SIMPLE TRUTH: Faith venturesBy Staff Reports Published 9:41am Thursday, August 8, 2013
By Charles Christmas
As unworthy as I am to do so, I begin a mini-series of articles on the simple truth of faith ventures. A Bible truth on one of my confessing caps is “Without Faith—Impossible.”
Why is this series concerning faith ventures of utmost importance? In the condition we find ourselves in today as individuals, families, churches and as a nation, it is too late for human efforts and plans and schemes and analyses and strength and answers; we must have what only God can do!
Faith ventures focus on what God alone can do for us, with us, through us, around us and even apart from us.
Two brief scripture verses for backdrop and foundation are as follows: And 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.
Now to God who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and forever: Ephesians 3:20.
Out of my past experiences in faith ventures and out of what I know of Scripture, I submit that there are at least three essentials for a faith venture:
First, we must believe and understand that God is God of today. All he has ever been, he is today. He is God of now.
Jesus rebuked his listeners for not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God and reminded them that God said, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; I am now God of the living.”
A backdrop and foundation verse above informs us that we must believe and understand that he exists today, and he will respond today as we diligently seek him. One of the great passages on faith ventures is Hebrews 3:7-19. Three times we are exhorted that God is God of today; that he speaks to us and calls us to faith ventures today; and we are warned to not resist his voice and reap the consequences of living and dying outside the excellent desire and the will of God for us.
Second, we must believe and understand that God is able today. I am convinced that the essential step of faith is to believe that God is able.
Let me show you this simply in Scripture. In the healing of the two blind men in Matthew 9:27-28, they are crying out, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on us and give us our sight.” He asked them only one question: “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They answered, “Yes, we believe you are able.”
A second backdrop and foundation verse above reminds us that God is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine. In Matthew 8:2-3, when the man with leprosy came and knelt before Jesus he said, “Lord, I know you are able; and if you are willing, you can make me clean?” Jesus replied, “I am willing; be clean.”
The first three gospels tell of four men bringing a helpless, paralyzed man to Jesus. They believed Jesus was able and took the action to get the paralytic into his presence. Referring to the four men, the Bible says, “When Jesus saw their faith, he forgave and healed.” Their faith meant believing that Jesus was able and acting upon that belief.
In the Old Testament book of Numbers, in chapter l3 and 14, God’s chosen people are on the border of the land of Canaan, which God had promised them to be their land.
After 12 representatives searched out the rich blessings of the land along with the problems of possessing the land, a report was submitted. Joshua and Caleb’s report was: “The land is wonderful, and there are problems and enemies to be overcome. But we are well able to overcome because God is able and he will delight in our faith and bring us into the land.”
The other ten reported: “The land would be wonderful, but the problems and enemies are too much for us and we are not able to overcome. The entire population of men over twenty years old had to live and die outside the wonderful will of God for the forty years of wandering in a desert life. Then the younger generations followed the faith of Joshua and Caleb, who believed that God was able and he would bring them into the land and therefore “they would be well able to overcome.”
Third, we must believe and understand that God calls us today to join him in a venture or ventures of faith. So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” (Hebrews 3:7)
Why should God’s people today live and die outside of the wonderful promises of God by not joining him in ventures of faith. “They were not able to enter because of their unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:19) “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.” (4:1)
Let’s obey his voice, and believing God is well able, risk all upon him.
—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.