Date written: August 25th, 2007
Scripture ref: Hebrews 6:9-12
"O for a Faith That Will Not Shrink"
TITLE: "O for a Faith That Will Not Shrink"
PROPOSITION: That each Christian would have a faith that wouldn't shrink in the face of 1) Persecution, 2) Discipline, and 3) Evangelism.
OBJECTIVE: Each listener should be able to understand the meaning of the song "O for a Faith That Will Not Shrink" in light of the scriptures.
Aim: To motivate each Christian to be faithful in the face of these familiar challenges.
1. Read: Hebrews 6:9-12
2. About the Text:
1) We recall that the book of Hebrews was written to exhort Hebrew Christians to be faithful to Christ.
2) The writer speaks concerning those who had fallen away from the Lord in verses 4-8.
3) But he then turns to the faithful in verses 9-12.
4) He exhorts them not to be sluggish in regard to maintaining their faith, but to be diligent.
5) He exhorts them to imitate those who came before who through faith and patience inherited the promises.
6) They had a faith that would not shrink and so also must we have one today.
3. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
DISCUSSION: O for a Faith That Will Not Shrink in the face of . . .
1. If we live godly in Christ Jesus we will face persecution.
1) 2 Timothy 3:12 "Yea, and all that would live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
2) Matthew 5:10-12 "Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you."
2. Some certainly fall away when they are faced with persecution.
1) Jesus spoke about some of these in the parable of the sower.
2) Matthew 13:20-21 "And he that was sown upon the rocky places, this is he that heareth the word, and straightway with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but endureth for a while; and when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway he stumbleth."
3) Some Hebrew Christians had fallen away most likely due to persecution. Hebrews 6:4-6 "For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
3. Others, however, remain faithful even under persecution.
1) These are the righteous. Hebrews 10:38-39 "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."
2) Peter says, "Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, whom withstand stedfast in your faith, knowing that the same sufferings are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world. And the God of all grace, who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ, after that ye have suffered a little while, shall himself perfect, establish, strengthen you." (1 Peter 5:8-10).
3) James 5:10-11 "Take, brethren, for an example of suffering and of patience, the prophets who spake in the name of the Lord. Behold, we call them blessed that endured: ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, how that the Lord is full of pity, and merciful."
4) They had a faith that wouldn't shrink.
4. O for a faith that will not shrink in the face of persecution.
II. Discipline / Correction
1. The child of God must expect to receive some correction in his life.
1) Proverbs 10:17 "He is in the way of life that heedeth correction; But he that forsaketh reproof erreth."
2) Proverbs 12:1 "Whoso loveth correction loveth knowledge; But he that hateth reproof is brutish."
3) The scriptures are there for our correction. 2 Timothy 3:16 "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness."
2. The Bible teaches that those who refuse correction are foolish.
1) Proverbs 13:8 "Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth correction; But he that regardeth reproof shall be honored."
2) Proverbs 15:15 "A fool despiseth his father's correction; But he that regardeth reproof getteth prudence."
3) Proverbs 15:32 "He that refuseth correction despiseth his own soul; But he that hearkeneth to reproof getteth understanding."
3. Why is accepting correction so difficult for us?
1) We live in a society where the only sin is to say that someone is wrong.
2) We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings / pride.
3) And because of our own pride we don't want to admit that we are wrong.
4) This is merely a reinforcement of pride.
5) As a result some fall away from the faith when someone dares to tell them that they are wrong because they are not prepared to accept correction.
6) We have done a poor job of teaching on this subject.
7) Consider 1 Timothy 6:3-5 "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."
4. Oh for a faith that will not shrink in the face of correction.
1. Jesus wants us involved in personal evangelism.
1) Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, etc.
2) Matthew 9:37-38 "Mt 9:37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest indeed is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth laborers into his harvest."
3) Acts 8:4 " They therefore that were scattered abroad, went about preaching the word."
2. What is standing in our way?
1) Ignorance? - I don't believe it.
2) Lack of love? - I don't think so.
3) Fear? - This is the culprit.
4) We are afraid that we might be rejected; that we might offend; that we might lose.
3. We must not be afraid to speak the truth of the gospel to others.
1) 1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love: but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath punishment; and he that feareth is not made perfect in love."
2) 1 Peter 3:13-15 "And who is he that will harm you, if ye be zealous of that which is good? But even if ye should suffer for righteousness' sake, blessed are ye: and fear not their fear, neither be troubled; but sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord: being ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, yet with meekness and fear:"
3) Hebrews 13:6 "So that with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear: What shall man do unto me?"
4. Oh for a faith that will not shrink in the face of doing personal evangelism.
1. Let this be our prayer that we would have a faith that would not shrink in the face of . . .
2) Discipline / Correction