grew strong. Here’s what I’m telling you. Real faith is not perfect faith, but it is faith in a perfectly faithful God.
– [Congregation] Amen.
– You know what? It’s not your faith. It’s the object of your faith. The Bible says, even when we’re faithless, He is faithful. And sometimes we think, I’ve not been totally faithful. God’s like, good thing I am. Amen? How many of you, even in seasons, where you have been a bit faithless, God has still proven to be faithful. Okay? This is where our is not perfect, but our God, who is the object of our faith, He is perfectly faithful. And so with Abraham, there are days of doubt, there are days of struggle, there are days of sin. Is that the faith walk of a true believer? Yes. Now there’s only one who’s had a perfect faith walk, and that was Jesus. Abraham, his was real, but not perfect. Yours and ours is real, but it’s not perfect. You’re gonna have some struggles, you’re gonna have some doubts, you’re gonna stumble over your own feet, you’re gonna make some mistakes, you’re gonna commit some sins. You’re gonna veer right or left, and then God’s gonna need to redirect and course-correct you. Don’t be ashamed, don’t be discouraged. The father of our faith, the greatest human example of our faith had some bad days and you will too. But on those days, God proves to be a good God. Okay? And so, let me say a quick word to parents as well. Sometimes we look at our kids and we’re like. “Oh my gosh, they have questions.” Faith is big enough for questions. They’re really struggling. Faith is big enough for the struggle. Oh, their wandering. Faith is big enough to be brought back. There’s a difference between faith that is struggling and unbelief. Unbelief says, I will not listen, I will not believe, I am leaving the struggle. Faith says, I’m in the struggle, I’m in the struggle. Some of you right now, you’re in the struggle. God, what are you saying, God, what are you doing, God, where am I going? God, what is happening? That’s faith seeking understanding. And what it says is, as Abraham had this journey, that he grew stronger. So what I would tell you is, lean into your questions, lean into your doubts, lean into your struggles. That’s where you get stronger. That resistance is like resistance training for the body, it’s resistance training for the soul, and it will make you stronger. And the reason that God wants to strengthen you in this season is because what is coming next will require more mature than you have right now. And so, all of this is pre-season for game time that is forthcoming. Okay? And then he closes with the grand finale. And what he’s basically saying is this; if God can do this, God can do anything. And here’s what he says, “Our God makes dead people alive.” Let me just tell you this, if you can do that, you can do anything. Romans 4:23-25. And what he’s saying is, look back, if the tomb is empty, the future is hopeful. That’s what he saying. If Jesus was dead and now alive, even if it looks like things are gonna die, you’re gonna live. But the words, “It was counted to him,” were not written for his sake alone, but also for us. Guys, this is for you. God didn’t just speak a word over Abraham’s life, He speaks a word over your life. It will be counted to us who believe. Do you believe in Jesus?
– [Congregation] Yes.
– This is the most important decision you will ever make. Do you believe in Jesus? Everyone believes in someone or something. We believe in Jesus. Amen? That’s all we have, because truthfully, that’s all we need. It will be counted to us who believe in him, who raised from the dead. See, some of you’ve heard this for a long time, and maybe you have missed the staggering nature of this claim. A dead guy’s alive. I mean, if God can conquer Satan, sin, death, hell, and the wrath of God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, then anything is impossible for this supernatural God. Okay? Who was delivered up for our trespasses, He died for us, and was raised for our justification. Jesus was raised from the dead, and from His throne in heaven, He is right now, declaring us just and justified in the sight of God, interceding for the saints until He delivers them from this world. And I will say this. Everyone trusts in someone and everyone else dies, and no one else defeated death. Buddhists, dead, having a bad day, Krishna’s, dead, having a bad day, Muhammad’s, dead, having a bad day. Give me some other leaders that people treated as saviors and heroes. Just name ’em. Joseph Smith, dead having a terrible day. Terrible day. Who else?
– [Congregant] Russell.
– Earlier, somebody said Joseph Smith, a kid from Mesa. Dead. George Washington seemed like a decent guy. Dead. Abraham Lincoln was helpful. Dead, Reagan, I miss him. Dead. Ron Hubbard, crazy, dead, having a crazy bad day. Here’s what I’m telling you. Everyone’s looking for a savior. And even the best human beings are bad savors. And if your hope is in someone who is not perfect, you will be disappointed in them. And even if someone is a decent person, they are a horrific savior, because eventually death defeats them and they cannot defeat death. Now Jesus, dead or alive?
– [Congregation] Alive.
– Alive. So right now, when you pray, you pray to a living Jesus. When we sing, we sing to a living Jesus. When we transfer burdens, we transfer them to a living, helping, burden bearing Jesus. When we’re confused, we invite in a Jesus who instructs and leads and guides. When we look at the future filled with fear, then we invite in Jesus who fills us with faith. When we don’t know what to do, we ask the Jesus, He knows exactly what to do. When we don’t know what the future holds, we invite in the Jesus who holds the future. Okay? So here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m just gonna read the Bible, if that’s okay. He’s gonna tell us a little later in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.” I’m gonna bite the band up at this time. And I’m gonna spend a little time. Have been praying for you all week, I was on my knees, praying for you earlier this morning ’cause I love you. And here’s just what was on my heart. You got a lot of bad news this week, you need some good news. You got a lot of fear this week, you need some faith. You got a lot of cursing this week, you’re gonna need some blessing. You heard a lot from the world this week, you need to hear from the Word. There’s been a big debate over who our savior should be. I’m gonna tell you who our savior is. I wanna read the Word of God to you while the band plays. So, give me a little group, please. And I’m just gonna read the Word of God over you. And God, I believe, will use it to build faith in you because faith comes by hearing the Word of God. So, if you hear anything and you like it, feel free to clap or cheer. If everybody else is taking to the streets and they are celebrating, then we could throw a little peaceful protest. All of these Scriptures will be in the notes in real faith.com. Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, and I will help you, and I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. The Lord Himself goes before you, and He will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid, and do not be discouraged. Jesus says, I have told you these things, that in me, you may have peace, in the world, you will have what? Trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world. The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him. Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand. Jesus says, come to me all you who are?
– [Congregation] Weary.
– Weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart. And you will find rest for your souls. My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness. When I am weak, then I am strong. I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Do not be anxious about?
– [Congregation] Anything.
– Anything. But in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. The Lord will fight for you. You only need to be still. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, and are called according to His purpose. He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace removed, says the Lord who has compassion on you. Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you. I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours. How have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord, your God will be with you wherever you go. My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ, Jesus. The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them, and He delivers them from all their troubles. I’m gonna close with Romans 8. If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him, graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies, who is there to condemn? Christ, Jesus is the one who died, more than that, was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who is indeed interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation?
– [Congregation] No.
– Or distress?
– [Congregation] No.
– Or persecution?
– [Congregation] No.
– Or famine?
– [Congregation] No.
– Or nakedness or danger or sword?
– [Congregation] No.
– No. As it is written, for your sake, we are being killed all the day long. We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these things. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ, Jesus.