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Faith on Trial (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
October 7, 2021 8:00 am

Faith on Trial (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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October 7, 2021 8:00 am

Some signs that distinguish real faith from a mere profession of faith; based on James 2:14-26.

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True faith goes beyond belief. It's not enough that you believe something if you don't live according to it.

It's one thing to believe something in your head. It's another thing to live out that belief in your everyday life. What can a tightrope walker teach us about faith? Find out next on this Thursday edition of Destined for Victory.

Hello and thanks for tuning in. On yesterday's program, Pastor Paul Shepherd reminded us that faith is far more than what we say. Consider what God himself said in Isaiah 29 verse 13.

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. So faith in Christ goes beyond words. It also goes beyond belief. Today Pastor Paul explores the subject further, aided by the fascinating story of a tightrope walker in 19th century France. Stay with us now or you can always stop by pastorpaul.net to listen on demand. That's pastorpaul.net.

Here is Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message, Faith on Trial. This is why I don't ride motorcycles anymore. I went down.

Isn't that fun? And they told me when I was taking the training course, they said, listen, you've got to be very alert at all times. You can't be out there thinking about other stuff. That's exactly what happened the day I went down. I had a lot on my mind. And if I had thought back to the training, I would have known this ain't the day to drive.

But I just, I tried it. I didn't realize I was too preoccupied until it was too late. And I woke up briefly seeing myself being inserted into an ambulance. 2007.

Inserted into an ambulance. I remember thinking I was on my way to a Warriors game because the Lakers were playing that night. And I woke up briefly. And I remember in those few moments thinking, that's not Kobe. I didn't understand where I was.

Anything I did, I promise you, I just, that's not the Lakers and them. And I passed back out. When I came to again, I was coming out of that machine, that MRI machine in the hospital. But it wasn't the day I should have been riding because there's no margin of error. They told us when we were training. You're in a car and you make a, don't negotiate a turn right, the car may crash into something.

They said, if you're on a bike, no margin of error. And my wife said, honey, I know that I can trust you and so I'm going to let you, I know you loved riding and I'm going to let you go back. But my daughter, she flew in from Phoenix when she heard her daddy went down on his bike. Flew in from Phoenix, came to the hospital.

I still can picture it. Came, hugged me. Daddy, you all right?

You know, yeah baby, I'm laying up there hurting. And so she loved on me for about a minute. Makes sure I was all right. And then she said, now, let's get something straight. You are never riding a motorcycle again in your life. I said, but your mother said I can, she said I can ride. She said, I can't speak for mom. I got nothing to do with any of that.

I'm telling you, you are done. I had heard that daughters have a trump card they can play on their fathers. I had heard about that. But I never, I never had seen it. That day I saw it.

She whipped it out. Done. And there was no negotiation.

It wasn't, it was done. We can talk about something else. We're not talking about a motorcycle.

Just get that off your mind. And I have looked at a many a motorcycle going down the road saying, oh. At the end of the day, it's not about what's in your head. It's about what you're willing to place full trust in. And we place trust all the time in things that we have no business placing trust in. Come on.

Think about your life. You place trust in a vehicle you didn't see them build. You don't know what faulty pieces are in there. You say, yeah, but they have recalls.

Folk got to die first. Then they say, oh, there's a problem. You put your trust in vehicles that they will get you from A to Z.

We get on airplanes. You didn't see them build it. You don't know if the mechanic was having a bad day the last time he got inspected.

Or he too busy like these other folk on their jobs talking instead of working. And we've all read the stories of plane crashes and car crashes that had no fault of the flyer. No fault of the driver. Something was wrong. But we had placed our trust anyway. Somebody had placed their trust anyway and they lost their lives.

Happens all the time. We place trust regularly in things we technically shouldn't place full trust in. But we understand to live life, you've got to trust somebody sometime.

I mean, how are you going to make it through life and you need proof of everything? That's why the old saints taught you don't even take a trip when they would have to take a trip in their car. They would say, let's have prayer. Some of you all grew up with the old saints.

They didn't even drive when they were going on a trip to our three hour, six hour drive and trip. They would say, let's pray. We saw I was a little kid just in there with the saints and get in there and let's pray. And they would ask for traveling mercies. Come on, some of your traveling mercies.

What are they saying? They're asking God, Lord, we have to take a trip and the driver knows how to drive. But we still need your mercy. We need your mercy because there's some fools out here. We need your mercy because we don't know if this car is going to hold up. We need your mercy because there's drunk drivers and there's people swerving and losing control. We need your mercy because somebody could have a medical emergency. And while they're having their heart attack, their car comes across the road and slams into me. So, Lord, please have mercy on us while we travel.

I fly with one of my best friends as a pilot. And whenever we get in the plane, we pray. We are not people of, well, you know, stuff just happens.

No, no, no. I'm a believer in Jesus, so I'm going to put my trust in him. Now, that doesn't make me understand everything. I still have mystery, so do you. But the one thing I know is I'm going to live and I'm going to die putting my trust in him.

That's our job. God says, who's getting in my will barrel? That's the question because true faith goes beyond belief.

And the last point is that true faith goes beyond comfort. Then he ends the passage, verses 20 through 26, by telling us about two Old Testament characters, Abraham and Rahab. Look at what he says, verse 21. Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?

Now, you know that story. God waited till Isaac was up in his teens. Abraham's enjoying him. And then God says, now I want you to sacrifice him. And while a person, a human sacrifice was never God's will, back in the day when he was establishing his covenant through Abraham, he tested him.

He tried his faith by giving him an unbelievable command to do what God did not command anybody else to do. He said, I want you to sacrifice your son. Now, if you're just coming to your Bible, please know the end of the story is God did not allow the sacrifice to go through.

He never wanted it to go through. But Abraham couldn't know that in advance because he was trying his faith. So he said, I want you to take your teenage boy and put him to death as a sacrifice to me. And Isaac had to be laid on a altar of sacrifice. And Abraham had to lift his knife, knowing this is the covenant son, this is the one God promised me. And the Bible comments later that Abraham knew that if God allowed him to kill his son, it's only because God was going to raise him up again. That was why he was ready to do it. And of course, the story ends with God saying to him, this is in Genesis 22 if you've never read it, God saying to him, no, no, don't plunge the knife into his chest.

He said, I was just testing your obedience. And God's tests of obedience often take us out of our comfort zones. So I'm here to tell you, true faith goes beyond what you say. True faith goes beyond what you say you believe. And true faith goes beyond comfort. If you've got to be comfortable, you can't be faithful.

Write it down. If you must be comfortable, you cannot be faithful. It's impossible to be faithful and stay in your comfort zone. Because God's will will always have those times when it takes you out of your comfort zone. Without exception, God won't let anybody stay in your little groove and please him.

He's going to pull you out of that groove. And so look at how far he tested Abraham's obedience. He told him to kill the son of promise. And Abraham had to have a willingness to actually do it.

And then he mentions in the same way, verse 25, Was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? As the body without the spirit is dead, he says, so faith without deeds is also dead. We'll be right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Sheppard. To listen to any of Pastor Paul's recent broadcasts, be sure to stop by pastorpaul.net to listen on demand. That's pastorpaul.net. Genuine faith in Christ goes beyond words, beyond belief.

It also goes beyond comfort. Stay with us after today's message when Pastor Paul joins me from his studio in California. But first, let's get back to the rest of today's message, Faith on Trial.

When he talks about Abraham, he's talking about him having to consider the possibility of killing the son of promise. In Rahab's case, she was a resident of Jericho. You remember that story? And she wasn't just a resident. She's a businesswoman in Jericho. She had a thriving business in Jericho. And two spies had come into town from Israel to spy out the land that God was going to give them. Word got out that there are spies who have come into town.

And Rahab, the prostitute, got them, took them in, but not for normal business. She said, listen, I'm a woman who does deals. I know how deals work. We're going to make this a win-win proposition. I will hide you, and then after those who are looking for the spies leave, I will let you out secretly. And then when they come to ask about them, I'll tell them, y'all were here, but you left, and I'll send them in a direction you're not going. She said, that's my side of the deal.

Your side of the deal. This is a pagan woman. She said, we know God has given you this city. We know you all are coming, and there's nothing we can do about it. It's bad when heathens know God better than believers do. And she said, I know God has given you this, and your God is stronger than any resistance we can put up. She said, so your side of the deal is, if I save your lives and send your enemies in the wrong direction and let you get out of here, she said, you have to promise me when you show up, you're going to spare me, my mama and them, read it, read it, read it, my whole family.

Look, y'all can laugh if you want to. This woman landed in the faith hall of fame. Hebrews chapter 11, with all them godly men, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses. Rahab sitting right up there, talking about, hey. Right there in the same list. Hall of fame.

Why? Because she dared to believe a God she hadn't yet met. But she knew he was real. She knew he was powerful. She knew that he had given victory for his people. And she said, I want to be spared when y'all show up to conquer the place.

And here's what I love the spies' reaction. They said, all right, that's a deal we can do. But the only way we're going to do it is, there has to be a sign.

We're not going to send our warriors in here, and they just got to ask, are you Rahab? Said, no, there's got to be a sign. We got to see something scarlet. You know scarlet stands for the blood. We got to see the blood wherever we see the blood.

Wherever we see proof that you are a person who is coming under the covenant of Israel. Because we're going to see the blood. We're going to spare everything in that house. They said, but tell your folk they better be home. Tell your people they better be home when we show up. They can't be out at Super Saturday sales. They can't be out on Black Friday special. Can't be out at the Jericho Mall. Everything must go.

Tell them they got to be home when we show up. And the blood has to be hanging out. I'm so glad for the blood. I'm so glad for a place of safety where my sins don't count against me. And where God is working in me. Both the will and the do of his good pleasure. And if you will be a true believer, it means you will go beyond your words.

There will be a real action that represents Jesus. You'll go beyond belief and you'll put yourself in God's will barrel. Wherever he takes you, you're just going along for the ride. Anybody ever let God just take you for a ride? Anybody ever let God scare you to death? You haven't lived. You haven't walked by faith until you are scared out of your mind. You haven't lived yet. You haven't experienced God yet until you got a bad report.

And you said, I got to run that by my maker first. I can't take your word for it. I know you're a real good doctor, got a great reputation.

But I can't just take your word for it. I heard a testimony just this week of a lady who was fourth stage pancreatic cancer. I'm on her way out of here and went to a person who was having a healing service and said, I just, I want prayer. I'm asking God to heal me. I want to stay longer. I want to do God's will.

I want to take care of my family. And hands were laid and the prayer of faith was prayed. And God healed her completely. You haven't lived until you get a scary report or a scary vision.

God tells you to do something that makes no sense at all. I know, been there. When I moved to California, this didn't work out on paper at all. When I got here and found out how much you all pay just to live somewhere, I was like, oh, this is a different world. I'm talking about back then, this was 1989. You can imagine somebody moving here now because God tell them to come.

But back in 89, for that economy, it was still every bit a leap of faith. I had to come here and I told you the story before, when I heard the leaders of the church, they took me around to see where I might live once we moved. And they had me over in Fremont, they said, the housing prices are better over here than on the peninsula where the church was. They said, so we're over here helping you look for some places and we're asking God to give him a house for under $1,000. When I heard that back in 1989, I said, don't you mean you're praying that I get a house for under $1,000? I said, I'm going to put down roots here. If you're worried about whether I'm going to stay, I'm definitely going to stay because God's called me to the area.

I said, but I can't buy a house right now. The whole church's budget was $60,000 a year, whole budget. And they were going to give me $24,000 of that for my opening compensation. And they asked me to promise that I would not be bivocational. They said, we want you to be a full-time pastor from day one.

And I said, all right, you know, because I used to preach faith. But when I lived in Philly, I didn't have to really worry about it because the bills were being paid like a mug. You know, I had a good package, compensation package.

My home church in Philly's church was 1,000 members at the time. They were paying me well, good. And now I've got to come out here and take a pay cut, $24,000. I said, okay. I said, so let's just clear up this. I'm not going to buy a house now.

I'll get one later. They said, pastor, we're not talking about you buying a house. I said, but I heard y'all saying you're asking God to give me a house for under $1,000. They said, yeah, we're asking the Lord to bless you to rent a house that will cost you less than $1,000 a month. I said, wait, wait. Out here, you got to ask God to give you a house for under $1,000 a month to rent? That's something y'all actually had to pray about.

They said, yes, and if it happens, it will be God. And I found out then that I had been pushed way out of my comfort zone. I learned then that what I used to preach in Philly worked in California, that if you take care of God's business, he'll take care of yours.

Let God scare you, and if you've been scared before, know that he's probably going to scare you again. And listen, it's a wonderful thing to not know how he's going to do it. You don't always see the visible sign that it's going to happen.

You often say, yeah, I know I heard from him, but look at this. Stop looking at anything except the God who is controlling the wheelbarrow. That's all you got to look at. If you're getting in the wheelbarrow, no need to look at that Niagara Falls. They still going to be there when you look at them. They're always going to be there.

The tightrope's always going to be skinny. The wind's always going to be blowing. You have to learn to put your trust in the one who's in control. And I promise you, if you put your trust in him, he'll make sure that you are never ashamed.

If your faith is on trial, make sure there's enough evidence to convict you. Thanks so much for being here for today's Destined for Victory message, finding the right partners. Look for any of Pastor Paul's recent messages online on demand at pastorpaul.net. Again, that's pastorpaul.net. Right now I'm pleased to welcome Pastor Paul from his studio in California. Pastor, you minister to us each day on the radio and with the various online sources for Destined for Victory, and it's so encouraging. One more thing you do, you feel very strongly about this, is the monthly encouragement letter that goes out to everyone. You want to talk about that for a moment?

Yeah, absolutely. The one letter I feel strongly about making sure we produce every month is an encouragement letter, and so I take some time and based on some teaching of that month, and occasionally it's not related to the teaching, just something that God's put on my heart in that particular time, I write a letter to let people know not only are we preaching messages, but we're really trying to impact your life and help you with application, because again, our ministry exists to help people know God's Son, apply God's Word, and fulfill God's purpose, and my encouragement letter is designed to help you know Him, apply His Word, fulfill His purpose, and so I feel strongly about it, and I want to encourage people who are not on our mailing list to please take a moment and let us know, hey, I'd love to get the letter. It's absolutely free of charge. There's no obligation for it.

No obligation at all. We will take care of the stamp and everything. All you got to do is let us know. We can reach you. We'd be happy to send it to you. We can also send it to you by email, and it's important for you to be encouraged month by month, and so please let us do that. Get in touch with us. Give us your email and your mailing address so we can get in touch with you on a monthly basis.

Well, the word encouragement means to give someone support, confidence, or hope, sometimes all three. That's what Pastor Paul seeks to do each month with these letters of encouragement. Go to the website pastorpaul.net. That's pastorpaul.net, and sign up today. You'll be glad you did.

And here's something else for you. When you make a generous gift today, be sure to request a DVD from Pastor Paul called Get Your Hopes Up. This is our gift to you each month by request for your generous gift to Destin for Victory. Call 855-339-5500, or visit pastorpaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destin for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, California, 94538.

Again, our address, Destin for Victory, Box 1767, Fremont, California, 94538. If you want to know what's going on in your heart, pay attention to what you're saying. It's an indication. Out of the heart, the mouth speaks. Your mouth isn't acting on its own.

It is expressing what is in the heart. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, What Did You Say? 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 / 2023-08-13 10:01:41 / 2023-08-13 10:11:15 / 10

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