Philippians 3:12-14 KJV and Hebrews 11:1 KJV

Our first message comes from Philippians 3: 12 – 14.  The title of this series is Discovering Hope Through Faith.  So, in order to get to where we want to go…the first thing we need to know about is what faith is.

In order to get a definition of faith, please turn with me to Hebrews 11:1, and for those of you who don’t…then I will post it here:  “Now FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

I like what it says here at the end.  Faith is perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.  I know we’ve all heard the expression “blind faith”, but that’s exactly the kind of trust and assurance we can (and need to) have with God.  We need to always have Faith in His Word, and when we pray about things we should have faith that He is going to do what He feels is best for us.

See, I think that what hurts us when it comes to faith is that when we are seeking God for something we aren’t prepared for God to disagree with what we thing is best for us.  So, we pray and ask God for the winning Powerball numbers, but when we don’t even match one number then we get all mad at God.  Then we have one more reason why “this faith stuff just don’t work”.

Really?  Have you ever stopped to think that maybe the reason God didn’t allow you to win the Powerball jackpot is because it would destroy your life.  Yeah, I know it’s upwards of $200 million dollars, and I can hear your questions already.  How can $200 million dollars destroy my life?

One answer.  Unless you are like me, and would understand that every last penny of that money is a gift from God…it will destroy your life.  First of all, it will take your dependence straight from God, and put it on your money.  Secondly, if you aren’t generous with $20.00 you are not going to be generous with $200 million…(Jesus said if your unfaithful in the little things you won’t be faithful with more…in fact whatever you do with a little is what you would do with alot.)  Third, would you really give God the glory?

Listen, I know my life has changed because if I were to ever have that kind of money I could be a world changer…because I would take out what I would need for me and my family…and I would help as many people with the rest as I could.

I would give money to people I know who are like me who are struggling…just to bless them with the ability to take their mind and worry off their financial situations…and put their focus back on God.  I would bless my church, and my spiritual father tremendously…because where your fed…you need to bless financially…and that would be above and beyond what I would have to tithe.  That’s right…10% of that $200 million dollars would go right back to the Lord…because it’s His anyways.

In truth.  I could set myself, and my family up for the rest of our lives on 10% of that money, and I would use the other 90% to bless people.  Why?  Because I would have the understand that I was blessed to be a blessing…and that’s exactly what I would do.

I guess I needed to take that little side journey because of the amount the Powerball Jackpot is.  I know there’s thousand of people angry with God running around saying “this faith stuff don’t work” because they didn’t even match one number, and they bought $20 worth of tickets.  Like I said…don’t blame God…He knows what is best for us, and if your not a bazillionaire it is because He knows you couldn’t handle having that kind of money…because it would ruin your life.

So, back to Discovering Hope Through Faith.  We’re looking first of all at what Faith is.  More from the definition we find in Hebrews 11:1 is that Faith “is the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality”

Faith is that strong conviction, that gut feeling that you don’t know how or why, but you just know deep down inside of you that somehow God is going to come through.  Maybe your not like me, and have never been there.  However, I’ve been in such a desperate need for God to help me, and because I have such a strong conviction that He was going to come through for me…it allows me to be at peace.

When you have conviction about something.  Conviction isn’t just a surface feeling or emotion.  Conviction comes from deep within us.  A certainty of certainties…and when there is something you have conviction of you are absolutely convinced, fully persuaded, and have absolutely no doubts or fears about whatever it is that conviction is.

We just finished our series on Reconciliation.  One of the things I have a firm conviction on is that I am fully reconciled to God, and that when I leave this world I am going to be with Him for eternity.  I also have a firm conviction that Reconciliation has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with what Jesus did on the Cross…in my place.  Based upon that conviction…there is absolutely nothing that anyone can tell me that is going to sway what I know to be absolute 100% fact, truth, and unchangeable.

In other words,  we cannot see right now that we are fully reconciled to God…can we.  That’s why we have to receive reconciliation by faith.  That’s why we receive salvation by grace through what…FAITH.

Another thing we hear about Faith is that it’s calling things that are not as though they are.  We had the faith that when we confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior that we became Christians, but when we made that confession we were still sinners…right?  So, we called ourselves Christians when we weren’t, but by faith we are saved, reconciled, and brought into a right relationship with God.

Okay.  I hope that we have a little better picture of what Faith is.  I guess maybe it would be a good idea to do a series on Faith.

In Philippians 3:12-14, I think it’s important to point out that Paul never believed or felt that he arrived at some great plateau when it comes to God.  He had to live his life just as we do…by faith.  Obvious question here is that if Paul had to live his life this way…then what makes us any different?  Paul wrote two thirds of the Bible, he knew every law, ever word of the prophets, and all the customs, he got to see heaven, and there’s more that about Paul…but he had to live by faith just like we do.

I don’t know about you, but it gives me alot of hope that if Paul had to live by grace through faith.  If he advanced glory to glory, and faith to faith…and if God really is no respecter of person…then it gives me hope, faith, and peace in my heart to know that perhaps the greatest Christian in ever…still had to walk by faith.

Do you know why I do this ministry?  Because I have faith that God is going to reach, and transform people through His Word.  I certainly don’t put faith in my abilities, but what I do have faith in is that God is going to use the messages I post to reach people…and change their lives. Did you know that the real hope of Christlike Ministries Arkansas is to help each and every person whom this ministry reaches to develop and maintain a personal…intimate relationship with God.

The hope of this ministry is dependent upon my faith that people are going to be reached, and that these messages are going to make a difference in people’s lives.  That’s why I do this.  That’s why I’m doing the Living A Divinely Inspired Life on my own personal page as well…because I have hope that what I’m doing is going to make a difference…because I have placed my faith that God is going to work through them.

Listen.  I’m going to be as frank as I can with you.  If I didn’t have the hope and faith that doing this was either making or going to make a difference…I wouldn’t do this at all.  Do you know that it takes a tremendous amount of faith to put myself out there on Facebook, and to have a presence on the Social Media sites.

I have 15 fans on the Christlike Ministries Arkansas Facebook page.  Three of them are my own accounts, and one of them is my wife.  So, in all actuality there are 11 people who have visited our Facebook page, and clicked the “like” button.  (Shameless plug.  If you haven’t then go to www.facebook.com/ChristlikeMinistriesARK, and click the “like” button)

Believe me.  If I went off of what I see…I would just let the devil get me all discouraged, throw my hands up in the air, and say forget it.  But I don’t do that.  Would you like to know why?

Because I believe God.  Every now and again someone who isn’t on our “fan” list will like something I’ve posted, and that’s why I continue.  Because I have hope and faith that I’m reaching people, and just because they may not fan or like the posts…that doesn’t mean that I’m not reaching people…and I have faith that God is going to do what He said He would do…use the messages He’s inspired me to write under the anointing of the Holy Spirit to invade peoples lives, and bring them into a relationship with Him.

That hope I have comes through my faith in God.  There is alot that I can talk about from these three verses, but I continue to press on toward the goal for the prize isn’t what comes from writing these messages…the prize is knowing that God’s working through them…and one day we’ll all be standing before Him…and I’ll get to hear those words I’ve been longing to hear all my life:  “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.  Come and enter in to your rest.”

I hope that you enjoy this series, and will tell your friends about us.

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (1 Corinthians 16:23-24)

Blessing & Grace to you
Bryan J. Kizer