Based on Biblical Text Romans 4:20 (KJV)
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;“
I remember the Men’s Chorus used to sing, “Give me that Old Time religion. It was good for my dear mother, and it’s good enough for me.” The song highlighted the fact that we once cared a great deal for our faith. Do we still care for our faith? The question is not so confusing when you consider how we spend so much time taking care of other things that are important to us. We take care of our families. Some of us are on the border of excessive or even compulsive behavior in taking care of our automobiles. Some of us go to extremes taking care of our pets. But how well do we take care of our faith?
The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) that “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen.” The New English Version puts it this way, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Clearly that kind of faith does not just happen. That kind of faith must be nurtured.
Faith then is belief in a promise. Early Christians appeared to be certain of that promise and extremely confident that God would do exactly what He promised. We can conclude that the belief and confidence represents the essence of faith. Applying this faith means that we are committed to live our lives as if God will keep His promise. We go about our lives believing, by faith, God is who He says He is, and He will do what He says He will do! Living by faith is taking God at His Word. That is “old time religion.” Do we have that “Old Time Religion?”
To know God is to love God. To live by faith then requires that we become familiar with God’s promises to us. As we read daily, we will find that the Bible is filled with promises for believers. Our daily reading is encouraging and nourishing to our faith as we find ourselves reviewing God’s promises. How encouraging it is every day, to review the list of God’s promises. The list ranges from forgiveness, to protection, to our relationship with God, and the promise of Eternal Life. Reviewing His promises to us bolsters our faith. We will find ourselves reinvigorated in a manner similar to taking our car to the shop for a tune up. When our mind and our spirit reaffirm the promises of God in our heart, we are once again running on all cylinders and ready to go for the day. Like our car, we run again like “brand new.” “Give me that Old Time Religion.”
Lamentably, there seems to be many Christians who appear to be somewhat disappointed with God. For one reason or another they feel as if God has let them down. God, they seem to imply, did not give them the desires of their hearts. Often times, disheartened Christians stop reading their Bibles, stop praying, and sometimes even stop attending church. There are times when disappointment ultimately leads to anger and bitterness.
I find that most often disappointment with God manifests as a result of confusion over the meaning of real faith. Many who are disappointed with God really misunderstand the definition of faith. Some who are disappointed seem to view faith as some sort of power or force. People think that if they have enough, God will do whatever they ask Him. Thus, when a crisis comes along, they attempt to prompt God into action through their faith. If God does not appear to respond, they become disillusioned.
Mature Christians understand that this expectation is unrealistic! Faith is not a way we can tie God up and force Him to perform for us. It is not some hidden power we can conjure up, or some secret button that we can push to get God to respond. Faith is, however, confidence that God will do what He has promised. Faith ensures us that God will do what He promises to do whether or not we see the visible evidence of His work in and around us. “Give me that Old Time Religion, it was good for my dear mother and it’s good enough for me.”
Every now and then, as God’s children, we boldly ask Him for anything. Once we make our petition, we find ourselves hoping God will give us what we asked for. Many of us are quick to quote James “Ye have not because ye ask not;” however, if we would read just one verse further we would find James admonishing us that “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” We must be reminded from time to time that, to believe that God will give us something He has not promised us is not faith; it is, rather, presumption. Faith is pressing forward, even when we don’t get what we asked for.
When we find our emotions in a quandary, it is our faith that bids us to hold on. It is difficult for us to understand the pain we face in the midst of our struggles, but our faith encourages us to hold out. Faith reminds us that, in time, God will bring us through. It is our faith that keeps us focused on God’s promise that He would do it, no matter how bad it looks or feels. “Give me that Old Time Religion!”
We must learn to take care of our faith. Faith is what fetches down the blessings from God. We must take care of our faith as even prayer is not able to draw down answers from God’s throne but through the earnest prayer of a man or woman who believes. Faith is the angelic conduit between the soul and Jesus Christ. Faith is the connection that links earth and heaven. If that connection is broken, how can we receive the promises of God? Faith is that “Old time Religion” that reminds us that “I know my God can.”
When it looks bleak, when we find ourselves in trouble and surrounded by the enemy, faith is believing and trusting God. When everything around us says we should be frightened, or scared, or disappointed, faith says, “Wait. Help is on the way.” In our weakness, we experience God’s strength. The Apostle Paul reminded us of this truth when he said, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
How are we caring for our faith? Are we feeding it a healthy dose of God’s Word? Are we surrounding ourselves with positive Christian friends? Are we enjoying positive Christian fellowship? Are we truly studying to show ourselves approved unto God? Are we applying what we learn to our daily living?
Jesus is calling the faithful! Jesus is looking for the courageous Christian who will not run and will not doubt. Caring for our faith we will develop convictions and we will not compromise. We will boldly press on and not falter. We will be determined and will not quit. “Give me that Old time Religion, it was good for my dear mother and it is good enough for me!”
As we approach the Sabbath
Sunday, May 11, 2014, is the Fourth Sunday of Easter.
Join our Worship Service at 8:00 am and 11:00 am.
Church School begins at 9:45 am.
Scripture Lesson for this Sunday
Acts 2:14a, Acts 2:36-41
1 Peter 2:19-25
There is a Word from the Lord!
Sermon Text Genesis 2:21-22
Sermon Title The Mystique of a Mother