Message Explanation: Have you ever had a storm blow into your life? Have you ever asked these questions of why?
Faith! We all have heard this word at some point in our lives. We hear this word thrown around many times on the field, in class, from our parents and even to our friends.
Our series, “Call of Duty” is all about gearing up to stand firm against the enemy. We have found so far in this series that God’s power overcomes to enemies attacks and that we can stand firm because of God’s truth, righteousness and peace. Tonight, we are going to talk about the shield of faith!
Romans 6:16: “In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.”
1. The shield of faith is BULLETPROOF to enemies’ attacks. Armor doesn’t work if you are running away from the battle.
The shield covered all of the armor and soldier’s front side; it was large 4x2, about the size of a door. And a soldier stood behind it fully protected from the fiery arrows of the approaching enemy. Satan attacks by flinging accusation, fear, discouragement and pain.
Faith is what keeps the doubts that Satan tries to fill our minds with. When we struggle with doubt we need to ask God for more faith.
Faith is moving from knowing facts to trusting a person. "Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God" Hebrews 11:6.
One of my favorite stories of faith is in Matthew 14. The disciples were with Jesus on a boat on the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is 690 feet below sea level. Mount Hermon rises 9200 feet and many times strong winds would sweep down through the gorges in this valley causing sudden storms.
Jesus had just finished teaching and feeding the 5,000 plus people. I showed the video clip from "The Bible" series of Jesus walking on the water (John 14:22-32).
The disciples faced a situation where they were not in control.
We all face situations that are out of our own control. The truth about our lives is that either we are currently:
In a storm. Coming out of a storm. Stepping into a storm.
John 16:33: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
When Peter lost sight of Jesus, his shield of faith fell. Most of us can admit that God is on control.
2. Faith is moving from knowing facts to trusting a person.
Peter went from thoughts to action. He stepped out of the boat and walked to Jesus. He trusted Jesus.
3. Jesus is in control during the storm; the storm isn’t in control.
Faith is what shields us from the storms of life.
27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
Faith through Christ destroys the attack of the enemy and gives us COURAGE to stand firm. Are we known for our undying and unrelenting faith? Does your faith cost you anything?
Element of Fun: The middle school students played "trust fall" and we had adult leaders showing from the stage how to catch each other and show faith.
Music: Sweetness of Freedom, Holy Spirit, Break Every Chain , Oceans (Where my Feet may Fall)
Favorite Moment: Listening to students share about how they are learning to trust God.
What’s Next: We are finishing the series, “Call of Duty” as we talk about going on offense!
To watch any of the series messages, check out the vimeo page
2 When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. 2 Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, 3 four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. 4 They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. 5 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven." 6 But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, 7 “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!” 8 Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts?9 Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? 10 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, 11 “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 12 And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!” Mark 2:1-12.
I often hear these statements from students, “I cannot wait to grow up!” or “I cannot wait to receive my license and graduate!” We all face milestones in our lives, whether that is your first steps, bike ride or college graduation. What does a growing faith look like? Is growing in our faith just a class, memorizing scripture, or church attendance? To have faith in God we must STOP having faith in our own power.
What does growing faith look like?
Growing faith is active (v. 3-4) "Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." James 2:17
The four men cared about their friend. They cared more about a person than a building. Jesus did not come to establish a building of people who look, smell and act like each other. He came to set the captives free ! Faith is moving from knowing facts to trusting a person.
Growing faith is believing (v. 5) "Without faith it is impossible to please God" Hebrews 11:6.
Jesus “saw their faith.” Too many people live as practical atheists. They recognize God, even call themselves Christians, but their lifestyle screams that God does not exist. Faith is moving from knowing to doing. They are intimately connected. A growing faith grows from impersonal to personal. It is placing all of who you are into all of who God is. It is surrendering our all into the hands of Jesus.
Growing faith is visible (8-12)
The four men refused to give up hope for their friend! We need to reach out to the world and not get so focused upon ourselves. What you and I do with our life REVEALS who or what we put our faith in. Are we known for our undying and unrelenting faith? Does your faith cost you anything?
God wants to build our faith. The greater the faith, the greater the relationship!