Faith has been given us to set us free from those things holding us in prison. (Sin is anything stopping us from living the life God has planned for us.) What holds you? What holds you back from living your dream? I have designed this lesson today to help you break free from whatever holds you back so you can experience your good life. FAITH is the key to your good life.
It’s Good To Be Alive and Have Faith
By Pastor Delbert Young
It’s Good to be Alive and Have Faith
Scriptures: 2 Peter 1:3, Galatians 3:22, 2 Corinthians 5:7, Acts 14:27, Hebrews 11:6, John 3:7, Hebrews 11:6, Matthew 13:44, Matthew 13:45, Matthew 13:46, Genesis 28:12, Genesis 28:13, Genesis 28:15, Genesis 28:17, Genesis 28:20, Genesis 28:21, Genesis 28:22, Hebrews 11:1, Mark 11:22, Mark 11:23, Mark 11:24, Mark 11:25, Hebrews 11:21, Genesis 47:28
We will conclude today our series called IT’S GOOD TO BE ALIVE. We have tried to show God has given us everything we need to have a wonderful life.
2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has GIVEN US EVERYTHING WE NEED FOR LIFE and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Our series has been about some of the wonderful things he has given us. He has given us his favor, family, friends, conflict, and love. Today we will talk about another wonderful thing he has given us to make life good. IT’S GOOD TO BE ALIVE… AND HAVE FAITH!
Galatians 3:22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a PRISONER of sin, so that what was PROMISED, being GIVEN THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, might BE GIVEN TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE.
Faith has been given us to set us free from those things holding us in prison. (Sin is anything stopping us from living the life God has planned for us.) What holds you? What holds you back from living your dream? I have designed this lesson today to help you break free from whatever holds you back so you can experience your good life. FAITH is the key to your good life. IT’S GOOD TO BE ALIVE… AND HAVE FAITH!
I have wrestled all week with the best way to project what I want to say. So, I have decided to just say it and then attempt to explain it. FAITH, IN ITS SIMPLEST DEFINITION, IS A WALK THROUGH LIFE WITH GOD.
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we WALK BY FAITH, not by sight:
This walk begins at what the Bible calls the door of faith.
Acts 14:27 On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened THE DOOR OF FAITH to the Gentiles.
THE MUST: This door of faith is referred to different ways in the Bible. It is called “conviction,” “getting saved,” being “born again,” etc. It is when you come to a place in your life when you “MUST”do something. Let me show you what I mean.
Hebrews 11:6 And without FAITH it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to himMUST believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
This is how it all begins with ANYONE. When a person truly believes God is real – exists – the person will come to him. Faith is far more than saying we believe God exists. I went for years saying I believed God existed, but never came to him. We really don’t believe he exists until we come to him. It’s a MUST.Jesus said it this way.
John 3:7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You MUST be born again.’
When we truly believe God exists, we MUST come to him, period (dei – necessary). I do not mean “must” as in some outward law commanding you. I mean “must” as in a compelling force from within your heart and belly nothing is able to stop. How many know what I am talking about? Something down deep inside cried out for God and you responded. Let’s look at Hebrews 11:6 one more time.
Hebrews 11:6 And without FAITH it is impossible to PLEASE GOD, because anyone who comes to himMUST BELIEVE that he exists AND that HE REWARDS those who earnestly seek him.
The force down inside of you crying out for God tells you two things. First, if you come to God, it will PLEASE GOD. Secondly, if you come to God he will REWARD you. Faith pleases God and then God rewards those who walk by faith.
THE MUST DOOR: As this cry for God happens inside, you come to the door of faith. Many people see the door opening into a small room full of boundaries. This is not how Jesus explained it. Jesus said it is more like you are in a room – a prison cell actually – and the door opens to a new world called the kingdom of God. In this vast new kingdom world is awaiting your best life full of endless opportunities, your dreams, and treasures.
Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
Matthew 13:45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.
Matthew 13:46 When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
Once believed and understood, we willingly sell the past life and step into the new world into which God has invited us. Passing through this MUST door of faith begins a new and higher level of life.
The Bible tells us the story of a man named Jacob who came to the MUST DOOR OF FAITH.
Genesis 28:12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the ANGELS of God were ascending and descending on it.
Genesis 28:13 There above it stood the LORD, and he said: “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying…
Genesis 28:15 I AM WITH YOU AND WILL WATCH OVER YOU WHEREVER YOU GO, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
The Lord was inviting Jacob to take a journey. It would be a stairway to heaven – the abundant life. If Jacob would go on this journey God would reward him and Jacob would have angelic encounters (Gen 28:12; 31:11; 32:1; 48:16). The Lord promised Jacob he would watch over him and take care of him wherever he went and whatever he did. All Jacob had to do was step through the door and walk it out. Here is Jacob’s response.
Genesis 28:17 He was afraid and said, “How AWESOME is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is THE GATE OF HEAVEN.”
Jacob realized he was at the awesome DOOR. When we have the MUST door experience, it really isthe awesome gate of heaven. It is God opening his kingdom to us and saying to us, “I have a journey for you. I have great plans for you. I will bless you. I will take care of you. I will give you divine encounters. I will make your life great. I will not only bless you, I will also bless your family. How about it? Want to take a walk through life with me?”
Genesis 28:20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me ON THIS JOURNEY I AM TAKING and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear
Genesis 28:21 so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God
Genesis 28:22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”
I have always found this passage interesting. God never asked for Jacob’s tithe. Jacob was simply saying, “Lord, if you will take care of me and do all you promised me, then I will do what I am supposed to do for you.”
I came to my DOOR OF FAITH on May 7, 1978. Let me tell you a little about it. I outwardly seemed to have it all together. Great family, nice house, made good money, decent education, very nice looking guy (kidding) – but inside something was not satisfied. For weeks prior to stepping through the door, I had been processing what was happening inside of me. I would actually come home from work and read the Bible before I stepped through the door. Early one Sunday morning, I waited for Judy to awake and asked her if she wanted to go to church. With an inquisitive look, she said okay and we came to theawesome gate of heaven – DOOR OF FAITH – just like Jacob came. There I (we) stood. What would I do?
We all know what I did. I stepped through and began my journey – walk by faith. My decision that day, in some way, has affected most of you. It was a decision I have never once regretted or ever once wished I had not made. I believe some of you here today are standing at your DOOR OF FAITH and need to make this decision. You will have an opportunity shortly, but first allow me to talk a little more about Jacob’s journey.
As we look at Jacob’s journey – walk by faith – we see God did exactly what he said he would do for Jacob. I am not going to get into all the details. I will just say Jacob fell in love with a beautiful woman named Rachel. He had twelve sons and one daughter and he became extremely wealthy. Jacob did some strange and even dumb things. He encountered mountains and valleys, good times and not so good times, but God was there in every time just as he said he would.
My point is when you walk this walk of faith, God will take your scars and turn them into stars. He did for Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, Jesus, Paul, and everyone who took this walk of faith. He will do it for you, too.
ANGELIC DIVINE APPOINTMENTS: I want to make one more observation of Jacob before moving on in our lesson. Jacob saw angels ascending and descending at his door of faith – gate to heaven. This was God telling Jacob he would have many angelic encounters during his walk by faith and Jacob did. They protected and instructed Jacob. Once an angel instructed Jacob how to increase his herds (Gen 31:10-11) and because of this, Jacob became extremely wealthy. My point is on this walk by faith, you will have divine appointments. It may or may not be a literal angel from heaven, but it will be a divine appointment meaning God showing up for you. It could be a friend, acquaintance, someone you have never seen before, a spouse, even a preacher… But, God will speak to you somehow and in some way when you need him to be there.
WALK OF FAITH: For the next few minutes, I want to attempt to make this walk by faith practical. Let’s look at the Biblical definition of faith.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things HOPED for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen.
This makes faith crystal clear doesn’t it? Let me simplify it for you. Faith is a mixture/ blend of HOPEand EVIDENCE. For what do you hope now and in life? Then, what evidence do you have the thing for which you hope, but cannot yet see will happen? Jesus said this about faith.
Mark 11:22 “Have FAITH in God,” Jesus answered.
Mark 11:23 “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, WHATEVER you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Mark 11:25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
God will move your mountain and make your whatever happen, but you are expected to do some things, too. You are expected to speak to your whatever, pray, believe you have received it, and make certain you have forgiven (make sure nothing is blocking your request).
After Judy and I came through our door of faith, we like most couples, faced financial difficulties. We seemed always behind financially, although we made decent money. Can anyone relate? One day God gave us the solution to become debt free. We would sell the house in which we then lived, build a new, nicer, larger house, pay off all our debts including the new house, and be debt free. In the natural, it was impossible. However, I spoke to it, prayed, believed we had received it, and made certain nothing was blocking my request. Do you know what happened? Within one year, we were living in a new house and we were debt free! I WALKED THROUGH THIS AND LEFT FOOTPRINTS. Since then, when things got financially tight and I walked into DARK TIMES in my personal finances or the finances here at the church and I could do nothing but hope, I have looked back at that footprint evidence years ago and I knew without a doubt God would move my mountain and give me my whatever – hope. IT’S GOOD TO BE ALIVE… AND HAVE FAITH!
Judy and I have been married thirty-eight years. I know… you are asking, “Delbert, you are only 42 years old. How can you have been married 38 years?” Anyway, we have walked into dark times and had marital problems just like any married couple. However, God always showed up. So, as the years went by and our marriage would come to a dark place, where we could only hope, we were able to look back at the footprint evidence and know though we could not see it, God would do it. He always has. IT’S GOOD TO BE ALIVE… AND HAVE FAITH!
I have watched some of you walk through tremendous physical attacks with cancer – dark times. I watched you do the same thing. I watched you battle fear and believe in God. You came to a place where you could only hope. You knew God had always moved in your past and the evidence of footprints was there. It was a rough row for you. You even did chemo, but because of the evidence, you were able to have faith. IT’S GOOD TO BE ALIVE… AND HAVE FAITH!
What is your mountain and what is your whatever? For what do you hope? What holds you in prison and stops you from experiencing the wonderful life God has for you? God has given you faith to make life good.
I talked about Jacob earlier. I was reminded this week of a sermon I preached over ten years ago about him. I had read a scripture in Hebrews causing me to stop. It was a scripture from all those people listed in the ‘Hall of Faith’ in Hebrews 11.
Hebrews 11:21 IT WAS BY FAITH THAT JACOB, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons and bowed in worship AS HE LEANED ON HIS STAFF.
This is a reference to Genesis 47:21. Jacob carried this staff with him all of his life (Gen 32:10). He was carrying it with him when he began his walk by faith (Gen 32:10). The staff was a man’s journal. It identified him and told the story of his life (Gen 38:25). The man would carve into it images of the major events of his lifetime, i.e. marriage, children’s births, grandchildren births, and any major event. He was then able to rehearse his life to others. This is what was happening as Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons. Jacob was able to look back at all the evidence – FOOTPRINTS – of when God moved in his life. It was a walk by faith producing a life Jacob could lean on when he was old.
Genesis 47:28 Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven.
Jacob never regretted the day he accepted God’s invitation to take a journey with God and walk thiswalk of faith. God is inviting some of you today to take this walk of faith. He makes a promise to protect and bless you and your family. You will have divine appointments. You will be able to hope and to look back and see evidence. You will be able to have an abundant life you can lean upon and tell your children and grandchildren. IT’S GOOD TO BE ALIVE… AND HAVE FAITH!
God has given us everything we need to have a great life. How is your life? Is it a life you can rehearse with your children, grandchildren, and generations to come? I pray it is and will be. I trust you have enjoyed our series. IT’S GOOD TO BE ALIVE!
If you have enjoyed this series, give the Lord a shout and a handclap! Amen!
Other Related Sermons:
Judy Young, The Miracle of Forgiveness, EXPECTING THE MIRACULOUS, sermon lesson www.lifegatechurch.com