Faith Full 5/15/22
Faith Full Week 4
John 1:46; Hebrews 10:23–25
[Here’s something we’ve all said at some point along the way:]
“I’m so glad he showed up in my life when he did.”
“I’m not sure I would have made it through this without her.”
“I wouldn’t be where I am today apart from them...”
Sometimes, they provided correction or confrontation. You didn’t like it then, but you’re so grateful now. Your life would be different if they hadn’t dropped in. Does anybody come to mind?
[We’re invited to wake up every morning to this question:]
What would I do... [How would I live, respond, or react? What would I attempt, initiate, or avoid?] if I was confident God was with me?
5 principles for developing active, bold, unshakeable, enduring faith?
1 – Practical Teaching - [Faith stories always include statements like: “Then somebody invited me,” or “I started attending church or Bible study, and I was taught what to do with what I believed.” Until we have handles and applications, we don’t know what to do. When our active faith intersects with God’s faithfulness, our faith grows.
2 – Personal Ministry - [When people tell their faith story, they always talk about the first time they stepped out of their comfort zone and confronted their inadequacy with serving someone else. Then, God came through, and their faith grew.]
3 – PROVIDENTIAL RELATIONSHIPS - [When somebody describes their faith journey, it usually includes something about a significant relationship. “Then I met this guy, girl, or friend, and they invited me to church,” or “Our new neighbors were Christians,” Maybe part of your faith story was that someone invited you to join a small group, or you had a coach who was a Christian, or a teacher.
[You might have played that role in someone’s life and didn’t know it. You were just being a good friend, boss, or citizen. But for the person on the other side of you, it was a defining moment. We don’t know when it happens. We only know when we look back.]
[Defining moments always involve other people, either good or bad. There are people you’re better off because you met them. And there are folks you wish you’d never met.]
[We shouldn’t be surprised that God uses relationships to grow our faith. It’s how Christianity began. God sent his Son into the world as one of us to interact with us to change us. “The Word became flesh and dwelt with us.” For anyone whose life intersected with Jesus, it was a defining moment. Then, those people intersected with other lives and created providential relationships. When Jesus invited Philip to follow, Philip told Nathanael, “We’ve found the One, the Messiah!”]
[Nathanael probably said to him, “Sure you have. Don’t bother me. Besides, you said he’s from Nazareth?”]
John 1:46 - “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?”
[But Philip wasn’t giving up.]
“Come and see,” said Philip. - [He did and was grateful to Philip for the rest of his life. He had a ringside seat to the events that God used to bring about the salvation of the world.]
[Can you think of a time you almost missed a providential meeting with someone who influenced your life greatly?
[Obviously, we can’t create providential relationships. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be providential. However, we can all be and should be proactive in getting into relationships with people whose faith informs their decisions and responses to the difficulties of life.]
[The author of Hebrews weighs in on this topic of the capacity to drift from or lose our faith.
Hebrews 10:23, Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
[And to facilitate our holding unswervingly:]
Hebrews 10:24, And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds... We’re to spur one another on proactively. Not just in what we believe, but how we express it.
Hebrews 10:25, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.
[Why? When it comes to our faith, our faithfulness, and recognizing God’s faithfulness...] Relationships matter.
People drift from their community of faith before they drift away from faith.]
People lose faith when they lose contact with people of faith.
When we see God’s faithfulness in someone else’s life, it’s easier to trust Him with ours.
Staying connected to a community of faith grows our faith.
“Come sit with me.” - A single invitation could position you as a catalyst in someone’s faith story.
[An invitation could be the first step in someone rediscovering faith. Invite someone. You never know what hangs in the balance of your courage to say something and invite someone. If they show up, and one day you see them get baptized, do you know what’s going to happen to your faith? It will get bigger! That’s the power of providential relationships.]
- Can you think of someone God providentially brought into your life at just the
right time? Initially, did you resist their input? Why?
- You may be hesitant to acknowledge it, but have you played that role in
someone else’s life? Were you reluctant initially? If so, why?
- Are the people whose stories shaped and strengthened your faith aware of the
role they played in your life? Have you told them? Would you?
[You should tell them! Send a short email or letter. Text them or make a phone call. You have no idea what role a simple thank you might play in their faith journey. One of the things God uses to strengthen and grow our faith is our relationship with other Jesus followers.]