THE FAITH TO YIELD TO GOD'S COURAGE
There is a fundamental quality that is essential for any man or any woman to
follow God. No, that fundamental quality is not sinlessness. It is impossible for anyone
to be 100% sinless. No, that fundamental quality is not deeds. It is impossible for
anyone to be such a super servant for God that he or she deserves to walk with God.
It takes courage to place your confidence in God.
If this fundamental quality is not sinlessness or service, what is it? The
fundamental quality is courage.
It takes courage to repent.
It takes courage to make the commitment found in baptism.
It takes courage to surrender life and self to God's values and purposes.
It takes courage to let God change us.
The way God looks at life and defines what is important is totally different from
the way we humans look at life and define what is important. It takes real courage to
look at and to define life the way God does.
- I am going to illustrate the courage God wants us to develop.
- I want to challenge every Christian here in the deepest part of his or her being to
open his or her eyes and see this courage.
- I want to shake everyone of us out of the complacency of trusting in our
system, in our way of doing things.
- I want to disturb each of us on the deepest level of our consciousness.
- I want to make all of us think with such honesty that we cannot get this off our
- The end result is that I want each of us to trust our Savior as we have never
even considered trusting him before.
- I want us to trust our Savior so much that the focus of our faith moves away
from confronting other people.
- I want us to trust our Savior so much that we move closer and closer to God's
- Then I want to emphasize one point.
To illustrate this courage, I use four well known persons in the Bible.
- The first person I want to use as an illustration is Abraham.
- If you are a Bible student, you are quite familiar with this truth: in both the Old
and New Testaments, Abraham illustrates the greatest faith in God that a
human ever had.
- If we consider the person of the greatest faith in every generation, his or
her faith could not surpass Abraham's faith.
- That simply is not possible!
- If we want to show a person God's definition of faith, we would use
- Abraham's faith is truly incredible!
- I do not have to consider his faith much to realize I do not come anywhere
near that depth of faith.
- When I look at Abraham's faith, I see just how small my faith is.
- Even though that is absolutely true, Abraham is an unusual person to be the
"forever" illustration of faith.
- Why? Because Abraham had so many imperfections.
- What imperfections?
- Twice (Genesis 12:10-20; Genesis 20) Abraham said that Sarah [his wife and half sister] was his sister.
- Both times he let another man take "his sister" with the intention of
- Both times he did not say a word!
- Once he asked God to let his head servant serve as his heir because
he feared he and Sarah could never have children (Genesis 15:1-4).
- Later, he made Hagar, mother of his first son, and the son [Ishmael]
leave his family and camp--totally unacceptable in his day!
- If the church today were going to advance someone to be a great example of
faith, we would not have the courage to use a man like Abraham for our
- From our point of view, he made too many mistakes to be an example of
- The second person I want to use is David, king of Israel.
- If you are a Bible student, you are familiar with this truth: David is known in
both the Old and New Testaments as "the man after God's own heart."
- If we want to understand how a heart that belongs to God acts, David is
- I seriously doubt that any of us here this morning has a heart that belongs
to God as did David's.
- I seriously doubt that there are many people in the entire world who have
hearts that belong to God as did David's.
- Even though it is absolutely true that David's heart belonged to God in an
exceptional way, David is an unusual person to use as a "forever" example of
a person whose heart belonged to God.
- Why? Because David had too many faults, too many failures.
- What faults and failures?
- 2 Samuel 11 tells us that David committed adultery with Bathsheba.
- The same chapter tells us how David had her husband killed in order
to cover up what he did.
- 2 Samuel 18 tells us how he grieved so deeply at the death of his
rebellious son that he shamed the people who in their loyalty saved
- 2 Samuel 24 tells of David's arrogance in conducting a census of
Israel which God regarded to be an act of faithlessness.
- If the church today was going to present to the world an example of a person
whose heart belonged to God, we would not have the courage to use a
person like David.
- From our point of view, he made too may mistakes to be an example of
devotion to God.
- The third person I would like to use as an example is Peter, Jesus' apostle to the
Jewish people and the man who preached the first gospel sermon.
- If you are a Bible student, you know Peter's faith in Jesus and Jesus'
resurrection was profound!
- God Himself gave Peter the understanding that Jesus was the
Christ--before even any of the rest of the apostles understood on his
depth (Matthew 16:13-20).
- On the first Pentecost after Jesus' death and resurrection, Peter knew
what happened to Jesus, knew that Jesus was resurrected, and was not
ashamed to tell a crowd in Jerusalem about what he knew.
- If you want to help someone understand the courage of faith, I doubt you
could do better than Peter.
- Even though it is absolutely true that Peter knew with all his being that Jesus
was the Christ and was raised from the dead, Peter is an unusual man to
serve as a "forever" example of commitment to Jesus.
- Why? Because he made too many mistakes after he knew Jesus' true
- What mistakes?
- After Jesus confirmed that God revealed Jesus' identity to Peter, Peter
became such a source of temptation to Jesus that he called Peter
Satan (Matthew 16:21-23).
- Peter had such arrogant confidence in himself, he contradicted Jesus
when Jesus said he would deny him that night (Matthew 26:33-35).
- Then three times that night before Jesus' enemies he denied even
knowing Jesus--in the very city he would soon preach about Jesus!
- If the church today was to present to the world a standard who knew the truth
of Jesus' identity and the truth of Jesus' resurrection, we would not have the
courage to select a person like Peter.
- From our point of view, he made too many mistakes to be an example of
- The fourth person I want to use as an example is Paul, Jesus' apostle to people
who were not Jews, and the author of many New Testament letters.
- If you are a Bible student, you know Paul's example of conversion to Christ is
one of the most profound examples in the New Testament.
- The man literally turned his life around 180 degrees!
- Paul is a classic example of what God wants in repentance!
- He likely spread the news of Jesus' resurrection to more people in the first
century than any other person.
- Even though it is absolutely true that Paul is an incredible example of
conversion to Christ, he is an unusual man to use as a "forever" example to
the world as an example of conversion.
- Why? Because he was much too violent a person prior to conversion.
- What violence? Allow me to read just two statements that Paul made
Acts 26:10,11 And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the
saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they
were being put to death I cast my vote against them. And as I punished them often in all
the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at
them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities.
1 Timothy 1:12-16 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because
He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a
blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because
I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with
the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement,
deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,
among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as
the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for
those who would believe in Him for eternal life.
- If the church today was going to present to the world an example of
conversion, we would not have the courage to pick a person like Paul.
- From our point of view, he was much too violent before he became a
In Abraham, David, Peter, and Paul this is strikingly evident to me: God does
not do things the way we do them.
- If we are going to have the courage to explode for Jesus Christ, to have an
incredible impact for Jesus on our community, we must find the courage to see
people the way God sees them.
- Evil is grinding us up like hamburger.
- It is cutting our lives to pieces as it grinds us up.
- Then it molds us in evil's mold as evil desires, not in God's image.
- We must stop helping evil make hamburger out of our lives.
- We need the courage to do three things.
- All of us need the courage to turn to God in the realization that all we are
capable of doing is making a mess out of life.
- The congregation needs the discover the courage to allow those who use
faith to resist evil to help and encourage others with similar struggles.
- All of us need the courage to share our stories about our struggles and
STOP PRETENDING LIKE WE HAVE NO STRUGGLES!
When we as people in need of God start helping people in need of God as they
struggle, God can and will use us--just like He used Abraham, David, Peter, and Paul.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 22 June 2003
Study Along With David Chadwell
A Worship Worksheet
June 22, 2003
The fundamental quality that is essential for a person to follow God is ______________.
The way God looks at ______________ and defines what is _________________ is very different from the way _____________ look at these things.
What kind of courage does God want us to develop?
In the Old and New Testaments, ________________ illustrates the greatest ____________ in God a human ever had.
Abraham is an unusual person to be such an illustration of faith because of his _________________________.
Students of the Bible know that in the Old and New Testaments ________________ is known as _____________ __________________ _____________ _____________ ____________ ___________________.
David is an unusual person to be an example of a person whose heart belonged to God because of his __________________________.
Study the Bible and you know __________________ faith in Jesus and his ____________________________ was profound.
Peter is an unusual example of commitment to Jesus because of his _______________ after he knew the _____________ __________________ of Jesus.
The conversion of __________________ to Christ is one of the most __________________ examples in the New Testament.
Paul is an unusual example of conversion to Christ because he was so _________________ before he came to Christ.
We see these people and realize that God does not do things the way man does!
To have an impact in our community we must find the ______________ to see people the way God sees them
We need the courage to do three things:
How will I develop Courage in my life?
provided by Gary Brown
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