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Concept of Faith, Part 2

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
September 8, 2021 8:00 am

Concept of Faith, Part 2

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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September 8, 2021 8:00 am

Jesus said we could do anything if we trust him enough. But Dr. Tony Evans says that can be hard when the problems and pressures of life keep piling up. Well, in this lesson, he’ll have some encouragement for you as he takes a look at the concept of faith.

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You're convinced of it spiritually, although it hasn't been seen physically yet.

So you're walking in expectation. Dr. Tony Evans talks about the importance of faith. Faith is not one of the things you need. It is the key thing you need if you want to experience God. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of The Urban Alternative. Jesus said we could do anything if we trust Him enough, but that can be hard when the problems and pressures of life keep piling up. Well, Dr. Evans has some encouragement for you today as he takes us to Hebrews chapter 11 for today's lesson.

Let's join him. Verse 1, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Let me read that again. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. In order for faith to be faith, as God defines faith, it must have substance. Faith involves things.

It involves stuff. Faith is tied to substance that is not yet seen or experienced with the five senses, but that you are convinced is real based on the integrity of the subject who is calling for the faith. Who is the subject calling for the faith?

It's God. He says, after you've done the will of God. Hebrews 11 verse 6 says, without faith it is impossible to please God.

Don't miss this one. Faith is not one of the things you need. It is the key thing you need if you want to experience God. Why is God getting all upset about whether I have faith or not? Without faith, you have challenged the integrity of God. Now you know why faith is a big deal and why God says without it, you do not please me.

You displease me because you challenge my integrity. Verse 2, For by it, by faith, the men of old gained approval. Of old, meaning in the Old Testament. He says, I'm going to take you New Testament Christians on a tour, and we're going to walk through what I call the hall of faith, the heroes of faith. And he says, I'm going to take you on a tour of them so they can help you. Abel's going to come forth, and he's going to be the first witness. Enoch is going to come forth and he's going to testify. Noah's going to come forth and he's going to say a little something, something. Abraham's going to come forth and he's going to tell you something.

Sarah's going to come forth and the girlfriend has something she wants to share with you. Rahab's going to tell you a little something, something because she's going to testify as well. David's going to give a testimony. Joseph's gonna give a testimony. The patriarchs gonna give a testimony. That's gonna be testifying to let you know that verse 1 is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help you, God, when you understand faith.

He says, I got some testifying to do. In Canton, Ohio, they have the Football Hall of Fame. These are where the football greats—those who exceeded and excelled their bust of air for them to be remembered. God says, this is my Hall of Fame. This is my Canton, Ohio, Hebrews chapter 11.

These are the men and women who demonstrate that this faith thing works. You don't get your graduation certificate when you enroll in college. You don't get it upon enrollment.

You get it upon fulfilling the requirements. That's why the inner chapter 10 says, and when you have completed the will of God. See, cause some of us are in college for 20 years, because we've not completed the course we've been called on. So we've not received the approval of graduation, the validation and vindication of a life of faith. We pick and choose when we want to believe God. We believe God on the things we like.

We disregard Him on the things we don't like. And so we're not living by faith. We are cherry-picking by faith.

He says, the righteous, this is how they roll. In other words, non-faith is the exception. Faith is the rule in spite of how they feel. It's like the three Hebrew boys that say, we believe God can deliver us. But even if we don't, if He doesn't, we're not gonna bow because we trust God. It's like Habakkuk says in Habakkuk chapter 3 in the last few verses, though there's no fig on the tree, though there is no cattle in the stall, though I can't see anything God is doing, I'm gonna still rejoice because I still know God even though I can't see a change in my situation because God has integrity in spite of my circumstances. I mean, to think about us living our lives calling God a liar every day because of our refusal to live by faith, and faith is confident in something you do not see yet in the visible realm, but you're convinced of it spiritually. You're convinced of it spiritually, although it hasn't been seen physically yet.

So you're walking in expectation. One other thing before we go on to our final point. There's some strange people in this list in Hebrews 11. There's some folk in this list that if we were making the list wouldn't have made the list. You got a prostitute in this list. You got a liar in this list. You got a murderer in this list. You got a passive man in this list. You got a lady who laughed in the face of God in this list. You got some messed up people who made the list. Oh, that ought to be some good news to somebody. Even though you walk through this door, toe up from the floor, even though you walk through this door, a spiritual failure, if you right now will begin to live by faith, God still will let you make a list.

Some folks shouldn't belong here. That means there's hope if you and I begin to live by faith and stop faking it to make it, playing church, playing religion, playing Christianity, and not taking God seriously and stopping our challenge of His integrity, because why would you answer the prayer of somebody who calls you a liar every day? You lying, God, but bless me. You a liar, God, but give me a better job. You a liar, God, but give me a maid. You a liar, God, but change my circumstance. You a liar, God, but heal me. When God's integrity is challenged, His promises lie dormant and unfulfilled.

He comes to His final point. It's a zinger, too. Verse 3, by faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which are visible.

I need to read that again, because this is a zinger. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God, so that what is seen, what is visible, was not made out of things which are visible. He said, to make my point about faith, let me take you all the way back to the beginning. He says, we understand that the worlds that we do see was created by someone using something we don't see. Genesis 1-1 says, in the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth. That's the Hebrew name for the Creator God, found in Genesis chapter 1 verse 1.

Stay with me here. It says the worlds, and notice the word worlds in verse 3 is plural. That means the whole universe, not just the earth. So the whole universe all the galaxies that exist was created by someone you can't see using stuff you can't see to create a universe you can see that we're still trying to look at through telescopes, but there are too many galaxies that even our strongest telescopes can't even locate. What is faith? Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. So God has operated this way from the beginning of bringing stuff you can see out of stuff you can't see, and He created a whole universe with this strategy.

Now, what did you tell me your problem was? God used this strategy to create the universe, and how did He do it? Verse 3 says, by a rhema word. The word word there is rhema. A rhema word means a divine utterance, a spoken word. He spoke it.

You remember Genesis 1? In the beginning God said, Let there be light and there was light. God said, Let the water be separated from the land, and it was so God said. He uttered. He uttered a word, and what wasn't became because of what was uttered. Somebody who you don't see said something, and the somebody you can't see, because we can't see God, who said something, something you can see happens. That's why the centurion told Jesus, All you got to do is speak the word. You got to utter the word, and this thing I'm dealing with will change. But not everyone believes those divine utterances Dr. Evans mentioned.

He'll be back to talk about that in just a moment. First of all, I want to tell you about Tony's brand-new book, Kingdom Heroes. This just-released title is a look at the Bible's Faith Hall of Fame, full of ordinary people who did extraordinary things by taking God at His Word.

It teaches us that spiritual reality is about much more than what we can see or touch, and shows how much we can endure, overcome, and accomplish when we act as though God is telling the truth. We want you to be one of the first to receive a copy of this new Kingdom Heroes book as our thank-you gift when you make a contribution to help us keep Tony's teaching on this station. Along with it, we'll send you a companion Bible study workbook and all 13 messages in Tony's Heroes of the Faith series as a bonus.

You can get them on CD and digital download, but this limited-time offer won't last long, so be sure to get in touch with us today and get the details and make the arrangements. You can do that online at tonyevans.org. That's tonyevans.org. Or reach out to our Resource Center at 1-800-800-3222 any time of the day or night.

That's 1-800-800-3222. I'll repeat that information for you right after part 2 of today's lesson and this. Coming to theaters this November. I'm here in Bethany, the place where Lazarus was raised from the dead. I'm here in the place where it's believed was the tomb from which he walked when Jesus raised him from the dead. Dr. Tony Evans brings the New Testament Gospels to life as he visits the locations of Jesus' earthly ministry, connecting them to their significance for humankind today. What do you think has died in your life? Maybe hope has died, relationships have died, maybe your dreams have died.

Guess what? Jesus is still the resurrection. He can take things that are dead and bring you back to life again. November 15th, 16th, and 17th. Travel with Dr. Tony Evans on a life-changing, eye-opening journey with Jesus.

Find theaters, showtimes, and learn more at tonyevans.org. We live in a world where we've been duped. To believe that the world came from this primeval slime that grew into an amoeba, that grew into a monkey, that developed self-consciousness, and became a man. You got to go to college for that.

That's where you got to go. Faith people understand that God spoke the divine fiat, the divine utterance, and these things came into existence. But modern man has duped a whole generation. And so we have a generation that does not see God move. We've let the mind of man cancel out the divine utterance of God, leaving us without His promise being fulfilled, and His reality being experienced in our lives. Since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, He still operates on the faith principle, that what you see comes from what you don't see. So if you don't start with what you don't see, faith in what God says, you can see things you won't see.

You'll just discuss it in science class. Okay, I notice there's nobody sitting over here, there's nobody sitting top there, top there. There's spaces here that in the second service would normally be people in them or in most of them. Let me tell you why. Let me tell you why they're empty spaces, because inquiry minds want to know why.

Why are there empty spaces? Let me tell you why. Because a lot of our folks listened to the weatherman last night. The weatherman, the meteorologist, said it's going to be tough going early afternoon in Dallas, Texas, and they believed the Word. You see where I'm going?

Because they believed the Word, they acted on the Word that they believed, and therefore they decided to worship at home, and they decided to do it because they believed the Word. Now all of us who listen to the weather know that the weathermen are often wrong. They say it's gonna rain, but it doesn't rain. They say it's gonna be cold, but it's nicer than the temperature they predicted.

So they're sometimes hot and sometimes cold, no pun intended. The weatherman is sometimes right and sometimes wrong, but we tune in mightily to their Word, because their Word will determine, do we take an umbrella? Do we not take an umbrella?

Do we pick up a coat or do we not pick up a coat? Do I need a jacket or do I not need a jacket? Do I need a rain hat?

Do I not take a rain hat? And we make those decisions on the Word of a man who sometimes is right and sometimes is wrong, but we trust his Word. If you can believe the Word of a weatherman who's up today and down tomorrow, what about a God who's never wrong, never lied, never made a mistake? We act on the Word. We don't say, because it's gonna be icing outside and he says it's cold, let me let me go on with a t-shirt, because we heard the Word.

We haven't seen the weather yet, but we act on it based on the Word. You go to your doctor, he writes you a prescription, and if you can read the prescription he's not a real doctor. A prescription you don't understand from a man you trust.

See, that's the difference. Some people read the Bible and say, I don't understand it. The question is, do you trust the author? Even though I don't understand it, do I trust it? Because I, and even if I can read it, I don't know what it means.

Some people read the Bible, I don't understand it, I don't know what it means, but I know who wrote it. And because I believe the one who wrote it has integrity, I'm going to take it to the pharmacy, I'm gonna get it fulfilled. But faith has not occurred simply by picking up what was written from a person of integrity, getting what he provides. Faith has not been exercised until you take the medicine.

Until you act on the prescription, all it is is writing on a piece of paper by a person who has integrity that is of absolutely no benefit to you. The question you have to ask with faith is, does God have integrity? And if He does, will I align what He tells me to do in every area of life, not just in church life, not just in quote-unquote the religious life, but every aspect of life, my career, my money, my relationships, my singlehood, my this, my that. Does God have integrity on every subject? You say, but I don't see it, and you won't, until He sees you moving in faith. Dr. Evans will be back to wrap up our program with a story about how to get that movement started, so stay with us. First though, the kind of faith that Tony talked about today isn't just a way of life, it's the way to life.

The Bible makes it clear that none of us is good enough or pure enough to make it to heaven on our own, and that putting our faith in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is the only way to bridge the gap between human failure and divine forgiveness. If you've never made that connection, visit tonyevans.org today. Follow the link that says Jesus. There Tony will explain everything you need to know about what it means to be a real Christian and how to start a brand new life. That's tonyevans.org. And while you're there, don't miss out on your chance to take advantage of our current special three-part resource package. All 13 messages from both volumes of Tony's current audio series, Heroes of the Faith, along with his brand new book and Bible study, Kingdom Heroes. They're yours with our thanks when you make a donation to help keep this listener-supported program coming your way. Just visit tonyevans.org to make the arrangements, or call our Resource Center at 1-800-800-3222, where team members are standing by to assist you with your request.

Again, 1-800-800-3222, or online at tonyevans.org. Dr. Evans says the kind of worship God gets isn't always the kind he wants, and next time he'll explain the difference that made in the lives of two Bible characters and the difference it can make to us. Right now, though, he's back with a story from when his grandson was little. After the second service on most Sundays, Jonathan the second runs out at the end of the service, runs up the step, comes over to the edge, and says, Poppy, which is what he calls me, catch me. He stands up here, and I hold my hands out, and he jumps.

But it always wasn't like that. Let me rewind. Initially, I picked him up and put him up here, and I stood down there, and I said, J2, jump. He said, no, no, I'm scared.

I said, J2, I got you. He said, no, no, no, no. But I kept uttering the Word, uttering the Word, uttering the Word. The problem is he wasn't believing the Word, because he was not confident in my integrity.

He was not convinced I either had the will or the ability to catch him. But after pounding him with the Word over and over, J2, jump, J2, jump, J2, jump, J2, jump, J2, jump, pounding him with the Word, he came over to the edge. I said, jump, J2. He said, come closer. You too far?

You too far? But when he asked me to draw near, when he called on me to draw near, I came a little bit closer and I drew a little bit nearer, because I knew the closer I got, the more confident he would have. And so I said, J2, jump. He lifted up one leg but kept the other leg down. He wasn't fully comfortable. And so he didn't jump.

He just kind of typically leaned forward so that I could grab him. I put him back up there. I said, J2, jump. It's time he went up a little higher. J2, jump. He went even higher. Now at the end of the church, he runs out here and says, catch me.

I'm jumping. Sometimes he jumped before I even put out my hand, because he learned to bleed in my integrity. He believes that Poppy is not going to drop him. It's not going to let him down.

It's not going to fall on his face. And once he becomes convinced that he can trust me, he now invites the opportunity to have faith. God wants you to trust his integrity, so you can say to him, catch me in this situation. Catch me in this circumstance, because I have learned to trust you. I have learned that my God has integrity. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative, celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-02 12:07:56 / 2023-09-02 12:16:55 / 9

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