November 15th, 2004

Church Update

Sunday was a good service. The atmosphere is much better than it was before. I am breaking down FAITH into it's three basic components in my preaching for them:

1. Hearing from God. Real FAITH must start with us hearing from God. It was never promised that God would honor every thought birthed in the heart of man no matter how long we believe it. God speaks and reveals himself through his word, his character and his ways. He also speaks to us through his Holy Spirit. We have to have heard something from God before we can call what we are believing FAITH. Romans 10:17 says "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God..."

2. The next step is belief. Once we have heard from God we must believe him. Hearing God is not enough to make a man a believer. He must believe what he hears.

3. Obedience is the final step. Faith is completed when we hear God, believe him, and then obey him by acting on what we have heard and believed. It is not FAITH to simply hear God and believe him. This is what James was talking about in James Chapter 2 when he said "If a man says he has faith and has not works, can his faith save him?". The unspoken answer to the rhetorical question is "No, of course not". He proves his point by using Abraham to show that although Abraham believes God and it is counted to him for righteousness, the deal isn't sealed until Abraham obeys God on Mt. Moriah by his willingness to sacrifice Isaac.

We looked at Hebrews Chapter 11 at the floowing acts of FAITH:

Abel heard from God about the blood sacrifice, believed it and acted upon it.
Enoch heard from God about living a life pleasing to God and did the same.
Noah heard about the coming judgment and how to escape and he believed it and obeyed.
Abraham heard about "coming out" from among his people and being holy and he believed and obeyed. He heard God speak about his future (Genesis 15) believed him and obeyed. He heard God ask for everything to be laid down at God's feet and sacrificed back to God, believed him and obeyed.

Next week we will be looking at the fact that hearing is our obligation, and a choice that we make. It will also examine various hindrances to hearing.