How to Understand Faith

Examining The Question, "What Is True Biblical Faith?".

Tim Lundy
Mar 27, 2022    45m
We all have faith in something, whether it's the things of this world or the promises of God. Biblical faith is trusting God because we believe what he has shown and told us, we can walk in obedience because we can trust the promises we find in His word, and we can rest in the knowledge that He does all things for our good. Video recorded at Los Gatos, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Tim Lundy: [00:00:54] Good morning, Venture, it is great to see everybody today. I don't know about you, these days, I love this time of year, I love the weather, I love all that God's doing. I love being together as a church, and I love introducing new gifts that God's brought to our church. You know, we told you in this last year that we've made a conscious decision we want to invest in the next generation. And one of the areas that we've really been focused on the most, and want to see growth in the most, is in that college and young adults. And so I want to introduce our new College and Young Adult Pastor, Chuck Eastman, who's here with us today. Chuck, we're glad to have you here, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Chuck Eastman: [00:01:38] Man, I am so excited to be with you guys, Venture, this is kind of a dream kind of place for me to be, God has been so faithful in my life. Ten months ago, I was living in Arkansas, that's not where I grew up, I grew up in Springfield, Missouri, but did some ministry in Arkansas for the last ten years. And ten months ago I got married, and my wife matched with Stanford for her medical residency. And so I told the leaders at my church, I said, man, you know, I'm almost 40 years old and I met this girl and she's going to California, and where she goes, I will follow. And they blessed me and said, we know we've been praying that you would find somebody, you've been a mess. And so they sent me out the door, but that's why we're in California.

Tim Lundy: [00:02:32] And so she's doing her medical residency at Stanford, and you were working at another church here. Chuck's got experience, he lived overseas in China for several years, taught in universities, and taught in universities here, while also working in the church. He has done student ministry, and college ministry, and has led a church as well, so you've come with a wealth of experience out of that. But we found out you started looking a little bit and applied for the position, and we were excited that God brought somebody in our own backyard and His passion for it. And as you think about what you're launching, it's college and young adult. He'll continue to work with our leaders of our [inaudible] ministry, but specifically, we don't have a college ministry. And so tell us about that, and what you're focused on there.

Chuck Eastman: [00:03:16] Yeah, I'm really excited about that, we have kind of a young adult, young professional’s ministry and it's really working well, it's got a lot of great leaders that are really making that work. But I'm really excited to kind of launch a brand-new ministry for college students kind of 18 to 24, and we want to kind of build a gathering, we want to create some really amazing community. And my desire is that we would help students see the beauty of God, experience his grace, and then find their purpose in the big story of God. And so if you're 18 to 24, I really want to meet you, or if you're a parent of an 18 to 24-year-old, and your student is trying to figure out a place to connect, I'm going to be at The Hub and I would just love to meet you, connect with you, get your phone number, grab coffee or lunch. But I'm just really excited about kind of starting that ministry.

Tim Lundy: [00:04:06] Yeah, it'll be focused, there'll be several events that are going to launch this summer for our college students. We're looking at some college trips, we're looking at gatherings together out of that, especially as we look toward a fall launch of a ministry that would be ongoing. So if you've got students that are away right now, connect with Chuck now so that at the beginning of the summer he can connect with them. If you are a student or you're here and you're staying in the Bay Area, know that we want to build an ongoing ministry here and Chuck would love to meet you. And so stop by The Hub after the service for any information, or you can contact us here at the church. But Chuck, on behalf of Venture, thank you for listening to God's call, we're glad that he led you to the Bay Area, but we're really glad he led you to Venture. We view great things ahead, and this is such a great commitment for us as a church because we want to see him do something, we think it's a critical age in life to really be captured by Jesus Christ, and so we're thrilled that you're a part of that.

Chuck Eastman: [00:05:05] Yeah, me too. Thank you so much, Pastor Tim, and thank you guys so much. Hope to see you at the hug.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:09] All right. Thanks, Chuck.

Tim Lundy: [00:05:16] Well, this weekend we're diving back into the book of Romans. We're back in, we had taken a little break for a while, and maybe if you've joined us over the last few weeks, you feel like you're behind, I'll catch you up this morning. But here's what I'm going to ask you to do, one of the great things when we preach through a book like Romans and that, it gives us a great opportunity to interact with the Bible. And the reality is, a lot of you, maybe you don't have much experience reading through the Bible, interacting with the Bible itself. And so this is one of the things I ask us to do during a series like that is actually have a Bible out and look at it. Now, you might have yours on your phone, you may have brought yours with you, or right in front of you, you'll see those pockets there, those blue Bibles, if you don't have either of those, pull one out. If you need a Bible, take it with you, that's why they're there. We don't have them here because we just want to keep them in the room, we have them here to serve people with it. But go ahead and grab a Bible and turn to Romans chapter 4, in the blue Bibles, it's page 1119, page 1119. We'll read through parts of it, and as we do so, sometimes it's hard to always track along when you're reading on your own, so that's why I think it's good visually to read it, interact with it, and then we can explain it in the different parts.

Tim Lundy: [00:06:31] As we do that, just to catch you up, this whole book of Romans for the audience he's writing it to, he's writing it to a church in the city of Rome, and Rome's the capital of the world. So if you can make it in Rome, you can make it anywhere. And this is Paul's magnum opus, I mean, this is his opportunity to explain what is this Gospel, what is this good news, in a way that the whole world could understand. He's writing an audience, a church that's filled with a lot of Jewish people, but also a lot of Roman people, and so you've got this mix of backgrounds. And in a lot of ways, this book of Romans is a complete paradigm shift for his audience.

Tim Lundy: [00:07:14] When I use that word paradigm shift, we're talking about a paradigm is a way of seeing life that feels like it's so obvious everyone accepts it, and then you have these things that come along that make you totally shift in it. The term was coined by Thomas Kuhn, he was a scientist and a philosopher. And he points out, especially in scientific history, that can point out to key paradigm shifts from the Ptolemaic view of the universe that the earth was the center of the universe to the Copernican view of the universe that the sun is. There was a whole paradigm shift that impacted science. I mean, recently, the Big Bang Theory, the evidence that there was a beginning of the universe, it was a paradigm shift that, wait, it's not an eternal state with it.

Tim Lundy: [00:08:00] And we apply the term, maybe, in the way we see life. Right now in the pandemic, we're in the middle of a paradigm shift. I don't know about you, up until a couple of years ago, you know, you'd hear people say, well, we could have a global disease that impacts everybody. And you kind of go, yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. And then now, two years later, you go, oh yeah, man, I see the world differently in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:08:22] In the book of Romans, Paul is coming to an audience, and a lot of his audience is a very religious audience. But they have to do a paradigm shift of the way they had seen both how God interacts with humans, and God interacts with the world. And as we looked, if you were here for the first part, just review real quick. This theme of the book that Paul gives us, the theme is the good news is that you can be right with God, with yourself, and with others. This is the good news; you can be right. That's what that term righteousness means, I'm actually right with God now. Everything that was wrong about me that kept me from having a relationship with him can be made right. Everything that's wrong about me that I know is wrong about me actually can be made right. Everything that keeps me from having the kind of relationships I should have with other people can be made right. It's just this great news.

Tim Lundy: [00:09:15] Paul put it this way, this is a theme of the book, "He says, I'm not ashamed of the gospel." That word gospel, it's good news. I'm not ashamed to just say this good news, the power of God, that God did this thing, we didn't have the power to do it, for salvation. And when he used that term salvation, it's not just like, oh, I prayed one prayer, he really is talking about this good news that radically transforms God and I, my own life, and my life with others, and everyone who believes to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Now, we didn't emphasize verse 17, but notice here, he says, "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith." Faith is fundamental to this, "As it is written, the righteous shall live by faith." So this concept of faith, the way you're going to experience this now is faith. And this is where that paradigm shift comes in. now, for us, we're so used to talking about that, we go, well, what does that really mean when you say a paradigm shift? Remember his Jewish audience, they would have said, yeah, we're right with God, because of the three things. One, we're Jews, we're God's chosen people. Two, we have circumcision, it's the sign of our righteousness. Three, we have the law, we're the only ones that have God's law, and we've kept it, so that's why we're right with God. And Paul comes along and goes, Hmm, actually, it's based on faith. And they go, whoa, that's a different way of seeing the world. For the Gentile audience, they didn't even view gods in this way. gods were not something that would do something on your behalf, gods were something that they're real capricious and they're serving themselves all the time, and everything you did was on their behalf. And to think you'd have a God who would come and do this for you, it's a total paradigm shift for them.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:05] As we looked in it, you remember the first three chapters of it is all bad news. And the bad news is all of us are more messed up than we want to admit, all of us. Remember Paul went to everybody, he served with the people that are really far from God, pagan people, people that are living out in ways in Romans chapter 1. And you look at it and go, yeah, of course, those people are far from God. And then in Romans 2, he said, Yeah, but actually moral people are messed up more than they like to admit, and even Jewish people are messed up more than they like to admit, even the people that thought they had it together the most are messed up. And he summarized it this way, he says Scripture says, no one is righteous, not one, not one person out there.

Tim Lundy: [00:11:47] But then we have this opportunity to be right with God through faith in Jesus Christ. I love the end of chapter three here when he said, we are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And notice what he says here, again, it's by faith. It's by faith, that's how you're made right God. And this is true for everyone, no matter who you are, for everyone has sinned, we all fall short of God's glorious standard. We've all fallen short, so we're all messed up more than we'd want to admit, "Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in his sight." God's not like those Roman gods, who are all about themselves, our God is a gracious God who wants you to be right, and so he made this gift to us. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

Tim Lundy: [00:12:37] Here's this great news that Paul has declared to us, this paradigm shift, but it comes through faith. As you think about it, this gift that God's given, both the journey and the destination is grace. I like to picture it, it's kind of a crude definition in one way, but like a train. And you think about it, the only way, it's a train of life, that is not only going to eternal life but there's life on the train itself, and I want to be a part of the train. Now, God provided the train, God came up with the train, God is the one who controls the train, God keeps me on the train, that's all His grace, but he says, what's the means by which I get to be a part of it? It's faith. And again, you think of that ticket of faith, this is a paradigm shift, especially for the Jewish audience, they're going, no, no, no, no, no, it's because you kept the law, it's because you've been circumcised, it's because you're a Jew. Or even in the Gentile world, it's because you're a good person.

Tim Lundy: [00:13:38] In fact, if you ask the general person, hey, if you want to get right with God, what's the general response that people would say? Well, you've got to clean up your life, you've got to stop doing bad stuff. I mean, that's the first thing that we do in that. And Paul goes, whoa, everything I presented to you, let me just say it absolutely, unequivocally, it's by grace, through faith, and only faith. Now as we hear that, we even amen it, I love that, but I don't know that we often understand it. Really what it means about faith, faith can be one of those things that it's a squishy enough term, and frankly, maybe you're not from church, or maybe you've not been a part of it. Or people outside of the church, they look at it and they go, yeah, you kind of have this blind faith, you kind of leap at something with squishiness around it.

Tim Lundy: [00:14:29] And so what I love about Paul, as he's doing this paradigm shift, he goes, all right, we need to take some time to explain faith. And for this audience, specifically, a lot of the Jewish audience, he says, I'm going to show you how this has always been a part of God's plan. Now, maybe it's a paradigm shift for you, but it's not for God, he's always made it about this. And he's going to use some of the heroes of their past, specifically Abraham, for most of it. Because Abraham is considered the father of faith, and we call him the father, not just of the Jewish people, but of all people, he'll say in this chapter.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:03] I remember when I was a little kid in church, we sing that song, Father Abraham. Did you ever sing that, any of you who grew up in church? You know, Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham, and I'm one of them and so are you. So let's all praise the Lord, then you do right arm, it's kind of like a church version of the hokey pokey. I mean, you know, when you do that. It comes from this passage; it comes from this concept of how are we part of that family through faith.

Tim Lundy: [00:15:03] And so as we look at this, and before we dove into the passage, just make sure we understand, when I say faith, I'm talking about biblical faith. Biblical faith is trusting God because we believe what he has shown us and told us. We believe God based on what he's revealed to us, what he's revealed to us in this created universe, but specifically what he revealed to us in the Bible, what he revealed to us in Jesus, that God literally came on this planet. It's based on what we see and have heard from him, but we have to believe him, we have to trust him, specifically, for what we don't see. The writer Hebrews says it this way, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." So I've got to be convicted, I've got to be sure about something that I can't ultimately see.

Tim Lundy: [00:16:20] Now as Christians, we would go, based on what God has revealed, we have faith in God. I mean, to say that there even is a God is an act of faith. If you're here today and you go, yeah, I believe there is a God, that's an act of faith. You don't see him, and so by faith, now I've seen evidence that makes me believe in it, but it's still an act of faith that I believe in him. To say there's not a god is an act of faith, you can't prove he doesn't exist. In fact, one of the main tenets I would have is where all people of faith, it's just what are you build it on?

Tim Lundy: [00:17:02] And so as Paul builds this, this concept of faith, we trust God. Now, in this chapter, and specifically, he wants to show, faith is based on your belief, not your behavior. And this is opposite from how we think about it, it's really opposite of how this audience thought about it. He says the basis of your faith is your belief, not your behavior. Even as I say, that may make some of you a little nervous. What are you teaching here?

Tim Lundy: [00:17:30] Well, let's just read, let's just read what Paul says, okay. Start with me in verse 1 of chapter 4, "What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? So he is writing the Jewish people, he says let's talk about Father Abraham, he's our father. If you're Jewish, he's our father according to the flesh, "For if Abraham was justified by works, (if he was made right with God by his works) he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." That word counted to him, it's credited to him, he got credit for being right with God the moment he believed. You're going to see that word credit 11 times in this chapter, it's really important, that God's counting, that God's giving credit, and you'll notice when he does it over and over again, it's based on faith, and it's based on a faith of belief.

Tim Lundy: [00:18:21] "Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness. Just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” 9Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised?" Now he's talking about, if circumcision were the key to it all, does God only give it to circumcised people? We'll look at the evidence, "For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised." So you can't make it about circumcision, because Abraham got credit before he was ever circumcised, so that kind of removes that argument for them, "He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. 13For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null, and the promise is void. 15For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression."

Tim Lundy: [00:20:04] So notice in this chapter, just to summarize what he's doing so far. He's really just hitting all these things that they would have held on to and said, this is the basis of our righteousness. I mean, we're Jewish people, we're circumcised people, we're people who follow the law. And notice he just kind of went through them one by one and he goes, No, Abraham's not just the father of Jewish people, his father of all people because it's based on faith. Abraham was made right before he got circumcised, so it can't be circumcision. And if it's just because you kept the law, how could you really say it's the grace of God? One by one, he goes through these things, and he's correcting their thinking, but I want to apply it to our context, because you probably didn't walk in here today basing, what you think I'm right with God because I'm Jewish. Maybe you did, but doubtful. I doubt anybody here today is really holding on to the circumcision argument, that's how you get right with God, or even keeping the law. But we still struggle with understanding faith, and we apply our own paradigm to it. In some ways, I think we need a paradigm shift

Tim Lundy: [00:21:12] See, here's what Paul's pointing out, if you have faith, it's not because you did the right things. You don't have faith because you are right people, and you got your act together. And you know, you stop doing those bad things, you start doing the good things, and because you keep doing that, that's why you have faith. It's not based on that, that would be something that you earned. Again, notice how he said it, and I love this translation. It says, "When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. 5But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners." This gift from God is not something you earned. When you work, when you get a paycheck, I doubt any of you when the paycheck comes or you see it hit your account, do you sit down and write a thank you note to your boss? Do you write one to the company and you start, I just want to thank you for your gracious gift to me. I mean, it is so much, and you keep giving it. I mean, twice a month, it's really, it's too much, I cannot believe it. Does anybody think that way? No. What do we do? We pull out the check and we go, is that all they're paying me? I mean, I earned every penny of that and more. And as one of my kids asked me once, who's this FICA, and what are they doing with my money? See when you work for something, you've earned it, and you know you've earned it. And Paul writes here, and he goes, I hate to break it to you, your faith is not because of stuff you did, you didn't earn it. And the reality is, this makes us really uncomfortable. Because see, when I feel like I've earned it, I feel like kind of Ok, I'm on good terms with God and he kind of owes me what I've earned. When you put yourself in a position where it's all by faith of what he's given, man, if I didn't earn anything, that means I have to trust him with everything. I can't hold back the parts that I earned; I have to let him have all of it. That's why this is such a shift for us and is so different from how we think as humans.

Tim Lundy: [00:23:58] Now, here's the great news out of it, though. Look at the second thing he points out, you don't lose your faith because you did the wrong things. You don't lose it because you did the wrong thing. Did notice right in the middle of talking about Abraham, though, that he quotes David? And he quotes from Psalm 32, he said, "Just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” Why do you think Paul chose David to quote here when talking about a guy whose sins are forgiven? Because David did all the big sins. I mean, he was a man after God's own heart, but if you want to go through the checklist of heavyweight sins. David, who committed adultery, and used his power as a king to do so. David, who lied about it over and over and over. David, who conspired to cover it up. David who had her husband killed in battle. That's a pretty heavyweight list of sins. And David, who writes the psalm, and he says, "Blessed is the person whose sins have been forgiven by God. Not because they earned it, because David didn't earn it. And not because they lost it, because God chose to forgive in it.

Tim Lundy: [00:25:38] Some of you need to hear this because you need a paradigm shift in your faith. And some of you, as people that have been in church for a long time, you live in this fear that what if I really blow it one day? I mean, what if I really do something bad? What if I do a sin that is so bad, and I lose my faith in that? And this fear can multiply in that. Guys, your faith and your forgiveness wasn't based on you, it was based on God. Rest in it, trust in it. He, in His grace, has done this for you.

Tim Lundy: [00:26:21] Now, as I say that, some of you are like, woohoo, I like this, I've got my ticket of faith, I get on the train to heaven, and I'm going to live the way I want to until then. If you have that thought, I'll just say this, check your ticket, it's probably not real faith. Here's why I say it, you think you want to go to a heaven where you're going to obey God for eternity, but you don't want too now? What makes you think you want to go there; it's only going to be worse there for you if that's your attitude? So this faith changes the way I even think about life in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:03] But as you look at this, as Paul says this, look at what he's saying, it's strictly because of what God did and continues to do. It's strictly based on what God did. Not based on whether you did the right things, not based on whether you did the wrong things. He says it in 13 and 16, we saw this, "Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith." "16So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if (Here is the key) we have faith like Abraham." The key of all of it is, that it's based on faith.

Tim Lundy: [00:27:51] Now, as I say that, and here's the part that makes us nervous, you go, well, Tim, where does obedience come in? Where does behavior come in? And the point of it is, there's a place for obedience, James talks about it quite a bit, by the way. But you can't get the order backward, obedience is always the result of faith, faith is not the result of obedience. One of those is the Gospel, the other one is every religion out there. Every religion out there teaches that in order to have faith, you got to obey first. And the Gospel of grace is, by grace, God gives this free gift, and it's based on faith, it's based on I actually trust him, and I believe him. And then we'll see in the rest of Romans, he'll teach us, okay, how does that result in obedience? But don't get those too flipped now.

Tim Lundy: [00:28:52] Now, as we say that, we then go, okay, then what is the most important part of faith? And just think in your own mind, what's the most important part of faith? For a lot of people, it's like, I've got to have strong faith, I've got to have deep faith, I've got to have passionate faith. Wrong, here's the most important part of your faith. The most important part of your faith is the object of your faith, it's what you put your faith in. Paul talks about Abraham, "That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations” And notice this line, "In the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist."

Tim Lundy: [00:29:43] See, Abraham had this promise. You're going to be the father of all nations. You're going to be father, and through you, the Savior is going to come, through your seed. When Abraham got that promise, he didn't have kids and he was really old, and they had been barren their whole life, and yet, he believed God. It wasn't based on his circumstance, it wasn't based on his obedience, it was based on, the object of his faith is God. And that's why it's so important that you have the object of your faith, what are you placing your faith in? Everybody has faith in something, it's just what are you placing it in? And somebody may have stronger faith, there are people today they're out worshiping, they're out following their religion, I would say many of them, they may have stronger faith, they may have more passionate faith, they may have more sacrificial faith.

Tim Lundy: [00:30:35] I'll give you an example of it. So yesterday, I love March Madness, and especially, I love the Arkansas Razorbacks. So Thursday night, I was a very, very happy man when they beat Gonzaga, last night I was not so happy. But going into the game against Duke yesterday, let's say you and I, you love Duke and I love Arkansas, and we both decided to make a bet on the game. And just to make the illustration, let's say we have the exact same finances, the exact same money, and I go into that game, and I put 10,000 on Arkansas, and you put $100 on Duke. Let me just stop here, I am not promoting betting, I'm not into betting, mainly because I think it's stupid. The only people that make money off betting are the casinos and the sites. And if you ever wonder, just go to Vegas sometime. Look at all the big buildings and ask yourself, how did they have the money to build these? They took it out of your pocket willingly, you gave it to them. So I'm not for betting, but in this illustration, if you ask the two of us going into that, who has more faith in their team? I do, I put $10,000 down, you only put $100, you don't have much faith. Does it matter on the other side of the game? I had faith in the wrong object of faith.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:04] And this is what makes me so sad when I look at religions around the world, there are people of faith all over this planet, it's in the wrong object. See, the importance of it, Abraham believed God, Abraham staked it on God. And so when I'll hear somebody that grows up in the church sometimes, when they go, yeah, I've lost my faith, I don't have any faith anymore. I always go, well, that's actually not true, you just changed the object. You still have faith, we all have faith in something, you just changed the object of your faith.

Tim Lundy: [00:32:42] And if you look at it, one of the things I love that he uses about Abraham's story, Abraham makes a lot of mistakes, doesn't he? I mean, twice he lies about his wife, he and Sarah come up with their own way that God's going to fulfill this, and so he sleeps with her maid. This is the father of faith, it doesn't say he had perfect faith, it doesn't say there weren't any mistakes. Remember, it's not based that you lose it because you did the wrong things, but he never wavered in the object of faith, he never wavered in who he placed it in, and as you look at that, that's how we build our faith.

Tim Lundy: [00:33:20] In fact, you see in this passage, there's two key building blocks to our faith. So if I want to grow stronger in my faith, how do I grow in that? Here's the two key building blocks. Here's the first one. The first one is facts, facts. And it's funny, we usually don't go here first, we always think faith is this emotion or spiritual thing, if you actually look at Scripture, Scripture loves facts. Look at Abraham's example, "He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb." Okay, so Abraham gets this promise, hey, you're going to have a baby. He's looking at it, they're old at this point. And by the way, they didn't have the baby for about 25 more years. And so when he got the promise again, he's like 99, and at that point, when angels promise it and Sarah's in the tent, she laughs, like, right, that ship has sailed. Not Abraham but notice what he did, he didn't go, oh, I'm just going to live in faith. He said, okay, let's consider the facts here. Let's look at my body, let's look at Sarah, but let's see what's really going on with this. I mean, you consider the fact, they're old, there's troubles here, there's no medicinal help coming in the mail, no little blue pill, they are past bow chicka wow wow stage in a lot of ways, okay? He doesn't deny all those things, he looks at the facts of it, and I'm going to build a faith based on those facts. He faced the facts.

Tim Lundy: [00:35:04] Guy's, true faith loves facts. Because it's when we know the facts, then we can see, man, this is where God is really working. We're going into the Easter season. I love the facts of Easter, it's because we have the facts that we actually can celebrate the holiday. The fact is, Jesus lived on this planet, it's documented everywhere. The fact is, Jesus died on the cross, it's documented. The fact is, a few days later, Jesus is walking around, and people are looking at him and they go, that fact, that fact, that fact, whoa, wait, something happened here that doesn't ever happen, dead people don't rise. See, it's because we have fact, fact, fact, that we look at it and go, oh, I see where God worked, and I'm building a faith off the facts he has revealed. It's not this, oh, I just disregard all facts and I leap into faith over here. Abraham didn't do that, he didn't look at it and go, okay, God's going to give a baby, we won't even sleep together anymore. No, he goes, hey, this is what God's promised through this mechanism.

Tim Lundy: [00:36:14] And in that, as you face the fact, and here's why I say this, because there may be a little paradigm shift that you need to have, some of you need to face the facts. Sometimes this word faith is used, it's kind of like God's going to swoop in and just everything magically is fixed, and it's not the facts of what's going on. Something you need to face the facts of what's going on in your marriage. Something you need to face the facts of what's going on in your finances. Something you need to face the facts of what's going on in your health, or what's going on in your job, or all these different parts of it. And we don't use faith as kind of this la-la land thought, that we look at it and I go, of course, God can save this marriage, but I might need to face the facts, is my spouse responding to him at all? Of course, God can fix my finances, but I might need to face the facts that I can't wait every day that he's going to drop a check in the mail, that I actually look at it and go, okay, how have you empowered me to do something about this, God? I face the facts of what's going on.

Tim Lundy: [00:37:15] Now, here's where it goes hand in hand, if you want to build it, you have two building blocks. One is, I face the facts of what is going on. The second is, I then look to the promises of God. Look what Abraham did, "No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” God comes to him, he's an old man, we've never been able to have kids, God makes a promise to him, you're going to have a child. That was a direct promise from God, and so Abraham does the combination of these two things, man, I got to look at our body, look at Sarah, look what's going on, I'm not going to deny the facts of that, but I've got a promise from God, and so I'm going to trust the promise of God.

Tim Lundy: [00:38:10] See, Abraham was able to do this in amazing ways. I mean, later in his life, after he had the baby, God tells him, when Isaac was a young man, go take Isaac and sacrifice him on a mountain. Now again, remember, wait a second, you said through this kid, all these nations are going to come, and now you're telling me to go kill this kid up on a mountain? Do you know what Hebrews tells us Abraham believed at that moment, all right, God gave me a promise that it's going to come through him. So if God's telling me to do this, then God is going to raise him from the dead. You talk about this faith, but it's a faith, notice what it is, it's a faith built on the facts of the reality and then built on the promises of God. And this is what I would just challenge you, if you want to grow in your faith, growing in your faith is not sitting around and, oh, I'm going to just get more passionate. Oh, I'm going to get just more spiritual. Growing in your faith, if you really want to grow in your faith, you do just like Abraham, you start looking at the facts of your life of where God's placed you, you look at the facts of what you're struggling with, and then you start really discovering what are the actual promises of God.

Tim Lundy: [00:39:19] See, this is why I can't stand faith healers, the people that they'll tell you if you only had more faith then God would do this. Do you know what they're doing in that moment? They put it back on you. And I'm looking at them, did God ever promise what you're promising them? And now you're going to beat them up that they don't have enough faith. If you want to grow in your faith, you start with, okay, here is my reality, I need to face the facts of what's going on in my life, and now let me understand the promises of God, let me build on what He has told me. That's why it's important that you read through the Bible because as you read through the Bible, you go, oh, I realize what God is telling me, and you start discovering the promises. Do you know the promises of God? Do you know the promise of our sure salvation, that it's sure in Christ, it's not going to be based on what you did or didn't do? Do you know the promise that he will never leave you or forsake you? Do you know the promise that he said if he began a good work in you, he's going to finish a good work in you? Do you know the promise that he will work all things together for your good? He didn't promise that he was going to make everything good, but he will work it for your good, there is a big difference in that promise, but a big promise. Do you know the promise that the moment you're absent from your body, you're in His presence? Do you know the promise that he will claim you as his own one day? Do you know the promise that he will wipe away every tear for all eternity? See, this is why it's so important, as we think about our faith, we're not building this la-la faith, we're building a real faith based on real facts and real promises of God. And you put the two of those together, and I promise you this, man, you'll see your faith grow, and it makes a difference.

Tim Lundy: [00:41:07] Let me give you the final point that Paul teaches us about faith. The focus of our faith is always Jesus, the focus is always Jesus. Look how he puts it, he says, "But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him." And notice how he really narrows it down, what do you believe in him? "That he was raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification."

Tim Lundy: [00:41:33] See, as we talk about faith, and this is what I love, because there are a lot of things out there that I don't understand, and sometimes my doubts can go crazy when I start focusing on the parts I can't fully understand. I don't fully understand the eternality of God. I don't fully understand heaven. I don't fully understand all of how God brought the universe into existence. I don't understand evil in the world today. I don't understand why some people suffer so much more than others. I don't understand how God, who's outside of time and space and lives outside of time and space, can interact in a time-space continuum, and what I do in this lifetime actually impacts him. I don't understand how that works, and if I really spend a lot of time focusing on the edges, do you know what happens to my faith? It starts fraying in some ways, because I'm trying to build a faith on the things I can't understand.

Tim Lundy: [00:42:21] So, I love how Hebrews puts it. He says, hey, you're running this race in life, and when you run, you need something you focus on. Do you know who you focus on? You focus on Jesus. And every time I feel like my faith is fraying in that, do you know what I always do? I come back to it and I go, wait a second, let me think about Jesus. Because I've yet, and I've studied this a lot, I've yet to hear a good explanation of somebody who can explain the life of Jesus Christ that was documented on this planet, the death of Jesus Christ that was documented on this planet, the resurrection of Jesus Christ that was documented on this planet, the impact of Jesus Christ on this planet, and the story of Jesus Christ on this planet. No one has yet to be able to explain that in a way that makes my faith even waver, and the more I focus on him, you know what it does? It gives me that rock-solid faith that I start building out to, so that when I get to the edges, I started from the center instead of starting out there and trying to build in. Focus on Jesus, because as you do so, you can face the facts, and then you understand the real promises of God in that.

Tim Lundy: [00:43:32] Hey, as we finish out today, just three things, and you can see it in your notes there. As your follow-up, I just ask, are there any ways that you've been confused in your understanding of faith? As you look back through the notes, if you're honest with yourself, you go, you know, really, I probably do switch that around. The first step in it is just recognizing that. The second step would be, what is one principle from this past that you need to embrace and apply? What's one thing, you look at and go, yep, that's it. And maybe a third thing is, what would it look like for you to focus on Jesus this week as the center of your faith? Maybe you've been a little focused out there or focused on the wrong things. What would it look like for you, this week, to really make Jesus the center of your faith and let it build from him outward as we live this out in the world?

Tim Lundy: [00:44:25] Let's pray together. Father, I thank you, I thank you for Christ, I thank you for this passage. I thank you for Paul, thank you for the way he explains faith in a way that we can understand. I pray that we would be people of faith because that is the only thing that allows us to experience Your grace, it's when we trust you, when we believe you, when we believe that we can't do anything, so we've got to trust you with everything.

Tim Lundy: [00:44:50] Lord, I pray, today, maybe there's somebody here, and they would describe themself, they're not a person of faith, I pray, would you give them the ability to trust you, and to begin that journey by focusing on what Christ has done? Lord, I pray maybe there's somebody here, they would say they've been wavering in their faith, I pray that they would go to you, and spend some time with you. And for each of us who want to grow in our faith, I pray that we would both know your promises, and bank on them more, because of what we've seen in Jesus Christ. And we pray this in His name. Amen. Amen.

Recorded in Los Gatos, California.
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Venture Christian Church
16845 Hicks Road
Los Gatos, California 95032