Program Air Date - 12-10-00



Good morning and welcome to our program! It's great to have you with us today as we give this time to our God. Thank you so much for joining us this Lord's Day, as we give praise and honor to our Creator. It is always a privilege to have you with us.

This morning we will again have the opportunity to study God's Precious Word and to sing praises to His glorious name. Please do your part in making this offering acceptable in His sight. Now, will you bow with me in prayer.

It seems like we have seen a lot of flooding during the past few years. In fact, many lives have been altered and even lost to heavy rains and to swelling rivers. I often see those who are in such situations looking for higher ground to get away from the dangers of the flood.

Well, as Christians we also are told to seek a higher ground, which will place us above the problems, sin and temptation of this life. Our first song this morning deals with this very idea. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing the hymn, "Higher Ground."
(SONG # 1)


Living the Christian life is not always easy. Life is pretty much a daily struggle to be the type of people which God wants us to be. It is not always easy to do and say the right things, but the truth is that's what God expects.

Christian living is especially hard when we look around us and see so many of this world enjoying the evils of it. We should never kid ourselves into thinking the sin does not exist or that we will not give into sin. That fact is, we are human and sinful things appeal to our flesh. It is only natural that we are easily enticed and that we often do that which is wrong because we are responding to our physical desires which we have been created with.

James put it like this, "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death," James 1:14-15! So when we allow our own desire to conceive we sin and as we all know sin leads to death.

Now back to what God truly wants of us as His Children. In the same opening of James 1, down in verse 27, we read that, "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this:... to keep oneself unspotted from the world. So being Godly is the opposite of being worldly. Peter understood this same idea when He said, "Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless," 2 Peter 3:14. Here this inspired writer says that it must be our goal as Christians to be without spot and blameless. You see, righteous living is not only a suggestion in the Bible, it is a command if we are to be pleasing to God. So, it must be our goal as followers of God to be found without spot and blameless before the Lord, because only the pure heart will see God, Matthew 5:8.

Now if you think about it, all of this makes perfect sense, Why? Because we are to be like Christ! Isn't that the reason we are called Christians. In Ephesians 5:1, we read, "Therefore be imitators of God as dear children." Our actions must show forth our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So what manner of person are you before this world? What do others see when they look your way or hear your voice? Do they see one who is without spot and blameless just as Christ was? Why not start acting more like Christ today, so that others will be encouraged by our example and so that Christ may truly be glorified.

Today, we will conclude our study on a true Living Faith. Our discussion this morning will reflect on and summarize the many great ideas we have considered over the past few months. So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with our study from God's Word. The name of the next selection is, "I'm Not Ashamed To Own My Lord."
(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

We've been talking the last many weeks about faith and what faith is all about, and this morning we want to conclude those discussions that we've had together and try to maybe have an idea of what faith is really all about and what we have seen so far. I wanted to go back really to the very beginning and just remind you of a few verses, a few things that we have actually discussed from our text that we've used over this period of time there in Hebrews chapter 11. Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 1, you might remember that the definition was given for faith where we see that faith is not really based in things that we see or things that we really can find somewhere or look up, but it' based really on things that are not seen, that the belief, the hope that is found in things that are not seen, and then in verse 6 of the same passage that we read, it tells us there, Without faith it is impossible to please Go. So really that is the basis as to why we have spent these several months discussing faith because it is so important according to what we have read here in these verses. It tells us that not only we have to have faith in order that God might be pleased, but it tells us what faith is really all about.

We've looked at many Bible characters that are given to us here in the book of Hebrews chapter 11, and we started out really pretty much near the beginning at the children of Adam and Eve, as we looked at Abel and how that Abel really by faith gave a more excellent sacrifice than his brother Cain, as we saw there in verse 4. And as we looked at this we really tried to draw out the idea, the conclusion that he had an unholier attitude, in other words, his disposition, his relationship with God, was in somehow much better because God accepted his sacrifice. Thus, also rejecting Cain. So there was an attitude that he had that we should learn from, that we should gain from because really it tells us here that that's why his sacrifice was more acceptable. I know that all of us as we strive daily to live as we should, as we strive daily to be the people that God would have us to be, that we want to do everything that we can to secure ourselves and to make sure that God is also pleased with our sacrifice that we give to Him. So it's good to see men like Abel who were approved of by God because of the attitude, the holiness of their attitude that they had and that they demonstrated on a regular basis.

We also discussed there some information about a man named Enoch that is mentioned also in the next verse, verse 5, and how that Enoch was a man of God, truly a man of God, and we tried to gain there some ideas about how he lived daily. He was committed to the work of God. In fact, here if you notice even in this verse that we had read, it says that, He did not taste of death. Now that tells you a lot about this man's commitment. Everyone else on this earth from the very beginning, Adam and Eve, and so on and so forth, because of their sin, will die at some point. Well, Enoch because he was found so pleasing before his God, he never died. What happened? He was taken up rather by God directly into paradise. So we find this and it gives us great encouragement because we see his commitment was one that was daily. If you remember there back in Exodus chapter 5 and verse 21, where it talks about Enoch. It discussed his daily walk . The concept that he walked with God. He was really with God. He was a part of a daily service and that's again, what you and I can gain from his example in understanding again what type of faith we should have as followers of God.

The next Bible character that begins there in verse 7 is Noah. Noah was a great man of God. There are not many of us who have not heard of the great story of Noah as he built the ark, even though there are many people that cursed him and mocked him and spit at him. He still did that which was according to the will of God, and did it in a desert basically, as he built this giant ship. And people were wondering what is wrong with this crazy man. But Noah again shows a great faith because he was willing to go against what he would know to be normal or really make sense in this life and still willing to accept that which his creator instructed him to do. And because of that, we again find that Noah was a man who respected God. He not only respected Him in being obedient to the will that He had established before Noah, but he respected Him enough to know that He was powerful, to know that God would do what He had said, that He would bring rains to cover the earth, that He also would destroy all the wickedness of the earth. So he understood and believed truly in the great power of God, the Creator, the because of this we find that it says, that his faith saved him, and not only him, but his family, his household. Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives were all saved from the flood because of the great faith, the great respect for God and his power, believing truly that He will do the things that He said He would.

You know, you and I have a similar respect, or should today, a fear that God has given us in order to know that yes, He is powerful. He will do the things that we read in the Bible and that someday we will either receive an eternal reward of heaven or we might even lose our souls to hell, if we have not done what God has asked us to do. So God is powerful and these things that He tells us truly will come to pass. They will be those things that are truly according to the word of God.

Another wonderful Bible character that I enjoy discussing is Abraham that was mentioned next in our text. We spent a week discussing the concept of what a great man Abraham was. Many different names given to this man, Abram. Even the concept of really being the father of the faithful. You see again, he was a man who was well-trusted not only by God but by his family because he was known to be faithful. How was he known to be faithful? Because he again was obedient in his life. He knew that God's will was supreme. What did our text tell us about this great man, this great individual here, Abraham? Well it told us that he was willing to leave his home land, leave his family, his extended family, and go to a place that God told him to that he really knew not where he was going. God says, I will show you a place, but He didn't say where it was. But Abraham had the faith to do it, to just pull up his stakes, to pull up his own family and to go to a place that he didn't really know about, but God said, I will show you. In fact, later also found out that really he would not receive that inheritance, that reward, but it would be his descendants. But still he was a man that stood up and that did what God had asked. He realized that God's will is supreme and that he could count on God to do those things that He told him he would do, again.

Not only that but Abraham was also mentioned as being one who had a great sacrifice there. In fact, he was willing to even give his own son. He knew that God had promised him that it was through the seed of the son here that he would actually bless all nations, but yet, he realized that he had to also do what God had asked him to do, and even put Isaac there on the altar and he tried to slay the son, but God stopped him. Again, because He saw his great commitment, his great belief, his great willingness to accept God's law as being supreme no matter what might seem strange. And that's what I find so interesting about all of these characters that we've discussed. These individuals were willing to stay with God, to follow God, and do His will, even though that reality might tell us something different. You might say, "Well, this doesn't make sense." They were just willing to obey Him, acknowledging Him as being supreme, acknowledging Him as being all-powerful, acknowledging Him as being one that required a daily commitment, also having a holy attitude.

One of the women that we find mentioned here in this great faith chapter is the wife of Abraham, Sara. We know that she had a few problems with her faith because she laughed, not really believing at first that God could cause such an old woman, maybe at 90 years old to conceive and bear a child, but yet, she found out later that this truly was the will of God, and that God is powerful and was all-powerful and truly she did conceive. And you can imagine her surprise as she began to see the results of having a child, of actually being about to bear a child at her age and she probably changed very quickly to understand that God is a great God. Well, she is mentioned as having also a great faith, a great faith that committed her to be willing to commit her child to the Lord, to commit him as was expected according to the will of the Father.

There's another beautiful example as we move down the line a bit and we consider that Isaac begot Jacob and Jacob then went on down and had many sons. But then, Joseph was another example that is mentioned here also in our text this morning because Joseph was a man of God there in verse 27, or rather verse 22 that continued to do what God said even against again what we would seem to be the norm. And why do I say that? I say that because his own brothers threw him into a pit at a very young age and then sold him as a slave and for the most part, a lot of his life was spent in slavery or either in imprisonment. But yet, he still was faithful to God. He still did not turn against God or blame God as many of us might would like to do, but Joseph stood firm. He stood strong. And we know that later there was a great reason for all these things that had come about because Joseph was made second in command in Egypt. He was given great position in that land, great authority. And then later, we even find that when his family was having a problem because of the drought, or the possible things thinking that they might even starve, or that they might die there in the land that they were from. They came to Egypt and they found that it was Joseph eventually, who was the ruler of that land, only under Pharaoh. And then Joseph was able to bring his entire family with his father there to that place to live and was given the best land in all of Egypt, the land of Goshen. So, many again, great things were found there and done according to the will of God by Joseph. But again, notice the results, the results for Joseph was that he was well blessed, eventually given command over all of Egypt. He was well blessed by God and in turn, his whole family was blessed, just as all these other men were well blessed in the things that they committed to God.

After Joseph, we also find that hundreds of years later that there was a story about a couple that lived there in Egypt. They were also children of God, but Amram and Jochobed and these were the parents of a man named Moses. And all of us are very familiar with Moses. Moses really is mentioned in our text there in verse 23. We spent a week talking about Moses because Moses again was a Bible character that really doesn't have a lot to be compared to him because he was willing to go against again what you and I probably would choose. In fact, we might choose to take the things that Egypt had to offer to be the son of a daughter of Pharaoh, to be a prince, to receive the glories of the land, the riches, the many things that he could have received, but yet he chose to reject these things, to turn away from them, not even to accept them but to rather, even at one point see the suffering of his people, to kill an Egyptian and then to flee to another place. So we see here that he was willing to stand up to be counted for God, to accept the things of God rather than the things of the world. And this is something that you and I obviously struggle with on a daily basis. We need to look to Moses. We need to find that his faith was acceptable because he made the right choice. We know that later this same Moses at the age of about 80 was chosen to come and to lead the Israelites, the very people of God. You see again, God blessing someone, making them a great leader, a leader of the greatest nation. Why? Because it was God's nation, the children of Israel. And he lead them out of Egypt and it was at the hand of Moses that so many wonderful things took place there, so many great things were seen not only by the Egyptians as he bestowed the plagues by, of God through his hands and he even at one point caused the death messenger to come and to actually kill all of those that were there in Egypt, the firstborn who had not put blood on the door post. But again, Moses we see here had great power through the help of God, power to bestow all these things that were according to the will, according to the commands of God. Later, we see that he came to the Red Sea. We know there that he was able because of God's power to part that sea, to give the people the ability to walk across on dry land. Also, later closing that sea on the armies of Pharaoh who were trying to harm the Israelites. And on and on and on we could go about the great man, Moses, the great abilities that he was given, even at one point being given all the commands to the people of God there at Mt. Sinai. So Moses again, because of his great faith, was cared for by God, was blessed by God and used by Him in a great and magnificent way in order that the people of God, the Israelites of that day, might be well blessed. And even in this text here, verse 29, we see that it is mentioned in relationship to the Israelites, the faith that they had, even though as we look in the Old Testament, we find that there was a lot of murmuring, a lot of problems that came from the Israelites, a lot times when they rejected God or would say, "Why has God done this to us, brought us out here without food and water?" A lot of complaining went on by them, but yet we also see that at these big periods where God would do magnificent things like the Red Sea, the shaking at Mt. Sinai, that these people would be reminded of the power of God, the Almighty God and their faith would be restored for a time. So again we see the faith of Israel, and this is a similar faith, I believe, to us because you and I probably on a daily basis keep striving to do what God says but we often fall back. We slide. And then again, we need to be renewed being reminded of the great power, the great authority, the great requirements of God. And when we do that, we also step back up to the plate and do what God requires of us. So we often are like the Israelites in doing many of these things.

Rahab the harlot is also another mentioned here in verse 31, and she is a good example because she's not someone who was really raised as a follower of God, but she was one who now chose to follow God because of what she had heard. She was one obviously living in the world, as she was a harlot. She was doing those things contrary to the will of God, but when she found the way that she could help God's people and hide those who were of God, she did so. And she cared for them and she did what she should according to the will of God. Now because of that, we know again, that she was considered as blessed by God. She was blessed by Him, cared for by Him, because she did receive them in peace and care for them and help them on their way and protect them from harm.

Again, we see that God wants everyone to respond to His call. God wants everyone to do what they can according to His will. He wants everyone to understand what faith is all about and to meet these requirements set up by Him.

There are a few verses I want to end with because here at the very last of the chapter, chapter 11, that we've looked at over this period of time, it says this, And all these having obtained a good testimony through faith did not receive the promise. God having provided something better for us that they should not be made perfect apart from us. Now this is such an important part because here it says that these individuals were faithful, knowing that the promise was still down the road, knowing that the Savior, the kingdom, Jesus was coming. But there were still faithful. They still did what God said. Today though, we're after that. We have the Savior. We are now in that promised period of time, the time that all things had been revealed by God, and still many of us reject what God asked us to do. Well here it says that we need to stand firm. We need to be made perfect according to the will of God, according to what He has asked us to do and we do that by being faithful. Faithfulness again, brings us a pleasing disposition before the Lord. He is satisfied when we do this because it is impossible again to please Him without this proper faith. So I hope as one who desires to follow God, I hope as one who is striving daily to do His will, that you will strive to have a faith that is pleasing in His sight.
(SONG # 3 - "I Am Resolved!")


Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.

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May we all strive more each day to demonstrate a greater faith in God, so that we may have an influence on those around us and thus please God through our obedience.
(Program closing)