Hillsong TV // My Faith – My Strength with Brian HoustonJean Kelley November 14, 2019 4 Comments
This message is called “My Faith – My Strength.” Faith is a powerful thing. It’s never just faith in what God does, it’s faith in who God is. Faith in putting your faith in faith will get you nowhere but putting your faith in Christ will get you everywhere. So, I want to talk about strong faith ’cause I love that thought. I love that idea. We need tough faith because your faith takes a beating. And in Hebrews chapter 11, Hebrews 11, verse 33, verse 34 is talking about people who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. This sounds to me like tough, strong, robust faith. Stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. So, I love the sound of that kind of faith, I really do. Wouldn’t it be awesome if everything you touched in life turned to gold? Wouldn’t it be awesome if everything you did just prospered? In Psalm chapter 1, verse 1 it says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the Word of the Lord and in that word, in that law he shall meditate day and night.” It says, “He shall be like a tree planted by rivers of water.” And it goes on and says about this man, “His leaves shall not wither.” Verse 3, and listen, “whatever he does will prosper.” Wouldn’t it be amazing if that was what life was like, everything you did just prospered, everything you did just prospered? I think actually everything we do does prosper. It’s just whatever’s prospering in your life is determined by what you’re doing. So sadly, sometimes all the wrong things can be prospering in our lives. But I can tell you right now, being 60 years of age that life’s not just this one continuous journey of wonderful victory and joy. It’s oftentimes just a big series of battles, challenge after challenge after challenge and winning the victory in one of those challenges and bang, all of a sudden, that’s another challenge. And that’s why we need to understand the power of faith. You see, I think faith is like a muscle because you gotta exercise it to strengthen it. And oftentimes if you don’t exercise your faith when you really need to be able to stand in faith, you haven’t learned how to build that kind of robust, strong faith that can stare down the challenge and stare down the opposition. So, robust faith, strong, muscular faith, how do we build that into your lives? How do we live lives so that we’ve got answers through faith to those things that try to come against us? The reason why we need faith is because life has challenges. Think about it. If there weren’t any challenges, there’d be no such thing as a fight of faith ’cause there would be no fight. We’re called more than conquerors. If you didn’t have some challenges in life, don’t be surprised if you have some opposition because what would there be to conquer if we never ever had anything coming against us? You’re more than a conqueror, you’re an overcomer. You wouldn’t need to be an overcomer if there was nothing to overcome. That’s why you should never get disappointed with God when not everything goes the way you expect, but sometimes you’re confronted with some challenging and some difficult times because the truth is that’s what gives faith its purpose, the faith we have in God. I think it’s powerful. If I think of fathers, I think about the kind of fathers who, well, they know how to lead other people in faith. I think there’s something attractive, to be honest with you, about a man, about a father, who knows how to lead his family in faith. And when they’re facing the tough times, they know how to stand strong, and be courageous, and not draw back from honoring God and putting him first. I think the kind of faith that kids can grow up to admire in a father is just worth destinies in generations to come. That kind of faith that does have muscle, that kind of faith that does have grace, that kind of faith that knows like this faith talked about here, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions. I wonder what the lions look like that you believe God through faith to shut the mouths of, quench the violence of the fire, escape the edge of the sword, become mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight. That’s to me the kind of faith I would love to build into my life and I know that outside of Christ, I’m pretty feeble. I’m a chicken. So, that’s why I believe in God through his Word, to be able to be able to live my life strong in faith and to lead our church strong in faith, to build our home strong in faith. Amen? So number one, those who fight through faith subdued kingdoms, kingdom subduing faith. It’s Hebrews chapter 11, verse 33, kingdom subduing faith. The word “subdue,” it means to conqueror and bring under subjection, to conqueror something, you know, subdue something. I wonder what in your life you need to subdue that’s coming at you like that, some sort of challenge, some sort of problem. Again, wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was never ever any challenges? You know, Joshua, God gave him such a promise in Joshua chapter 1. I mean Moses was dead now it was Joshua’s time. And God says, “Man, I’m gonna give you all the land you can see, every piece of land you put your feet. Everywhere you put your feet, I’m gonna give it to you.” So again, it just sounds like this incredible promise with no challenge and no opposition. He says, “I’m gonna give you all the land from the mountains to the ocean, from the desert to the river. Everything you can see, it’s yours.” But God kept saying in Joshua 1, “Be strong and courageous.” You wonder why he’s getting all this land and everything. In verse 6 it says, “Be strong and courageous.” In verse 9 it says again, “Be strong and courageous.” And then a third time God tells him verse 7, “Be strong and very courageous.” And you think “Well, why does he need to be courageous? You’re giving him all this land and you’re gonna give him all this territory.” There’s a whole lot God didn’t tell him. You just go along 12 more chapters, get to Joshua chapter 12 and I talked– preached about this one time. In Joshua chapter 12 and listen to what it talks about there. It says actually it’s verse 7, “And these are the kings of the country which Joshua and the children of Israel conquered.” In verse 9 it says, “The king of Jericho, that’s one; The king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one; the king of Jerusalem, one; the king of Hebron, one; the king of Jarmuth, one; Lachish, one; Eglon, one; the king of Debir, one; the king of Hormah, one; the king of Libnah, one; Makkedah, one; Tappuah, one; Aphek, one; Madon, one; Achshaph, one; Taanach, one; Kedesh, one.” There was Dor, “the King of Dor. He was the king of Dor, that’s one. There was the king of Tirzah.” Ultimately it says in verse 24, “The king of Tirzah, one– all the kings, thirty-one.” “All the place you’re gonna put your feet, I’m gonna give to you. Everything you can see, I’m gonna give to you.” Never did talk about the 31 kings he was gonna have to defeat. You know, in my life I’ve had to overcome some kings just like many of you have and are and still need to overcome. Some things that come against you in life is so seemingly insurmountable. But what a powerful thing today to be able to look at all those kings and all those battles and think about who through faith in God, those things are being subdued, how that we’re still on the winning side and things are still going forward, and God’s still doing what he promised he would do. I wonder what kings you’re confronted with right now to get to the promise God’s got for you because wouldn’t it be wonderful to have that kind of faith that subdues, subdues kingdoms? To subdue a kingdom, firstly, you’ve gotta defeat the king, then you gotta disarm the military, and finally you gotta claim the victory. And I think about what Jesus Christ has done for us in disarming the military, in literally overcoming some of those things, some of those kings and some of those rulers in the spirit world that try to stand against you, and I can only think about the incredible grace of God. That’s why I tell you, don’t put your faith in faith, keep your faith in Jesus. And with your faith in Jesus, you watch how, by exercising your faith, your faith will become strengthened because you’ll see over a long period of time the power of putting your faith in God and the faithfulness of God to stand by those things that he has promised you. And so when I think about that, when I think about all that Jesus Christ accomplished for us, literally when he died on the cross, you may or may not know that the Bible’s pretty clear that before he ascended into heaven, he descended into the belly of the earth. He went down to hell and when the Scripture talks about that, it really talks about the victory Jesus won over the king devil, the king demon, you know, down there in hell. And it paints a picture, a word picture literally, of a king who like in Bible times when a king overcame another king, he would put that king in a cage and he would have a parade through the town parading this captured king while all the people cheered and rejoiced, and gave gifts to the king. And so that’s the picture it paints of the victory Jesus had over the devil. It’s a picture of him parading the devil through the town as people praise God for the victory. And if I think of the Colossians chapter 2, ’cause I love this chapter and I love these verses. And it says in verse 14, verse 15 about what Jesus Christ has accomplished. “Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed those things to the cross.” It’s talking about here the law in particular. But listen, “Having disarmed principalities and powers.” What did he do? He made a public spectacle of them, in other words, paraded them. He made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them in it. And through faith in Jesus Christ, I really believe that you cannot only dethrone that king that’s ruling against you, but you can also disarm the principalities and powers like the Bible is speaking about here. And you think about what Jesus Christ does in literally giving you the kind of victory where you can rejoice, you can rejoice, not against people, but against the spirit, and against the things that try to work against you. To me, that is robust, strong faith. That’s the kind of faith that I pray that we can have as a church as we go forward here in this city, the kind of faith that can subdue kingdoms. Again, I’m not talking about people. I’m not talking about specific parts of life in L.A. I’m talking about just some of the opposition that tries to hold back what God is wanting to do in your life. Let’s believe for kingdom-subduing faith who through faith subdued kingdoms, number two, performed acts of righteousness. I love that because, you know, our own righteousness is worth nothing. Since verse 11 says, “Our righteousness is like filthy rags.” It’s worth nothing. In other words, if we try to stand on our self-righteousness; I hate self-righteousness. Our righteousness simply is all about building on everything that’s right with him and not everything that’s wrong with us. If we want to look at our lives and try to build on our own righteousness, we’re really building on all the things that are wrong with us and that has no power to it. But when you put your faith in Jesus Christ and you believe his righteousness is your righteousness and you stand complete in him, and that’s the only reason that we can be in church today lifting up our hands and praising and worshiping God with our heads held high, that’s why we don’t have to be down on the floor there groveling and trying to live according to our own weakness and failure. We live according to his power and his promise. It’s his righteousness. And I love this, the Bible says the Lord is righteous. He doesn’t just do some righteous things, he is righteous, it’s who he is. Amen. He is righteous and if you go on and read this verse, not only is the Lord righteous but he loves righteousness and his countenance, his favor, beholds the upright. Do you know I’ve learned in life that who you believe God is is what in people’s eyes I believe God does. The Bible’s clear that the Lord is righteous. Psalm 119, verse 68, David says, “The Lord is good. The Lord is good and he does good.” So, if you can believe that God is good, then you’ll believe that God does good. A lot of people, because they believe God is angry, then they believe God does angry things. Sadly, that’s the spirit behind a lot of terrorism and a lot of the horror in the world. It comes back to their warped belief about God. But if you believe that he is righteous, and that he is your righteousness, and that he loves righteousness, and that his favor beholds the upright so that then we understand that we can live our lives, not under the weight of our horrible failure and sin, because if you do, even today it might be some of those years ago and you’ll still feel like you’ve canceled out the potential of God blessing you, and you still feel like hell, and feel like you’re not worthy of praising God. Sadly, condemnation often doesn’t have an expiry date. It just keeping coming back and haunting you, that’s why you can’t live by it. You gotta live by the promise God. He is our righteousness and when we believe that, then we can have the faith to live our lives working righteous. See, that’s what the Bible says. “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, or who worked righteousness.” So, self-righteous doesn’t work. Legalistic righteousness, it doesn’t work but the righteousness of Christ, it works and when we believe for the righteousness of Christ to be working in our lives, then you’ll see the fruit of it in a person’s life. Do you know I believe one of the places righteousness can work, and we literally can have acts of righteousness, perform acts of righteousness, which is what the Bible says, simply by the way we speak. Proverbs 10 talks consistently about the righteous. Listen to some of these verses, verse 11 says, “The mouth of the righteous is a well of life.” To me, that’s performing acts of righteousness, speaking encouragement into people, allowing your words to be a well of life. I’m gotta ask you, are your words a well of life or a sewer of defeat? Because I believe we’re called to speak words, the words of the righteous, if we’re representatives of his righteousness are a well of life. Get the negativity out of your conversation. If you want to live with robust faith, you gotta get that negativity, set that defeat before you’re started, catch yourself doing it, and change the habit because sometimes we don’t even see it in ourselves. We want to be living our lives so that we are working righteousness, we’re working righteousness, which is what these guys did and to me, that means your words just speak life and encouragement. So, in your words, Proverbs 10:21, the lips of the righteous, the lips of the righteous. We’re talking about how to perform acts of righteousness. Let’s just focus on the way we talk. The lips of righteous feed many. If the people in your world are dependent on your words for their nourishment, are they gonna be well fed or they gonna be dying of starvation? Let’s be speaking those words that are not only a well of life, but those words that, well, feed many. I want to be speaking wells of life. I want you, no matter how you’re feeling when you came in, to be feeling a whole lot better about God, about life, and about yourself on your way out. Amen. Speaking words of life. Proverbs 10:25, “When the whirlwind passes by–” There’s the storm, it just blows in like a whirlwind. “When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more.” In other words, it blows them right out. “But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.” How cool is that? Understanding that through the righteousness of Christ, you got a strong foundation; that’s why you can build strong faith. You know, strong faith doesn’t mean that you’re not gonna feel the weight of the battle. I love that story Jesus tells about a centurion, a centurion is like a leader of a hundred in the Roman army and so this guy has got a servant girl who’s sick and dying. And he goes to Jesus and said, “Jesus, can you heal my servant girl?” And Jesus said, “Yeah, I’ll come to your house.” He says, “Please don’t come to my house. I’m not worthy that you come under my roof.” Now, this is a guy, he’s a man of authority. Naturally speaking, he’s got a whole lot of strength. He’s got a hundred underneath him. He says, actually, “I’m a man in authority and I’m a man under authority.” And you know what Jesus finally, after this man said to Jesus, “Just speak a word and my servant girl will be healed,” Jesus said, “Such great faith I have not seen even in Israel.” See, this guy was a Roman, in other words, he’s a Gentile and yet he had faith. Jesus said, “I haven’t even seen that in Israel.” And his faith wasn’t in his strength. His faith wasn’t in his righteousness. His faith was in believing that the Word of Jesus Christ can bring victory in life and, man, that’s the way we gotta live our lives, that’s the way we all want to be living our life. Amen. I love it. Proverbs 10:32, “The lips of the righteousness know what is acceptable.” What’s acceptable when it comes to your words? What’s acceptable? Negativity, angry words, speaking angry words, speaking out of anger all the time, criticism, gossip? We have certain ways of thinking and certain ways of speaking that’s just not acceptable. It’s just not cool because to me, then we can see righteousness working. You’ll see it working in your life, you’ll see it working in the church, and you’ll also see it working in a way where people will be so attracted, so attracted. There’s something attractive around overcoming people, there really is. I mean it can be threatening but the best place you can be when you feel like that is in God’s house and it’s amazing how you get an atmosphere of faith and speaking words of life how that it can lift other people and build them. I just pray that that will always be who we are as a church in Jesus’ name. “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness.” Listen to this one, “Obtained promises.” Do you know something? God is not trying to keep you from his promise and he’s not trying to keep his promise from you. He’s described as a covenant-keeping God. In other words, he keeps his Word. The Bible says that God keeps covenant for a thousand generations. He keeps covenant. In Nehemiah chapter 9, God’s people, they’ve been, you know, they just weren’t being faithful to God talking about how they forgot his works, and they forgot his counsel, and it talks about how they soon went back to their old ways. But in verse 32, there’s a cry goes out, “Now therefore our God, the great, the mighty, and awesome God, who keeps covenant.” In other words, even though at times I’ve failed you, God, we’ve failed you, you’re a covenant-keeping God and I believe strong, robust, muscular faith. It knows how to go after the promise and obtain the promises. What promises are you believing to see fulfilled? ‘Cause I don’t believe for one moment that God’s trying to play hide and seek and keep you from his promise. I believe that he wants you to inherit his promise and he is faithful. And I’ve already been saying doesn’t mean there won’t be some pretty big challenges and opposition on the way to the promises. But if I just think about two words that are close but not the same, you know, “obtain.” The Bible says obtained promises and attain. To obtain something is to receive it. To attain to something means reaching out, reaching out and, you know, finally qualifying. And I think of obtain and attain and I think about the way God works with his promises ’cause there’s a part of it where we just need to know how to receive. God’s already won the victory, you just need to know how to receive, and how to walk in the promise, and how to obtain it. But there’s another part where, like Paul says in Philippians chapter 3, “Forgetting the things which are behind.” He says, “I press on to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” If I read what he actually said, he said in verse 12, “Not that I’ve already attained.” So, there is a thing in Paul where he was pressing on to attain what God had for him. And I just like the thought of those two working together obtaining and attaining when it come to the things of God. In other words, to obtain something is just resting in the promise and to attain is reaching out and reaching up for the promise. And I think if you understand that balance, it was all about just us attaining, reaching the standard where we’re good enough for the promise. You’ll never ever see breakthroughs but if you do understand that sometimes it’s just resting and obtaining what God’s got for you in the same way, in a balanced way, keep stepping up to be all God called you to be and pressing on to reach the prize of the high calling and I’d have to tell you honestly that if you trust in a God who is a promise keeper, that across your life you keep honoring him and keep believing for the promise, your life will be a story of amazing testimony to the goodness, and the power, and the grace of God, I promise you. You start putting God first in your life across a lifetime and see if at the end of your life you’re still saying it didn’t work ’cause you give God a lifetime of honoring him and putting him first and you watch just how well he works as you obtain the promises he gave you. God will do exceeding, abundant, and above anything you could ever ask or think according to his power which is in Christ Jesus, his power that is in Christ Jesus. I love serving Jesus Christ. I love it. God is a promise-keeping God. You can, through the grace of God, subdue whatever the kings, the king challenges, the king problems, the king opposition you’re facing, you can stare those things down. You can see the Lord fulfill his promise in your life and through your life. God is a faithful God who keeps his promises, amen, who keeps covenant in Jesus’ name. Father, I pray for all those who are listening and all those who are part of the service, and we thank you that we go serve a promise-keeping God and I speak your promise into people. And Father, I pray that along the way, we can see through your strength, kingdoms subdued, opposition that seemed to be impossible by the grace of God, we see it instead of like a mountain in front of us, we see it as something that’s behind us. Lord, I thank you in Jesus’ name that you are true to your Word. Lord, I just pray whatever, whatever the circumstances that people are here today are facing, that they’ll see your faithfulness working in their lives. We give you all the glory, we give you all the praise in Jesus’ name, amen, amen, amen, amen. Well, Bobbie and I from Hillsong Church are so blessed by the people who lean into our ministry, and I want you to know that God’s hand is on your life. You see, everything we are about is God and people and I am a great believer, we are great believers in the potential in people. No matter where you are, who you are, the circumstances you’re facing, the incredible challenges you have, I know that I know that I know that if you keep your faith in God and speak words of life into your circumstance, that God’s Word will come to pass. He is a God of his Word called a covenant-keeping God. In other words, he keeps covenant for a thousand generations. Well, if you think about that, that’s a lot of generations from you and you can trust God with your future and with the future of generations to come when you simply believe, and keep him as your focus, and speak those words of life into your circumstance.