I hope everyone read my “Call to Action” sermon from last week. That was part one of my two part message to help people get rejuvenated. First was a call to action of us Christians, and this part is to explain the importance as a believer to walk by faith. Both of these ideas walk hand in hand with each other, and I am happy to share my thoughts on them. I love the idea of calling all believers to action, but works without faith has no fruits. Faith is all about action, defending yourself from our enemies, and understanding why this is important to us all. I will also share an important biblical example that Jesus himself did. Now if you’re ready, let’s begin!
2 Corinthians 5:7
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
This is an important scripture when it comes to faith. When Paul wrote this letter, he was talking about being confident in your faith and fully trusting in Jesus Christ. He was speaking to the church about not losing heart and to have courage. He wanted them to be motivated by their faith. You see, Paul knew that living on earth as a Christian is hard. It was true then, as it is now. They were persecuted, stoned and even beheaded for their faith. But these things did not bother Paul, because he walked his ministry by faith. He did not care about how people looked at him or spoke about him. A lot of people did not even like him. But that did not bother him at all. Paul understood a simple principle. That principle is and always is, Christians are either in heaven or on earth. They do not go to hell, they are not in a grave after they die, and there is no inbetween place for us. He understood that believers on earth were absent from God, and believers that die, go to heaven and are in God’s presence. This is why he said “to die is to gain.” He understood this and it gave him the strength he needed during the hard times. I find this amazing, how strong his conviction in faith was. Everything that he struggled on earth was just temporary.
“In addition to having clothed yourselves with these things, having taken up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to put out all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
Now I want to speak about something very important in my life that I get from this powerful scripture. First of all, being a Christian you are constantly in a war zone. We have three main enemies in this war. The first enemy we face is the world. Living in the world that we live in has many temptations and it is easy to be seduced by them. There is tons of media attention about all the negative things going on in this world, but there is nothing about the positive. All we see is sex, drugs, and violence. After a while you start to fall into the routine and start believing you are not as bad as the world, so you are good to go. Then you start falling back into sin. Our second enemy is our flesh. We are sinful from birth and due to our imperfect state of being, without being “kept in check,” so to say by each other and our scriptures, we as Christians would be just as evil as the world. Maybe it is watching lustful television, being glutens, pornography, or just being negative like the world wants us to be. These things do not come from God and we need to watch out for them.
Our third and last enemy is the devil himself. We undergo spiritual warfare on a daily basis whether you believe it or not. I can tell you this because the devil doesn’t care if you’re a sinner. He cares if you follow God, and now you are on his radar. A perfect example is in my case. Things were going well until I started seminary school. When I started seminary school, everything that I struggled with in my past started to appear again. One example, I have sinful eyes. I am honest about that with God and God gives me my strength to fight anything negative in that nature. But suddenly while having movie dates with my wife, all television shows and movies now have nudity or sex scenes. I constantly have to turn off the tv and it got to the point where my wife started laughing saying the devil is trying to turn me off my current walk with Christ. The devil will put random thoughts in your mind that are just plain evil. But you need to fight against that. But what do you do about about your enemy? This scripture tells us to take up our shield of faith. But what does that mean exactly? Did you know in that time, the roman shields were meant to interlock? One soldier was strong, but a platoon was a thing to be reckoned with. As the romans, we as Christians are not meant to fight alone. We are here to build each other up, to defend against our enemies, and to fight through prayer. Prayer is a powerful thing! Our shields of faith can hold up to satan’s fiery darts. Those fiery darts are lies, hateful thoughts, desires for sin, and unforgivingness. God not only tells us how and what to defend ourselves with, but who as well. The faith of many is stronger than the faith of one man alone, please remember that.
“Jesus answered them, “I tell all of you with certainty, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you be able to do what has been done to the fig tree, but you will also say to the mountain, be removed and thrown into the sea, and it will happen. You will receive whatever you ask for in prayer, if you believe.”
Jesus himself said, “faith can move mountains.” What a powerful illustration he gave us to follow. I want to talk about this idea and where this scripture came from to conclude this sermon today. During this time, Jesus did something out of the ordinary in his ministry. He did two acts of judgement which was out of the ordinary since he came to save and not judge. The first was that he cleansed the temple and the second was that he cursed a fig tree. Now you ask, what is the significance of this? First the church was becoming a den of thieves, and the fig tree was representing the nation of Israel. This signified inward corruption and outward unfruitfulness. People were doing a show of religion, but there was no faith to give fruit to godly living. Reading this powerful message relates to me and many other Christians today. Today we have become unfruitful. Many people go to church and go through the motions to look good, but they do not have God truly in their hearts. How can they bare fruits of the labors of God without true faith? We have to change as Christians and understand this is not ok. In 2 Corinthians 5:7, God gives us an example of true faith through Paul and the way he lived his life and ultimately died for his unbreakable faith. God tells us how important it is to pick up your shield of faith, he tells us who our enemies are and how to fight them. And in this last verse in Matthew, Jesus himself was demonstrating the power of faith. He cleaned the church from hypocrisy and despised the unfruitfulness of the nation of Israel. Without faith, there is no fruits in our lives. Please read this sermon and take it to heart. Faith without works is death. God wants to produce fruits in the lives of His people. He does not wish to curse us! Please take these words and if you have not been walking by faith, please start to do so. Do not let our enemies win the war. Pick up your shield of faith and continue the good fight. God bless all of you and please have a blessed day. Remember, if you need prayer in your life, or if you need any help or guidance, you can contact me and I will pray for you.