Living through God’s faithfulness
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Joshua 21:43-45
Sunday 12th July 2015
Today, let’s pick up the conversation we began last week, from where we left off. Here is a brief re-cap of last week’s sermon. We agreed that God’s faithfulness is His attribute upon which He watches over His word to bring it to fruition. Our trust in God is rooted in His faithfulness. Furthermore, we agreed that if we are rest assured that God will always deliver on His promises, regardless of the circumstances around us, we can wholeheartedly trust Him to fulfill His words. God faithfulness can be defined as God doing all what He says He will do, when He said He will do it, irrespective of situations or circumstances.
Here again are the five attributes of God that point unequivocally to His faithfulness, namely – God is Omniscient, He is Omnipresent, and He is Omnipotent. God is Truthful and Immutable. We concluded last week’s message by tracing the story of the God’s promise to Abraham down the generations to its fulfilment in the book of Joshua – His promise to give the land of Canaan (the Promised Land) to the Israelites.
Today, let’s take this message further by examining the message I have titled ‘Living through God’s Faithfulness’. As vital as it is to consciously affirm God’s faithfulness, it is even more imperative to demonstrate a life of faithfulness in God and be undergirded by this truth. Many atimes, we make decisions and live our lives, uncertain that God’s spoken word about our circumstances will be fulfilled. As a result of this, we look for or create alternatives, in lieu of our human understanding of God’s overdue words. However, we must be rest assured that God will fulfil the words He has spoken to us, because He is faithful. He will not deny His words and He will not fail.
Our prayers must always be rooted in God’s faithfulness, and not out of fear. Every prayer we offer to God should be backed up with a confident assurance that God will intervene in our situations and fulfil His promise concerning our lives. Every aspect of our lives – our giving, service and faith should be rooted in God’s faithfulness. To be oblivious to God’s faithfulness is simply depriving us of God’s power. A life established in God’s faithfulness enjoys an advantage in life, and gives the confidence that the future is bright. Such a person perceives life differently despite the unfavourable conditions around. God is seen and understood as He really is when we embrace His faithfulness wholeheartedly.
God desires that we live and hold on to His words concerning our lives. A life rooted in God’s faithfulness is a life of faith – a life dependent on God even in when it seems unreasonable. Jesus asked his disciples in Luke 18:8b which reads: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” It must be categorically stated that we’ve not been called by God to live our lives based on our efforts, but by His grace. To live our lives by God’s grace, it must be attained by faith, and not by presumptions. He is not obliged to back up our imaginations, but His word. Here is how the Psalmist put it in Psalm 119:89: ‘Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven’. Living through God’s faithfulness is a life that sees opportunities in the midst of difficulties, possibilities in the face of impossibilities and that sees beyond the boundaries of limitations.
Hebrews 11:11 reads: ‘By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised’. Here are two points to note from this verse. Firstly God had made the promise – it was not a figment of imagination. Secondly, Sarah judged God faithful. Faithful as used in this verse depicts a law court, with a sitting judge who pronounces an irreversible judgement. Conversely, we all have our opportunities, with our various circumstances to judge God as faithful – when we need Him to heal, provide, sustain and intervene. Sarah’s judgement of God as a faithful One energized her in conceiving and bearing a child. So, it is imperative to ask ‘How would you judge God?’ Again, it must be reiterated that to walk in God’s faithfulness, we must embrace a lifestyle of faith. Sarah’s conception may be described as normal, but the delivery of a child when she was past the normal childbearing age however, must be adjudged miraculous. This was simply miraculous, because logically, intellectually, psychologically, physiologically, it did not stand reasonable. It takes faith to judge God faithful, especially when all hopes have been lost.
Faith is vital, so much so that the only means by which we can interact with God is by faith. Sadly, this is where the church is failing woefully. Faith as described in scriptures has been relegated as a virtue of the past. These days, we have all the amenities and various comforts of life within reach. However, to live as ambassadors of Heaven, we cannot subject our lives to the dictates of the world. We must embrace a life of faith to receive any blessing from Heaven. Romans 5:2 reads: ‘through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God’. It is by faith that we can access to the grace of God. Revelation 5:11-12 reads: ‘Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” All these attributes ascribed to Christ is available to us because of our relationship with Jesus by faith. If we can fully understand how faith works, we will be able to relish the wonders that these redemptive provision highlighted above afford us. Hebrews 11:6 makes it clear that ‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him’. It is impossible to access our inheritance in God without faith.
Today, let’s uncover the secret of faith together: (a) Faith is an empowerment to operate in the realm of divinity: Matthew 19:26 reads: “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Mark 9:23 further states: “Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Our faith in God elevates us to the realm of divinity, in which we can live and operate as if God was working. This is a level above ordinary intelligence and human reasoning. (b) Faith draws on God’s power: The story of the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5:27-29 gives us some insight into how we can use our faith to draw on God’s power: ‘When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering' (NIV). Real faith draws power. (c) Faith draws redemptive provision: Romans 5:1-2 reads: ‘Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (d) Faith Overcomes: To have victory in life, we must hold on to our faith. 1 John 5:4 reads: ‘For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith’ (NLT). (e) Faith is a secret/Mystery: Faith is beyond human comprehension. 1 Timothy 3:9 reads: ‘holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.’ Here is the BBE version: ‘Keeping the secret of the faith in a heart free from sin’. We cannot live a life of faith, if we entertain sin in our hearts. We cannot trust God and live in unforgiveness and offence. (f) Faith is a weapon: Ephesians 6:16 reads: ‘above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one’.
The question to ask is this: ‘If faith is so powerful, why is the Church powerless?’ Is it possible that there is an inconsistency in our perception of faith? Here is Romans 10:17: ‘So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’. It is only when we hear a word directly from God that our hearts are activated in faith. As the church of God, we need to hear His voice regularly. The heroes of faith, as listed in Hebrews 11 heard directly from God. God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 12, to leave His father’s house and head towards a land to be shown him. Psalm 29 reveals a little bit more about the voice of God: ‘The voice of the Lord is over the waters; The God of glory thunders; The Lord is over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty’ (verse 3 & 4). Besides Abraham, Moses also heard the voice of God in the wilderness to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
We all need to receive a ‘rhema’ word from God for our lives. When we’ve received the word from God, it propels us forward. Moses for instance, heard from God and was able to take on the institution of the kingdom of Egypt. God’s words to Moses were these: ‘So the Lord said to Moses: “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land”'. It was this backing from God that gave Moses the boldness to stand before Pharaoh.
Psalm 29:5-9 further reads: ‘The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon. He makes them also skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; The Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth, and strips the forests bare; and in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”
Undoubtedly, we need to hear and know the voice of the Lord in our generation, to know and understand what He is saying to us. For this is where our faith begins. The story of the life of Paul in Acts 27 reveals more about the importance of God’s voice in navigating through the storms of life. Paul had been arrested and was being transferred to Rome by ship, when a storm arose. In the course of the journey, an angel of the Lord, appeared to him and assured him that there would be no loss of life. As a result of this encounter with God, he was able to encourage and cheer the entire entourage up despite the difficult expedition. Here is an excerpt from Acts 27:20-25, 32-33, 44: ‘Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up. But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me’….And as day was about to dawn, Paul implored them all to take food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing. Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you.”… And so it was that they all escaped safely to land.
I declare that every single word that the Lord has spoken over you as His child, just like in the days of Joshua in which none of God’s words failed, and also in the days of Paul in which God’s word was honoured….every word spoken over you will come to pass according to the word of the Lord. The days of delays are behind you, as these are the days of the fulfilment of the word of God in your life in Jesus name (Amen).
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