All right, you may be seated. Oh, that already happened. Wow, church, this is this is pretty historic, is it not? It is amazing to be together. Thank you, God, for that canopy of clouds.
Psalm 18 says God approached in a canopy of clouds and I love clouds and now God has left us and the sun is back out. But he’s also in the sun, too. So we are excited to be together today as a church. Thank you so much for your generosity, for all that you have done over these last 14 months. We also, in addition to what Brian has said in terms of supporting the mission field, have continued to support benevolent needs within the church.
This is the first Sunday of every month you can go online and give towards benevolence as well. And that really does stay here in the family to help members of this congregation who are going through a challenging time. And so I just it’s really hard to to find the words other than just praise God for what he has done through your faith. Amen. And that’s what we’re talking about today. We are talking about the one faith. That’s the next chapter of our series.
We talked about, you know, the one body we talked about one spirit, one hope, one lord. And now we’re talking about one faith, amen?
And that’s kind of an interesting concept, let me let me get right into the scriptures. All right. I’m on the clock. My guess is the shorter my sermon is, the more you’ll enjoy it.
I heard Mike Rock clap the loudest during that. Romans for 16 and 17 says this Those who have the same faith that Abraham had are also included. He’s the father of us all. As it is written, I have made you a father of many nations. God considers Abraham to be our father. The God that Abraham believes in gives life to the dead, Abraham’s God also creates things that did not exist before. That’s an interesting concept, right? Abraham lived four thousand years ago, and yet the scriptures say we are of one faith with Abraham.
We have the same faith that Abraham had, if we are included. And we’ll talk about what that means. Now, the interesting thing about that is, you know, Abraham, four thousand years ago had no Bible. There was no such thing as Judaism or Christianity. There was no Old Testament. There was no New Testament. He didn’t wake up early to have his quiet time and read the Bible. Abraham never set foot in church. He never went to synagogue.
He never said, Jesus is Lord. He was never baptized. Interesting, he still tithed. He almost got away without being circumcised, but God decided, well, we’re going to start with you and maybe more about that later in the sermon at age ninety nine. How without all these tools of faith could we and Abraham have the same faith and I know what some of you are thinking, hey, I’ve been proposing living like that for a long time, you know, not having my quiet time, not going into church and still being me and Abraham.
Now, it depends on when you live and what covenant you are under, amen?But here’s how we have the same faith. There’s only two points today. Point one, and it’s too long, and I can’t really think of a good way to help you remember it, so you’ll forget it. But point one nevertheless is faith believes and acts as if what God says is true. Faith believes God and acts like they believe God, so maybe BAT believes and acts as if it’s true. So faith BAT B-A-T, commit that to memory.
You guys with me, I had all week to think of a better point, but that’s the point I came up with. Faith believes and acts as if whatever God said is just true. And that way, any time at any place, wherever you live, whether it’s Adam, whether it’s Noah, whether it’s Abraham, whether it’s Moses, whether it’s the second temple period, whether it’s the apostles or the early church or the Orlando Church of Christ, if God says it, faith believes it and acts as if it’s true.
And that’s what James talks about. He’s talking about Abraham now in the New Testament. He says, our father, Abraham, was considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar. His faith and actions were working together and his faith was made complete by what he did and the scripture was fulfilled that said, Abraham believed who? God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. He got credit for believing that what God said is true. And then what was he called? How does that verse end? It says he was called a friend of God. And that’s why I asked the worship team to to play that song, because I want us to say, hey, I want to be a friend of God.
The same way Abraham, my father in the faith who lived 4000 years ago without a Bible, a church service, a small group leader and with spotty Wi-Fi connection, somehow Abraham still lived by faith. And you know a lot of what God says is believable and actually very encouraging, you know, with Abraham, he said a lot of cool things to Abraham and we’re going to get to that.
You know, he said, I’ll bless you. I’ll make you a great nation. I will- you know, God made so many amazing promises. Abraham’s like, I believe you, God, right. What a great faith. God is God and apparently I’m the man, you know. So he bought it. But then God said some crazy things, some problematic things. But faith still believes, OK, God has said so many good things to me.
There’s a couple of things that are problematic. I got to trust that maybe he’s got a reason for why he’s saying that. You know, God told Noah, how does that song go to build him an ark out of gopher wood or cypress wood? I don’t know why it is that a different translation either way, faith believes God and says, all right, time to start building a boat. God told Abraham, leave your family and go to a land I will show you. Faith starts packing your bags.
Moses, God said, go back to Egypt, you’re only 80 years old and deliver all two million Israelites out, all their labor force out of the hands of Pharaoh, Faith says. Send somebody else. Well, initially, faith says, Lord, have somebody else do it. But faith eventually says, let’s go talk to Pharaoh. Gideon, I will deliver the Midianites into your hands, I will deliver three hundred thousand soldiers into the hands of three hundred men, Faith says, Are you sure? I’m going to put out a fleece and if you’re really if this is true, just make it wet. And then a little bit more faith says, all right, this time make it dry and the ground wet.
So faith sometimes needs some boost, but faith starts believing and acting as if God is true, you know, and beginning with Moses, God begins to now speak through the prophets, speak through Moses.
And so a lot of us would say, you know, if God just said, you know, audibly to me, I would believe it. But God, starting with Moses, began to speak through other people. But Faith still believes God spoke through Moses. Faith still believes God was speaking through the prophets and what Israel did for a time and say, well, we love God and we we know we have a great connection with God. We just have a problem with Jeremiah and Isaiah and all the crazy things that they’re prophesying.
No, no, no. That’s how God was speaking to his people. So faith still believes God, even if God is speaking his inspired word through somebody. And then God sent his only son, Jesus Christ and faith, the same faith that Abraham has faith now says whatever Jesus said is what? It’s true and I’m going to act accordingly. And then the Ministry of Jesus continued, but in a different way, Jesus promised to give the disciples in the early church, the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit inspired many writers of the New Testament.
And Faith still believes in what they wrote. Faith still believes in what Peter and Paul and Luke and James and John and the writers of Hebrews. Faith still takes that as God speaking to us through his inspired word. You know, if you don’t really know where I’m at right now because you don’t have a knowledge of scripture, let me break it down for you. The Bible is very easy to understand. It’s just not easy to believe and act as if it’s really true.
So if you would like to study the Bible, if you are visiting with us, if you’ve joined us online, but you really need to know what are the next steps, how could I have the same faith of Abraham? How is this thing a continual process of faith and divine revelation through the Holy Spirit for thousands of years? And how could God speak to me personally that I could believe and start trusting and acting as if God’s word is really true?
We would love to study the Bible with you. Please get in contact with us, talk with somebody here at the service today or reach out to us online. I want for every one of us to join a community of one faith. Amen. The second point is that faith wrestles and reasons but then trusts. I don’t know how you’re going to remember that one either. Rat, but with a W w are not like the band rat w r a t faith wrestles reasons and trusts.
So the first one is bat. So we’re talking about bats and rats today. That’s that’s as far as I got. Faith believes and acts that what God said is true. But then there’s those problem areas and God throws those in there. And faith then has to wrestle and reason. And then trust. Again, some of what God says is problematic, some of it’s straightforward, as we talked about with Abraham, you know, I will make you into a great nation.
I’ll bless you. Those who bless you, I will bless. I will make your name great. I will give your descendants this land. Your descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky. This time next year, you and your wife will bear a son. I mean, there’s a lot of cool things that God said to Abraham. Bible doesn’t say you got a lot of credit for believing those things.
James says he was given credit for believing God specifically about Isaac. Go sacrifice your son Isaac on the altar. All right. And some of us in our community of faith, we love the cool stuff that Jesus would say. You know, there’s so much of Jesus in his teachings that we agree with. We love one another. We serve one another. I’m thankful for the Valentines and their example of not just serving one another, but also serving the less fortunate in serving the community around us.
We are of one faith of Abraham and Abraham’s people. We’re supposed to be a blessing to our community. And so I’m thankful for their example of they are of one faith of a guy that lived for thousand years ago. They’re a fulfillment of a prophecy that God said my people will be a blessing to others. And that’s what this church is as we support even other churches and give our missions. This church is fulfilling thousands of years old prophecies.
We’re of one faith of those who lived long ago. So how does he work out this sacrifice your son thing with God? Because so much of what God said was true and this one seems very contrary to your descendants will be as numerous. It took them one hundred years to have one and now they’re going to lose him. You know, that’s not stars in the sky, sand on the seashore level kids. Also see the Valentin family for that, right?
They are also fulfilling Abraham’s prophecy and the prophecy made Abraham. Sands on the seashore, amen. Well, Hebrews talks to us about Abraham’s journey here. Says, By Faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He would embrace the promises, Right? So far, so good God, I’m with you. Was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God said it’s through your offspring that you will be reckoned. And Abraham reasoned, it’s through Isaac, your offspring, Abraham reasoned, we’re going to come back to that word that God could even raise the dead. And so, in a manner of speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. You know, the word reason there is a word that sometimes we think has no part in religion.
And it is logitsimi in the Greek, which is the word that we use as logic logical. Now, you guys know that I’m a structural engineer. When I studied the Bible, I’m like, this is reasonable. This is logical. This isn’t just, you know, mythical fairy tales, you know what I mean? That you have to sort of jump into the abyss of against reason to believe. No, no, no. Paul even said to Festus and Agrippa, he goes, What I’m telling you today is true and reasonable.
We have a good pitch to the world because we have thousands of years of prophecy and men and women of faith and the son of God in our favor. This is logical. I think what the world buys into is very illogical at times, and yet they believe in a certain set of facts that they believe to be true.
I think we have a very reasonable faith to offer. And so at times, though, these are some sticking points. And so faith isn’t demonstrated so much as when you agree with God and what he says, OK, God said that I agree with it. It’s true. You don’t get credit.
It’s I don’t like this. How could that be from God? I’m going to go wrestle with it and I’m going to go reason, and then I might not even solve it. But I’m going to trust that God must have a reason. What do you do personally, church, when you’re out of sync with what God is saying, do you wrestle and reason and then arrive at a place of trust that God knows what he’s doing?
Or do you win those arguments with God? Do you win those arguments and say, you know, my truth is going to override scripture? My truth is going to override God’s eternal word. And we live in a culture today where it’s all about speaking your truth.
You know, you could start with what you believe to be true, you just have to move off that point in that wrestling match with God to a place of this is hard, but I’m going to trust God. And so much of the Christianity that we read about in the New Testament is very straightforward. Love one another. Remember the poor, whatever you do for the least of these, serve one another, forgive one another. There’s even like studies that show health benefits of forgiveness.
Right? And I haven’t been forgiving a lot of people, but I have been on a diet. Amen. And lost twenty five pounds. So you’re seeing less of me. And I feel good. I feel healthier. I feel like I’m just getting my sermon introduction out of the way, you know?
The last will be first. God will not let you be tempted so much that we love about the New Testament, Jeremiah, you know, we post it as Memes and scriptures and it’s inspirational. But then there’s these problem areas. There’s problematic areas in the New Testament or even in the Old Testament. You know, Ephesians five three. Paul says among you this there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality or any kind of impurity. Those, you know, for singles that’s now you and God are going to have to wrestle with that one, because that is super challenging.
To date and marry without engaging in any hint of impurity, and so sometimes we can dismiss that and say, oh yeah, you guys, and back in the day, I know the church used to be that way. That’s just legalistic. And and more and more dating couples falling into the sins of impurity. Guys, that’s not a church culture issue. That’s a scripture that you have to wrestle with and believe and trust that maybe God has a reason, like God built me with a hormone factory going on inside me and then said not a hint. I don’t agree. But I’m going to wrestle and I’m going to reason that God must know what he’s doing. You know, Paul wrote to the church in Ephesis it was a kind of a Greco Roman culture that that really had no two thousand years of Judaism to understand the family structure. And and Paul writes very clearly that wives should submit to their husbands as unto the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church his body. Now, as the church submits to Christ, the wife submits to her husband in everything. Now, I could read on and start going after the husbands to to love. You guys know what’s there. You know how much that passage is under attack for those who would want to deconstruct what we might call a nuclear family there and to take the words of Paul and say, well, culturally, no, no, no, it was countercultural even then.
And that’s why you don’t find it really in the scriptures to the Hebrews and to the Jews, because Christianity for them was a continuation of a very Jewish movement. And they had a family structure and they they understood the patriarchs and they understood the father’s blessing and the importance of the father in the home. But the Greeks and the Romans did not. Paul addressed the ideal, the the godly family structure. And that now is something we are left to wrestle with, you know, and I know there are single dads and there’s single moms. I remember an example of a sister in Orange County that just said, you know, I have no husband to submit to, but when my children wake up, they’re going to see me in submission to Christ.
They’re going to see me reading my Bible, studying God’s word, and in a time of prayer before I engage with them, they’re going to see this example to the best I know how. And really, it was it was a fantastic example, but this might be a sticking point for people to trust, like, OK, is that really applicable to today and what we’ve got going on? We have to trust in God’s eternal word.
You know, Proverbs 19, 18 says discipline your children. And in that there is hope, don’t be a willing party to their death. I’m amazed at how many people just stop using the Bible and trust the scriptures in raising their children. There’s so much of culture that’s coming in through the doors of our children’s eyes and ears. And if they don’t see God’s word, if they don’t see a truth, if they don’t see a faith that began thousands of years ago and some eternal truths that need to be lived out if you don’t trust God and I know it’s a it’s a sticking point. I remember with Katie, so cute, so little, so innocent, three year old and and yet, you know, folly was bound up in the heart of her heart. You know, it’s just and then Kyle and then Justin and a lot more folly seem to come with each successive child. We had opportunities to trust in God’s word like this feels this is challenging to discipline, to punish, to to trust God with the faith to raise my children from a scriptural point of view. And I’m not this is not a sermon about all just the controversial like he’s just up there poking the bear.
But we could go on. Romans one talks about same sex attraction. We had Guy Hammond come out here a couple of years ago and really speak frankly and openly and prophetically to this church about how the Christian community can love, embrace and yet take a community that has really in need of God’s word and his eternal truth and really love them and be an example to them to be a partner with them in understanding the love of Christ, but also the truth of God’s word.
So these are some sticking points and culture and the church are sort of at a standoff. And so as you wrestle with these and other topics, brothers and sisters, who’s going to win that argument? Is it going to be the word of God or are you going to be a party to kind of deconstructing what God spoke through Christ and the church and just say, I’m going to win that argument, I’m going to believe and trust in my truth?
Well, that means that you are not a community of faith with our brother Abraham, who believed in what God said, even the problematic parts. And, you know, he probably thought it was over with Isaac. Like that was the one. And but again, I told you I’d come back to circumcision at age ninety nine. God said, get circumcised. And there’s nobody trained to do it. So you do it. And you had to wonder if Abraham was like, oh, I know how this is going to go, I remember with Isaac it was like right at the last second, God said, no, no.
All right. I know you’re wondering if Abraham took time. You know, God. Is it going to be an angel, is it going to be a dove? I mean, how are you going to stop this from happening and just bless my heart for my willingness?
He wrestled in reasoned and man, the guy trusted God. You know who’s the perfect example of this? Jesus Christ. So much of his ministry was just spectacular, we love reading the gospels, can you imagine Jesus saying go on ahead and then waiting for night and being like this- I’ve waited for this day since the creation of the world, since the spirit hovered above the waters. I’m going to hover above the waters and walk out and freak these guys out. This is a good day in the Ministry of Jesus.
But there was a problem with what Jesus came to do and that that problem was that he was going to die on a cross and be buried for three days and then resurrected. And so Jesus begins to wrestle with God, and we know in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prays, he says, Father, if you’re willing take this cup from me. But not as I will, but yours be done. An angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him and being in anguish, he prayed more and his sweat was like drops of blood falling on the ground
You know, Jesus wrestled, but then he reasoned, and even Hebrews tells us a little bit about his mindset, it says, for the joy set before him, he endured the cross scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. You know, Jesus was willing to take on our sin into his body, he was willing to take that physical punishment that is a representation of my sin so that I could be united with him in death, burial, resurrection at baptism. I have it much easier than Jesus has it.
But Jesus had to wrestle, reason and then ultimately trust in God. And so I hope that that will inspire you brothers and sisters, we are of one faith. When you read about people in the Bible, whatever time they lived, they believed in what God said to be true, and they acted as if they believed it. And then when God threw in some curveballs, they didn’t seem to make sense. It didn’t seem to be consistent with the whole of his promises.
They had to wrestle with those things. And then even if they didn’t believe they still had to trust and reason that God must have some greater plan in mind. And this is the greater plan. Look at this church. You were purchased when Jesus wrestled in the Garden of Gethsemane and reasoned for the joy set before him that he would endure the cross scorn its shame and then be seated at the right hand of God to extend his grace and mercy on us.
Let’s pray, Father. We thank you for the blood of Christ that cleanses us from every stain, every sin, every wrinkle, every blemish. Father, may we truly believe what you say to be true and God, the areas in our lives that are sticking points that are hard. Father, may that be an invitation for us to enter into your sanctuary, to wrestle with scripture and to really trust that you know what you’re doing, that you have a greater truth and a greater purpose. We love you and we thank you for Christ in his name. We pray. Amen.