Acts-seeing the events/people of the early church. Roots of our faith.
Near the end here we find Paul in an interesting turn of events. Arrested and in Acts 27 is put on a ship bound for Rome to stand trial before Ceasar....storm...shipwreck.
Acts 28- safely on Malta. Paul-viper. What kind of faith does it take to respond like that?
Paul demonstrates a level of faith in God that goes beyond that which we normally see.
But it is normal in the Bible...
David facing Goliath
Elijah & prophets of Baal
Peter stepping out onto water.
Throughout the Bible, we read examples of faith. Faith is essential to living in relationship with God. We will never truly experience His precence in our lives until we learn to walk by real faith...truly trusting in God's promises for us.
Jim Cymbala: "We cannot live off the commands of God but rather the promises. The commands of God reveal His holy character to us, but they hold no power. Instead, the grace of God flows through the channel of His promises."
God's law reveals to us our sinfulness....shows us the basic problem with ourselves...with the world. We are disobedient to God. But knowing this doesn't fix the problem
It is God's action that brings a solution. God's faithfulness to His promises that fixes things...God's grace upon those who turn to Him that makes things right again.
God's Incredible Promises
God has made some incredible promises to us:
- Forgiveness, mercy, eternal life (John 3:16; Luke 5:23-24)
- Restoration...regaining what has been lost, freedom from the past (Matt 19:29;Mark 10:29-31;Luk 4:18)
- Daily provision of all our needs (Matt 6:25-34)
- Inheritance as sons/daughters (Mark 3:35; John 1:12)
- Power and presence of God (John 14:23; Acts 1:8)
- Strength to overcome and ability to be His witnesses.
The one thing God asks of us is to believe Him...to have faith in Him
People we read about in the Bible serves as examples for us of what it looks like for ordinary people to live with that kind of faith. They didn't question whethe God would come through for them...they KNEW He would. This is what God is calling us to.
This is also one of the biggest challeges we have today...to really trust in God. We call out to Him and ask Him to help us...and to guide us. But when we start to get a sense of where God is leading, we find ourselves analyzing...doubting, trying to make sense of it...want more from God.
God honors humble heart....not doubtful heart. Gives confirmation...then we need to act.
Too often we remain uncertain and never step out in real faith
Not faith that just says-I believe God is there...I believe in the existence of Jesus...
But faith that says-I know God is for me and will follow through on His promises to me. Faith that prompts us to to action saying, "This may sound crazy, but I know God is leading me to do this."
As I look at the example Paul set for us...I know I have room to grow in my faith.
Come face to face with my own struggle to live fully be faith....when sensing God's direction too often say, "We'll see..." rather than "OK God...I don't know how it will work, but I know you are leading this."
But how to get there? Not something we can just learn and say, "OK, now I'll do it."
One...praying for a new mindset. Trusting that God will faithfully answer my prayers.
Two...encouraged by Jesus' words: Luk 17:5-6; Matt 17:20
Even a little faith is powerful. Take what we have now...and add to it a little more every chance we get. When faced with an opportunity to believe...know that you CAN do it...it just takes a little faith to to do great things...go ahead and take that step for Him.
Believe in the LORD.