The Bible says, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God,” but God will test your faith, and he doesn’t play fair. For example:
- I became homeless with two cats Monday night;
- my freelance writing dried up, so I’ve only been making $8.80 per hour at a part-time retail gig;
- I’m almost out of money after paying $56 per night for a hotel room and $44 per day for a U-Haul so I can get to and from work because I don’t own a car; and
- Cleveland shelters have been turning away hundreds of homeless women and children, and I couldn’t go to one anyway because they don’t take pets. God knows I refuse to abandon my kids the way my mom abandoned me, so I thought for sure he’d bring a six-year-old promise he made me to fruition on my birthday yesterday — especially since he’d given me signs that it was on its way. Instead, things keep getting worse. Tomorrow, we have to move to a different hotel because Friday and Saturday’s rates skyrocketed due to a concert coming to town.
I have to admit: my faith wavered. So:
I called three helpline numbers on a brochure that a woman from my church brought to my workplace last Thursday, knowing I was being evicted. None of them worked.
I tried to apply for a grant that my employer offers from my phone. The site transferred me to a page that said, “Mobile applications won’t be accepted.”
I then tried to apply for the grant from my laptop and discovered the hotel’s Wi-Fi is down.
This morning, Radio 1000 re-aired the following Darrell Scott sermon about faith that I originally heard July Fourth. The station doesn’t typically replay his messages from past weeks. If you’re a Christian, you know everything happens for a reason. So, in case you need a little more faith of your own, here’s the transcript.
Hebrews chapter 11 is one of the most notable chapters in the Word of God, and it’s often referred to as the Faith Hall of Fame. I like to call it the Hall of Faith. … It’s where we derive our definition of faith as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things [unseen]. And it references a number of biblical characters who became outstanding because of their faith in God. The chapter begins by referencing Abel as a man of faith. … And then it talks about Enoch, then Noah, then Abraham, and then Sarah. Abel’s faith is depicted by his sacrifice. He offered up to God, the Bible says, a more excellent sacrifice. He offered a sacrifice that symbolized or typified the coming redeemer — the blood of a lamb.
Enoch’s sacrifice was depicted by his walk with God. …
Then you have Noah, [whose] faith was depicted by his obedience to God. …
Abraham’s faith was depicted by his belief in God and not only his belief in God but his belief of God. There are those who believe in God, but they don’t believe the things of God. … In other words, they believe in God as a supreme deity, but they don’t believe some of the things God has said regarding them. Abraham’s faith was depicted by his belief in God and his belief of God.
[The same holds true for Sarah] …
What gives [these biblical characters] significance is the fact that nothing could deprive them of their confidence in the promises and the purpose and the power of God.
The thing you have to understand is the fact that their promises were distant, they were afar off, their promises were futuristic as it were. A number of them were unfulfilled in their own lifetime, but in spite of their deferred fulfillment, and seemingly apparent denial, they died in faith and in victorious hope. …
They died without receiving everything that they had been promised, but the Bible says they saw them from afar off — they had a vision of them from afar off. Their distance from their reception did not prevent them from seeing them. Their distance from the reception of the promise did not prevent them from having a vision of them from afar off.
How many of you know the most outstanding feature of vision is the ability to see from afar off?
How many of you can see from afar off?
Is there anybody here this morning — you have a vision of something that’s in the future right now — it’s afar off right now.
You have a vision of success.
You have a vision of victory.
You have a vision of accomplishment, attainment, and achievement.
You have a vision of increase and health and wealth.
You’ve seen it, you have a vision of it, you’re prepared to receive it, you’re persuaded of it even though right now, it seems to be afar off. …
Now, the Greek [translation] … carries the idea of not having the promise in one’s possession at the moment. But as possessors of faith, they can see the manifestation, they can see the blessing, they can see the promise from afar off. They saw it coming up the road, they can see it on its way down the street from afar off, they were persuaded of it, they were assured of it, they embraced it even though they sensed that it was not yet in the timing of God.
And how many of you will admit that you can sense some things in your spirit, but at the same time you perceive that their reception is in the timing of God and not in the parameters of time? [Y]ou have to understand that God is unconcerned with regard to time. God is unconcerned when it comes to matters of time, and God does not work in respect to time. God works in respect to timing, which is why he didn’t send Jesus immediately after Adam’s fall in the garden.
The Bible says the fullness of time came when timing connected — or time coincided — with timing. When time intersected with timing, he sent forth his son. …
So, [these people mentioned in Hebrews 11] based their lives on their faith in God, much like some of you. You’ve based your life on your faith in God as well. … [And] if it had not been for your faith in God, you would not be here right now. They based their lives on their faith in God, who would ultimately, they believed, complete what he had begun. He would perfect what he had promised to them.
So each of these futurists, they looked into the future with eyes of faith — optimistic eyes. Hopeful eyes of faith. The lord showed them a glimpse of the promise. So they did not endeavor to satisfy themselves with short-term solutions that would prevent their long-term fulfillment. They did not sacrifice quick gratification in order to have or obtain greater satisfaction. So they did not act out of frustration or desperation in order to receive temporary gratification. They held on and they held out by faith because they believed God would reward not only their faith but God would also reward their faithfulness.
There are [people] in the church today who have faith, but they are not faithful. They believe God in their spirit, but their soul can’t wait for God. … The soul is more connected to the flesh than the flesh is to the spirit. The flesh is self-will, self-gratification. The flesh represents self-empowerment. So oftentimes the spirit is willing to obey God, oftentimes the spirit is willing to wait on God, but the flesh is too weak because it’s self-empowered. It’s driven, it’s motivated, it’s stimulated by its appetite and desires and passions of its soul. So that’s how you can believe God, but you still fall into fornication because your spirit is willing to be celibate, but your appetites, desires, and passions make your flesh too weak to resist.
So these [notable people] in Hebrews 11 not only had faith, but they were faithful as well. They did not believe God and disobey God at the same time, which is what this generation today is noted for. The Bible says, “When the son of man comes, will he find faith upon the Earth?” but this verse is more precisely translated [as], “When the son of man comes, will he find faithfulness on the Earth?” because there are a number of people today who have faith, but they are not faithful. They have faith in God, but they are not faithful to God. They have faith in God, but they’re not faithful to pray, they’re not faithful to tithe, they’re not faithful to study and read his Word, and they’re not faithful to attend church. They have faith in God, but they’re not faithful to God.
So Hebrews goes on to say that these all died in faith. The world would call them failures. The world would say their sacrifice was in vain because they died [and] because their manifestation did not come when the world thought that it should come.
And how many of you know that there are always those who want to put their timetable on your promise? There are always those who desire to dictate how and when and where God should perform in your life. They want to tell you how God should bless you, they want to talk about when and how God should do a work in your life. And they want to pass their faithlessness on to you. And then they’ll cause you to respond like those Hebrew boys did in the book of Daniel. … They said, we just want to let you know: our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us [from the fiery furnace]. He’s able to bless us. He’s able to protect us. He’s able to provide for us. And he will.
How many of you know that not only is he able to bless us, he’s also willing to bless us.
Not only is he able to deliver us, he’s willing to deliver us.
Not only is he able to give us a breakthrough, he’s willing to give us a breakthrough. He will give us a breakthrough.
[Those Hebrew boys] said, oh, King, let me let you know something: our God, whom we serve, is able to deliver us, and he will.
If it’s in his plan, if it’s in his purpose, he’s willing and able to bring us out.
But if not — if it’s not in his purpose, if it’s not in his plan, we still won’t waver. We still won’t give in. We still will not bend our knees.
That’s why Jesus said: if it be possible, if it’s in your purpose, if it’s in your plan, let this cup pass. If I can do what you want me to do, if I can go where you want me to go, if I can get what you want me to get without having to go through pain, without having to be hurt, without the trial, without the tribulation, without the condemnation, without the crucifixion, let it be so, but nevertheless, he said, not as I will but as you will.
And what Jesus was saying was: I will not seek a painless process.
I will not look for an escape route.
I will not give up.
I will not turn around.
I will not go back.
I’m going to believe God no matter how it turns out.
Look at somebody and say:
I’m gonna believe God no matter how it turns out.
I’m gonna believe God no matter what people say.
I’m gonna believe God no matter what people do.
I’m going to believe God in spite of my appetites, in spite of my desires, in spite of my passions, in spite of my weakness in my flesh.
The severity of my situation and the complexity of my circumstance will not cause me to give up on God.
I’m gonna believe God whether I get the money or not.
I’m gonna believe God whether I get the promotion or not.
I’m gonna believe God whether I get the house.
Whether I get the car.
Whether I get the man.
Whether I get the woman.
Whether I get the position.
Whether I get the contract.
I’m gonna believe God whether I get it.or.not.
[Hebrews 11] says, “These all died in faith, not having received the promise but having seen them from afar off and being persuaded of them and …” and the context is, the connotation is that they died not having received all of the promise. In other words, they did not receive everything that they were believing for. They did not accomplish everything they wanted to accomplish. They did not fulfill all of their desires, but they still held on. They received some but not all. Because the truth of the matter is, God had a blessing for them that they did not have room enough to receive at that time. But in spite of everything, they never lost their vision, and they never lost hope. However long their road was, they never stopped walking it, and they never turned back.
Verse 15 says if they had been mindful of where they came from — in other words, if they had their mind on their past, if they constantly reminisced and reflected on the country they had come from, they might have turned back. But they desired, the Bible says, a better country, a better place, a better life, a better lifestyle. Look at somebody and say, “I’m living better than I ever lived before. I turned my back on the mess. I turned my back on the sin. I turned my back on the fornication. I turned my back on the lasciviousness, and I’m living better than I ever lived before.”
They desired a better life. Better things. That’s why Paul said in Hebrews 6:9, “I am persuaded of better things for you. Things that accompany salvation.” Because, Paul said, God will not forget your labor. He won’t forget your work. He won’t forget your service. He won’t forget your faith in his kingdom.
So their journey in faith was an unknown journey that was revealed to them step by step, stage by stage. Their faith steps combined to become faith stages of their life. So, their way forward was unknown to them. They were just out here believing God.
Look at somebody and say, “All I know is I’m just out here, believing God. I don’t know what tomorrow may hold. I know what I want to do, but I don’t know what’s really gonna happen. All I know is: I believe God. I don’t know how things are gonna turn out. I don’t know what the next week is gonna be about. All I know is I’m out here.” Look at somebody and say, “I’m out here believing God.”
So, their way forward was unknown. It was only illuminated to them step by step.
The way back was known: it didn’t need any light. In other words, you know what’s back there. You know where to go, you know what to do, you know how to do it.
The way back was known.
The way forward was unknown.
To be honest, it’s easier to go back than it is to keep going forward. At least when you go back, you know the way back. Going forward, you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know what you’re doing.
They could turn around and go back in the dark, but there was no weakening by them no matter how intense the temptation was because there was no mind, no intention to ever turn around and go back.
Can I talk about myself? I’ve been through a lot of twists and turns and ups and downs in my 36+ years of salvation, [but] the one thing that never crossed my mind was turning around and going back. That’s one decision I never even contemplated. Go back to what? That’s why when Jesus told the disciples, “Y’all can walk, too,” Peter said, “Where [are] we gonna go? What [are] we gonna do? After dealing with you, after having a relationship with you, lord, turn around and go back to what? There ain’t nothing to turn around and go back to.”
They never had any mind or intention of turning around and going back. And they never returned to what they came out of. Once they started out, it never struck them, it never crossed Abraham’s mind to go back to Ur of the Chaldees. …
In flying, there is a point of no return. … When the airplane reaches the point of no return, it can’t go back because its fuel is at the level that there’s nothing left to do but keep going forward because they don’t have the fuel to go back.
Look at somebody and tell them, “I’ve reached the point of no return. I’ve come too far. I’ve been through too much. I don’t have the energy. I don’t have the fuel. I don’t have the desire to turn around and go back. I have no other choice but to keep on going on.”
Look at somebody and say, “I don’t have any other options but to keep believing God.”
[O]ne of the greatest tragedies in life is the number of people who turn around and go back a little too soon. With just a little bit more effort, just a little bit more waiting, just a little bit more hoping, just a little bit more praying, just a little bit more faith and the vision would have manifested, and the dream would’ve come true.
The boiling point of water is 212 degrees. And there are a number of people — if you turn the water off at the 211th degree, you will not get a manifestation. And there were some people who were right there, right on the brink, right on the edge, right about to enter in, and something came up that made them give up on their faith.
They [people] were able to go on because they were focused on things beyond. They were focused on things that were beyond their current set of circumstances. They were able to look beyond their issues, past their problems, beyond their drama. They were able to look beyond whatever they were going through and see God. They were able to look past their drama and see God bless them. Look past their issues and see God deliver them. Look past their chaos and confusion and see God make a way.
Look at somebody and tell them, “I’m going to look past my problems and see God. I’m going to look past my struggle, past my dilemma, past my turmoil, past my stress and keep on believing God no matter what.”
Look at somebody and say, “I’m gonna keep on hoping, keep on believing, keep on having faith, and keep being faithful no matter what I go through. I’m gonna keep on worshiping, keep on praising, I’m gonna keep on praying, I’m gonna keep being sober. I’m gonna keep being celibate. I’m gonna keep on tithing. I’m gonna keep coming to church. I’m gonna keep serving God. I’m gonna keep having faith. I’m gonna keep living right. I’m gonna keep reading the Bible. I’m gonna keep believing God no.matter.what, and I will keep waiting on God until my change comes.”
Look at somebody and say, “I’m waiting on my change to come. Until my change comes, I’ve got some things to do. Until my change comes, I’m gonna keep holding on. Until my change comes, I’m gonna keep on believing God. Maybe I need to step my game up a little bit. Maybe I need to step my praise up a little bit. Maybe I need to step my prayer up a little bit. Maybe I need to step my faith up a little bit, but I’m gonna keep believing God until my change comes.”