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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1167

The Ways of Faith
Part One

February 15, 2015

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Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1167 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

— Brother Phil Enlow: Praise God! I’m so thankful it’s not just us gathering here this morning.

( congregational amens ).

The Lord’s here. And He has absolutely responded to…it’s amazing that He would come down and be with people like us. But that’s what the glory of the Gospel is, that He loves sinners and has the power to rescue us. And I’m glad God is not a god of formulas. That’s one thing that keeps us dependent and looking to Him and knowing that we need Him.

You know, last Sunday I came in and I could not get thoughts together except for the one thought. So I said, all right Lord, you take over. And this is one of those occasions where I have had something that’s sort of been running around in my brain for several days. So…like I say, there’s no pattern and I feel like some of the thoughts I’ve had were much confirmed by things that were said in the prayer meeting. But I believe God is wanting to build us up in our faith. In order to do that, I believe we need to understand some things about faith in perhaps a fresh way, and just ask the Lord to make it fresh to us.

And the chapter that naturally springs to mind is Hebrews chapter 11, because the whole thing is about faith. You know, the book of Hebrews was written to people who were of Jewish background, who knew the Law and understood the sacrifices, but they needed to understand the superiority of Christ and the fact that righteousness and living for Him was not a matter of keeping laws but a matter of faith in His power to save us, and what He’s done for us.

And so, he really wants to illuminate, the writer here, wants to illuminate what faith is really about and give some examples. And there’s a lot in here and I don’t know what all the Lord wants to emphasize, but just let’s start with verse 1. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (NIV).

You know, there are a lot of crazy ideas out there and I think a lot of unbelievers think about faith as sort of a blind thing. It has no real foundation. It’s just something people decide to believe to make themselves feel better. And you actually have some real mockers among some of the atheists out there. There’s actually a group that has, for mocking purposes, formed a “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” I’m not making that up. That’s what they think about faith, that their belief in that is just as valid as our belief in God.

But the question is, is faith in God really something that we just decide to do, or you do it because you hear somebody speak and you believe in their conviction, or is it a second-hand conviction…what is it? Is it just a blind leap where we say, okay, I can’t see it but I just decide I’m gonna believe it? And the answer is, no. This is a supernatural thing.

( congregational amens ).

And, truths that are much more clear and very specific in other passages are implied here. But faith is a conviction, but it’s a conviction about something, in this case, what we hope for. Now hope has to do with what? The future, doesn’t it? It’s something that hasn’t happened. Not only can we not see it, but it hasn’t happened yet.

But yet there is a bedrock conviction, and the word in the Greek actually carries with it…it’s something that rests upon something. I’m not gonna try to take it apart, I don’t think I could. But anyway, there’s a sense of a foundation in it. It’s a real thing. It’s a real ability. It’s a real spiritual quality that resides in the heart of one who possesses it, that enables them to have a fixed attachment to something that has not happened yet. It’s not a, ‘I hope it’s gonna happen, this is what I wish for.’ This is a confidence!

( congregational amens ).

It’s what enables us to be here this morning, those who have this quality that God has put in us, to have a confidence that in the future, we see, not only do we see what’s happening in the world, which is not very encouraging, but we see beyond the world. We see that there is another kingdom and another world that’s come, and it’s so real that we’re willing to turn our back upon this, and to maintain that conviction and to live with that conviction.

So, that’s what faith really is. And you can see it implied in many places, the fact that it is not simply a natural product of our human nature. There’s nothing we can do to muster up faith. You can try all you want to believe, it will not work. It has to be given to us from God.

And of course, Ephesians 2 says that. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves….” So, you have the influence of God upon the heart. That’s grace. But then you also have this quality of faith that He imparts to us.

Well, when we take that that He gives us, that faith, that confidence, that conviction, that something is true that we cannot touch and put our hands upon, and we act upon that, then we partake of the salvation that He has provided. That’s the only way it happens. You can say all the magic prayers you want to, but if that process is not going on, nothing’s going to happen, nothing’s going to change. But faith is a bedrock conviction that comes from God.

And he goes on and says in a different way in the second part, “…and certain of what we do not see.” Now that’s translated a number of different ways. But in the Greek, there is a…not a verb but a noun, and one way it’s translated is “evidence.” It’s the only instance in the New Testament where this particular word is used. But the verb form that is connected to that “evidence” is used, and the interesting thing to me is that it actually is used of reproof.

You know, over in chapter 12, well I’ll just…where it says that, “…My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you.” That’s the word! So, here you have a sense of correction. You have a sense of something that is contrary, that’s bringing a correction to bear. And it has to do with what we do not see.

The fact of the matter is, you and I, by nature, we believe in what we see. We believe in what we touch. We’re so geared in to the physical world into which we’ve been born, that if we can’t detect something with our senses, our inclination is not to believe it. And many times, circumstances will arise and voices will speak to us in our minds that are full of doubt and full of negativity, and every natural consideration will say, ‘that ain’t so.’

But there is something, there’s an anchor, there’s something that holds the one who has faith that comes from outside. And if you go on through this passage, it will be clearly implied by what is said of all these characters from history, that real faith comes because there is a personal encounter with God.

( congregational amens ).

It’s not second-hand. It’s not just somebody looking into history and saying, hey, I think this is a great idea. I want to believe in that. No! This is something where God literally comes, and He reveals Himself in some fashion to the heart, and wherever there is someone who yields to that voice and yields to that influence, there is a part of God’s Spirit Himself that literally comes in to live! It’s like a seed. It plants life deep inside.

And that thing, when it is nurtured and allowed to grow, it grows into something that is real. And if you’ve ever had that born into you, you know that there is something there that wasn’t there before. It doesn’t…I mean, no two experiences are alike so you can’t say, oh wow, they had this great emotional experience and I didn’t, so I’m missing out. No! Not necessarily. Everyone’s experience is unique.

But the one thing, the one constant is there’s got to be a real, living confrontation between you and God, in which He speaks and He gives you the truth, He gives you the real deal, the true picture, and there’s a surrender that takes place. And He comes in to live and then there’s something there. There’s an anchor that will absolutely set you on a different path from everybody else in the world. And it will hold you. And that quality is the engine by which we live.

It says, in the last part of the chapter previously. The writer is encouraging perseverance. And he says, “You need to persevere…” verse 36, “…so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith.”

That’s the principle that’s being established. The engine by which we persevere is not some form of gearing up our wills. It’s not some sort of self-effort in any form or fashion. This is driven because God has put something in the heart that is real!

( congregational amens ).

Boy, we just need to pray that God will work with hearts where this isn’t real, because the minds of people in this world are blinded. I mean, the fact that somebody could come up with “The Flying Spaghetti Monster” just gives you an illustration of how blind people are, and how successful the Devil has been at blinding the minds of those who don’t believe. And they will look at this message, as Paul said in 1st Corinthians…they’ll call it foolishness. Yeah, the preaching of the Cross is foolishness. But who is it foolishness to?

( congregational response ).

“…Those who are perishing…” See, they’re on a road and they don’t understand that that road leads to a cliff, and at the bottom of that cliff is destruction. They don’t know that. They’re blindly, confidently, many times, walking that road, mocking us, but they don’t understand. And I’ll tell you, it takes an invasion of God, to the human heart to overcome that.

But anyway, it’s an interesting insight, isn’t it? That faith is a…the contrary side of faith, that it literally opposes that earthly part of us that would think like the world and react and act like the world, but it enables us to see something that human eyes cannot see. And even though God has…God keeps it in that realm, where we cannot see it, yet the conviction that He puts there is so strong that we know it’s real, to the point of death.

( congregational amens ).

And now, that’s what real Christian faith is about. It’s not about hearing somebody and liking their doctrine and joining their church and all that stuff. There’s so much religiosity out there. I thank God that He has a remnant of people, scattered in places that would surprise us, that this has happened to, and they have this faith. And God is gonna bring every one of them. Praise God!

So, it’s this quality. “This is what the ancients were commended for.” This is what God was looking for. In other words, He wasn’t looking for human performance. This is how we think. God, if You’re gonna accept me, I’ve got to perform. I’ve got to do. I’ve got to do something to measure up, to meet some standard that You set, and then, based upon my performance, You’re going to accept me. It doesn’t work that way. There’s no performance you and I are capable of that could ever achieve that.

( congregational amens ).

That’s why Jesus died. That’s why He came and did what He did. And so, my faith ceases to be in anything that I am or could ever be or could ever do, it’s entirely put upon Him. So, the quality God is looking for is this faith. And here it is. He gives it to us! My, God! What we need is a surrendered heart that just surrenders to the light of the Gospel that comes. And how…you know, we’re told elsewhere, how does faith come?

( congregational response ).

“…By hearing…” Hearing what?

( congregational response ).

“…Word of God.” How does the word of God come?

( congregational response ).

God sends it. God anoints it. It’s a message that comes from God, it isn’t the words of a man. It may come through human lips, but the words are not just man’s words, they are God’s words. And when God speaks, there is a life, there is a power that engages our heart, that challenges our self-life, that challenges sin, challenges the power of Satan that holds people captive.

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! Oh, and when the heart yields to that, praise God, that’s all the difference! And he really illuminates this principle of God’s word in verse 3. “By faith we understand….” So, I’ll stop right there just for a second. This quality of faith that God puts in our hearts, gives us the ability to understand things that other people don’t understand. It has nothing to do with being smart. In fact, the Lord said He, “…chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.” So, welcome to the congregation of the foolish.

( laughter ).

But anyway, see, it has nothing to do with human intelligence. A child can have a relationship with God. And they know and they understand things that the wisest people in this world do not understand. They don’t get it.

“By faith we understand…” What do we understand? “...That the universe was formed at God’s command…” Now, think of the implications in what he’s saying here. “…So that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” So, you see how that relates to what he’s just saying? It’s a conviction of something that’s unseen. So, here’s the witness that God doesn’t need visible stuff to get stuff done.

( congregational amens ).

It doesn’t even have to exist. God has the power to make something exist, and to bring it to fruition, that wasn’t. You remember the words in Romans chapter 4? Where the Lord was…where Paul, I guess, was speaking of Abraham? And he talked about God as one who has power to give, “…life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.”

Now, that’s power over everything that we don’t have any power over. Death, to us, that’s the end. Not to God. That’s no limitation to Him. Something isn’t, doesn’t exist…that’s no limitation to Him. It’s like I said one time, what’s God gonna look at the empty sky and say, oh my God, I got to create a universe, what am I gonna…I don’t have anything to work with?

( laughter ).

That’s how we think. He’s not limited by that. He can conceive something in His mind and speak it and it happens, it appears. That’s the God that has called us. That’s the salvation to which He has called us.

So we have no right, or we cannot rightly, I should say, look in ourselves and look at the impossibilities around us and in our own lives, and say, God, it ain’t gonna happen. We don’t have a…our God is not limited like that. Not limited to our unbelief and to our thinking. But praise God! What a God we have, who can speak and galaxies happen! Lord, have mercy!

“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. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.” Now, I don’t know that there’s any record of some personal encounter with God, but it’s evident to me that he had something that Cain didn’t. God had somehow made Himself known to Abel.

I don’t believe that he simply heard the stories from his dad and said, okay, this is something we’re supposed to do and I’m gonna do it. There was a faith there. There was a conviction that he had to…that it was the right thing to do to offer God a sacrifice, and to come and to worship Him.

And the Word of God recognizes that it was not just a religious act on his part. This was something he did because of that conviction resident in his heart. And because…and that’s what God was looking for. He wasn’t looking for the lamb. He wasn’t looking for the outward stuff. He was looking for the expression of the heart. And so, when that came, he recognized this is a righteous man.

What about Cain? He had access to the same stuff, didn’t he? But however God…and we realize, when he had killed his brother and God confronted him, what did he do? He said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” At every point, there was a resistance in his heart that would fight against the influence of God.

So, you had one that opened…welcomed God’s influence, welcomed His Spirit, welcomed Him to come in, and put his faith in God. And you had another brother who was hard and resistant. You see where the difference comes in people. Oh I’ll tell you, if God ever comes knocking on your door, open wide.

( congregational amens ).

It’s because He loves you and has an eternal purpose for you. And He is somebody who not only loves you, and it’s not wishful thinking on His part, this is something He absolutely has the power to do. Everything about Him witnesses to His power. So anyway, here’s Abel, thousands of years later still speaking.

“By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.”

Now there’s a man whose relationship with God was so rich and so real that God just made him an example. And one thing you’re gonna see, we’re gonna see, throughout this whole passage is that there is no formula, there is no one way that God deals with people, is there?

( congregational response ).

Here’s somebody who stands out as utterly unique. You can’t say, well, if my faith is pure enough, I’ll never have to die. It doesn’t work that way, does it? This was God’s purpose for this particular man, at this particular time and praise God, He knows what He’s doing! He was, as somebody said, He was walking with Enoch one day and they come to the end of the day, and He said, hey, we’re closer to my house than yours, let’s just go on home. I don’t know.

( laughter ).

Some preacher put it that way, I guess. Sounds entertaining. But anyway, the reality is that this was somebody that God singled out and He honored his faith in the relationship that developed out of that in such a way that that’s what happened.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Now that’s a fruit of real faith, isn’t it? How can anybody please God and just deny this? Because this, this faith that God puts in the heart is the result of God, as I said, confronting the heart and the heart opening up and receiving that conviction.

And it is a conviction that will rebuke you when you need it, gently, lovingly, that will stand contrary to the world, to your friends, to everything else that would say different. It’s a conviction. But yet, I’m gonna somehow bypass that and find some other way to live, and I’m gonna think I’m gonna please God?

I mean, that’s like saying, God, I don’t really believe You but I’m gonna please You somehow. I mean, that’s the ultimate insult to God is to say, I really don’t believe You. I’ll tell you, the faith that He puts there gives us the conviction that ‘He is.’ It’s a bedrock conviction.

Anybody here ever seen God? No, the scripture says, no man has seen Him. Of course, Jesus visited and made Him known, and we have the record of that. But I’ve never met Him either. But, I am more sure that they exist, than I am that I exist. How can I be that sure? How can anybody be that sure? Because He has acted…it did not come from me. I don’t deserve it. I haven’t done anything to deserve such a thing. Oh, praise God for His grace and His mercy toward us!

( congregational amens ).

But not only just the conviction that He exists…that’s great, but it is that He rewards! There is a reward. There’s an invitation to seek Him, to exercise that gift of faith that He has given to us in a way that brings results. He’s actually enabling us to participate in His work by doing that. We have the right to go to God, on behalf of one another, and on behalf of needs--behalf of needs in us and needs in others. We have the right.

That’s part of what just really was quickened to me in the prayer meeting, and I know to others as well. That God rewards! If we come to Him from our hearts, even in our weakness, in all that we aren’t, but we come to Him with our hearts, oh God, meet this need, God work, there’s a God who hears, who respects that prayer. He doesn’t have some kind of a performance meter where it’s up here, if we’ll just try a little harder and strive a little harder, oh, we’ll get up there and finally say, okay, now you got it.

You know, I’ll tell you, when God gives faith, it’s there and we can yield to it and move in it because it’s a power that does not come from us and we yield to it rather, and exercise it, move in it, rather than something else, rather than trying to get something to happen.

But anyway, here’s Noah, as an example, who, “…when warned about things not yet seen….” So, now you’ve got this picture of a confidence in something that hasn’t happened yet, but that it’s real. He was, “…warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.”

And you think how he had to stand against a mocking world. I’ll tell you, you better…if you’re gonna do that for a 120 years and everybody else is gonna think you’re a fool, you better have something besides human strength and human ideas to fuel you. Well, he did. He had a communion with God. He had a relationship with the living God that was more real than all the mocking put together.