As many of you will know, a few weeks ago I spoke on Authentic Faith in our Sunday meeting. Since then I’ve been living with this message and feel freshly stirred to help us, as a church, explore what it means for us to become a community of authentic faith. So over the next few weeks this is where we’re heading in these short Life News articles…
Authentic Faith: You might be thinking to yourself, what a strange title. Can you have such a thing as inauthentic faith? Clearly the answer is no. You either have real or genuine faith or you don’t. However, the challenge we face is that in the world we live in the word faith has become smudged around the edges. Different people use it to mean different things and, sadly, even within the church the word faith has been stretched and twisted, so that the final picture of faith that gets presented can be totally inauthentic. Over the coming few weeks I want us to look at what the Bible teaches about authentic faith.
When I spoke a few weeks ago from Hebrews 11, the great treatise on faith, we saw something quite shocking! The chapter is not a carefully constructed doctrinal position. It doesn’t have lots of bullet points and footnotes. Rather, Hebrews 11 is a wonderfully woven tapestry of the lives of Old Testament men and women, who had nothing but the promises of God to rest upon. They were people without any visible evidence that these promises would ever be fulfilled; yet these promises meant so much to them that they shaped and moulded the whole course of their lives to line up with them (John Macarthur). Their faith consisted simply of taking God at his word. They believed God (which is the simplest and clearest definition of biblical faith). They were men and women who lived in the real world, with all its real pressures and real questions and real worries, but they took God at his word and believed him!
Over the coming weeks I want to really grab hold of what it means to believe God. Why? Because God has given us, as a church, massive dreams for the future. Dreams that, in the middle of the night, can seem overwhelming (and sometimes even more so in the starkness of the day). Dreams that will bring significant and glorious change to our city and the surrounding towns and villages. Dreams that will see glorious kingdom activity binding up the broken-hearted and setting the oppressed free. Yet, none of these dreams will be realised unless together we learn how to live daily as a community of faith. So this week can I encourage you to get ready for this new series by reading Hebrews 11 a few times and allowing God to start to speak and provoke you?