“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
1 John 5:1-5 ESV
WHAT IS FAITH?
In 2019, we are going to encounter many storms, but Jesus has given us the key to experiencing a victory that overcomes the world – our faith. Therefore, let us learn what faith is, and how we can strengthen our faith.
2019 STORM WATCH:
Prophetic warning – there are storms ahead! For the world in general, and believers specifically. In our families, our finances, our health, our jobs, and more. This is not to discourage you. God shows us what’s coming so we can get ready for it!
BIBLE STORY – JESUS CALMS THE STORM:
“On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:35-41).
• Note first of all that the storm came as the disciples were following Jesus.
• The disciples were in the boat with Jesus, but they still went through a great storm.
• The disciples said, “Don’t you care?” Sometimes when we go through storms we are tempted to think that Jesus doesn’t care about us.
• Jesus was shocked by His disciples. He said, “Why do you have no faith?”
• After the storm, the disciples had a greater revelation of who Jesus was.
FOUR TRUTHS ABOUT STORMS:
1. STORMS ARE INEVITABLE:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33).
• Jesus said you’re going to go through storms, so don’t be surprised by them!
• You don’t plan to have a flat tire, to be rear-ended, for your van to stop going in reverse.
• If you’re on the mountaintop today, praise God, but sooner or later, the storm’s coming!
• Usually something very good will come out of it. Notice that the disciples encountered Jesus in the storm in a new way that they never had before.
2. STORMS ARE UNPREDICTABLE:
“Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves.” (Matthew 8:23-24).
• Sometimes storms will come into your life even when you are doing everything right.
• Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t mean that you’re not going to go through storms.
3. STORMS ARE TEMPORARY:
“So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while.” (1 Peter 1:6).
“For our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever!” (2 Cor. 4:17).
• The Bible says that sorrow may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
4. STORMS ARE PURPOSEFUL:
“These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” (1 Peter 1:7).
When we go through storms, our faith is strengthened.
THREE THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A STORM:
1. REFUSE TO BE DISCOURAGED:
“God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come.” (Col. 1:11, NCV).
• You can choose to be discouraged, or you can refuse to be discouraged.
2. REMEMBER THAT JESUS IS IN YOUR BOAT:
“When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown!” (Isaiah 43:2).
• God has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us – He is a good God!
3. REACH OUT TO JESUS IN FAITH:
• When the disciples found themselves in a storm, they went to Jesus.
WHAT IS FAITH?
“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.” (Hebrews 11:1).
• Faith is not a ‘force’ as certain TV preachers claim. It is simply trusting God.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6).
• Faith is more than just believing God exists. It relies on His goodness!
HOW DO WE STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH?
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).
• I want to challenge you to get into God’s Word in 2019
• Take up the five minute challenge.
• Listen to preaching CD’s.
• Read Christian books.
• The more of God’s Word you get into your heart, the more your faith will grow!
• Why? The more you learn about God’s goodness and faithfulness, the more you will trust Him to work in your life.
“He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.” (Romans 4:20-21).
• Storms are coming in 2019, and the victory that overcomes those storms is FAITH.
• In the armor of God in Eph. 6, faith is described as a shield that can quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
“In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
Ephesians 6:16 HCSB