1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV) 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
“Faith is the means by which Christians do business beyond time and space and bring to pass otherwise unrealizable hopes.” (John White, The Fight)
“While, certainly the concept of faith includes right knowledge about God and who Jesus is, ‘faith’ as we will see today is in the realm of reality and response, not in theories and hypotheticals. Especially at this moment when there is so much uncertainty and upheaval in our daily life and in society as a whole, we need a faith that is beyond just thoughts or words, we need a faith that moves mountains of doubt, a faith to fight the good fight when it seems easier to quit.” (P. Nate’s message)
As God is at work in our lives to make our faith more genuine by how we go through life trials and struggles, we also get to experience the inexpressible and glorious joy of our salvation!
Let’s sing, “Worthy” (click here) by Elevation Worship.
Let’s pray: Father, our hearts are filled with joy knowing that we belong to you! You alone are worthy. Thank you for our salvation! In Jesus’ name, amen.
1 Peter 1:6-7 (NIV) 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
“Peter here also addresses the issues of trials and suffering. But he uses the same word that James uses for ‘testing’, but translated here as ‘proven genuineness’. Testing and trials result in a genuine faith response in our lives, which he likens to pure gold. God allows our faith to be tested through trials so that it gets hot enough to evaporate impurities. It’s gotta get hot enough, get enough pressure, enough intensity so that what is real and genuine remains, and what does not belong is brought to the surface.” (P. Nate’s message)
During trials, the impurities of our faith surface – perhaps the impurities of misplaced confidence and trust in other things. Where are we putting our trust and confidence? Is it in temporary things, rather than in the promises of God? Let’s embrace God’s work of purifying and making our faith more pure and real.
Romans 10:17 (NIV) Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
“Faith then is your decision to respond to God’s Word… In time the decision grows into an attitude, an attitude of always being ready to respond positively to God’s Word. Strong faith is faith that continues to respond to the Word of God in the absence of outward encouragement.” (John White, The Fight)
“We increase our faith by exercising it – through hearing and responding to God’s Word, and also lived practically in obedience in love within the church…Our faith increases and grows stronger as God’s Word becomes the impetus for response in our lives. When we truly hear God’s Word, it brings a faith response in our hearts, which is made complete when we respond in how we then live. We really get to the heart of things when we can allow God’s Word alone to change us, grow us, and lead us in love toward the Lord and others.”
(P. Nate’s message)
Today, let’s take some time to pray for our brothers and sisters in our missional group and in our church. Perhaps God is bringing someone to heart who may be struggling right now. Pray that God will give them grace to respond to his Word in faith and be built up in faith.
Let’s pray: Lord, thank you for your promises to us. We choose to respond to your Word rather than to our circumstances, to our doubts and fears. Build us up in faith Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.
James 1:2-4 (NIV) 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
“‘Testing’ is the process of proving and revealing what is true, genuine and lasting – which is proven by how we respond initially and how we persist. It confirms what will last, and what does not. We also see the perseverance is at work, growing us up in maturity to be ‘complete’ people – meaning that we are a ‘whole’ person, able to persist in faith.” (P. Nate’s message)
Questions to consider from Sunday:
-How do we respond to unexpected trials?
-Have you been experiencing a trial again and again and again that seems to be testing you?
-Do you find yourself responding in frustration, immaturely, or inadequately?
Let’s ask God to help us to let go of our faithless ways of responding to trials.
Let’s pray: Father, I am ready to fully cooperate and submit to your work of transformation in this particular area of my life. Come and have your way. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Romans 5:1-2 (NIV) 1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
“Faith is man’s response to God’s initiative. Your first faith was the positive response you made to the Holy Spirit when he brought truth about Christ home to your heart.” (John White, The Fight)
“In the New Testament especially, terms for the concept of faith relate to allegiance, trust, belief, faithfulness, obedience. Faith has many dimensions – the faithfulness of God to his people, the faithfulness of Jesus expressed through his life, death, and resurrection. When Jesus’ faithfulness met our lives, it brought forth faith, trust and belief in him in our lives.” (P. Nate’s message)
Our faith journey begins with God and with his faithfulness to us. God took the initiative to reveal his love to us by sending his son Jesus Christ so that we can respond and have a relationship with him. This is amazing grace! May our faith and hope rest always on the finished work of Jesus Christ.
As we sing to “Christ Is Risen” (click here) by Phil Wickham, let’s praise him for his saving grace in our lives.
Let’s pray: Jesus, I place my trust and faith in you. Fill me with your Holy Spirit today and with the joy of your salvation! In Jesus’ name, amen.