Crisis of Belief
Perry Duggar |
When God invites us to join in His work, we must decide what we believe about Him.
Introduction: We continue our series, Experiencing God.
Today’s message is entitled, Crisis of Belief.
- Moses received an assignment from God to lead Israel out of slavery in Egypt.
- His response (theme verse): Exodus 3:11 (NLT)—But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”
- Moses did not think he was capable of accomplishing God’s intimidating assignment—and it’s true, he wasn’t.
- This morning, we will focus on Reality 5: God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
- We tend to think of a “crisis” as a traumatic or stressful event that creates urgency.
- However, the original meaning (etymology) of the word is:
- Crisis = Gk. krisis; “decision, separating, judgment, a turning point.” (Related to words critic, critical, critique.)
- A crisis is a turning point that calls for a decision; specifically, deciding what you believe about God.
- Like Moses, we face crises when we must decide what we believe.
A Crisis of Belief...
#1 - Results from an assignment beyond my ability. (Exodus 3:9-11; 4:1-17; Matthew 19:26; Philippians 4:13)
- [Screen] Exodus 3:9–10 (NLT)[P49]—9 Look! The cry of the people of Israel has reached Me, and I have seen how harshly the Egyptians abuse them. 10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead My people Israel out of Egypt.”
- When God informs us of something He wants us to do; it will often be beyond our abilities, experience, talents or resources to perform.
- God reveals His plans to us, not because He needs our help or even thinks we are capable of accomplishing them, but rather, because He wants us to experience Him, to come to know Him better, as He works through us to fulfill His purposes.
- Anything we can complete using our own assets does not require God’s involvement—so what we believe about Him doesn’t change—and we don’t grow spiritually.
- If God gives me an assignment that I know, or at least think, I can handle on my own, that’s an indication that it may not be God making the assignment (though it may be something that is good, even something Christian in nature).
- [Screen] Exodus 3:11 (NLT)[P49]—But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”
- Moses knew he was insufficient for this great task, but he wouldn’t be alone.
- [Screen] Exodus 3:12 (NLT)[P49]—God answered, “I will be with you. …
- God-sized plans require us to rely on Him, because only He possesses the power to complete those plans, which enables us to experience Him—and transforms our beliefs about God and often, about ourselves!
- [Screen] Matthew 19:26 (NLT)[P789]—Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” [Philippians 4:13]
- Our humanly impossible tasks may not involve escaping actual enslavement, but slavery takes may forms: the captivity of addiction, the confinement of fear, the domination of immoral living, the oppression of anger, the captivity of shame, the incarceration of greed, among other forms of enslavement and imprisonment.
- APP.: Has God given you an assignment you can’t accomplish on your own?
A Crisis of Belief...
#2 - Requires faith and action to respond. (Luke 6:46; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 11:1,6; James 2:14,17.26)
- After hearing God’s “crisis-producing,” assignment, what we do next reveals what we really believe about God.
- Is God all-powerful? Is He capable of accomplishing whatever He decides to do?
- We will all respond, “Of course He is,” then why do we live as though He is not?
- Why do we hesitate, even refuse, attempting what we know He is calling us to accomplish?
- A God-sized assignment that causes a crisis always requires faith; what is faith?
- [Screen] Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)[P971]—Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
- Faith is confidence in God, that what He has promised or purposed to do will happen!
- Faith is not how much belief I can muster without doubting that God will do something I want Him to do.
- I can pray and hope for something I want to happen: a reconciled relationship, a job or promotion, an illness that I want healed—all good things, but not the object of faith, unless based on a promise from God!
- We must base our lives on His promises, not on things we desire from God!
- [Screen] 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NLT)[P931]—For we live by believing and not by seeing. [NIV: We live by faith, not by sight.]
- Sight is the opposite of faith; if we can figure out something can be accomplished practically, using our resources, faith is not required.
- We have a natural tendency to try to build lives in which faith is unnecessary, where everything is within our control, but this doesn’t please God and it stunts our growth.
- [Screen] Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)[P971]—And 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. [individuals and churches.]
- What we truly believe will always be displayed through our actions—and this includes what we believe about God.
- [Screen] Luke 6:46 (NLT)[P828]—“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?”
- Faith is always expressed through obedience; if you don’t obey, you don’t truly believe that what God is saying to you is true.
- [Screen] James 2:14,17 (NLT)[P975]—14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?... [Implied answer is “no!”]
- [P976] 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. …
- What I do reveals what I believe about God, regardless of what I say.
- APP.: What does your life reveal about your faith, or lack of faith?
A Crisis of Belief...
#3 - Reveals God to a watching world. (Exodus 14:4,29-31; Luke 5:13-16; Acts 9:40-42)
- People become interested in God when they see Him at work through His people.
- They will learn His nature when they see it displayed in the activity of His people.
- Some believe God will never ask His people to undertake anything that they cannot afford, or don’t have the necessary gifts or talents to do, are afraid of doing, for whatever reason, seems impossible.
- Yet if our community is going to see God at work, they must observe more than just sincere Christians doing the best they can.
- Watchers must see God at work in Christian’s lives attempting the impossible—and experiencing changed lives that cannot be explained otherwise.
- When we accomplish things that can only be explained by God’s involvement, we provide evidence that God is real to an unbelieving, but watching, world.
- Moses could not lead Israel out of slavery, cross the Red Sea, provide water from a rock and food from heaven every morning (except the Sabbath).
- None of these things were humanly possible.
- [Screen] Exodus 14:29–31 (NLT)[P59]—29 But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides. 30 That is how the LORD rescued Israel from the hand of the Egyptians that day. And the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the seashore. 31 When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the LORD had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before Him. They put their faith in the LORD and in His servant Moses.
- When the world sees something happen that only God can do, they become interested in Him. [also Luke 5:13-16; Acts 9:40-42]
- Our world sees devoted people building churches, taking mission trips, doing service projects, serving God to the best of their ability, but not seeing God!
- Our community is not seeing anything happening that can only be explained in terms of God’s activity if we aren’t attempting anything that only God can do!
- What are you doing that can only be explained by the reality of God in your life? (Some of us give little, serve less, show up occasionally, and change none at all; how does that display the Presence and power of God in our lives?)
- What is our church attempting that will fail unless God intervenes?
- [Pray about India, ask what God wants to do through us; send it in to [email protected]]