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A Foundation for Faith

“Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits.” (Hebrews 6:1-3)

All that we have in this world, the very day in which we live, the resources that are available to us, the privilege that we have to serve in His Kingdom, and the ability to use our time, talent and treasure for His service and service to ourselves and family is according to His will and purpose for our lives. “This we will do, if God permits.” Our walk with Jesus is not one in which we can employ our five senses only, it is a walk that requires faith in His Word. “And without faith it is impossible to please Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Without faith in Jesus Christ our live are but a venture in circumstance. It is imperative then to build our faith on a solid foundation.

The words of our Lord said that if we do not have a solid foundation that which we build will fall. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” (Matthew 7:24-26)

As we endeavor on the narrow path of service to the King the sign of ordination as a true saint of the Kingdom is the fruit we produce. All of the efforts of men and women will produce fruit and sadly for most the fruit of their efforts will pass with this world and not continue on into the next. The true sign of a follower of Jesus is that the fruit of his good work will stand the test of time and have an eternal value in the Kingdom to come. To accomplish this our faith must have a foundation standing upon the Rock of Ages.

The beginning is found in our repentance. Now that we have been impacted by the truth of God’s Word we have come to the point of decision, a choice to travel upon a higher path, and the need to make a commitment to follow the footprints that He has laid before us. It is no small matter this decision, for one who commits and then turns back from the plow is not fit to receive the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven. “But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) To follow Christ is a total commitment, as He was totally committed to us when He went to the cross for us. It is not a Sunday go to meeting adventure, a mid-week service with friends, and a quick prayer only at suppertime, and the left over funds placed in the offering plate to advance the Kingdom commission.

To lay a foundation for repentance we must dig deeper into the basement of our life and remove all the obstacles of sin that come between us and a holy God. We must dig down to the bedrock of our lives and rid ourselves of all the minutest things that come before us and our Lord. As the forerunner John the Baptist has told us, “For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight!” (Matthew 3:3) I see the purpose of God as reconciling man to Himself through Jesus Christ, restoring our fellowship with Him, and getting man back to the home he was created to live in, our heavenly home in His Kingdom. Our Lord is faithful and true, (Revelation 19:11) He is willing to pardon us, (Deuteronomy 29:20) and through His Son Jesus made preparation that we may have eternal life in His Kingdom. (Romans 5:21) If we confess and repent from our sin, then we have cleared the path that we may have fellowship with God in the power of Jesus’s name. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Second, our faith comes from the Word of God. Our exercise of faith is the power to live the abundant life through Jesus both now and forevermore. Jesus taught us, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) The Word of God is our spiritual food. We go to the worship service spiritually hungry and are filled by the teaching of His Word. Yet, I cannot live on one meal a week. The further we go in between spiritual meals the hungrier and the weaker we get from that hunger. In the way that we fuel our physical bodies each day we also must fuel our spiritual body as well. I feel that many starve themselves throughout the week and then wonder why they do not have the spiritual energy to fight their daily spiritual battles. How, I wonder, can one expect to have faith in God’s Word to strengthen them in their daily walk when they are malnourished? If our faith is to grow into a strong faith then we must feed it with the God’s Word. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) A strong faith is necessary to face the everyday world in which we live. Chapter 11 in the book of Hebrews is called the hall of fame for the faithful. They overcame not only by their joy, not only by their love, not only by their brokenness, and not only by their fasting which brought them to victory. It was faith! Our salvation comes through faith, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God,” (Ephesians 2:8) Our walk in this life is by faith, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) It is by our walk of faith with Jesus that we overcome this world and rest in the world to come. “Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5) To have a strong faith we must grow our faith on the foundation of God’s Word.

Discovering the truth of God’s Word will draw you to repentance. This is the necessary response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As Grace, Jesus Christ is the free gift of God, it is by our belief in Jesus Christ and our faith to act upon His Word that we are saved. Our repentance from this world towards the greater world of the Kingdom of God is also a gift from God.

We should not assume that it is within our own selves that it is within our own heart and minds to repent. We were born into this world and the world has a strong allure upon us. The very heart of man is driven from within by his own deceitful ways with a mind that will rationalize away the truth of the Scripture. “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) Our minds are so filled by the sinful nature we have been born with that the natural man is blinded to the truth of God’s Word. We have drifted so far from the truth that an inroad has been exploited by the adversary. “In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

We have no will to turn away from the pleasures of this world seeking the magnificent joys of the Kingdom of God. We have become too short sighted in our vision to see the world to come. But God, rich in His mercy, opens our hearts to the truth of His Word. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44) This is the importance of our prayers for those who do not have a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

For this reason the gospel of the New Testament tells us that repentance, like all of the salvation of man, is a gift from God the Father. In God’s love for man we are drawn to Him as while we were sinners He sent His Son to pay our sin debt. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) When this truth sinks in to the core of a soul, “How Great Thou Art” our God and Heavenly Father the eyes of the heart are opened and we are no longer blind to the truth of God’s Word, Jesus Christ. “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, February 15, 2015

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