Sr. Pastor Darrell G Vaughn
                                                        Faithfulness - A Key Step to Happiness
July 18, 2010                                       "Faith to Faith!"

Sun Pm Worship                          We can"t always be on the Mountain top!        

Text: Rom 1:17 (King James Version)

  "Father, I am your servant, willing and desiring to be used to bless your people."

                            The Fields are white and the laborers are few!
2. C.H. Spurgeon said, "If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival;

      Lets be real tonight! It is easy to shout praises from the Mountain top!
"For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
(Romans 1:17)
We operate on faith everyday...just not always faith in God.
Illustration: Faith is central to all of life. For example, you go to a doctor whose name you cannot pronounce and whose degrees you have never verified. He gives you a prescription you cannot read. You take it to a pharmacist you have never seen before. He gives you a chemical compound you do not understand. Then you go home and take the pill according to the instructions on the bottle. All in trusting, sincere faith!
I. Realize the Value of Faith
"Above all, taking the shield of faith.." Ephesians 6:16
A. Faith is of utmost importance. Without faith we not only displease God, but we can receive nothing from Him. James 1:6-7 "But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord.
B. Faith in Christ brings salvation to the repentant. Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. It provides, healing to the afflicted, and comfort to the bereaved.


C. Faith brings strength, safety, and security. Its value is beyond estimation. Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him

 

D. Illustration: At a circus a huge elephant was tied to an eighteen inch stake. Could he not easily have pulled it out of the ground and be free? Sure! But he had tried it when he was a baby and was unsuccessful. The elephant had concluded that he could never pull it out of the ground. So there he stood, a massive creature capable of lifting whole trees, yet held captive by a puny stake.

What small stake could faith release you from?

II. We must Recognize the Vision of Faith
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." Hebrews 12:2
A. "Where there is no vision, the people perish" Proverbs 29:18 KJV.

 Illustration: A young preacher went to a small church and God was showing him a great vision for this church. He worked very hard do his part, setting the example and encouraging others to see God's vision and the potential for this church. In big letters he posted on the wall above the baptistery, "Where there is no vision, the people perish." No one would catch the vision. No one wanted to see it. None cared to see it. They were content with the way things were. One day, God called him to another church. And on his last Sunday there, after his last message delivered, a strange thing happened. As he was walking down the aisle to leave for the last time at the close of the service, for everyone to see, the "W" fell from this sign..to which it now said, "Here there is no vision, the people perish." Many Christians want to "see" results, receiving first and believing later. They lack the vision of faith.
B. We must keep a positive outlook and continuo to look up. What are you Believing God for tonight?  (for financial,  physical,  mental, or spiritual needs) Ask and we shall receive.
C. The vision of faith brings "the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1.

ALL OF US KNOW SOMETHING OF THE VALUE OF FAITH. For example, we know what the Bible says concerning it.

 Hebrews 11:6: "Without faith it is impossible to please God
 Mark 11:22: "Have faith in God."
 Mark 9:23: "All things are possible to him that believes."
 Hebrews 11:1   Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
And then, of course, there are the many epigrams that abound today regarding faith:

 "Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible."
 "A little faith will bring your soul to heaven; a great faith will bring heaven to your soul."
 "Faith, like muscle, grows strong with exercise."
 "Faith is the outstretched hand of the soul taking what Christ offers."

Miracles happen when we use and exercise our faith. 1 Peter 1:8-9 "and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

"This is the victory..even our faith." 1 John 5:4
A. Let us never fail to praise and glorify God when victory comes. Hebrews 13:15 "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
B. Rejoicing over victories of faith strengthens our faith. Sharing our victories with others inspires and increases their faith also.
C. The greatest motivation for prayer is answered prayer. The greatest motivation for great faith, is Hebrews 11:1..

Illustration: A student once purchased a new mechanical pencil. After some time he found himself in the middle of an important test, and his pencil ran out of lead! There was a great deal of frustration and anguish as he wasted precious minutes going around to other students trying to borrow another pencil. Later the student found out that his new pencil was designed with a complete supply of extra lead inside that could be dispensed with a mere press of the button.
Christians are often like this student: although they have all of God"s sufficiency available to them, because of lack of knowledge they do not draw on it in their time of need. Faith must be linked to knowledge to be exercised and to grow
Most of us do not question the value of faith. It is the acquisition of faith that we struggle with. Have you ever longed to have more faith but didn"t know how to get it?

Have you ever wanted to live by faith, like those we read about in Hebrews 11? Have you ever said to yourself, "I wish I had more faith because I know that I would be a better person." Well, right in our text is the key to opening the door to a greater faith. Let"s look at the phrase in verse 17: "faith to faith."

The first faith speaks of that which is primary (saving faith); the second faith is power-giving (fruitfulness).

We build on the first faith (it is foundational); the second one identifies us.

The first faith is all about assurance; the second tells us what we can become.

The first faith deals with redemption; the second deals with risk.

The first faith is a gift; the second is all about growth.

IN ORDER TO HAVE A MORE POWERFUL FAITH YOU MUST

1. Believe that your faith can grow!

IT LIKE: learning to swim, learning how to ride a bike, learning how to skate. They all started with the belief that we could do it.

Remember when Jesus was in the boat and a great storm arose and the disciples woke Him because they were afraid? He looked at them and said, "O ye of little faith." Remember the lady whose daughter was possessed and she came and asked Jesus to touch her? As she continually persisted, Jesus finally looked at her and said, "Your faith is great!" Remember when Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica? He said he was thankful because their faith was greatly enlarged."

Did you see the progression? Little-Great-Greatly Enlarged! If our faith is to expand, we must believe that it can!

A second way to have a powerful faith is to..

2. Associate with others who have great faith.

Rom. 1:12: "That I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine."

I Thess. 3:2: "..and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith."

More Often than not good circumstances and bad friends equal problems. On the other hand, bad circumstances and good friends equal victory!

 People we associate with are like elevator buttons-they can take you up or down!

My faith has been enlarged to a great extent by the example of others-observing how they handled adversity and the challenges that life brings. It rubs off, this thing we call faith. The more we associate with those who really trust God, the more we will become a person of faith.

Can you think of someone whose faith has inspired you?

3. Read and embrace God"s Word.

Paul challenged Timothy to be constantly nourished on the words of the faith (I Tim. 4:6).

The life of D.L. Moody has been a constant encouragement to me. One time he said, "I prayed for faith and thought that some day it would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith didn't seem to come. One day I read in Romans that "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." I had up to this time, closed my Bible and prayed for faith. Now I opened my Bible and began to study and faith has been growing ever since."

So, then, as we get into the Word, we will become acquainted with the great heroes of faith-men like Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David, Peter, and Paul.

When we are first saved, the Scriptures, with their soul-stirring instruction and vital spiritual food, are deeply satisfying. As time goes on, however, we routinely read those same portions over and over in a manner that no longer speaks to us. Our spiritual senses grow dull and lethargic,


Remember the man in Matthew 17 who came to the disciples and asked them for help for his demon-possessed boy? He asked the disciples to pray for him.

They prayed and nothing happened. Then Jesus prayed and something did happen-a miracle! The disciples got discouraged and said, "Lord, why is it when we prayed for him that nothing happened?" And the Lord answered, "It was because of you little faith." Then He talked to them about faith being the size of a mustard seed and how much growth potential it had.

Referring to the boy who was possessed, Jesus said, "This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." In other words, there are some problems which are so immense that we must be totally immersed in prayer and fasting-believing God to give that for which we pray. Great problems demand great faith!


5. Remember past victories.

Hebrews 10:32: "But remember the former days, when after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings."

Keep a victory diary-a prayer book. It will encourage you to pray believingly when you face a mountain.
David found that remembering his past successes with God increased his faith for greater challenge. He told King Saul that the giant Goliath was no problem based on his victories over a lion and a bear.

A good exercise is sit some day and write down all the answers to prayer you have experienced personally-all the victories over sin, temptation, trials, sickness-whatever and then say to yourself, "God and I did it before; we can do it again!" Go ahead and build on that kind of persevering faith.

DR. A.C. DIXON, a well-known pastor in Boston, found his church needed $5,000 to square accounts. He and his deacons prayed about it. One deacon arose and said, "Brethren, God has answered our prayers. He will send the money in next Sunday's collection. That Sunday it rained all day and the congregation was small. A deacon suggested that they not take the collection. But the deacon who had believed for a good offering said, "I didn"t trust the weather; I trusted God!" They took the offering and it came to $5,600!"

FAITH IS THE VICTORY!