Teaching

Miraculous Faith

Do you have miraculous faith? Yesterday at Saar Fellowship we talked through Hebrews 11.23-31 and saw miraculous faith in action.

I would say that yes, you do, and that you don’t need to get lost in the search for signs and wonders because you are one, you are a sign of the miraculous, you are a miraculous wonder. 

Do you know the biggest and most miraculous example we can possibly see?

The most miraculous and wonderful and exceedingly surprising?

The Word of God taking on flesh and living, dieing, rising, and ascending, and promising to come again.

The person of Jesus, casting aside for a time His heavenly glory and location to take up temporary residence among us to demonstrate to us the way, and the truth, and the life, to show us how to be reconciled to God, to offer us the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit through being in Him in faith to become a new creation, to cast aside our old person and become a new creation in Him…that is exceedingly surprising and wonderful therefore it is miraculous!

If you believe that, if you believe Him, then your faith is absolutely miraculous.

The fact that you are not who you used to be is miraculous, it’s surprising and it’s wonderful.

The fact that you can think, reason, consider, conclude, and confess that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead is an example of your miraculous faith. 

The fact that you love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and that you love others as yourself is miraculous, that is exceedingly surprising and wonderful. It is so different to the culture at large, you are so different to the culture at large because you have miraculous faith.

So, take this knowledge, take this understanding, and let your miraculous faith be the engine that drives your life. 

Let your miraculous faith change everything about what you say, what you do, how you feel about yourself and the world. Let your miraculous faith be the central point that your entire life revolves around.

2 Timothy 2.8-13 – He Is Faithful

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself.

Paul continues with encouragement and reminders for Timothy the young pastor, and reminds him to continually remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead…It could be said that without the resurrection, the Christian faith has nothing to set it apart from any other worldview or faith tradition that man can create (1 Corinthians 15.14). Paul is preaching this then first and foremost, and tells Timothy that he is bound with chains as a criminal for doing so (v.9).

Even though Paul is bound, even though throughout history Christian have been and are still persecuted and killed in staggering numbers, the word of God is not bound. This should give us all encouragement; that no matter what government, man, religious fanatic, heard-hearted atheist, or pseudo-believer can do the word of God is not bound and will endure forever (Isaiah 40.8).

Paul then bursts into an early Christian hymn and reminds Timothy of the promise of resurrection (v.11), of the eternal rewards of following Jesus (v.12a), and of the fact that our words and ways can actually lead to the truth of Matthew 10.33 being realised.

The overwhelming comfort here for Paul, for Timothy, and for you today is that even if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for He cannot deny Himself.

Your relationship with the living God does not rest on you, your salvation does not rest on you, the conversion of others does not rest on you, the forgiveness of your sins does not rest on you, it rests on Him alone and friends, He has promised this and He cannot deny Himself. He is so faithful and will walk with you as you live for Him today and every day.

2 Timothy 2.3-7 – Soldier, Athlete, Farmer

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Here Paul encourages Timothy to take the attitude of a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer

The soldier willingly takes orders from his or her commander-in-chief. As a believer in Jesus, He is yours (Joshua 5.14). The soldier is brave, courageous, singularly focused on the task at hand, and gives all of himself or herself to the task right until the very end. A good soldier will not quit when things get tough, they will double-down and work even harder.

An athlete prepares rigorously for their chosen task. They take care of their bodies, they take care of their time, and they take care of their activities based on how they want to compete when the big day comes around. As a believer in Jesus, we ought to be doing the same; building our lives around the opportunity to compete for Him in a culture that seems to be detaching from objective truth faster and faster.

farmer is hard-working and doesn’t seek external recognition. Just think – do you know who the best farmer in the world is? Do you know or follow on Instagram the world champion farmer? Didn’t think so…The farmer is hard-working, unassuming, but unrelenting in his or her approach and application to the task at hand. They value their flock/herd/land highly, and will stop at nothing to do what is best for whatever it is that they are caring for. As a believer, the work ethic of a hard-working farmer must be present in our lives.

If we are to join with the Lord and His pastors in teaching others (see yesterday – 2 Timothy 2.1-2) then we simply must be dedicated to His task like soldiers, we must be building our lives around Him like an athlete preparing for an event, and we must have the work ethic of a hard-working farmer to ensure that we leave no stone unturned in our witness.

Are you a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer for our Lord?

2 Timothy 2.1-2 – Encourage Your Pastor

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

Paul starts this passage by encouraging Timothy in his pastoral duties; be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus. If you have ever known a pastor personally you will know that they need this encouragement to be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Their burdens will be plentiful and privately carried, they will work tirelessly yet be chronically misunderstood, and they will forever try to see the best in people despite being let down by many, often. For this reason, friends, encourage your pastor!

After this initial encouragement, Paul hits Timothy with a pastoral responsibility that we can all either put into action or receive; what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

This has got to be right up there on your pastor’s list – taking the core and right doctrines of the faith and entrusting them to faithful men and women (ἀνθρώποις can refer to men or women depending on the context) who can then teach others also

Here is a point with which you can encourage your pastor; we know that not everything in church is your job. We know that it is your job to teach with words, ways, actions, and reactions the right and proper doctrines of the faith. We know that the call on your life is a holy and sacred one and you are given to our church as a gift from from God (not sure about that? Read Ephesians 4.11 and notice who ‘he gave’ is referring back to…vv.8-10), and we know that we must join you as the many witnesses and the faithful men and women who [are] able to teach others also.

Take a moment today to encourage a faithful pastor in your life, perhaps someone who is rightly dividing and handling the Word of Truth, someone who is passing on the orthodox teachings that Timothy heard from Paul, and someone who you can partner with in ministry to teach others also.

2 Timothy 1.15-18 – Intentional Blessing

Sometimes we see stories on the news of a passer-by providing some seemingly miraculous help because they were in the right place at the right time. More often, however, those who we feel help and refresh us and bring benefit to our lives are there very intentionally, because they want to be, because they have worked hard to be. 

15 You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me— 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

We see Paul being really consistent with what he teaches about those who sin whilst in prominent positions (1 Timothy 5.20), in that he names and rebukes Phygelus and Hermogenes publicly and openly. Rather than be content to just call out others on their turning away, Paul goes on to name and praise Onesiphorus (whose name means “help bringer”) for the intentional refreshment that he gives.

We read that he often refreshed Paul, that he searched for Paul earnestly and found him, and that his service is known among the believing community (you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus).

From the example of Onesiphorus we see that we ought to be people of intentional blessing.

We should be people who intentionally and often refresh others with our presence, our words, and our actions.

We should be people who intentionally search out those that we know need encouragement and blessing.

We should be people whose service is so intentional and frequent that others know about it and can speak of us by saying “Oh that’s _____, what a great servant of the Lord he/she is.

Today then, pause and take a moment and think;

Who can I intentionally bless? Who can I search out and encourage? Who needs my service today?

May we all be an Onesiphorus today and intentionally bless someone, as the ultimate Help Bringer intentionally cast aside His heavenly glory and location to live, serve, die, and rise among us. 

2 Timothy 1.8-14 – Who Is Jesus?

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

There are many, many passages in the Bible that talk of who Jesus is (John 1, 10.30, Isaiah 9.6, Titus 2.13, John 20.28…). Upon reading this passage in 2 Timothy, although there is lots going on, what shone through was this description of Jesus, did you notice it?

…[God]saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…

We see that God saved us based on nothing we did (not because of our works), but based purely on His own purpose and grace. This rings true with the words of Ephesians 2.8-9 wherein we read 

“…by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

The description of Jesus, then, is found next and we read that He manifests this purpose and grace of God.

…[God]saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…

So, we want to know what God is doing and what He is like, we look at Jesus.

We want to know what the grace of God is like, we look at Jesus.

Very simply, Jesus reveals the purpose and grace of God.

Who is Jesus? He is the revelation of God, He is the Word of God in human flesh, He is the revelation of God’s purpose and grace. Look to Him today.

Send Me

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;

the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said:

“Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying,

“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

Then I said,

“Here I am! Send me.” 

In a nutshell, Isaiah announces that God’s judgment will purify Israel and prepare his people to the coming messianic king and new Jerusalem (BP).

He is commissioned, sent, with a very special and specific task. 

He thinks he is not good enough, he thinks he is unworthy, and he thinks that because he is such a sinner God could never use him. We read Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.

Then rather than destroying him, God’s holiness purifies him, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”.

God is so good and pure and holy and just that He can give some of that to Isaiah – and He will give that to you too.

Then, the piece we want to really focus on – 

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying,

“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

Then I said,

“Here I am! Send me.” 

God is looking for someone to send – “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

God is asking because He wants people to reach people – will you be His people?

Isn’t this amazing – God wants to use you.

God wants to send you.

God is calling you – will you answer His call?

Isaiah answered that call really strongly, didn’t he, 

“Here I am! Send me.”

Isaiah wanted to be the answer to God’s question.

He didn’t say, “Here I am, I will go.”, he wouldn’t go unless he knew he was sent by the LORD. Many are quick to say, “Here I am, I will go” but never wait for the LORD to send them (DG).

“Here I am! Send me.”

Will you say that this year?

Our 2020 focus as a church is on the part of our vision that states that we are willing to serve.

Let us make 2020 the year when we all, individually and collectively, say here I am Lord, send me.