We should not leave this past year defeated, downcast, cynical and discouraged. We should believe and approach the new year expecting something better.
Here is our opportunity to Begin Again! Yes, we’ve all done this for as many years as our age, but there always important reminders, instructions, warnings and encouragement to follow. A pilot begins each flight going over their checklist. Although the pilot may have flown many hours in their career, it is essential that they go through the list every time for safety reasons.
Recently Pastor Tim enjoyed the Zip Line in Ocala. He had to do a complete safety lesson before taking off to learn about the safety harness and rules of dos and don’ts. Next time he returns he will have to go through the same safety instructions and precautions. So it is, with leaving and entering a new year. We need to take the time again to ensure that we are doing it the right way.
Today we will look at the importance of Through Faith! This is the brand of faith that gets us through the new year. Many of us got through some things this past year because of mercy. We thank God for His mercy, but we are not called to live by mercy. We are called to live by faith.
- For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Cor. 5:7 NKJV)
- He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. (Rom. 4:20–21 NKJV)
The above verse defines faith as being fully convinced.
- But 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 diligently seek Him. (Heb. 11:6 NKJV)
- For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4–5 NKJV)
Faith is the persuasion that causes us to trust and obey. Faith is not a formula, but it does have ingredients.
For faith to be powerful it must be personal. It is good to hang around people of faith, but we can’t live off of what they are convinced about. We need a personal faith that overcomes and prevails against the things that we have to deal with in 2015. We need to get ourselves positioned right. We need to be personally convinced about God’s will for our lives.
We read in Hebrews 11 of men and women, like Abraham, Sara, Enoch, Noah who are in the Hall of Faith. They did tremendous things by faith and through faith. We also will accomplish things by and through faith.
In Mark 4 we find that Jesus is busy and His ministry is cooking! He’s teaching, preaching, casting out demons, etc. His team was the winning team and to be one of His disciples meant that they were definitely on the winning team.
The epicenter of His ministry was an 8 mile circumference that included the Sea of Galilee. He was very familiar with the lay of the land and He knew that there was the possibility of storms on this sea (lake) at anytime.
The Sea of Galilee is 200 feet deep at its deepest level. The Sea is situated 680 feet below sea level, with surrounding mountains that reach up to 2000 feet above sea level. In these mountains are narrow valleys that cold air blows through and mixes with the hot air from below. The temperature can drop 20-30 degrees in minutes. Again, Jesus was familiar with the lay of the land in His area. We need to be equally familiar with the “lay of our land” and that storms could come at anytime in our lives. Let’s look at this account in Mark 4:
On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”We read that there was a storm and the disciples thought that they were perishing (being destroyed fully in the Greek). Because of this, the disciples decided to wake Jesus up.
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
(Mark 4:35–41 NKJV)
Jesus calmed the storm and then asked them why they were so fearful and what had happened to their faith.
When we are fear-full we are faith-less. It is possible to be faith-full and fear-less! Unfortunately, in this passage the disciples’ faith was disengaged because of the fierceness of the storm that they both saw and felt.
Jesus did not ask them why they didn’t stop the storm with their faith. They were actually amazed to see Him stop the storm.
Perhaps faith is not just to stop a storm although it can! Perhaps faith is to get you through the storm. That is why we are looking at Through Faith today! We need a brand of faith that will get us through 2015. We need a faith that lasts. We need to make sure that we have a theology that makes room for storms to come. He is always in the boat with us to get us through any storm!
Avoid having a faith that lasts only if there are no storms to challenge our faith. We need to have a through faith that lasts when the storms rock our boat and tends to linger. We need a faith that will last and see us through.
Faith and God's Word
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.We have no faith apart from God’s Word. It is vital that we get into His Word and feast on it. We need to know God’s promises for our life. We need to read His Word in a way that is personal, makes sense to us, and applies to us.
(Rom. 10:17 NKJV)
We looked at Mark 4 and saw that Jesus asked the disciples what had happened to their faith. The disciples should have had the brand of Through Faith based on what Jesus had said to them. Again, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. When Jesus spoke, it was the very word of God. Jesus told His disciples in Mark 4:35, “Let us cross over to the other side.”
The disciples obviously missed His Word and as a result they were faith-less and began to panic. All the while, Jesus rested. How different it would have been if they had received the word that Jesus spoke! Certainly the wind and storm would have been there but their faith would have been different. Perhaps, they would have awakened Jesus and asked Him to say it again. Faith comes by hearing. The difference would have been that they would have been faith-full and fear-less.
Today is not a day to be fear-full. This is a day in which we must be faith-full. We need to go to God’s Word and ask Him what He has to say about 2015. What does He have to say about our health, family and future? We then need to take Him at His Word.
We should avoid all the storms that we can by being proactive in prayer and walking in wisdom. We should endure what we have to endure. By all means, do not go wordless into and through 2015.
The enemy wants us to keep the Book closed.
For those of us who are going through great storms from hell, keep going! We need to have a promise from God’s Word for our situation.
“But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.”For faith to be powerful it has to be personal. Have a faith that will rise up and go through. He will get us through to the other side in 2015!
(Isa. 43:1–2 NKJV)
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
(Ps. 23:4 NKJV)
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