End Times Watch 31
Stepping out in Faith
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End Times Watch 31 - Stepping Out – In Faith - By
Ron Graham -
In this End Times Watch 31 article, we find the spiritual level of maturity that all Christians should aspire to reach, is that place where our faith and trust is manifested in our own confidence.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the
evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.
By faith Able, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph,
Moses, not to mention Joshua, Caleb and yes even Rahab all stepped out and
walked with God. “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell
of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and
Samuel, and of the prophets. ‘Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought
righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, ‘Quenched the
violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made
strong...” Hebrews 11:32, 33, 34a.
End times watch – Reaching our maturity level
There’s an awesome point in our walk with Christ that we
will come to when our faith and our trust in Jesus is made manifest in our
confidence. Meaning we faithfully trust Jesus to do what He says He’ll do each
time He says He’ll do it. It’s a maturity level of which all Christians should
be aspiring to. That confidence can only come through our continued stepping out
to proclaim the Gospel of Christ in faith.
End times watch – Stumbling Blocks
The patriarchs of the Old Testament had that confidence as
they looked to the future. They demonstrated extreme courage as their faith
grew, eventually stepping out through the strength of the one true God. The Old
Testament is replete with circumstances of faithful valor in the face of
significant adversities. Were they met with stumbling blocks? Most assuredly.
Will Christians today meet with any stumbling blocks? Unquestionably.
End Times watch – The Apostle Paul
Apart from the life of our Lord Jesus, Paul the Apostle’s
life is arguably next in line as the most significant in the New Testament. We
read about the life of Paul and we’re told about many occasions where he
demonstrated huge amounts of confidence. Paul started out in his adult career as
a Pharisee of Pharisees, a devout oppressor of the people of The Way. Paul was
continually stepping out in faith believing he was doing the will of God by
persecuting the Christians. Just after his encounter with Jesus on the Damascus
road, where Jesus explained to Paul his error, he began a new career, only this
time our Lord Jesus would be very much involved.
Paul didn’t begin preaching the Gospel with confidence. No,
it was a gradual climb. At first he feared his past associates and had to be
smuggled out of town. As Paul began more and more to place his faith and trust
in Jesus, his confidence grew exponentially. He continually stepped out in faith
and with boldness. Eventually Paul’s faith became quite obvious to all those
around him. He thoroughly trusted in Jesus’ promises. Was Paul persecuted? Yes,
and he was also tortured, beaten, stoned, and almost drowned three times. Did
those events detract him from stepping out in faith? Not so you’d notice. In
every instance of persecution Paul was supernaturally protected by Jesus
Himself, even being brought back from the dead after being stoned.
End times watch - Side note:
“And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and
Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the
city, supposing he had been dead,” Acts 14:19. Stoning was the preferred form of
capital punishment used by the Jews in those days. They certainly knew how to go
about it, and it was always unto the death.
“...the messenger of Satan to buffet me, 2 Corinthians 12:
7. Paul spoke of a buffeting by a messenger of Satan, and that word in the Greek
actually means “to be maltreated, treat with violence and contempt”. If you have
a desire to spread the Gospel and you actually follow through with your desire,
you will encounter the evil of this generation just like Paul did in his
generation as he stepped out and proclaimed the Gospel of Christ to the lost. As
you step out in faith you will be buffeted (maltreated) time and again by that
same satanic messenger of evil. Paul never lost faith or gave up, and Jesus was
with him every step of the way.
End times watch: Christians today are the same as Paul
So what’s the difference between the time Jesus spent with
Paul and that which Jesus spends with each of us today? I was lost but now am
found. I was blind but now I see. I was wretched and now am purified. Christians
today are the same as Paul was two-thousand years ago, totally lost until we
knelt at the foot of the cross.
The Gospel has been preached all over the world by
Christian evangelist of every culture imaginable. Millions certainly, perhaps
even billions of people have been drawn into the fold of Christianity. The
successful spreading of the Gospel of Christ is quite evident today, far from
what those first disciples could have envisioned. Where would Christianity be if
it weren’t for those early seed scatters? Wouldn’t it be interesting–more than
that, exciting–to see the influx of new believers in this world if all
Christians were devoted to evangelism?
End times watch – Something holding Believers back today
Undoubtedly there is something holding believers back from
stepping out for Christ in these last days. I assume it’s the fear factor that
prohibits so many from engaging the lost in conversations pertaining to the
Gospel. Fear of being persecuted or fear of losing friends and possibly even
family. Certainly the fear was much greater for the first century Christians
since their persecution often lead to death. Still, Christians stepped out in
faith even in the face of such severe persecution. Throughout the centuries
Christians have been stepping out in faith, and along with every step they took
there were the footsteps of our Messiah right beside them.
End times watch – Know what Jesus expects
As Christians, we should know what Jesus expects of us and
we should also know how to go about following His great commission. So why is it
that we don’t have the faith to step out into a hostile world with confidence
and preach His word? The answer, I believe, is a huge lack of knowledge that can
only come from the scriptures.
When new converts, being filled with the Holy Spirit, are
first brought into the mix of believers it’s the most opportune time to disciple
(teach) our new brethren. Far too often new Christians aren’t taken through a
thorough study of scriptures at the time of their conversion, or shortly
thereafter. As time passes their spiritual drive becomes less intense, less of a
focus in their lives. If new believers aren’t being immediately discipled they
can easily fall by the wayside, or fall for any false teaching that comes along.
Don’t get me started down that path.
As new believers become complacent with this new aspect of
their lives, many, if not discipled, and discipled correctly, will allow
obstacles or stumbling blocks to come between them and their Bible study. This
being the case, they will never acquire the knowledge, wisdom, courage, and
boldness necessary to step out for Christ.
End times watch – Learn scripture
Bible study should be paramount in all believers’ lives.
Learning the scriptures and memorizing as many of them as possible will take a
believer from a state of fear of persecution, into the realm of boldness unlike
anything imaginable. The knowledge of the scriptures gives authority to each
believer and in a sense takes that fear from them. Without a competent Bible
study to follow continually, the fear of persecution will not cease.
Paul, being a Pharisee, was well versed in the Old
Testament scriptures. You might say he had “great head knowledge”. After meeting
Jesus on the road to Damascus that fateful day he became filled with “heart
knowledge” also. Together, these two types of knowledge made a great team. Paul,
with the confidence of knowing Jesus first hand, made great strides in spreading
the Christian Gospel. We too can know Jesus Christ first hand and make great
strides for Christ just by studying His word, and allowing His Holy Spirit to
direct our paths.
End times watch – Scripture enhances ability to Step Out
It all boils down to this, with the knowledge provided to
us by God Almighty through the scriptures, and by the way, that’s both the Old
and New Testament, our ability to step out in faith is greatly enhanced. Without
the scriptures we are hindered by our lack of knowledge and will be easy prey
for the sophisticated atheist, or any other individual that decides to question
us about our faith and the Bible. Many non-believers become adept at throwing
out questions they know most Christians have no answer for. Let’s fool those
foolish people by obtaining the correct answers ahead of time, thus responding
with confidence and boldness. We might just change a non-believers mind about
Jesus the Christ.
The Apostle Peter gives us a clear heads up, “But sanctify
the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone
who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;” 1
Peter 3:15. Without Gods word we are defense-less.
End times watch- Put on the Full Armor of God
In the book of Ephesians, Paul admonishes us to put on
God’s armor “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand
against the wiles of the devil,” Ephesians 6:11. Just what is the full armor of
God that Paul is speaking about? “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about
with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod
with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of
faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word
of God:” Ephesians 6:14 – 17. Your sword of the Spirit is the word of God. Take
His word with you always, studying and memorizing as much scripture as possible.
Carrying your Bible with you into the lion’s den, and having highlighted certain
passages ahead of time, will sustain you and give you ! ! confidence as you step
out to proclaim the message of the Gospel of Christ to the lost. You will be
prepared for the doubters that will also inevitably cross your path.
End times watch – Prayer
Nothing is more important than our prayer life. Before
venturing out into your mission field, kneel before God humbly asking Him for
wisdom, courage, knowledge, and boldness to face His enemy’s followers. God
wants to be involved in your witnessing; as a matter of fact, you can’t be about
your Father’s business without your Father by your side. “And Jesus answering
saith unto them, Have faith in God,” Mark 11:22.
Stepping out in faith isn’t hard once you have the correct
tools. Would a carpenter, plumber, or brain surgeon be of any use on their jobs
without their tools? Don’t go to work without yours, God’s Holy Word.
End times watch - Then step out.
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