New Life Chapel

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Theme for 2010 – Faith In Action

I read a disturbing fact this week about the SBC. The SBC is the largest protestant denomination in America and for the second year in a row it has seen a decline in membership.  For the SBC this decline was roughly a loss of 39K members in 2009. That is HUGE. In 2008 the population for the city of Jackson was 33K, so essentially the SBC shrank by more than all of the people in the city of Jackson.

I cannot tell you why the SBC has shrunk so much over the last year. It may have something to do with the materialistic society we live in. It could have something to do with how busy people are now days. It could have something to do with people seeing no difference in how Christians live their lives when compared to the rest of the world. My honest thought is that all 3 of these things and probably much more are the cause of the shrinking numbers in the SBC.

For the past several weeks I have been praying for God to give me a theme for New Life Chapel as we begin 2010. The one thing that keeps coming to mind is that we need to be living our faith. The world needs to see that we are different, they need to see the peace we have, and they need to see the joy that God has given us. So the theme for 2010 is Faith in Action. So for 2010 we are going to look at what Faith is and how we as Christians need to apply it to our lives. We need to be living in Faith everyday of our lives, by doing things that can only be accomplished by God’s power, Loving God above all else, and living out our faith by serving others.

This week I want to talk about one of my favorite people in the Bible, besides Jesus of course. Moses is one of those people that has an amazing faith, but is also so very human. He is a man that had a speech impediment, he has been known to lose his temper, and the first fruits of his efforts of talking to Pharaoh failed and caused more work for the Israelites. But even with all this he kept moving forward, he kept putting his Faith in Action and God did miraculous things through him. Moses is hailed as one of the heroes of faith by the author of the book of Hebrews; which is where we will begin our study.

Hebrews 11:23-28

23By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.” NIV

Moses life started in trying times. All the Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians, and they were worked hard to provide a world of luxury for the Egyptians. When Moses was born, Pharaoh was trying to break the spirit of the Israelites and declared that all of the male infants and toddlers were to be killed. In verse 23, we see that Moses’ parents had faith and believed that God had touched their child. They hid him for 3 months and then placed him in a basket in order to save him from the wickedness of Pharaoh. If we look at the book of Exodus chapter 2 we find that Moses is found floating in a basket by Pharaoh’s daughter. As we pick up the story in verse 7 we find Pharaoh’s daughter talking to Moses’ sister. Let’s read verses 7-10

“7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?”  8 “Yes, go,” she answered. And the girl went and got the baby’s mother. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.” NIV

What we find here is that the Faith of Moses’ parents was rewarded. They hid Moses, and then they let him go. God took this act of faith and blessed them. It is believed that Moses spent at least 5 with his family before being handed over to Pharaoh’s daughter. During this time he was taught about the beliefs of the Israelites and had learned all about the one true God. He had also learned about what the true faith of his parents looked like.

As we move back to the Book of Hebrews we begin to take a closer look at Moses and how he put his faith into action.

Verse 24

24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.”

Moses was given everything; he led a life of privilege and was expected to be a leader in Egypt.  He decided that he was going to renounce the expectations of those around him, he was going to be seen as not of the world but as what God created him to be. This was his first step of putting his faith into action. In John 17:15-16 we find Jesus praying and he says;

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.”

This is Jesus stating in prayer that as His followers we are not of the world. So our first step of putting our faith into action is to live our lives different from the world. This does not mean that we spend our lives hiding in church and avoiding contact with those who don’t know Jesus or who share different beliefs. No, our purpose as Christians is to live our lives according to God’s teachings so that the world will see we are different, see that we have morals and values, and see that we follow them. God is calling us to stand out from the crowd.

Moving on to verse 25:

25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.”

Moses could have had a life of luxury, one where all of his desires would have been fulfilled. He would never have wanted for anything. But instead at the age of 40 he made a deliberate choice to turn away from all the things he was being offered, all that luxury. Instead he made the choice to be part of God’s chosen people. All he could see is the servitude, the suffering that his people endured, but he chose to act on Faith that God was going to fulfill His promises to His people. As God’s people we to need to put our Faith into Action and act on our faith. We need to put value into the promises of God, and do what he wants us to do.

Verse 26 says:

26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

Again we find Moses acting in Faith instead of the life luxury he had at his finger tips. Instead of looking to those treasures Moses was looking to heaven. He saw that the treasure of the world would not last, but the treasures of heaven would be eternal. In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus talks about this:

19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Moses understood these words even though they had not been spoken yet. He looked towards the reward he would receive in heaven by aligning himself with God. We need to remember that to put our Faith in Action we need to be looking to the things of heaven. Our focus, as Christ followers, is to be on Him and on what He wants us to do, not on the things of the world. This means we need to be doing what God wants us to do. Each of us needs to find our place of ministry and do it. Whatever it is God has gifted us to serve the lost, the church, each other in specific ways. Putting our Faith in Action means doing what we were created to do.

Verse 27

27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”

At first glance this verse appears to be in contradiction of Exodus 2, where it says Moses was afraid and left. But after reading several different commentaries on this, I saw how it was not a contradiction. What verse 27 is telling us that Moses was not afraid of dying by Pharaohs hand; he was afraid that if he died he would not be available to be used by God. See, it is believed that Moses knew he was going to be used by God to help His people. Having renounced being an Egyptian and killing a man, had put his ability to help God’s people in jeopardy. The only thing Moses could do and still serve God was to leave. So he left, putting God’s desires for him above anything else. Moses was more concerned about what God thought than what man thought. We need to follow that example and remember that our main purpose in life is to Love God and to do His will.

Back in California I know of a local Christian rock band that formed a couple of years ago. When trying to decide what their name would be; put a lot of thought and prayer into it. They finally came up with the name of ‘Audience of One’. They realized that while they played their music for the church we were attending, they were really playing for God. Their name meant they played to please God, not the congregation or audience. Each week as I begin to prepare for each Sunday service I start by praying and asking God to guide me in preparing the message He wants. My first goal every week is to preach the message that He wants me to learn and you to hear. That is exactly what we need to do as we put our Faith into Action. We need to remember that our actions, our service to others, are really to please God not man.

Verse 28:

“28By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.”

Here we find Moses acting in Faith. Moses believed that the angel of death was coming and was going to take the firstborn of every household that did not have the blood of the lamb on it. Moses Acted in Faith and inspired all of Israel to do the same. This is the main point this morning.

In verse 29 we see the faith of Moses and all of Israel put into action.

“By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land”

Imagine this, these people had faith to walk between two huge walls of water. Talk about putting your Faith in Action. I would be terrified to even consider doing something like this, but every man, woman, and child took a huge step of faith. These were not spiritual leaders, but ordinary people, that took that step of faith. They put their Faith in Action.

2nd Corinthians 5:7 tells us “We live by faith, not by sight”

We need to live our lives with Faith; we need to put our Faith in Action.

As we move into this year trying to live with Active Faith, Pastor Stacy and I will be looking for ways to help everyone to get involved in the ministry of New Life Chapel and the community. We will be looking for people who want to take part in this weekly service, such as praying over the offering, doing announcements, or whatever. Towards the end of March we will be looking for all of us to go out and place door hangers in the neighborhood, so we can get the word out about our Easter Sunday service.

If we begin putting our Faith in Action, we will be amazed by what God will do. As we Love him above all things, seek His will, and do it, God will bless our efforts. He will move in ways that we cannot even begin to imagine. 2010 will be a year of growth for each of us as we learn to take our Faith to the next level. Let’s put our Faith into Action and see what God will do.

Thanks for Reading!

Pastor Robert

Looking forward to the Lord’s Supper next Sunday!

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February 21, 2010 - Posted by | Sermon

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