"I have but one passion - it is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can most be used in winning souls for Christ."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sunday School Message #8

Introduction: Let’s begin… Until now in our study on “How to Think Like Jesus”, we have studied about having “A Heart for the Lost”, “A Heart for Prayer”, “A Heart for God’s Will”, “A Heart for Others”, “A Heart for Purity”, and “A Heart for Service”. What we’re going to study today is “A Heart for Faith”. We have a lot of verses to look at today, so let’s begin in prayer.

7. A Heart for Faith
a. Phil.3:10; Psalm 119:11; Jn.17:3
- I want to start by asking you this question? How can you have faith in something that you do now know? You can’t. If you want to increase your faith as a Christian, the best thing you can do it so study God’s Word. The more you know God’s Word, the more you understand how the different doctrines of Scripture work together. The more you know the teachings of Christ, the more you have faith in His promises and His faithfulness. The Bible says, “Your Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Jesus Himself says, “…this is life eternal, that they might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” I want to share with you my life’s verse, Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” That is what I want for my life. My goal in life is to know my God and my Savior. I want to experience the power of His resurrection. I want to experience the fellowship of His sufferings. And at the end of my life I want to be made conformable to His death. I can think of no greater honor than to give my life for my Lord.

b. Js.2:14-26
- Ok, let me give you an example of the importance of the knowledge of God’s Word. I want to ask you a few questions and I want some of you to answer them. Does faith save a person or works? Faith? Faith alone? So our works have nothing to do with our salvation? Then let me read a passage for you. “What does it profit, my brethren…” Somebody explain that to me. Did the Bible just contradict itself? This is why Bible knowledge is so important. Suppose you were trying to witness to a Catholic and as you’re telling them that they don’t have to do the works that Catholics teach will save people, that person quotes this passage to you. What would you say? Here is the answer. Faith and works always work together. The Bible is very clear in other passages that faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone. The key to this passage is verse 18: “…I will show you my faith by my works…” It is faith alone that saves, but then that faith, if it is genuine, will always produce good works in a creyente’s life. Do you understand? Faith is essential to salvation; works are the evidence of faith. So we need to recognize the need for a solid understanding of God’s Word in order to have faith.

c. I Tim.1:5,18-19;
In this passage, the Apostle Paul is giving advice to the young pastor Timothy, whom he had taught personally. We’ve talked about this before. Now listen to the advice that Paul gives in these passages. “Now the end of the commandment…” And then in verses 18 and 19, “This charge I commit unto thee…” He tells his disciple to fight a good fight, holding two weapons – faith and a good conscience. This verse shows us the importance of our faith. If Paul, a mighty man of God, sent out his young disciple with only two weapons, they must be the two most important things in all of his Christian life.

d. I Tim.4:12; I Tim.6:12; II Tim.4:7
- But you say, “How can I have that kind of faith? I’m just a teenager.” What did the apostle Paul tell to his disciple Timothy? “Let no man…” He said, “Be an example…in faith.” I want you all to understand this. I’ve told you before that your teenage years are some of the most important years of your lives. Right now, you are becoming the person you are going to be. And Paul’s challenge to Timothy is a challenge to us also. He says that we should be an example to those older than us in our speech, our conduct, our love, our faith, and our purity. If you were to look through the Scriptures and study the lives of the great men of faith, you will see that the majority of those men began studying God’s Word and living for Him when they were a youth – great men like Joseph, David, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I pray for all of you to be great men and women of God one day, so you need to begin developing your faith now while you are a youth.

- The notice that Paul also tells Timothy that faith is a fight. He writes in I Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith…” And in II Timothy 4, we have the final recorded words of this great man of God before he was killed for his faith. He wrote, “I have fought…” He fought the fight, he finished the course, and most importantly to him, he kept the faith. Until the end of his life, Paul’s greatest priority was his faith.

e. I Jn.5:4
- Listen to what this verse says about our faith. “…this is the victory…” It is through our faith that we can conquer the world. The world is constantly attacking us with lies. The devil wants to destroy our faith in God, the Bible, and Christianity. Paul says that our faith is what will give us victory over the world and its lies. In our society, we are constantly being faced with new lies. I don’t know how things are here in Mexico, but in the States, we are hearing new lies all of the time. About two years ago, a man named Dan Brown wrote a mystery novel called, “The DaVinci Code”. Have you all heard of that? It was then made into a movie last year. This book had a story that was very interesting and well-written. But in the middle of the book, it tries to convince the characters in the book and the readers that Jesus was not the Son of God. It teaches that Jesus was secretly married to Marry Magdalene and they had a child together. That teaching is blasphemy! It is against everything that the Bible teaches. Even now in the States, there have been three books written for children that are trying to tell them that there is no God. They teach children not to believe anything their parents teach them about God. They teach children that the church is just a bunch of old people trying to control what they do. The author of these books said that with these books, he is trying to destroy God. They are currently being made into movies also, because that is what most kids today watch. The first of these is called “The Golden Compass”, and the second is in production right now. Young people, you need to have a solid, confident understanding of God’s Word, so that you will not be deceived by these kinds of lies that Satan is throwing into our world.

f. I Pt.1:5-9
- The Bible says that faith is to believe in things that we cannot see. Listen to this passage about how our faith will one day be realized. “…who are kept by the power…” This passage says that the trial of your faith is more precious that gold. When your faith is challenged, it helps you to grow. If somebody challenges something you believe in, you must go to the Bible and study it and find the truth.

g. Js.1:3-6
- Look now at James chapter 1. This verse says something similar to the last passage. “Knowing this, that the…” Notice two things from this passage. First, “…they trying of your faith works patience…” When God brings trials into our lives, we often don’t understand why. We often feel mistreated. We feel like God made a mistake. But we learn from this passage that many times God uses trials to increase our patience. Second, notice that faith is the key element in prayer. We must pray in faith – faith in God’s sovereignty, faith in God’s promises, and faith in God’s power. “Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering…”

h. Matt.17:20
- This next passage is one of the most well-known of all passages on faith. Jesus Christ tells us, “If you have faith as a grain…” You will be able to move mountains. The Lord Himself says, “…nothing will be impossible to you.” Let me ask you this. When was the last time you asked God for something that only He could do? When was the last time you saw God do something that was impossible in our eyes? Have you ever seen that? If you haven’t, I challenge you to do so. Think of something that only God can do and pray for that until He answers! Don’t give up too soon. I believe that one of the main reasons that we don’t have our prayers answered is that we give up too soon. Maybe it is a family member who needs to know Jesus as their Savior. Maybe it’s a financial problem. Find something. Pray for it. Put your faith to the test and watch God show Himself faithful.

i. Heb.10:38; 11
- One more passage and we’re done. I want to close by reading to you a very powerful chapter of Scripture. In the book of Hebrews chapter 10, we read, “…the just shall live by faith…” and the author continues on to write about many heroes of the Bible who showed their great faith in God. Listen as I read: “Now faith is the substance…” Young people, your name could be written there right beside those people. You can be men and women of faith. You also can be people “of whom the world is not worthy”. And I pray that you will be.

Conclusion: So our study today really has two points. If we are going to think like Jesus, we must have a heart for faith. And if we’re going to have a strong faith, we must be in God’s Word daily and have a strong understanding of its teachings. We need to grow in our faith, study God’s Word, and prove through our works that we are Christians. Let’s pray…

1 comment:

Mac said...

JON

I am so excited to see what God is doing in you! The growth is obvious. I look forward to hearing all about it!

Mac