Wow, we were supposed to be away this weekend, but that sermon we were supposed to miss was something else! Not only an excellent sermon with powerful truths, but packed with personal testimony. Brian was an avid atheist before he became a Christian (when he walked in on people who were praying and fasting for him!)
Our resident Title-Guy has tagged him the “Pilgrim Pastor”, which is fitting not only because he is presently doing a study with us on Pilgrim’s Progress, but because he is called to Interim Pastor Ministry–meaning he travels around to various churches as needed. So included in all that personal testimony, were some experiences he’s had with churches, which was somehow comforting and encouraging. He also stressed to us about how convinced he was (especially after attending the Elders’ Day Apart on Saturday) that we have excellent, God-honouring leadership in our Elders, who have a strong love for us.
The sermon was the last in our series on Portraits of Persistent Faith, about Moses’ example of living by faith when God gives you a difficult task. I should put Brian’s definition of faith here, since he’s been going over it every Sunday and is anxious that we “get it”:
Faith is the confidence in what God has told us so we can build firm convictions on that reality, even if we do not see the evidence yet.
So Moses shows us four challenges we have to face, in taking on a difficult task.
- The challenge of not trusting in our own resources. Moses could have kept on living in the royal household, but he chose not to; and Paul also could have relied on his back ground. (Philippians 3:4-7) We sometimes have to suffer a loss of identity–we have to be stripped down, before we can be built back up. Of course it’s OK to have & use all the resources and talents God has given us, as long as we don’t TRUST in them, but in God. Brian was “going through” for a career in the Arts (cartooning, I think), when God called him to be a pastor. Then when he was pastoring, he came to a point where he had to stop trying to prove what he could do. As God’s child you don’t have anything to prove. And that can be very freeing.
- The challenge of obeying and not making excuses. Moses made all kinds of excuses, and finally he asked God to send someone else. (Exodus 4:13) We will all likely come to a task that God wants us to do, that we don’t want to. If God wants us to do it, he won’t give up–see the example of Jonah. Don’t say “I can’t”, when God is asking you to do something!
- The challenge of following a God we and others cannot see. What we can’t see is more powerful than what we can see. And we can see God in one another. We must “fix our eyes on Jesus”, (Hebrews 11:27) and remember that we live by faith, NOT by sight. (2 Corinthians 4:18, 2 Corinthians 5:7)
- The challenge of doing it God’s way, as unusual as that way may be. Remember that you can’t figure God out. God’s ways are not our ways. We can only act out our faith (and that will increase our faith). And it will often seem like craziness! “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)