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Living by Faith, Hebrews 11:30-40, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
November 24, 2023 10:10 am

Living by Faith, Hebrews 11:30-40, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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November 24, 2023 10:10 am

Richard Dalhstrom reminds us that “the good life is never defined by Jesus in terms of either length or comfort.  To the contrary, Jesus says that those who seek to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their lives (spilling them out generously in service to others because of love for God) will find them.  Living by Faith requires making bold choices for our Master.  He calls us to be salt, and if salt is going to do anything worthwhile, it has to get out of the comfort and safety of the saltshaker.  As we lean on our Lord Jesus, He gives us all we need to live bold lives of abandon as we walk by faith. 

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Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Richard Dahlstrom reminds us that the good life is never defined by Jesus in terms of either length or comfort. To the contrary, Jesus says that those who seek to save their life will lose it.

And those who lose their lives, spilling them out generously in service to others because of love for God, will find them. Living by faith requires making bold choices for our Master. He calls us to be salt.

And if salt is going to do anything worthwhile, it has to get out of the comfort and safety of the salt shaker. As we lean on our Lord Jesus, He gives us all we need to live bold lives of abandon as we walk by faith. Let's listen in. This is the third part of a message from a study in Hebrews 11, 30 through 40. It was first preached on November 25th, 2012. Consider the apostles in the New Testament. I know the writer of Hebrews focuses on the Old Testament, but the apostles of the New Testament. What did they do?

Look in the early chapters, particularly verses chapters 4 and 5. What did they do? They taught openly, boldly. They taught in the name of Jesus. They proclaimed the name of the risen Jesus Christ. And they were threatened by the religious leaders and said, don't do it again.

And just to make sure you get the point, we're going to flog you. So they were whipped. And then they go home with the rest of the crowd. And what do they do? They write a letter to their lawyer.

That's not what they did. They praised God and they thanked Him for being worthy of suffering for His name. People living by faith make bold choices. In 2007, in addition of Newsweek magazine, you all know who Garrison Keillor is.

Well, those of us who listen to the radio still, right? Garrison Keillor was asked to choose what he considered to be the five most important books. One of the books that he chose was the Book of Acts.

Garrison Keillor. And some readers were probably surprised to find that he ranked the Book of Acts at the top of his list. And when describing the Book of Acts, Keillor said this, he offered this concise but potent summation.

Listen to this. The flames lit on their little heads and bravely and dangerously they went onward. That's a good summation of the Book of Acts. That's why it's called the Acts of the Apostles, the sent ones.

Look what it says. Still others had trial of mocking, scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned. They were sawn in two. It is believed that Isaiah died that way. He was sawn in two and it wasn't a magician's act. They wandered about in sheepskin, goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented. You see, they lived with abandoned because their existence wasn't about them. Verse 38, what does it say?

Of whom the world was not worthy. What is that telling us? There are two opinions that you're confronted with every day.

And there's only one that counts. You are confronted with the opinions of those who surround you every day, day in and day out. You are a person living by faith. It means you have a single ambition. That is the pursuit of God.

You take action on that information. You live with the end of you and you make bold choices, which means you might be doing some unusual things and you might be sticking your neck out. But you're doing this and you're happy to do this and you delight in doing this because there's only one opinion that counts. Can God say of you and me of whom the world is not worthy? Meaning God has a highly favorable opinion of me and it doesn't matter to me what the world thinks because I'm living by faith. My pursuit is of God and I take action on that. Soren Kierkegaard wrote, when one preaches Christianity in such a way that the echo answers away with that man, he does not deserve to live. Know this, that this is the Christianity of the New Testament. Capital punishment is the penalty for preaching Christianity as it truly is. There are many, many brothers and sisters losing their lives for the name of Christ today. Martyrdom is also alive and well in our world today.

Calvin Miller wrote this. He says, I think the most vibrant missionaries I've met are medical doctors serving in lonely outposts of the Arab world. These physicians and nurses are aware that in winning a Muslim to Christ, they condemn their converts to ostracism and persecution, even martyrdom. One doctor said to me, how do you think I feel in longing to lead people to Christ, knowing that the moment my patient receive Christ, they face a life and death contempt in this culture? It must seem pointless, I said.

Pointless, he said. This is the point of the gospel. The cost and consequence of receiving Christ is the entire point of Luke 9 23.

Take up your cross daily and follow me. I said a few minutes earlier that martyrdom is alive and well in the world today. There were estimates made by Dave Barrett and Todd Johnson in World Christian Trends that between the years of A.D. 35 in 2000, A.D. 35 in 2000, 70 million people lost their lives for their faith in Christ. Of that 70 million, 45 million happened in the 20th century. Current trends, the estimate is that every year there are as many as 130 to 160,000 people who lose their lives every year for their faith in Christ.

That comes out to about 200 people a day or five people a minute. Do we understand that? Our brothers and sisters at the rate of five every minute are losing their lives for their faith in Jesus Christ. People living by faith make bold choices. Globally, the church is expanding significantly in spite of these trends, and it's expanding in places where some of that persecution is at its worst in Asia and in Africa. The church is expanding in the West where we have so much safety and comfort.

The church is in decline. People living by faith make bold choices. I like this little example, it's a story told by Erwin McManus in Seizing Your Divine Moment. He says, one summer he sent his son, Aaron, to a youth camp and he was happy it was a Christian youth camp, because you go to a regular youth camp and they start telling all kinds of ghost stories and Aaron was pretty young. And he says, so he says he's not going to come home terrified with all these ghost stories. So he sends them off to camp and thankfully it was a Christian camp. So instead of telling ghost stories in a Christian camp, what do they tell?

Stories of demons. So naturally, Aaron came home terrified. Had a hard time sleeping at night. Dad, don't turn off the light, he said before going to bed. No, Daddy, could you stay here with me? Daddy, I'm afraid they told all those stories about demons and I wanted to say they're not real, but I couldn't say that, could he? He goes, Daddy, Daddy, would you pray with me that I would be safe?

I could feel it, says McManus. I could feel warm blanket Christianity beginning to wrap around him, a life of safety, safety, safety. And I said, Aaron, I will not pray for you to be safe. I will pray that God will make you dangerous, so dangerous the demons will flee when you enter the room.

And he goes, all right, but pray I would be really, really dangerous, Daddy. Have you come to the place in your own life where you stop asking God to give you a safe life and to make you a dangerous follower of Jesus Christ? Once again, if you think dangerous means being arrogant and rude, then you need to call the office and set up an appointment with me for some personal discipleship. OK, because that's not what dangerous means. Dangerous means living with one single ambition and taking action on that and living with the end in view and making bold choices, because there's only one opinion that counts.

There's only one opinion that counts. There is a video that I'm going to show you right now. It's called the definition of a traitor. And in it, there is a line and there's blank that you can fill in on your notes. See if you can listen for those. But listen, listen to this video. It's very, very poignant in regard to the message today.

Did you get to fill in the blanks? Where you live doesn't make you a missionary. The mission you're on makes you a missionary. Very simple, people living by faith, the single ambition of pursuing God, of taking action, of living with the end in view and making bold choices. That's a mission that makes us missionaries.

Let's make those bold choices. People living by faith. As the review there, it's those four points and I hope every time when you think about what it means to live by faith, I'm asking you to remember these four points that we gleaned from Hebrews chapter 11. Because living by faith, that's good religious church talk, right? Let's remember that faith isn't wishful thinking. Faith has an object. And if I am going to be one who is living by faith, it means that I have the single ambition of pursuing God. It means that I will take action on the information that I have from God. It means that I will live with the end in view and it means that I will make bold choices. Are you living by faith this morning?

I pray that we be a people that live by faith. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace, weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-24 12:08:01 / 2023-11-24 12:12:34 / 5

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