Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

04/15/2018 A.M.

 

Faith

Believing In The Name Of God

Hebrews 11.1-6 & Psalm 23

 

Faith is an essential element in our Christian walk.  It’s the foundation... The critical issue in our relationship with God...

 

• Scripture tells us that... Without faith it is impossible to please God.

 

• We are saved by grace through faith... It is by grace that you have been saved through faith... And that is not of yourselves... But is a gift of God.

 

• An obedient faith makes us children of God... We are children of God by faith... For as many as have been baptized into Christ... Have put on Christ... Have been clothed with Christ.

 

• Second Corinthians 5.7 tells us that... We live by faith... Not by sight.

 

If faith is so important... What is it?... How would we define Biblical Faith?...

 

The Hebrews’ Writer tells us that… Faith is the substance of things hoped for… The evidence of things not seen.

 

The NIV reads… Faith is being sure of what we hope for... certain of what we do not see.

 

The NASV says… Faith is the assurance of things hoped for… The conviction of things not seen.

 

So... Faith is our being... sure... Convinced... Convicted...Confident... Of things we have evidence for… But do not see.

 

Biblical faith is believing things to be true… That cannot be proven.

 

For instance… Faith is Knowing about God.

Ignorance is the antithesis of faith... We cannot believe in that which… We do not know.  So… We find Scripture saying that... Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. 

 

Faith is Mental Assent.

Mental Assent is our acceptance... Our acknowledgment of the fact that God exists and that He is… Who He says He is… the creator... Provider... Sustainer...redeemer… Savior… Of the universe.

 

Paul told the Athenians… Those of the Areopagus on Mars Hill… It is in Him that we live and move and have our being… Faith is simply acknowledging this fact.

 

Faith is a trust & confidence in God…And in His Word... His promises.

Jesus contended... Heaven and earth will pass away… But My words will never pass.

 

Do we believe His Word?... All of it?... Do we really?

• Do we believe that we are saved by Grace through Faith?

• Do we believe that there is no other way… No other Name given among men under all of Heaven whereby we can be saved… Except in Jesus?...

• Do we believe that we become His child by faith at New Testament baptism?

• Do we believe that God is working ALL things out to our benefit as His children?

 

Hebrews 10.20-23 says… Let us draw near to God with a true heart in full assurance of faith… Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience… And our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the faith we confess...

 

WHY?...Because He is faithful to His word.

 

Faith is obedience.

We see this demonstrated over-and-over in the early verses of Hebrews’ chapter eleven… that faith includes obedience...

 

VS 4... By Faith… Able offered a more excellent sacrifice than did Cain.

Faith is worshiping God… As He directs.

 

VS 5... By Faith… Enoch walked with God.

Faith is walking with God… Faith enables our walk with Him.

 

VS 7... By Faith… Noah built an ark.

Faith is doing whatever God requires of us regardless of whether or not it seems logical to us.

 

VS 8... By Faith… Abraham left his homeland and went to where God directed him.

Faith is following God’s direction… Through His word… Wherever that may lead. 

 

Faith is OBEYING JESUS.

To the Jews who had believed in Him…Jesus said… If you hold to my teaching...If you obey My teachings... You are my disciple.

 

For the remainder of the lesson...

I want us to... increase… Strengthen our faith

by noting some Biblical names for God…

 

There are more than eighty names for God in the Old Testament alone... And each one of them reveals something that’s important to our faith in Him.

 

Initially...God was known by ELOHIM... (E-LOW-HIM)

This was the first name for God in the Bible… In the beginning God... ELOHIM... Created the heavens and the earth.

The Hebrew word Elohim speaks to us of... THE creator god.

This word appears over thirty times in the first chapter of Genesis alone... He is the God of creation.

 

Paul picks up on this thought on Mars Hill... When he told the Athenians... God made the world and everything in it. He is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands...For in him we live and move and have our being.

 

The second name we examine is Jehovah-Jireh...  (Jer-ie)

This was Abraham’s name for God… It means... God will provide.

• As they left Ur of the Chaldees... His family must have asked... Where will we live?... God will provide!

• When Abraham and Lot divided up the land...I am sure Abraham’s immediate family must have wondered… Lot got all the good stuff… How will we survive?... God will provide!

• How can a man who is 100 and a woman in her 80’s have a son?... God will provide.

• At Mt. Moriah... Where is the lamb?...The Lord will provide!!

In every case God provided just what Abraham needed.

 

This morning Jesus is saying to each of us… Do not worry about your life… What you will eat or drink… Or about your body… What you will wear... Look at the birds of the air… They do not sow or reap or store away in barns… Yet your heavenly Father feeds them… See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field... Will he not much more clothe you… Therefore do not worry about tomorrow.

 

Jacob’s name for God was Jehovah-raah (JEHOVAH- raw-ah)

This compound name means... God is my shepherd.

As a Shepherd... God... Leads us... Guides us... Examines... Disciplines... Us.

Listen to Jacob as he blesses the sons of Joseph… Ephraim & Manasseh… As he places his hand on the head of each saying… May the God before me… Whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked… The God who has been my shepherd all my life… Bless you.

 

I think it important to point out that God was Jacob’s shepherd... Even though at times... Jacob was a less-than-cooperative sheep.

 

Like most of us… Jacob was never a candidate for the most well-behaved sheep award... But God blessed him anyway!!

 

Gideon had a name for God... It was JEHOVAH-SHALOM.

It’s a scary... Troublesome… Thing… To have God call your name… And give you a commission... But that was exactly what happened to Gideon.

 

Judges six tells us that the Israelites looked like grasshoppers to the Midianites.

They harassed the children of Israel until they had nothing...

• No sheep...

• No ox...

• No donkey.

In fact verse two tells us that the people of Israel were so scared and destitute... That they were living in caves and crevasses in the rocks.

Verse six says... And Israel was greatly impoverished and cried out to God.

 

So…God called and commissioned Gideon to deliver Israel against such great odds...Scared Gideon!!… But when God calls… And we respond... He gives us inner peace.

• He gave this peace to David... As he stood before Goliath....

• He gave it to Jesus... In the Garden... As He stood in the shadow of the cross...

• Paul speaks of... This peace that surpasses all human logic and understanding.

And church... He promises us peace for the JOURNEY!!...My peace I leave you… My peace… troubled or afraid.

 

So...Gideon praised God and built an altar naming it... Jehovah-Shalom... The  Lord is my peace.

 

Moses had two names for God... One was JEHOVAH-Ruche (Ro-Che)

We find the translation in Exodus 15.26... The Lord heals.

The Israelites walked three days through desert... void of... grass... trees...shade... water. Their only company was... The sun… Heat… Thirst… Dust… And snakes. They finally came to a spring... Only to find the water was bitter… poison. So... God shows Moses a tree that can purify the water.  It was cut and thrown into the spring and the water is made sweet. Then God says... I am the Lord who heals you... JEHOVAH-RUCHE.

 

Church...Make no mistake about it... God is the one who heals.

I spend a lot of time in... Clinics... Hospitals... Hospice Houses... I know few doctors that will not admit... Or claim upfront that God is the healer...They are only the instrument in His hands.

 

In fact... last Monday... as Dr. Binson examined Charles... He acknowledged his faith in this fact.

 

Indeed…God may use a particular branch of medicine...

• Drugs.

• The branch of a surgery...

• Some special therapy...

• A new technology....

• A self-help remedy...

• Or His own supernatural power.

 

But He is the one who takes the bitterness and poison out of both our bodies and souls.

 

No wonder James tells us... Is any one of you sick? He should call the Elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well… The Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned… He will be forgiven.

 

Jehovah-RO-CHE is fully realized in Jesus...

• He is the great physician.

• He is the healer of our most dreaded disease... SIN!!

Sometimes God chooses not to heal our body... But to prepare our soul for eternity.

 

Church…Will you allow me to say some things that are on my heart this morning...Listen to me... I have no answer as to why?...

 

Why Charles?... Why now?... But I believe this is a sign for each of us... We will not live forever in this world... There will come a time when God calls us home… FAITH INCLUDES trusting in God’s timing.

 

But here’s the good news... God heals our sin condition...

He has made it possible for us to live forever with Him.

 

Question...Will we learn anything from Charles’ passing?... Will We?

As I look through this audience… Do we understand that we are only short… Weeks..Months... A few short years at the most... From the journey he has made in the past six months?... Do we?

 

Or...Will we just go on living as we’ve always lived... Without any thought for change?

 

It amazes me that we attend funerals... And are not sobered by the experience.

 

Here we are... As Ray Stevens sings... ‘Playing the games people play’ until we’re covered up with flowers in the back of a black limousine.

 

I watch... As some of us try to be someone we’re not... In the church… Right here in this church...

• Playing the game of politics...

• Trying to make a name for ourselves...

• Political ladder climbing...

Even in our religion... In the church… In the Lord’s Kingdom!!!

 

Trying to get people to notice us doing good things instead of becoming righteous simply to please the Lord… Simply to please the Lord… Simply as an expression of our faith.

 

I gotta tell you folk... Motive is everything!!!... Motive is everything!!!...

 

Doing right is wrong... Unless we’re doing what we’re doing out of proper motive.

 

Jesus was constantly onto the Pharisees because they were doing right... But with improper motive.

 

We not only do it in church... We do it in family... I watch fathers play the game of career...Climbing that ladder... Instead of spending time with family... Wife & Children.

 

I can tell you firsthand… Tell you from experience... That will lead to regret!!

 

Others of us have our own personal ladder...

• It could be education...

• An investment portfolio...

• The pursuit of a sport...

• Ladies may spend their time more concerned about the clothes they wear... The house they keep... Than how they look to the Lord or the spiritual house they are keeping for Him.

 

Church... Let’s not let Charles’ passing go unnoticed... Without regard...Without learning what God has for us... That He is the one that sweetens the water of life... Both here and for our future in Heaven.

 

He is the one we should strive to please...

 

He is the one who heals our bodies and souls… Amen?

 

Moses also saw God as JEHOVAH-NISEI... (NIS-I)

Our word means...

• God is my banner...

• God is my flag...

• God is my standard...

• God is my ensign...

• My emblem

 

When Israel was fighting the Amalekites... Moses went upon the mountain and prayed.  As long as his hands were lifted up in prayer... The Israelites prevailed.  But when his arms grew weary and were down... The Amalekites were victorious.

 

After the battle... Moses built an altar and called it JEHOVAH-NISSI... The lord is my banner.

 

Jesus is our banner... He is our strength for the Journey!!

 

The question is... Can our... Spouse... Children... Extended family... Friends...Neighbors... Working companions... Even our enemies... See that Jesus is the banner over our life?... That He is the one leading in everything we do… In word and deed?

 

Do others see the Spirit of Jesus in us... By the fruit we produce by our attitude and behavior?

 

David saw The Lord as His Shepherd... The word LORD here is Yahweh.

It’s the name God gave Moses at the burning bush... I am That I am.

• A word that speaks of God’s eternal nature.... From everlasting to  everlasting… A God with... No beginning... No end.

• It tells us that God is the One and only True God... The Sovereign LORD & Master.

It’s no coincidence that Jesus is spoken of in Revelation as the Alpha and the Omega... Who is... Who was... And who is to come... The Almighty.

 

Indeed...The Lord is our shepherd... Because of that... There is no reason for us to want.

He makes us to lie down in green pastures...

He leads us beside the still waters.

He restores our soul...

He leads us in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea...Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death... There is no reason to fear evil... For He is always with us.

The Shepherd tools... The rod and staff are used to... Inspect... Comfort... Heal... Guide... And rescue us.

Thou preparest a table before us... Blesses us... Even in the presence of enemies...

Thou anointest our head with oil...

Yes!!...When the... Lord... Yahweh... Is Shepherding... Life’s cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of life... And we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

Let me ask you this morning... Is God Your Shepherd?... And Mine... Is He?... REALLY?

• Is our faith in Him?...

• Do we see Him as our creator?...

• Do we acknowledge that we... Live...Move... Have our being ... In Him?...

• Do we see Him as our provider...Sustainer… Healer… Savior?....

• The one who brings peace?...

• Is He our banner... The motive for all we do?...

• Is He our Shepherd... The One who’s leading us to an... Eternal Home... An Abode in the Father’s House?

 

If YOU’RE not a child of God by faith... You cannot claim any of these blessings and relationships we have talked about... None of these names have any promise for you.

 

But right now… You have an opportunity to become His child by... Faith...Repentance... and the New Birth in baptism.

 

Perhaps... As His Child…

• We have lost faith in His strengths and His ability to work in our lives.

• Maybe… We are doing right... But for the wrong reason... And we need to change… Our heart… Our motives.

• Perhaps… We have sins to acknowledge to God... Asking His forgiveness and help to change.

 

If today’s lesson has spoken to you… Respond as we stand and sing.