Make or Break
A while ago in a sermon about Faith, I used the illustration of a light switch to speak about the essential connection necessary in order for Faith to work. Our homes may well be wired to the National Electricity Grid, but without switching on, the house will remain cold and in darkness. In the same way, one may attend Church week by week, month by month and year by year but without a personal connection with the Almighty, ones life will remain powerless and fruitless. Christianity is not about Religion, it is about Relationship, about being personally connected to God through Jesus our Saviour, for without that connection, there can be no Christian life. It is essential for every man woman and child under the sound of my voice today to MAKE that connection, – and only Faith makes it possible.
There is a “New Age” theology that would have us believe that Faith can make anything happen, but this is erroneous teaching and falls far short of Biblical Faith. Our Christian Faith is not about making things happen, but about believing that what has already happened on the Cross has already paid the price for everything we need for life and Godliness. Our Faith is in the fact that Salvation is already ours, healing is already ours, provision is already ours, grace is already ours, and heaven is already ours. “Faith is the evidence of things not yet seen”.
This message was at the very core of everything that Jesus himself taught us. He was continually saying: “have faith in God”, “Oh ye of little faith”, “believe and doubt not”, “trust and fear not”, “believe and receive” … and so on! His whole life and ministry was to get us to believe, to trust, to have faith in His words and in his works. God wants us to trust in him without any reservation, without any fear.
My Sermon today entitled “Make or Break” is about Faith and Fear. For while Faith makes the connection, Fear breaks the connection. Let me explain! Most of you DO truly believe that God heals the sick, you have the faith that God can heal, but you fear that he will not heal you. You have faith that God can provide, but you fear that he will not provide for you. You have the faith that God gives shelter, but you fear that he will not give you a house. Faith makes the connection and fear breaks that connection. Understanding this wisdom and overcoming this weakness, will change your life and your walk with God.
Let us return to the illustration of the electrical appliance. In every appliance the manufacturer will fit a fuse. This fuse is the essential delicate wire that links the switch to the power source. The power must first pass through that tiny fuse, before it reaches the appliance, and if the fuse is broken, or “blown” the appliance will not work. Usually it is a fault in the appliance that blows the fuse, and it may only be a small fault, but without the safety of the fuse the power surge would destroy the appliance. You may have a “top of the range” cooker, “top of the range” fridge-freezer, “top of the range” flat-screen TV, and a “top of the range” washer-dryer but if the fuse is blown and broken, the appliance, however chic, is only an ornament.
I believe that God has many “top of the range” people in the Church today. Good people, great people, wonderful people, people with ability, people with character, people with gifting, good-looking people, but unfortunately most of them are just ornaments, filling the pews, and not functioning believer’s…
because the connection with God is broken?
Are there any “ornaments” in your Church Pews?
Then there are some who have never been connected-up in the first place and they continue to work and walk in sinful and disobedient ways, thus separated from God, disconnected from His love and his life. Then there are others who were once well connected to him, but the fuse has blown, the connection has been broken and they live now in fear and not in faith. In this mode the devil is able to find room and sets about destroying them from within. His attacks are like a rust that eats away at their component parts, and leaves them broken and unable to function, and like any broken appliance – left discarded.
Everyone of us sooner or later will find ourselves in this Make or Break predicament, and it is essential that we understand how to respond to God in it. As I’ve said, Faith Makes the connection, but Fear Breaks the connection. We must understand that God cannot get the blessing to you without faith, and God cannot operate where there is fear. If the fuse on your heart has been broken, then its time to fix it and get rid of those fears. It is time to trust God and to trust him completely.
In the moments left me now today, I want to deal with fear, and hopefully help you to understand how you can live in faith, free from fear. The writer to the Hebrews reminds us that without faith it is impossible to please God. Heb 11:6.
God is looking for men and women of Faith. He is not looking for men and women of great ability, great understanding, great intelligence, great wisdom, great oratory, great influence and so on, – God doesn’t need any of that, he has all of that in abundance himself, but He needs men and women of faith to bring those treasures from Him to a hurting and troubled world.
Some of you who do not know any better will preach and speak of a “God who is there for us – he is there to care for us, to watch
over us, to protect and provide for us, and to see us through to the end”. But God is not there for us, WE are here for HIM!
God did not put you on this planet for your wife, or for your children or for your employer, not even for your Church, – God put you here for HIM. You have a job, an assignment and a destiny to fulfil for him, and you CANNOT do it, without FAITH.
You need faith first, then you can add to your faith Knowledge, gift and ability and so on, but without Faith, God cannot use you, and where there is fear, there can be no faith. Faith makes the connection, but Fear breaks that connection. So we MUST deal with fear before God can bring us to our assignment and to our destiny … and it weighs heavily upon my heart to help you.
God has been showing me in recent days that my present assignment is to “prepare food” spiritual food for hungry souls.
I know that there are hundreds of hungry believers waiting on these messages week by week. If you look on the Sanctuary web page you will see that over *2400 hits were made in recent days,
(100 up on last week) * as of 6th May 2012
that means that many people are anxious to know what the next “meal” the next spiritually nourishing message will contain, and only God knows what he has in store for you in the days to come. Today’s message comes to you as the result of a very long personal struggle to find this truth for myself before I am able share it with you. But I am assured that by sharing it with you, it will be food and nourishment to your believing soul as it has been to mine. Gods word does not return to him empty –
Praise God for evermore.
Now let us consider what I am calling the progression of faith.
Paul says in Romans 12:v3 that God has dealt to every man “the measure of faith” – he does not say “every Christian” so we must
assume that every man has been given a “measure” a component ability to put faith to work. This of course is evident in every strata of life. We all, both saint and sinner alike, exercise faith every single day. We put our faith in the bus driver, faith in the post office, faith in the hospital staff, faith in the travel agent, faith in the swimming instructor or the life guard, … in fact we usually have no difficulty or problem in putting faith in every other human being around us, yet it
seems strangely difficult to us, to put or have faith in God;
and that speaks volumes!
But God knows that while we may put faith in most others around us, that faith is based on what we can see, and what our senses tell us. Faith in God is a whole other ball game. Faith in God is about what we cannot see, what we cannot sense, – our only guarantee is His word on the matter … that’s faith.
So God has given us this “measure” of faith, but in order for God to get us to live by faith in him, we must grow that faith, we must add to that measure and build on that foundation.
We must learn to trust him for what we cannot see, what we cannot feel, and what we cannot understand. We must learn
to trust him beyond the possible for the impossible, beyond the probable for the improbable, and beyond the natural for the super-natural. This is where fear creeps in to destroy faith,
to disconnect us from what little measure of faith we have.
Let us look at a Biblical example of this as we see it in the Gospel
of Matthew in the 8th Chapter, and beginning at verse 23,
we read …
“And when he (Jesus) was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him,
saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he said unto them,
Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”
Picture this event: It comes right after the sermon on the Mount, and the disciples and the Lord probably wanted some quiet time alone; so they got into this boat or ship and launched out into the water. Jesus was clearly tired and lay down for a nap. Now I know that He knew there was a storm brewing, (God always knows what’s ahead of us) and although none of us or them knew, he did, and yet he fell asleep. That tells me that he feared nothing! What a wonderful way to live. Lord bring us there were we can live without a care! So the storm whips up a fear in the hearts of his disciples and in a kind of panic they come and wake him, with the accusation “don’t you care that we perish”.
(isn’t is amazing that when we ourselves are failing and
falling short, we’ll find someone else to blame?)
So Jesus responds with the words “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” In other words he was reminding them that fear was reducing them back to the place of “little faith”. Back to the original measure, a small measure – there had been no growth, no real strengthening of their faith? I believe he was in fact challenging them themselves as to why they had not dealt with the storm? I believe he expected THEM to do what HE was about to do. So he arose and rebuked the storm and there was a great calm. Faith will accomplish the impossible and bring the
super-natural into the natural.
Notice what Matthew adds:
” But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” Matthew wants us to understand that what Jesus did, he did as a man, not as a super-man, or a god-man, but as a Man full of the Holy Spirit,
a man with a connection to God. Faith makes that connection, while Fear breaks the connection. Fear had rendered all of the disciples “powerless” in that situation; and fear will break your connection to the miracles that you so desperately need. Fear is a spirit that will connect us to the Devil and to every evil imagination. It is a demon that must be cast out.
The greatest fears that people struggle with are Death, Poverty, Failure and Change. If we do not face our fears down, and destroy them, then they are likely to destroy us. Fear is the Devils greatest weapon in his armoury to defeat and destroy saint and sinner alike.
But “God has not given us the spirit of fear“, HE has given us faith, and if our faith is firmly built on the foundation of the blood of Jesus, then there is more than sufficient power to destroy fear and lead us to triumph. Jesus’ Blood will always, bring us through to victory. There is no weapon in all of Hell powerful enough to withstand the blood; … Hell has already been conquered by that blood. Jesus Blood was ordained to affect us internally, externally and eternally!
Now we need to understand that there is a progression process at work in the building of our faith. As a Church we may have mastered faith to trust God for a “port-a-cabin” for our Sunday School building, but trusting him for half a million for a new hall, or Five Million for a new Church is another matter, we must progress from the one to the other. It takes faith to believe God for £10, but greater faith to trust him for £1000. Believe me I know.
Some of you will know that I am Founder and President Emeritus of Foundation Ministries, a Christian Counselling organization and charity which I set up years ago here in Northern Ireland and which still continues to reach out to those in crisis to this day. I know from my own experience that there were times in the early days when we needed £100 to pay a telephone bill and that there was nothing like £100 in the cash box. We were forced to rely on God by Faith to provide what was needed. Today we still rely on Him to meet our needs, which run to Thousands. Sometimes the “red” reminder or final notice had been pushed through the door and still there was no supply. Have you been there? I know many have been!
In those moments we “feared & fainted” or doubted that God was standing with us, but looking back now over 30 years of that work, I can see Gods miraculous provision every step of the way. When the funds were not in on time, it was Gods way of “stretching” our faith. We could have given up and given in, and walked away from hurting people, but that is not Gods way. Instead, we believed God even in the face of failure, but God did not fail us in the end. Our faith was stretched and we were able to trust him for more next time, and also able to better plan and prepare for such eventualities reoccurring, – we were on a learning curve. God was trying to show us that HE was our source and that we should put no confidence in any other. God is your source also, and it is a source that will never fail.
The fear of failing faith, is a weariness to the Spirit. One can become tired of waiting and discouraged, wearied when it looks like God has failed us. But remember we are supposed to be
walking by Faith and not by Sight. Faith is not about what things “look like” its about what “God says”. Paul in His letter to the Galatians, says; “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not”. Gal 6:9
As I said a moment ago, I have fainted many times, feeling and fearing that God had let me down. This I have discovered was “blowing” the whole process. I was literally blowing the fuse, cutting the supply, stopping the flow of the miraculous.
Faith Makes the Connection, Fear Breaks the connection.
It was a make or break situation and I had blown it! Have you “blown it” with Gods supply? Are you gripped by fear and robbed of faith, if so this message is for you.
We find the answer in Psalm 27:v13 where the Psalmist says:
“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living”. In other words, what kept the Psalmist from fainting was his belief, his faith that he would indeed live to see Gods Good, Gods Favour. There was no fear that God would indeed break his word or break his promise. So when you are tempted to think that things will not work out for you, or that you will not get your miracle, just keep saying, “No fear, No fear” God keeps His Promises. He will never fail or forsake any of his children. No fear.
When Gods process brings us to this place, then we will begin to walk in the miraculous as we should, in all the blessing and benefits that are the rightful inheritance of the Sons of God. We will in fact walk in Faith like Jesus did, in a connection without Fear and in Gods Favour. The flow of Heaven will pass right through us to those around us … as I said, we will walk like Jesus did, not over-working but over-flowing.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD.
In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he writes
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. Phil 3:13-14
Now Paul had a lot that he needed to “forget” about in his past? Before his Damascus Road encounter with Jesus Christ, Paul
had been far from “friendly” towards any calling themselves “Christian”. But Paul was not being focused on what he was, rather on what he was becoming. The word “forgetting” used here in the Greek text implies a shift of focus, and this is a lesson we all need to learn.
Begin today to renew your focus on the faithfulness and love of God. Forget about all those times in the past when you thought that God failed you, when your prayers were not answered on time, when your faith seemed to go unrewarded, and remember that it is more likely that you yourself short-circuited, or blew the process by allowing fear to break the connection with God. Forget all that, and move on and move up today
to a fresh expectation that faith, your faith in a faithful God,
can move that mountain out of your way, whatever it be.
For God can do anything, but fail!
God Bless you