Faith's Divine Order #10
We’re going to continue teaching on God’s divine order of faith. Before we get into the 10th and final step, I want to briefly go over the previous nine steps we’ve covered so far. Step No. 1 was to “Identify the Problem.” Step No. 2 was to “Make a Quality Decision.” Step No. 3 was to “Find a Promise in the Word of God that would meat your need.” Step No. 4 was to “Make a Conscious Effort to Hear the Word of God.” Step No. 5 was to “Meditate on the Word of God (especially the promise in God’s Word that would meet your need. Step No. 6 was to “Confess the Word.” Step No. 7 was to “Act on the Word.” Step No. 8 was to “Apply the Power and Pressure Patience.” Step No. 9 was to “Wait Upon the Lord Knowing that there is an Appointed Time to Due Season for you to rise up in victory.”
I) Now we’ve come to the final step in God’s established order for getting from any challenge or crisis to a miraculous solution. It is the icing on the cake, the last nail in the Devil’s coffin. This important 10th step involves “Cultivating Expectation.”
A) Turn with me to Proverbs 23:18 This root means to wait or to look for with eager expectation. Waiting with steadfast endurance is a great expression of faith.
1) We need to expect the answer.
2) Expectation is a very powerful thing. For better or for worse, it colors your outlook, shapes your attitudes and influences your actions.
a) One thing that I want you to note is that your expectation can bring about the best or it can bring about the worst. A negative expectation is an area where many Christians miss God’s best and can even bring about more problems.
(i) I think that negativism along with complaining, backbiting and having a critical attitude are areas that are going to bring about the worst. These are things that are very easy to fall into, we need to crucify the flesh and avoid each of these areas.
3) But the right expectation can be a very powerful tool. And learning to harness its power can make a huge difference in your quality of life.
4) “TO EXPECT” means “to wait on, anticipate, or look for something to happen.” When you “EXPECT” something, you start mentally or visually “LOOKING” for its appearance.
a) For example, if someone invites you over for dinner and they tell you that they’re going to have chicken, you expect chicken when you get there.
(i) When you get there you expect chicken to be on the table. And when you get there and find that meat loaf is being served, you’re surprised, you’re taken off guard. WHY? Because you expected chicken.
5) Expectation involves a change of vision (you’re looking for something), but also involves a change posture (you start preparing for something).
a) When you expect something, you begin to position yourself to receive it.
b) Let me give you example. When a woman is pregnant with a child, we say that she is expecting.
(i) What is she expecting? The baby, of course. That expectation triggers a lot of preparation.
(ii) A crib may have to be purchased or setup. A bassinet may be setup. The nursery might be decorated. A hospital is going to be chosen. Clothes are purchased.
(iii) Every part of that household begins to change in anticipation of the expected arrival.
(iv) If you asked a woman that is expecting a baby if she is getting ready for the new arrival, and she said, “No.” You would think that is very odd.
II) Why? Because expectation implies preparation.
A) And as we’re about to see, this is especially true of spiritual expectation.
1) If you are truly expecting God to do something in your life, you will have to do some realigning and preparing.
2) You can liken it to the exchange between a pitcher and a catcher in baseball.
a) You’ll never see a good catcher nonchalantly standing behind the plate waiting for the next pitch. No, when he’s ready to receive, he’ll crouch down, get a wide stance, stable himself with his legs, hold up his catcher’s mitt and look right at the pitcher in anticipation of the next pitch.
(i) That’s how the pitcher knows the catcher’s ready to receive. He has put himself in the receiving posture. The pitcher is not going to throw the ball until he sees that posture.
b) The same is true with God. His heartfelt desire is to throw blessings to you. He’s ready to wind up and let healing, prosperity and deliverance fly, but he can’t until you get into a receiving posture, the position of expectation.
c) I’ve seen it so many times with Christians that they pray for miracles to happen their lives, yet there posture says that they’re not ready to receive.
(i) How do I know they’re not ready to receive? They don’t really expect the answer. You could say they lack expectation.
III) The Bible has a lot to say about expectation.
A) Let’s look at Psalms 62:5,6
1) Notice the focus of the Palmist’s expectation, “My expectation is from him [God].” That highlights one of the biggest problems Christians have in the area of expectation. Improper focus.
a) Some believers talk a good, righteous talk, but when it comes right down to it, their expectation is not directed toward God.
(i) Some are expecting the world and the world system to deliver the things that make for happiness. Others expect a relationship to meet their needs. Others look to the pastor to meet their needs.
2) In each case, the person’s expectation is focused on something or someone other than God.
a) The world is not going to meet your needs. No person is going to meet your needs. That’s a heavy responsibility to put on someone, expecting them to meet your needs.
(i) But the truth is they can’t meet your needs. Sure they can help out in a time of need. Maybe they might give you some money to help pay a bill, but that money will soon be gone.
b) What happens if your need is in a more critical area, like incurable cancer? You had better start getting your focus on God now.
3) Remember what the Palmist said in (Psalms 62), “My soul, wait thou only upon God.”
a) He’s commanding his soul (his mind, will, and emotions) to get its focus off anything else but God.
b) Properly focused expectation says, “I’m not looking for help from any source but God. If I’m going to have it, it’s going to have to come from Him. If it doesn’t come from Him, I don’t need it.”
B) Real, Bible expectation often travels with a companion. And her name is “HOPE.”
IV) You’ll see them together in Philippians 1:20 so let’s turn there.
A) Hope and earnest expectation complement each other perfectly.
1) Hope increases your level of expectation, and when your expectation rises your hope also rises.
a) Each time you see God come through to meet a need your hope and expectations rise to new level
2) But this can work in the negative too. If you throw up a half hearted prayer and never open your Bible, you’re probably not going to see the answer to your prayer.
a) When nothing happens you’ll say, “Just as I expected. That faith stuff doesn’t work.”
(i) You’ve developed a negative expectation and you’re locked in hopelessness.
B) If you really wanted to receive everything that God so greatly desires to give you, you must begin to cultivate expectancy.
1) There are a number of Biblical examples that illustrate just how important expectations are when it comes to receiving a miracle.
2) Do you remember the story where men lowered a lame man down through the ceiling so that Jesus might heal him?
V) Let’s turn LUKE 5:17-19
A) But what I wanted you to see here is the 1st thing that Jesus said to a man.
1) Look at verse 20.
a) This man needed healing, yet Jesus told him his sins were forgiven. Why?
b) Jesus knew that if this man was going to receive his healing, he needed to increase his expectancy. As we’ve seen before, that requires a change of posture.
(i) The man apparently had a sinful past and as a result didn’t feel worthy of being healed by Jesus.
(ii) Before the man could receive, Jesus had to change his expectation and that meant dealing with his sense of sinfulness.
c) A high-level of expectancy is almost a prerequisite for a miracle.
(i) But the good news is that Jesus is always looking for ways to raise our level of expectation.
VI) When a crippled man in Jerusalem needed that kind help one-day, the Holy Spirit showed Peter how to give it to him.
A) Turn over to ACTS 3:1-2
1) Here is a man who had been crippled all his life. Begging is all he’d ever known.
a) He had no reason to “EXPECT” to ever walk or work.
b) Apparently, the man kept his eyes on the ground in humility and shame as he begged for alms. Yet Peter, sensing the man needed a change of posture in order to receive, gave him a command.
2) Look at verse 4 and 5 (ACTS 3:4-5)
a) Peter’s demand obviously had its intended effect. The man looked up at them in anticipation of receiving money.
b) Now he had expectation, but the wrong one. So Peter raised it another notch.
B) Look at verse 6 (ACTS 3:6-7a).
1) Peter said, “Don’t expect money. Expect healing.” And then to help him change his receiving posture even further, Peter grabbed him by the hand and pulled him to his feet.
a) And what were the results? (The last half of ACTS 3:7-8) says, “And immediately his feet and ankle bones receive strength. And he leaping stood up, and walked and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”
C) I can’t over-emphasize the importance of earnest expectation in receiving the provision of God.
1) It can change your path from problems to a road of miracles. There’s something about expectation that places you before the face of God. God blesses expectant people.
VII) Cultivate expectancy in every area of your life.
A) Don’t just sow your tithe into the plate and forget about it. Spend the rest of the week in earnest expectation of the windows of heaven opening out and pouring out a blessing upon you.
1) Expect to receive a hundred-fold return on all your giving.
a) Expect to walk in health. Expect to be healed when you are sick. Expect to have a good marriage. Expect your children to grow up serving the Lord.
(i) Expect ALL the blessings of God to be yours in fullness here and now. That’s what God wants for you.
VIII) Turn to Jeremiah 29:11
A) God’s desires for you are for peace, prosperity and for an expected end. In other words, “Don’t let go of your earnest expectation. It will come in the end.”
1) When you pray according to God’s Word, expect an answer. This is God’s tenth and final step in God’s divine order of faith.
B) There they are, 10 simple, Bible base steps that will take you to victory over any problem you may ever face.
1) Again briefly these 10 steps are number 1 “IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.” No. 2 “MAKE A QUALITY DECISION TO OVERCOME THE PROBLEM GOD’S WAY.” No. 3 “FIND YOUR TITLE DEED TO THE ANSWER IN GOD’S WORD.” No. 4 “HEAR THE WORD CONCERNING YOUR VICTORY.” No. 5 “MEDITATE THE WORD TO PLANT IT IN YOUR HEART.” No. 6 “CONFESS THE WORD TO RELEASE YOUR FAITH.” No. 7 “ACT ON THE WORD.” NO. 8 “APPLY THE POWER AND PRESSURE OF PATIENCE.” NO. 9 “UNDERSTAND THERE IS AN APPOINTED TIME AND DO SEASON TO REAP.” And number 10 “EXPECT THE ANSWER.”
2) These 10 steps represent God’s established order for successfully operating in faith.
a) As we’ve seen over and over again, divine order is it to requisite for miracles.
b) You never have to experience another “Faith Failure” as long issue live.
3) You never again have to feel the frustration of not be able to get faith to work for you as it does for others.
a) Now you are prepared to walk in all of the abundant life Jesus died to purchase for you. You now can be free. And it’s all because you understand God’s divine order of faith.
4) (1st Corinthians 15:57) says, “But thanks be the God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
a) David said in (Psalm 5:3) From the NIV, “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”
WOLCC Sunday, December 07, 1997 & Sunday, March 23, 2003
Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999, c1980). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (Page 791). Chicago: Moody Press.