Faith Is Essential to Life
Faith is more than a word.
It is a way of life.
The great resources of power in faith are almost beyond our imagination.
In Psalm 18 you will find this passage: " And by my God I have leaped over a wall." (Verse 29)
Many Christians have found this to be true.
Faith in God has enabled many to leap over the highest wall of difficulty, trouble, and distress.
Faith can lead over walls and move mountains.
Faith specializes in the impossible.
Cowardice and faintheartedness says no, go back.
Faith says, yes -- go on -- move forward.
In an exciting incident recorded in the Book of Hebrews, we have two ancient groups of people
seeking to cross the barrier of the Red Sea.
The Israelites made a successful crossing, but the Egyptians were swallowed up by the sea.
To one, the sea became a thoroughfare, but to the other it became a blind alley.
One group sang a song of triumph, and the other went down in defeat.
The reason was obvious.
It was not because the Israelites were better equipped.
On the contrary, they were a throng of newly liberated slaves while the Egyptians were supplied
with horsemen, chariots, and other equipment suitable for the venture.
The reason that one group made a successful crossing and the other group failed was
because of an inward possession which the writer in Hebrews declares to be faith.
The Israelites possessed the one's supreme essential of life which is faith in God.
And that is the supreme need for all people in the inevitable crossings of life.
Faith can take the sad song of life and make it a song of joy.
Faith can take the bleak picture of life, repaint it, and make it to be bright and beautiful.
Faith is trusting God, yielding to God, and relying on God.
It is good for us to remember the quality of faith that was shown in the lives of the ancient Israelites.
For one thing, it was a faith that inspired them.
Having faith in God and His destiny for them, they followed Moses in seeking a better life.
Faith in God can calls a person to strive for higher levels of life.
The Egyptians were seeking to recover what they considered their lost property,
but the Israelites were on their way to a Promised Land.
The faith of the Israelites was also a conquering faith.
Moses was not blind to the barrier of the Red Sea before them, but this man of God Saul beyond
the difficulty and knew that the power of God was available through faith to them.
And in the straits of that power and faith, Moses and the multitude passed through the sea
in safety while the Egyptians were drowned.
The Bible clearly teaches that if we have faith nothing is impossible for us.
We can be like the bumblebee.
According to recognized aeotechnical tests, the bumblebee cannot fly because of the shape
and weight of his body in relation to the total wing area.
However, the bumblebee doesn't know this, so he goes ahead and flies anyway.
Jesus said, " If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you can move mountains."
(Matthew 17: 20)
How can we possess this great essential of life?
How may we deepen and enrich our faith in God?
First, if we would deepen our faith, we must feed much more on the Bible.
The Bible is God's Book and in it we meet and know Him.
And with an increased knowledge of God there will come a greater faith.
We must also make much of the great privilege we have of prayer.
It is through prayer and meditation, as in no other way, that God will impart strength to our lives.
It is through prayer that we get on familiar terms with God.
The Bible says: " All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
Prayer is an intimate conversation with God in which we open our hearts to Him.
As we commune with Him, we are uplifted and given the faith to pass through the times of difficulty.
We must look past the prophets of gloom and look to God.
The prophets of gloom are present in every age.
In 1695, Thomas Beverly, a rector in the Church Of England, wrote a book predicting that the world
would end in 1697.
He wrote a second book in 1698 complaining that the world had ended in 1697, but nobody had noticed.
Many people face life with a similar attitude.
The material, scientific and technical accomplishments almost defy description
And yet, fear, mistrust, misery, and despair still abound.
Pessimism prevails in the lives of many.
There was a man and his wife, both well over 90 years old, whose 70 year old son had died.
Returning from the funeral service, the old man said to his wife:
" I told you we would never raise that boy."
Pessimism is everywhere.
Like the man who said, " You know, if I found a four leaf clover, I would get a slipped disk
trying to pick it up."
It seems that many people belong to " Pessimist International."
A well known children's story, originally appearing in the first grade reader, reminds us
that the lives of many burdened, sidetracked persons are similar to the experience of the heavily loaded,
little train that wanted to get over the mountain.
Several larger engines passed on nearby tracks but refused to offer assistance.
And then, when all seemed to be lost for the despairing little train, there came puffing along
Kind Little Blue Engine who was asked to assist the stranded train.
As she hitched herself to the stalled train, and began the long, hard pull, the little blue engine said,
" I think I can! I think I can!
I think I can!"
Continuing to climb until she reached the top of the mountain, Little Blue Engine said,
" I thought I could, I thought I could.
I thought I could!"
That's the way it is with the power of faith.
When we believe we can, we can -- especially if our faith is in the living Lord of whom we may say:
" I am enabled to do all things through Christ who is my strength." (Philippians 4:13)
Faith not only removes mountains, but also takes us over and around the mountains of life
that would hamper and obstruct us.
And as one looks back at the mountain over which he has passed and offers a prayer of thanksgiving
for the victorious journey, he seems a song of praise: " With the Lord's help, I knew I could!"
It goes without saying that none of us knows all the answers to the perplexities of our day.
It is like the woman who was being prepared for surgery.
Her doctor told her they would have to give her gas to put her to sleep during the operation.
"Oh, doctor, will I know everything when I come out from under the gas?" She asked.
The doctor replied, " That's asking an awful lot of the gas."
But we do know that looking through the window of desperate need, one can see that faith in God
is true knowledge and wisdom.
We cannot be equal to the needs of our day if we remained locked into our old defeatist mental attitudes.
I read of a man who enjoyed going to the circus.
And before the performance began, under the big tent, he liked to walk around and look at all the animals.
As she looked at the elephants he was surprised to notice that an elephant was unchanged.
The chain was lying loose on the ground.
He called to the attendant: " Did you know that your elephant his unchained?"
The trainer smiled and said, " Oh, we never chain him.
We chained him at first, but now he just thinks he is chained."
The sad truth is that the elephant is like so many people or you might say so many people are
like that elephant.
They do not move because they think they are chained.
They are held back by past hindrances, frustrations, and disappointments.
But, like the elephant, they could walk away from the imaginary chains that bind them
if they were willing to move forward in faith in God.
We must not be restrained by old defeatist, pessimistic attitudes.
Our Lord would have us throw off the shackles that bind us to the defeated life,
and move forward in triumph.
Jim Griffith, a pastor in Athens Georgia, was sitting in his easy chair one Sunday afternoon
when the phone rang.
It was a long distance call informing him that his parents had been in an automobile accident.
Not knowing the details, pastor Griffith and his wife jumped into their car and drove
to the hospital in Buford, Georgia.
Arriving there, he hurried to the emergency room and asked where he could find his parents.
Pausing to look up from what she was doing, the nurse said, " They are at the funeral home."
He asked, " Both of them? "
The nurse answered, " Yes, both of them."
His parents had been horribly mangled and killed in a car-train collision.
His mother was killed instantly, and his father had lived for about an half-hour following the accident.
Then Griffith and his wife sat down in the waiting room to wait for the arrival of his brother
coming from another part of Georgia.
In an hour he arrived, and Jim Griffith met him in the hall and said,
"Ben, Mother and Daddy are in heaven."
The brother was stunned and he repeated the same question: " Both of them?"
They went through the funeral encouraged by the members of their church
and with the comfort of God.
And the next day they began the painful task of going through their personal belongings.
Opening their Bibles, they found an old church bulletin with a printed questionnaire
from their pastor asking that they write down what Christ meant to them.
Their father had written: " I am 68 years old -- Jesus Christ is my security."
His mother had written: " Jesus Christ means life itself to me."
And Jesus Christ must mean no less to any of us.
He must be first in all things.
He is our strength.
He is our security.
He is sufficient.
Paul said, " In all these things."
Whatever these things may be, " We are more than conquerors through him that loved us."
So, as we look at life through the eyes of faith, let us look to Christ.
And, as we come face to face with our Lord, we shall bow before Him and sing:
" My faith looks up to thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Now hear me while I pray,
Take all my guilt away,
O let me from this day
Be Wholly thine!
While life's dark maze I tread,
And grief's around me spread,
Be thou my guide;
Bid darkness turn to day,
Wipe sorrow's tears away,
Nor let me never stray
From thee aside."
Sermon by Dr. Harold L White