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Lesson 2: The Faith-Rest Life


Written by: Biblical Studies Foundation    Posted on: 04/09/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN

 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Lesson 2:  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; The Faith-Rest Life  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Introduction  ;  ;  ; The Scripture emphatically [INVALID]s: ô;For the righteous man shall live by faithö; (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11);  ;  ;  ; ô;Without faith, it is impossible to please Himö; (Heb. 11:6); and ô;We walk by faith and not by sightö; (2 Cor.  ;  ;  ; 5:8). It is so important that we do not underestimate the importance of faith in the life of the believer that to  ;  ;  ; overemphasize it is almost impossible. Some might respond that works are also important and quote James  ;  ;  ; 2:15f for support. But the emphasis of Scripture is that bonafide works must be the product of faith in the  ;  ;  ; person and plan of God which sets God free to work in the heart and life of the individual.  ;  ;  ; Faith brings the power of God into the life of the believer. We become the children of God and justified by  ;  ;  ; faith, but we are also to live and experience the Christ-exchanged life by faith. The Christian life from start to  ;  ;  ; finish is of necessity a life of faithù;a life of dependence on God and His grace provision for us in Christ. It is a  ;  ;  ; supernatural life to be accomplished by God through faith in the Spirit who, as a gift from God, indwells every  ;  ;  ; believer from the moment of salvation. As Godæ;s gift, the indwelling Spirit accomplishes a variety of ministries  ;  ;  ; each of which are vital to the believeræ;s spiritual life. We can no more live the Christian life by self effort than  ;  ;  ; we can manufacture a resurrected body by our own effort.  ;  ;  ; The Apostle Paul rebuked the believers at Galatia for their failure to recognize this very important principle.  ;  ;  ; They began by faith in Christ, but because of the pressure of legalists they had moved into the realm of human  ;  ;  ; achievement through religious works for spirituality. In fact, he viewed their failure to understand this as the  ;  ;  ; result of being bewitched. Such is undoubtedly the product of Satanæ;s deception.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Galatians 3:1-5 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vainù;if indeed it was in  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; vain? 5 Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?  ;  ;  ; Faith in the power and plan of God is absolutely necessary:  ;  ;  ; (1) Because of the nature of man.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Ephesians 2:1-3 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.  ;  ;  ; (2) Because of manæ;s inherent weakness.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Romans 6:19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; righteousness, resulting in sanctification.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Romans 8:3-4 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the requirement of the Law might  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Matthew 26:41 Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  ;  ;  ; (3) Because of the blindness and deceptive nature of the world in which we live.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; John 12:46 I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; may not remain in darkness.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; John 14:17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; you, and will be in you.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; 1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Ephesians 2:2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; the sons of disobedience.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Ephesians 4:19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; sensuality, for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.  ;  ;  ; (4) Because of the activity of Satan and his forces.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; 11 Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,  ;  ;  ; (5) Because we are totally inadequate and God alone is adequate, it is vital that we learn to walk by  ;  ;  ; faith with every step.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; 2 Corinthians 2:16 to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; 2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,  ;  ;  ; As we have received Christ by faith in the message of the gospel (Godæ;s witness concerning His Son or  ;  ;  ; justification through faith) so we are to walk step by step by faith in the Bibleæ;s message of sanctification.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; written, ô;But the righteous man shall live by faith.ö;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Colossians 2:6-8 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. 8 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.  ;  ;  ; Faith is such an inherent part of the message of Bible that a study on faith is fundamental and essential to the  ;  ;  ; transformed life. As we think in terms of spiritual growth and the transformed life, Iæ;d like to begin with an  ;  ;  ; emphasis on faith because we need to guard against four serious problems that work against faith and spiritual  ;  ;  ; transformation.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Problems We Must Guard Against  ;  ;  ; A Spirit of Legalism  ;  ;  ; Legalism is a disposition in which man seeks to establish his own righteousness with God. It is man doing good  ;  ;  ; deeds or religious works to impress God, to merit Godæ;s blessing, or even to impress people. Legalism relies  ;  ;  ; on human resources rather than on Godæ;s resources of grace, on human abilities rather than on divine  ;  ;  ; enablement. Legalism brings glory to man rather than to God. In summary, we may define legalism as ô;my  ;  ;  ; effort using my resources to obtain Godæ;s blessing to my glory.ö;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Romans 4:1-2 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; the flesh, has found? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; boast about; but not before God.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; boast.  ;  ;  ; In a number of passages, the Apostle Paul strongly warns against legalism in any form. The author of Hebrews  ;  ;  ; also warns against what he calls ô;dead works,ö; a reference to all that men do (any kind of religious works or  ;  ;  ; human good) to meritoriously acquire either salvation or spirituality.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Romans 10:1-4 Brethren, my heartæ;s desire and my prayer to God for them is for  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; their salvation. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not in  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; accordance with knowledge. 3 For not knowing about Godæ;s righteousness, and  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; believes.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Galatians 3:1-5 You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2 This is the only thing I want to  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vainù;if indeed it was in  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; vain? 5 Does He then, who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Galatians 5:1-5 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Behold I, Paul, say to you  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit, by faith,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; are waiting for the hope of righteousness.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; and of faith toward God,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Hebrews 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; works to serve the living God?  ;  ;  ; In the life of the Christian, good works, Christian labor, and endurance, etc., are to be the result of  ;  ;  ; spiritualityù;being rightly adjusted to the Spirit of God through faith. The details of this will be discussed later in  ;  ;  ; the lesson on The Spirit-Filled Life.  ;  ;  ; Compare the NIVæ;s grammatically accurate translation of 1 Thessalonians 1:3: ô;We continually remember  ;  ;  ; before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your  ;  ;  ; endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christö; (emphasis mine).  ;  ;  ; Working in the Energy of the Flesh  ;  ;  ; This means working in the energy of our own strengthù;our own abilities, talents, or resources. One of the  ;  ;  ; strongest evidences of mankindæ;s fall into sin and his alienation from God is his proneness, indeed, his  ;  ;  ; commitment to operate independently of God. As in the beginning with Eve, this is where Satan still seeks to  ;  ;  ; deceive and tempt us the most. True, salvation through faith in Christ means the believer is a new creation with  ;  ;  ; a new nature or new capacity for knowing, loving, and choosing for God. But the old nature, the self-life, or  ;  ;  ; the flesh as it is also called, still struggles to control. The most prominent characteristic of the flesh is that of  ;  ;  ; self-dependenceù;seeking to handle life apart from Godæ;s plan and resources.  ;  ;  ; A few words are needed regarding the sinful nature or the flesh. The ô;flesh,ö; as used metaphorically by the  ;  ;  ; Apostle Paul, may be defined as that indwelling spiritual principle or force, that strong disposition in all of us to  ;  ;  ; operate out of our own resources independent of God to meet our needs and wants, the things we perceive  ;  ;  ; we must have for security and significance, etc. The ô;fleshö; is the opposite of trust in God. It is a spirit of  ;  ;  ; independence and faith in self. As faith in self, it is a commitment to do our own thing, in our own way, and  ;  ;  ; from our own resources. The flesh is evil, sinful, and anti-God. That ô;fleshö; is often used of this propensity  ;  ;  ; within man is clear from Jeremiahæ;s warning in Jeremiah 17:5.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Thus says the LORD, ô;Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; his strength, And whose heart turns away from the LORD.ö;  ;  ;  ; This passage points out four key concepts about the flesh: (a) the act of depending on human resources, (b)  ;  ;  ; the act of depending on human resources rather than on Godæ;s resources, (c) such an act is in essence, a  ;  ;  ; turning away from God, and (d) such an act brings a curse, it is detrimental.  ;  ;  ; As a force in manæ;s life, the flesh is manæ;s natural means of protection. As manæ;s natural means of protecting  ;  ;  ; himself, it is a way that seems right to man, it feels natural, but its end is the way of death.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; death.  ;  ;  ; The Mentality of Our Culture  ;  ;  ; As never before in human history, the very nature of our modern society undercuts true dependence on God.  ;  ;  ; With all the advances in modern science and technology in health, convenience, comfort, speed, power,  ;  ;  ; amusement, information, etc., manæ;s natural spirit of independence and self-sufficiency has become even more  ;  ;  ; acute. In spite of the gigantic social and moral problems facing society, mankind generally thinks in terms of  ;  ;  ; ô;we are sufficient.ö; The Scripture, however, [INVALID]s we are not and cannot even direct our lives. Jeremiah  ;  ;  ; wrote, ô;I know, O LORD, that a manæ;s way is not in himself; Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his stepsö;  ;  ;  ; (Jer. 10:23).  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Jeremiah 9:23-24 Thus says the LORD, ô;Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom,  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; I delight in these things,ö; [INVALID]s the LORD.  ;  ;  ; The Imbalance of Passivity  ;  ;  ; This is the ô;let go and let Godö; mentality which teaches believers are to sit back and let God do it all. Ryrie  ;  ;  ; warns about this as an imbalance of what the Scripture teaches. He writes:  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; à; there is the view which emphasizes the idea that God does all that needs to be  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; done for us in the spiritual life. We not only can do nothing; we must do nothing;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; otherwise we will hinder the work of God in our lives.26  ;  ;  ; So that we do not misunderstand this emphasis and Ryrieæ;s comment about it, let me quote what he says just  ;  ;  ; prior to the above quote.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Let it be said, too, à; I am not suggesting that the entire teaching is wrong; it  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; contains, in my judgment, an imbalance because some aspect of the spiritual life  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; has been emphasized in a manner disproportionate to the place given to it in  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; the Scripture.27 (Emphasis mine)  ;  ;  ; This is basically the issue of personal responsibility to appropriate Godæ;s resources. The hundreds of  ;  ;  ; commands in the New Testament make this clear. Certainly, we are to do these things in dependence on  ;  ;  ; Godæ;s resources, but we are nevertheless responsible to do them. God is not going to do them for us.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Dependence on the power of God and effort on the part of the believer are not  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; mutually exclusive. Self-discipline and Spirit-dependence can and must be practiced  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; at the same time in a balanced spiritual life. Dependence itself is an attitude, but that  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; attitude does not come automatically; it usually requires cultivation. How many  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; genuine Christians there are who live day after day without even sensing their need  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; of dependence on Him. Experience, routine, pride, self-confidence all tend to drag  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; all of us away from that conscious dependence on God which we must have in  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; order to live and act righteously.28  ;  ;  ; In all obedience there must be the balance of disciplined dependence. A number of New Testament  ;  ;  ; passages teach this truth and if we fail to see this balance, we will become imbalanced, and end up in a very  ;  ;  ; unbiblical position. For instance, note the element of personal responsibility in the following passages:  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Romans 8:13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; the flesh.  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; 2 Peter 1:5-8 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and in your  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ; &nb

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