The title of the sermon today is: “And They Shall Know No Fear.” This is a sentence referring to a group of heroes in a series of fictional books I have enjoyed for the last couple years. The books are set 40,000 years in the future where humanity is ruled by a deity who united the galaxies known only as the Emperor. The heroes are called Space Marines; they are genetically modified warriors who were designed to be the most perfect instrument of military prowess humanity has ever created. Their job is to protect humanity from the whiles of the Dark gods of Chaos, a lifetime of service and protection until death takes them to the Golden Throne. They are 9 feet tall, built of solid muscle, have 2 hearts, three lungs, and bodies that heal themselves 10x faster than normal humans. They are armed with the best weapons, have the best training, and they are even equipped with the best bodies, but the most valuable weapon they wield is their unfailing, unflinching, and inexhaustible faith in and obedience to the Emperor.
To be a Christian with no fear one most have complete faith in God, be listening to the Holy Spirit for instructions for his life, when those instructions are heard to commit to obeying them and to rely on God for the discipline to make those decisions and the strength to persevere with them till the end. And those happen to be the 3 parts of today’s sermon 1) Faith 2) Listening and Obedience 3) Discipline and Perseverance.
Well I figure the best way start off with the topic “faith” is to get some definitions of it. The Bible in Hebrews 11:1 declares that: “Faith is the Substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” From this we know that faith is a thing of substance, meaning that it is a thing of reality and in the verse that it is the substance or reality of something hoped for. This thing that is hoped for, is something that every human feels an unquenchable desire to have, that is love, undenying, all accepting love, the type of love only the Creator who made you could give so freely. The second part of the verse refers to faith as “the evidence of things not seen”, this makes faith not as blind as we may have thought of it was. God didn’t give us the ability to reason and use logic so that we would blindly follow Him just because He claims to be God, but He gave us evidence of His existence and His character through His Creation, from the tiniest bug to the most imposing of mountains, the evidence of God the Creator and His love for us is right at our finger tips so that all we would have to do is use the brain He gave us to find Him. The famous Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines faith as: “the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence, the judgment that what another states or testifies is the truth.” Mr. Webster is saying to us that faith is you believing that something is true just because of the identity of speaker. God conveniently gave us His Word in a highly portable and easy to use package, the Bible. Through the reading of God’s Word we hear from Him truth, the truth that God’s actual identity is the Creator of Everything and that He loves every single human He created. Now because truth is reality and reality which is truth cannot be swayed, He gives us the ability to hope in the reality of His Word and therefore the ability to have complete and utter faith in it and in Him. In Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, the entry for May 8 says: “Faith is not a pathetic sentiment, but a robust, vigorous, confidence built on the fact that God is holy Love.” It goes on to say “Faith is the Heroic effort of your life, to fling yourself in reckless confidence on God.” This is my favorite of the three, it is telling us that because we know that God is Love (because 1 John 14:6 tells us so “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”) We have license to run with reckless abandon in Gods perfect will for our lives, like a Space Marine hero charging into battle to show the wrath of the Emperor to his foes.
LISTENING AND OBEDIENCE
When we become Christians we invite Jesus to live in our hearts and to be our master. Now this is all great but we must remember that we have just embarked on the life-long process of continually asking God to mold us, and purify us to conform to his plan in our lives. This process requires constant seeking of God’s will for us and obedience wherever and whenever He asks it. One of the best ways to listen to God is to meditate on His Word. God left His Word on Earth so that we might be able to have a hard copy of his will and a canon to measure what is right and what is wrong. Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” The only way to be a light to this world is to take the Word of God and let it work in you, if you don’t know what is in the Word there is no way you will be able to know what is good and if you don’t know what is good you’re more than likely going to do what is evil, right? John 14:6 says, “I am the Way the Truth and the Life no one comes to the Father but through Me.” If God is what He says He is, than His word is no different: His Word will show us through truth the way we are supposed to go to get to the life that Jesus has for us. The Holy Spirit is also a way for us to hear the Lord, and as Christians the Holy Spirit is available to us. So now you may find yourself asking … “What does the Holy Spirit do?” John 16:8 sheds some light on the subject “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.” And John 16:13 says “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” These verses say that the Holy Spirit is in our lives to guide us in the way of truth and convict us as to what is sin, righteousness and judgment, but just because we know what God’s will is doesn’t mean we are in God’s will- we must commit to obeying the truth God has revealed to us. Matthew 6:24 says “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” You must commit yourself to God by having faith in his truth and acting upon what that truth is, you cannot be neutral with God: you are either marching forward in victory with the Son of Man or you are fleeing in defeat; the choice is yours.
DISCIPLINE AND PERSEVERANCE
Now we come to Discipline and Perseverance, without these two faith and listening and obedience mean nothing if we can’t maintain them. We are not in this battle against the Prince of the Air for short time but like our Space Marine friends we are in it till we are called home to our Maker. This means that the enemy’s tactics are not for the short term but they are to be the thorn in our side, the termites gnawing at our foundation, the rust corroding our armor. They are in it for the long haul and so we must be as well. 1 Timothy 1:7 says “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” With this knowledge we can be firm in the power we wield through Christ and in our ability to use our self-discipline to persevere and to everyday give ourselves to Gods command.Hebrews 12:10-11 says “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” God is a God of discipline and if we let him work in our lives to correct us when we are wrong and give over certain parts of our lives that we cling to the tightest it will reap righteousness and peace in our lives thus enabling us to be a constant light to those around us and have unwavering integrity and judgment at all times. This requires us to be humble and admit our weaknesses and shortcomings by checking ourselves often and having other believers hold us accountable as James 5:16 says “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” We need to do this so that we do not let the Father of Lies gain a foothold in our lives because we were too proud to seek help. If you think your brother will look down on you because of your confessions remember Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Our bodies and everything in the world are dying and are temporary but our souls are not, by having the self discipline to let God work in us not just once or twice a week but day by day, we will be renewed. By fixing our eyes on the unseen (oh my could this be Faith?!) our current troubles will fade because we have an eternal perspective – and no matter what we will choose to obey the Lord.
With this knowledge we can …
- Have Faith in our walks and in Gods plan for our lives.
- Not only Listen to the Lords instruction but OBEY it.
- Be Disciplined in our walks and Persevere through its trials.
- Go into the battle field of earth and KNOW NO FEAR.