Sunday, April 8, 2012

What Living Living faith isn't and is

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

The above passage clearly connects the event of Christ's resurrection to the experience of salvation that occurs at saving faith.  Living Living Christianity involves four essential truths:
1. Living Christ, who raised from the dead
2. Living Scriptures
3. Living proclamation from the living scriptures about the Living Christ
4. Living testimonies resulting from Living Proclamation

We call this "living living" Christianity since it's "living hope" is rooted in the "Living Christ".  Today we want to explore the "living living faith" that is necessary to receive "living living Christianity". 

What Living Living Faith is not
As you go back into texts such as Luke 24, you will witness those moments following Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead.  What were his disciple's initial response?  The women who came to visit His tomb, once being told by the angel that "He is not here, He is risen" (Luke 24:6), responded with living living faith.  However other disciples, when encountered by the Living Christ, responded in unbelief.  Even after Jesus demonstrated His physical bodily resurrection by eating food, the Bible says in Luke 24:41 that in joy and amazement they could not believe.

From these verses we learn two things that living living faith (or true saving faith) is not:
1. It is not just emotionalism
2. It is not just an intellectual agreement with facts

Though living living faith includes these, yet these things by themselves do not equate to a person having true saving faith.  James 2:19 reminds us that the "Demons believe there is One God, and they shudder".  The fallen angels mentally agree with the fact there is One God, yet they clearly do not surrender themselves in trust to Him.  Furthermore, the people who were crying out  "Hosanna" at Jesus' triumphal entry would five days after that event be crying out for His crucifixion.  Emotionally the people were swept up in a moment of hysteria - yet their fervor waned at the first sign of trouble.  They had what Paul would term in Romans 10:2 "a zeal that was not based on knowledge".  Protecting themselves against the Romans was more valuable than their verbal, emotional allegiance to Jesus.

Unless the Spirit of God is accompanying the communication of the scriptures - no salvation can occur. (John 16:7-16; Ephesians 2:8-9; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23)  Emotions will grab hold of the benefits of Jesus - and yet not grab hold of Jesus Himself.  The intellect can assert the historicity of Christ's death, burial and resurrection - and yet remain unillumined to the significance of those events in present day life. 

What Living Living Faith is
When Jesus began to unfold the scriptures, these disciples understood - that is - they embraced and held onto Christ with living living faith.  They demonstrated by their trust in His words and person that living living faith had come to roost in their hearts - firmly persuading their minds and emotions to embrace Jesus Christ. Notice the elements of living living faith that we see in Luke 24:45-49:

1. Living Living faith comes by the scriptures from God. Luke 24:44-45
As Romans 10:17 reminds us too - "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God".  When I preach or teach, I try to quote or refer to as many scriptures as possible.  Why? Because they are the sole agency through which the Spirit of God works to bring about the conversion of lost sinners. (Psalm 19:7; 1 Peter 1:23)  As much as evidence or emotional appeal works in the presentation of the Gospel, it is the Spirit of God through the scriptures that communicates the power of the Gospel. (Romans 1:16)

2. This living living faith firmly persuades the mind to lead a firmly persuaded heart
Lk 24:45, 52-53
These disciples were firmly persuaded in their minds and emotions by faith to believe, to trust, to rely upon everything Jesus is and said.  True faith takes what God says at face value and cheirshes it.  The phrase "firmly persuaded" cpatures the essence of living living faith.  Biblical faith proceeds not only on the basis of proof of unseen things, but persuasion about those unseen things. (please compare Hebrews 11:1) 

3. This living living faith, with a firmly persuaded mind and emotions embraces and continually holds onto Jesus Christ
The resurrection power of Jesus Christ was clearly operative in Luke 24.  These disciples were in the temple "continually praising God".   1 Peter 1:3 connects true saving faith to the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.  Praise God for Living Living Faith. 

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