Hymn # 406 I Hear Thy Welcome Voice
Call to Confession – James 4:13-5:6
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
5 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
Words of Assurance: John 3:16-17 (ESV)
For this is how God loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
Hymn # 451 Teach Me, O Lord, Thy Way of Truth
Scripture: Hebrews 11:29-12:2
29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies. 32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Sermon: Faith in all Circumstances
Personal note: Jephthah is .....
Before going into battle, Jephthah made a vow to God that if the Lord gave him victory over the Ammonites, Jephthah would make a burnt offering of the first thing he saw coming out of his house after the war. In those times, the Jews often kept animals stabled in a ground floor enclosure, while the family lived on the second floor.
The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah. He led the Gileadite army to destroy 20 Ammonite towns, but when Jephthah returned to his home at Mizpah, something terrible happened. The first thing that came out of his house was not an animal, but his young daughter, his only child.
The Bible tells us Jephthah kept his vow. It does not say whether he sacrificed his daughter or whether he consecrated her to God as a perpetual virgin--which meant he would have no family line, a disgrace in ancient times.
We need to know what real faith is since real faith is so seldom seen these days. People don't know what it really looks like.
What is faith? What does believing in Jesus really mean?
too many people think it is just being sincere about following something.
Real faith believes in something or someone. Real faith goes beyond the mental agreement in something. True faith goes beyond teaching...it goes to trusting in God himself. True faith relies. True faith is a relying, depending on God type of deal.
Many people think that believing in God gives you a better life in the here and now (prosperity gospel). But there are some practical truths in this. Faith in God can relieve us on dependence on things not of God...and removing that dependence (say on drugs/alcohol) can and does make life easier. People often say that troubles come if you don't have enough faith. Whereas those that prosper must have great faith. This is so not true.
Look at all happened with the people of faith in the Bible. Many great things happened because of faith...Red sea, walls of Jericho, justice, truth, safety etc. But we also read of the hard things that happened as the result of true faith in the lives of people.
We also have to query...how many of us would want to go through things such as being thrown to the lions, being victorious in battle and such like? Yes, victory was attained but the people involved still had to go through it.
By faith people were hurt, scourged, killed, made destitute and so much more. These folks also had faith. Faith can imprison you, hurt you, torture you and more.
Faith is more than material wealth and prosperity. Faith does not only deliver hardship. What faith does is sustain those who believe throughout their lives.
Faith reminds us of the God who cares for us.
We need to believe and trust in Jesus because we know that he is the only one who can make us right with God. Trusting in God is the only solid answer to the troubles in our lives.
God holiness demands that our sins be punished. This is the promise that Jesus came to deal with. He came to set us free from our sin and make us right with God. Faith alone is the answer.
And did you catch how some people of faith were given the option of turn from God and you will no longer be hurt or tortured. They chose to continue to be hurt/damaged for their faith. And yet others shared in the damage being done to others of faith. And this was a joyful undertaking because they knew for whom they suffered.
They knew that Jesus was/is the founder and protector of our faith. They truly knew who Jesus is. He is our pioneer and our example. Jesus willingly endured the cross for us. He showed us the way. Sin clings so closely to us and should push us closer to Christ but it renders us immobile. But we need to run to Christ, we need to keep our eyes on the eventual goal. Always running with our eyes forward to the goal of Christ. This is faith. This is how we let faith overrule anything else that happens in our lives. Eyes forward, the rest is just window dressing.
Hymn # 454 My Faith Looks up to Thee
Hymn #139 Jesus, I Am Resting, Resting
Hymn # 7 Now Blessed Be the Lord our God