Sunday, January 9, 2011

Walking by Faith (not by sight)

2 Cor. 5:7 - "for we walk by faith and not by sight."

This verse is:
#1. parenthetical - is not in the original text.
A. was inserted in the broader passage: (life/death/trials/rewards)
B. could be left out without changing the text
#2. it's broadly applicable - could be inserted in dozens of other New testaments texts an fit without changing the text or it could stand alone.
example: loving your neighbor when that neighbor is perhaps unlovable - we do it by faith and not by sight,/thanking God - for we walk by faith and not by sight,/suffering well/looking for Christ's return
#3. it's very adaptable - for any Christian who.... attends church (why do you attend church? - because I walk by faith, not by sight)/pays a tithe/ says grace/ works in AWANA, gives thanks at a funeral

So, let's examine the verse and the application.

Definition of "faith" - as we are talking about faith.
Faith is Christian confidence in God and Christ, His Son, and in His promises.

So, (based on scripture) we are confident in God's - concern for us/presence with us/involvement/ability to fix everything/wisdom/etc.
So, also, we are confident in life after death/eternal life after death/triumph of righteousness/abolition of evil, pain, and suffering/future rewards/the Lordship of Christ....

The verse does not mean that we don't believe what we see. We do believe what we see.
The verse means we believe what we see... and MORE than we see.
OR, based on what we do see, we believe some things that we can't see.

Illustration: John 20:27-28
Thomas - by sight believed that Jesus is alive/ by Faith believed that Jesus is Lord.!

So, when we can't see God's wisdom, power, sense His presence, concern - then we walk by faith believing more than I see (which is based on what I've seen)
John 20:29
1 Pet. 1:8
Heb. 11:1
2 Cor. 4:16-18

Three things to consider:

I. The origin of this faith
II. The development of this faith
III. The implementation of this faith

I. The origin of the faith (where does it come from?)
A. encountered - usually at a later age when have been living a non-Christian life
B. acquired - brought up in the faith with believing parents, grandparents, etc.
But also...
C. inherent - Eccles. 3:11 - Everyone has enough faith to take the first steps
D. a gift - Eph. 2:8-9

Point being: the faith is available but you must accept it and develop it!!

II. The development of the faith. (walking and improving our walk)
A. exposure to the Word - Rom. 1:17
B. openness to the Holy Spirit - 1 Cor. 2:9-10
C. responding to the light given. Example: realize that Jesus is the Christ but don't accept Him leads to ???
D. Practicing the faith - learn to walk by walking. Same way you learn to drive, cook, skate, etc.
E. Exposure to the faith of others - biographies of giants of the faith, stories, personal tests
F. Reflection on past victories
G. reflection on present blessings - should give you faith to walk tomorrow
H. developing your relationship with God - quiet time, prayer, Bible reading, thanksgiving, reflection, etc.

God will grant faith and assist your faith, but YOU must accept and develop it!

III. The implementation of the faith (putting it to work)
Because we're not to just consider/contemplate/prefer/accept/embrace/preach/promote, etc. the faith.
We are to WALK (live) the faith. There is no "pouring on" of faith.

So....... two examinations:
1. examine your faith 2 Cor. 13:5 (a) - "test yourselves"
2. examine your walk Eph. 4:1 - hinge verse. Because of all that was said in the first three chapters, do what's in the last three chapters.

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