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Faith, Hope, and Love Part 1: Faith

  • Faith Hope and Love Part 1: Faith

    Faith, Hope and Love, Part 1: Faith from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    This week we will be starting a new series on Faith, Hope, and Love. I hope to make this as simple as possible. To do that, I am going to cover what a life of faith, a life of hope, and a life of love looks like.

    The definition of Faith: Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

    The writer of Hebrews wrote: (Hebrews 11:1–3 NKJV) “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

    These words would have been hard to understand when written, but now thousands of years later we know that everything is formed out of atoms, tiny invisible bits of matter that the human eye cannot see, and they are in constant motion. Even the atoms that make up the floor that you walk on are constantly moving.

    Things that are seen, made up of things unseen. The Holy Spirit knew this because He was there when the earth was created.

    To me in its simplest form: Faith is Seeing The Atom.

    Faith is so believing that God will do what He told you, that you are willing to take action on it. You walk on the floor though it is made up of particles that you cannot see nor explain.

    Faith, Hope, and Love are spiritual forces that affect our surroundings in a powerful way.

    What does Faith look like in real life?
    Let’s look at the life of Noah which I believe is a great example of faith in action. During the life of Noah, the earth had become corrupt. It reads:

    (Genesis 6:5 NKJV) “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

    The human race had become wicked and violent, and their every thought was evil continually, except for Noah who “walked with God.”

    (Genesis 6:9–15 NKJV) “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopherwood;”

    What were those days like? Jesus told us:
    (Matthew 24:37–39 NKJV) “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

    That sounds like life was a lot like what we are living today. This describes at least some people enjoying themselves because eating, drinking, and marrying are considered happy things. So at least some people were living happily and celebrating in the midst of a world filled with violence and wickedness. Sound familiar?

    Noah had a relationship with God, the scripture tells us that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (Gen. 6:8).”

    So the Lord told Noah to build an ark.

    People were celebrating, having wedding parties and feasts. It was a festive time. On top of that, it had never rained on the earth before. No one had ever seen rain come from heaven:

    (Genesis 2:5–6 NKJV) “For the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.”

    To Noah, everything that he could see with his natural eyes looked normal. People were living their lives, marrying and raising kids. Though there was rampant evil, there was no threat of a flood or even a storm.

    So what did Noah do? He started building the ark… Noah could see the invisible. He so believed that God had spoken to him that he got out his tool box and he started to work.

    When Noah began building a huge ship in his front yard, the people around must have thought that he was crazy. I am sure that they laughed and mocked him as that crazy preacher. As the years went by, Noah kept building, and they kept laughing.

    Finally Noah completed the ark and loaded the animals and food onboard. God told Noah to take his family and enter the ark. Then God Himself shut the door behind them… and then it began to rain…

    I imagine that the laughing began to trickle off as the first rain drops fell from heaven. Then the rain increased and the underground rivers all broke loose. When the flood water began to rise around them, it was already too late for the people to be saved because God had shut the door. The rain continued on for forty days and nights until the mountains were under 22 feet of water.

    Noah and his family, eight souls total, were saved because of his faith. Noah believed what God told him and he got out his toolbox and started to work. That is what I call living faith.

    Note: Today is the day of salvation (2Cor. 6:2). Today God’s door is open to everyone, but the day is coming when He will close the door and then it will be too late. Just as Jesus told us, He will return suddenly and it will catch many off guard.

    (Luke 17:26–30 NKJV) “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”

    When Jesus returns in judgement, it will be too late to repent. It will be just like the flood waters rising around the people, after God shut the door of the ark.

    God told Abram to leave his country and his father’s house, which would have been his inheritance.

    (Genesis 12:1 NKJV) “Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.”

    Then in verse 4 it simply reads: “So Abram went”

    Abram heard from the Lord, and started packing his bags without even knowing where he was going. It was “to a land that I will show you.” James wrote later:

    (James 2:23 NKJV) “And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.”

    Abraham became God’s friend because He believed what God had told him enough to take action on it. That faith was accounted to him for righteousness.

    The provision is in the vision: 

    When Sylvia and I felt that the Lord wanted us to start an online church, we sat down together and calculated on paper what it would cost. We calculated that we needed $2,500 to get started. At the time we had about $200 to 300 in the ministry account.

    We decided that if the Lord wanted us to do this, that He would somehow provide the means and I drug an old server out of the closet and began to format it. Within thirty minutes someone came in and donated exactly $2500. It was a single donation, by far the largest that we had ever had, and the exact dollar amount that we needed to do the work.

    - We felt that we heard a word from the Lord.
    - We got out our toolbox and began to work.
    - God provided what we needed.

    It begins with a word from Him. Then it is seeing the invisible, and trusting God to back you up.

    The Breastplate of Faith and Love:

    Paul wrote the Thessalonians: (1 Thessalonians 5:8 NKJV) “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.”

    Paul tells us to put on the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of hope. Faith is part of our armor. It protects us.

    See when the enemy comes in and attacks your car, your lawn mower, or the washing machine, you think that he is after your stuff. But that is not what he is after. He is after your faith. The stuff is just a way to dishearten you, to stop you from getting out your toolbox.

    When Peter tried to rebuke Jesus for speaking about His upcoming crucifixion, Jesus told him:

    (Luke 22:31–32 NKJV) “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

    Jesus did not pray for Peter to not fail, or that he would not be sifted like wheat. He prayed for Peter’s faith to not fail. Jesus knew that Peter would fail, He prophesied that, but Jesus wanted him to get back up and continue on afterwards.

    If your faith fails, then you have nothing left to stand on. The enemy attacks those things that you care about in order to destroy your faith, to make you bitter, to get you to give up, to get you to put your toolbox up and stop working for God.

    The breastplate protects your heart during times of difficulty. If you live long enough, you will lose some things. We have to walk in reality as well as our faith:

    - Friendships can end.
    - Jobs can come and go.
    - Relationships don’t always make it.
    - Positions can be removed.
    - Your Energy can get up and go.
    - Your Strength can abandon you.
    - Your Time can flee.
    - Our Fire can turn to only smoke.

    Don’t let something that you lose, destroy what you have left: Faith, Hope, and Love. These three keep us alive and make our life worth living. Even when you are laying flat on the floor, be planning on what you are going to do when you get back up.

    We are saved by faith:

    The three main facts of the gospel:
    1) Jesus Christ died for our sins.
    2) He was buried.
    3) He rose again on the third day.

    Paul wrote this to the Corinthians:
    (1 Corinthians 15:1–4 NKJV) “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,”

    This was the “Gospel” that Paul received, and that he preached. He also wrote to the Romans:

    “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5 NKJV)

    “His faith is accounted for righteousness.”

    This sounds like the faith of Abraham:

    (James 2:23 NKJV) “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”

    Grace cannot be earned. Favor cannot be earned. Salvation cannot be earned. “To him who does not work” means that if you want your faith to be accounted for righteousness, then you have to stop working for it.

    A religion of works grows human pride, and that stinks to God. The more difficult a person’s religion is, the more pride that they have in it, but God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble.

    Christians who are very legalistic and insistent on keeping a set of rules, are often not very loving because legalism and love are polar opposites.

    The Pharisees in the day of Jesus were very legalistic and put their rules above everyone, and everything else. If you did not keep their rules, they looked down on you as inferior and thanked God that they were not like you. Because of their rules, they felt they were better than you.

    They even looked down on the Lord Jesus Christ for not teaching His disciples to wash their hands the way that that they would have, and because Jesus ate and drank with sinners.

    Like the Pharisees, everyone has their own little set of rules. You can ask anyone on the street if they are going to heaven and most will say yes, then begin to tell you why. It will probably sound something like this:

    “I am good person. I am not a murderer. I help the lady across the street. I laugh. I smile a lot. I go to church. I don’t something something…”

    I have heard all of these and more. Any “bad thing” that they do will be left out of their list. Most Christians straddle the fence in this area and believe that their salvation depends on keeping certain rules. They live a mixture of grace and law.

    Most denominations and religious groups have their own set of rules that they keep and it is a major point of division in the body of Christ.

    - The Baptists have one set of rules.
    - The Catholics have another set of rules.
    - The Seventh Day Adventists have their own set of rules.
    - The Pentecostals have another set of rules.
    And so on…

    Most of the members feel that if they keep that set of rules, then they are “righteous” or “right with God.” Then they look at others who keep a different set of rules and say: “Well they are not really righteous because they are not keeping our rules.”

    This legalism divides the body of Christ and is unnecessary. We often see people join Refreshing Hope and I can usually tell by their comments, which denomination that they are from. If I happen to mention “Sunday” in a devotional, the Seventh Day Adventists will speak out. If I mention “Wine” then the baptists begin to speak out. Everyone wants everyone else to keep their rules or they feel that we are “living in sin.”

    Paul warned us against divisions like this. He wrote to the Church at Corinth and said:
    (1 Corinthians 1:11–13 NKJV) “For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”

    Paul called the people that divided the body of Christ like that “Babies in Christ” and “carnal”, instead of Spiritual. Babies cry when they don't get their way:

    (1 Corinthians 3:1–4 NKJV) “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?”

    You are free to keep your rules as long as they are biblical, but remember that others do not have to keep your rules in order to be righteous with God. Now in itself, it is not a bad thing to keep rules, but when you begin to use your rules to measure other people, you have become a modern day Pharisee.

    - We are saved by Faith in Jesus Christ plus nothing.
    - Keeping rules does not make you righteous.
    - You can have a big smile and bust hell wide open.

    Paul wrote in Romans 8:14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."

    Then he wrote in Galatians 5:18 "But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law."

    So there is the choice, you can either be a child of God that is led by the Spirit, and not be under the law. Or you can reject all of that, and live under the law, but you cannot do both.

    You will choose between your own righteousness, or the righteousness that Jesus freely gives us, but God will not allow you to walk in both.

    There is a place for good works, but it has to be in the right order. We are created in Christ Jesus for good works, but we are saved completely by faith plus nothing.

    Paul wrote to the Romans: (Romans 10:8–9 NKJV) “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

    This is right in line with the gospel that we read above, Jesus died for our sins, and He rose from the dead. We believe this in our heart, confess it with our mouth and we are saved. Faith in Jesus Christ plus nothing. It is not "faith, but you must be circumsized" or "faith but" anything... it is just faith in Jesus Christ. 

    Paul wrote to the Ephesians: (Ephesians 2:8–9 NKJV) “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

    We have nothing to be proud of. We cannot earn salvation by doing good works or keeping a set of religious rules. We just accept it as a free gift through faith. It is God who provides it.

    You can begin in the Spirit, and end up in the flesh.

    Paul wrote this to the church at Corinth:
    (1 Corinthians 1:3–4 NKJV)“ Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus”

    Now the Church at Corinth was in a crazy mess:
    - One man was sleeping with his “Father’s wife” which probably meant his step-mother and the church seemed ok with it (1Cor. 5:1).

    - There were many factions and divisions with some following Apollos and others following Paul (1Cor. 3:4).

    - They were puffed up and prideful (1Cor. 4:6).

    - Some drank so much wine at communion that they became drunk while others went without food (1Cor. 11:21).

    Yet, in the opening of the letter of 1 Corinthians Paul said: “I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus.”

    Now the Church at Galatia had none of these moral problems. They were zealous but had turned away from faith and back to legalism. Meaning that they were now keeping rules to be righteous like circumcision and the washing of hands. Paul skips thanking God for them and instead tells them:

    “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1–3 NKJV).

    Summary:

    - We are saved by Faith in Jesus Christ plus nothing (Romans 10:9). Yet we are created for good works in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:10) and Faith without good works / fruit is dead (James 2:17).

    - Faith is simply believing that God will do what He has promised us enough that we will take action.

    Next week I plan to cover Hope. The first main difference between faith and hope is that faith is in the heart, while hope is in the mind. The second main difference between faith and hope is that faith is in the present, while hope is in the future. Faith is a substance, something that is already here; hope is an expectation, something that of necessity looks toward the future.

    I challenge you to hold onto the word of God and when He prompts you to do something, grab your toolbox and start to work.


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9 comments
  • 2
Sonny Ertsgaard
Sonny Ertsgaard

DION - Thank you sir for this time with the Lords word through this video . Had a large part of my life , relived during your specking in these words . Thank you . Moday night and it's a great time to be with you Pastor Dion .

October 3, 2016
  • 1
Dion Todd
Dion Todd

Thank you Sonny! Be blessed.

October 4, 2016
  • 1
Deng Tembreza
Deng Tembreza

Thank you for this FAITH explanation.  It is a free gift fro OUR GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY through OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.  Believe and keep faith always.

October 4, 2016
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Cathy Webb
Cathy Webb

Thanks for the encouragement to keep my toolbox full and my faith strong as the world around me clamors for attention and is so distracting. Keep my heart strong, Lord, to accomplish Your will. Praise to You for these clear words on faith You give to Pastor Dion!

October 15, 2016
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Gina Blakey
Gina Blakey

Great message on faith!  Made me see faith differently.  Thank you. 

October 26, 2016
  • 2
Mark Duell
Mark Duell

What a great teaching. I'm going to print this study off and go back over it. Thank you for providing this option. The way you have this set up is great. Too great of a teaching to miss out on it. I'm behind on your sermons due to different reasons. I'm just so glad we still are able to go back and listen to them and study them. Thank you brother. Love ya in Christ Jesus. Keep up the great work.

October 30, 2016
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Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd

It makes us happy that you are able to catch up on the past messages here, Mark :)! Thank you for letting us know - it helps us to feel the effort is worthwhile ;-).

October 30, 2016
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Rosemary Marsh
Rosemary Marsh

Thank you Pastor ,for this teaching of Faith.,and on Faith.It was refreshing listening to this.Looking forward to catching up with All the others.Hope and Love.

October 30, 2016
  • 1
Cheryl Hepler
Cheryl Hepler

Even though I listened before to this message there is sooo much that lights again about being free in Jesus where my walk began. Tonight was special also for my husband Charlie watched this with me!!❣ We have left the church where we were attending.  We are visiting one somewhat like what we both attended when we me and married in.  We had visited soo many churches giving time to each.  Weary we went to the one we left about 10 years.  This that we are visiting is about 30 minutes from our house.  Went twice.  Last Sunday 2 feet of snow.  Now I have had pain injection this morning and am desiring to go tomorrow with my husband.  He likes it too.  Just praying for Jesus to lead us.  Thank you for meaty message.  Blessings to you, Dion & also Sylvia!

March 18, 2017