The Call of the Faithful

Did you know that the right works please God? Faith that pleases God reveals itself in our obedience—which means we do the right works. Perhaps the greatest example of this in the Bible is the third hero in Faith’s Hall of Fame, Noah Hebrews 11:7~By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. (ESV) Noah was just a farmer and had probably never seen a boat much less a toad strangling gully washer. Have you ever lived in a place with high curbs? When we moved to Texas we had 10 inch curbs! They put curbs like that in knowing that rains come in quick and hard, they are a necessity. Noah could have never dreamt of rain flooding the earth. Yet, he obediently moved with reverent fear and in faith constructed a gigantic ark that measured 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and four stories high as recorded in Genesis  6:15~ (ESV).

He built all of this boat, exactly according to God’s instructions. By faith. Hebrews 11:7~By faith Noah…condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (ESV) Imagine God asking you to build what you have never seen, take more than a century to do this, and oh, by the way, tell everyone God is fed up and they have no chance. I’d say that takes faith. Noah preached for 120 years without one convert. I really would love to read some of his journals, if only he had poured out his soul like David. Alas, he didn’t. Noah’s life is an excellent example of the fact God doesn’t call us to be successful; He calls us to be faithful. Living a faithful life that pleases God always reveals itself. Faith is revealed in our actions, in our good works, in the spiritual fruit of life. James 2:26~For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead. (ESV)

Faith that pleases God does many good works. John Calvin wrote in response to Cannon 11 of the 6th session of the Council of Trent, a little church history for you, as they were helping to iron out our faith: It is, therefore, faith alone which justifies, and yet the faith which justifies is not alone. Faith in God is never alone! James reminds us in his general epistle, saving faith is always accompanied by good works. That’s why we see Paul use the terms good works and spiritual fruit interchangeably. Remember the last teaching of Jesus like a deathbed confession. He said bear much fruit. The Heroes of Faith: Share how each of us must live by faith, giving to God The Right Worship. How we are to Walk Right, following and seeking God, as we do the Right Works. Today, why not just respond to God and see what He has planned for you.

Assembly of the Faithful

Let me begin by stating the obvious, God doesn’t want us to have religion; He wants us to have a relationship. This is what it means when a Bible teacher talks about walking with the Lord. A great example of this is Enoch. Genesis 11:5~By faith Enoch was taken up (μετατίθημι metatithēmi) so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. (ESV) The word (μετατίθημι metatithēmi) taken up or translated can also be rendered transported. God transported Enoch from earth to heaven without him dying because he pleased God. Grab the picture Enoch is the 4th—great-grandson of Adam. Born in the last third of Adam’s life. I can see Enoch climbing on Papaws lap for a story. “Tell me of the garden.” It would’ve stirred him to know God. As he cobbles a life together, he’ll birth the longest life as the father of Methuselah, who lived 969 years. Enoch’s life is summed up twice in the word of God, using the same words in Genesis 5:22&24 Genesis5:22~Enoch walked with God…(ESV) 

Does anything else need to be said? Enoch was in constant contact with God through prayer and communion. He may have been the original prayer walker. The most famous phrase in Hebrews 11 connects with the life of Enoch: Hebrews 11:6~And without faith it is impossible to please him (God)…(ESV) The Heroes of Faith: Share how we must live by faith, giving to God The Right Worship. How we are to Walk Right, following and seeking God. Today, take time to seek God and listen to what He has to say about your walk with Him. Then begin by making the adjustments He places on your heart. I bet you will be met with His great Joy.

What does you life say?

As we begin to walk down the hall of faith, the first person we are introduced to in the Hall of Faith is Abel. Now Abel is not the topic of many sermons and many who mention him do so as a byline but Abels a wonderful example of Right Worship. Hebrews 11:4~By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. (ESV) I love that reminder, how his life is still speaking. What does your life say, what does it speak to or of Abel was the second son of Adam and Eve. This incident from the lives of two brothers, Abel and his older Cain, reveals that there’s a right way and wrong way to worship God. God has always sought people who worship Him the right way. Speaking of worshippers, Christ Jesus says in John 4:23~ But the hour is coming, and is now here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. (ESV) 

Worshipping God in spirit means we come with the right attitude, our whole lives aligned with God. In truth means we worship Him according to the truth of His Word. John 17:17~Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (ESV) How does Abel offer God a better sacrifice than Cain? God had apparently given instructions concerning the proper time, place and type of sacrifice. Cain brings the fruit of the ground, Abel the firstborn of his flock. Genesis 4:3-4a~In the course of time, Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. (ESV) I wonder how many people, like Cain, have taken this approach to worship, which always involves a sacrifice. Today’s sacrifice is of time, means, and availability. Cain’s offering is certainly more pleasant than Abel’s. He probably arranged beautifully the fruits and vegetables on the altar. On the other hand, Abel’s isn’t very appealing his is a bloody, morbid, animal sacrifice. Genesis 4:4b-5a~…And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering, he had no regard. (ESV)

Abel’s sacrifice is accepted because it involves shed blood testifying his sins required the death of a substitute. All sin requires a blood sacrifice. We seem to forget the price Jesus Christ paid and cling only to grace. Abel understands and knows what God requires and so by faith, acts upon it. Cain’s offering is totally different. It’s like a salad bar representing good works. Many good hard-working, moral people come to worship God, offering their salad bar of good works. As if to say, Lord, look at all I’m doing for you. Cain’s steps forward in a spirit of pride, like many people today, he thinks his works are enough. However listen to Isaiah 64:6~We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (ESV)

The Hebrew phrase polluted garment or filthy rags refers to the cloth used by a woman during her menstrual period. That’s how our righteous acts and good deeds look to God. Hebrews’ author sums Abel’s offering by writing: Hebrews 11:4~…through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. (ESV) Abel was commended as righteous. God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. Though not even one of Abel’s words is recorded in the Bible. Yet, he’s been eloquently speaking for millennia’s about the right way to worship God. He tells us worshipping God requires the right sacrifice for sin, with the right attitude as God has prescribed. Our sins once separated us from God. Ephesians 2:12-13~remember you were …separated from Christ, alienated from…and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (ESV) 

Today, I want us to just worship the Lord. Begin by asking Him to open your heart up with a song and to bless you with His presence as you pour out your love on Him.