A lot of us haven't seen God move yet because God hasn't seen us move yet. Dr. Tony Evans says if we're not ready to take the risk of faith, what we have isn't really faith. God says, as for me, I got my part down.
I'm just waiting for you to stop whining and crying and do what I told you to do. 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. Making choices isn't so bad when you have all the information needed to weigh your options. But when you're pinning your future to nothing more than blind trust, it's another story. The Bible calls that faith, and Dr. Evans tells us why it's a gamble that always pays off.
Let's join him for today's lesson. We're going through Hebrews 11, the Hall of Faith. Today I want to talk about the risk of faith, for faith is risky business because you're having to make choices over things you do not see.
That's why people shy away from it. Faith is risky business. But without it, it's impossible to please God.
We've seen that. And so what God will do in order to nudge you or drive you to faith is box you in where that's your only option, because He wants to teach you and me and us to live by faith. God told the children of Israel that He was going to smite, verse 23 of Exodus 12, the firstborn in Israel, but if they would put the blood of a lamb on the doorpost of their home when the deaf angel came, He would pass over them.
Verse 23, He would not allow the destroyer to come into your homes to smite you. This was an unprecedented instruction. They had never heard this kind of advice before.
It had never been done before. So you could argue they could say, well, that doesn't make sense. I don't know what blood on the door has got to do with delivering me from Egypt.
I'm not going to do that. That would have been a bad decision, as the Egyptians found out, just because it had never been done before, just because you hadn't heard it that way before, just because you've never seen it like this before. Once God confirms it, it's in your best interest to take the risk that the most ridiculous strategy possible, coming from the living God, is one you ought to pay attention to. The instruction was to paint on the door the blood of the lamb, and when they saw the blood, when the angel saw the blood, he says, your home would be safe. If you were a Jewish firstborn, that might have been a nervous night for you. Dad, Dad, according to God, the firstborn in every house is going to die. Number one, did you put the blood on the door?
Because this is my life. I don't care how afraid the firstborn in that house was, the issue would not be his emotions. The issue is, is there blood on the door?
The issue is not his feelings, his frustrations, his insecurity. All that is real, but it would have nothing to do with the result. The result would be tied to the action of putting blood on the door, for faith is based on what you do, not on how you feel. When the angel came passing over, he wasn't peeking in the house, saying, who's nervous? He was looking at the door, and who believed the message about the blood?
It would be the blood that would deliver them, not their emotions. Anybody who felt good about it, and didn't feel like needed to worry about it, was going to feel bad by the next morning, because they didn't do what God said because of how they felt about it, or because they've never heard it before, or because it didn't make sense. He then goes on and tells them in Exodus, he says, you are to memorialize this for your children. Verse 26, when your children say, what does this mean to you? You shall say, it is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord who gave over the houses of the sons of Israel and Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes, and the people bowed and worshiped. He says, you are to teach this Passover thing to your kids, and you are to keep this Passover ongoingly. Now, why am I telling us this, and why is the author of Hebrews telling us this about faith?
Because the Bible says, 1 Corinthians 5, 7, Jesus is our Passover. If you operate in sync with Jesus Christ, the blood covers you. Everybody here today, on their way to heaven, is only on their way to heaven because they're covered by the blood. When I stand before God, and God were to say, Tony Evans, why should I let you into heaven?
I just got one phrase, the blood. I have been covered by the blood. That is the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ is what I am looking to for my eternal deliverance.
Not good works, not being part of a church, not being a pastor, all that's nice, but it has nothing to do with my eternal destiny. My eternal destiny is tied to one thing. I let Jesus spread His blood on my heart, and I am saved by the blood.
But watch this. The blood did not simply deliver for eternity. The blood delivered them in history.
It delivered them from the Egyptians. See, a lot of folks who've been saved by the blood for heaven do not let the blood save them on earth. It's good for eternity, but it's also good if you operate in sync under the rule of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice.
He becomes the deliverer who gives freedom from this, who gives deliverance from that, who gives peace that passes understanding, joy and tribulation, who takes you through the various ups and downs of life and makes you more than a conqueror. It says all that comes to the blood too. So if you're only looking to the blood for heaven, you're going to miss the power of the blood on earth. That's why Jesus says, if you deny Me before men, I will deny you before My Father who is in heaven.
But if you acknowledge Me before men, I will acknowledge you before My Father who is in heaven. See, belief in God is not where your deliverance comes. Your deliverance comes through the blood, and that is your identification with Jesus Christ. So if you are the only person who knows you're a Christian, you ain't covered. So Moses' job was to convince them to put the blood on the door. My job is to convince us, this congregation, to keep the blood on the door. That is, to keep your identification with Jesus Christ front and center. Not just your belief in God, but your identification with Jesus Christ. That is where God's deliverance comes, not only for eternity, but in history.
He now goes on to the second of these three events. He says in verse 29, by faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land, and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, drowned. Without question, this is the biggest event in Israel's history. They're slaves. The Passover occurs. Now they're scared. They say, get rid of them Jews, and we'll help them go. Give them all the jewels, all the silver, and all the gold. All of a sudden, they went from slave to freedom and broke the living lodge, because it says they plundered the Egyptians. They took all their gold, their silver, their money.
They just robbed the banks. The folk wanted to get rid of them so bad. So that ought to tell you how quick God can change the situation. Now, according to chapter 13, verse 17, now when Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near, for God said the people might change their minds when they see war and return to Egypt. Hence, God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea. So this miracle now—watch this—the miracle is going to happen at the Red Sea. But the Red Sea is not the direct route to the Promised Land.
So they are paying Egypt, the Promised Land is here, and God takes them down by the Red Sea to bring them back up to the Promised Land. Has God ever taken you way out of the way? I mean, God, I need you to take me from A to B. And He winds up taking you to Z to F to R to C to L to M to Y. You're going all over the place. It says He did not take them on the short route.
Now watch this. They wound up at the Red Sea, it says, because God led them there. So God led them the long way around. So if you are following God and He doesn't seem to know the shortcut—because God, why you got to take this long? Why we go this route?
Why is it not happening quicker? It says He did it on purpose. And even though the children of Israel didn't understand it, God had a reason for not taking the short route.
So if God is taking too long for what you're looking to Him for, trusting Him for, believing Him for, He's taking long on purpose. On purpose. He led them that way.
Okay? Follow the story now. Chapter 14, verse 5. When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants had a change of mind toward the people, and they said, What is this we have done that we have let Israel go from serving us? We must have been out of our mind to let all that extra help go.
What were we thinking? So he takes six hundred chariots, verse 7, to go after them. Okay, watch this. Watch this.
Stay with me, folks. Verse 8 says, The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly. When the people see the army coming after them, they do what Christians do today, verse 11. Then they said to Moses, Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, Leave us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For if we have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die here in the wilderness. They did what we do on God when it doesn't look like God is working it like we expected it.
We want to double back. We told you before you left we shouldn't have gone. No, you didn't. You were crying out. You were crying out. Get me up out of here.
We leave you out. You got a little money in your pocket. Now you see you're gonna lose your 401k.
You see yourself in trouble now. And they said, We shouldn't be out here. We should have never left.
Better be slaves there than to die here. It says they were scared. They were scared spitless. And God was behind it.
He led them the long way, and He helped Pharaoh run after them. But Moses said to the people, Do not fear. Doesn't that sound like a good pastor?
Y'all understand? The pastor mounts the pulpit and says, Do not fear. Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord. What else is a preacher gonna say? Congregation is scared about inflation. They're scared about crime.
They're scared about this. He says, Stand back and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see again forever. What He's basically saying is, Trust the Lord.
Now look at the first phrase in 16 and the first phrase in 17. Now watch this. He says, As for you, lift up the staff. As for me, I will harden the Egyptians' heart to go after you.
Okay? You do what I told you to do. You leave me to do what I'm supposed to do.
Don't worry about me. I got my part, but I'm not gonna do my part till you do your part. Until you lift up the rod, you won't see what I can do. A lot of us haven't seen God move yet because God hasn't seen us move yet. God says, As for you, you do what I told you to do. And as for me, I got my part, but my part will only move after I see you move by faith. So Moses, you pick up your rod and you hold it out.
You do what I put in your hand to do. Many of us are waiting on God when God is waiting on us. And then you have a double miracle because verse 21 says, Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land so that the waters were divided. And the sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea as on the dry land. That's two miracles.
Hope you know that. It says this wind came, Charlton Heston, you remember? The wind came and split the water. That's miracle number one. You got two walls of water. Now it's gonna take faith to walk between those two walls of water because you don't have empirical evidence they won't come down while you walking through. So it's gonna take faith to walk through, but that's only half the miracle. But I know why they could believe the first half of the miracle because of what happened in the second half of the miracle. Because the first half of the miracle was the splitting of the water. The second half of the miracle was dry ground. You see, the ground shouldn't have been dry if it's at the bottom of a sea.
It should be wet, muddy ground. But that wind was so strong it not only walled the water, but it dried out the bottom of the sea so that there was no dirt, mud, they could roll their kites, the horses could travel, the mules could travel, nobody could travel because God opened up the ocean and dried up the land and they saw we can walk on this. It's a double miracle. Dr. Evans will be back with some real life examples of risks that paid off when he continues this message from his current series, Heroes of the Faith. This two volume 13 lesson collection explores what it's like to really live out the conviction that God can be trusted as we make the discovery that real faith is more than a matter of just what we believe.
Find out how ordinary people like you and me can live extraordinary lives by doing exactly what some of the most famous characters in the Bible did, act as though God is telling the truth. For a limited time, we'd like to say thank you by sending the Heroes of the Faith collection on CD or digital download along with Tony's just released book and Bible study that go hand in hand with this series, Kingdom Heroes. You can be one of the first to receive this new book, so don't miss out. Visit us today at tonyevans.org to make the arrangements for getting this powerful package of resources into your hands. Again, that's tonyevans.org or call us day or night at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our resource team members help you. Dr. Evans will be back with more of today's lesson right after this.
Coming to theaters this November. We're at the Church of the Nativity here in Bethlehem where it is believed that the birth of Jesus Christ occurred. Travel with Dr. Tony Evans as he retraces the life and human journey of the greatest being to ever walk this earth. Well, we're here in Capernaum, a place where Jesus did most of His miracles and it is in this place that He demonstrated He truly is the Son of God. You'll travel the streets, fields, and synagogues where Jesus walked and visit the locations where some of the most powerful events recorded in the Bible took place. It is highly likely that much of what we read about Jesus' ministry in Galilee happened right here. Journey with Jesus in theaters November 15th, 16th, and 17th with Dr. Tony Evans. Visit tonyevans.org for locations, showtimes, and to learn more. If you've never gambled on God and seen what He could do when only He could do it, then maybe that's why God may not be real in your life, because you've never bet on Him.
All the little stuff maybe, the stuff you could do even if there was no God, but you've never bet on Him in a crisis when He boxed you in between a rock and a hard place, when He put you out on a cliff, when He put you on a ledge, when you were in a pinch. We had 200 members in around 1979, about 200 members. We were meeting in a school, elementary school—that's where Oak Cliff was located—and they had a preliminary vote that we would have to leave the school. Well, we didn't have the place to go. We had to leave in a month.
So we were between a rock and a hard place. The Bible says that when the people saw the Egyptian in chapter 14, verse 10, they cried out. Crying out in the Bible means a desperate appeal.
Oh God, if you don't move, we won't make it! That's crying out. And throughout the Bible, you will see when people hit desperate situations, they weren't doing being cute Christians. They were crying out because they desperately needed God. We said, God, you've got to do something.
This is your church. You've got to do something, and we don't have an answer. We have no answer.
Then a lady comes out after we've been sitting there a couple of hours, true story. The lady says, two of our board members are missing. We've been waiting so that we could get our final vote.
We can't wait any longer. So we went ahead with the vote, and the vote is 5-4 for you to stay. Now, let me tell you the rest of the story. The two who were not there were two who were against us. They decided to ride together.
Two cars had crashed, and because they decided to ride together, they were together stuck in traffic for two hours, not able to move until the precise time that the vote was taken. That's because the angel of the Lord kicked back, held them back, didn't let AAA get there in time, held them up until the vote could be taken so that the people of God would have a place to stay. On that day, Pastor Hawkins and I saw what the children of Israel felt when they walked through the Red Sea on dry land, because the angel of the Lord had shut it down. Why does God do this? He says it in verse 17, I will be honored, verse 18, I will be honored.
He does it so that He can get what He just got, an applause from His people, so that He can be glorified, so that He alone will get the credit. Let me conclude real quick with the last story, which is verse 30 of Hebrews 11, Jericho. God says, Joshua, I want you to take Jericho. And here's the plan, walk around the wall six times, once a day, and on the seventh day, walk around the wall seven times, blow the trumpet horns, and like any good rapper would say, and scream, you know, scream. Joshua chapter 6 verse 1 says that Jericho was totally tight like a drum. In other words, everything was locked up. These walls are so big, like the movie Ben Hur, two chariots could go side by side on them. So this wasn't a wall you just climbed.
This was a major city, and it said it was locked up. In other words, nobody coming in, nobody coming out, because Israel was on the way, and they said, well, we're going to just all stay in here so they can't even get to us. So Joshua was out there looking and trying to figure out how we're going to do this. The angel of the Lord shows up. He bows before the angel of the Lord, takes off his shoes to submit in humility to God standing before him, and says, now I'm going to tell you something that's not part of your military training. I'm going to tell you something that no military has ever thought of before, and that is, watch this, it's going to make you look like a fool when you do it.
Here's what I want you to do. I want you to walk around the wall once a day, once a month, day number two, go around day number three, day number four, day number five, day number six, on day number seven, you go around that thing seven times, you blow the trumpet horns, and you scream, and I will take it from there. Now, if you were looking at a military manual to get your instruction, then you would have never taken a risk on God, because that doesn't make sense. When God puts you in a position that doesn't make sense, He wants you to see He's God. He wants you to experience the fact that He alone is God. And when they screamed, the walls came tumbling down, and there's nothing like seeing God knock down something you can't knock down.
Turn something around, you can't turn around. I remember, you know, we have the 65 acres at Camp Winsman Hampton. I wanted that land for our master plan, you know, many years ago, and so I took a whole bunch of our congregation—some of you may have been here when we did that—and we walked on that 65 acres, and we marched around it and claimed it, claimed it for the purposes of God. So we marched around it, we claimed it, we got in a circle, held hands—we all look spiritual out there—we were in a circle, we were holding hands, we were praying, Lord, give us this land for the purpose of expanding your kingdom. And we prayed, and they sold the land to somebody else.
Really, truth statement. Nothing irritates me more about God than when I believed Him for something, and He'd do something else with it. He worked against me. You know, I wasn't happy that day, because I'm leading the congregation, and they're looking at me like I'm crazy.
Did the land be sold to somebody else? That was one of them days when I felt like Moses. God's gonna give it to me. God, what you doing? You know, I'm conflicted. So we prayed, we trusted God, and He sold it to somebody else.
Lo and behold, a couple years later, the folks who bought it defaulted. They came back to us, and we own it. Because God is weird. And God, I've said that reverently, so you know, God is weird. My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not your thoughts.
As high as the heaven is above the earth. Dr. Evans will be back with another great example of what faith can do in just a moment. Stay with us. First, though, if you'd like to get a full-length copy of today's message to review on your own or to share with a friend or family member, you can find it at toneeevans.org. Even better, today's message is one small part of the comprehensive two-volume, 13-lesson collection from Tony's Study Heroes of the Faith. And the entire series is available to you on CD or digital download as our gift when you make a contribution in support of the Urban Alternatives Ministry. Right now, for a limited time, we're even including Tony's just-released book and companion Bible study, Kingdom Heroes, along with each copy of the Heroes of the Faith series that goes out. All you need to do is request it when you make your donation.
It's easy to do. There's a link right at our home page for this special offer. So make a point of visiting us today at toneeevans.org to make the arrangements, or call our 24-hour Resource Center at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our team members help you.
That's 1-800-800-3222. Quite often, faith makes no earthly sense. But next time, Dr. Evans will explain why that is the point, as he talks about the kind of trust in God that can bring supernatural power to bear on our earthly problems.
Right now, he's back with a final story to wrap up today's program. Twelve years ago, a group of men asked me to come down and speak to them about community impact and a vision for our city to impact our city. So they invited me to speak, to just challenge the leadership.
So I drove in, and they were just going to get a hundred of their leaders just for me to challenge them about impacting their community. As we were driving—I'd never been there before—we passed a building. It's a rather old-looking building, and we just passed it, and so I don't know what hit me. Just something made me ask them, what's that building? So I just said, what's that building? Oh, he said, that's an old, abandoned hospital that hadn't been used for years. I said to him, oh, well, that's your community center for your community outreach.
That's what that is. I'd never seen him before. I'd never seen the building before.
I was just impressed to say, the community outreach we're talking about, that's your building right there. I left. Left the next day.
Never thought anything about it. Two years later, they said, can you come back? I was there 12 years ago, so 10 years ago, they called me and asked me, can I come back? I said, what's up? They said, we couldn't shake off your statement that that's our building when you said it two years ago. We couldn't shake that thing, and it kept coming up in different ways. It kept coming up in different ways. So we went to the city and asked them what it would take for us to get this old hospital. And they said, we'll sell it to you for a dollar.
We will sell you the hospital for a—this thing is a humongous. And on Friday, I went back there, and they got all kind of ministries. They got pregnancy ministry, housing ministry, closing ministry, food ministry, counseling ministry. All the churches have come together.
They have a Christian witness in that city for a dollar. Because when God is ready to move, He can shake it and bake it, twist it and turn it. He can turn things around, bring things up.
You never know—see, what you don't—you don't know who you dealing with. He is a beast! 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 / 2023-08-14 11:48:49 / 2023-08-14 11:59:53 / 11