Will Your Faith Save You?
--Dan speaking in Center Ridge 1443
Will your faith save you? Let's ask Joshua.
A. Moses brought Israel out of the bondage in Egypt, led them thru 40 years of wandering... & at the brink of entering into the land gives the leader- ship to Joshua.
B. Jehovah commanded Joshua to be strong & of good courage & to take the land of Canaan (Josh. 1). 1:9 -- "Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
C. (Relate the fall of Jericho)
D. Today Jericho has been excavated a number of times. The ruins appear as if a mighty blast had been set off in the midst of the city forcing the walls outward.
E. There are four outstanding lessons for us in this fascinating historical incident that we will mention, but will focus on only one.
I. GOD'S WAYS ARE NOT OUR WAYS.
A. Isa. 55:8-9 - "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
1. Rom. 11:33 - "How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past tracing out."
2. I need a God who is greater than I am...
3. Joshua was a great military leader
a. sent spies
b. planned the manner of attack
4. But God's plan was different (Soldiers quiet, marching, ram's horn)
B. As in Exodus 12 -- death was coming to the first born….
1. How could they survive? fight? pray? enact laws? organize? WHAT?
2. God commanded Israel to dip hyssop in blood & paint the doorposts & lintels with blood, promising them that the houses with the blood would be spared when death came upon the firstborn of every house.
3. It was God's way.
C. When Moses prayed to Jehovah concerning the Plague of fiery serpents.
1. The people grumbled & complained… God sent fiery serpents & many died… -- How could they stop that plague? Call Orkin? fight? run?
2. God commanded a bronze serpent to be made. "And it shall come to pass, that everyone that is bitten, when he sees it shall live." Num. 21:8
D. The circumstances surrounding the coming of Christ were the opposite of what human wisdom would have dictated.
E. And the process of becoming a child of God is not the result of human ingenuity. (All sin… hell is the wage… what can we do?)
1. What man would have thought of baptism?
2. Yet God commands it as the culminating act of faith required for sal-vation- Mk. 16:16 -- "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."
a. Acts 2:38 - remission of sins promised. (Do you believe God?)
b. Acts 22:16 - washing away of sins. (Do you believe God?)
3. Many stumble because it is not in harmony with human reasoning.
4. But God's ways are higher than ours.
II. THE MEANING OF GRACE & HOW MEN BENEFIT FROM IT.
A. Josh. 6:2 - "And Jehovah said unto Joshua, 'See, l have given into thy hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor."'
1. It was a gift. Given by grace!
2. But instructions followed. They involved obedience and 7 days work.
3. Imagine a dirty, tired soldier questioning the grace: "What do you mean 'grace'? I walked around these walls. I kept silent. There are blisters on my feet. My sword killed the enemy. Etc."
B. Our daily bread is a gift of God. But He sends US to gather it by the sweat of our brow.
C. Our salvation is by grace - Eph. 2:8 - "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."
1. Many cannot understand how salvation can be by grace if there are any conditions to be met. Yet, faith is a condition….
2. But the matter is simple... Col. 2:12 -- "having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
D. Some would say that Joshua worked for Jericho (or salvation)…
1. But Joshua simply had faith in what God said/commanded...
2. He was obedient to the instructions of grace...
3. But it was still a gift - by grace, God told him how to take the city.
4. In the same way, grace gives us instructions: Titus 2:11-12 -- 11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age."
III. THE MEANING OF FAITH.
A. Long after the fall of Jericho an inspired N.T. writer gave this summary of it: "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days." (Heb. 11:30)
1. Summarized 7 days of active obedience as faith!
2. "By faith" Abraham offered up Isaac (Heb. 11:17).
a. And James 2:23 - "And Abraham believed God, & it was reckoned unto him for righteousness."
1] When did he have faith? When he obeyed.
2] "Now I know that you fear God," (Gen. 22:12) -- another way of saying, "Now I know you believe Me."
b. Yet, James 2:21 - "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up lsaac his son upon the altar?"
1] Why justified by works?
2] Because they were works of faith. He believed God.
B. Heb. 11:7 - "By faith, Noah built an ark..."
1. How do you build an ark by faith?
C. Certainly, "Salvation is by faith". And we are "justified by faith" (Rom. 5:1)...
1. But faith & obedience are not exclusive of one another…
D. Note that "faith" as it is used in the Bible usually refers to believing God, not believing in God.
1. Many believe in God. Jas. 2:19 -- "You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder." But they don't believe God!
2. Priests believe in Him. Jn. 12:42 -- "Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue;"
3. Jn. 12:48 -- "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day."
a. We must not just believe in Him, we must believe Him.
b. Millions claim to believe in God. Few believe Him.
E. "I believe God."
1. James 2:23 - "And Abraham believed God, & it was reckoned unto him for righteousness."
2. When Paul was about to be shipwrecked, he said, "Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that it will turn out exactly as I have been told." That's what faith is.
F. & that's what God expects of you.
1. Heb. 11:6 -- "& without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
2. Faith is believing what God says, and doing it. Faith is obedience.
a. Gal. 5:6 -- "...faith working through love…"
b. Jas. 2:22 -- "… by works was faith made perfect."
Jas. 2:20 -- "… faith apart from works is barren…"
3. And we see that in the Lord's commands to be baptized:
a. Gal. 3:27 -- " We are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ."
b. Mark 16:16 - "He who believes & is baptized…."
c. Col. 2:12 - "Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him thru faith in the working of God."
G. The question is: "Will your faith save you?"
1. Yes. If it is a faith that believes God. If it is a faith that obeys God. If it is a faith that trusts what God says.
IV. GOD'S WAY WILL SUCCEED.
A. Jericho was taken...
B. When God attaches a promise to a command, ...and we obey that command, we have faith… are being faithful. ...He will fulfill the promise even though we see no apparent connection between the command and the promise.
1. Rev. 17:14 - "These shall wage war against the lamb, & the lamb will overcome them, because He is lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful."
2. Rev. 2:10 - "Be thou faithful unto death..."
C. When one believes in Jesus, repents of his sins, confesses his faith, & is baptized..., he is pardoned...
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Sid Womack, webmaster