The Church Shall Live by Faith
If we are going to let Jesus lead by acts of grace, then we need to embrace His activity by faith. Here’s the main point of this discussion: The life and authority of Christ is embraced by definite acts of faith.
Our Stewardship: To mix faith with everything—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Every one of you reading this believes in the sovereignty of God. Therefore, we rest in knowing that nothing is introduced into our ministries that hasn’t passed across God’s desk first. With that being said, our ministry moves forward when we respond in faith at both triumph and trials.
From the day of our salvation, grace has always taken the lead, and faith responded unto an effectual saving. By grace we are saved through faith . . . (Ephesians 2:8). So early on we learn that faith comes by grace, and through faith, God’s grace takes up residence in our lives. So it is in our churches. When God shows up with some display or challenge of grace, it is faith in His movements of grace that become a birth place of ministry functions.
Some practical examples could be like this:
- The grace of a new convert calls for discipleship of some kind.
- An influx of people is a call to clarify philosophy of ministry, core values, and visitor awareness.
- A divisive person is a call to confront according to Matthew 18.
Clearly the scenarios of opportunity are endless. The Bible is full of examples of heroes who moved by faith as well as others who missed God’s gospel movements because of unbelief.
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it (Hebrews 4:2).
Remember the idea here is for us to steward the movements of God’s grace by embracing them by faith and obeying Scripture in every one of them. I think it’s okay for us to say we ought to become excellent in all ministries that shepherd our sheep from the cradle to grace. And Jesus, our lead pastor, knows exactly what our next step should be.
Let me emphasize here: Every movement of grace is always a call to make much of Christ, pray together, and believe to complete obedience. A ministry that turns every movement and challenge into a treasure hunt for God will experience God’s reward (Jeremiah 29:11-13). Also, it must be said that sometimes the best movement of faith is not to move at all but rather stand still and see the salvation of the Lord (Exodus 14:13).
There is an amazing encouragement that comes to our people when we can point out how God fought and won the battle (II Chronicles 20:17). These moments are great faith builders.
So, after some great movements of grace when expectations soar, don’t be surprised if the landscape looks bleak. Remember, if God can’t be understood, He can be embraced by faith. And if you will lay down any pride and believe the best is yet to come because the Lord is in His holy temple, you too may sing a new song and tell a new story of faith which only brings more grace.
Finally, Jesus Himself gives us instruction to let faith in Him be our first primary work. In John 6, we find Jesus being pursued by the multitudes. He knew they were only “bread and fish” followers and told them so when He said, “Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled” (v. 26). He then challenged their values by saying, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life…” (v. 27). They responded with this question, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” (v. 28) Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom he hath sent” (v. 29).
Jesus considers our faith in Him to be our greatest calling and priority work. Everything flows from that. He loves it when we really believe that what we believe is really real. In ministry, if we are going to live with God, we are going to live by faith. Paul said, “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6). When the stewardship of faith becomes the lifestyle of our church, there will be a growing core of believers who discover Him to not only be their salvation but also their sufficiency and satisfaction.
I have at times made things way too hard by trying to make things happen. As I learned to watch for God, I found that He was always at work, and when we joined Him, the ride was both exciting and productive.
Let’s finish this installment with some delightful insight from Alec Motyer in Psalms by the Day.
Referencing Psalm 77 he says this, “Now the main point is this: the solution to every problem is the way of simple faith. It may not prove to be a simple thing to place faith and to hold on to the way of faith, but faith itself is essentially simple—childlike trust. It was in this way that the eternal problem of getting right with God was solved, was it not—simple faith in Jesus? If the greatest problem yielded to faith, how much more lesser problems, however testing? It is the way to greet each new day, to face every new problem, and rise to every new challenge. Faith however, must rest on a sure foundation. Faith is not a leap in the dark; it is a leap from light into light. Faith is conviction leading to action on the basis of evidence—and the only sufficient evidence is what God has done, objectively, historically. Here’s the conclusion: the mind stored with, assured of, resting on the great facts of God’s salvation is a mind at rest.”