|Series Theme: "Faith Sermons"|
Title: 10. Small Steps of Faith
1. Faith & Obedience
a) A Small Amount of Faith
Jesus said, “ If you have faith as small as a mustard seed , you can say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.” (Lk 17:6)
b) Simple Obedience
e.g.1 “I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Mt 44)
e.g.2 “Do not worry about tomorrow” (Mt 6:34) and “ Do not be anxious about anything but by prayer… present your requests to God and the peace of God… will guard your hearts and minds (Phil 4:6,7)
c) An aside:
When we talk about “the Cross” we are referring to the finished work of Christ when he died on the cross outside Jerusalem two thousand years ago (an historical event) when he took all of our sin – our wrongs, failures, inadequacies, shortcomings, and paid the price and took our punishment.
God simply requires us to believe in “the Cross” as being there for us, for me!
2. A Warning
A frightening verse: Gal 6:7 A man reaps what he sows.
a) Applications of it
These DO apply to Christians as much as anyone else.
They will not threaten your eternal salvation – unless they are signs that you have moved purposefully away from God (apostasy),
But they DO have repercussions.
We spoke last week of God's ‘laws' simply being explanations as to how God designed us to work best.
When we live contrary to that best, it bears fruit - bad fruit!
Much of the Christian life is dealing with that fruit from the past.
Sanctification is becoming more like Jesus, more clean, more free.
b) Two Questions that Arise
What if at the time I didn't realise it was sin? Will I still suffer the repercussions – reaping what I sowed?
If I did it before I was a Christian, will I still reap the fruit once I become a Christian? (We'll answer both together)
3. The Matter of Guilt
a) The Fact of Guilt
Guilt doesn't change – it was still guilt.
Satan will try to help you justify it.
Don't evade it or deny it, facing it is crucial
1 Jn 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
b) Dealing with our guilt
1 Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Facing it, acknowledging it and confessing it are God's designed way of dealing with it.
Only then can the work of Jesus on the Cross fully apply and be worked out in detail to free us.
c) Different ways it works
When we come to Christ, he deals with us uniquely:
i) Some have major confession at new birth – all the big issues are dealt with then.
ii) Some say a ‘general sorry' at new birth and then have big issue crises when all stuff dealt with.
iii) Some say a ‘general sorry' at new birth and then have small crises when each issue dealt with.
We need to realise (and it doesn't have to be embarrassing or awkward or seriously painful) that where there have been things from our past that have never been properly resolved yet, then they will STILL bear fruit that hinders our lives today.
Eventually we WILL have to deal with whatever it is.
4. Recapping Faith
These things come to light when God brings them up.
When God brings them up, it is so we can deal with them.
They are dealt with when we confess them and ask forgiveness for those specific sins, on the basis of Jesus having died on the Cross.
Confession and belief in the Cross for forgiveness and cleansing is an act of faith.
It's not what you feel; it's what you do.
a) It's about the Truth
Jn 8:31,32 If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and (then) the truth will set you free."
Observe the order:
b) Example 1:
Ken – took drugs in his early 20's – incl. LSD
Was 'born again' in his late 20s.
He still gets flashbacks from the use of the LSD years earlier.
How is this stopped?
Will just praying for it to stop brings God's deliverance?
No, “ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
You need to deal with the root cause of it – the sin & guilt
It is dealt with by confession and the Cross.
Confession & believe is an act of faith.
c) Example 2:
Olivier has a bad relationship with her parents when she was young.
They weren't good parents and she defied them and demeaned them in her thinking.
Years after she left home (and stopped speaking to her parents) she became a Christian.
Olivier struggled with relationships and wondered why.
Eph 6:2,3 “Honor your father and mother"--which is the first commandment with a promise-- "that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Simply asking God to restore the family relationship is inadequate – it doesn't deal with the root cause.
Acknowledging the bad relationship (and her side of that) requires confession and reliance on the Cross.
Confession and belief is an act of faith.
Where the parent has passed on, nothing more can be done
Where the parent is alive, Olivier needs to ask God for wisdom to know how to approach the parent for reconciliation.
5. Mountains & Molehills
Each of these incidents is in fact 'a molehill'.
Satan seeks to make them 'a mountain' – so big it seems impossible to move.
Mt 17:20 if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there' and it will move.
These are small steps of faith (Don't let him kid you they are big)
You only need small amounts of faith, to start to deal with small steps (of faith) needed to deal with the unresolved issues of the past.
So remember, it's: