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The Southgate Christian Fellowship

Message Centre

  People of Faith

How do you see the months ahead? Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Are you depressed over how you see things going in the world or are you full of hope?
I expect we’re all a bit of both.

In Hebrews chapter 11 we see people who responded to the circumstances of their lives by faith and trust in God. Verse 2 says… This is what the ancients were commended for. They were sure of what they hoped for and certain of what they did not see (vs1).

Enoch, for instance, was commended as one who pleased God (vs5). And without faith it is impossible to please God… (vs6).

 By faith Noah did a ridiculous thing from a natural point of view – because he trusted God.

By faith Abraham, it is said, considered him faithful who had made the promise to him (vs11).

All these people, says the writer, were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance (vs13).

 

How do you see yourself?

But what about us? As you look ahead how do you see yourself?

Initially, Abraham saw himself as a childless old man (Genesis 15:2-3). But God saw him as the 'Father of many nations' (Genesis 17:4-5).
What needed to change for God’s purpose in Abraham to become a reality? More faith or a change of thinking?

Gideon saw himself as the least amongst his father's house (Judges 6:15). God saw him as a 'mighty man of valour' (Judges 6:12).

Saul saw himself as the persecutor of Christians (Acts 9:1). God saw him as Paul, 'a chosen instrument of mine' (Acts 9:15).

You may see yourself, like Gideon, as a coward in a cabbage patch. But God sees you as a 'mighty man or woman of valour'.

 

Renew your mind

What these few examples highlight is the difference between man's un-renewed thinking and God's thoughts on the same matter - the carnal mind v the spiritual mind.
So the question is - what needs to change in order that we can act more in line with the will and purposes of God?

 It’s not more faith we need
but a change of thinking.

Whilst we still think like a non-Christian our emotions are vulnerable and cause us to be controlled by our feelings; our will is stubborn and unyielding to the Holy Spirit; and our physical senses constantly pull us towards satisfying our natural desires. Serving God in this context is a struggle, and soon our confidence is sapped and we feel like giving up when things don't go as we expected.

 

Be a Nonconformist

In Romans Paul warns us against being conformed to this world’s natural way of thinking. Instead, he says, our minds need to be renewed by conformity to the Word of God
(see Romans 12:2).

God operates in the super-natural realm of the Spirit. He says in Isaiah: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9). We know this, but we constantly need to remind ourselves that to move in God we must be on his wavelength - that of the Spirit, and we must think his thoughts - the supernatural Word of God.

Like the eagle we need to soar up into the heavenlies, hear God and allow his words to change our thinking and affect the way
we live our lives.

 

Enlarge your thinking

The Lord said to Abram "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south and east and west" (Genesis 13:14).

 Where are you NOW in your Christian life?
Is the place where you are standing all you
think you've got?

Where are you in the Kingdom of God? Do you think you have reached your limit, that you're doing your utmost in the service you give?

Abram had to respond to God and look in four directions in order to see all that God was giving him. Suppose he only looked at the land ahead, instead of north, south, east and west?

Our problem isn't not believing -
it's not believing big enough!
And our believing is restricted by our natural thinking - the thinking that says "I can't" when the Holy Spirit says "I can".

Believe according to God's thoughts and ability - He who said "he is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20).

 

Christ in you, the hope of glory

What was great in the burning bush? (Exodus 3:2). Was it the bush or God in the bush?

 You may be just an ordinary bush, but God can burn in you and make you a wonder so that others will turn aside and see Christ in you and meet him through you. It’s Christ in us which is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).

It’s true, as Paul says that…
"We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us" (2Corinthians 4:7) –
but the treasure is there.

When God calls you, he equips you. Our competence comes from God. St Paul said… ‘Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God.  Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant - not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’
(2 Corinthians 3:4-6).

 

Do you believe this?

 We need to believe and receive this for ourselves. We have the greatness of God within us and should act accordingly.

A reporter was interviewing workers on a building site, and he asked a number of them “What are you doing?”

One replied: "I'm digging a trench."

Another said: "I'm putting up a wall."

Another said: "I'm hanging a door."

But one man said:
"I'm building a Cathedral."

What are you building? Can you see yourself building a Cathedral for God, part of his church, a house 'not made with hands'?

 

What needs to change in you in order that you can think and act more in line with the will and purposes of God?

This is a question only you can answer, but in the context of what it means in your life:

Surrender afresh to the Lordship of Jesus
in your life.

Recognise and accept God's calling on your life.

Get a vision for yourself based on what God wants for your life.

Do not be conformed to this world's way of thinking.

Allow God's Word to renew your mind and change your thinking.

Allow God to change you where necessary.

Allow the Holy Spirit to work in your life and bring forth the fruit of a Christ like nature.

Like the eagle we need to soar up into the heavenlies, into the presence of God. Hear God and allow his words to change our thinking and affect the way we live our lives.

Then become the man or woman of faith God intends you to be.

See yourself as God sees you:
"I am a worker for Christ...  The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour" (Luke 4:18-19)

 

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