Sunday, May 20, 2012

Faith Is the Realization of Things Hoped For

Today, I am combining two blog posts into one.  The first topic of discussion involves Dr. David Jeremiah's television broadcast that answers the question, What is Faith?

From Hebrews chapter 11, Dr. Jeremiah discusses the foundations of faith and what it means to be a follower of Christ. This unique message was presented at the live event at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
As usual, Dr. Jeremiah does an excellent job of explaining what it means to have faith by utilizing the God's Word.

  Here is the outline:


Dr. David Jeremiah

“What Is Faith?”
Dallas Rally
Hebrews 11:1-3
May 20, 2012

Hebrews 10:38 James 2:19

I. The Description of Faith – Hebrews 11:1

A. Faith Is the Realization of Things Hoped For

B. Faith Is the Reality of Things Not Seen 1 Peter 1:8-9

1.  Step One: Perception – The Mind

2. Step Two: Persuasion – The Emotion

3. Step Three: Performance – The Will

II. The Demonstration of Faith – Hebrews 11:2

A.  By Faith We Commend Ourselves to the Creator

B. By Faith We Comprehend Creation
Hebrews 11:3
Psalm 33:6, 9

III. The Demands of Faith
Isaiah 55:6
Jeremiah 29:13
Amos 5:4

The entire broadcast is excellent!  I especially enjoyed the account of a man who placed his faith in the evolutionary fossil "Piltdown Man," only to find out decades later that it was all a hoax.

It matters Who (or what) we place our faith in. Those who place their faith in earthly things will be highly disappointed after they die. Such things will not matter in eternity.

It is better to place one's faith in the Person of Jesus Christ - the Lord and Savior of our lives! He does not disappoint! His promises can be relied upon because he has kept all of the ones he had made in his first visit to planet earth.  We can be confident that Christ will keep the remaining promises at the culmination of history.

The second part of my post are some thoughts that I'd like to share about my Bible Study Fellowship experience of the course of study entitled, "The Acts of the Apostles."

During this study, one of the most significant lessons I learned was that the reality of the nature of false teachers instructs us towards the need to continually read and study the Bible.  This is one of the best ways to hold strong in the faith so that we won't be led away from the true gospel of Christ by "empty, boastful words."

False teachers often profess moral liberation from the dictates of the Bible. What many individual do not realize is that such moral liberation is actually slavery to depravity.

The true gospel - which has once been delivered to the saints - frees believers from immoral behavior.


Because our love for Jesus causes us to WANT to avoid sinning. This doesn't mean that we are perfect. The ability to sin doesn't just disappear forever. But the closer we get to Jesus, the less desirable previous sinful acts are to us. I know because it has happened in my own life!  I look back on what I did in the past, who I was at the time, and how sinful desires could have ruined my life.  But the grace of God that surpasses all understanding has set me free through the cross of Christ from the desire to sin and from the punishment that I deserved.

False teachers can't save.  False teachers often (and subtly) try to drag people away from the truth and back into sinful lifestyles. That is how you can recognize them. If a religion teacher is leading people away from the truth of the Bible, then we know that he/she is not leading by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit who indwells within a born-again believer would NEVER lead him/her astray from God's Holy Word!

If you are experiencing being led away from what the Bible teaches, then it is not the Holy Spirit that is guiding your life.

It is someone else.

The closer we get to the end times, the more ratcheted up and emboldened false teachers become.

Millions of people who do not know Christ yet and haven't studied the Bible (in order to have the ability to discern the truth from error)  are very vulnerable to falsehood.  Unfortunately, they can be easily fooled into any type of religiosity, cult or false spirituality; simply because they do not know the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Staying in the Scriptures helps believers to understand God's character, His plan for the world, and His will for our lives.

When I am deep in the Word, I find myself not worrying so much about the politics of the day, the criminality that so-called leaders in our government are getting away with, the immorality that is being called "good" when it is obviously evil (e.g. approval of "gay" marriage; the continued holocaust of aborted babies in the womb) or what the future may hold next year.  I know that God is in control. He will turn every evil towards good.  I know that past evil in my life has been ultimately turned for good.  This does not mean that Christians don't suffer in this fallen world.  It means that no matter what happens, I know for a fact that I belong to God and no one can snatch me out of the hands of Christ!

Back to the issues described above.  The ability to not worry about the political, economic, foreign policies, or social misconduct going on in this chaotic world does not mean that I shouldn't speak out against the things that are not of God.  Jesus told us that in this world we will have trouble.  But we are to take heart because He has overcome the world!  The book of Revelation teaches us that knowing about what kinds of things are prophesied to happen (and increase)  the closer we get to the end times helps believers to recognize why they are occurring.

God's plan for the world is for all to come to the mercy and saving grace through confession and repentance at the foot of the cross of Christ, and for all souls to be saved.  There are people who will refuse.  But there are others who will respond.  My job, as a follower of Christ, is to spread seeds about the gospel and share the path of salvation with those who are genuinely searching and are willing to listen. 

This study has helped my understanding of the Scriptures, as most Bible studies do.  There will always be many lessons to be learned.  We have never "arrived" when it comes to studying the Bible!There is always something new to learn each time we study it. 

However, the gospel is central to our belief and salvation.  Just like Paul stated during his missionary journeys, no matter what happens to us here on this earth, our hope is in the resurrection of  the dead.  Jesus Christ is the only God-man who ever achieved being resurrected from the dead.  He showed us who His is, why he came to earth to save us, and what is required in order to be saved and reconciled back unto God the Father.  As Christ has instructed us in John 3:3 - We must be born again!

I find that studying the Bible brings me closer in relationship with Christ.  I think about Him more throughout each and every day.  I am more grateful for everything that He has blessed me with.  I am comforted by his presence in my life when bad or sad events happen.

I don't allow minor physical ailments to bother me as much.  I can cope with the sin, immorality, corruption, and evil that exists in the world simply because it is a temporary state of being while in this world.  Jesus told us, "in this world you will have trouble (tribulation).  But take heart!  For I have overcome the world."  Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!  No one can take those who are his own away!  That is our eternal security!  Why would anyone in their right mind reject that?

The sad answer to that question is that some people do, deliberately choose to reject Christ.  More on that later. 

In Acts 26:16-18, Paul's aim when he gave the gospel to the Gentiles was revealed:

1.  Appointed as a servant and witness
2.  To open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God
3.  so that they may receive forgiveness of sin
4.  An a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ.

I want to memorize that portion of Scripture because I think it succinctly answer the call to "give people the reason for the hope that is in us" as believers.  It gives a great starting point for witnessing to those who have little knowledge of the Bible and do not know Christ as Savior and Lord.

The reactions of people towards Paul's witnessing efforts as they are recorded in the Bible reminds me of the fact that it is the Holy Spirit who saves.  All that I, or any other Christian can do, is spread the seeds of the gospel.

For example, when Paul gave his speeches before Felix and Agrippa (leaders at that time), they both rejected it for different reasons.  Felix was well acquainted with The Way (gospel of Christ before the term "Christianity" was used), but his admitted fear of God's call to righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come prevented him from being a believer.  Agrippa listened to the gospel but said to Paul that he shouldn't think that he (Agrippa) would be converted to Christianity so quickly.

This teaches me to be patient, continue to pray for the salvation of those who (so far) refuse to believe, and to ask God to give me the right words to help each individual who needs Christ.  That list includes all of us!

Because I started this study so late at lesson 27, I hope to go back and do the lessons that I missed over the BSF summertime break.  This will motivate me to share more from Bible study instead of  just politics and the election race here at this blog.  During my reading at other blogs and other online communities, I have noticed that people often grow weary of all the "bad news" out there.    But I also think that it is highly important for Christians to be aware of what is going on in the secular world so that they can counter what is being said out there with the truth.

There is a trend these days to be politically correct in the world which means that we should accept every kind of religion/cult/apostate belief that can be found as "equal" and "true".  It is actually impossible to do that because they cannot all be true at the same time.  "Diversity" is the liberal word often used to make anything and everything acceptable; without considering God's call in the Bible to be discerning.  If you don't toe the line of their liberal mindset, then you are labeled a "bigot," "intolerant," "divisive," and "discriminatory."  Well, Jesus taught us to discriminate between what is good and what is evil; otherwise we would fall for any thought in the imaginations of men that runs counter to God's Word and His will for our lives!

Have any readers here at Talk Wisdom ever seen the bumper sticker that utilizes several religious symbols and spells out the word "COEXIST"?  We must discern what the message really is in that declaration.  Is it simply for everyone to "just get along" or is it a more sinister message to claim that all religions are equal?

Paul overcame the superstitions of the Malta islanders.  He laid hands on Publius' father so that he would be healed from fever and dysentery.  Paul preached at Rome and some believed; but others didn't.  The verse from Isaiah 6:8-9 applies today just as it did in Paul's day: 

8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?"  And I said, "Here am I.  Send me!"

9He said, "go and tell this people:  Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing but never perceiving.

So we see that not all will accept the message of the gospel.  But we are called to share the gospel boldly - as we should -  and know that it is God who does the saving!

Dr. Jeremiah's message in his sermon included the reiterating of Hebrews 11:1 and 11:3:

Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:3 - Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

The next time someone tells you that you are ignorant to believe in Creation or Intelligent Design because it is a faith issue, remind them that the Theory of Evolution (Big Bang and Macro-Evolution, specifically) must be taken on faith too.  You weren't there.  I wasn't there.  No human being was there to claim what is true about the origin of the universe.  Therefore, such a theory can only be based on the faith that a person puts into it.

Recall in Dr. Jeremiah's sermon how heartily the man wanted to believe in the Piltdown man fossil.  He lived for decades "preaching" the evolutionary theory that the fossil was the "missing link" between apes and man.  But when it was revealed that it was a complete fabrication and hoax (especially the details about how the bones were made to look old and the teeth were filed down) we could only imagine the disappointment of that man who had placed blind faith in an object found on the ground; which was manipulated to look like a true fossil.

Instead, put your faith in the truth!  Jesus is the truth!  Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by Him!!

Don't invest your life in a lie.  Don't allow others to sway your thoughts into "exchanging the truth for a lie."  Once you belong to Jesus, he will never leave nor forsake you! 


Steve said...

You did a great job on this Christine!

Sigh ...

Most days the following is how I feel ... though no one knows ...

Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.

Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.

As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.

Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein.

Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.

Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day:

Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.

Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?

Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck?

For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest ...

Christinewjc said...

I certainly hear ya Steve!

The book of Job has a way of expressing grief like no other. It is easier said than done but all that Job suffered and endured teaches us to hang in matter what.

When Job's friends accused him of sinning and thus having all of these afflictions placed upon him, Job endured. Even his own wife could not get him to curse God and die...despite all that he had gone through.

I know of someone who attempted to read through the Bible starting at
Genesis with the plan to read through to Revelation. From what I remember, she told me that she could not get past the book of Job. It stunned her and caused her to stop reading. I tried to tell her that there is a purpose to that book, but she didn't like what was written and therefore, she gave up reading.

How much did she miss out on?

How many blessings happened to Job after he endured this test?

How many blessings could she have learned about if she continued reading the Bible?

Job: "What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?"

I tell people to start with the book of John. I also recommend doing a "read through the
Bible" format that has readings in both the Old and New Testament.

Who knows Steve? If the "powers that be" in this evil domain known as "the world" steal the election for Obummer a second time, maybe the Rapture will occur and we will be outta here!!

Steve said...

Christine, I can't imagine someone not liking what's written in Job. Reading the Bible through starting from Genesis and working your way through Revelation usually doesn't work. I've read the Bible through many times and I've found that reading Genesis then Matthew then Exodus then Mark etc. all the way through works pretty well. When you finish with the new testament you have only the "minor" prophets left in the old. And that way you're never too long out of either testament. I think to get the most out of the prophets though is to read Kings and Chronicles, Joshua, etc. along with the prophets as they lived and prophesied at the time of the Kings. Just my opinion though; but I'm a man of little consequence.
There was a 10 year period that I would not go to bed before I read a minimum of five chapters of Proverbs besides any book I was reading at the time. I would read anywhere from (believe it or not) one hour to six hours a day; and would get up at 4 a.m. every morning to pray for an hour before work. Sigh ... those were the days ... and it saddens me to think on those things now.
I guess I've said way too much so I'd better let you get busy, instead of rambling of with meaningless things.

Christinewjc said...

That's good advice, Steve. Many "read through the Bible in one year" courses rotate readings between the Old and New Testaments.

I can see that you are well versed (pardon the pun - ha ha) in the Bible! Reading from the book of Proverbs each night sounds like a nice idea for me to do over the summer months. Praying more is important to me. Bible study always encourages me to pray more.

And don't you ever think that you are "rambling with meaningless things" here at this blog. I appreciate your input immensely!

It's another busy day for me today, but I will be preparing a new blog post over the next few days.

God bless you Steve! And keep on keepin' on fighting the good fight!

Christinewjc said...

P.S. Did you see Sarah Palin on Hannity last night? I roared with laughter when she stated that the establishment Republicans seem to have the fighting instinct of Mr. Snuffleupagus!!

Christinewjc said...

P.S.S. There are rumors floating around that Obummer is going to choose a new VP candidate. Notice that his election logo (barf!!!) doesn't include gaffe-prone Joe Biden?

Steve said...

Thank you for the encouragement Christine. You're very kind.
No ma'am I didn't see the Hannity Show as I don't watch television except very rarely ... maybe some golf on a Sunday, and that almost never anymore. Perhaps Obama will pick a new VP ... maybe Hillary, who knows. I'm sure there's going to be some sort of surprise in store for the good citizens of the United States before the election.

Susan Smith said...

You TWO keep me roaring like a lion in SC. I want to say STOOOOOP it, but am afraid you might. Loving you both! (ss)

DENICE said...

I think it is very difficult answer ‘What is the faith?’ I just joined Thomas Meano church. He guides everyone to know about Jesus & his love .