09 April 2009

Cheating the Thief Part 3: "Without Faith It Is Impossible"

This is the third message in a 7-part series for men at Summitview Community Church entitled "Cheating the Thief."

When we come into the world, we are dead (Ps 51:5, Rom. 7:18). Despite our cuddly appearances, we are a spiritual vacuum giving life to no one, adding no value to the world, and sucking energy from the world and our relationships. This idolatry and unbelief is a far cry from our calling, and Christ came to rescue us from this destructive pattern of living.

But how?
The simple, spiritual answer is faith. Jesus was pretty plain in his communication. Faith can move mountains and with it anything is possible (Matt. 17:20). But what is this faith and how does it work? This message explores the one thing upon which all of our life's purposes depend - the Gospel. Without the joy of our salvation energizing our life and giving us our identity (Ps 51:12, Col. 1:11-12,13-14, Rom. 8:31-32), we will have no strength (Neh. 8:1, Col. 1:29) to expend in productive dominion and life-giving self-sacrifice.
Our life does not come first in living out our calling, it comes first in receiving the Gospel and having Jesus Christ live in us (Gal. 2:20). This Gospel orientation cuts off the proud pursuits that extract identity and life from the world and our relationships allowing us to be conduits of living water, not vacuums of cistern water (Jer. 2:13).

If we are to be men, our zeal and our joy (our energy) must come from:
  1. Recognizing that apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5),
  2. Looking to the cross (Heb. 4:16) and
  3. Swimming in the Gospel (Phil. 3:8-15, John 15:11).
This is remaining in Christ. This is cheating the thief. This is the source of a life that will bear much fruit in productive dominion and life-giving self-sacrifice.

Additional Resources
Download a full-sized version of the teaching diagram here.

Some resources to refresh yourself in the Gospel...
  • "The Weight of Glory" by C.S. Lewis (no one explains the Gospel joys available to us now and our living hope kept in heaven better than Lewis)
  • "Jesus wants the rose!" - Matt Chandler, video from the '09 Desiring God Pastor's Conference
  • "Happy Birthday Johnny Cash" - a post from Cash's birthday this year celebrating the power of the Gospel in broken sinners.


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