I’m here tonight to de-emphasize faith. I know that sounds bad. I did this at one church and we had a visitor and he was just like, what? He sat there all ears through the whole thing. Maybe I’ll get to the end of that story by the time I get to the end of the sermon, but ministries and churches have caused us to focus on faith constantly, and we have been trained to say if only I had enough faith. If only I had enough faith, and it causes us to focus inward on ourselves as though we’re the source of the faith and that is wrong. Faith has its place and it is important, and this is the hard part because here I am saying we need to de-emphasize and at the same time I’m pointing it out going faith, faith, faith, but I hope by the end of it you’ll understand where I’m trying to get with this.
We can’t work it up by ourselves. We try, and we’ve been told that that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Oh, if you just believe brothers and sisters. If you just grab ahold of God and just hold on and believe. From the get-go I remember sitting in this church, and churches, and Bible colleges and different places listening to the people and thinking man, if I could just… I’m going to believe it, I’m going to believe it, I’m going to believe it, I’m going… but you see, I’m emphasizing I am going to believe it, and we need to de-emphasize that aspect of it, and as a matter of fact just give it up, for it says in Ephesians 2:8, and like I said, this is hard for me to do, and this is a verse that we all know, “For by grace you are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.”
The emphasis on this is grace. For by grace we’re saved through faith, and then he de-emphasized faith even more and says and that’s not of yourself, it’s a gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast, and when I have been taught faith the emphasis has always been you’ve got to grab it by the horns and you’ve just got to hold on. I’ve heard all sorts of descriptions of how you’ve got to hold on and look it in the face and just keep hanging on and hanging on, and this goes against what the scripture actually is saying. There isn’t a place where it’s taught in that way. It’s always a gift. It’s a gift of God. Just like salvation is a gift. We’ve got to quit looking into ourselves as though we’re the source of that faith because we’re not.
So, then we’re stuck with this. Why don’t I have enough faith? Why doesn’t God give us more faith? If you go to Romans chapter 12, once again, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you,” this is chapter 12 verse 3, “For I say, through grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
The measure, and I’ve always heard it said this way, well the measure. Some of us get a teaspoon, some of us get a quart jar full, some of us get a 50 gallon drum, but it doesn’t say that. It didn’t say the amount. It just says the measure. There is a measure, and that measure it says is given to every man. Every man is given the measure of faith; therefore, since it’s given it’s not within us as in the source is from us, but it’s a gift just like righteousness is a gift, salvation is a gift. Faith is a gift, and every person is given enough. Every person is given enough so don’t think that you’re going to be able to say well, I’m being shorted on faith, God didn’t give me enough. God doesn’t torture us. God is not laughing at us. It’s not like we’re flies and he’s ripping our wings off and then saying fly, fly. If you can’t fly, you aren’t going to make it, and having ripped our wings off we have no chance.
He has given us enough that we can make a decision and say I trust him or I don’t trust him. God doesn’t short change any person in the department of faith so that He can taunt us because God is always abundant toward us, mankind. Jesus came to save. He didn’t come to smirk at us. He put His effort into coming and laying down His life for all mankind, so if He’s putting that much effort into it don’t think He’s going to short change us in the area of faith.
Jesus himself says, and I would like to do a study of this but, eh, you know how it is. Jesus himself says you just need faith the size of a mustard seed. You need faith, but He is saying don’t worry about the size you’ve got. If you have a little bit, you have enough. The people when they were collecting manna, He said go out and get manna enough for one day. Those who get a little bit will have enough, and those who get a whole bunch won’t have too much. You can’t have too much and you can’t have too little if you’re out there collecting manna.
It’s the same way with faith. If you’ve got it, you’ve got it. It’s a gift. Therefore, you’ve got it. Quit emphasizing and thinking you have to work it up. It’s like one minister said about the sacrifices in the temple. You have doves, you have goats and sheep, and over here you have doves and pigeons. Every one of them is acceptable for God as a perfect sacrifice for us. If you can afford it, sheep, but two little doves are enough. Two little doves are enough.
We have been given by the grace of God enough to accomplish, and don’t say well He’s given us just enough to get by. God is, and I can’t think of the word, it means superabundant towards us. He’s not just miserly and just gives us enough. He is superabundant towards us. Faith is not something that we can work up. It’s something that’s given to us. It’s not something we can make grow. Faith can grow, but it’s not something we can make grow, and that’s what I was trying to get across that day to the church I was at where that man was visiting. We’ve been told you have to have faith, and it’s emphasized as though we can make that faith grow and put your effort into having faith and all this kind of stuff, and it’s not there. It says grow in grace and knowledge. It does say that faith can grow because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, and we can grow in grace and knowledge, and we can grow in faith, but it’s growth that’s not caused by us. It’s not caused by our efforts or then it would be by works.
A lot of times we try to take this faith thing and turn it into a work by emphasizing if I have enough faith, if I can make it happen, if I can just believe hard enough then God will do what He has to do because He has to honor my faith. God has already given us enough faith. We need to learn to relax in it and say He has given me enough.
The rest of that story is as he walked out, he shook my hand as he was leaving, ( I was preaching in a Methodist church at the time and he was from a Christian church denomination),he shook my hand and he said, “I can tell you this. You’re going to be talked about a lot over lunch,” and I was like okay. I’m sitting there going oh my goodness. Have I made an error? Two months later he ran into a friend of mine and said you tell him that I researched it and he’s right. Yeah.
That’s so great that the emphasis of the faith is the fact that we have it, but what we should be emphasizing is the grace because it’s always by grace, through faith. It’s the grace that should be emphasized, and it’s the grace that we’re supposed to be looking to and not focusing upon ourselves. Galatians 5:22. I know I’m excited because I’m almost at the end of this. Galatians 5:22. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Against such there is no law. They that are Christ have crucified the flesh with its affections and lust.”
So, now we see that fruit of the Spirit, go down the list, is faith. Faith is not sourced in ourselves. It’s a gift of the Spirit, fruit of the Spirit, so when the Spirit moves in to us He can start growing the fruit of the Spirit. First of all, notice that it is according to King James, fruit. It’s not plural fruits. It’s not like oh, I’ve got the fruit of love but I’m lacking the fruit of this over here. It’s the fruit of the Spirit. The idea is more like it’s a pomegranate. It’s one fruit. If you guys have ever broken up a pomegranate they’re neat. They look like little oranges with little tassels down at the bottom of them. You rip them open like you do an orange, but if you want to peel them you don’t want to taste any little white stuff like on the inside of an orange. They look like little red rubies and inside of every little red ruby is a little seed. I’m not overly fond of the things, but you don’t want to taste any of that white.
So, to do it right you rip it open, get a bowl of water and stick it under water and start rubbing it and those little things will fall right out of it and throw out the white stuff. It took me a long time and a hard tasting to learn how to do that. The fruit of the Spirit is like a pomegranate. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance is all inside of this fruit. You can open it up and separate it and say this is what it is, but if you have the Holy Spirit in you and that fruit is growing, these things are all going to be manifested being brought forth in your life. Most people, most fruit trees, do not go boom, there’s a whole grown fruit.
Now, let’s go back to the Old Testament and see the rod of Aaron. It sprouted. It had buds, had leaves, had flowers, and had fully developed fruit on it, but the normal way this grows is you accept Christ and as you are in His presence, that fruit will start growing just like the fruit on a regular tree and so this stuff continues to grow, but notice also that faith is not the main emphasis. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. Down the end of the line, about the middle of it, we finally come to faith. Faith is important. Faith is like I said before should be viewed as though it’s just an opening through which the grace of God can come down through to us. We have to have faith, but we don’t have to have super abundant. We don’t have to worry about it and say oh, do I have enough faith because you’re saying do I have enough faith?
You need to look to Christ and say is He good enough to give me enough faith? Will He cause it to grow in me? How do I get it? It’s a fruit of the Spirit and, therefore, it grows. As the sunshine of His word shines upon us, that fruit will just start growing. Give it some time. Let it manifest. “And they that are Christ have crucified the flesh with the affections and lust.” “They that are Christ have crucified the flesh with affections and lust.” A lot of people say oh, your faith is disrupted because you’re not good enough. Your faith is disrupted because you have lusted, because you have bad affections, however you want to say it. It’s because you have stumbled in sin. Your faith therefore is not good enough, but what does this verse say? “And they that are Christ,” past tense, “have crucified the flesh with the affections and lust.”
Past tense. When you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior at that point, at that point it became an accomplished event in your life that your flesh was crucified and you are to say it is crucified. Not that it’s going to be, or I am crucifying, but according to Paul at this time, Galatians written, we are to say it has been. We’re back to that God looks at things that are not and says they are, and we’re to look at things and say well, it’s not my experience, but God does not lie and, therefore, it is crucified. It has been crucified with Christ. I died with Christ. Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ that lives in me. That’s a song, and I can’t think of all the words or I’d sing it.
They that are Christ have crucified the flesh. When you accepted Him this became a done deal in your life. You accepted. You say but this isn’t my reality and my experience. Over here we have God saying reality… reality can change when you have a supernatural God. God can alter reality to fit what He says. Reality was no light. God said to reality light, and there it was. Reality said there is no earth. God said earth, and there it is. See what I’m getting at?
We need to learn as children of God even though our reality seems that we’re not perfect, and we’re not, we don’t emphasize that. We come over here and emphasize the grace of Jesus Christ and say how does God see me? He sees my flesh as already dead and crucified. Nevertheless, I’m alive. Emphasis on yet not I. Not me emphasized, but Christ who liveth in me. Once again, we’re back to de-emphasizing ourselves and emphasizing Him. Therefore, it says in Galatians 5:24, “And they that are Christ have crucified the flesh with the affections thereof and the lust,” and the point is is we need to de-emphasize. We’re going back to the whole fruit. We need to de-emphasize the faith.
It is a gift. It has been given to us. It is reality in our life. Quit looking at ourselves to build it up, to make it so, and start emphasizing Jesus Christ. Romans 4:16. “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to those that are of the law,” that’s not only the Jews who are under the Mosaic law, “but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all.”
So, he’s saying it’s not by works. That’s why we have faith. Our faith causes us to experience the grace, but when we turn that faith into something that we have to work up instead of something that we accept from Him, we’ve turned it into a form of a work. Instead we’re to say I’ve got it. I have been given this. Don’t try to give it up. God wants us to focus on grace. Grace always focuses on God’s efforts towards us rather than our efforts towards God. We need to start focusing more on God’s efforts towards us and less about ourselves doing things to try to impress God. God loves me 100%. I can’t do a thing to make Him love me any more. He loves me, and that’s just a statement of fact. It’s just the way it is. There’s nothing I can do to increase it or decrease it. He just loves me.
I can’t force God into a situation of increasing my love, and if I do anything other than just say I trust you then I turn it into a work and it’s no longer by grace, it’s no longer by faith. It’s by something that I’ve done and I can say look God, I trusted enough because I worked it up within myself. You gave me the clue that faith is the thing I’m supposed to go for and I did. Therefore, you gave me grace because I had faith. I worked up faith. I caused my grace. I caused this grace to grow, and God’s going no. If you want to work it up do it, and that’s why a lot of us including myself fail miserably because I always focus on myself trying to work this up saying I can make it work. I can make it work if I just believe hard enough, but we need to just bask in the sunshine of the word of God talking about Jesus and His love towards us. It’s a fruit, it’s a gift. It’s not something that we cause. It’s something that we get to experience because He loves us, and as we realize that that is something… faith itself being a gift is a grace towards us. Grace is always something that we did not deserve, something we did not merit.
The gift of faith is also something we don’t deserve, something we don’t merit. Therefore, if we understand faith itself it’s sourced in the grace of God that He gives to us. It’s like yes, He gave that to me and if I can trust him for that I can trust Him for other things. Romans 8:32, “He spared not His own son.” God. “He spared not His own son but delivered Him up for us all. How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Instead of trying to emphasize and work ourselves up and say oh, if I believe, if I believe, if I believe, let’s de-emphasize the faith. You’ve got it because you’ve accepted Christ. You have enough because it takes just a little bit. Yes, it can increase, but we don’t have to worry about that because it’s like a fruit. It just grows on its own. As long as the sun is shining, as long as there are rivers of water, we’re planted there, that’s going to happen. We don’t have to worry about that.
But, every time someone, some ministry, some church or myself says brothers and sisters, you’ve got to believe, you’ve got to grab it, you’ve got to hold on, you, you, you, you… tell me shut up, turn it off, and say, “He spared not His own son but delivered Him up for us all. How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” If He gave us Christ, the most valuable gift, the most valuable person, God himself came down and took everything upon Himself and died for our sins. If He gave us that, why is He now getting misery towards us? Why would he, oh, I’ll just give you just enough, just enough to eek it out, to eek it out, to eek it out, to eek it out. God is good and gracious to His children. He has given us Christ, and as we trust him, although reality says different, His word tells us something and we say He doesn’t lie. He’s given us all things. He told us this is the way it is. I’m going to trust Him although reality says something else because I’m trusting Him. God who is great and almighty has the ability to change reality to fit what His word says is true.
Therefore, it is still a matter of our faith, but it’s a matter of we know where our faith comes from. It’s built upon this fact. God is loving. God does not change. God does not lie. God cares about us. God sent His son to die for us. God sacrificed His son for us, and He’s the only one big enough to come against us because He’s the one that did all this for us. Not even the powers of darkness. We can depend on that verse, “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.” We don’t have to fight against all this stuff. We can just rest in that fact. We can go to bed and say, “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.”
I love the second coming stuff. I’ve studied it. I did study it for years and years and years and years. Finally I came to the conclusion that there’s not a thing that I can do to change any of it. It’s interesting. I can learn all about it, and I can stand here and watch what’s going on in the world out there and go our God is amazing. How did he know? I thought well, when the two witnesses are dead and they’re laying on the streets of Jerusalem the people will be able to see all over the world by a TV. And now I said yeah, but what about the nomads living out in Timbuktu, which is a real town. How about those people living out in the desert? How will they be able to see those two witnesses when it says the whole world will be able to see it. But now with the smart phones with those TV cameras on them where you can watch movies and television, and I see them in National Geographic places and different shows. It shows these people out in the middle of Tibet and Mongolia, out in nowhere boondocks of North Africa and Asia, and they’re running around with their cell phones going dee dee dee dee, and they’re watching, bouncing this stuff off of satellite. Once again God brings us closer to a literal fulfillment that the people of the earth are going to be able to watch what’s going on in Jerusalem.
Did you know that if you have a computer, a smart phone will do, you can go to live camera Jerusalem, it’s aish.com. If you go there they actually have a camera that is being played live 24 hours a day right there at that Western Wall. What we call the Wailing Wall. There is a live picture stream all over the world of what’s going on right there 24/7, 365. It includes your leap year and your Mayan end of the world. It’s right there all the time. Anybody with a cell phone is going to be able to go, with a picture smart phone, will be able to go right now and watch. So, when they kill those two prophets it will be streamed all over the world and they will be able to see it. That just blows me away. I go there and I watch the people.
Now, it’s faster than it used to be, but if you go to the small screen you can see them and then you’ll see the person step forward. It’s a little bit jerky sometimes to see the camera movement or the people move, but that is a live streaming thing and that’s what God says. These people are going to be able to see this.
I said all that to tell you this. While it’s great and it’s interesting and I’m totally fascinated by it, the one thing that He did really emphasize is Jesus Christ and His grace towards us. The Book of Revelation is not the Book of Revelation of the second coming. The Book of Revelation of the end time is the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ. That whole book is about God revealing Jesus Christ. Granted it’s the end of the world. I believe that. But, the emphasis once again is not the end. It’s supposed to be the emphasis is on Jesus Christ himself and how He’s going to be shown to the entire world.
Once again, we mess it up because we’re all sitting there going oh, how’s it going to end and I’m going to be ahead, and should I buy rice by the 100-pound bags and pack it away? Am I going to rapture out before this or after that and on and on. And the whole point of the book is look to Jesus. Look to Jesus. Look to Jesus. The emphasis is always on Jesus Christ. We need to take the emphasis off the end and say I’m looking to Jesus, the author, He’s the guy who writes it. The author and the finisher of our faith. He will take care of me. He will give me enough faith. I am going to look to Him. I am going to trust in Him, and I’m going to stand in the sunshine of His word reading about Him, and every time I have a problem and somebody tries to focus faith back on me as though I’m the source, I’m going to quote Romans 8:32. “He spared not His own son but delivered Him up for us all. How shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
He’s not miserly towards us, and as we say those words over and over again, it will sink into our consciousness, it will sink into our heart, and we will discover the reality that God is there for us, and that emphasizes Him, and as He does gracious things to us we’re supposed to go around and say wow, look at the graciousness of my God. I didn’t work it up. It is His kindness towards me that does these things for me, and I’m just here pointing at them saying He’s great, He’s good, He loves me, it’s awesome. Being in His presence, wow.
The emphasis is always on Jesus and what He has accomplished toward us. We need to go back to that. De-emphasizing trying to work it up and just say Jesus will take care of the faith because He’s the author and the finisher. I trust Him. I’m just going to look to Him. I’m going to understand and let Him teach me even. I’m just going to let Him teach me. I’m going to bask in that word and let it wash over me. That will clean you up. Let it shine on me. That’ll get the darkness out of us.
But as that word is in us working its miracle, it’s that grace and it’s not effort that’s causing it. Just relax. Just relax. Everything is coming our way because Jesus Christ is good to us, and He gave himself for us. He’s the only one that has the right to deny us. He’s the only one that has the right to turn His back on us and so why would He be called the savior of the world and then trash His own children, taunt his own children? I don’t see it in His personality.
I don’t have it all, believe me. I don’t have it. I’m learning. I’m just trying to say come with me and let’s learn to trust in Christ and just relax and see the great things that He can do so that we can brag on Him rather than say look what I’ve done. Look what the church has done. I want to be able to do this so I can say here’s my works. I’ll cast my crown. Those people that Jesus talked about it said they came to Him and said, “Did we not work miracles in your name?” And He said, “I never knew you.” And the word there is no as in had a personal relationship. You might work your buns off on the behalf of Christ, but if you don’t have that personal relationship it means nothing to Him.
You have to have a personal relationship. Works do not impress Him because our works are always as filthy rags. His work is totally awesome. You want to work, He’ll let you. But, if you want to live the Christian life the way He wants us to live, then we relax and let Him and we just stand around and marvel at His greatness. That’s the way we need to emphasize it. We stand and marvel at His greatness. Whoa. And He does great and wonderful things for us. He does. He does. He does. He does. The first thing He does is He forgives us of our sin and saves us, and from there on He will keep saying just keep trusting me and walk this way.
Just keep trusting. Just keep trusting. Mosey over here. Mosey over here. Mosey over here. Oh look, here’s a big green field. Just sit down and munch your heart out and go to sleep. Over there, there is a bunch of water. Go over there and drink what you want, mosey around, have a good time, and when it’s time I’ll say come one, let’s go, and we’ll mosey along slowly because He doesn’t go too fast so the weak and the young can’t keep up with Him, and the good news like I said before is He will come get me.
If I wonder off the path through my own stupidity He will come get me and take me back to where I belong, and I can trust in that goodness. I don’t have to worry all the time. I can just say He is good to Doyle. He really is good to Doyle. Life is good, but life will always be better and getting better.
Shall we pray? Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask that you bring the proper emphasis that you bring it and if I have messed it up I know that you’re going to take care of it and you will cause it to work for the good so I don’t need to stress out about it. Thank you for all the good things you’ve done to me and for me. Thank you for all the gifts that you’ve given me. Some of them God are just totally awesome, and I love to brag about them and it’s always Jesus and what He did for me. And, if there are any angels around, just look at what God, the Lord, has done for me and be in awe because He’s good to me. He is good to all the people out at Glenwood Church that are and that have trusted Him. Be in awe of the grace of our God and our Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.