Well, thank you, Faith, for sharing that testimony. It’s always encouraging to see how the Lord meets us in our requests and goes before us. What a challenge! I don’t think Faith has anything to worry about coming forward. She is very calm, and so we encourage all the sisters to come forward and speak.
Continue to pray for Brother Ed. So, let’s pray for Brother Ed right now, altogether. Father, we lift up to you our brother.
We ask, O Lord, your Jehovah Rapha. So, we pray that you cover, cleanse, and sanctify him by your blood. We pray especially for his facial bones.
We know there’s fractures now, but we know nothing is impossible with you. So, Lord, we pray that in this moment you would bring these bones together. You’d fuse them together, heal them supernaturally fast. So, Lord, we trust that you will heal Brother Ed either supernaturally in an instant or naturally over time.
We trust that you are at work. We pray that you protect him from any further injuries. We thank you that we can humbly receive prayers from one another. We so desperately need them.
We thank you for the body of Christ. We’re members in one body, and Jesus, you’re the head. And so, we can come together and humbly ask for prayers and admit our need ultimately from you, but also our need for one another. Thank you, Lord.
We pray that you be with us in this time of prayer. Teach us, Lord, how you want us to live. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
I’m going to read from Romans 1, a couple of verses.
God led me here based on last week, Brother Abraham’s message, “Cast out the slave woman Hagar.” So, Romans chapter 1, verse 16 and 17: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith. As it is written, the righteous shall live by faith.”
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, The righteous shall live by faith. (Romans 1:16-17, ESV)
Amen. What do you do when life doesn’t make sense? You might be experiencing something along those lines personally.
I think as Americans in our country, as a citizen in this world, we feel something is just not right. Things are not making sense. Things are difficult.
There are internal things that we are struggling with.
There are external things as well. Internal things can be things from our past. Memories, traumas, unforgiveness, and these things are still binding us even to this day. There are external things that we experience at present.
A job being difficult or unrewarding or unfulfilling. Finances that are a little tight. A lack of motivation, and I see this in the face of the young people.
When you have a worldwide pandemic, and at any moment, everything can be shut down.
I think it does something for a young person who is trying to look forward to their future, it just saps all motivation. And related to that is, what is my purpose in life? And relationships, and relationships are complicated. We have people we love, and the people we love can be trying at times.
And so we have parent-child relationships. We have spouse relationships. We have brothers and sisters in Christ.
We have coworkers.
And all of these at different times can be challenging. There are the internal things that we’re experiencing at present. The fleshliness, the fruitlessness, the barrenness, the feeling of being stuck. There’s the internal things that we struggle with when it comes to the future.
Uncertainties, worries, anxieties, and fears. And I think the prophet Habakkuk, and the reason why I’m turning there is because that phrase when it says as it is written in Romans 1, 17, “the righteous shall live by faith,” it’s quoting from Habakkuk.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17, ESV)
And so, I want to read just a few verses there.
Habakkuk 1, verse 1: “The burden which the prophet Habakkuk saw, oh Lord, how shall I cry?
And you will not hear, even cry out to you, violence, and you will not save. Why do you show me iniquity and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me. There strife and contention arises.
Therefore, the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous. Therefore, perverse judgment proceeds.”
1 The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw. 2 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you Violence! and you will not save? 3 Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. 4 So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted. (Habakkuk 1:1, ESV)
It’s almost like we can take these verses right out of scripture and speak it into our current situation.
And then the Lord answers in verse 5: “Look among the nations and watch. Be utterly astounded. For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you, for indeed I’m raising up the Chaldeans, a bitter and hasty nation, which marches through the breath of the earth to possess dwelling places that are not theirs.”
5 Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. 6 For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation,who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own. (Habakkuk 1:5-6, ESV)
And so, Habakkuk hears the Lord’s response, and he does not understand. And so he dialogues with the Lord, verse 12, I’ll skip down: “Are you not from everlasting, oh Lord, my God, my Holy One? We shall not die, oh Lord. You have appointed them for judgment, oh rock.
You have marked them for correction.
You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness. Why do you look on those who deal treacherously and hold your tongue when the wicked devours a person more righteous than he? “”Why do you make men like fish of the sea, like creeping things that have no ruler over them? They take up all of them with a hook.
They catch them in their net and gather them in their dragnet. Therefore, they rejoice and are glad. Therefore, they sacrifice to their net and burn incense to their dragnet, because by them their snare is sumptuous and their food plentiful.
Shall they therefore empty their net and continue to slay nations without pity?”
12 Are you notfrom everlasting,O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O Lord, you have ordained them as a judgment, and you, O Rock, have established them for reproof. 13 You who areof purer eyes than to see eviland cannot look at wrong,why do you idly look at traitorsandremain silent when the wicked swallows upthe man more righteous than he? 14 You make mankind like the fish of the sea,like crawling things that have no ruler. 15 He brings all of them up with a hook; he drags them out with his net; he gathers them in his dragnet; so he rejoices and is glad. 16 Therefore he sacrifices to his net and makes offerings to his dragnet; for by them he lives in luxury, and his food is rich. 17 Is he then to keep on emptying his net and mercilessly killing nations forever? (Habakkuk 1:12-17)
And so, if we got an answer from the Lord that we did not understand, I think we would respond similarly, like Habakkuk is doing.
He’s questioning, “I don’t understand, Lord.”
And it goes back to what I said at the outset. We are in a world situation that does not make sense. And maybe even personally, with our bank accounts drying up and the cost of inflation and with just unrighteousness being paraded around as being normal and crooks getting away with it. And other people who are honest being thrown into prison.
And so, we just can take these verses right out of scripture. And doesn’t it apply to our situation? But one thing Habakkuk does, and this is my encouragement to all of us, as we go through life and circumstances externally that don’t make sense, internally that we just can’t quite wrap our heads around.
And he says in Habakkuk 2 verse 1, “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart and watch to see what he will say to me.
And what I will answer when I am corrected.”
1 I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. (Habakkuk 2:1, ESV)
Just this posture of humility. When you don’t make sense, the first thing we do is get on our face. Like, why did this happen?
Why is this happening? Why are we in this mess in society, in the world? And we just humbly humble ourselves before the Lord as Habakkuk did.
And wait for God’s answer.
And God’s answer comes sometime later, verse 2. “Then the Lord answered me and said, ‘Write the vision and make it plain on tablets that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time. But at the end it will speak and it will not lie.
And though it tarries, wait for it, because it will surely come. It will not tarry. Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him, but the just shall live by his faith.'”
2 And the Lord answered me: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. 3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the endit will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. 4 Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.
(Habakkuk 2:2-4, ESV)
And the answer came, and if I were just to paraphrase the Lord’s answer to Habakkuk, it’s saying, “I know you’re a righteous people of God, but you need to be corrected by the Chaldeans.
And I am prospering them. They are being raised up and they will be an instrument of judgment against you and the people of God.” And this dialogue ensues between God and Habakkuk and the Lord gives a further response after Habakkuk humbles himself.
And then he just leaves him with this one verse, “But the just shall live by his faith.”
And if I were to paraphrase, God is saying, “Trust me. I know it doesn’t make sense, trust me.” And then we can connect the dots to Romans chapter 1. What is the Holy Spirit through the pen of Apostle Paul saying to us?
When we go through our personal circumstances, our internal inner turmoil, our external world and relationships and things in society that are not going well. What is the Lord saying? He’s saying righteousness has been revealed.
First, he says that in verse 17.
And it’s from faith and it’s to faith. I was struggling with why did he add those words at the end of the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. And we know the righteousness of God is not in ourselves. Think of how outrageous it is for a Christian to be self-righteous.
For a pastor, a leader to say, “Look at how much Bible I know. Look at how much ministry I’ve done. Look at my resume.
Look at how early I wake up and pray.
How long I pray. How long do you pray, brother, sister?” And think of how ludicrous that is in God’s sight when that person is putting himself on a pedestal and saying, “I am righteous. There’s no one righteous, not even one.” Our righteousness we offer to God is like a filthy rag, as it says in scripture.
So when it says the righteousness of God is revealed, we know what he’s talking about. He’s talking about Jesus.
Jesus is God’s perfect son, fully pleasing to God, who lived a perfect, sinless, righteous life. Jesus has been revealed. And so when he’s saying to Habakkuk, “Wait, it is not going to tarry. It’s coming.” It didn’t come in his day. But the answer was already on its way, even in Habakkuk’s time. It’s not just in Israel’s history with the Chaldeans, the Babylonians, the exile, the judgment, the difficulty that they experienced for a season. It’s not just about that.
He’s saying all of that is a pointer to true righteousness that is going to be revealed someday. Watch for it, wait for it, trust me. And then now Jesus comes. And now we’re looking on the other side of Jesus’ coming, his death, burial, resurrection. We look back at him and the same exhortation from the Lord that was relevant for Habakkuk when he didn’t understand, when we as new covenant believers go through life and we’re experiencing inner turmoil or difficulty or a life, a world situation that is nonsensical and unjust, theThe Lord says, “Trust in my son, Jesus Christ.” This righteousness is revealed from faith. We have no righteousness in ourselves, so we look to Jesus.
He is righteousness. From our faith, we see it. That is the beginning. There’s a theology. We don’t want to stay with just theology, but let me just start there.
The theology says Jesus alone is righteous. I am unrighteous. So, I just look to him. I’m credited with that righteousness. It’s true. But if you stop there with just a doctrinal thought, will you and I ever become righteous? Like Jesus is righteous? I don’t think we will.
If you just meet Jesus one time, will we look like Jesus at the end of our lives? I doubt it. But if it’s from faith, this righteousness started with Jesus and with our faith, we saw it for the first time.
Now we exercise our faith. It says the righteous, the just, shall live by faith. We live this out. How do we do it?
We keep turning to Jesus. When life doesn’t make sense, we keep turning to Jesus. When our internal soul, spirit condition is out of whack, what do we do? We turn to Jesus.
When our world situation, when our relationships, our finances, external things are out of whack, what do we do? We turn to Jesus. That is what it means to live by faith.
It’s not just a one-time moment. It’s not just a doctrinal statement. But if you live this way, now it’s not just the righteousness that comes from Jesus that is credited to me doctrinally, but because I’m exercising my faith and I’m giving Jesus my burdens, my brokenness, my sins, this inner turmoil, my finances, my situation that I’m in, because I’m living by this faith, now there’s a direction to my life. And that direction is, it’s from Jesus. It’s also to Jesus. Jesus is the goal of my life. He’s the one I turn to. This becomes very practical.
If you just believe doctrinally that you’re righteous because I’m unrighteous, I admit it, we all admit it, and you just say, “Okay, Jesus is righteous, I believe it,” did you know according to the book of James, even the demons believe that? And they shudder? The demons, the most unrighteous creatures on earth, they believe it, but they don’t submit to it. They don’t go to Jesus and honor him as such. They doctrinally understand who Jesus is, and a lot of people in God’s church, they just stay there with a doctrine. Years go by, and they wonder, “How come I don’t look like Jesus? How come I don’t have the aroma of Christ? How come I’m not bearing the fruit that Jesus promises in scripture?”
There’s something that the living part, this living out of our Christian life needs to be with faith, by faith. It’s from faith, by faith, it’s to faith.
It’s Jesus from beginning to end. That’s why he’s the alpha and the omega. He’s the beginning and the end. Fast forward to one of the most famous chapters in all of scripture. This is probably one of Paul’s concluding remarks about this first introduction to what does it mean to live by faith, from faith to faith, from beginning to end, Jesus.
What does it mean? The conclusion, I think one of them is in Romans chapter 8. It says in verse 5, “For those who live according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5, ESV)
I think one of the main reasons we don’t change and become righteous is because of our mindset. If your mind is set on you, your flesh, then the things of God and the promise of righteousness and becoming the righteousness and the full image of God in Christ, becoming like Jesus, that will never happen if the mindset is wrong. If you’re stuck on you, if it’s a self-centered approach to life, like people need to treat me a certain way, people need to respect me, I’m looking at my flesh versus your flesh, my flesh looks better, I’m better than you, I’m more educated. If we start thinking this way fleshly, then according to Romans 8, we’re dead. We’re still dead.
We’re killing ourselves because of the way we think. This is flesh. We need to cast out the slave woman. Hagar must go. This mindset that is set on me, this self-centeredness must go. Instead, we must be set on the Spirit. Then he goes on to say in Romans 8 verse 8, “So then those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” How do we please God?
Is it by serving hard? Is it by being diligent in the Bible reading and prayer? Is it by having a lot of labor and ministry to show? Is that what pleases the Lord?
Maybe, maybe he’s pleased with some of it. But if all of that is done and there is no faith, because Hebrews 11 says it is impossible to please God without faith. Now we have to define what is faith?
It’s not just belief in a doctrine, because even the demons have belief that Jesus is the Son of God. They know that. They shudder about it. Another word for faith that I think is way more practical is trust. So when your life doesn’t make sense, who do you run to? “Is it Jesus? When you’re struggling with the things in your soul and your spirit that are not right, who do you run to? Your friend?
Your parent? Your therapist? Who do you run to when things internally are broken? Do you run to Jesus? What about when things are broken in your body? Who do you run to first? Is it the hospital? Is it the doctor?
Is it Advil? Who do you run to first? It’s very practical. Who do you trust fundamentally? Is it Jesus? This is what it means to live by faith.
If you trust Jesus with the inner turmoil, with the things that don’t make sense, with your fears, anxieties, uncertainties, with finances, relationships, all of the external things, if you bring it to Jesus, then you are now becoming righteous.
You are living by faith. You give Jesus your burdens, Matthew chapter 11. He takes it. In exchange, he gives you his burden. He says, ‘Why don’t you learn from me? Why don’t you stay yoked to me? It’s easy. Why don’t you do life in a light? Let me brighten your life. Let me lighten your life. Let me pour joy into your life. Let me bear fruit because you can’t do it on your own. Let me do it with you.
Let’s do life together.’ This is what it means to trust Jesus. And how do we do this? Anything that bothers us, irritates us, things that don’t make sense internally, externally, we bring it to Jesus. This is what it means to say, ‘I’m living by my faith, my trust in Jesus.’ And this pleases our Heavenly Father. When God sees you running to Jesus, He is pleased. That is what pleases the Lord. That means we trust Him because we’re running to His Son and we’re believing His Son. We’re holding on to His Son. ‘The righteous will live by faith.’ The righteousness has been revealed.
It is in Jesus. It is from faith to faith. We run to Jesus. The righteousness is from Jesus. This is how the just will live by faith. It applied to Habakkuk. When he didn’t understand God’s answer, ‘I don’t get it, Lord.’ God’s answer in a nutshell was, ‘Trust me.’ And for us as well, when we go through life, that doesn’t make sense, what is the Lord’s answer? ‘Trust my Son. Go to my Son. Go to Him. He is the Beginning and the End. The Alpha and the Omega. Go to Jesus.’
He says in Romans 8 verse 9, ‘But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit. If indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you, now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, He is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh to live according to the flesh.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. (Romans 8:9-12, ESV)
You don’t owe yourself anything. Society will tell you, ‘You owe it to yourself. Believe in yourself. Be true to yourself.’ It’s a lie. You don’t owe yourself anything. You’re not a debtor. Stop feeding that. Cast out the slave woman.
Instead, have a new renewed mindset, which in a nutshell is ‘I trust in Jesus.
I’m going to live by my faith in Jesus. I’m going to bring all of my uncertainties, all of my questions, fears, broken character, my personality flaws. I’m going to bring all of who I am, internal, external, everything about me. I’m going to bring it to Jesus.’ And Jesus will one by one take it from you. And He will exchange it with His burden, which is light, His nature, which is different from ours, His righteousness, His fruit will now start flowing in. We will start becoming like Him. So it’s not just a doctrinal statement outside of ourselves, but now it starts because it is something we are becoming in Christ. We can become righteous brothers and sisters. And then He jumps, continuing in verse 13. ‘For if you live according to the flesh, you will die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.’
13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13, ESV)
If we keep living out of this fleshly mindset of ‘I got to get what’s mine, this person wronged me’ and you just latch onto that thought and you just keep on festering in unforgiveness, you’re killing yourself. You’re killing yourself. You’re saying, ‘Well, Christ set me free from the past, from my flesh, but let me put that shackle back on because I enjoy it.’ That’s what you’re saying. Let’s not kill ourselves anymore. We need to cast out that slave woman, that slave mentality. That is not who we are in Christ. We are becoming a new creature and it starts with a renewed mindset, which is ‘I am a righteous, just child of God who now trusts my entire life to Jesus and I want to be close to Him.’ Let me just end with Matthew 11 verse 28. ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you’ll find rest for your souls for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29, ESV)
If you have a fleshly mindset, just everything about us is heavy. Everything is heavy. Just one comment from someone, it’s so heavy. “We become darkened by that fleshly thought pattern. We cast that out in Jesus’ name. We cast it out in Jesus’ name. We have a renewed mindset and say, “Lord, I don’t want to think this way anymore.” And by the Spirit, we start putting to death these deeds, these patterns, which start with the thoughts. We say, “I don’t want to think this way anymore. I am not a victim anymore. I’m not a slave of what that person thinks of me anymore.
I’m not someone who’s traumatized by my past anymore. The Lord has cleansed it. I don’t need to see a therapist week after week. No, that’s all been done away with. This chain, this shackle has been broken. I’m now starting to become a new creature. I trust the Lord Jesus and thankfully, he’s not like us. He’s so gentle. Why is he gentle? Because he’s lowly in heart. Proud people are hard to be around.
I just look in the mirror. It’s hard to be with myself at times because I’m proud. But if you are lowly in heart, it’s so easy to be with Jesus. It’s so easy. Why would we want to be yoked to him and stay close to him when he is the humblest person who ever lived? It is so easy to be around humble people. And he went the lowest from the Son of God to a man, to a servant, to a servant obedient to death on a cross, despised by the world. He went lower than anyone ever lived. He is that humble and so, because he’s so humble, he’s gentle. Why don’t we learn from him how to do life, how to think differently, how to respond differently, how to be lightened, how to be brightened to become a new creature only in Christ so that the righteousness that in the beginning was external and credited to us now is something that we are growing into. We’re becoming like Jesus.
Okay, let’s pray. I just want to take a moment to lead you in prayer. If you could repeat after me, “Holy Spirit, please show me how I am fleshly in terms of my actions, my will, my speech, my emotions, my responses, my memories. Show it to me so that in this moment I may repent before you. Jesus, we come to you now. We thank you that you are the humblest person who ever lived. And it is so easy to be in your presence because you’re so gentle and lowly in heart. Teach us how to do life differently. Teach us how to think differently, to speak differently, to respond differently, to act differently. We surrender and repent and we ask you to change us. We exchange our heavy burdens for light ones, for hard, difficult situations with ones that are easy in you.
Help us to be yoked to you. We humble ourselves and in this moment declare that we want to be close to you, to be near you all of our days. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. Father, we just thank you, Lord, for meeting with us.
Lord, as we close out this service, we pray that you would search our hearts. If there’s any offensive way in us that we’re blind to, we pray that you would take away the blinders from our eyes, from our ears, from our hearts. We pray that you would reveal the things that are deep within that we don’t even see. We humble ourselves before you. We bring you all of who we are. We pray that you would minister to us, change us.
We repent before you. We thank you for your blood that was shed on the cross and your body that was broken at Calvary. We pray that you would minister to us and encounter us as we partake in the Lord’s Supper as we close this service.
Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
So, just stay with the Lord, pray to him for a few more moments, and after you’re finished and you feel the Lord is compelling you and allowing you to come forward to partake in the Lord’s Supper, it will be here waiting for you. Amen.