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The Anatomy of Faith, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
May 23, 2023 9:00 am

The Anatomy of Faith, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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May 23, 2023 9:00 am

Do you have the kind of faith Abraham had? The Apostle Paul says that, even when he faltered, Abraham “did not waver in unbelief.” As Pastor J.D. continues to teach from Romans 4, he helps us understand that faith is not about never failing; it’s about placing your trust in the God who always keeps his promises. Faith is about admitting that you cannot save yourself, but that, in God’s grace, he has done it for you.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. There is literally nothing that you could do that would make God love you any more than he does right now and there's nothing you have done that could make him love you any less because he poured out all your bad on Jesus and buried it in a grave and he looks at you now as if you were the righteousness of Jesus Christ and it is time for you just to embrace that and to start worshiping God for it and stop trying to prove yourself. Welcome to Summit Life with Pastor J.D. Greer.

I'm your host, Molly Vidovitch. Here's a question for you. Do you think that you have the kind of faith that Abraham had? The Apostle Paul says that even when he faltered, Abraham did not waver in unbelief. And today, as Pastor J.D. continues to teach from Romans 4, he helps us understand that faith is not about never failing. It's about placing your trust in the God who always keeps his promises. It's about admitting that you cannot save yourself, but that in God's grace, he has done it for you.

If you missed the beginning of this message on yesterday's program, remember you can always catch up online at JDCreer.com. Let's rejoin Pastor J.D. where we left off yesterday in Romans Chapter 4. Abraham wasn't just believing in God in general. He wasn't just believing God was out there. He believed the specific thing that God had said, a promise he had made, and then Abraham adjusted his life around that promise. And from that point on, Abraham's going to start walking around as if this promise was going to come true.

He adjusts his life to that new reality. So even though he's 90 and childless, he's building himself a nursery. They're picking out baby names.

They're throwing baby showers. They're looking for a land that's going to house this massive nation that God is going to give to him. And because, Paul says, he was fully convinced that what God had promised he was able also to do. Therefore, therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness. So faith's object is the promise of God.

Faith is believing that God will do what God said he'll do and then readjusting your life around the reality of that promise. Now, Paul makes the bridge to us in verse 23. Now, it was credited to him, that phrase in Genesis 15, six, that wouldn't have been for Abraham alone.

It wasn't an isolated incident. No, no, no. It's also for you and for me, it's for us. It'll be credited to us, just like Abraham, who believe in him, who raised Jesus, our Lord from the dead.

Why that? Verse 25, because he was delivered up for our trespasses and he was raised again for our justification. Watch. The resurrection was God's proof that he had accepted Jesus as the payment for our sin. The resurrection was the declaration that it worked, right?

Because when Jesus was on the cross, he said, it is finished, it is paid, and then he died. When God raised him from the dead, God said, he was telling the truth. And he did exactly what he said he did.

He paid for your sin. So what it means for you to show faith is for you to say, I believe that God kept his promise, just like Abraham believed God would keep his promise. I believe that he did keep his promise. That promise was that he would send salvation into the world. Abraham believed that God was going to send it. I believe that he has sent it.

You following this? Old Testament saints are saved the same way that you and me. We both believe God's promise to send salvation to the world. They believe it by looking forward to the cross. We believe by looking backwards at the cross. The direction is different.

The object is the same. That is God's promise to bring salvation. It's not a general hope in God. It is a belief that God kept his word to take care of your sin debt and to remove it and to give you his righteousness.

So next we have letter B. We've got faith's focus. Faith's focus, Paul explains, verse 19, is God's power.

It's what it focuses on. Abraham did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body to be already dead, which is kind of harsh, you know, way to say that. But when you're 100 years old, when it comes to your reproductivity, you're dead, okay?

Since he was about 100 years old. And also the deadness of Sarah's womb because that was a promise too. There were lots of things that Abraham could have used about as he considered his future. Lots of things that Abraham could have thought about that discouraged him. But Abraham chose not to think about any of those things. He chose instead to focus only on God's ability to keep his word. Now I'm gonna go ahead and tell you, in case you don't know, depending on God alone like that can be scary.

But Abraham did it. Most of us prefer a faith where we depend on God a little bit and depend on ourselves a lot of bit. That's what the kind of faith we prefer. If this promise, think about it, if this promise were made to you today, what would you do? You'd be like, oh, thank you, God. Thank you for this promise. And then you'd head right to the doctor and you'd say, okay, doctor, what kind of pills do I need? What kind does she need?

What are the techniques that we do here? You'd be home on the internet typing in how to have kids when you're 90. You don't want to hedge your bet. You want God to come through.

But if not, if not, you're going to figure out other ways of getting it done and making sure that you're taken care of if God doesn't come through. You have what one of my favorite Bible teachers, Tony Evans, what he calls mutual fund faith. You know how mutual fund works? So if you're a really gutsy investor, you find one company that looks like it's gonna do awesome. And you put all your money on that company.

And here's the upside. If it does awesome, you get rich. The downside is if it goes broke, then you lose all the money you invested in it. So most of us cowards, we best invest in mutual funds because how does a mutual fund work? Well, you band together with a bunch of other people. I don't know how many exactly, but you say it's a thousand people and you all invest together in a thousand different companies. And here's the upside.

If one of them goes belly up, you don't lose your money because the risk is mitigated because it's spread out. That's what we do with God is we're like, God, you're part of this equation, but I'm going to do other things to make sure that I am happy and that I'm taken care of because I can't risk it all on your promise. You say, well, that's a really good illustration, but I don't understand how, how do we do that today? Great. Thanks for asking. Let me, let me show you.

Okay. Here's a handful of ways. You can do it by refusing to embrace your new identity. God has declared you totally righteous in his sight. Yet most of you walk around with a sense of fear, insecurity, a nagging sense of guilt, a vague sense of disapproval. You'll say things like, well, I know that God has said that I'm forgiven, but I just don't think I can forgive myself.

And you spend most of your life trying to prove yourself both to you and to others that you have worth. Friend, that is plain and simple refusing to believe that God did what God said he did. Friend, according to the gospel, you are forgiven. There is literally nothing that you could do that would make God love you any more than he does right now. And there's nothing you have done that can make him love you any less because he poured out all your bad on Jesus and buried it in a grave. And he looks at you now as if you were the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

And it is time for you just to embrace that and to start worshiping God for it and stop trying to prove yourself. Christian, the moment that you accepted Christ, you became a chosen and adopted a cherished son or daughter of God. He looked at you and said, well done, my good and faithful servant. You're my beloved child in whom I'm well pleased. You have been appointed now to walk in victory. Even when you walk to the valley of the shadow of death, you don't have to fear evil because he's standing right beside you.

It means that all your needs are going to be provided according to the richness of Christ Jesus. You are going to reign forever as a king or queen with Christ. Nothing can overcome you anymore. No weapon formed against you can prosper. All those who rise up against you will fall. Nothing can separate you from his love and goodness and mercy are going to follow you all the days of your life and all these earthly trials you go through.

His presence never leaves you or forsake you. And he is commandeering all of them for your good and his glory and his continued mission in the world. Is that how you walk through life right there? If not, you've hedged your bet, okay? That's one way.

Here's the second way. Failing to face tomorrow and the confidence of God's promises. Like Abraham, there's a lot of you that feel like your past failures are going to define your future. But faith says, my future is not determined by my past.

My future is as bright as the promises of God. Sometimes when I'm talking to people who are considering becoming Christians, they will tell me, they're like, Pastor, I want to become a Christian. I just don't think I can live this out.

I don't think I'm strong enough to live this out. I always point out to them, I'm like, friend, when you say that, though, you're showing that your focus is on you. The Christian life is not about you doing this for Jesus. It's about Jesus doing it in and through you. Many people, when they become Christians, they think of it like a wrestling match, where they got to wrestle that evil triumvirate, the world, the flesh, and the devil. And this is the Christian life. I got to wrestle these things.

I used to go along with these things. These are my friends. Now I got to wrestle. Let me tell you something. The world, the flesh, and the devil will whip your tail every single time, okay? And so what happens after a few weeks, man, they're just like, they're about to die spiritually. And they're like, I can't do this.

I'm going to give up. And then they come to church and they hear me say something about God's power or something like that. And they're like, that's it.

I forgot. God needs to come help me. And so they reach up and just as they, they're about to get pinned, about to get counted out, they reach up and they smack the hand of Jesus. They tag him in and Jesus comes off the top rope with like a rack attack or whatever they call it. And just boom, just takes out the world, the flesh, and the devil. And you drag over and you sit in the side. And for several minutes, Jesus just whips around the world, the flesh, and the devil. And he gets them back in their place. And after you've caught your breath and you're recovered, Jesus tags you back in and says, all right, champ, get back out there.

And so you go back out there and you go through it again. And this is the Christian life. It's you and then Jesus, and then you and then Jesus. Now that's better than you for Jesus, but the Christian life is not you for Jesus. It's also not you and Jesus.

The Christian life is Jesus in you. And it means that you stay in a ring the whole time, but it's never your power. It's his. So you're kind of going through the motions of fighting, but it's his power that is working in your marriage. It's his power working your parenting. It's his power at work when I'm preaching.

I think of it like this. A couple of weeks ago, I was with my family on a little vacation. Place where we were, had a lake with some paddle boats in it. So my nine-year-old son says, let's go paddle boating. So we get in the paddle boats and of course, you know, his little legs are just barely long enough to touch the pedals, okay?

So he's not putting any energy into those pedals, right? So, but we're out there in the lake. He's like, dad, let's go to this side. Now, dad, let's pedal that side. Let's go to this side. Let's go back to that side where we were. And finally, I was like, son, let's stop saying let's, okay?

Because there ain't no let's in this equation. There's dad doing this and dad's tired of going back and forth across the lake. Even though his legs are going through the motions, it's all my strength and my power. The same thing is happening in the Christian life, right? It's you are doing it, but God is doing it in you and through you.

It's his power. So I'm facing the Christian life and saying not, what do I have to do? I'm embracing it with the confidence that comes from God and saying, yeah, my marriage looks difficult, but God is able to work what he wants in it. This situation is impossible, but all things are possible with God. And I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thanks for listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. If you want to know more about this ministry, visit us online at jdgreer.com.

You know what? We appreciate you. Yes, you are listeners.

It's an honor for us to be able to be a source of encouragement for you each day. And did you know that these Summit Life broadcasts are only one of the ways that you can keep up with Pastor J.D. 's ministry? Now, if you're like me, I spend a good amount of time on my phone.

Okay, maybe too much time on my phone. But did you know that you can follow Pastor J.D. on social media? Why not get some biblical insight as you scroll? Follow along on all of your favorite social media platforms and stay up to date with this ministry. Now, let's get back to today's teaching from Pastor J.D.

Greer right here on Summit Life. A third way we hedge our bet, we refuse to obey fully, right? You're like, okay, God, I want to do it your way, but I'm going to have some other things over here just in case. I'm going to make sure that I'm still happy and secure. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, he said, if the gospel is not true, then I'm a fool because the choices that I've made, the sacrifices that I've made, if this turns out not to be true and God turns out not to keep his promises, then I am of all men to be pitied because I have staked it all on whether or not God is going to keep his promise. For most of us, we wouldn't quite be there. We would say, I hope God is going to keep his promise, but I'm also kind of living in ways that I'll be happy and secure even if he's not there.

Let me tell you what that looks like. The first one, for example, if you're dating, what this looks like is I want God to be a part of my life, but I'm not willing to wait on the one that is the choice from God to date. Because yes, I want God to be a part of my life, but I also feel like I need romance and I need a boyfriend or girlfriend to be happy. So I'm going to compromise my standards and just date whoever I want to and not wait for the one that's from God, because if God doesn't come through, I'm going to make sure that I'm taken care of.

Or how about this? We have dating couples, engaged couples in this church who are listening to me right now who are living together before marriage. What that means is we're in church, we want God to be a part of our life, but we don't trust God enough to actually do it his way. If you're married, here's what it looks like. It looks like my marriage isn't going well. And rather than trusting that God is going to do a miracle in you as you stick at it and whether trusting God that he's going to help overcome these obstacles, you look for an easy way out called a divorce.

Or maybe you seek romance outside of your marriage. And you're like, I've got to do it my way as well. If you're a teenager or a college student, it means you want to belong to Jesus. You don't want Jesus to be out of your life, but you also want to do it your way.

And you don't trust him enough to fully surrender. It's like a boat at a dock. And that boat is pulling away.

Jesus is pulling away from the world. And at some point you got to decide because that's the worst position to be in is one foot on the dock and one foot on the boat. That don't work out well for nobody. And so you got to choose. I'm either on the dock or I'm either in Jesus. If you're going to trust him, don't hedge your bed.

Just go all the way. The most miserable people in the world are half committed Christians. Many of you are doing it, I would say, in your career. This doesn't apply to everybody, but God has told some of you that he wants you to use your career on whether it's our church plan or somewhere where you can be a part of the mission of God. And you don't have an immoral career.

You're doing good, right? You're doing well in your career, but you don't trust God enough to obey him about where he said to use that career. And so while your career is not immoral, you have hedged your bet. Some of you do it, it's like a real personal, some of you, a lot of you do it in relation to this church. And what I mean is you want to have churches as a part of your life. So you're a part of the church, which means you come two out of five Sundays, which to you feels like a lot.

And then, but you're not going to join and you're not going to get committed because that gets messy and I don't want to be encumbered. Many of us hedge our faith when it comes to our finances. God wants the first and the best of what he gives us. But because we know, we were like, well, money is essential for my happiness and money is also essential for my security.

So I can't do that. So you come to church and occasionally you'll throw in your lunch money into the offering plate when it goes by. But you've never actually made God first and best in your giving. You've never given him the place where he says to start the tithe, because you don't really trust him enough to go all the way. You've got a mutual fund faith, and it's time for a single focus faith.

Whenever your focus goes from God to you, you will always hedge your bet. Now, verses 20 and 21, we see letter C, faith boasts. Faith boasts God's trustworthiness and ability. Paul says, Abraham did not waver in unbelief at God's promise, but he was strengthened in his faith and he gave glory to God because Abraham was fully convinced on what God had promised he was also able to do. You know, a big theme for Paul and Romans, have you noticed this, is what you boast in. If you're saved by works, Paul says, you can boast about what you've accomplished. But if you're saved by faith, you can't boast about what you've accomplished because your boast is in what God accomplished for you. If Abraham had had kids in his own strength when he was 90, Abraham will be walking around in heaven going, I'm Mega Man.

That's right. When I was 90 years old, the old boy still had it. I fathered a nation when I was 90.

But as it stands now, when you meet Abraham, he's going to be like, I wasn't no Mega Man. I was a miserable failure at 30. At 30, I was a miserable failure and God did it all. So God gets the glory. If one ounce of your salvation came from your own strength, when you get to heaven, we're all we're going to hear about is how you overcame the odds to get to heaven.

But as it is, what are we seeing? When we've been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun. What that means is after 10,000 years, I'm still not going to have gotten to the subject of how awesome JD is. I'm still going to be talking about the glory of Jesus because my boast is going to be not in my righteousness, but His grace. In fact, Revelation 22, four says, we're going to have His name literally tattooed to our forehead. It's going to say His name, His grace, because there our boast is in who He is, not what we have done. That is faith's boast. Letter D, faith's feebleness.

This might be my favorite point of the whole thing. Verse 20, when we read verse 20 of Indigo, and you saw that phrase, did not waver in unbelief. For some of you, if you know the story of Abraham, that kind of strikes you as an odd phrase, does it not? Did not waver in unbelief. Do you know the story of Abraham? He wavered all over the place, didn't he? Not once, but twice Abraham lied to another king about Sarah not being his wife because the king was interested in her and trying to hit on her.

And what kind of dirt bag does that? Not once, but twice. Genesis 16, he sleeps with his housekeeper Hagar because he thinks that Sarah is too old now to have a kid. So Abraham might as well help the process along by sleeping with Hagar.

That sounds like wavering to me. So despite all of that, why would Paul say that Abraham did not waver in, did he not know that? That he'd forgotten it?

No, he knew it better than you know it. He's, watch this, he did not waver in unbelief because Paul understands that wavering in unbelief has less to do with never falling and it has more to do with the place that you look after you fall. That after you have wavered and stumble, you get up with confidence in God's grace and his ability to keep his promise. And that's what Abraham did every single time.

By the way, Abraham is that guy that I've told you all about in Proverbs 24. This is one of my favorite like illustrations to you, Proverbs 24 16, where it says that the righteous man falls seven times. And I've told you, remember, I've said like, imagine being behind a guy who fell seven times.

What is that? Imagine if it happened up here, you know, the lights come on for preaching, worship guy's walking off and I'm like, hey, you know, like this, right? All right, what happened? What happens if I fall like that? What happens is a bunch of y'all laugh, a bunch of y'all feel bad about laughing. And you're like, Lord Jesus, I don't want to laugh, but that was funny. And I stand up, I'm kind of embarrassed. I'm clumsy, you know, I make some joke about tripping on the carpet or whatever, and we move on, right?

It's done. But after being here for about two minutes, I fall again. And then I fall a third time. And then before I hit minute 15, I'm on number six.

By the time I stand up, they are EMT up here. Because you're like, this dude has got a problem. He's not just clumsy, he's got a problem. The writer of the book of Proverbs says the righteous man falls seven times. All he does is fall.

That's Abraham. He falls seven times. How does the righteous fall seven times? Because your righteousness is not shown by never falling. Your righteousness is shown by where you look after you fall.

And every time Abraham fell, he was like, I messed up again. I messed up again, but Lord, your promise is secure. Your promise is true. And thank God this promise is not conditioned on my continued faithfulness.

Your promise is secure because your promise depends on you. So my faith is feeble, but the object of my faith is secure. Though my faith is wavering, the object is solid. And so Paul says he didn't waver in unbelief because even though he fell and fell and fell, he kept getting up and looking at the promise of God. I don't know about you, but that brings me a lot of comfort because it means that just because I don't have flawless, unflinching faith doesn't mean that I am not regarded as God by righteous because I know the object of my faith is secure, which leads me to the last thing.

Letter E is the best faith result. Faith result is amazing. Therefore he says it was credited to him for righteousness. It was credited to him for righteousness.

Though he wasn't righteous, though he faltered all the time, he was regarded as righteous. Now that phrase, it was credited to him. That wasn't written for just Abraham.

No, friend, it was written for you. It'll be credited to you when you believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord up from the dead because, you see, he was delivered up for our trespasses. He said it is finished and he was raised again for our justification.

He was raised again showing that God had accomplished what God said he was going to accomplish. Faith is merely the hand that lays hold of the finished work of Christ. Faith is the admission that you cannot save yourself. Therefore, God did it all for you. It is the declaration that though you are faithless, he is faithful.

Though you are powerless, he is powerful. That though you are unrighteous, God is gracious. That he is faithful and just in all of his ways, though you are crooked and deceiving in all of yours, this faith is what will propel you outward into the mission of God. As I was reading Romans 4 over and over again this week, one of the things that stood out to me I'd never seen before is how Paul, every time he brings us up, can't help himself, but he always says, if this is not just for us, this is also for the nations. This is why I'm going to the nations because God wanted to save people everywhere, not just me. When you really believe this, what you'll start to develop is this confidence that God wants to save the people around you.

You'll start to go and you'll start to share. For some of you, it's going to drive you to Muslim nations or peoples in the world that have never heard the gospel because you're going to be convinced that God wants to save them too. It's what he promised. The same God that brought Jesus out of the grave is going to fulfill this part of the promise too. Therefore, I'll walk across the street and tell my neighbor who seems hardened to Christianity, I'll walk across the street and I'll share Christ with them because the God that brought Jesus out of the grave can soften that person's heart.

The God that brought Jesus out of the grave is going to not let history end until there's a thriving church movement in every single people group on earth. The Christian life, friend, it is begun, it is sustained, it is completed by faith. The question is, have you ever made that faith commitment? Have you ever exercised that faith? What I hope you see is that faith is not a general belief in God. Faith is the decision that God has told the truth about accomplishing your salvation and resting the weight of your soul on that promise. Faith is just the hand that lays the head on Jesus and said he did what he said he did.

And I'm going to rest all my hopes on that. That faith is credited as righteousness. Jesus was who he said he was and did what he came to earth to do. You were listening to Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer. All the way back to our first message in this teaching series called Who's Your One? When Pastor JD preached through Romans at our church, that question was something that he kept coming back to, and I asked him what he meant by that. So Who's Your One was actually the name of a national campaign that we did when I was Southern Baptist Convention president, where we just encouraged everybody to identify at least one person that God had put in their life that they should pray for and look for an opportunity to share the gospel with, maybe invite to a church service or have a conversation with or read a book like Essential Christianity with them.

So the question is Who's Your One? Who's that one person that you are intentionally sharing Christ with? Who needs to hear this program or who is it that you can get a copy of the Essential Christianity and read together with? One thing that is true of all Christians is that when God saves us, he saves us to be a witness to others. He saves us to share. So we're praying for you. Reach out to us here at jdgreer.com and let us get you some tools that will help you in those conversations.

So Who's Your One? Don't miss a chance to spread the message of the gospel with the world around you. It is the greatest gift of all. In fact, Pastor JD's latest book called Essential Christianity was written with evangelism in mind, and we'd love nothing more than for you to use this book as a tool to help you have meaningful conversations about the gospel with the people that God has already put in your life. And we've even designed a discussion guide that we'll send along with the book, which makes it even easier. We'd love to send you this Essential Christianity bundle today with your gift of $35 or more to support this ministry. To give, simply call us at 866-335-5220 or visit jdgreer.com. I'm Molly Vinovich inviting you to join us Wednesday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-23 10:26:01 / 2023-05-23 10:38:09 / 12

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