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Series: Faith; Law
Sun am 28 July 2013 – Pastor Kobus Swart
Heb. 11:1-6, 39-40; Rom. 10: 6-17; (Gen. 17:15-22); (Gen. 18: 9-21); (Gen. 21:1-7);
Luke 13:10-16; Luke 19:5-9; John 16:5-11; (John 8:1-11)
And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God hadprovided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect (Heb. 11:39-40). There is a finishing generation in the earth of which we are a part. We must continue to run the race in faith. Whether we are going to be the last generation before the end of history as we know it, we do not know. Our continuing in the faith helps to perfect to those who died in the faith without receiving what was promised.
What is faith? Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb.11:1). Only true faith is the assurance of what we hope for; if it is only hope then we are not there yet. True faith is more than hope. We must make sure that what we hope for is aligned with that which is generated by a proceeding word from the Lord. It is by faith that we understand God; without faith we cannot understand His actions, why He sometimes acts and sometimes He does not. Without faith we will speculate, hope, and wish. We must discern between what we wish and what God said will happen. Without faith we cannot please God (Heb. 11:6).
How does faith come? But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “…The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Rom. 10:6-17). What does it mean by the word of Christ? It is by hearing Christ’s word though a sent one that faith is activated – and we have to understand the role, the function and being of Christ in the earth. Unless we preach that we will not activate the faith that will bring final and complete salvation. It has to be a spoken word, a Rhema, a flowing word that activates faith. The word (male) comes and enters the mind (female), conception takes place and faith is activated. It has to be a spoken word, heard by the ear, that activates faith. (Cf John 6:63)
The Old Testament speaks about Abraham, the father of our faith. The word of the Lord came to Abraham (Gen.17:15-22). Ishmael (means “God hears”) was born but he was not the son of promise (Gen 18:9-21). Abraham leaned on the arm of the flesh. This is a warning that we may ask and keep on asking, and we may find a way to receive something but not exactly what God promised. God appears again to Abraham and reaffirms the promise. Sarah laughed when she heard it. A year later Isaac was born (meaning laughter) (Gen.22:1-7). In a sense sometimes, we live with the results of persistent prayers without having heard from the Lord and without having believed that what He promised He is able to fulfill. Many of us have prophesies over our lives yet unfulfilled, and the temptation is to try to make them happen and use other means to make them come to pass. We have to be delivered from trying to work through the law or legalistic means to bring about God’s promise.
And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman who for eighteen years had had a sickness caused by a spirit; and she was bent double, and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your sickness.” And He laid His hands on her; and immediately she was made erect again and began glorifying God. But the synagogue official, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, began saying to the crowd in response, “There are six days in which work should be done; so come during them and get healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites, does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the stall and lead him away to water him? And this woman, a daughter of Abraham as she is, whom Satan has bound for eighteen long years, should she not have been released from this bond on the Sabbath day?” (Luke 13:10-16). There is a reason why He says “daughter of Abraham”. He goes clear across (bypassed) the Law back to Abraham the father of faith. We do not have to earn anything if we are children of Abraham, but if we are still bound to the Law (legalism), we have to work for everything we want from God.
All we have to do is recognise that we are children of Abraham – a people of faith. A similar thing happened to Zaccheus: When the followers of the Law (legalists) saw Jesus visiting Zaccheus’ home, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham” (Luke 19:7-9). Jesus ignored the Sabbath (Law) and by grace offered salvation to Zaccheus and his family! We cannot keep the Law because if we fail in one aspect of the Law we are guilty of failing the whole Law.
And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me …(John 16:5-11). The sin of missing the mark is overshadowed by the sin of not believing in Christ; not believing in the finished works of Christ. Jesus became the curse and dissolved it! He became sin so that we can become the righteous of God through Him. The moment we accept grace, the Law loses its grip in our lives.