Today I am sharing the final excerpt from my most recent sermon at Cornerstone church.
If you missed:
And now here is Run Pt. 5
Yesterday we concluded by saying, God’s word doesn’t call us to run away or to run to battle. God’s Word tells us to run to God and nowhere else. Let’s look at Hebrews 11 and 12 to start this discussion.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.2Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.4It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering to God than Cain did. Abel’s offering gave evidence that he was a righteous man, and God showed his approval of his gifts. Although Abel is long dead, he still speaks to us by his example of faith.
5It was by faith that Enoch was taken up to heaven without dying—“he disappeared, because God took him.”aFor before he was taken up, he was known as a person who pleased God. 6And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.7It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.
30It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.
31It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
32How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. 33By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.35Women received their loved ones back again from death.
But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half,d and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
39All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.
Hebrews 12:1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.a Because of the joyb awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.3Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;c then you won’t become weary and give up. 4After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
So how are we to run?
Not away. Do not withdraw from society.
Not to Battle. Your role is not to fight people who disagree with you or even to fix the problems or change society.
We are to run to Jesus and then He can fill us and change the world through us, but our first priority in running is never to fix the problem; It is always to find God in the problem, because if we find where He is, then we can stand with Him in the midst and watch as He changes the problem into a possibility.
Warriors of Fire is a prayer group here at Cornerstone that meets every Thursday afternoon from 1:30- 3. Most Thursdays the group prays but once or twice a month we do a teaching. At our last teaching we had a lengthy discussion on the fact that as Christians we complicate Christianity by trying to do God’s job in fixing the problems of life and culture. We quote verses like 2 Chronicles 7:14 which says,
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
That verse tells us how to fix our culture in 4 steps humble yourself, pray, seek God’s face and repent of your personal sins. Then God will move miraculously and heal your land.
We say we believe that but rather than use God’s four steps which would involve us running to God. We either give up on our culture and run away or we attack our culture and run in to battle it. We’ll rally and campaign by the hundreds and sign petitions by the thousands to stop the gays from practicing gay marriage and the at risk moms from practicing abortion. We’ll swear and scream on Facebook to get Christians to vote for a guy or a gal neither of whom have one lick of anointing or strength to change the fall of our culture into spiritual darkness. Meanwhile we all think it is a huge victory that 20 out of 300 show up for prayer on Saturday nights to ask God to anoint our services and if we can break 10 at our weekday prayer meetings we think we’ve achieved something. Personally we celebrate if we manage a full 15 minutes in prayer and Bible reading a day.
Folks by and large today, some Christians are running away from life. Some are running in to battle life in their own strength but honestly most of us are not running to God in the way He has called us to.
Only running to God is ever going to effectively change your home, your situation, your family, your neighborhood, your city, your state or your country. No amount of running away or running in your own strength to fix the situation is going to work only running to God by humbling yourself, by praying, by seeking His face, by turning from your personal individual wicked ways will work!