Staying Power to Weather the Storm

slide3What can shake your faith?

During terrible trials of seemingly unanswered prayer and unrelenting pain, many are shaken to the core. It could be the loss of a loved one, a financial disaster, a relationship break-up, or a job loss. This can become so severe that we wonder if we’ve been betrayed by God himself. This may lead to a crisis of faith.

What constitutes a crisis of faith? It is when we come to a pivotal point in our Christian life when events cause us to believe that we are losing faith. It is a time of intense doubt and internal conflict that takes place when you reach a dead end, then think you simply have no faith in your faith.

In preparation for this message I read several difficult first hand stories of folks who’s faith was shaken or shattered. There seemed to be several themes in these stories.

The first is that they felt let down or disillusioned by God. One man asked, “where was God?” God is supposed to love me, and protect me, and keep me from harm.” [i]

A second theme also developed. It had to do with the hypocrisy of the church. One man said, “I started noticing how few places of true honesty and relational vulnerability were available in church. After a significantly painful experience as part of a church staff, what began as a small rumble of doubts and questions intensified and became a huge landslide.”[ii]

A third theme has to do with the truths taught in the Word of God. More and more, people are making comments like this one, “I grew up in a rigid faith system with a long list of doctrinal statements, dos, don’ts, and tenets I needed to believe to belong. Over the years I began to notice a shift in my heart related to church and God. What once seemed certain and clear became fuzzy. I had new reservations about the inerrancy of the scriptures, and began questioning what I had been taught about hell and homosexuality. I began to doubt much of what I had been trained as a Christian to never question.”

Is your faith unshakable? Jesus asked it this way, “Will the Son of man find faith on the earth when he comes?” When the floods break upon your bright shore, where will you find staying power to weather the storm? Is there a way you can prepare for the onslaught? Is there an unshakable faith that will carry you through? The answer? 2 Peter. You need the divine power and precious promises of God’s Word so that you can ride out the tempest.

The book of 2 Peter addresses three big issues that often shake our faith. #1 – What if I stumble? How to live the pure life. (chapter 1) #2 What if I’m confused and don’t know what I believe? How to stay true. (chapter 2) #3 What if I’m a doubter? How to maintain your faith. (chapter 3). Each chapter answers a Question, gives a Warning, and leaves us with a Promise.

slide4What if I Stumble?

Chapter one of second Peter is for everyone who thinks that they just don’t measure up. Some of you are struggling with godliness. You are not doing very good at it. If people know the evil in your heart, they would give you the stare. You know that you are an ineffective Christian and you are unproductive for Jesus. You may fool others, but when you are by yourself, you know the truth.

WARNING: Here is the chapter 1 warning.   It is found in verse 10. “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure.” In other words, if you find it impossible to live the Christian life, there is always the possibility that you are not a child of God. If this is true, you need a crisis of faith, so that you can fully embrace Jesus as your Lord and Savior. This is a stern warning.

PROMISE: But chapter one also has a powerful promise in verse 3-4

“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Let me let you in on a secret; we all struggle; every one of us. Even Peter and Paul had their struggles and failures. It is not about perfection it’s about direction. It isn’t about rules as much as it is about a relationship with Jesus. The very fact that you struggle with your shortcomings is a wonderful indication that the Holy Spirit is dealing with you. And this is the promise he has for you:

“His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” That is an exceedingly precious promise. And it turns out, that if you are struggling, what you really need is to cling to the promises of God. By claiming God’s promises, clinging to His word, and growing in Christ like character, you too can live a pure life.

What if I’m deceived? slide6

Chapter 2 of 2 Peter is for everyone who is confused about what and who to believe. There are so many wonderful teachers on television and radio… and then one day someone tells you that the preacher you admire believes some outrageous, destructive heresy! And it sends you into a tail spin. What if you have been wrong all along about what you believe? How do you know if you are right or not?

WARNING: Here is the chapter 2 warning.   It is found in verses 1-2

“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways.”

While chapter one is about being pure, chapter 2 is about being true. Let me tell you the thing that makes being true to God’s Word so difficult; There are so many who stray. Many follow their destructive ways. And there is often a price to pay for being true. So that is what leads up to the promise God has for you if you stay true to His Word:

PROMISE: Verse 9 “The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations.” Just like He delivered Noah and Lot, so He’ll carry you through.

What if I’m a doubter? slide8

Chapter 2 of 2 Peter is for everyone who has doubts. And the doubt that we are talking about specifically is about the Lord’s soon return. That doubt is expressed in verse 3: “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”

WARNING: 10-11

“the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness.”

Chapter one is about being PURE. Chapter two is about being TRUE. Chapter three is about being SURE. Do you want to be settled and sure in the faith and belief that Jesus is coming soon? Just watch Israel. They have reestablished the Sanhedrin. They have the temple ready for construction. They have appointed a high priest for the first time in 2000 years. They are once again practicing and learning how to do the Old Testament Sacrifices. They have called on Russia and the US to rebuild the Temple.

IN 2012 Putin visited the Wailing Wall. The Russian leader stood in silence for several minutes, offering up a personal prayer. An Israeli bystander called out in Russian, “Welcome, President Putin.” and explained the importance of the Temple Mount and the Jewish Temple. Putin supposedly responded, “That’s exactly the reason I came here – to pray for the Temple to be built again.”[iii] I don’t know what Putin will do, but I do know about the promises of God.

PROMISE: 13, “Nevertheless, according to His promise, we look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

Is your faith unshakable? Perhaps you have stumbled into sin and need to make your election sure. Maybe you are confused or deceived and need Jesus to rescue you. Or it could be that you have doubts about Jesus coming and need to claim the promises of God.

Let me tell you WHAT’S TRUE; If Jesus has saved you, he’ll carry you through. Let me tell you WHAT’S FALSE; if what you are listening to doesn’t line up with God’s Word, you need a solid foundation of truth. Let me tell you about THE END; Jesus is coming again soon. Are you ready for Him? If not, you need Staying Power to Weather the Storm. You need Unshakable faith you can rest your life upon!

Everybody experiences stress and anxiety on a daily basis. When stress and feelings of worry or anxiety build up to an impenetrable level in the form of a crisis of faith, you need Jesus more than ever.

[i] http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jessie-golem/leaving-the-church_b_4816252.html

[ii] https://www.onfaith.co/onfaith/2014/10/21/4-reasons-its-okay-to-lose-your-faith/34651

[iii] Read more at http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/78372/bin-exclusive-sanhedrin-asks-putin-trump-build-third-temple-jerusalem/#4cpkVIwUWegp5a8V.99

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