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Sermon of the Week 
Friday, November 06 2015

We Walk By Faith Not Just By Sight, by Charles Elliott

John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, “Peace be unto you”. v20 And when He had so said, He shewed unto them His hands and His side.Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. v24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. v25 The other disciples therefore said unto Him, “We have seen the Lord”. But He said unto them, “Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe”.

v26 And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace be unto you”. v27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach hither your finger, and behold My hands; and reach forth your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing”. v28 And Thomas did so, and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. v29 Jesus said unto him, “Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed”.

We have all probably heard the phrase “seeing is believing.” It means that in order to fully accept something to be true, someone needs to see it with their own eyes. However, spiritually, it works the other way around. That is, spiritual principals would say, "I'll see it when I believe it."

Sam and his wife Gloria have had a terrible argument about money, and are going to the bank to open separate bank accounts. They have just *…..entered the bank when two bank robbers, run into the bank. Each is wearing a handkerchief around their mouth and nose and each is holding a gun. One of them points his gun at the customers and shouts out,"Listen all of you, stop screaming or else!" There is instant silence. His colleague then runs over to a cashier and yells at him, "put all the money you have in the bag." The cashier immediately complies and the robber starts to fill up his sack with the money. But as he's doing this, his handkerchief slips off. He says to the cashier, "I'm sorry to do this, but you must have seen my face." He then shoots him, and puts the handkerchief back over his face. Then turning to the trembling customers, he says, "I hope no one else saw my *…..face." After a few moments of silence, Gloria shouts out, "I think my husband might have caught a little glimpse of you."

So Sam and Gloria are the introduction to my message today is “We Walk By Faith, Not Just By Sight”?

Saint Augustine said "What is faith, unless it is to believe what you cannot see, and see what you can believe”.

Robert Brault…." Perception is a clash of mind and eye, the eye will only believe what it sees is real, the mind perceives that what it believes, is real”.

Anais Nin...Don't see things as they are, see them as they should be.

I saw a bumper sticker on a car in front of me that said "Expect Miracles." It was a reminder to me to keep myself open to expect the miraculous throughout my day, and to not miss the opportunity because of what I only saw with my eyes.

We all have a tendency to doubt before believing. When it comes to anything, we need to have proof. When we talk about proof, we generally mean genuine, physical evidence of what God is trying to get us to believe.

We often thank God for the visible signs of his grace upon our lives. But today, I want us to think a little differently. I want us to thank God for the invisible realities that bless our lives and give us eternal value and worth.

We’ve created microscopes to see microbes and even atoms. We’ve created telescopes so we can see the galaxies and stars so far away. We like to be able to see what is invisible to the naked eye. I was a child, when I received a microscope for Christmas. It fascinated me that I could see things through it that were invisible to my eyes.

We don’t have a scope to see invisible spiritual realities, at least not one we put up to our eyes. If we did, wouldn’t that be something? If I held it up to my eye right now, I wonder how many angels I could see?

But God has given us tools to be able to know these invisible realities are real. We put the eyes of faith up to these tools and we “see” and believe many things which the physical eye doesn’t see. As a matter of fact, the *…..best things about Christianity are invisible and the most valuable things we believe are invisible. I can’t see heaven, but I value it. I can’t see Jesus, but I believe in him and put my life in his hands. I can’t see the event in history that made my salvation possible. I can’t see angels but I know they are real. When I’ve watched people die, I couldn’t see them leave their bodies, but that’s what I believe happened at death. I believe that I am more than a body. I have an eternal spirit and soul. I can’t see it, but all of these invisible things, I believe and I value. I value them with my very life. In fact if you were to ask me which I value more, I value the invisible realities more than the visible realities. I believe that everything I can see with my eyes is temporary, but there are permanent and eternal things that I cannot see with my natural eyes.

2 Corinthians 4:16 “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. v17 For our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. v18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”.

Just as the microscope, the telescope, and the oscilloscope show us invisible physical things, the Bible is the best scope given to man, to understand and observe invisible, spiritual realities.

The African impala can jump to a height of over 15 feet and cover a distance of 30 to 40 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. Because they will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will land on the other side. Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and we are freed from the limitations that can only be seen and known in the natural realm.

2 Corinthians 5:7 simply and beautifully says “For we walk by faith, and not by sight”

If You talk to God, you're a religious person, but if God talks to you, you're psychotic.

Those who have learned to see the invisible, have also learned to see opportunities where others only see trouble and problems!

Praise God, we are blessed to have some spiritual heavyweights around here! I recognize, celebrate and affirm you today. Without our prayer warriors, faithfully praying for God’s work to be done, this place would be shut down long ago. The enemy would destroy us. You keep sending up the aerial warfare from where you are so the rest of us can stay on the front lines. Our ministry here will go only as far as our prayers, will take us. I thank God we have a force of those who do warfare in the invisible realms. Don’t sell yourself short because you don’t wear a certain job title, or have a certain ministry job description. You are what holds this thing up and keeps it going strong!

There have been many times when the Holy Spirit has parted the veil as He did in the temple, and people have seen what is normally unseen.

2 Kings 6:15 “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.v16“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered.

“Those who are with us are more than those who are against us.” v17 And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha”.

Thank God for those thin places when the dimension of the spiritual can be seen as though only a transparent veil was between the two.

When a traveler in the early days of the west, came to the Mississippi, he discovered there was no bridge. Fortunately it was winter and the great river was frozen over with ice. But the traveler was afraid to trust himself to it, not knowing how thick it was. Finally with infinite caution, he crept on his hands and knees and managed to get halfway over. And then he heard-- singing from behind. Cautiously he turned, and there, out of the dusk, came another traveler, driving a four-horse load of coal over the ice, singing as he went! The wagon driver’s confidence was based on his experience with the river. Since the traveler had no experience with the river, he also had no confidence.

You can train the eyes of your faith. This comes by training your belief system and your spirit to see and know the father’s leading. The scripture tells us that faith comes by hearing the word of God. There is a connection between our knowledge of scripture and our faith.

The more we know about God, the easier it is for us to physically experience that belief. The more we know about the Bible, the easier it is to see the manifestation of our belief. The more we think like God, the easier it is to fix our eyes and our values on what is unseen.

We need to train our brain to think in the language of God’s word, then our lives would see more and more of God’s intended outcome in our world.

Three elements are involved in making a faith decision or in making any significant decision for that matter. And they are the same things that confronted young doubting Thomas….

It is the intellect, emotions, and the will. Faith that involves only the intellect is a contradiction and is a dead faith…..

James 2:14 “What does it profit, though a man say he has faith, and has not works? v17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being alone. v18 A man may say, you have faith, and I have works, but show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works”. *…..The Problem for James was that there were too many people in the church whose lives didn’t match their profession. They raised their hand, walked an aisle, prayed at the altar, and professed to believe in God and in His Son Jesus Christ, but nothing had changed in their lives. They still had worldly priorities and still lead self-serving lives. They claimed to have an experience with Christ, but they never touched others with His power.

If they weren't seen walking into church no one would have a clue that they were professing Christians.

A new pastor spent the first four days making personal visits to each of his prospective congregation inviting them to come to his inaugural services. The following Sunday the church was all but empty. Accordingly, the pastor placed a notice in the local newspapers, stating that, because the church was dead, it was everyone's duty to give it a decent Christian burial. The funeral would be held the following Sunday afternoon. A large crowd came for the 'funeral', unwilling to accept that the church would ever close, and they presumed it would always be there, in spite of their absence. In front of the pulpit they saw a closed coffin which was covered in flowers. After the pastor had delivered the eulogy, he opened the coffin *…..and invited the congregation to come forward and pay their final respects to the dead church. Filled with curiosity as to what would represent the corpse of a dead church', all the people eagerly lined up to pass by and look in the coffin. Each 'mourner' peeped into the coffin then quickly turned away with a guilty, sheepish look. For there, in the coffin, tilted at just the correct angle, was a large mirror, and what they saw was the surprised look on their own faces.

If you ask many folks, "Do you believe in God?" they say, “Sure.” If you ask, "Do you believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God?” the answer is, “Yes.” You can even ask, “Was He crucified and resurrected for our sins?" and they would say "Yes, I'm inclined to believe that happened."… they might go even further and claim, "I firmly believe all that the Bible says."

Some people are professional, professors, but if it never goes beyond the head, they are not possessors of faith! Professing doesn’t always mean possessing!

I can say I believe in having money in the bank, and I can even write a check out… but if there is no money in the bank, the check is worthless!

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. There are others, who get real emotional….they cry in church, they get real stirred, when they hear stories of great sacrifice and heroism. They may be very moved by the singing, testimonies, prayers, and preaching…. But none of it has been translated into real, effective, tangible Christian living where the rubber meets the road. *…..1 Corinthians 14:17 For you certainly give thanks well, but no one is edified (built up, established, transformed).

James 2:19 You believe that there is one God, you do well, the devils also believe, and tremble. (Notice that demons believe intellectually, they believe emotionally, >they tremble<, but it makes no change in their character or nature, or who they are!)

There has certainly been enough proof all around us that without faith, no man can please God. Grace does not mean that we can do whatever we wish and still experience God’s blessing and favor, and things will change in spite of ourselves. We can know a truth and never possess the truth.

A Christian sat down at a restaurant counter, next to another Christian. The man said “See that man on TV, standing on the ledge of that 10 story building?” The other Christian says “Yes I do” The guy says “He’s going to jump you know” The other man says, “No, he’s not. Just agree in prayer with me” The other guy says “Okay, but let’s bet, just to make it interesting. Here’s twenty” O.K, answered the other man “You’re on. I’ll put mine down on the belief that Jesus will save him.” He puts down his money, and says “Now let’s pray” They pray, and the guy on TV jumps from the ledge. “Well, a bet’s a bet. Here.” And he shoves his money over to the other guy. “Forget about it, I can’t take your money. I’ve got to tell you; I saw this on the news last night” The other Christian responds, “Yeah, I saw it too, but I thought we could save him this time”

We can have faith, but it can be misguided faith, which contradicts what God desires and has already declared was His plan. We can pray that we won’t have persecution, or that the world will get better, or that everyone will be saved, or that the hospitals will empty out …..but that’s not going to happen, because we all have a free will, and the world will grow more and more wicked, and persecution will come if you’re serving the Lord and when jesus healed the lepers, there were many that were not healed . But regardless, let’s do all things possible to reach those who can be reached…We must reach all that we can, and believe for revival, YES! We believe for folks to get healed and miracles to happen, have faith, but not misguided faith…. Faith that refuses to get involved, or roll up it’s sleeves and get dirty is not faith.

We must have Faith that involves three things, the intellect, emotions, and will, that is a genuine transforming faith which is personal and pro-active. It has action and application that is motivated by love. *….For example, a young man meets a young woman. They are instantly attracted to one another. They both say to themselves, "Now there is someone I'd like to marry." At that point, if the emotions had their way, there would be a wedding. But the intellect intervenes, questioning the impulsive emotional response. Would we be compatible? What is she really like? Can I afford to support her? Both conclude it would be better to take some more time and answer a few questions before they proceed. So the two begin spending more time with each other. He eventually concludes that she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Now his intellect has sided with the emotions on the idea of marriage. But the final and heaviest vote remains to be cast -- that of the will. It stops the march toward the altar with the questions, "Am I willing to give up this lifestyle for another? What about my freedom -- is it worth the trade? Am I willing to assume the added responsibility?"

The marriage will occur only when the will finally agrees with the emotions and the intellect. The same thing is involved in any action of faith…

Sometimes faith involves delayed gratification… We usually refer to anything that delays our personal gratification… as suffering and sacrifice. If we can’t have it immediately, then we think we are on the Via Della Rosa…(The road of suffering)

The following letter was found in a baking-power can wired to an old pump that was the only hope of drinking water on a very long and seldom used trail across the Mojave Desert: it read "This pump is all right as of one week ago. I put a new washer in it and it should last five years. The washer dries out in the desert heat and the pump has got to be primed.

Under the white rock, in the shade, I buried a bottle of water, with the cork end up. There's enough water in it to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. Pour about one-fourth and let her soak to wet the leather. Then pour in the rest medium fast and pump like crazy. You'll get water. The well has never run dry. Have faith. When you get watered up, fill the bottle and put it back like you found it for the next person. (signed) Desert Pete. P.S. Don't go drinking the water first. Prime the pump with it and you'll get all you can possibly hold."

If we have not learned self-discipline, we will drink the water and leave the jar empty for the next person. If we have never learned compassion, we’ll drink all we want from the well, and fail to put water in the jar for the next *….person. Genuine faith involves self-discipline, compassion, patience and delayed gratification.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently (dzay-teh'-o ..having an intensity, and self-discipline within yourself to) seek Him.

It’s dangerous to look into a percolator to see how much coffee it contains while it is still percolating! The better percolators have a tiny glass tube along the side which serves as a gauge. When you see coffee in the sight tube, you know coffee is perking in the pot. If there is no coffee in the tube, you can be confident there is none in the pot. The bible tells us that we should be able to make full proof of our ministry.. there should be something in the sight glass….that shows we’re percolating!!!

Well, diligent faith is our sight glass that lets us know that something is perking in the spiritual realm and it’s about to be made flesh!

What difference has your profession of faith made in your life today?

If you were arrested for being a Christian would there be enough evidence from this week to convict you?

Are you right now totally in love with the Savior?

Are you serving Christ faithfully?

Are you giving generously and proportionately of your resources to further the cause of Christ?

Do you spend time meditating on God's Word and in prayer daily?" *…..The point here, would not be that by doing those things one achieves salvation. But the point would be that if your profession of faith has made no difference in your lifestyle, perhaps the reason is that it has never gone beyond the intellect or the emotions to the heart and will.

Someone has said “A faith that cannot be tested, is a faith that cannot be trusted.” We should be able to weigh our faith by our actions….When we move in the God kind of faith, the results should be the gift of wisdom….

A lady walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. She says she's going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000. The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for such a loan, so the lady hands over the keys to a brand new Rolls Royce parked on the street in front of the bank. Everything checks out, and the bank agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan. One of the employees drives the Rolls into the bank's underground garage and parks it there. Two weeks later, the lady returns, repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41. The loan officer says, "We are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us is why would you bother to borrow $5,000?" The lady replied, "Where else in New York can I park my car for two weeks for 15 bucks?" (now that’s wisdom!)

Faith always believes that God is up to something far more than the eye can see or the mind can comprehend! No matter how it looks, ”All things will work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purposes”….

Know that you know that you know, God is on your side!

When sickness comes – Believe Jesus!

When death comes – Believe Jesus!

When the bottom falls out of life – Believe Jesus!

When the answers to your prayers are delayed – Believe Jesus!

When you are ridiculed for your faith – Believe Jesus!

When you are looking at a hopeless situation – Believe Jesus!

When I place my problem beside the Lord, it suddenly grows very small. No matter how great it looks in my eyes, it is nothing compared to Him, He can handle it! A God who can create a universe from nothing can do anything, He can handle it! A God Who can part a sea, rain down manna from heaven, heal a sick body, raise a dead man, and save a lost soul can do anything… He can handle it !

It may be that you have a problem that you cannot handle. It is bigger than you are and out of control. He can handle it! He can cut it down to size! Bring it to Jesus and trust Him to do it for His glory! He can handle it!

We might be in a tough situation, but we can rejoice in Jesus! Why? We are able to see the victory that is ours through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, no matter what our eyes are seeing! We know He can handle it!!! *…..1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. v58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, He would have you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”.

Satan’s attacks will come against you, in three different areas… *…..Your Praise, Your Proclamation and Your Prosperity…He is already defeated!

We have fellowship with God, forgiveness, peace, new life, new hope, adoption as God’s children, a new nature, sanctification, deliverance from the curse, holiness, deliverance from demons, healing, health, prosperity, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, indwelling by the Holy Spirit, the favor of God and His power and authority. What we can see is only the tip of the iceberg… and what we have is out of this world!

1Corinthians 2:9 As it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. v10 But God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.

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