Missional Living People.... #4 Walk by Faith (part3), Recognizing that the Core Value of Highest Interest with God is Our Faith.
"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
You only do what you really believe. Since we love because He first loved us, we must first believe John 3:16 and John 10, in order to grasp John 13:34-35. But let’s take a slightly different approach in this next part of understanding the importance of faith for the missional life. Here are some statements or core values regarding why it impossible to please Him without it:
I always feel compelled to follow up Jesus’ words here with this truth from Romans 10:16-17: "But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?' So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
So, what is this priority of God for us? One might respond with Deuteronomy 6:5: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Christ certainly recognizes it as the greatest command in Matthew 22:37 (Luke 10:37), "And He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’” And we would all do well to fulfill the Scriptures so. As Joshua reminds in 23:11, "Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God.”
So let us put it into context, or rather the order of operations. First see John 6:45-47, "It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me—not that anyone has seen the Father except He who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” And then, John 14:15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
Do you see then that until I believe in Who the Lord is and in what the Lord has said, I can neither know Him, be saved by Him, understand His will, or obey His commands? How can I please someone that I do not know? And what is it to be granted eternal life in Him but a relationship with a Heavenly Father? According to Jesus in John 17:3, eternal life is not defined as simply getting to go to heaven some day. Instead He says, "And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."
Missional Living people understand that “...at one time [we]you were darkness, but now [we]you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and [we]try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8-10) Written in a time when Gentiles did not possess a Bible in every household, these words are powerful! The early believers had to hear the word of God, believe it, be guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit and then discern how to have wisdom and the will to apply it, with the intent of living a life that was pleasing to the Lord. There is little doubt as to the importance of faith in such a lifestyle, both then and now. Our mandate has not changed, but we do have access to the Scriptures.
The issue of our belief and trust in the Lord is of highest value and priority to Him. Out of what we believe in our heart of hearts proceeds the actions that demonstrate a growing love for our Savior. God, although He needs nothing and is completely self-sustained, not dependent on us for worship or belief to fuel His power, as so many false gods in human history crave. Rather, because there is no deceit in Him, because He brings hidden things to light and shines in the darkness, cannot but seek that a creation He loves enough to die for would walk in the truth.
Missional living people understand that God is pleased in faith for the simple reason that any unbelief in His identity, His deity, His character and nature or His word is to walk in the destructive power of a dark deception, where we cannot fellowship with Him, because He only walks in the truth. And it is God’s loving desire that we know Him and walk with Him, as supported by Micah 6:8, "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Missional living people understand that God is not after my love for Him or my obedience to Him apart from desiring my faith in Him first and foremost, for He knows that when we believe the truth, we are then free to know, love and obey the Lord as He really is, and not by what any other tradition, doctrine, religion or deception may try to make Him out to be. I end the lesson with this in 1 John 1:1-4, "That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life (and the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare unto you the life, the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us); that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you also, that ye also may have fellowship with us: yea, and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ: and these things we write, that our joy may be made full."