Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

Ephesians 6:23-24  This week Pastor Ron continues his series in Ephesians by digging into the closing words of Paul in this book.  We learn what Paul wanted the most for the people of Ephesus.

Notes:

A.  What Paul wants most for the people he loves…    

1.  Peace

2.  Love

3.  Faith

4.  Grace

Please click on the link below to listen to this sermon.

Paul’s Closing Words

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Elder Joe Casey, Faith Bible Church, Warren, Pa.


 

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Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  This week we are pleased to have Elder Joe Casey bring us a message on faithfulness.  God is faithful, are you?

Please click on the link below to listen to this helpful sermon.

Fruit of the Spirit is FAITHFULNESS – Joe Casey

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Pastor Ron Lewis: Faith Bible Church, Warren, Pa.


Ephesians 6:16  This week Pastor Ron continues his series, “Spiritual Warfare”, and we discover what the shield of faith is.
Why is this shield of faith necessary?

Notes:

4.  The Shield of Faith V16                                                               psalm3_3

a.  The Roman Soldier’s Shield…

b.  The Spiritual Soldier’s Shield…

1)  Who is our enemy…?

2)  Why does Paul use the analogy of the flaming arrow…?

3)  Exactly what are these flaming arrows…?

Please click on the link below to listen to this sermon.

The Shield of Faith

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Joel Spencer – Faith Bible Church, Warren, Pa.


Matthew 1:18-25  This week Joel Spencer brings our Christmas message.  Do you know what it really means to believe in Jesus?  There are some false views about this in today’s society.  Listen to find out what is the evidence of true faith.

Please click on the link below to listen to this message.                            matthew1_20-21

Evidence of True Faith – Joel Spencer

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How do you suffer?  Perhaps you suffer because you have some form of physical illness.  Or, you may suffer because you have anxiety, and panic attacks keep you from doing what you’d like to do.  There are many ways we suffer, but have you every thought about why we suffer.  Do you realize that Christians suffer and that we will keep on suffering until we reach heaven?  That is the truth of the matter.

There are many reasons  we suffer, but as believers we might wonder why God allows it.  Doesn’t He love us?  I believe that many people who come to Christ think they will get out of all the hardships of life.  They think everything will be peachy if they raise their hand in a service and say, “I invite Jesus into my heart.”  Sometimes that is what they are led to believe by the pastor.  Yes, get Jesus and live your best life now!  Things will be great!

I’ve sat in churches like that and I can remember the pastor leading us.  He would say something like this:

“There may be someone out there right now who is hurting.  They might be having trouble in their marriage.  There is someone who is physically ill today but they are here anyway.   Do you want to be well?  God will heal you.  There is someone who needs financial assistance.  They need money for a bill they can’t pay.  Receive Jesus right now and he will take care of all of your needs.  If you’ve never invited Jesus Christ into your heart do so now and feel His comfort.  With every head bowed and eyes closed raise your hand so that I can pray for you.  Yes, I see that one.  There is another, and yes, I see you too.”

On it goes till the pastor is satisfied that enough people have given their lives to Christ. This is sad because that is not how a person becomes a Christian and it gives them false hope.  They think they have just received Christ and their lives will be so much better from then on.   Sorry folks, but that is not the way it works.   They are not taught the truths of the Bible.  They go back out into the world and try to live right, but it doesn’t seem to work.  That is because they are not truly saved, and they don’t have the power of the Holy Sprit working in them.  They think they are  saved, but they are deceived.   These people need to hear the true gospel message, repent of their sins, and get saved.

If you are a true Christian you will still suffer.  How do I know this?  Because the Bible tells us so.  Take a look at Philippians 1:29-30 with me:

For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.  (emphasis mine.)

Yes, you saw right.  We will suffer for His sake.  It says that this has been granted to us on behalf of Christ.  That would indicate that it is Christ’s will for us to suffer and that we should think of this as a privilege.    Have you ever thought of suffering for Christ as a privilege?  I hadn’t.

Now let’s look at I Peter 5:10

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  (emphasis mine.)

Again we see that the Bible says we are going to suffer, and the purpose of it is to perfect us.

Here is another interesting scripture on suffering:  2 Timothy 3:12

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (emphasis mine.)

The apostles all suffered persecution and were killed in many horrible ways.  We too will suffer persecution if we live for Christ.  In this country, at this time, it isn’t that bad.  People may shun us and not like us if we stand for Christ.  In fact, in some families if a person becomes a believer their family might turn against them.  Sometimes, as in my case, I lost many of my old friends as they did not understand me anymore and we didn’t have much in common anymore.  You might suffer persecution for Christ’s sake in the work place.  But, in some countries, even today, people are being persecuted for Christ to the extent that they are killed.  It is illegal in some countries to become a Christians and if one does they are thrown out of their family and can be killed for being a Christian.  They can also be killed for attempting to spread the gospel.  That is true persecution for Christ’s sake.

So, again, why do we suffer?  Well, for one thing to identify with Christ and what He has done for us, and for standing up for the gospel.  But, there are other reasons also.

Have you ever noticed Romans 8:28-29?

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God forknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Emphasis mine.)

When things are going wrong people are quick to quote Romans 8:28, but I seldom hear them add verse 29.  Yes, all things do work out for good for Christians, but the reason is found in verse 29, and that is so that we might be conformed to the likeness of Christ.  In other words, some of our problems and suffering are allowed to change us.  We come to Christ with many rough edges that need to be smoothed off and our loving heavenly Father has to shave them off.  Little by little we change as we go through the hardships that come our way.

Can you identify with this?  I can.  I suffered tremendously from panic attacks and agoraphobia for 20 years.  I found Christ during that time and believe me I had many rough edges that needed smoothing.  I continued to suffer, but I also turned to Christ for the answers.  I studied my Bible daily.  I learned many precious promises and I learned how to claim them in my own life.  I learned how to apply my faith to my problems.  I grew in Christ.  Eventually, I no longer had panic attacks. I got my life back and it was so much better than before.  God was good to me!  The biggest thing I learned was not to depend on myself or others, but totally depend on Jesus Christ for everything.  He has sustained me to this day!  He will do the same for you if you turn to Him.

I will close with this quote from Elisabeth Elliot in her book,  A Path Through Suffering.  (Ann Arbor, MI: Servant Publications, 1990), 197-198

We suffer that we may learn who God is; that we may learn to trust and obey; it is required of soldiers; it is the condition of discipleship; to prune us, shape us to Christ’s image; to qualify us for the kingdom, to strengthen our faith; refine and test us, grow us; produce endurance; character, hope, joy, generosity; so that Christ’s power can be manifested in us; we suffer for the sake of God’s people; that we may share in His sufferings, His glory, and identify with Him in the crucifixion.

Here is a wonderful video by Joni Eareckson Tada that you will enjoy.  It really brings suffering home.

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Psalm 10: Why, O Lord, do You stand far off? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? … But You, O God, do see trouble and grief; You consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to You; You are the helper of the fatherless…You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth may terrify no more.  (vv. 1, 14, 17-18 NIV).

Have you ever felt like the writer of this Psalm?  Does your heart cry out, “Where are you God?” “Can’t you see I need you?” “Why don’t you answer my plea God?”  I’ve felt like that before now and wondered where God was.  But, the truth is that God sees everything.  He knows our sorrows and troubles.  He is all knowing.  God is there and He will prevail in the matter.  We must have faith that God will answer.  He will in His own timing.  God’s Word tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  We can count on that.  Yes, God is the helper of those who are in need.  Even though it seems like He is far away in reality He is as near as your heart beat.  He hears us and will take care of us.  We need not live in fear any more!  Isn’t that comforting?

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Do you know that when we become Christians we are finally complete in Christ?  At least from God’s perspective.

Before we were born-again we were on our own.  The Bible teaches that we were dead in trespasses and sin.  We were in the realm of Satan’s kingdom, and were subject to sin, death and hell.  Isn’t that an awful picture of those who live in the world today without Christ?

So, how are we complete in Christ now?  What does that mean?

Let’s take a look at Colossians 2: 8-15 to find our answer:  These are marvelous scripture verses and loaded.  I can only skim them.

Col 2:8-15 NASB See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

First of all Paul tells us not to let the world take us captive through philosophy or man’s worldly ideas and deception, and not to follow the traditions of men.

(9) For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,

Wow!  In Christ, in His human body dwells all the fullness of Deity!  That is amazing.  He is complete!

(10) and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

If you are a Christian you also have been made complete!  Let’s try to see what that means as we read more of this passage.  Christ is also the head over all rule and authority.  Keep that in mind.

When we were saved we were completely saved:

(11) and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; (12) having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

This is talking about our salvation.  We were made spiritually complete in Christ when we were saved.  When He died on the cross we somehow joined Him.  At the moment we were saved, we were baptized with the Holy Spirit, (not water baptism).  And, we died and were raised up with Christ by God.  God raised Jesus from the dead literally, and He raised us from our spiritual death.

When we were saved we were completely forgiven:

(13) When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, (14) having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

We were spiritually dead because of our sins and the uncircumcision of our flesh.  But God made us alive with Christ.  He forgave us all of our sins, past, present and future.  He nailed them to the cross and canceled out the debt that we owed because of them.  God the great judge declared us to be free from the penalty of sin.

Joh 19:30 NASB Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

When we were saved we were given complete victory:

2Co 5:17 NASB Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

(15) When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

When Jesus died on the cross He also went and disarmed all the rulers and authorities.  He was victorious over them and took them all captive.  That is great news for us because they no longer have any hold on us.

Heb 2:14-15 NASB Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, (15) and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

Being complete in Christ means that we can live in this world without fear.  We are capable of being victorious over sin.  The sting of death has been removed so we don’t have to fear that anymore, and we do not have to worry that we will spend eternity in hell.  Satan has been defeated and he can not claim you as one of his.  I like that!

Eph 3:16 NASB that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,

When we get these things settled in our minds, it is much easier to face life.  Trials and temptations will come our way, but knowing we are complete in Him, gives us the courage to face them head on.  God is always in control and sovereign over what happens to us.  We can trust Him to make our path straight and to take care of us in every situation.  He loves us as a dear Heavenly Father and will take care of his children.

2Pe 1:3-4 NASB seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (4) For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Isn’t that an uplifting scripture?  We really don’t have to worry about things.  God has granted us everything we need that pertains to our life and to be a godly individual.  He gives us that through the true knowledge of Him.  As we study the Word we learn how to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to God and He also gives us the power to be successful in doing that. That power is in us because Christ is in us and it is the same power that raised Jesus from the grave.  Now that is power!  We can even escape the corruption that is in the world. I praise God for that. 

I pray we will all try to realize all that we have in our possession when we become Christians, and that we will know in our hearts that we can overcome anything that comes our way.

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