#1 (THE "WITHOUT" SERIES)
"WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD!"
(Or: "Faith Up To Reality!")
TEXT: Heb. 11:6 ; Jn. 3:16-18; Gal. 5:6
INTRO: Without faith there can be no salvation, it is the first necessary step to have a relationship with God! Man is really left with only two choices:
1. Have faith only in those things we know and see … or,
2. Have faith in God!
CHILDREN WERE PLAYING ON A
Without faith there can be NO relationship with God! Each man and woman, each child must decide: "Will I believe or not believe?"
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that “without faith we cannot please God,” or find spiritual realities! The beginning point is faith!
I. MAKING GOD HAPPY! Heb. 11:6
A. Price-tag! 11:6a
1. To find salvation and the joy of God's love one must come to God in faith!
a. We cannot find deliverance without faith; it is the one requirement to become a Christian.
b. This is the stumbling block for those who are not saved, it is by faith that we are saved … the world prefers works or other ways!
c. There is N0 other way!
2. It is not by being good people or by doing good works, it is by faith alone!
3. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God!” Heb. 11:6a
4. If you want to experience freedom from sin, freedom from bondage, freedom from guilt, freedom from sorrows, you must come to God in faith; only those who TRUST GOD, who believe in Him, will find salvation!
ILLUS: A BUILDING WAS BURNING IN NEW YORK'S HARLEM DISTRICT SOME YEARS AGO, A BLIND GIRL WAS PERCHED ON THE 4th FLOOR, PANICKED ABOUT THE FLAMES COMING FROM THE WINDOWS ALL AROUND HER. SHE COULD NOT ESCAPE THE FIRE AND NO ONE COULD GET TO HER TO RESCUE HER. UNFORTUNATELY, THE ALLEY WAY WAS TOO NARROW FOR THE FIRE TRUCKS TO GET IN AS WELL. THE FIREFIGHTERS HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO ATTEMPT TO USE A NET T0 CATCH HER AS SHE FELL, BUT THEY COULD NOT GET HER TO JUMP. NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY PLEADED, SHE DIDN'T BELIEVE THEY HAD A NET OR COULD GET HER. SHE COULDN'T SEE ANYTHING, AND SO SHE WAS AFRAID AND UNWILLING TO TRUST THESE STRANGERS. FINALLY HER FATHER ARRIVED ON THE SCENE AND THROUGH A BULL HORN HE TOLD HER TO JUMP, THAT THERE WERE INDEED ENOUGH MEN AND A STRONG NET TO CATCH HER, SHE COULD TAKE HIM AT HIS WORD! ON HER FATHER'S COMMAND SHE JUMPED, SO CONFIDENT OF HER FATHER'S WORD THAT SHE WAS SO RELAXED THAT EVEN AFTER 4 FLOORS SHE LANDED WITHOUT TIGHTENING UP, AND SO NOT EVEN A SINGLE BROKEN BONE RESULTED, NOR EVEN A STRAINED MUSCLE! SHE TRUSTED COMPLETELY IN HER FATHER'S WORD, AND THIS SAVED HER! -- Source Unknown
5. Ultimately, we all have to decide whether we will trust in our Heavenly Father or not, but there is N0 other way a man or woman can be saved! It must be by faith!
a. When Abraham was called by God to leave Ur of the Chaldeans and go to a strange land he believed God and went, when asked to sacrifice his only son he was willing, "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness." Rom. 4:3; Ga. 3:6; James 2:23
b. Faith moves into action, it is not just a concept … it finds expression in real ways of trust.
B. Payment 11:6b
1. God rewards faith, Salvation being the biggest reward, but there are smaller rewards that come throughout our lifetime as well!
a. Salvation is the initial and largest reward.
b. Peace, joy, security, and many other benefits await the one who lives by faith!
2. Faith is the beginning point that connects us to Christ, it is what hooks us in!
ILLUS: SHOULD AN ELECTRIC WIRE STRETCH FOR 20 MILES TO A REMOTE OUTPOST AND YET LACK ONE FOOT FROM REACHING THE BUILDING IT WON'T BENEFIT THOSE INSIDE! EVEN THOUGH THOSE 20 MILES ARE QUITE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT, THE CONNECTION HAS TO BE MADE TO EXPERIENCE THE BENEFITS OF THE POWER. ONE FOOT SHORT HAS THE SAME EFFECT AS A QUARTER MILE SHORT, OR EVEN 10 MILES SHORT ... ONLY WHEN ACTUALLY CONNECTED DOES THE POWER FLOW AND BENEFITS THOSE INSIDE! NO MATTER HOW CLOSE YOU GET TO GOD, IT IS ONLY WHEN YOU ACTUALLY PUT FAITH IN HIM THAT IT CONNECTS YOU TO HIS POWER AND LIFE! SOME MIGHT BRAG THAT THEY ARE CLOSER T0 TRUSTING IN GOD THAN SOMEONE ELSE WHO IS A HUGE ATHEIST, BUT IN REALITY THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE ... ONLY THOSE WHO COME IN FAITH FIND HIS LIFE AND POWER AND ARE CONNECTED! WITHOUT FAITH THERE IS NO CONNECTION! -- Source Unknown
3. The Bible does not attempt to prove to us that God exists, it only tries to convince us how important it is that we do believe He does!
a. How can God have a relationship with someone that does not believe in Him?
b. To believe in Him is to believe in what He has to say about the past, present, and future!
(1. That He created all things.
(2. That we are lost without Him.
(3. That He will reward those who have faith in Him, not only now, but in the future!
4. The more we diligently seek Him, the greater our faith will grow, but we have to start someplace with faith!
II. MAKING YOURSELF HAPPY! Jn. 3:16-18
A. Prized! 3:16
1. God's love was so great, even for us as sinners, that He gave His very best. He believed in us even when evidence to the contrary existed!!!
a. God laid His own life on the line because He knew that many would come to Him if a way was opened!
b. Christ’s sacrifice alone should be enough to draw us to Him!
2. God's love for the lost is so powerful, He spared nothing to find a way to let us experience His love and find a life of joy and freedom from sin!
3. God prized us above everything, even above His own comfort in heaven!
4. Putting faith in God is the best thing you can do for yourself, it opens the door to a relationship with a loving heavenly father and guarantees eternal life in heaven!
a. This experience will give you a joy and peace you cannot get anywhere else; you are really doing yourself a favor when you put faith in God!
b. The place of joy that is the stuff of philosophers, poets, and artists has always been found in Christ!
c. When a man’s eyes are open to God's love nothing can hold him back!
ILLUS: A POET AND AN ARTIST EXAMINED THE GREAT PAINTING REPRESENTING THE HEALING OF THE BLIND MEN OF JERICHO. TO THE POET EVERYTHING WAS EXCELLENT, THE FORM OF CHRIST, THE GROUPING OF THE INDIVIDUALS, THE EXPRESSIONS ON THE FACES OF THE LEADING CHARACTERS. THE ARTIST HOWEVER SAW SOMETHING DIFFERENT, HE SAID, "DO YOU SEE THE DISCARDED CANE LAYING THERE? WHEN THE BLIND MAN HEARD OF CHRIST HE WAS SO SURE OF BEING HEALED THAT HE WOULD NO LONGER NEED IT HE THREW IT DOWN BEFORE HE WAS HEALED!" TO THE ARTIST, HE SAW A MAN WHO HASTENED TO CHRIST EVEN BEFORE HE COULD SEE; FIRMLY BELIEVING JESUS WAS GOD AND WOULD TOUCH HIM! THIS IS THE CONFIDENCE OF FAITH, SOME WANT PROOF FIRST, BUT FAITH COMES BEFORE PROOF, BLESSED IS THE MAN WHO BELIEVES! -- Source Unknown
5. Faith moves us right into fellowship with God and then we find the happiness that allows us to conquer everything this world can throw at us!
B. Peace 3:17-18
1. God's plan was to redeem, not to condemn! The only thing that keeps us under condemnation is our own unbelief!
a. God's plan of salvation was to bring us peace and joy!
b. Those who believe in Him are no longer under condemnation, even though they may still struggle with maturing their faith!
ILLUS: A WOMAN WAS STRUGGLING WITH BELIEVING SHE WAS A TRUE CHRISTIAN BECAUSE SHE SOMETIMES STRUGGLED WITH HER FAITH IN GOD. SHE CONFESSED THAT SHE DIDN'T UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING IN THE BIBLE AND WONDERED HOW THIS IMPACTED HER RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD; SHE WAS LACKING PEACE ABOUT HER RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. THE WISE EVANGELIST THAT WAS MINISTERING IN THE MEETINGS AT HER CHURCH ASKED HER A STRANGE QUESTION, "MRS. FRANKLIN, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN MRS. FRANKLIN?" SHE ANSWERED, "WHY, EVER SINCE I WAS MARRIED!" HE THEN ASKED HER. "AND HOW DID YOU BECOME MRS. FRANKLIN? SHE RESPONDED WITH, "WHEN THE MINISTER SAID, 'WILT THOU TAKE THIS MAN TO BE THY WEDDED HUSBAND?' I JUST SAID, 'I DO'!" THE EVANGELIST ASKED, "YOU MEAN TO SAY YOU DIDN'T SAY 'I HOPE SO', OR 'I'LL TRY TO'? "NO" SHE REPLIED, "I SAID, 'I WILL'. THEN POINTING TO GOD'S WORD HE ASKED HER, "GOD IS ASKING YOU IF YOU WILL RECEIVE HIS SON AS YOUR PERSONAL SAVIOR. WHAT HAVE YOU SAID TO THAT?' IMMEDIATELY HER FACE LIT UP AND SHE SAID, "HOW SIMPLE, OF COURSE I HAVE SAID YES LONG AGO!" PEACE NOW FLOODED HER HEART, IN SIMPLE FAITH SHE HAD COME AND SAID YES, EVEN THOUGH ALL QUESTIONS HAVE NOT YET BEEN ANSWERED, THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE HAS! -- Source Unknown
2. To the one who has said, "Yes" to God, peace floods the soul, even if all the answers do not flood the mind!
3. You can be at peace with God and yourself when you know that you are born again!
4. God's peace can allow you to face the most difficult of situations with complete confidence in a loving God! This is the power of faith!
ILLUS: THE STORY IS TOLD HOW MUCH FAITH ALEXANDER THE GREAT HAD IN A PHYSICIAN FRIEND OF HIS. ON ONE OCCASION WHEN HE WAS ILL HIS DOCTOR FRIEND HAD MIXED UP A POTION FOR HIM TO TAKE, AND JUST AS HE WAS ABOUT TO RECEIVE THIS POTION SOMEONE CAME UP TO HIM AND HANDED HIM A SLIP OF PAPER. AS ALEXANDER LOOKED AT THE PAPER SLIPPED TO HIM, IT READ, "THE MAN WHO IS MAKING YOU THIS POTION IS MIXING IN POISON TO KILL YOU, DO NOT DRINK IT OR YOU WILL DIE!" NO ONE ELSE KNEW WHAT THE NOTE SAID, AND HIS DOCTOR FRIEND HANDED HIM THE POTION. WITH THE POTION IN ONE HAND, AND THE NOTE IN THE OTHER, IN THE PRESENCE OF THE DOCTOR HE DRANK THE MIXTURE! AFTER HE FINISHED HE ASKED HIS DOCTOR FRIEND TO READ THE NOTE HANDED HIM! AFTER READING IT HE JUST LOOKED AT ALEXANDER WHO SAID TO HIM, "SEE HOW I HAVE TRUSTED IN YOU!?" HE HAD ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE IN HIS FRIEND, AND COULD DRINK WITHOUT HESITATION! HE HAD PEACE OVER IT! HOW MUCH MORE SHOULD WE WITH A LOVING GOD, HOW WE TOO CAN TRUST HIM IN ALL SITUATIONS! -- Source Unknown
5. There is no greater joy than that of being a Christian, if you really want to make yourself happy, put your faith in God!
a. He that believes in God is not condemned, he is free from guilt!
b. Only those who refuse to believe are still in their sins and not free from the bondage of sin!
III. MAKING OTHERS HAPPY Gal. 5:6
A. Parity 5:6a
1. Once in Christ by faith we no longer have to struggle to find salvation, we belong to Him and now are brothers and sisters in Christ
a. Notice how Paul states that now in Christ Jews and Gentiles are equals!
b. Circumcision or uncircumcision, it doesn't matter, only faith in Christ!
2. They were all on equal footing with one another in Christ!
3. It was not the rituals of religion that made them equals, it was their faith in Christ that did so!
4. There was nothing the Jews or the Gentiles could do that would make them more acceptable to God than simple faith!
ILLUS: A LITTLE GIRL OF 10 YEARS OLD WAS ASKED ONE DAY IF SHE WAS A CHRISTIAN. SHE ANSWERED THAT SHE DID NO KNOW FOR SURE. THE MAN THEN ASKED HER IF SHE WAS SAVED, AND AGAIN SHE SAID SHE DID NOT KNOW. HE THEN ASKED THIS LITTLE GIRL, "HOW DO WE GET SAVED?" HER ANSWER WAS, "BY BEING GOOD!" HE THEN ASKED HER, "WELL, HOW GOOD DO YOU HAVE TO BE?" SHE SAID, "YOU HAVE TO BE AWFUL GOOD!" HE ASKED HER THEN, "HOW AWFUL GOOD?" SHE ANSWERED, "AWFUL AWFUL GOOD!!" HE ASKED HER, "ARE YOU THAT GOOD?" SHE SAID, NO". HE THEN SAID, "WELL, I GUESS THEN YOU ARE NOT SAVED!" BUT THEN HE ADDED, "GUESS WHAT LITTLE GIRL, I GUESS THEN THAT I'M NOT SAVED EITHER, BECAUSE I'M NOT THAT GOOD EITHER!" THIS SHOCKED THE LITTLE GIRL, FOR THIS WAS HER PASTOR TALKING TO HER! HER EYES GOT REAL BIG AND THEN SHE ASKED, "WELL, THEN HOW DOES ANYBODY GET SAVED!?" THE PASTOR THEN BEGAN TELLING HER THE GOOD NEWS THAT IT IS SIMPLY BY FAITH IN GOD THAT ANYBODY IS SAVED, NOT BY GOOD WORKS ... THAT THE GOOD WORKS COME FROM BEING SAVED, NOT FOR GETTING SAVED! SHE WAS SO GLAD TO KNOW THAT A PREACHER, LITTLE GIRL, OR ANYONE ELSE FOR THAT MATTER WERE ALL EQUALS IN GOD'S EYES, AND THEY COULD ALL COME IN THE SAME WAY, BY FAITH! -- Source Unknown
5. Since we are all equal and on equal ground, only in faith can we come and be acceptable to God, this keeps us from looking down at others, we are the same and must come the same humble way!
B. Practical 5:6b
1. "Faith which worketh by love." (KJV)
a. “The only thing that counts is faith working through love!” (NIV)
b. Notice the translation in the NIV … the combination of faith and love!
2. Faith cannot exist without action, if it is faith in God it will be God's love that will flow through us!
a. This is what will impact unbelievers the most, when they witness real faith expressing itself in our lives in real loving ways!
b. It is much harder to deny God when people are confronted with Christians whose faith has real practical loving expression to it!
c. One can argue the intellectual dynamics of faith, but to witness faith expressing itself in a loving way is hard to deny!
d. Jesus is the prime example of this, His call to have faith in His Heavenly Father was hard to resist as He reached out and healed the sick, raised the dead, offered forgiveness to the prostitutes and tax collectors of His day, they could not resist His love, and thus they put faith in Him!
3. Faith loses its power if it is not coupled with love!
ILLUS: A MAN WHO OPERATED A LITTLE ROWBOAT TO TAKE VISITORS ACROSS THIS SMALL LAKE WAS A CHRISTIAN WHO HAD FOUND A UNIQUE WAY TO WITNESS TO THOSE WHO HIRED HIS SERVICES. AS SOON AS A PASSENGER BOARDED HIS ROWBOAT TO HAVE HIM TAKE THEM ACROSS THEY WOULD NOTICE THAT ON THE TWO OARS THAT HE USED WERE INSCRIBED A WORD. ON ONE OAR THE WORD, "FAITH" WAS INSCRIBED. ON THE OTHER OAR WAS THE WORD "WORKS". CURIOSITY WOULD EVENTUALLY WIN AS THE PASSENGER INQUIRED ABOUT WHY EACH OAR HAD ONE WORD ON IT, AND THE PARTICULAR WORD ON IT THAT WAS THERE. THE OLD MAN, BEING A WELL-BALANCED CHRISTIAN WOULD ALWAYS RESPOND WITH, "I AM SO GLAD YOU ASKED! THIS IS A TESTIMONY ON WHAT A TRUE CHRISTIAN IS!" HE WOULD THEN PROCEED TO DEMONSTRATE WHAT HE MEANT BY THAT: HE WOULD BEGIN TO USE ONLY THE OAR LABELED, "FAITH" UNTIL IT BECAME VERY CLEAR THAT THE ROWBOAT WAS GOING NOWHERE FAST, JUST GOING IN CIRCLES! THEN HE WOULD SWITCH TO THE OTHER OAR LABELED "WORKS" AND DO THE SAME THING, ONLY USE THAT ONE BY ITSELF, NOW THEY WOULD GO IN CIRCLES THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION, GOING NOWHERE FAST AGAIN! AT THIS POINT HE WOULD THEN PICK UP BOTH OARS AND SHOW HOW USING THEM TOGETHER GOT THEM MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AGAIN, THEY WOULD MAKE GOOD PROGRESS. HE WOULD THEN SAY, "YOU SEE, THAT IS THE WAY IT IS IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE, FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD, AND WORKS WITHOUT FAITH ARE USELESS TOO, GETTING US NOWHERE. BUT BOTH PULLING TOGETHER MAKE FOR SAFETY, PROGRESS, AND BLESSING." FAITH WITH LOVE BLESSES OTHERS AND MOVES THEM TO CONSIDER THE CLAIMS OF CHRIST! -- Source Unknown
4. Only this combination works!
a. Have you ever met someone who seems to have great faith but little love or works, they act spiritually superior but they turn people off to the Gospel!
b. Or have you seen those who are willing to do works but have no faith, it appears they do it for personal attention.
5. The only thing that counts in this life however is “faith expressing itself through love!” 5:6b
a. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God!”
b. Without faith, it is impossible to please yourself!
c. Without faith, it is impossible to please others!
6. Faith is not something we can do without, it is a necessity!!
CONCLUSION: Faith is the very heartbeat of Christianity! Faith is what allows us to soar above the physical world; it is what brings us into contact with God, and lets us reach beyond ourselves. Imagine a world without faith! We could not please God, ourselves, or others without faith! Faith moves us into realms unreachable without it! Keep the faith! FAITH UP TO REALITY!!!!