Sermon on Sunday August 12, 2012 by Pastor Thomas Tate
FAITH IN THE DARK OF NIGHT ~ HEBREWS 11
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
THE DARK OF NIGHT
- Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
- Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
FAITH IN THE DARK OF NIGHT
- But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
- in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
FAITH IS SEEN BEST IN THE DARK OF NIGHT
- Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.
- “You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.
- The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Then Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? “Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. “But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord.
- By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
- By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward… By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.
- Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was…So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him…” So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.
- Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. “Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”
- So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. “I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.”
JESUS REACHES OUT WHEN OUR FAITH FAILS
- When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
- But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
Sermon-based Bible Study Questions
1. Read Psalm 23:4. What are some of the darkest moments in your life? Does it seem like sometimes that not knowing the outcome is harder than the problem itself? (Anxiety often comes from the “not knowing”)
2. Read Ephesians 6:11,12,16. Who is our battle with and what is the key to withstanding the attacks from the darkness?
3. Read Hebrews 11:1. How is faith described? Is faith most evident in the easy days or the harder ones? How has your faith gotten you through the hard times?
4. Read Deuteronomy 8:2-3. How do you honestly feel, not just trying to give the correct spiritual answer, about the fact that God allows dark times to test our faith and what is in our heart? What was the point of letting the people go hungry in these verses? How has God let you go hungry (figuratively or literally) and did you learn God’s lesson from it?
5. Read Job 1:8-12. What was Satan’s objection to God when the Lord bragged about Job? What did God allow to show Job’s true faith? What is your response to what God allowed? Have you ever felt like Job?
6. Read Hebrews 11:24-29. How do you think Moses felt when God lead him out to a dead end, the Red Sea, with an angry army behind him (Remember Moses had not read how this comes out but was in the moment)? How much faith do you think Moses had to display at that moment? If we didn’t already know the story would we ever imagined that God would part the sea?
7. In the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead after four days of being dead (John 11), why do you think Jesus waited to come to the rescue? Have you ever felt God was late for your crisis? Is there something going on in your life now that you’re still waiting for Jesus to show up to? What?
8. Read Matthew 14:26-33. What did Peter do that no one else did? What mistake did Peter make? What did Jesus say Peter’s mistake was? What did Jesus do (not say) when Peter’s faith failed? How does that comfort you when you faith fails?