The Essence of Faith – Lesson 9

The writer of Hebrews tells us “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1). “Without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). That’s the essence of faith. Faith is tied to Jesus Christ. Apart from him, it is just an empty meaningless word. But when Jesus Christ shows up, that word fills with life, substance and meaning. We continue examining the story of Abraham and Isaac and see how Abraham’s faith was lived out. Abraham was tested, at the critical moment, and his faith proved genuine. He truly believed God had power over death. Here is where belief in the resurrection is crucial. Do you really believe this to be true? If not, perhaps it’s time for you to step into the faith of Abraham and experience the reality of the resurrection. (Chapter 3, page 22)

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Holy and Honorable

We know that in Christ we have been set apart for God’s use. To allow Christ’s life to be lived through us. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 “…It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God…” God’s Spirit will always be working in us to say “no” to sin and “yes” to Him. * Opal asks for more clarification on whether God punishes us for sin. * Are we more able to see people through God’s eyes when we are sanctified?

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Holiness in Action

“As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'” These words have a lot of meaning to us today. Peter is admonishing us to be holy. What would that look like? Scott “Holiness can be defined… as love burning in one direction.” Tera “… life lived by people in the fullness of the Holy Spirit…”
* Tony struggles with being holy. He thinks he is OK one day only to stumble the next day. * Pastor Norman from Dallas shares his understanding of holiness. * Lorraine feels that holiness is like a gift of the Spirit.

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Sanctified Living

God created man to live in dependence upon Him and reflect his image to the world. But sin messed that up. Through the work of the cross we’ve been sanctified once again. So what does the sanctified life look like? So often we try to make ourselves holy – to make ourselves set apart. Holy living is simply this, aligning our thought, activities and actions with God. 1 Peter 1:13-15 “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'”
* Considering that not all in the Church at Laodicea were not believers, how does Revelation 3:19 fit in?
* Jane wants to know why God leaves Christians on the earth after they are saved.
* Jay’s daughter is struggling with her inability to pay off her student loan and wonders if God will be disappointed with her. * Does God tempt us or lead us into temptation? James 1:13

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The Essence of Faith – Lesson 8

God’s plan for each of us is a plan carried out by faith, in Jesus. This plan empowers us to live in this world of darkness. We are taking a look at faith today. We begin with Abraham, the Father of Faith. The key chapters are Genesis 12, 15, and 22. Notice how God entered Abraham’s life – not with condemnation and wrath, but with promises and blessings. This is grace in action. This grace compelled Abraham to respond by faith. God delivered on his promise to Abraham. When Abraham was 100, his wife, Sarah, gave birth to a son and they named him Isaac. “Some time later,” as Genesis 22 begins, God tested Abraham. After a three day journey, Abraham and Isaac arrived at Mount Moriah, the place of sacrifice. It was time for Abraham to do what God had ordered – to sacrifice his child of promise, Isaac. When told to take Isaac’s life, Abraham reasoned that God had the power to raise him back to life. Abraham was tested, at the critical moment, his faith proved genuine. He truly believed God
had power over death. Here is where belief in the resurrection is crucial. If you do not believe God raised Jesus from the dead, you’re not going to believe he can give you a new life. Do you believe this to be true? If not, step into the faith of Abraham and experience the reality of the resurrection. (Chapter 3, page 21)

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Walk and Live in His Love

Are you a “sinner saved by grace” or a “saint by calling”? Through sanctification you have been mad a saint. So what does it look like in real life? We understand that sanctification is a done deal. We’ve been “washed, sanctified, and justified” once and for all. It happened through the shed blood of Christ. If you are a believer in Christ, you are sanctified and are now able to function as God designed. * If you are cremated will you be resurrected?
* What do you think of the true meaning of Ephesians 4:11? “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers…” * Was Melchizedek Jesus?

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A Saint by Calling

1 Corinthians 1:2, 3 “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ–their Lord and ours: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” So often we deny this incredible truth – that we have been made holy. When we live the truth of the identity that God has given us, we will be surprised by the change in our lives. * Are the 10 Commandments still in effect?
* Brad reads the New Testament to find out what God thinks about him.
* Can you explain Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
* Does God withhold healing for a reason? I suffered a stroke and sought healing by God. I feel the Lord is interested in working it for His purpose. Am I wrong? Please help.

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