Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Faith or Fear? | Daniel M

This message was preached by Daniel Macleod on November 14th, 2015 at the Regions Beyond annual gathering of the nations- 'the HUB 2015' in Dubai. The audio link will follow shortly

Isaiah 7:

We don’t just have an apostolic leader but we are an apostolic people. Church meetings don’t make radical decisions. Left to a vote, the church would still be in Egypt. 

We need more people like Nicky Welsh who will do things against the tide. We should be able to see a different future.

What will hold us back? Fear more than anything that which will hinder us is fear in our hearts. The people were n the edge of the Promise Land. I’m sure Moses preached regularly. They have been fed by manna etc. but the 12 spies come back with fear. Fear creeps in at the last moment and a whole generation misses out. But 2 men saw differently. They felt it could be done. The most common command to us is, “Do not fear, I am with you”.

Let’s look at why we don’t need to fear. You can learn from success and failure. We can be afraid of the things around us. Each generation has its own challenges. You can fear failure. Church planting is tough, can be scary. Ahaz was afraid. He had 2 armies at his doorstep. We have the choice- fear or faith. There is no in between. If you are not firm in faith you will not have faith at all. Assyria is the world super-power now.

Ahaz is under pressure with his back against the wall. Ahaz goes to the king of Assyria. It’s like sharing your lunch with the bully for protection. Ahaz gives over his leadership to Assyria. He is ready o blow the whole thing apart because of fear.

Q. What does fear do?

1. He made a short term decision: he can’t see the future. Only sees today. Ahaz made a short term decision. I won’t talk to that person, I won’t address that issue. It will ultimately choke you. Your decision based on short term decisions comes back to bite you. Nettles never go away. They only grow. Whereas faith looks to the future.

2. Fear hinders the mission of God because it can’t repent. It can’t lose face in front of the people. Ahaz could have called off the pact. Fear is too consumed about self. Faith doesn’t mind repenting as long as God’s purposes are accomplished. We need to learn to repent and say sorry to each other.

Faith filled leadership knows how to repent. Leaders can take short term decisions. We can do a whole lot of things that are good ideas but not what God has called you to. We need to check what stuff we are doing.

3. Fear works in the flesh. Ahaz is in the wrong place with the wrong people, doing the wrong thing. He should have been in the temple with the priests praying. He got embroiled into works of the flesh. In Isaiah 36, Hezekiah was standing in the same point. He went ot the temple and prayed. This is what Ahaz should have done. What Hezekiah did was leadership. He fell on his knees and pleaded before God to accomplish His purpose in His generation.

Ahaz does not trust God and His promises. Faith or fear? Some are waiting for a big moment of faith. It’s not like that. Faith is tested Monday morning. How you plan your work. We could be working in the flesh or in faith.
God comes back to Isaiah. He wants Ahaz to succeed. He is willing to do anything for Ahaz to know that he can trust God.

But Ahaz says, “I will not ask. I will not put the Lord to the test.” It’s funny how we can sound spiritual and biblical to hide our fear.

In verse 13, God gets tired. Isaiah is ticked off now and ticked off God. God now gives a sign, “…a virgin shall be with child….”this gets read once a year. We need to put it abck in context. It comes in the midst of mission/ battle time. It is in the context of war.

Isaiah 8:3- the Bible is not a leadership textbook though we learn from it. Till today we have an Assyria waiting to overtake us. We all have a little Ahaz in us- fear. This could have been the end of the story, but we have Isaiah 9:6 and the rest of the Bible. We have a promised one who when we fail to take up the mission, he takes it up.

Isaiah’s son was born as a assign for Ahaz. Jesus was born as a sign for all of mankind. He will accomplish all that he has set out to do. All the promises in Christ are yes and Amen. This book is about Jesus’ leadership.

Q. Why we don’t need to fear?
We can’t stop talking about the God of mission. Mission is exciting but if we don’t talk about Jesus we will gut the mission. We will end up beating people into works. We need to help see Jesus.

Any forward move in the church begins with the individual. Acquaint yourself with the old counsel- acquaint yourself to God.

Isaiah 6 talks about Isaiah seeing the Lord high and lifted up. It’s the same Lord that is spoken about in Isaiah 7:14- it’s the same Lord that lived outside universe that enters humanity.

The majestic God who sustains all things by his powerful word comes into the world kicking and screaming as a baby. He did not put out a cloak of humanity that can be taken off. He could be killed like a man and he was.

We have a lot common with other faiths. But not this. God taking on the weakness and frailty of humanity. No other has this humility where God becomes man. Jesus knew humanity fully with all its pressures. He gets baptized as our Emmanuel. He who was without sin.

John was baptising people who needed repentance. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that he became sin on our behalf. He steps into humanity in totality and walks into sin for 3 years up to the cross.

Satan did not want this to be fulfilled and tries to derail Jesus by appealing to his ego. Be careful of ego. Everywhere that we fail, Jesus has overcome. Jesus was walking in Jerusalem because he knew the task he was called to. He led prophetically. As when he walked he must have recounted the promises of God. Jesus trusted the father unto his own death. The crux of our faith, what we do, Jesus does on the cross.

It did not end there. On the third day he rose again. He left satan, sin and death in the tomb once for all.

Jesus right now remains our mediator, our Emmanuel. There is a man who now represents your faith, failures, success before the father. Jesus sits at the right hand of the father. Stephen sees Jesus standing i.e. Jesus was with him, honours him and welcomes him into the kingdom.

You feel forgotten and beaten up and that the Lord has moved on. But Jesus stands for you, honours that you have not given up or thrown in the towel. Jesus now intercedes for us. He prays for the success of Regions Beyond, your town, your church, for you. He has good plans for you and he prays them into being. The prayers of a righteous man accomplish much. The righteous man is praying for us. When you know this, you should not fear. His prayer never diminishes. He prays that you will be strong till the end.

Jesus gives us his spirit to be with us so that we know that he is with us. Moses had the ark, we have the Holy Spirit living within us. Wherever we go the enemy will be vanquished and we do not need to fear.               

 Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.

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