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Others: The Triumph of Faith, Part 2

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
October 10, 2021 8:00 am

Others: The Triumph of Faith, Part 2

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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October 10, 2021 8:00 am

The Bible tells us that faith is the evidence of things we don’t see. Join Dr. Tony Evans as he reviews some of that evidence as he brings us a lesson about the kinds of trials and triumphs we experience when we truly believe. Discover the kind of power God only gives us when we’re powerless.

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Accepting Christ as your Savior takes you to heaven. Living by faith brings heaven to you. But Dr. Tony Evans says many of us only have faith in what we can see, touch, or figure out for ourselves. If you're living by sight, verse 1 of Hebrews 11 says, that's not faith, that's sight.

And the two are totally different. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. Most of the time, faith makes no earthly sense. But today, Dr. Evans explains why that's the point, as he talks about the kind of trust in God that can bring supernatural power to bear on our earthly problems.

Let's join him as he explains. We've now come to the end of Hebrews 11, and we're talking about what it looks like to live your life by faith. We're talking about the men and women in Hebrews 11 who are men and women from the Old Testament being spoken of in the New Testament to encourage you and I what it means to make our daily operation a faith operation. The author of Hebrews has gone name after name, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Israel, Rahab, and he says these folks saw the hand and the movement, the power and the presence of God, and they saw it by faith. He has made it clear in Hebrews 11, verse 6, without faith, you won't see God, because without faith, you do not please Him. The absence of faith is the absence of the manifest presence of God.

In other words, you'll know He exists, but you won't necessarily experience His existence in your day-to-day life. So what it wants you and I to do is to begin to live our life by faith. Now, we have discussed the meaning of faith.

Let's review. Faith means to act like God is telling the truth. Faith is acting like it is so even when it's not so in order that it might be so simply because God said so. Faith is verifiable.

You don't have to guess if you're having it or not, because faith is measured by your feet, not by your feelings, by your walk, not by your talk, by your life, not by your lips. Faith is a verifiable reality. You can feel no faith and be full of faith because you're walking or moving in faith, which means you're doing what God says to do.

You're obeying Him even when you do not see the reality of your obedience. Faith must always—watch this—precede sight. Once you have sight, it is no longer faith. That's why Hebrews 11 verse 1 says, Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. If you have to see it first, you've canceled faith, for faith is prior to and apart from sight. Faith leads to sight, but faith must always precede sight. Most people, even Christians, decide what they're going to do by what they see first. And if you decide whether you're going to do what God says do on the front end because you see it, then you're not exercising faith and you have canceled out seeing God move. So we regularly cancel out the supernatural because we've got to see the natural first.

But faith is apart from sight. The African impala is a magnificent animal. The African impala can, like, jump 10 feet straight up in the air and it can jump out 30 feet. But if you put an African impala with all this beauty and power and ability to leap high and jump long into a little three-foot cage, it will stay incarcerated for life because the one flaw of the African impala is it will not jump where it cannot see. So it limits its movement to its sight. It has ability to jump high over the cage.

It has ability to jump long over things, but it won't do it if it can't see it and so you can control it. Many of us are controlled by our circumstances and the devil because we're waiting to see first before we obey first, nullifying the movement of God. Faith must precede sight if it's going to be biblical faith. Now having explained this, he now comes to his culminating section, his culminating point in the chapter. He begins in verse 32 of Hebrews 11, and I love how he opens it up and he says, And what more shall I say? He says, I walked you through 31 verses.

I've given you the great heroes of the faith and what they were able to achieve by faith. So what more can I tell you? What more can I say, he says? It made me think of Teddy Pendergrass. If you don't know me by now, you'll never, never, never know me.

Ooh, ooh, ooh. The author of Hebrews 11 says, if you don't get it by now, what more can I say? I've shown you, he says, what faith can do in everything leading up to this point. In fact, he goes on to say in verse 32, for time will fail me. He sounds like an old preacher if I just had a little bit more time. If I had a little bit more time, I could tell you so much more because there's so much more to tell about the power of faith. But he's run out of time, he's run out of space. And so he says, well, I don't have time to go into the detail I went into in the first 31 verses, but let me throw a little something, something extra along the way.

Let me give you a little something, something. He said, if I had some time, I'd tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, but I don't have time. I don't have time, I don't have space to go into all these other folk I haven't gone into. So since he didn't have a time, I'm gonna take a minute to tell you about these folk he didn't have time to go into detail on like he did all the previous people in the first 31 verses of chapter 11. He starts off with Gideon in verse 32, a passive guy. And then God called on him because Israel was being invaded by the enemy. And he said, Gideon, I want you to go out there and I want you to take care of the enemy of my people. So Gideon, as scared as he was, went out and amassed an army of 32,000 men. And God looked at Gideon in the book of Judges and said, that's too many people. I can't use 32,000. So I want you to shrink it down, shrink it down again, shrink it down again until you get down to 300.

God, you got to be kidding me. You want me to fight an army that's huge with 300 men. No, Gideon, I want you to fight an army with 300 men and me. So guess what he did? He dropped logic, what he could see, comparing his 32,000 with the group that he was going to fight. He dropped his logic and he obeyed God. When he obeyed God, he routed the army with 300 men because God joined the 300 when he obeyed what he couldn't see.

The next name you get is Barak. If Gideon was scared, Barak was weak. He was a weak man.

He was a man who ran from difficulty and ran from trouble. In fact, he got his strength from a woman named Deborah. And with the encouragement of Deborah who had heard the word from the Lord and transferred it to Barak, he believed that word even though he was a weak man and God used him by faith to rout the enemies of Israel. Gideon was scared, Barak was weak, and Samson was a player. Samson was a man who had moral dilemmas, passion issues. But even though he was a weak man in a certain area as born out again in the book of Judges, when he was willing to operate by faith, God would supernaturally invade him and use him to take care of the Philistines. He would see the supernatural enter into the natural. The man had some problems, the man had some issues, but he still shows up in Hebrews 11.

It didn't nullify the consequences, but what it did say was when you're ready to operate by faith, you can see God show up. Japheth, he was a child of a prostitute rejected by his siblings. He was in a messed up family situation. But when God was looking for somebody to deliver his people, he went over to Japheth and said, Japheth, I know that your background isn't the best.

I know that your family situation isn't preferable, but if you will do what I tell you to do, I'm going to use you in spite of your past. Japheth obeyed God and routed the enemies of God in spite of a poor background. Then there's David. David's short. David's small. David's young.

David's inexperienced. But he runs into this mammoth man named Goliath of Gath. And in 1 Samuel 17, he takes a slingshot and five smooth stones and brings the giant down to his level and below.

So he didn't let his size determine where this battle was going to wind up. Samuel was weak as a father. We're told in 1 Samuel chapter 8 that his sons no longer followed the Lord. But when he was willing to operate by faith, the prophet Daniel would be anointing the king of Israel, setting the nation of Israel on a spiritual course that would lead them to a new direction.

Now, why does he go through those names and why did I go through those names? Because each one of those folks by faith achieved greatness, wound up in the hall of faith, are one of our heroes in Hebrews chapter 11, even though they had flaws in their lives. Every one of them had weak spots. Every one of them had areas that they hadn't developed yet. Every one of them had places that needed to be shored up and strengthened. But when they were willing to operate by faith, God graduated them to our museum, the hall of faith, and made them one of the heroes.

I don't know about your yesterday. I do know if you'll live by faith today, God can still use you tomorrow and recognize you for what you have done and achieved by faith. But it must be by faith and faith must precede sight. If you're waiting for sight, it's no longer faith. And so God must see you trust Him by your feet, not by your feelings, by your function. He must see you operate by faith. In each one of the people found in chapter 11, there was a challenge that demanded faith. So the reason God allows a negative obstacle to come into your presence is to see whether you're going to face it by faith or face it by sight.

In verse 32, He gives you a whole bunch of names. He said, but let me tell you what faith can do. Verse 33, it conquered kingdoms, performed act of righteousness, obtained promises, like Daniel and the lions then shut the mouths of lions, like the three Hebrew boys quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, in weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. He says, faith, watch this, is unprecedented in its power because it can rout whole nations.

It can turn, it can put out fires, it can make a lions keep their mouths shut. He says, you don't understand the power of faith, but you must be operating by biblical faith, which means faith must precede sight. So if you're saying, God, show me this, and then this is what I'll do, that's not faith. You say, show me, then I'll respond.

No, you respond to me, then I'll show you. It must be by faith because it is tied to what you do, not to what you feel, think, or say. He says, and others, verse 35, were tortured, not accepting their release so that they may obtain a better resurrection. And others, verse 36, experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they were tempted. They were put to death with the sword.

They went about in sheepskin, goatskin, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated. He says, now, let me tell you about others. This is not the kind of testimony folk want to hear. So let me tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God. Anybody who tells you, okay, go live for Christ and you will not suffer has lied to you. They've told you half of the story.

They've only told you half. Because he says, and others, there are those who were penalized for their faith. There were those who were penalized for their stand. There were those who were mocked and scorned and rebuked and talked about as sure as you're born. There were those who went through losses, losses.

Now, what caused the loss? He says something very interesting that you might miss. He says, not accepting their release.

That's interesting. He talks about all this negative stuff, and then he throws in there, not accepting their release. Well, now, if you tell me I don't accept my release, that means one was offered to me, okay?

If I didn't accept something, that means I rejected it. So they could have gotten out of their torture. They could have gotten out of their mocking and scourging and negative repercussions, but they chose not to get out of it. They chose to say, no, I'd rather die. I'd rather be sawed in half. I'd rather be mocked. I'd rather be scorned. Thank you for offering me release, but I turn it down. Why would people make such a horrible, painful choice?

Well, Dr. Evans says there are two main reasons, and he'll tell us about them when he returns in just a moment. But first, we're excited to let you know about the book and companion Bible study Tony has authored that goes hand in hand with the material he's been talking about today. It's called Kingdom Heroes. Like the heroes of the faith messages we've been hearing, these resources focus on two very powerful words, by faith. You'll discover how otherwise ordinary people became the best known characters in the Bible. They took God at His word and believed what He said was true. So what does it take to live a life of faith today, where we live? What do we say to a culture that insists that only seeing is believing?

How can we learn to trust God when our fears and feelings tell us not to? We'll find the answers by getting a copy of Tony's two-volume, 13-message audio collection, Heroes of the Faith, on CD or digital download, and his brand-new book and Bible study, Kingdom Heroes. Through the end of this week only, we can offer the entire three-resource package as our gift to you, in appreciation for your generous contribution to help support Tony's ministry here on this station. Just visit us today at TonyEvans.org, or call us at 1-800-800-3222, make your contribution, and let us send you the Heroes of the Faith and Kingdom Heroes book and Bible study package as our thank you gift. Again, that's TonyEvans.org, or call us day or night at 1-800-800-3222. Well, Dr. Evans, we'll come back with more of today's lesson, right after this.

Coming to theaters this November. We're at the Church of the Nativity here in Bethlehem, where it is believed that the birth of Jesus Christ occurred. Travel with Dr. Tony Evans as he retraces the life and human journey of the greatest being to ever walk this earth. Well, we're here in Capernaum, a place where Jesus did most of His miracles, and it is in this place that He demonstrated He truly is the Son of God. You'll travel the streets, fields, and synagogues that Jesus walked and visit the locations where some of the most powerful events recorded in the Bible took place. It is highly likely that much of what we read about Jesus' ministry in Galilee happened right here. Journey with Jesus in theaters November 15th, 16th, and 17th with Dr. Tony Evans.

Visit TonyEvans.org for locations, showtimes, and to learn more. Nobody wants to go look for persecution. Only a fool goes and looks for pain. Only a fool turns down the opportunity not to be in pain. But he says they turned it down.

Two things you need to know. They turned it down, one, because of the reason they're going through it. They're going through it because of their association with the Lord. Their association with the Lord has put them in this mocking predicament. We're not talking about people who are stealing and cheating and robbing and evil and killing.

No, no, no. They didn't accept their release. In other words, the folks causing them trouble were saying, if you deny the Lord, if you deny your faith, if you compromise your character, if you do that, then we will let you keep your job. Then we will let you stay. Then we'll give you a raise.

Then we'll do that. You just got to not be Christian. You got to go along with the crowd.

You got to be secular. And they say, I ain't doing that. There's a second reason they said no. They said no, watch this now, because they saw a better resurrection.

Okay, that's what it says. Not accepting their release because of a better resurrection. What will give you the ability to keep your stand as a Christian and keep living by faith is if you see something better. See, one of the reasons we compromise our faith is we don't think there's something better. So we'll renege on God. We'll renege on his principles. We're all tempted to do it.

We've all probably done it on some level or another, and we'll do it because we're scared there's nothing better. If I maintain my faith on this job and lose this job, I'm going to be jobless. So let me compromise my faith on this job. I'm not talking about doing a bad job on the job. I'm talking about compromising your Christian character on the job.

Let me go with the crowd because I may not be able to get something better. But when you understand that God is a God of resurrection, then you understand that that situation does not have final say-so in your life because God knows how to give you something better. See, what the enemy wants to do is not let you live by faith so you don't get to see anything better. And as long as you don't see anything better, you stay stuck where you are and you stay stuck on what your 2020 shows you.

But once you learn to live by faith, God lets you see that he can resurrect situations that you think are going to kill you if you make the right decision in it. I remember nine years ago, they were harassed on the job. They wanted to cheat. They wanted to steal.

They wanted to sleep around with the bosses. I mean, it was just a putrid place to work, but it was her job, okay? So she got to the point where she had to say, no, I can't do that. I can't steal from people.

I can't do that. He said to her, if you don't do that, we're going to fire you. She came to my office and she said, it's a good paying job.

It's a great opportunity in terms of my future. What do I do? I said to her, you choose Christ. Choose Christ in terms of compromise on things clearly in scripture, not preference things, but things clearly in scripture. I need you to choose Christ and you have to see what the Lord does. She went in the next day and she chose Christ. She said, I'm sorry, because they told her come back and give her the decision. I can't do that. My faith based on the word of God, I cannot do that.

It was clearly unscriptural, not even a marginal lack of clarity. I can't do that. He said, well, then pack up your bags. This is your last day.

This is the middle of the week. By the first of the next week, she got a phone call. The phone call was from a higher up in the company and the phone call said, I know you were dismissed, but it came to light to us a couple of days after you were fired about some of the unorthodox activity that your supervisor was doing. So I just called to let you know we have fired him and we've promoted you into his place.

Let me tell you this. If she would have not made a faith decision, she would not have experienced the resurrection. The resurrection only came after a faith decision was made without sight of what would happen next. He says, and others are willing to risk being fired, willing to risk losing that relationship, willing to risk because they are going to operate by faith in their families as women, as wives. Many of you will never see financial victory in your family because you've chosen money over spiritual priority in the home. We rob God of giving. We say to God, if you give to me, I'll give back to you. That's not faith. That's sight because he's already given it to you first.

He says, no, you honor me first. Then you will see what I will do with your bonds. You won't see it without faith.

So you can pick any category. It operates in faith. Then he concludes here. Men of whom the world was not worthy, wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. Okay, let me say about folk for whom the world is not worthy. There are a few people in the congregation right now who this world is not worthy of.

What makes the world not worthy of certain people? Because they live so high in the spiritual realm, even though they're living physically in the earthly realm, that the physical realm doesn't even know what they're talking about. The physical realm think they're weird. The physical realm thinks they're crazy. The physical world thinks they've lost their mind. The physical world thinks that they've become fanatic.

The physical world thinks they're psychotic. He said, the world isn't even worthy of those kind of folk who live this way. And the reason why many of us don't live this way is we don't know anybody who does.

We don't hang out with anybody who does. We only live with folk who live by sight. And so we never get to grow the faith because we hang out with folk who the world is worthy of, not who the world is not worthy of because they don't live in this world. They live in that world while walking in this world.

And what you want in your circle of influence are some folk who live up there, even though they walk down here. They operate from heaven's point of view consistently. Faith is how they roll.

It's not a place they visit. So you and I are supposed to learn from Hebrews 11 in order that we might learn faith so that we can experience based on their example much of what they experience until God brings us all together around this throne and you'll be able to talk about what God did in your life by faith so we'll be able to take the Old Testament Christians and the New Testament Christians and have a conversation about the power of faith on both sides of the cross. I don't know about you, but you ought to be motivated now to live by faith. Dr. Evans will come back in a moment to close our program with a word of prayer.

So stay with us. First, though, what you've been listening to today is part of Tony's powerful series called Heroes of the Faith. As I mentioned earlier, we're making this two-volume, 13-message collection available to you on CD or digital download along with his new book and Bible study, Kingdom Heroes. They're our gift to you when you help us keep Tony's teaching on this station with your generous donation. Just visit tonyevans.org to get your copy of this powerful package. You'll find a link with all the details right on the homepage. And while you're there, take a moment to sign up for Tony's free weekly email devotional. Again, that's tonyevans.org. Or call us at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our friendly team members assist. Our resource center is open 24-7, so call any time. Again, that's 1-800-800-3222.

They say it takes two to tango, but Dr. Evans says a successful marriage takes three. He'll explain next time in a classic sermon entitled Paradise Restored, drawn from the archives of 40 years of ministry. Right now, though, he's back to lead us in a closing word of prayer. Father, I right now want to pray for all of our extended family and friends, those who benefit from our ministry, those who pray for our ministry, those who support our ministry.

I want to thank You for them. Lord, I pray for those who are really going through it. Remind them that You are bigger than what they're going through, and give birth to something special. Give them good news in a bad day, just like You did when Jesus Christ was born. May it be a reminder that just as that birth gave hope, You still give hope to the hopeless, to the discouraged, and to the despondent. So, Lord, we give You the glory for how You're going to work in Your people and how You're going to use us, the ministry of The Urban Alternative, to touch their lives for good and for Your glory. In Jesus' name, amen. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-12 09:17:04 / 2023-08-12 09:28:15 / 11

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