Standing Face to Faith

July 10, 2011

Every story has a beginning.  And this one is found in Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. 
Did you catch that?  A righteous man.  The only blameless person living on the earth at the time.  He walked in close fellowship with God.

You know his story, you learned all about it in Sunday School.  But really you know Noah for the boat he built, but have you ever thought of all that went into building that boat?  Seriously, the man built a large, a very large boat in the middle of a country that had no major body of water and had never seen rain?
It had to be an act of either insanity or faith.  And we don’t have to guess because the Bible tells us that it was an act of faith, in the scripture that was read this morning we heard  Hebrews 11:7 It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.

God had decided to destroy the world because of its unrighteousness and the evil that had become so rampant and there was Noah standing face to faith. 
Did you ever have a teacher in high school or college that graded on the curve?  You know the theory that if a test was a good test and the teacher was a good teacher then the grades should fall along a bell curve. You’d have so many As and Fs, a few more Bs and Ds and the majority would fall in the C range.  C being average and by it’s very definition most people are average, that’s what average is.  And so a curve would end up looking something like this.  However, if the test wasn’t a good test or the material wasn’t taught well enough the entire curve would move down and when that happened a professor who was committed to the entire curve thing would grade accordingly, and move the marks up. Is that somewhat clear?
The problem was when the curve was here, and one or two students still scored high, thus indicating that the problem wasn’t with the test or the teacher but with the students. And the prof wouldn’t move the marks.  We referred to those people in the nicest possible way as curve blowers.
Noah was a curve blower. Had there not been a Noah then God could conclude that either he hadn’t taught the course properly or that the test was too hard. But if we go back to the book of Genesis we read in Genesis 6:9 This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.
Because Noah was righteous, because Noah was obedient, because Noah enjoyed a close relationship with God that was the evidence that it could be done, if people had a wanted to.
I wonder if any of us would have joined Noah in making it into the faith hall of fame, after all the people who are mentioned are simply ordinary people who did extraordinary things through the power of God, they were sure of what they hoped for and certain of what they did not see.”  
One of our favourite Australian singers was a guy by the name of Graeme Connor and on his Tropicalli CD is a song that includes the line, “If we only believe what we can see, then we will only see what we can believe.”  Think about it, “If we only believe what we can see, then we will only see what we can believe.” The secret then of faith is seeing out beyond the horizon of our sight.  Or believing more then we can see.

1) Do We Have Enough Faith To Believe That God Can Do Great Things, Through Us?  Now the first part is easy isn’t it, “Do we have enough faith to believe that God can do great things?”  of course we do, throughout history God has done great things.  He created the heavens and the earth in six days, he parted the red sea, he brought down Jericho, he closed the lion’s mouths for Daniel, He sent His Son to be born of a virgin,  and three days after His Son died on a cross he raised Him from the dead, God has always done great things.  But that isn’t the question, the question was,  “Do we have enough faith to believe that God can do great things, through us?”  Yes, or no?  As strange as it may seem God has used people throughout history to carry out His will, do you believe that He can use you?   I love the Old Testament story of David and Goliath, and one of my favourite parts of this story is when David come out and Goliath gets his first look at the champion of Israel, and he is a little put out, after all he was a giant and all they were going to send to fight him was a boy?  So he taunts David a little bit, lays down how bad he going to hurt him and then David has his opportunity for rebuttal and he says in, 1 Samuel 17:45-46 David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!

David believed that God could bring down Goliath, but he also believed that God could use him to bring down Goliath.  You see that is the secret, because of the rules that God has laid down for himself he needs to use people to do the things which need getting done.  Oh he could have toppled Goliath without the shepherd boy and his sling shot, but that isn’t the way he works.  When it gets down to the bottom line God uses everyday people he may give them a little supernatural help but he needs people.  And if God is going to use someone why can’t that someone be you? 
Just from the human side, wouldn’t it be great if you allowed yourself to be used of God and in three or four thousand years people still talked about how Mike killed the Giant or how Angela brought down the walls of a great city and how Matt built an ark.  What can you believe God for today, What could he do through you and with you, look around at this world and ask yourself, “What would I change if I could?”  And then ask yourself “If I had the greatest power in the universe at my disposal could I do it?”
Perhaps you’ve heard Bobby Kennedy quoted as saying “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”,  Well actually he didn’t say it, his brother Ted said at his funeral “Some saw things the way they were and asked ‘why?”   Bobby saw things the way they could be and asked ‘why not?’“ But Ted was actually quoting George Bernard Shaw who said “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”   When was the last time you saw things the way they could be and asked why not.  When was the last time you looked at an unbelieving loved one and said “They could be a Christian, why not”  When was the last time you looked at injustices in the world and thought, “We could find a solution, why not?”  Instead of grumbling about the way things are in our community, our province and our country have you envisioned it the way it could be and said why not? 
You say “but preacher I’m just one person, I’m powerless,”  ahah, if you think that you have bought into a lie of the Devil, You have the power, do you remember the promise of Christ in Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.
You will receive power, think about it You, not just others but You, will not might, not may but will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, that would lead me to believe that if you don’t have power in your life then you don’t have the Holy Spirit in your life. Philippians 4:13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. 
Who gives you strength?  You might not be able to do it by yourself,  but then again nobody asked you to do it by yourself.  You have the power of almighty God at your disposal and we know what kind of things he is capable of, don’t we?  Have you come face to faith with the fact that God can do great things through you?
                                                                             
2) Do You Have Enough Faith To Believe In The Goodness Of God, No Matter What?  Once again the first part of the statement is fairly easy to answer.  Do you believe in the goodness of God.  Of course you do, the Bible says time and time again “The Lord is good”, and most of us have experienced his goodness.  It doesn’t take much faith to believe in the goodness of God when the sun is shining, we have a job, we have healthy children and the world is at peace.  But what about when the sun isn’t shining, we are unemployed, have sick children and the world is at war?  I heard a story once about a lady trying to comfort a friend whose child had leukemia, “Maybe God will be good and he will heal your son” said the first lady to which her friend replied, “God will be good whether He heals my son or not.”  Do you have faith enough to believe in the goodness of God, no matter what?
We live in an imperfect world.  A world where much of the suffering and pain comes from man and it’s neither fair nor correct to blame God.  If God fixed all of our problems where would it leave us?  If every time we got into trouble God stepped in and with a little Godly influence bailed us out would we ever learn? 
When I was learning how to fly I had an annoying habit of resting my left foot on the rudder pedal.  It actually didn’t matter a whole lot in the air but on landings it meant that we were landing crooked on the runway, a neat way to remove the landing gear from your airplane.  Time and time again it would happen and every time, just before we touched down my instructor would correct the situation.  Finally Dave must have gotten frustrated because as we came in for our final approach he tucked his feet under the seat and sat on his hands.  “what are you doing” I inquired calmly.”  His reply will always stick with me he said, “As long as you know that I’ll correct your mistake you’ll keep making it.”  God has created us with an incredible capacity to correct our own mistakes, and along with that he has given us the greatest gift in the world and that is the gift of our free will so we can choose to exercise that capacity or not.  Oh by the way I didn’t correct the mistake, we crashed on impact and I was consumed in the flames, no that’s another story.  The truth is that on that day I learnt not to rest my left foot on the rudder.  But only because I knew that I had to learn it.
The Bible says that we were created just a little lower then angels, and I believe that we were created with the ability to solve whatever problems come our way, whether we choose to or not does not change the goodness of God.
Think about all the things that people dump on God.  In 1985 a family that I had grown up with lost their ten year old son Travis.  Trapper had been digging a cave in a mud bank when it collapsed on him and he suffocated.  I took part in the funeral and afterwards I remember standing on the sidewalk outside the funeral home with tears streaming down my face demanding of God why, why did you allow this.  The truth of the matter is that God could save all the Travis Laselles who suffocate and all of the Vaughn Taylors who are killed in car accidents and all of the Welsley Morses who drown but He had already given them the intelligence to know that you shouldn’t dig caves in mud banks, drive too fast or work in your boat alone without a life jacket. Travis, Vaughn and Welsley were friends of mine, and I would love to have them back but it does not make God any less good because they died in accidents.  And if the accidents hadn’t been their fault then they would have been the fault of some other human being not God.
What about diseases like aids and cancer?  I don’t believe that aids is God’s judgement on the homosexual community, if it was then lesbians would be in danger as well as homosexual men and they aren’t.  But the homosexuals are the ones most responsible for the spread of aids, along with promiscuous heterosexuals and intravenous drug users.  God should cop the blame for something which has spread primarily through man’s sinfulness? 
Besides it gets worse because we know how to stop the spread of aids, but mankind lets it’s hormones rule them instead of their brains and so aids has to be the only disease in history that is spread through stupidity.   Give me a break and realise that it will be someone using the intelligence that God has given them to develop a cure for aids.  Most of the problems in the world from cancer to hunger to war to the environment are the product of man’s greed.  If the western world poured as much money into cancer research as they have into their armed forces or for their toys then the big “C” wouldn’t kill our loved ones like it does.  World hunger isn’t a supply problem it’s a greed and distribution problem, how much food is destroyed or not produced in Canada, Australia or the U.S. because there isn’t enough profit.  How much milk has been dumped, how much wheat is stockpiled how many sheep have been shot.  Don’t blame God blame man. 
Have you come face to faith in believing in the goodness of God, no matter what? 
3) Do You Have Enough Faith To Believe In The Wisdom Of God, Even When You Don’t Agree With It?   We know that God is wise,  Especially  when his wisdom is in agreement with ours.  But what about when God appears to be leading in a direction that we don’t consider the wisest course of action.  Do we then have enough faith to follow our heart and not our head? 
Listen to some of the things that people were commended for believing in Hebrews chapter 11:
Hebrews 11:7 It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before.
Hebrews 11:8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going. 
Hebrews 11:11 It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. 
Hebrews 11:17 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him. Abraham, who had received God’s promises, was ready to sacrifice his only son, Isaac, 
                                                    
Hebrews 11:24-25 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.   He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. 
Hebrews 11:29 It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians followed, they were all drowned.
Hebrews 11:30 It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho seven days, and the walls came crashing down.
There are times as parents that we do things that don’t seem overly wise to our children.  Things like sending them to school or taking them to the dentist, or getting them vaccinated.  They don’t think those things are wise, why not, because they can’t see the big picture, they haven’t matured enough to recognise the validity of those things.  Could it be, just maybe that we can’t always see the big picture? 
You won’t always agree with what God is doing, don’t try to get spiritual and tell me that you do, you don’t and you won’t, because he is God and you is just a people.  In 1990 God directed us to move to Australia.  The church in Bracken Ridge thought that was a great idea, they could see God’s wisdom in bringing them Denn Guptill from Truro Nova Scotia,  But you know there were people in  Wesleyan church in Truro  that weren’t quite as convinced at that point of the wisdom of God.  In 1994 God sent us back to the Maritimes to plant a brand new church in Bedford, and you may think that was a great idea but I can assure you that there are people at North Point Wesleyan Methodist Church in Brisbane who didn’t think it was so hot.
Sometimes God commands you to do things which would appear to go against common sense, but nowhere does God tell us that we have to understand everything God calls us to do, or everything that God does in our life, but he does call us to be obedient.
Have you come face to faith in believing in the wisdom of God, even when you don’t agree with it?
Faith, someone once defined it as Fantastic Adventures In Trusting Him, And you have to agree that many of these people had most excellent adventures even if they didn’t understand it at the beginning.  Do we have enough faith today to believe that God can do great things, through us?    Do we have enough faith today to believe in the goodness of God, no matter what?  Do we have enough faith to believe in the wisdom of God, even when you don’t agree with it?
Faith sounds tough but it’s gotta be done because Paul tell us in Hebrews 11:6 So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.
Are you ready to take the step and live by faith?  Today is the day to stand face to faith.