Christine Caine - It Takes Faith
It takes so much faith to live opposite to the world's standards when it just seems like do what you want to do, be who you want to be. That's what the world would say. You find the real you. You decide who you are. No longer are we told go to the Word of God to find out who God says we are. It's like who do you feel like being today? You can be that person. It takes faith to go counter culture and say I'm building my life on the standard of the Word of God. Thanks for tuning in to equip and empower. Today we're gonna dive into a profound truth and show you what life can look like with Jesus as your one and only true source. Now Jesus referred to himself as the "Bread of life", which means he wants to be your everything. He wants to sustain you in every season of life no matter what distractions or challenges the world throws at you. So prepare for your faith to be stirred up as you discover the power of abiding fully in Jesus in every season of life.
I am so grateful that you've joined us again this week. We're wrapping up a series of the fact that it's gonna take faith for you and I to be able to be faithful Christ followers, faithful apprentices of Jesus in this day and in this hour, that it's gonna take faith and you're gonna have to have faith. And I believe that the Holy Spirit's got a word for you today, and he's gonna strengthen us to continue in our faith walk. We've been looking at John chapter 6, and I love this passage of scripture in the Bible because it starts off so exciting. I mean, we have got the miracle of the loaves and fishes. And all of us, who doesn't love the miracles of God? I mean a little boy gives five loaves, two fish, and 20.000 people on a mountainside fed. I love that about Jesus. Jesus just has a way of making a little go a really really long way. He has a way of making something out of nothing.
I want to remind you today that impossible is where God starts. I want to remind you today that miracles are what God does. Faith is the currency of heaven and faith moves mountains, faith moves God. When God is moved, God moves mountains on our behalf. So it starts with this exciting story about the fact that Jesus supernaturally feeds multitudes on a mountainside. And we see right from the outside of John chapter 6 that crowds always follow. Wherever Jesus went, crowds were there. So the crowds got so excited about this miracle working God that they thought, you know what, we want to follow him. This guy is our king. They wanted to crown him as king. Jesus, knowing that they were gonna crown him as king, he actually goes and hides from them because he's like this is not my time.
And most of us, we want to run into the limelight. Jesus is like, you know what, I'm getting out of the limelight. He goes across to the other side. The crowd jumps in a boat and begins to follow him. And wherever Jesus went, the crowds followed. It was like amazing. He didn't even need a brand strategist, he didn't need to get social media experts in, he was just God. Signs, wonders, miracles, wherever he went, the crowd followed him. But he gets to the other side, then he begins to give what we call the bread of life discourse. I mean this is like if you, and I get it, if you're not a Jesus follower and you're reading this, you're kind of like what is this? Is this a cannibalistic kind of faith? We're talking about eating my body and drinking my blood, and we start to go whoa. But we see from that text that Jesus is saying all these followers that loved him because of his signs and his wonders and his miracles, he's saying there's a deeper level to all of this. It's not just following me because of everything I can do for you or because you think you're gonna get what you want.
God's not like a sugar daddy. He's not like a penny in a slot, and kind of like let's put money in, bang, pull that lever and I'm gonna get what I want. That's not what Christianity is. Unfortunately, some of us are extremely disappointed with God because we were sold some kind of Christianity that is sort of like "Come to God and you can have whatever you want". That's nowhere in scripture. Jesus is telling them to follow me. That comes with great cost. It comes with great cost, and great persecution, and great suffering, and great sacrifice. The same crowd, the same crowd that was following him everywhere, man, when they were getting what they wanted, they were seeing the miracles, when they were seeing the signs and wonders, when they thought he was king and they were gonna go have some kind of war, they were so happy.
A lot of us, we follow Jesus when it suits us, when we're getting what we want, when it seems like my needs, when it seems so awesome for me. But then Jesus presses on a place and says well there's gonna be some cost and some sacrifice and some commitment. Some of us begin to just go whoa, whoa, nobody told me about this. Or when it gets hard or when we get persecuted. In the world in which we live in today, it's not that cool to be a Christian. For some people they could follow Jesus when it was cool to be a Christian, but then all of a sudden when you're ridiculed at work, or college, or school, or you're ridiculed in the public square because you believe in the exclusivity of Christ, you believe in the inerrancy of scripture, you believe that eternity is all dependent on a man that died 2.000 years ago and rose from the dead. I mean when people think are you cray cray, you believe this stuff.
You know, it's not that popular to follow Jesus in the 21st century in the western world and in many other parts of the world like it used to be. A lot of us, it was easy to go with the crowd when it was comfortable, when it was convenient, when it seemed like I could get what I want. But when we're talking about cost, sacrifice, suffering, persecution, when we're talking about no longer being part of a cool crowd because it's just not cool. We live in a very secular world, a very humanistic world, a very scientific, rational world. We live in a post-modern, post-Christian post everything world where it's cool to be anything but a Christian. What is our testimony gonna be like in those days? What is our witness gonna be like in those days? Are we still gonna be salt and light?
Are we still gonna be able to exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit, and exhibit love in a world that is loveless, joy in a world that is just so lacks joy, hope in a hopeless world, self-control in an out of control world, patience in a world that's impatient about everything, kindness in a really, really mean world, goodness in a really, really, really harsh world. Are you and I gonna be those kind of Christians that go we're going against the flow. Even a dead fish can swim downstream, but you've got to have some life, you've got to have some tenacity and strength to go counter to the flow.
So Jesus says the kind of Christianity I'm talking about, it's an all-in Christianity. It's not a cool Christianity. It an all-in one. You must eat of my flesh and drink of my blood. I'm gonna consume every part of your being. I'm not an add-on to different aspects of your life. I consume all of your life. It's not me, it's not you in the center and then just add a little bit of Jesus on Sunday, add a little bit of Jesus during my quiet time, add a little bit of Jesus when it's convenient. No, no, no. It's Jesus at the center and everything else, our time, our talent, our treasure, everything else comes out of the centrality of being consumed in Jesus.
So when he started saying that in John 6:66, the Bible says that many turned away. Many turned away and went I didn't sign up for this. I signed up for an easy Christianity. I signed up for a trendy Christianity. I signed up for a cool Christianity. Man, when everything was going well at church and going well at youth, all that's what I signed up for: but this, this Christianity that costs, this Christianity that is going to get in my business, I'm actually gonna have to change? And it's going to require the primacy in my time, in my talent, in my treasure, that kind of Christianity that asks me to take out my cross and follow him? That kind of Christianity that says I've got to die daily? That kind of Christianity that says I've got to crucify my flesh to follow him? I'm out of here. And the Bible says in John 6:66 that that day many turned away, many turned away. Not just some but many disciples walked away.
I always joke, Jesus was unfollowed before there was an unfollow button on Twitter or Instagram. Jesus was unfollowed before there was any social media. But you don't see Jesus chasing them. You don't see Jesus going hey, let me water it down, let me lower the requirements, let me just change some of the things that you have to believe. I want this to suit your life. Never does he say that. He said no, this is it. This is it. And to follow me, it's just gonna take it all. And then he says to his disciples, are you guys gonna bail too? And I think we're at a time on the earth where there's a lot of us and the pressures on. The pressure is on to believe what we believe, to follow Jesus, to stay true to Jesus to the exclusivity of Christ that he says I am the way, the truth, the life, no one comes to the father but by me, to maintain a Christian sexual ethic in this world, to build our life on the truth of the scripture in this world, to have faith in a world that thinks we're cray cray for believing what we believe.
So Jesus is like to his followers, his disciples, are you gonna go too? And Peter, who I love, I so identify with Peter because I'm a little bit like him, very rash, and very opinionated, and very wrong often. He says to Peter and Peter says, where else would I go? And I'm asking you today as we've tuned in, where else would we go? I say this to Jesus all the time despite times of being disappointed and how painful it is at times to follow Jesus, the truth is where else would I go? There is no other Savior.
You're not gonna find it in any other guru in any other belief system. It's the words of Jesus alone that are freedom. I would rather have Jesus than answers. To whom would I go? Listen, if I want my sins forgiven, where else am I going to go? If I want eternal life, where else can I go? If I want my guilt removed and any of you that understand like I do, I came from a background of sexual abuse, a background of brokenness, there are so many regrets in my life, but if I want that guilt and that shame removed, there's nowhere else I can go. That extra glass of wine isn't gonna do it. Popping that extra pill isn't going to do it. Trying to acquire or amass a whole lot of things, it is not gonna take the shame, it is not gonna take the guilt. We see it time and time again. There's nowhere else to go. Only Jesus can take that.
If I want to find lasting purpose in life, where else am I gonna go? Outside of my eternal purpose in Christ ultimately nothing else will satisfy. And if I want to find hope in my life, there is nowhere else to go. If I want to be fully loved, where else can I go? So many of us and on the other side of the screen are jumping in from one bed to the next hoping that that person's gonna love you, hoping that person is gonna see you, hoping that person's gonna know you, but only Jesus can fully know us. Only Jesus can fully love us. Only Jesus can fully understand us, so if I want to be fully seen, if I want to be fully known, where else can I go? If I want true freedom, where else can I go? True freedom is only ultimately found in Christ. Only in Christ. Can I just say that all of this ultimately it is about our trust.
See, a lot of us, we go to church on Sunday, we read the Bible, maybe we even live pious Christian lives, but we don't really trust God. And the kind of life that Jesus is inviting us into in John chapter 6 is an all of life Christianity, not Jesus plus, but Jesus is the goal. That means we have to let go of our agendas, let go of the things in the natural that we trust, that we put our hope in, that we put our faith in. So I want you to know these are difficult days. Being a follower of Jesus Christ, a true follower, a true disciple, a true apprentice of Jesus, it's not any easier in the 21st century than it was in the first century. And the fact is we've gotten so used to our comfort and our convenience and the ease of following Jesus, our brothers and sisters in so many other nations of the earth in China and the Middle East and various regions of Asia, we can learn so much in the western world from our brothers and sisters in these regions of the world because it wasn't easy or trendy or cool for them to lay down their lives and pick up their cross and follow Jesus. For many it has been an issue of life and death.
Our brothers and sisters all over the world are being martyred daily, daily for the faith in Jesus Christ. But we in the west, we often see a little bit of inconvenience as persecution. We think I'm being persecuted which really what we mean is I've been inconvenienced. And yet Jesus did not budge in John chapter 6. He gave a very strong teaching and a very strong call to commitment, and then when they unfollowed him, he didn't go chasing them, he dilute it, he didn't water it down, he just said that's what it is. And I believe he's looking for those kind of followers today. That's where the abundant life is. That's where the joy is. That's where the peace is. It's an all of life Christianity, not a part-time Christianity on Sunday, not an add Jesus to your own life. That's why you feel so frustrated, because you haven't been all in.
Can I just say it takes faith to keep following Jesus, especially in this world. It takes faith to trust Jesus when you don't understand what's going on. I could tell you this, there are so many things that happen I don't understand. Why did you allow this to happen? I come from a background of abuse. I'm like God, you could have stopped that. Why did you allow that to happen? We see so much pain and injustice all around the world. I help to rescue the victims of human trafficking. So often I'm like I don't understand how this goes on. I don't understand God, why you allow this to go on. For most of us, we don't understand the pain and suffering in the world today, and we walk away from Jesus because we don't understand. But can you trust him even when you don't trace him? That's why the scripture says trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all of your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. There's so much that we don't understand. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, Isaiah 55 says. His ways are higher than our ways, our thoughts are not his thoughts.
So when we trust him when we can't trace him, you know what, it takes faith to remain obedient, to obey God, to be a Christian and uphold a Christian sexual ethic in an out of control, anything goes, sex filled world in the 21st century, I mean it takes faith. To stay committed to one person in marriage and to stay faithful. People think that is so outdated. Christine you've been married to one guy for 25 years? It's sort of like weird. It takes faith to have that kind of obedience to continue to trust God, to be honest and integris in a world that lacks honesty and integrity and truth. It takes so much faith to live opposite to the worlds standards when it just seems like do what you want to do, be who you want to be. That's what the world would say. You find the real you. You decide who you are. No longer are we told go to the Word of God to find out who God says we are. It's like who do you feel like being today? You can be that person. It takes faith to go counter culture and say I'm building my life on the standard of the Word of God. I'm gonna honor what God says. I'm gonna trust what God says. I'm gonna believe I am who God says I am and I can do what God says I can do, even if everything is screaming against that.
It takes faith to deal with the inevitable disappointment and the discouragement and the disillusionment that's gonna come. You will be disappointed. I'm not saying Christianity is kind of some quick-fix, self-help, you'll never be disappointed again, or you'll get everything that you want. That is not Christianity. That's what a sugar daddy does. That's not God. It's not Christianity. Yes, people will hurt you. Yes, you will be betrayed. Yes, there will be disappointment. Yes, there will be discouragement. But you will learn what it is to lean on Jesus. You will learn what it is to go to him. You will find comfort, you will find hope, you will find healing, you will find strength that can only be found in him. It takes faith to navigate the injustice and suffering in our world and to have a world ridicule us and say you Christians, if your God was real, how could there be that much injustice in the world?
Well, fact is it takes faith to keep believing God and know that God is good even when circumstances are not good. It takes faith to be a witness for Christ when you'll be persecuted for that. It takes faith. Because people don't want salt and light. They're like we love our darkness, leave us in our darkness. We don't want you to flavor our food. We just love living in the world that we live in, so it takes faith. It takes faith to hold onto the truth that God is good when life is not. It takes faith to keep following Jesus when we don't even know where we're going. It takes faith to keep believing when deep down if we're honest, we'd say I'm full of unbelief. It takes faith to stay strong and courageous when you feel weak and like crumbling. It takes faith to remain loyal and faithful to Jesus when everyone is vying for our attention and our attachments to things and to people and to ourselves are so great. It takes faith to live on purpose and to stay on mission when there are so many other attractions and distractions. It takes faith to let go and trust God. And it takes faith to hold onto Jesus. It takes faith to allow yourself to be carried by Jesus, but I want you to know that Jesus alone is worthy of our all.
If he saved us and did nothing else for us, that is enough. But he came that you and I might have life and life more abundant. Can I tell you our worst day with Jesus is better than our best day without him. To whom shall we go? So whether we get what we think we want or not, we have Jesus. Jesus is the prize. Christ himself is the reward given to me for the love and service that I offer him. The same Jesus who gave himself for me at Calvary, the same Jesus who saved me and keeps me and he's still changing me by his grace, the same Jesus who will give himself to us in a fullness of sweet intimate unbroken and unending fellowship forever. We not only look back to the work of Christ in the past, we also look forward to fellowship with Christ in the world to come. He himself is our hidden treasure. He is the pole of great price. He is our very great we ward. I have decided to follow Jesus and there's no turning back.