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Developing a Lifestyle of Faith, Part 1

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
February 1, 2021 7:00 am

Developing a Lifestyle of Faith, Part 1

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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February 1, 2021 7:00 am

An insightful series of messages on practical ways to build a faith-driven life; learning from key Old Testament patriarchs what it means to live by faith; based on Hebrews 11.

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It is your weakness that positions you to be a faith giant.

It is your inability that positions you to be a faith giant. This is what the ancients were commended for. They weren't commended for their perfection, they were commended for their faith.

And Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Hello and thanks for being here for this Monday edition of Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd. When you study the lives of some of the heroes of the faith, you're struck more by their perseverance than their perfection.

It was their faith, not their flawlessness that distinguished them. As you follow along with Pastor Paul for the next couple of weeks or so, keep this question in mind, how can I develop the kind of faith that pleases God? Pastor Paul answers this question in the coming days and it starts right now.

Stay here or download the podcast on demand at pastorpaul.net, at Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get yours. But right now here's Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, developing a lifestyle of faith. I am more than convinced, I'm convicted that there are so many more things God wants to do through us, for us, and in us in these days. These are the last days. In fact, I believe these are the last of the last days. I'm watching world events now like never before. And I see every indication of the kinds of things Jesus spoke about when he talked about the second coming.

And I believe we are in the last of the last days. I believe like that little boy whose grandfather tricked him by programming the chime on the clock to go 13 times. The boy had come to learn how to tell time, so the grandfather tried to trick him and set the chime for 13. He said, now, I want you to listen and then tell me what time it is. And it chimed 13 times. And then he asked the boy, now, what time is it?

And he thought for a second and the boy said, I don't know, but it's later than it's ever been before. And I'm telling you, if you ask me when Jesus is coming, I have to tell you, I don't know, but I'm going to quickly add, but it's later than it's ever been before. And I believe his coming is quite imminent.

For that reason, I believe the Lord is going to move supernaturally in these closing days like never before. And I want us to be positioned by understanding what it means to truly live and develop a lifestyle of faith. Now, people who live their lives with a totally secular humanistic worldview look at people who practice religion as all doing pretty much the same thing, just in different ways. People who are secular in their worldview, who are humanists, who call themselves atheists or agnostic, whatever it is, they tend to look at religion all in one lump. Oh, y'all are religious.

And they kind of don't distinguish anything beyond that. You're just religious. You just believe in the supernatural, however they would describe it. But they lump it all, whether Christian or Hindu or Muslim, whatever, they just kind of lump it together. You all are just religious. I beg to differ. That's not accurate to call people like me religious.

You missed the point because let's be technical for a moment. Religion has to do with man's attempt to reach out to connect with the almighty or something supernatural, something unexplainable. And they want to appease deity, whatever that might be. That's religion. You believe in or you pursue a god or gods. That doesn't describe me.

Doesn't describe you. Because Christianity in its truest form is not a religion. Jesus didn't come to die to establish a religion. His coming was to prevent us from having to come up with a way to find deity. Because in Jesus' coming, deity found us. Don't lump me in with folk who are burning incense and praying prayers and humming and doing whatever they do to try to find something outside of themselves.

No, no, no. I'm not trying to find God. I'm rejoicing that God found me. You see the difference?

Apples and oranges. We who call ourselves Christian in the truest sense, in the biblical sense, our rejoicing is in the fact that when we were lost, God found us in Christ. In fact, let's be honest, when we were dead and our trespasses and sins, we didn't even have sense enough to look for God. How am I going to find him?

I wasn't even looking for him. Christianity says he came looking for us. We were lost and undone without Christ and his son.

He reached out his hand for us. He wrapped himself up in flesh, came through 42 generations, the Old Testament tells us. He was born in the womb of a virgin. He lived a sinless life and he died a substitutionary death so that you and I could have a relationship. It's not about a religion. It is about a relationship with Christ. I prefer to be known as a man who is developing a close relationship with Jesus Christ. Now, if that's what you mean when you say, I'm a Christian, then yes, I am.

Those of us who know him, what we're trying to do is build a closer relationship because he started it by coming into our lives. So true Christianity is a journey with Jesus. True Christianity, that's the way you ought to describe it. It's a journey with Jesus and the Bible calls that living by faith.

So I want you to understand what I'm going to be talking about in the coming messages. It's about this journey with Jesus which is described biblically as living by faith. Now, the Bible uses that phrase first in Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 4. Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 4.

See, the enemy is puffed up. His desires are not upright, it says. Here's the phrase, but the righteous person will live by his faith or faithfulness said in the New International Version. Will live by his faith, by his faithfulness.

In other words, we're taking our signals, our cues from a different place altogether. We're not living by what we see, what we think, what we feel. We're living by faith. Over in Romans 1.17 in the New Testament you see for him the gospel, the righteousness of God has revealed a righteousness that is by faith from first to last. Just as it is written, the righteous will live by faith. And then when you get over to Galatians 3.11, you see the phrase again. Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God because the righteous will live by faith. And then one more reference is Hebrews 10.38.

And here's what you see there. And my righteous one will live by faith and I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back. So I want you to understand the terms we're going to be working with. When I'm talking about living by faith or walking by faith, developing a lifestyle of faith, that's what I have reference to. What Christ came to establish is a journey. We're on a journey with him.

We're not just sort of doing what we do. We're on a journey. We're moving with God. And as you move with him, the journey gets deeper and more exciting as you really learn what it means to develop a lifestyle of faith where faith is not something you practice like the law. Faith is something you live.

It becomes who you are. I am a faith walking person. That's God's goal for all of us. So we're called to live by faith and I want you to become clear about what it is and what it looks like.

So let's just kind of go to school. Let me just start with the ABCs so to speak of faith. What is faith? Well there's an answer that immediately comes to many of your minds found in Hebrews chapter 11 verse one.

Let's look at it again. Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Confidence in what we hope for, assurance about what we do not see.

What is its basis? How can I be confident of what I hope for? How can I be assured of what I don't see? That's because of faith's foundation. And before I get to that let me point out verse two of Hebrews 11. It goes on to say this faith is what the ancients were commended for.

Now what does that mean? You know that Hebrews 11 is often called the faith hall of fame chapter because the writer goes on and gives us example after example of faith throughout redemptive history. And this verse says this is what the ancients were commended for. We're going to see Moses and Abraham and all of these wonderful folk that we've studied throughout the course of our journey with the Lord as we've read his word and I want you to know none of those folk are special because of anything about them. They're all special because they learned to have confidence and assurance in someone other than them. I point that out because that tells you that you can become a person of great faith. They weren't commended because they were such wonderful folk.

Look at Hebrews 11 as we're going to do and you'll see it's full of folk like you. They weren't commended because they never made a mistake. They weren't commended because they never had a bad day.

They weren't commended because they always made great decisions. They were commended because when crisis came, when challenge came, as they journeyed with God they learned to put their trust in Him and not in themselves. When are we church folk going to learn that you aren't anybody much? He took the weak things to confound those who think they're strong. It is your weakness that positions you to be a faith giant. It is your inability that positions you to be a faith giant.

It is the fact that you know if God doesn't do it, it's not going to get done. This is what the ancients were commended for. They weren't commended for their perfection. They were commended for their faith.

They weren't commended for doing everything right. They were commended for their faith. We're coming right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepherd, who is Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship in Fremont, California. Listen to the broadcast on demand at pastorpaul.net.

That's pastorpaul.net, where you'll find a host of great resources at our online store. Well, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. And if you want to build a lifestyle of faith, it starts with the foundation. Here's Pastor Paul once again with the rest of today's message, developing a lifestyle of faith. And I'm here to tell you, all of us qualify to be faith giants.

And that's what I want to see develop in our lifestyle, in our journey. I want us to get stronger, not in ourselves, not in self-confidence, but in confidence in Him. My confidence isn't in me. In me that is in my flesh, Paul said at one point, dwells no good thing.

So I can't afford to put confidence in the flesh. I've got to have my confidence firm in the Lord. Now, let's talk then about the foundation of faith, since faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen. That's the way King James puts it. Then it's got to have a strong foundation.

What is that foundation? It is the word of God itself. When you go over to Romans chapter 10, you find, so then faith comes by hearing.

I believe it's verse 17. So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God. It comes as a result of hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ, NIV says. So in other words, if I don't hear the word of God, if I don't know what God's position is on something, I have nothing to anchor my faith in. Now, we're in elementary school. Before I take you up into the higher dimensions of faith, we got to all start here.

I got to make sure you got your ABCs down. So please understand, if I don't have a word from God, I have nothing to base my faith on. Therein, brothers and sisters, lies the difference between faith and presumption. When I presume and put that on God, I'm going to just step out on faith. Well, if you're stepping out on faith, that means you're stepping out on something God has said.

Because if I just step out just because I think it's going to happen, that's not going to work. Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God. I got to be familiar with the word so I can have a foundation for my faith. Because the word is what says, here's what God believes. Here's what God has said. Here's what God has proclaimed. Here's what God has promised. Even if I don't have a personal promise for something for myself, I can say, well, God has promised this to other faith-filled people, so I'm going to step on it believing that he's going to do the same for me. I got to have a word from God to base it on.

I can't just base it on what I think, how I feel. Faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of God, which tells you, you got to then be in the word if you're planning on being a faith giant. Now, before we move further into chapter 11, I want to step back and go a little back into Hebrews chapter 10. And there I want you to find five directives for living by faith. We're laying a foundation so that when we start talking about these other patriarchs and apply what they did to our own lives, we'll be doing so in a lifestyle that has been manufactured to live by faith. Hebrews chapter 10, verse 22, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with a full assurance of what faith brings.

Now, hold on right there. Let us draw near to God. That's the first directive. Before we start talking about what it means to develop a lifestyle of faith, I want you to make five commitments based on what the writer to the Hebrews says.

Here's the first one. Let us draw near to God. You want to be a faith giant? You want to see God move supernaturally in your life? You want to see the Lord do things that he's never done for you, in you, and through you?

I do. And if you do, first thing you want to do is draw near to God. Draw near to God. It's a decision you make. Draw near to God. I'm going to get closer to God, that's what that means, than I've ever been before. Somebody needs to make a decision, I'm going to draw near to God.

You say, well that sounds so simple. Yeah, but look at our lives and you'll see why it's so necessary. Because there is so much around us that is vying for our attention and our affections. I'm glad you said some good amens on that. There's so much God is competing with, to put it that way.

He's got competition and he shouldn't have any competition. He alone is God. He alone is our maker, our creator, our sustainer. He alone is the one who gives us grace. He alone is the one who blesses us. Yet, we have to be mindful that there is so much around us that can distract us and keep us from being focused on the true and the living God, who is the most important being in the universe. It is easy for us because we live in these robes of flesh and we have to constantly tell ourselves to walk in the spirit and not according to the flesh.

Because the flesh can get so distracted. You can spend more time with raggedy people than you do meditating on and talking to through prayer and thinking about and reading about the goodness of the Lord. Spend all this time on folk who don't matter. On issues that don't matter. Pursuing things that don't matter. Dreaming dreams that don't matter.

Purchasing things that don't matter. And so when the Bible says draw near to God, it's calling our attention to what's important. Let us draw near to God. That's a decision you make. I've told you many times before, when the Bible commands us to love God, we in western society think, what is that?

What do you mean command? Love is a feeling. Love is goosebumps.

No, it's not. That's what's wrong with your relationship. You built it on goosebumps. And those bumps went away so long ago, you don't even remember what they felt like.

You don't remember why you decided to hook up with who you decided because in the moment, you felt something. And we in the west, we think that's it. Western hemisphere, we think that's it. And we go after that and that's why we break up at the rate we do. Look at eastern societies. Eastern hemisphere societies, they don't do that. Your mom and daddy say, that's who you married.

Got to let some goosebumps catch up. That's who you married. We got folk in this church. Somebody picked their spouse for them because they didn't grow up here. They grew up where folk knew we need to make a partnership that makes sense. Where you all going to live a good life and produce good children and act like you got some good sense.

They won't worry about your feelings. They say here's your wife. You all go somewhere.

They had a revelation we don't have. We think it's all about I ain't letting my mama pick nobody for me. Well, how's your personal picking working out for you?

That's all I'm saying. It's a decision. You like the teams you like because you made a decision.

That's my team. And you drew near to that team. You made a commitment to that team.

And the commitment takes many forms. You think about them. You buy their paraphernalia. You buy tickets to their games. You root for them. You holler.

You scream. You get mad when they lose. You invest emotionally in that team.

Why? Because you decided to one day. It's a decision you made. Nobody made you pick it. You picked it maybe based on your hometown, maybe based on your alma mater.

Whatever it is. Some of you all like teams. You've never even been to the city. But you like that team. That's your team. You all haven't been to Green Bay talking about you a Packers fan. You don't even know where Green Bay is on a map. But you decided for some reason way back in your history you liked Bart Starr and you became a fan ever since Bart Starr. I just dated myself.

You all young folk don't know what a Bart Starr is. It's a decision. So here this word is calling you decide to draw near to God. Find where God is and point your car in that direction.

Point your heart in that direction. I'm going to invest in drawing near to God. If I want to live by faith, if I want to walk by faith, if I want to see what faith will bring in the way of miracles and supernatural movements in my life, then I've got to draw near to God. I've got to become closer to God than I am to anything or anybody else. Faith begins with a foundation. For a Christian that means building a foundation on what God has said. So study his word. Get to know his promises.

Draw near to him and he will draw near to you. Well Pastor Paul Shepherd joins me now from his studio in California. Pastor looking ahead into this new year of 2021, one of the things we like to do from time to time is share stories of how God is using this ministry.

I'm excited about that and I know you are as well. So let's encourage people to tell us some of those stories about how God is using this program. Yeah, I would love to hear from our listeners. You know, Destined for Victory exists to challenge and inspire people everywhere to know God's son, to apply God's word and to fulfill God's purpose. That's our mission statement.

We're serious about it and I want to know that all three things are happening. So if you're a listener and as a result of listening to Destined for Victory, you have come to know Jesus for yourself or you're finding application of these messages in your everyday and you're finding your purpose in life, what God wants to do in and through you, I would love for you to drop us a line and share your testimony. It can be one or two paragraphs.

It can be a full length letter and then we'll just pare it down. But please share with us what God's done as a result of your being a listener and give us permission to share it because we may find ways that we can share your story. We don't have to call your name if you don't want, but we can share your story and by doing so, others can be blessed as well. So please consider getting in touch with us, letting us know the difference that Destined for Victory is making in your life. You know, one of the best ways to bless others is by sharing with them what God has done for us. So if you've been blessed by the Destined for Victory broadcast, we'd love to hear from you. Visit pastorpaul.net, click the contact feature at the top of the homepage and we look forward to hearing what God has done.

We also have a special gift to share with you this month, yours by request for your generous donation to Destined for Victory. You've seen Pastor Paul Shepherd's booklet, Lessons from the Cocoon. You know, butterflies don't enter this world with wings. They don't even enter the world as butterflies.

Their transformation takes place over time. That's how the life of a believer in Christ works. In Lessons from the Cocoon, Pastor Paul helps you understand that God is doing things in you even when your life seems somewhat stagnant and unremarkable.

And he reminds you that eventually you will have wings because you were born to fly. That's Lessons from the Cocoon, our gift to you today by request for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. Call us at 855-339-5500 or visit pastorpaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift, of course. Our address is Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538.

Again, Destined for Victory, Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. Want to strengthen your own faith? Try building up the faith of others. Here's Pastor Paul. When's the last time you found somebody weak and made sure they were strong before you left them?

When's the last time you found a bowed down head and you said and did things that lifted their head? That's next time in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Developing a Lifestyle of Faith. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-29 13:05:57 / 2023-12-29 13:15:20 / 9

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