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Faithful to Jesus – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
June 30, 2021 1:00 pm

Faithful to Jesus – Part 1

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Anne Graham Lotz introducing today's Living in the Light. Hebrews 11 is all about faith, and faith is not an option in the Christian life.

It's not what some people have and some people don't. It's an absolute vital necessity. You and I can't live a life pleasing to God without faith, so it's important to nail it down. We're glad you joined us today for Living in the Light with Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz. We're in a series of messages from Hebrews chapter 11. In her message, Faithfulness to Jesus, Anne helps us understand true biblical faith, a faith that we hope for. It's what we honor, and it's a hope we can be certain of.

Here now is Anne. We're going to be in Hebrews 11, so if you want to turn to Hebrews 11, and when I think of leaving a legacy in an ungodly world, I think of a relay race, and Hebrews 11 reminds me of a relay race. And when my children were growing up, my husband was an athlete and connected to the University of North Carolina, and he would take them over for track meets. One of our favorite events was the 4x100. It consists of four runners, as you may be familiar with, and they staggered along the track, and each runner has about a hundred meters to run, and the first runner is standing there, and he's gripping the baton in his hand. When the gun goes off, he runs as fast as he can down his lane. He comes to the second runner, who's already in motion. He passes the baton to the second runner. The second runner grasps that he runs as fast as he can in his lane, and he passes it to the third runner, who's already in motion, and so on until the race is completed. And the race is won not only by the one who runs the fastest, but by the team that passes that baton the smoothest, because if you bobble the baton, or you drop it, then precious seconds are lost, or you could be disqualified.

You remember our men's Olympic relay team won the bronze medal, and they were out celebrating when then the medal was revoked, because apparently they hadn't passed the baton in the passing zone, and I didn't even know there was a passing zone. I thought you just, you know, handed it off, but you have to hand it off within a certain sort of a box-like cutout on the track, and I thought in the Christian life the baton represents the truth that leads to faith in God, and one generation passes the truth that leads to faith in God, then the next generation, and they grasp it, and they pass it, the next generation, the next generation, then I think it's easiest to pass within the passing zone. I'm not saying you'll be disqualified if it's outside, but the passing zone to me is when you have the opportunity, and the best opportunity is within our homes, isn't it, to our own children and our grandchildren, but if that time is past you, or perhaps you don't have children or grandchildren, then it's somebody else's children, or somebody else, somebody in this next generation, and we want to pass that baton of truth that leads to faith in Jesus to the next generation, and the way we leave a legacy, a godly legacy, an ungodly world, not only being fired up about Jesus, so we maintain the vibrancy in our relationship with Him, but also through being faithful to Jesus, and Hebrews 11 is all about faith, and faith is not an option in the Christian life.

It's not what some people have, and some people don't. It's an absolute vital necessity, and 1 John 5 says that you'll never have victory to overcome that ungodly world if you don't have faith. Jesus said in Matthew 9 29 that you won't get answers to prayer if you don't have faith, because He said, be it unto you according to your faith, and then Hebrews 11 says without faith, it's impossible to please God. You and I can't live a life pleasing to God without faith, so it's important to nail it down, you know, so Hebrews opens and defines faith, and I'm going to try to explain it to you, so perhaps, you know, because we think of faith, and for me it's hard to define. It's sort of mystical, and it's out there, and it's, you know, you go to church, you call yourself a Christian, you read your Bible, you believe in God, and so you have faith, and this person's faith is like somebody else's faith, and that's not what we're talking about, okay, so I want to try to describe biblical faith to you, and the chapter opens in Hebrews 11. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see, and faith is certain of hope, and if I say I'm hoping something, usually it's a hope so, you know, hope it doesn't rain tomorrow. Well, it might, you know, but I'm hoping it doesn't, but if I say I hope I'm going home next week, I'm going home next week, I just haven't gone yet, so a biblical hope is not a hope so. Biblical hope is being absolutely certain of what we don't see.

We haven't received it yet. It's not ours yet, but we know it's going to be, and it's a certainty, so we're certain of hope, and I'm going to try to do this just generally speaking. I looked back on this last year, all the things I've gone through, and I sure hope that it'll turn out good for me, and actually I'm certain that it will, because Romans 8 28 says, all things work together for good to those who love God and called according to His purpose. When it comes to the gospel, when we share the gospel, I sure hope when I share the gospel it makes a difference, and I know it will. I'm certain of it because there's power in the gospel according to Romans 1 16, and I hope Jesus is coming back, and I'm certain He's coming back, because He said He would. John 14 3, I'm coming back to receive you to myself, and I hope there's a place in heaven for me.

If we're living like strangers and aliens, I hope that I'm going home to a place that will be mine where I belong, and I'm certain that I will, because Jesus said I'm going to prepare a place for you. So do you see, biblical hope is that you're certain of what God has said. You put your faith down in God's word, so we can take the promises for Israel. In Psalm 105 verses 8 to 11, God says once again, and I can say I hope that Israel keeps her land with all the peace deal and the Palestinians and everything.

I hope she keeps her land. I'm certain she will, because He said in Psalm 105 again, I have given this land to you and your descendants forever. All right, and you just put your faith in God's word.

It's like a anchor. Your faith is anchored in God's word. Think of a family legacy when we're trying to leave a godly legacy for the next generation, and in my family some of the promises I've claimed, I think you know I hope that God will keep His eye on my children and my grandchildren. I'm certain that He will, because Isaiah 49 16 says, I have inscribed you on the palms of your hands, your walls, your family, your home are continually before me.

He was always watching over my children and my grandchildren. So you just put your faith down in God's word, and I was thinking you know this past week, as I look towards this weekend, I was somewhat apprehensive just wondering if I could make it through this weekend and get my mind to work, my body to work, and you know all that, and God gave me a promise from Psalm 103 verse 20, and He promised me that I would be mighty in strength in order to perform His word, and so I was certain I would make it through this weekend. I just put my faith in His word. You see, life that's faithful to Jesus is a faith anchored life. You put your faith and it's anchored in the word of God. You're certain of hope, so I don't know what you're hoping for, and not a hope so, but can you put your faith in God's word so that it's a certainty. He keeps His word.

He keeps the promises. I don't care how far back it was that He gave it to you, but He keeps His word, and we put our faith, our hope is certain because it's anchored in God's word. Hebrews 6 19 says, we have this hope as an anchor for the soul firm and secure. It enters into that sanctuary behind the veil.

It's centered in Jesus and in His word, so it's faith is anchored. We're certain of hope. We're certain of honor. It says in verse two, this is what the ancients were commended for. Verse four, it says they're all commended. Verse five, they're all commended.

Verse 39, they're all commended. All of these people in Hebrews 11, they lived by faith in God's word, so when God's word was contradicted by their circumstances, it didn't make any difference. They believed what God said more than what somebody else said. They cared more about what God said than the opinions of everybody else, and they lived a faith anchored life. They were absolutely certain of honor that they would be commended, that they would have God's approval. They would have God's blessing.

They would have God's pleasure. Are you tempted sometimes to go after the world's honor and the world's acclaim and awards, and they can make some of them look very attractive, and for a time you're sort of riding high, but compared to what God has prepared for those that love Him, what the world has to offer is so temporary and so tawdry. I think when we get to heaven, we'll be ashamed we ever strove for something that the world offers when God had something so much grander and greater, and we're certain of honor.

I love in 2 Timothy, Paul at the end of his life, he's in prison, and do you remember this wonderful passage where he says, I'm already being poured out like a drink offering. The time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight.

I've finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous judge will award me on that day. You see he's absolutely certain of honor. He knows he's going to be rewarded, and he says not only me, but also those who love his appearing. Are you certain of the honor that's to come? Jesus said in Revelation 22, behold I'm coming soon and my reward is with me, and we don't talk too much about rewards. It's almost like it's not spiritual to think that you're working for a reward, and I don't know what the reward is going to be, you know. I can guess, and I feel like if we've been faithful to him down here, then to whom much has been given, much is required, and those who are faithful and a little will receive more, and maybe if we've served him here he's going to give us more responsibility there, and I don't think we're going to be proud of ourselves that I have more responsibility than you have, you know. It's not going to be like that, but when we see Jesus and we want to do something for him after all he's done for us, if he gives us a large responsibility, something that we can do effectively for him in eternity, then I want that, but I can tell you the reward that I would, if I could have what I wanted, you know, ask him for what I would like to have. I would love to see his face when he sees my children, and I want to see his face when he sees my grandchildren, and I want to see the smile, the pleasure on his face when he greets us. So if it's nothing more than his pleasure in my life and in those, the lives of those I love, then that would be enough.

That's a reward. I remember when Daddy would go away, that mother didn't make much of a deal of it, you know. We'd come home from school, and where's Daddy?

Well, he's gone again, you know. And mother never complained, and she never showed any bitterness or never saw her tears of that, but when Daddy came home there was this big celebration. We'd go down to the train station in Black Mountain, and we'd greet him as he got off, and he would hug us, and then we'd go up home, and we'd all dive into his bags. He always brought us something home, and it could be the wings of the pile that gave him, you know, or a little stuffed animal from the airport, but he always had something with him, and when Jesus comes he says, my reward is with me. I have something to give you, and Corinthians gives a very solemn picture of reward ceremony when he says that our life's work is going to pass through the fire of God's holiness, and if you've lived according to what you wanted to do, you know, you didn't obey his word because you never made the time to read it. You didn't even know what he said for that day, and did things your way, and according to your will you got what you wanted.

Your life is like wood, hay, and stubble. It passes through the fire of God's holiness, and it's burned up, and all you have to show is ashes, but if you live your life in obedience to his word, because every day, every morning you get up, and you ask yourself, what does it say? What does it mean?

What does it mean to me? And you live it out in response, and you surrender your life to his will, and you want what he wants, and you do things his way, then your life is like gold, silver, and precious stones. It passes through that fire of his holiness, and the Bible says that you're rewarded with the crown, and wouldn't it be something when we get to heaven after we've gone through that judgment seat, and he hands us a crown for the way we've lived our lives down here, if we just take the crown and lay it at his feet, have something to give him for all that he's done for us. I can tell you I don't want to put ashes in his nail scarred palm. I want to have a crown to lay down before him, so I'm certain that there'll be some sort of reward.

I don't exactly know what it is. Maybe it's just a smile on his face. Certainly it's the fact that heaven is open for me. I'm going home, so heaven is my reward, but he has other things to give us also, and by faith we're certain of hope, and we're certain of honor, so if you've been faithful here you can count on the fact that he's noticed, and he's kept the books, and he'll keep a record, and maybe nobody else knows what you've done, but he does, and he's going to reward you, and then thirdly faith is certain of him, and in verse three it says by faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible, and I just want to lay it out for you, okay? Someone who's faithful to Jesus, someone who's going to leave a godly legacy in an ungodly world does not believe in evolution.

There's no place for that, all right, and you know why? Because God's word says beginning with the first verse of the Bible, in the beginning God created everything, and if you believe in evolution it's the devil's lie. It's a counterfeit, and if you believe in evolution you're saying that, you know, we're just cosmic accidents, and we came from nowhere, and we're going nowhere, and our lives are meaningless, and we're never going to give an account to anybody for the way we've lived our lives, and all of that is a lie, so when you come to God by faith you're certain of him, that he is the creator. He's an authority over everything, and they say they keep discovering more universes, and you know whatever, whatever. He created it all, and he's an authority over all, because by right of ownership he owns it. He's an authority over everything. He created everything. Everything that was made was made by him, and for him, and through him, and faith is certain of him, his authority.

Oh, but also his accessibility. Can I just look at verse six says, without faith it's impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him, and I just have to stop right there. We can come to him, the one who is an authority over everything. In the Psalms I was reading Psalm 104, and he says, you are very great, oh Lord my God. You are clothed with splendor and majesty. You wrap yourself in light as with a garment. You stretch out the heavens like a tent.

You make the clouds like chariots. You ride on the wings of the wind, and he is great, and awesome, and powerful, and majestic, and we can come to him. He's available.

He's accessible. Anyone who comes to him must believe that he is as he is, as he's revealed in Scripture, and that he rewards those who seek him, and the reward, you know. Maybe it's not giving you the answer to prayer when you pray it, how you pray it, what you pray, you know. He doesn't give us exactly what we want to ask for, and I'm old enough to thank him for that. He's so much wiser than me, but I think the reward is that we can find him, that he's accessible, that we can have a personal permanent love relationship with the Creator. It's just mind-blowing, isn't it? That the one who rules the universe, that spins the planets, that keeps this earth rotating, that's created gravity so it won't fall off when we turn around, you know, and the sun comes up every morning, and we can come to him.

It's precious, you know. It just washes all over you that when you come to him by faith, believing that he is as he is, as he's revealed himself, you're certain of him. He's the Creator, and he's the one who became your Savior because he loves you so much you can come to him through the blood of Jesus. Praise God. So our faith is anchored. We're certain of hope. We're certain of honor.

We're certain of him. And what is your faith anchored? If it's anchored in what other people say, in what your pastor has taught you or Sunday school teacher, what you've learned from your mother, what you read in a book, what our culture is doing, what your denomination teaches, I think you might be on shaky ground. Your faith needs to be anchored in the Word of God. That's why it's very important that you read it for yourself. Don't just get it from somebody else.

Don't get it secondhand. Eve did that, and we're all in trouble because of it. So get God's Word for yourself firsthand.

You read the Bible, and you ask what it says, what it means, what it means in my life, and you make those takeaways, and you live it out in your life so that your faith is anchored in what God has said. He's a gentleman. He keeps his word. And Jesus said, not one jot or tittle will pass away. All will come to pass. And the psalm says that God's Word is eternal.

It's fixed in the heavens. Make sure that your faith is anchored in the Word of God. And if we're going to pass on a godly legacy to the next generation, we're faithful to Jesus with a faith-anchored life. Secondly, with a purpose-driven life. And all of these characters in this chapter had the same purpose, and it was to bring glory to God, to know God, and to make Him known.

And when I was a girl raised across the valley in the Montreat Presbyterian Church, I had to memorize the Westminster Shorter Catechism. And the only question I can remember was, what is man's chief ends? And the answer, man's chief end, is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. And our purpose is to bring God glory. It doesn't mean to go around, you know, with a shining cloud or a glowing face or just, but it means to know Him and to make Him known. And His character, as we become like Jesus, as we behold Him in Scripture, and the Holy Spirit transforms us from glory to glory to glory, as Corinthians says, until one day we're like Jesus. But even now, maybe, our children, our grandchildren, our spouse can see Jesus in us. His faith and His hope and His love and His patience and His goodness and His kindness and His meekness and His forgiveness. And all of these men and women in this chapter lived a purpose-driven life to bring glory to God, to know Him and to make Him known. That's what drove them.

But I see five categories that I want to pull out. And a purpose-driven life is one that's established in worship. And in verse 4, by faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man when God spoke well of his offerings.

By faith he still speaks, even though he's dead. And if you remember the story of Cain and Abel after Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden of Eden and Eve gave birth to Cain, her firstborn, and then Abel was her second born. And I don't know, the Bible is not clear, but when they were removed from the Garden, God killed an animal and He clothed them in the skin of the animal. So blood had to be shed in order for them to be clothed in God's sight and in God's presence. So somehow, someway, there was a sacrificial system that was established. And God made it plain and He made it clear by chapter 4 that in order to come to Him, you had to come to Him through a blood sacrifice. And so Abel came to God as God required and he offered a blood sacrifice, a lamb and he sacrificed and God accepted him and God was pleased. Cain, on the other hand, was a farmer and he thought, you know, I don't want to sacrifice some bloody lamb and so I'm going to give some fruit and vegetables and the wheat and the barley and I'm going to sacrifice that to God and I'm going to give Him the best I've got. And God came to Cain and said, it's not that that I want.

You have to come to a blood sacrifice. And Cain didn't want to. He didn't want to do what God said and he rebelled against it and he became bitter and resentful because Abel was sacrificing as God said and Abel's sacrifices were accepted and Cain's were rejected and so Cain got more bitter, more angry, more resentful until finally he was so enraged. He took Abel out in the field and he killed him and Abel died.

And I want you to think about it for a moment. It's almost an Old Testament picture of the gospel, isn't it? Where Abel is sacrificing and coming to God through the blood sacrifice in the New Testament we would be coming to him through Jesus and saying that Jesus is the only way, the only way we can be accepted by God is coming through faith in Jesus. And then I wonder if there's a Cain in your life, a brother or a sibling or a co-worker, a spouse, a parent, a boss or somebody in your realm of contacts, somebody who deeply resents the fact that you say Jesus is the only one and they become embittered and enraged and pray to God they don't do what Cain did to Abel but they may cut you off, you know, leave you out, never speak to you again, start slandering you behind your back, cause trouble, persecute you, you lose your job, you lose your promotion. And the thing about Abel, he did not back off. Even when he knew that Cain was becoming enraged he still sacrificed as God required. And that's where I see him putting the gospel first, worshiping God in the way God required. And the interesting thing is the next son that Adam and Eve had was named Seth. And Seth must have been impacted by his brother Abel's example because it says in Genesis chapter four verse 26, at the time of Seth men began to call on the name of the Lord. And it meant that worship was established in that next generation. And Abel's example of not giving in, not compromising, not backing off, even when he was so offending his brother by his adherence to what God said, the only way you can come to me is through a blood sacrifice and Abel, that's why his blood still speaks even though he's dead.

Because that's the only way and he took his stand for it and he gave his life for it. But the impact, the legacy he left to the next generation was his little brother grasped hold of that and in his generation they began to worship God, call on his name, and they had to do it by coming to him through a blood sacrifice. So how's your worship? Worship has to be established at the cross first of all. You must come to the cross by faith. There's no other way you can come to God. You must come, confess your sin, tell God you're sorry, believe Jesus died, he's God's lamb who died on the cross to take away your sin. And you believe if there had been nobody else he would have died for you and you put your hands of faith on that lamb and you grasp it and your guilt is transferred to him and the lamb dies in your place and the blood washes over you and in God's eyes you're forgiven. You're made right with him.

You can come into his presence. That's the first step of real worship. We worship in spirit and in truth.

When did you do that? When did you place your faith in Jesus as your own Savior and your own Lord? We worship in church, we worship in other ways, but every time I pray. So when I get up in the morning and I have my devotional time I always begin my prayer time with praise and worship.

Just not thanking God for what he's done for me but just praising him for who he is. The other night I don't know why, I don't know what caused it, but in the middle of the night I became so attacked in my mind and I know it was the devil. You know it just it was so evil and it was frightening to me because you know when he plays with your mind it's so hard isn't it to control your thoughts and to put thoughts out and put thoughts in and so I lay there and I thought what do I do?

How do I get rid of this? And so I just need to praise the Lord and so what I did I laid in bed and I started going through the ABCs of the names of Jesus you know just saying his name because his name is above all names and there's power in the name of Jesus. I can't go through the whole alphabet but he's the alpha and B he's the beloved of the father, C he's the Christ the chosen one, D he's the deliverer the defender of the weak, E Immanuel, E he's the everlasting father the fairest of 10,000, G he is God, H he's the hope of the world, I he's the great I am, J he's Jehovah, K he's the king of kings, Lord of lords, mighty God, Messiah, Nazarene, you're just going through the list and I just lay there just going through the names of Jesus and my thoughts were purified and I went to sleep and woke up the next morning and I was fine. Put worship into your life. To help and encourage you in your work for the Lord we invite you to It's a great opportunity to further read, study, live by, and love God's word. You'll find Anne's daily blog, her messages, Bible studies, books, audio, and video that will enhance your study, your going forward that Anne spoke of today. And plan to join us again for Living in the Light.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-25 16:52:22 / 2023-09-25 17:03:41 / 11

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