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FAITH SPEAKS  #4AMFaith speaks WEB

Ever felt like you’re surrounded by the enemy? Ever felt like the odds are stacked against you? How do you handle it? Do you throw a tantrum? Do you sulk? Do you go into depression? Do you seek comfort in substances?

  • Maybe your boss just called you into his office and gave you the spiel, “I hate to do this but I have you let you go”
  • Maybe that lump you thought was nothing turns out to be cancer.
  • Maybe you find a packet of Crystal-Meth in your teenager’s bedroom.
  • Or maybe you are hit with the tsunami of negative situations when all three of these type of things hit you at once!

Life overwhelms us all at times. You face big problems or you face a problem for a very long time. King David spoke about these times when he said, “When my heart is overwhelmed, I go to the rock that is higher than I.” If you don’t have Jesus then you go to anywhere you can find comfort, some go to booze, some go to the pokies, some go to porn, some go to medication; but Jesus says, “Come to me, I will give you rest.” He says, “Roll your cares upon Me, for I care for you.

Faith speaks! What comes out of your mouth will help you or hinder you. If you are a person of faith, this is what will happen to you. Bad news arrives. You react as any human would through disbelief, shock, panic, fear and disappointment. Then after a short period of time you get into gear and you say, “God is able! He will help me. I believe that the Lord is on my side!” Your situation will turn around after some time. It may be a short time or a long time. Through the experience you will be a better stronger person.

When you are not a person of faith this is what will happen to you. You get bad news. You react like any other human would through disbelief, shock, panic, fear and disappointment. You then spiral down wards into the blame game, whose fault is this anyway? Or you may throw a tantrum and let anger take over hurting people with your words or fists, or punching walls or other defenceless objects. Then you may seek to justify your problems by giving yourself permission to act outside your own values by gambling, drinking or taking substances. Your end position is less than your starting point.

Bible stories are great. They make for great reading, but also we can learn from them. God placed them in the bible for us. They are true stories and they are written down to help us, to teach us how to live and how God works with people. 1 Corinthians 10:11(AMP)

11 Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period).

Let’s take a look at this great story. 2 Chronicles 20: 1-6; 15-24

2 Chronicles 20:1-6  (NLT)

20 After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites declared war on Jehoshaphat. 2 Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. They are already at Hazazon-tamar.” (This was another name for En-gedi.)

3 Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. 4 So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord’s help.

5 Jehoshaphat stood before the community of Judah and Jerusalem in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the Lord. 6 He prayed, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you!

15-24 15 He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!”

18 Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the Lord. 19 Then the Levites from the clans of Kohath and Korah stood to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud shout.

20 Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.”

21 After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!”

22 At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. 23 The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. 24 So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.

Think about King Jehoshaphat in this story. He is surrounded! He is hopelessly outnumbered. In verse 3 it says he is terrified! Three armies surround him and his nation of Judah.

It’s not fair!

He has a go at God here. He says in verse 10-11, Hey God you didn’t let us invade these nations when Israel journeyed through their lands, now they have come back to attack us. It’s not fair!! In life we are very often in the situation where it doesn’t seem fair. Strangely it doesn’t seem to make any difference to anyone or anything that we point that out!!

The King’s reaction

The king reacts really well. He goes straight to God in prayer. He says it’s time to fast and seek God. He reminds God of His promises.

The man of God speaks.

In verse 14-15 the prophet stands up to speak. It’s OK he says, God is with us! Don’t be afraid. The battle is the Lord’s. Go down to them. That’s fine for you to say but we could get killed!! How do you react to the words of the man of God?

The King’s reaction again.

King Jehoshaphat bows down, the people fell down and worshipped, the Levites (priesthood) praised the Lord. That’s a faith response. What is your response to the words from the man of God? Don’t go asking the unbelievers for advice. They have no idea how God can work in a situation. They will take you down the pub, that’s no answer.

When the man of God speaks you have a choice. Will you believe? The King gives some great advice. 2 Chron 20:20 (NLT) Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.”

So here’s the plan, the army marches out and the singers go in the front. Anyone feeling vulnerable? This is what they sang, Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever! That is faith speaking right there! The result was the Lord set ambushments against the three invading armies.

It matters what comes out of your mouth. This is not conventional warfare. Faith speaks! What does faith say?

  1. Thanks God!
  2. God is good!
  3. He is able!

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, what is coming out of your mouth?

We all face tough times, but God is with us and how we respond to troubles will block or enable faith to make a way for God to help us. God reacts to faith, not to complaining. Our task this year is to grow in faith so that means we will need to learn how to respond in faith. That is why we need to learn that FAITH SPEAKS!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Describe the feeling of being overwhelmed.

2. How does God feel when you are overwhelmed?

3. When circumstances are against you what usually come out of your mouth?

4. How does a person of faith respond to troubled times?

5. Do you need to feel faith to start speaking words of faith?

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SUNDAY MESSAGE 21ST JUNE 2105 AM

Faith speaks WEBImagine the beginning of time when God created the heavens and the earth.

Gen 1:1 NLT In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.

3 Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”

And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day.

6 Then God said, “Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth.” 7 And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the waters of the earth from the waters of the heavens. 8 God called the space “sky.”

And evening passed and morning came, marking the second day.

Then God said, “Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear.” And that is what happened.

20 Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.

 24 Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.”

As you can see when God speaks things happen!

God creates things simply by speaking, He operates in faith voicing His will and purpose and His words convey the power necessary to create what He speaks. In Hebrews this verse describes who Jesus is.

Heb 1:3 AMP He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high,

Now consider that God has created man to be like Himself, made a little lower than the angels (Ps 8:5) yet truly a little lower than God. Man made a spirit being after the image and likeness of God and called to Subdue, replenish the earth and fill it. (Gen 1:28) Are we not to create also by our words? Has God not spoken to us about using our words to create and change things?

Consider Jesus commands to His disciples. Mark 11:23 AMP Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.

The power of your words is through a believing heart. Rom 10:9-10 ESV  9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

And again Jesus says, for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 amp)

I think perhaps we have failed to realise the power in our words as born again believers. The Church is the assembly of those Born again, born of the incorruptible seed of the word of God, born from above, who are called now to subdue fill the earth and conquer it. Jesus gave us the example when He spoke to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch forth your hand.” The command to do the impossible, followed by a miracle. Later Peter James and John enter into the same experience saying to the cripple at the gate Beautiful in Acts 3, “Rise up and walk!” And he did!

Just simply saying these words conveyed the power necessary to create a miracle. However, not words only but a believing heart expressed through those words.

In fact, now that we are born again and living in right relationship with God, He expects of us to live at a higher level of revelation and power. Jesus had high expectations of His disciples as He instructs them, “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12 amp)

As believers we pray now not so much prayers of supplication, “God will you do this and that.” But prayers of declaration, “Be healed, in Jesus Name.” If we are to do the works of Jesus and greater then we will need to do those works as He did them by speaking the miracle, by declaring the outcome we want to see because we have faith in our heart and we speak words of creative power from our mouth.

One of my earliest examples of using this kind of praying was as a new Christian I drove past an old picture theatre every day on my way to Uni and this theatre showed pornographic movies. As a new Christian I was incensed that this filth was pouring into the community so I cursed the picture theatre and a few days later it burned to the ground in the middle of the night with no loss of life. I was shocked by the power of my words and a bit scared about the responsibility of how we should use this power.

Mostly we use this power to bring about healing, life and answers. There are thousands of cases of where we have prayed and spoken words of faith to command sickness to leave, pain to go, tumours to disappear and have seen many many healing miracles. We declare answers for peoples’ lives as they experience trouble and difficulties. When a couple faces marriage stress we pray life and peace over that marriage, when a person goes though financial hardship we declare the blessing of God over them. Answers come through the application of God’s word through a faith filled heart.

If you want to know whether you have a faith filled heart, just listen to what comes out of your mouth. If the words coming out of your mouth are filled with despair and negativity, then fear and doubt are filling your heart, but if the words coming out of your mouth are speaking the answer and speaking the miracle outcome you seek then you know your faith is at work. Don’t wait for some feeling of faith to roll up and bite you! You may feel overwhelmed at the start when things go wrong, but faith doesn’t look at feelings and circumstances, faith looks at what God’s word says. We must emulate God in calling those things that are not as though they already are. (Rom 4:17)

You can pray reactive prayers that address problems that arise, but are we praying prayers of declaration that are aimed at creating a better future for us and for God’s purpose. Add to you prayer life, after praying for the miracles to overcome present problems, the declaration of the better future that you want to see.

Right now in this church we need to see an increase in financial flow. So this is what I pray: The Lord bless you and watch, guard, and keep you; The Lord make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favour) to you; The Lord lift up His [approving] countenance upon you and give you peace (tranquillity of heart and life continually). And they shall put My name upon the Israelites, and I will bless them. (Numbers 6:24-27 AMP)

Jabez cried to the God of Israel, saying, Oh, that You would bless me and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and You would keep me from evil so it might not hurt me! And God granted his request. (1 Chronicles 4:10 AMP)

And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity]. (Psalm 1:3 AMP)

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

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SALVATION FAITH #4AM  – SUNDAY MORNING MESSAGE AT PLENTY VALLEY CHURCH. 22/2/15

FAITH IS

Why are we speaking about Faith this year? All we receive from God is by faith, every promise, every blessing and all His plan will be accomplished through faith. Faith is our confidence in God’s word, His promises, and our trust in His character to do as He has promised. Our salvation is the most important subject overall. Nothing is more important in your life that this one question: Are you saved?

Do you know you are saved? Are you merely hoping you are saved? Is your faith in Christ saving faith? Would you deny your faith for any reason? That’s what this month’s theme is addressing.

Our key verse for the month is Ephesians 2:8-9 (AMP)

8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favour) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;

9 Not because of works [not the fulfilment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]

The bible is full of true stories that illustrate salvation. For example we have

  • Adam and the skins of animals that covered his nakedness.
  • Noah and the ark that saved him and his family from God’s judgement.
  • Abraham and his believing which was accounted to him as righteousness.
  • Isaac and the ram caught in the thicket, a substitute for his life.
  • Jacob who wrestled with God who changed his nature.
  • The exodus where each person was saved by blood on the doorpost.

I could go on!

A famous old church chorus asks this important question:

Are you washed in the blood, in the soul cleansing blood of the lamb? Are fully trusting in His grace this hour, are you washed in the blood of the lamb?

Let’s look at the parable Jesus taught about the prodigal son because it is an important illustration about faith for salvation.

Luke 15:10-32.

10 Even so, I tell you, there is joy among and in the presence of the angels of God over one [especially] wicked person who repents (changes his mind for the better, heartily amending his ways, with abhorrence of his past sins).

11 And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons;

12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them.

13 And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living.

14 And when he had spent all he had, a mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want.

15 So he went and forced (glued) himself upon one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed hogs.

16 And he would gladly have fed on and filled his belly with the carob pods that the hogs were eating, but [they could not satisfy his hunger and] nobody gave him anything [better].

17 Then when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger!

18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight.

19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants.

The power of this story to illustrate salvation, is the change of heart that the son experiences when he realises his lack and poverty. The powerful moment when he “comes to himself” indicates a change of mind and heart which the bible teaches is repentance.

For a person to receive salvation, the forgiveness of sins, that person must exercise faith. Faith is the confident expectation that God’s promise is true and results in trust in His plan. The prodigal son was confident in his father’s love and acceptance. At the time of salvation a transaction takes place. Christ carries your sins and you receive His righteousness.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (AMP)

21 For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].

For God’s part there is a choosing

Ephesians 1:4-5 (AMP)

4 Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.

5 For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]—

For our part there is a response

Acts 2:37-38 (AMP)

37 Now when they heard this they were stung (cut) to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles (special messengers), Brethren, what shall we do?

38 And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 There is a decision, a turning, a repentance, which simply means a change of mind and heart. It’s a turning to God and a turning away from the old life, from sins. This turning leads to a trust in Christ that He saves, and you are forgiven of all your sins. This leads to a cosmic alteration of the eternal accounting ledger where your sins are no longer accounted to you. Your name is now written down in the book of life.

Colossians 2:13-14 (AMP)

13 And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions,

14 Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross.

Having faith in Christ saves you. Faith is your belief in God’s promise and your trust in His plan of salvation through the cross. It was initiated by God’s choosing as He calls you and He reveals His goodness to you. It is then sealed by your response as you accept the truth of your need, you repent and believe the gospel.

WHAT IF I DOUBT? – AM I STILL SAVED?

Doubt enters the mind. Its origin is spiritual and shows us the enemy of our souls, satan, is intent on destroying your faith. This is a real and predictable spiritual attack.

If your heart has been moved by God’s love, then guided by your heart, you put off those doubts from your mind, because your heart is convicted by His truth. Like the bride or groom who has second thoughts on the day of the wedding, the question is: am I assured of my partners love?

The parable of the sower and the seed illustrates this truth:

Matthew 13:18-21 (AMP)

18 Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower:

19 While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside.

20 As for what was sown on thin (rocky) soil, this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy;

21 Yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and begins to distrust and desert Him Whom he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away.

WHAT NOW?

Have you heard the gospel and been moved in your heart? Have you “come to yourself” and some point in your life? If the result of that revelation was that you turned away from your old life and trusted in Christ, then you are saved. If not, now is the time to turn to Christ, and turn away from the old life. Are you struggling with doubt? Put away your doubts and fully trust in the promise of God. In order to gain the confidence to do that, read God’s word and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His word to you.

DISCUSSION

1. Does God help people because He feels pity for them?

2. What does the prodigal son parable teach us about our life journey before we meet Jesus?

3. Why is it that some people come to the realisation that they need God when the chips are down and others don’t come to that realisation?

4. We are probably a bit reluctant to admit we have doubts at times but doesn’t everybody have doubts at some stage in their journey?

5. Show how this verse can be applied to doubts that come to mind – 2 Cor 10:4-5.

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