EXPECTING THE BEST
50 Days of Faith
Part 1 of 2
January 14, 2007
“According to your faith will it be done to you." Matt. 9:29
“Faith assures us of things we hope for/expect…” Heb. 11:1 (NIV)
EXPECTING THE BEST: is the confident assurance that God is ___________________ of the future and that
He plans ___________________ for my life because He loves me.
“I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I’ll advise you and watch over you.” Ps. 32:8 (NLT)
WHY EXPECT THE BEST?
1 Samuel 17 (David faces Goliath)
1. IT ______________________________________________
“This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down … and the whole world will know that there is a God!” 1 Sam. 17:46 (NIV)
2. IT ____________________________________
“David hurled a stone from his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face downward to the ground.” 1 Sam 17:49 (NLT)
3. IT ____________________________________
“Then the Israelites gave a great shout of triumph and rushed after the Philistines, chasing them as far as Gath.”
1 Sam. 17:52 (NLT)
EXPECTING THE BEST
50 Days of Faith
Part 1 of 2
January 14, 2007 1959 words
Today we’re asking the question: ‘Why Expect The Best?’ and next week we’ll follow that up by considering ‘How To Expect The Best When Facing Giants’. To help you remember what I have said this morning, and bearing in mind what I said last week about 95% of what I say being forgotten within 72 hours, I’ve put brief notes on the back of your Orders of Service that you can fill in as we go along. So you’ll need a pen or pencil at the ready!
How do you get God's approval? Is it by being more good than bad? No. By keeping the Ten Commandments? No. By promising to be perfect? No. By being religious and going to church? No. The Bible says there’s only one way to get God's approval. There’s only one way to get God's blessing on your life. In Hebrews 11 it says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” The only way you can get God's approval is by faith in Jesus Christ, His Son. You may be a great person but without faith it’s impossible to please God. You may do all kinds of great things in your life but without faith it’s impossible to please God.
Would you say that faith is a pretty important issue? Yes, it is. It is vital that you learn how to live by faith. That you strengthen your faith.
So over the next few weeks we’ll be looking at the topic of ‘Faith’ and hopefully over the period, when we look at it together, your faith will be stretched, challenged, deepened and strengthened and the result of that, if you do your part, will be spiritual growth.
How do you get more faith? You say, “I’d like to get more faith. How do I get it?” The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing the word of God. Faith comes from this book – this is faith-food – and the more you get into this book, God's word, the Bible – the more your faith will develop.
Matthew 9:29 “According to your faith will it be done to you.” Jesus is talking. This is one of my favourite verses in the Bible because God says it’s your choice. You get to choose. “According to your faith it will be done to you.” You get to choose how much God blesses your life. You get to choose how many answers you have to prayer. You get to choose how much God gets to use you in His plan for the world. How? “According to your faith will it be done to you.” God says, “If you’ve got a lot of faith, we’ll get a lot done in your life. If you’ve got a little faith, we’ll get a little done in your life. If you’ve got no faith, you get nothing done in your life. ‘According to your faith it will be done.’” Faith is the key that unlocks the door to heaven. It is very important that you grow, develop, that you strengthen your faith.
The next verse, Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith assures us of things we hope for = expect.” If you’ve got a pen or pencil with you, circle “things we hope for/expect”. If I had to summarize faith: faith is expecting the best.
Let me explain that. Some of you might say, “That’s just being optimistic.” No, it is not. Faith is not positive thinking. Positive thinking is good. I like to be around positive thinking people. What’s the alternative? Negative thinking people. I’d much rather be around positive thinking people than negative thinking people. Positive thinking is good but it is very limited and it certainly isn’t faith. I could put you out in the middle of a snowstorm in nothing but your pyjamas and you could have positive thinking all you want but you’d still be freezing to death. All the positive thinking in the world wouldn’t make you warmer. So positive thinking is a good thing but there’s some things it just can’t effect. When I’m talking about expecting the best, I’m not talking about wishful thinking like “I hope I don’t have any problems in life.” because you’re going to have problems. You’re going to have difficulties. Expecting the best is not saying, “I hope everything goes just the way I planned it.” Because almost nothing is going to go just the way you planned it in life.
So what am I talking about when I say faith is expecting the best. Expecting the best is the confident assurance that God is in control of the future and that He plans what is best for my life because He loves me. That definition is based on the next verse, Psalm 32:8 “I will guide you along the best pathways for your life. I'll advise you and I'll watch over you.” Circle “your life”. This is customized. It’s talking about your life. The pathway for your life is tailor-made. It’s personalized. The best pathway for your life is not the best pathway for the person sitting next to you. The best pathway for my life is not the best pathway for you. We all have different pathways that God has designed. They are customized, tailor made plans for our lives. God says if you’ll trust Me, if you’ll get to know Me then you can expect the best because I will guide you in the path that is best for you.” It’s not the best for everybody else. But it’s the best for you based on who you are, who God made you to be and who God wants you to become.
Why should I expect the best in life when so many things go wrong? Why should I expect the best when so many heartaches have happened to me already?
We learn the answer to that question in a very famous story in the Bible. It’s the story of David and Goliath. The armies of Israel were fighting the armies of the Philistines. They had a giant of a man. This guy was huge. His name was Goliath. He was nearly nine feet tall. This guy was a giant of a man. Everybody was intimidated by him. He’d come out and stand at the front of the army and say, “I'll take any of you on, one-on-one or one-on-ten. Everybody was cowering, everybody was intimidated. He was terrorizing the Israelite army except for one little shepherd boy. David says, “I’ll fight him! I'll take him on!” Everybody else thinks he’s too big to fight. But David has other ideas and says, “He’s too big to miss! He’s a big target. Besides, God's on our side and one plus God equals the majority and we can take him on.” From that story of David fighting Goliath we learn three things about how David expected the best and what it does to us.
1. When you expect the best it honours God.
There is something about expecting the best that says something about what you think about who God really is. When you expect God to help you it’s the highest compliment that you can pay to God. Listen to what David’s attitude was in 1 Samuel 17:46 “This day the Lord will hand you over to me and I’ll strike you down and the whole world will know that there is a God!” Dads, if you overhear one of your kids saying, “My dad can do anything!”
how does that make you feel? We have a God who really can do anything. When we expect Him to do those things in our lives it is an incredible honour to Him. William Carey was a missionary who changed the world in his day because of his faith. He had a phrase that really governed his life. He used to say, “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.” That’s what your faith can do for you.
2. When I have faith and expect God for the best, it increases my ability in life.
It increases my strength and ability as with David. David had the strength to hurl a stone from his sling and hit the Philistine in the head. The stone sank in. Goliath stumbled and fell face downward. God gave David that ability because of his faith. We’ve seen many places the difference an attitude can make. The Olympics are an example of that. People who have a winning attitude end up being a winner. Mohammed Ali, who many regard as one of the greatest athletes who every lived, says the two fights that he lost were when he thought something different before those fights than any other fight. He thought, If I lose this fight. The difference attitudes can make!
Faith has the power to change your attitude about life like nothing else. It strengthens our ability of life.
Remember in the story of David and Goliath to show you the kind of faith he had. He took five smooth stones from the wadi or ditch, and with only his sling, he went out and defeated the giant named Goliath. David knew that God would give him the ability because of his faith. When you act in faith, you receive the additional strength to face the difficulties of life.
3. When you have faith it encourages others.
The Bible tells us that when Goliath was defeated the Israelites gave a great shout of triumph and they rushed after the Philistines and they chased them as far as Gath. The entire nation was victorious. An entire nation was energized, encouraged by the faith of this one young man. That’s the power that faith has. Everyone gets excited. Optimism is contagious. And faith has incredible power to make us optimistic.
George Gallup once did a survey “Pollster Finds Faith Brings Optimism”. When you have faith it makes you more optimistic about life. He discovered that the people who have the greatest faith are also the people who are the happiest in life and the people who are the most helpful to others. You like to be around optimistic people. And faith has the power to make us optimistic. When you have faith, it encourages the people that you want to encourage in your life. It gives you the strength to face the difficulties you have to face in life. And all of that honours God in ways you can’t imagine.
Some of you may be saying, “How can I expect the best? You don’t know what I’ve been through!” No, I don’t. And others of you are saying, “How can I expect the best? You don’t know the problems I’m facing right now!” No, I don’t. Some of you are facing some giants in your life. Some giant problems. You’ve got a financial Goliath. You’ve got a medical Goliath or a relational Goliath. You’re facing some big issues in your life and thinking, “How can I expect the best when everything seems to be going wrong right now?”
I don’t know everything that’s going on in your life. But I do know this. You can do the same four things David did to give him the confidence to face his giants and if you will do those four things you will find yourself having a positive, expect-the-best attitude even in the worst of situations.
We know what gave David his confidence because many of the Psalms are accredited to him and in there he shares all of his inner feelings. Next week we’re going to look at four things that David did and what I would say is that if you will do these four things you will be better able to face your giants with confidence. Let’s Pray:
Father, help us to catch the buzz, the excitement of exploring and planning to develop and strengthen our faith. Help us to be expectant regarding what you are going to do in our lives and our careers and our relationships and families when we open up to you. Help us to put first things first and to realize that without faith, it’s impossible to please God. Lord, this is an important subject we’re going to deal with and we want to put our trust in You on our individual journey’s of faith. And we want to expect the best. Lord Jesus in your name we pray. Amen.