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The Life of Faith - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
January 15, 2024 12:00 am

The Life of Faith - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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January 15, 2024 12:00 am

Strive to have a deeper relationship with Christ so God can achieve the extraordinary through you.

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Monday, January 15th. Most of the favorite Bible stories tell of people who trusted God in difficult situations. Let's continue the Extraordinary Life series with practical lessons from those who lived the life of faith. What is the factor in the lives of these Old Testament saints that made them live extraordinary lives?

And the key factor here is what I want to talk about in this message. And that is simply this, the life of faith. So what I want to do in this passage of Scripture is this. I want to give you a picture of what the life of faith is about. And we're going to turn to the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews. And what you're going to find here is simply this, that all of these people that we'll talk about had one thing in common. And that is they had an absolutely undivided confidence in the promises of God.

They're ordinary people, but they listened to God and God did something awesome through them. You say, well, who am I? God knows who you are. What can He do in my life?

He's sitting on ready, waiting for you to believe Him and to trust Him and to follow Him. Then you will discover what He can do in and through your life. Or you can live a settled for life, stay on the low level, just being ordinary, coming and going, and something awesome missing in your life. You don't want to live your life that way. Or maybe you do. If you're wise, you won't.

Now, here's what I want to do. I'm simply going to describe what a life of faith looks like by looking at these people in this particular chapter of the Scripture. So, I'm going to answer the question, when we walk by faith, what? So, look if you will in this thirtieth verse. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.

Now, what is the principle here? When you and I walk by faith, the Word of God will be our victory. The Word of God will be our victory. His Word is our victory.

Now, remember what happened. Back to the, back to Joshua. Here's what God said to him in the sixth chapter in the first verse.

Now Jericho was tightly shut up because the sons of Israel, no one went out, no one came in. The Lord said to Joshua, See, I have given into your hand with its king and the valiant warriors. You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days. Also, seven priests shall carry seven trumpets' ram's horns before the ark. Then on the seventh day, you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.

And it shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout, and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man's straight ahead. Well, what did he have? The only thing he had was the Word of God. But he listened carefully. Joshua heard God say to him, I'm going to give you Jericho, and this is the way I'm going to do it. Now when he said, I'll give you Jericho, that was a happy sound, no doubt, and a very encouraging word. But then when he told him how he was going to do it, caused you to think.

Let me ask you a question. What was it that Joshua had? The only thing he had was the Word of God. His trust in the Word of God was unwavering. Remember what we said in the very beginning? All of these Old Testament saints had one thing in common, the undivided confidence in the Word of God. So on the seventh day, they march, they shout, they blow trumpets, and the wall comes flat down.

They march in, take it over. Somebody says, you know what, I believe in miracles, but things like that don't happen today. That's not the way God operates.

Well, let's see if it is. On one occasion, we were buying the property downtown that we needed, and we got everything we needed except one piece. And it was on the block behind where our church was located. And this man's name, I remember his name, and I went to see him and told him what we were going to do, and I asked him if he'd sell us that piece of property.

It wasn't very large, but he was right in the middle of the block. He said, not for sale. I said, okay. I said, I was just telling you what I believe God wants us to do in the fellowship. He was not a Christian. And he says, not for sale.

So he didn't want to talk about it. I said, thank you very much. So probably about two or three months went by, something like that, and we were praying one day with the staff. And the room we were in was looking over that particular block.

And I looked that over and was looking at that building. It's like God said to me, I'm asking Him, Lord, what are we going to do about that? It's like the Lord said to me, remember Joshua?

Oh, yes, I remember Joshua. It's like God said, trust me. Well, then I had to tell somebody. So I said to the guys on the staff there, I said, look, here's what we're going to do.

Because I was convinced I'd heard from God. Here's what we're going to do. We're going to do what Joshua did. We're going to march around this block once a week for six weeks. We're going to do exactly what God told Joshua. Nobody talks. I don't care if people meet you on the street, you don't say a word to them.

Nobody talks. We're going to march around it for six weeks. On the seventh week, we're going to march around it seven times that day, and we're going to trust God to give us that piece of property.

Because He's so dead set against it. We march around it six times. On that seventh week, it was one of those cold, wintry, wind-blowing mornings.

And I can still see us. There were about twelve of us lined up over coats, bundled up, and we start marching. And we marched all around that block seven times, never said a word. And I told them that you can't discuss this with church members. I don't want to hear about that. This is just between us from the very beginning.

March around it seven times. One week went by, two weeks went by, one month went by. About into the second, last of the second month, or the first of the third month, got this telephone call. Well, are you folks still interested in buying this property? I said, well, we might be.

And come on too small. Anyway, we got it at a good price. And all we did is practice the truth. God said, march around the block and trust Me. Oftentimes, God will speak to you and you won't, and you know what? You hear Him, but you don't obey Him. Then you wonder why it won't work.

And here's why you do that. What are they going to say? Well, it doesn't make any difference what they say. The question is, what does God say? What does God think? I can tell you what God thinks. Anytime you and I obey Him, God, listen, He's pleased when we obey Him.

We let other people's opinions cheat us, deprive us, keep us living ordinary lives. Listen, the reason your Christian life isn't exciting is because you won't let it be. You listen to the Word of God, then you don't practice it.

And you wonder why you don't have and you don't, you're not able to go and you're not able to have the influence you want to have. Well, as I said before, God is a power, He is a power, He is a power, He is the power, He will work with us. And He won't wait until you get Mommy and Daddy will get you, no matter where you are. Joshua was a beautiful example of simply that. The Word of God was his victory.

That's all he had. Here's what God said, do, here's what I'm going to do. Then, of course, there's the next. And that is, he comes down to a character that you and I know real well. about Gideon and Barak and Samson, Jephthah of David and Samuel of the prophets, that is, so he says, I could give you these stories about all of these. So let's just take, for example, let's just take David because this is the next one I want you to notice.

And here's the next principle, and that's simply this. When you and I walking in faith or living by faith, the power of God will be our strength. The power of God will be our strength. Look back, if you will, in First Samuel chapter sixteen and seventeen, and here is the account of young David, who's this sort of whippersnapper as far as the king is concerned. And you remember that the Philistines have challenged God's people, Saul's scared to death, all of his soldiers are scared, and here's Goliath on the other side of the valley over there challenging them, and nobody will come forward. So here's young David, and he steps up and he says, what's going on? So he finds out what's happening, and his brothers told him, they said, look, go back to your few sheep. So when he finds out what's happening, he comes to Saul and says, I'm willing to take him on.

Saul says, but you're just a ruddy lad. He said, well, let me tell you this, I killed a bear and a lion, the same God who enabled me to kill a bear and lion will help me kill this pagan Philistine. And so they get in this discussion, and finally Saul says, okay, and what you do is you take my armor here and you go out and fight him. So David says, no, I can't use your armor.

If I'm going to fight him, I have to fight him in my armor. So the Scripture says his weapons were two, a sling and a stone. What it does not say was this, slaying, stone, and his awesome, unwavering, unshakable faith in the God of Israel. And the God of Israel watched young David face this Goliath. And the power of God guided that sling and that stone till it hit right in the bull's eye, right in the one place that would kill that Goliath with one shot.

Here's what I want you to remember. The power of God is released in your life. When you face Goliath's, those big challenges, those things in your life that you can't figure out, it is God who's willing to release His power in your life if you will trust Him.

Listen, what's a sling and a stone against such an awesome warrior? It's almost worthless unless God's behind it. And God gets behind you and me and with us and in front of us as our protector and empowers us and strengthens us and makes it possible, listen, for us to live an extraordinary life.

Not an ordinary life, an extraordinary life. But we have to trust Him. It was young David's faith that made him say to Saul, give me the opportunity. It was his faith that said, you keep your armor. It was his faith that sent him down to the creek to pick up the stones. And it was faith that caused him to run toward Goliath, the enemy. It was faith that caused him in that moment of winding up the sling and keeping his eye not on the sling but on his target and let it fly and knew when he did it that his God who sent him to protect the name of Jehovah God was going to guide that stone right to the target. God hadn't changed.

What He did for David, He'll do for you and me. And the truth is, if you and I look back in our life, we could see many times God has released His awesome power in us to do things that were extraordinary. The world may not think so. God sees that they are. And the reason you continue to live an ordinary life is because you won't trust Him.

Well, there's one other. I want you to notice what he says here. When he says, then what more shall I say? Then he begins to talk about these others. And look in verse thirty-three, who by faith these people conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword.

From weakness they were made strong and became mighty in war putting foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, not accepting their release so that they might obtain a better resurrection.

Here's what I want you to notice here in this last principle, and that's simply this. And that is when you and I walk in by faith, when you and I walk in by faith, the approval of God, the approval of God will be our motivation. We want God's approval. We want to be obedient to Him so that He can say to us, well done.

But I would add a word to that. Not only is the approval of God our motivation, but it's also part of the award and the reward. Listen, what more do you and I want than for God to say to us in some big time of testament, and we walk through it and God says to us, well done, son. Well done, dear.

Well done. There's the other side of this, watch this. He says, notice, he comes down to these verses and then he says, verse thirty-six, And others experienced mockings, discouraging, chains, imprisonment, stoned, sawn in two, tempted, put to death by sword, wrapped up in sheepskins, goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated, of men and women whom the world was not worthy, wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. Now, I'm going to explain another verse here just a moment. I want you to listen carefully.

Here's what he's saying. Many of those who trusted God were delivered. Many of those who trusted God went through the sacrifice of giving their lives.

But here's what he says, and this is so important. Verse thirty-nine, And all these, those who lived extraordinary lives and came out victorious in battles, those who lived extraordinary lives and lost their life in the process or gave it up. Verse thirty-nine, All these having gained approval through their faith, they trusted God.

Remember what he said? Listen, in order to please God, we must trust Him. If there's one thing you and I owe Him, it is our trust to believe Him, to accept His promises as true, to live by them, to walk in them, and to serve Him by them.

And he says all of these, whether it be people like Joshua and Moses and Abraham and David, are people whose names are not listed, but they all obeyed God. What more greater reward than to have the approval of God? Many people do many great things in life as far as the world is concerned.

They have no approval of God. But you, somebody thinking that you're unimportant and that your life doesn't count, when you and I walk through difficulty, hardship and pain and trial, and we trust Him, we are faithful to Him, we live by faith, we follow His promises, He's our comfort and our strength and our power. The world may not know it, but God does what?

He speaks His Word of approval. Well done. Now, I want you to notice this last part because I don't want you to leave wondering what in the world this meant. Look, if you will, in verse thirty-nine again. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised. Now, what does that mean?

Here's what it means. It means that in those days, they were looking for the Messiah. They had been taught that the Messiah was coming. And so, what happened was, they died before the Messiah came. And so, when the Scripture says that they did not receive the promise, it simply meant they did not live through the period that came, when the New Testament came.

For example, they died before the Messiah was to come. And then He says, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect. That is, it is the atoning death of Jesus Christ that makes it possible for us to be perfected in the eyes of God. When we leave this earth, because of that atoning death of Jesus Christ, the shed blood of Jesus, every person who has trusted Him, trusted in the Lord God, Jehovah in the Old Testament, perfected in the eyes of God.

Now, here's what we've simply said. You can either choose to live your life by faith, trusting, listen, in the awesome promises of the living God, and watch Him lift you out of the ordinary to become an extraordinary Christian, in whose life God is doing the most unusual things. Or, you can be so foolish as to ignore the opportunity of watching God work in your life in the most awesome fashion.

It is my prayer that what you've heard, you will apply to your life and then watch God work. One thing I can assure you, will there be trials? Yes. Tests? Yes.

Difficulties at times? Yes. Joys? Yes. Happiness? Yes. Peace? Yes. Contentment? Yes. Assurance? Yes.

Unspeakable things happen in your life? Yes. But you have to make a choice. You're going to settle for the settled-for life that you have, or do you want it to be extraordinary, the life that God has planned for you from the very beginning? Amen? Amen. And Father, we thank You for the awesome lives that have been lived before us, beautiful examples of what all of us really deep down inside really want to be like. We ask You to so work in us that we'll be so dissatisfied with living anything else but obedience to You. And by faith, stir us up God, motivate us, move us to do the right thing.

Now we know what the truth is. And we pray that You'll enable us to take whatever that first step is in every individual's life, to step up on a higher level than we've ever lived before, in Jesus' name, amen. Thank you for listening to A Life of Faith. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-15 05:41:11 / 2024-01-15 05:50:20 / 9

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