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Fact-Check Your Faith - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
November 24, 2020 2:00 am

Fact-Check Your Faith - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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November 24, 2020 2:00 am

We are living in tough times—and tough times demand a tough faith. In the message "Fact-Check Your Faith," Skip shares some important facts that will help you embrace faith instead of fear when you face difficulties in your Christian walk.

This teaching is from the series Fact-Check.

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Website: https://connectwithskip.com

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When we face a difficulty, a trial, an experience that's hard, we have to fact-check with faith. So, are there issues?

Are there difficulties? Yes. But fact, God loves me. Fact, I'm His child. Fact, God has a plan unique for my life. Fact, all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. And fact, I'm going to heaven when it's all done. I've got a future and a hope.

We can become anxious and fearful in rough and uncertain times. But today on Connect with Skip Hi-Tech, Skip begins a series called Fact Check, sharing how you can face your tough circumstances and fear with faith. Right now, we want to tell you about a resource that will help you pursue God's truth and apply it to your daily life. A recent study from the Cultural Research Center found that Christians are almost just as likely to reject the idea of absolute moral truth as they are to accept it. For American adults, belief in absolute moral truth is eroding across all age groups and political ideologies, whether they're churched or unchurched. What that means is that over 75% of Christ followers, or those who purport to be Christ followers, are saying that nothing can be known for certain. There is no absolute truth.

What about you? We want to help you understand the nature of truth so you can pursue God's truth and apply it in your life with two brand new booklets by Pastor Skip, Why Truth Matters and God and Suicide. If you fall into that category, what do you do with the claims of Christ? Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. These booklets are our thanks for your gift of $35 or more today to help keep this ministry on the air, connecting more people to God's word.

To give, call 800-922-1888 or give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer. Now, we're in Hebrews chapter 11 as we get into the message with Skip Heitig. You know, there's something that has come out over the last few years called fact checking. And the phenomenon of fact checking, because now everybody has access to the Internet, is nobody can cheat anymore. Nobody can readily give out fake news without being called into account because we all have access to run down certain facts. We can go to websites, some of them wholly dedicated to exploring the facts of a matter. And you can discern if what is said, whether it's a news report or a politician's speech or a preacher's sermon. In the old days, you could get away with a lot more.

Today, you cannot get away with anything. You can get stuff fact checked. Now, put that in the Christian's life. As believers, we deal with facts.

We deal with real time events. We are face to face with life. We face the same facts as a believer that right now an unbeliever faces in any country in the world.

We're facing something very similar. However, when you bring God into the equation, things look different. Things begin to change. And that is what the life of faith will do for you.

What faith does, it brings God into the picture and it thereby changes your outlook. Now, we all know the word coronavirus. It's part of our vocabulary. It's here to stay. We're going to be saying that for a long time to come, looking back on this very unique time in history. But right now, facts are changing. Models are changing every day. Projections are changing. There's opposing voices of what we should do or shouldn't do, when we should open, when we shouldn't.

We're noticing that each state is being very unique in how it's gearing back into business, a variety of opinions on this. So when we face a difficulty, a trial, an experience that's hard, we have to fact check with faith. So are there issues?

Are there difficulties? Yes. But fact, God loves me. Fact, I'm His child. Fact, God has a plan unique for my life. Fact, all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. And fact, I'm going to heaven when it's all done. I've got a future and a hope.

I've got God's plan and the best working for me now, and I have a glorious future when it's over. Now, Hebrews chapter 11 is one of the great chapters in the Bible, and I have a notion that most of you know it already pretty well. We know it as the faith chapter in the Bible. It's similar to what 1 Corinthians 13 is. That's the love chapter. This is the faith chapter. It's as if the author writes this long, beautiful oratory or song about faith using a variety of examples from the Old Testament. The theme of chapter 11 is common people with an uncommon faith, or simply put, ordinary people who trust an extraordinary God. And because of that, they lived extraordinary lives.

They were normal people like you and I are, but they tapped into something in the midst of a difficulty. Hebrews chapter 11 has been called a number of things. It's been called the hall of faith or the hall of fame of faith.

It's been called the honor roll of the Old Testament. You know, one of the things that the coronavirus has done with hospitals, and it's going to be changing we think soon, but right now elective surgeries are not being done. You can't, like I had a back surgery. I elected to do it.

I can't get that done today. So that's been shut down, which means all the elective surgeries like facelifts and plastic surgeries, they're on hold. And so there's people who go, man, I'm so bummed out, I can't get that facelift that I wanted.

You're not thinking that Tamara, because you're so beautiful the way you are, you girls, Avery. But now is a good time for you to get a faith lift. Let's look at Hebrews 11 as something that's going to give us a faith lift. These are people like you and me. These are people who put their sandal on one at a time. They struggled with issues in life. They had to pay rent, but they were models of trust.

These are people like Abel and Noah and Enoch and Abraham and Sarah and a host of others. They all had difficulties, but they had to fact check life by bringing God into the equation, adding faith to it, and things changed. Each of them lived in hardship with this world, but each of them lived in fellowship with God.

They lived in hardship, yes, with things around them, but they lived in fellowship with the one who is above them. Well, we face the same obstacles. We face difficult times, and that has been a recurrent theme on the weekends and Wednesday studies for the last several weeks, and rightly so.

We're dealing with something very, very unique. We're in tough times, no question. Tough times demand tough faith. And I'm hoping, by the way, the only way to get tough faith is to have tough times. A faith is like a muscle that needs to be exercised. You need resistance.

It needs to be kind of beaten down and broken down, and then you build it back up again, just like when you go to the gym and you work out. So God is allowing us to go through this difficulty because He's strengthening the outcome of the church's faith going forward. And some of us are saying, oh, I don't know if I can make it. You can make it. You should make it.

You must make it. And here's why. Jeremiah once complained because things were difficult in his life, and he was pleading with God in the midst of a difficult situation. Listen to the Lord's response to Jeremiah. If you have run with the footmen and they have wearied you, how will you contend with the horses?

And if in the land of peace in which you trusted they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain in the Jordan? In other words, yeah, this is tough, but I'm preparing you for something perhaps that is tougher going forward. So God is conditioning us. And the way we get conditioned is to have our faith challenged. Now, not everybody agrees that faith is even a worthwhile disposition. There's people who marginalize the life of faith. They think that it's crude and outdated, and it's for weak people. It's a superstition.

The American author H.L. Mencken said, faith may be defined as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable. In other words, it's a blind leap in the dark. It really makes no sense at all, but weak people do that. But I contend that everybody has faith to some degree.

There's natural faith and everybody has that. You go to the faucet, you turn on the faucet, and you don't know what's living in your pipes, but you've had enough experience to know that probably I'll be okay. You go to the car and you put the key in and you turn it, though you may not understand how engines work, and electricity and pistons and rings and all that, but you have faith that it's not only going to turn on but roll down the road.

You go to the pharmacy and they say, take two of these every four hours. You don't know what's in there. You're hoping that there's somebody back there with enough experience to give you something that won't kill you.

You go to a restaurant for takeout and you go home and you eat it. You don't know what's in there. It's probably good that you don't know what's in there. But you have had enough experience that that natural faith is going to carry you through. So we all have faith. I remember when my son Nate, who's now a pastor on our staff and a gifted leader, when we would give him a meal, if he didn't know what it was, and my wife cooked it, but he had a very unusual prayer. You know, we usually say, Lord, bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies. He would pray this prayer, Lord, I pray this food is not poison in Jesus' name.

Amen. Not a whole lot of confidence in his mom. So we're going to look at Hebrews chapter 11 and we're going to begin with some preliminaries before we get into some examples of people who did fact checking by bringing faith into the equation. Hebrews 11 verse 1, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God so that the things which are seen were not made of the things which are visible. Let's begin by talking about the essence of faith.

That's where verse 1 comes in. It tells us not really a definition but a description of faith. The essence of faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

I've always found it interesting, maybe funny, maybe funny isn't the right word, but sad I would say the way some people try to define faith. They define faith as, some people, a blind optimism. Saying things like, things are going to work out, I have faith.

In what? What do you have faith in? What is the object of your faith? So that's just sort of a blind optimism, everything's going to work out, I have faith. Others view of faith is like positive confession. The idea of whatever the mind can believe and conceive it can achieve. And so you just, you know, you speak out your words are the containers of your faith and you speak out a positive confession. The problem with that, that can be faith in faith. You're believing in the power of faith alone.

To other people faith is a feeling. I don't know if any of you here remember the movie Oklahoma. Do you remember it? It was an old musical.

You remember it? So you have seen it because you've had an experience Ryan. So there's a song, you'll recognize the song, Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day, I've got a beautiful feeling, everything's going my way. What a wonderful feeling. To some people that's faith. I have a wonderful feeling and it's my feeling that things are just going to be okay. Listen, faith is only as good as its object. If your faith is in faith, if the object of your faith is the power of faith, it's going to fail.

Because some days it's strong, some days it's not. If your faith is in a feeling, well that's going to go up and down. You have to have faith in God. True faith clings to the promises of God, not to the premises or preferences of man. It has to be rooted in something more solid and that is the promise of God. That's why it says in verse 3, By faith we understand the worlds were framed by the word of God. So the things which are seen were not made of things that are visible. Some people have seen faith as believing in spite of evidence.

Now nothing could be further from the truth. To believe in something despite or contrary to evidence is just superstitious. So what I love here is that what the author does is he gives us the essence of true biblical faith. And he says two things, it's the substance of things hoped for, it's the evidence of things not seen. They are two parallel phrases that essentially mean the same thing, one just builds on the other. It's not a full theological definition of faith, but it is the essence of faith.

So listen to verse 1 in the New Living Translation. What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.

So take that first phrase here. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. I like that, faith has substance, it's substantive. Okay, so the word translated here, substance, means a firm, solid assurance, or better yet, a foundation. It comes from two Greek words put together that means to set underneath, to set underneath.

So you put something underneath and you rest on that. It's a support, it's a firm ground to stand on. So then faith is not something that you concoct in your imagination, it's for weak people who need to look outside of themselves and believe in some god that they made up.

It's not fabricated by the mind. Faith, true biblical faith, has solid substance. There's a great story about John Patton who became a physician and an academic and before that he was a missionary to the New Hebrides Islands in the South Pacific, filled with cannibals by the way. He went to these islands, he was translating the Gospel of John and he was trying to come up with the right word in the receptor language for the word faith, the word believe, the word trust. And he didn't find an adequate word to translate into that language. So he is in his tent one day and he did have a desk, he had a chair and he had a local attache or servant with him who knew the language.

So he would ask him questions, well what does this mean, what does that mean? So one day he sat in his chair at his desk and he said to him, he said, what am I doing? And the man said, you're sitting in your chair. So then he leaned back a little, put his feet up in the air like this, said, now what am I doing? And the word the man uttered back to him was a word that when translated means to lean your whole weight upon.

What am I doing right now? You are leaning your whole weight upon that chair. So he said, that's the word to translate trust, faith, belief. So John 3.16 in that language is, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever leans his whole weight upon Him will not perish but will have everlasting life. That's the essence of faith, it's substantive, it has a strong undergirding and foundation. You might say that faith is putting all your eggs in God's basket and then counting your blessings before they hatch.

It's got real substance. So that's the first phrase, faith is the substance of things hoped for. Second parallel phrase is, and it's the evidence of things not seen.

That's the same truth but it just kicks it up another notch, goes up another level. And the word here for evidence means the satisfying conviction. So that which I rest upon becomes deep within me something really convicted in that it's true, a satisfying conviction. And the idea here is that faith acts upon that confidence even though I can't fully see it. I don't see it all yet, it's not completely revealed. A man of faith acts upon what he believes even if he can't totally grasp it.

You going to the doctor, to the pharmacist, you don't understand all the compounds but you take it by faith and you apply it. I've always loved the story about a grocer, a guy owned a grocery store, old days now. Think small town America, a little grocery store, the kind that had the cellar beneath the store. So he had a wood floor, he'd go down the steps, he kept his stock down there and moved it upstairs. So he went down to get some items, some stock to bring up to the shelves. And while he's down there, so up top it's very well lit because you have natural window light, down below it's dimly lit. While the grocer was down in the cellar, the grocer's son was in the main part of the store looking down that hole where the ladder is. He couldn't see anything because it's so dark, it's so well lit up here, he couldn't see anything. And his dad looks up and sees his son, his well-lit face from the window light looking down, peering down, and the dad says, jump. All the boy hears, can't see, he can only hear a voice that says jump. He goes, I can't jump. Come on, son, it's your daddy. You recognize my voice, you hear my voice, jump. And the boy said, I can't jump, daddy, I can't see you. And daddy said, but I can see you, and you know me, and you know that I love you.

And the boy just jumped. So there was substance and conviction that dad was going to be down there to catch him. That's the essence of faith. Now, when it comes to living a life of faith and the need to fact check with a life of faith, it's because of this. There is a spiritual reality around us that we don't see with our natural eye. If we could see it, it would change our life.

I'll give you a few examples. In the Old Testament, there's a guy who's running from his brother. His name was Jacob and his brother Esau because of the stolen blessing. Jacob hightails it through the country. His brother is fleeing or running after him, chasing him.

And so Jacob runs. He goes to this spot where it's desolate. He doesn't have a tent, doesn't have a home. He lays his head on a rock at night. And he's very lonely. He's very isolated.

He feels very alone. When he falls asleep, the Lord gives him a vision, a dream. And he sees a ladder going all the way up into heaven and the angels of God going up from the earth and coming down from heaven to the earth. Jacob wakes up the next morning and says, the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not. And he calls the place Bethel, which means the house of God. Truly this is the house of God. Surely this is the gate of heaven.

I love the way it's worded. The Lord is in this place, not was, is, present tense, but I knew it not. I know it now, but I knew it not yesterday. But now I know it. There is now an awareness I have seen into the other world, a reality I didn't know existed.

But now I do. And it changed the way he did life. That's one example. Another example is the prophet Elijah. He's down at a town called Dothan. The Syrian army camps around him. The reason the Syrians are after him is because Elijah the prophet could tell what the Syrian army was going to do before they did it.

As soon as a battle cry went out, bring your men here, he would tell the Israelite commander and they'd be ready for it. So the Syrian army says, look, we kind of have a snitch. God is telling this guy what we're doing.

We got to just get rid of this guy. So the Syrian army camps around where he is, where Elijah and his servant Gehazi are. And the next morning, the servant of Elijah Gehazi looks around and sees armies on the hillsides all around him and he freaks out.

He says, what are we going to do? Master, we're surrounded. And the Bible says that Elijah said to his servant, do not fear for those that are with us are more than those that are with them. Now I'm sure the servant of Elijah didn't understand the meaning of that. What do you mean there's more with us than with them?

There's a whole lot of them. I just see two of us. Then he said, Lord, I pray, open his eyes. Open his eyes. And it says that the Lord opened his spiritual eyes to perceive that the angels of God were encamped around the Syrian army, more in number than the Syrian army itself. So before, the servant of Elijah was looking out saying, poor us. Now he's looking out saying, poor them. They're surrounded.

They're dead meat. So both of them were able to see into the spiritual realm. And because they did that, things changed. Faith is the organ by which we are enabled to see into the invisible order. That's Skip Hyten with a powerful message for you from the series Fact Check. Now here's Skip to tell you about how you can keep encouraging messages like this coming your way. We want to connect more listeners like you to God's never-changing truths in these ever-changing times. So we would love for you to consider partnering in this work today so that many others can continue to know God's truth and be transformed by his love.

Here's how you can take God's word to more listeners like you around the world. You can give online at connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate. Or call 800-922-1888.

800-922-1888. Thank you. Tomorrow, Skip Hyten shares some important facts about our universe to help you more fully embrace your faith. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on his word. Make a connection. A connection. Connect with Skip Hyten is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-25 07:24:20 / 2024-01-25 07:34:13 / 10

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