The Perseverance of Faith!

Nike Human Race 10KLuke 18:8 ‘When the Son of Man comes , will he find faith on earth.’

There is much to be said for the need of believers everywhere to persevere in their faith in Jesus. Unfortunately, I’ve seen so many people grow cold in their faith and passion for Jesus and slowly drift away from their commitment to Christ.

We are in a spiritual war zone and distractions abound. Temptation is relentless. Social media hounds us. Opportunities to compromise and become distracted from Jesus bombard us daily. How are we to persevere in our faith?

Firstly, note that your faith is a gift from God and it contains within it the capacity to persevere but you must tend to it and not neglect it. Romans 10:10 says, ‘Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.’ Hebrews 12:1-3 offers us much hope to fight the good fight of faith.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

 

  • Remember, others have persevered before you. When we struggle we tend to get a microscopic view of the world around us and forget that there have been countless millions of people throughout history who have faced perilous challenges to their faith and have persevered. 
  • Get rid of excess weight and sin which will drag you down. Too many of us tolerate complexity and unnecessary weight in our lives and it needs to be identified, rooted out and cut off. Sin is an energy drainer and a soul destroyer. Don’t entertain it and seek God’s help to get free from it.
  • The race of faith is a marathon, not a sprint. As a former competitive athlete and personal trainer I know the difference in muscle fibers, training and mindset required for both events. A marathon runner needs a stronger mind than a sprinter, whereas a sprinter needs a stronger body. We need endurance to fight and finish the race of faith till the end of our earthly lives. Endurance requires you to repeat the same movements over and over again without stopping. The same is to be said for tending to our relationship with God and the basic activities he calls us to engage in on a daily basis.
  • Who you have your eyes focused on really does matter. Jesus is the founder and perfecter of our faith and he needs to be the object of our desire and fascination. Focusing on yourself or some other earthly entity above Christ will only lead to disillusionment and pain. Jesus founded our faith and he knows how to perfect our faith.
  • Let Jesus’ example give you perspective. Jesus set all of us an incredible example in how to respond to opposition to him and his cause. He loved, he sacrificed, he served and he endured and as a result, he ultimately won.

Are you thinking of walking away from your church, your family, your ministry? Have you grown cold in your passion for God and his kingdom? Are you disillusioned by your circumstances and discouraged by your relationships?

It’s time to get your eyes back onto Jesus and your relationship with him. It’s time to remember those who have gone before you, cut off excess weight in your life, repeat the fundamentals over and over again like a marathon runner, focus on Jesus and get perspective on your life by considering Jesus example.

The Oracle! 

Perseverance of the Saints!

“Why should you wake up believing in the morning?”

John Piper

On a regular basis I meet up with my dad in one of my favorite places in Melbourne, Lygon St, Carlton and discuss God, life and ministry. He reflected back to me recently, how as a pastor preaching every Sunday to a full congregation, he would ask himself, “What makes these people keep turning up? Why do they keep listening? And why do I keep turning up to preach the bible to them?”

Challenging questions that require more than surface level answers. I want to offer some brief, and hopefully biblical answers to them.  Paul said in Philippians 3:12, “Christ Jesus has made me his own.” To be saved is to be owned by Christ through his saving work on the cross. We can only make knowing Christ our own, cause Christ has first made us his own. Jesus said to his Father in John 17:12 “While I was with them (speaking of the disciples), I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction (Judas), that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”

A key question I ask of this passage is, would the Father present to his Son a gift that would not last? The disciples by covenant belonged to the Son. Jesus keeps all whom the Father gives to him. In John 11:41-42 we read of Jesus interceding and he says, “Father I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” Jesus always gets his prayers answered and Jesus intercessory ministry keeps us safe and secure.

John 16:1 “I have said all these things to you, to keep you from falling away from me.”

A Theology of Salvation.

Romans 8:29 ‘Those whom he predestined, he also called, and those whom he called, he also justified, and those whom he justified, he also glorified.” 

 

  1. Justification (past) is a free gift from God and is about our right standing with God. To be justified means to be declared righteous and no longer guilty of sin because of Christ’s death on the cross, my sin has been removed and God’s wrath appeased. Jesus has become my substitutionary atonement.
  2. Sanctification (present) is about the continuing process of salvation. It speaks of consecration to God and being set apart. Sanctification is challenging and exhausting, where the believer works out their salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 3:12-13) as a direct result of what God has already worked into the believer through justification and regeneration (new birth).
  3. Glorification (future) is effortless because God will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by his power (Phil 3:21). Glorification is the final step in receiving the gift of eternal life, whereby, we are morally and spiritually perfected and completely transformed.

A real Christian perseveres in their present sanctification, not as an exercise of their will but as a provision of God’s grace at work in them. A real Christian perseveres because they have been justified, regenerated, adopted by God and they are going to be glorified.

I believe that the bible teaches that all who are justified will win the fight of faith. Believers will persevere in faith and never surrender to the enemy of their souls because of the grace of God at work in them. This perseverance is the promise of the new covenant, obtained by the blood of Christ, and worked in us by God himself, yet not as to diminish, but only to empower and encourage, our vigilance; so that we may say in the end, “I have fought the good fight, but it was not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Romans 8:30 “Those whom he justified he also glorified.”

 

John 10:27-28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

 

Philippians 1:6 “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Ron Hanko says, “Believers are not preserved from falling, but from falling away; not from temptation, but from being destroyed by temptation; not from sin, but from the sin unto death. Due entirely to their own weakness and sinfulness, believers can and do fall into temptation and sin. But Psalm 37:24 assures us, ‘Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”

Grace!

4 Gifts of Vision

Proverbs 29:11 Without vision people perish.

Vision is a clear and compelling picture of the future. Your future is largely a product of the vision, or lack of, that you have in your life. Rick Joyner once said, “Almost all human advancement is the result of someone having a vision.”

One of the ways God communicates to us is through visions and dreams.

Joel 2:28 says, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.”

Throughout Scripture we read example after example of God speaking to his people through visions and dreams. Some of these people include, Joseph, Daniel and the Apostle Peter in Acts 10 (Pivotal shift in the early church).

Unfortunately, too many of us only have a vision for a house, a car, a job and holidays. God’s vision for us is bigger than the practical elements of life. God challenges us to give up our small ambitions and join him in changing the world. Ephesians 3:20 reminds us that, “He can do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we could ever ask, think or imagine, according to the power at work within us.”

4 gifts are given to us when God births vision in our hearts:

  1. Focus – Vision helps you to focus on what’s most important and helps you stay away from distractions.
  2. Endurance – Resistance in life will come but a vision kept before us will enable us to endure though tough times.
  3. Peace – With vision, you can wake up everyday with a security about who you are and why you’re here.
  4. Passion – Vision fires you up and motivates you to live out your passion.
Insight!