Creflo Dollar - Understanding the Trials of Faith - Part 1
Today is a day that I've been lookin' forward to for a year, over a year. The Lord began to deal with me on some issues where the grace of God is concerned and just really had solidified some things in my understanding, and most of all, of this year, it's gonna require us to really be taught and trained in the Word. We don't have time to have fun and games at church. We gotta get ready. There's serious times ahead of us, and there are certain things we need to know, and we need to have an understandin' of.
And so today I'm gonna begin a series entitled "Understanding the Trials of Your Faith". Understanding the Trials of Your Faith. Many of us understand that there are a lot of things that happen in life, and even more so today in the midst of pandemic and the normal stuff that happens, and, yet sometimes there's a question, "Why is this happening"? Sometimes there's the question, "Is it God's will for me to suffer? Is it God's will for me to go through these trials? Is it God's will for me to go through the things that we go through"? I think sometimes we're misled into thinkin' that, as Christian people, that means we have no more trouble, no more trials. "That's it because I'm saved".
I can't tell you how wrong that is because, as Christian people, we must mature, and we've got to understand God's Word because Satan is tryin' to play a trick. He's a deceiver. He's a liar. He's the accuser of the brethren, and the battle is gonna be fought right up here, and the Bible says, "My people are destroyed because of their ignorance, because of what they don't know and what they don't understand".
When I first started teaching the gospel of grace, I lost a lot of friends. I became this heretic and all these other kind of things, but everything I had gone through was to prepare me just for all of that, and boy, if they had a problem with me then, oh, dear God, they might as well take my name and put mud on it now because I am completely and totally free of the fear of people, and I am ready to teach this, and I'm ready to share this with you, and so I'm gonna talk about the trials of our faith, but the first thing I wanna deal with is our faith, and this is gonna go against and contradict a lot of things, and I'm not up here tryin' to say that, you know, this person was wrong or that person was wrong. I believe everybody taught what God told 'em to teach for that time and for that season, but there's a new season right now.
There's a season that's goin' on that churches have never dealt with before, don't know what to say, don't know how to do it, so you're gonna have to come out of your religion. Religion and self are closely related, and there are a lot of things you have heard religiously that I'm askin' you to rethink these things as we go through the Word. Don't fight it 'cause I've already gone through it. Don't fight it. Just listen to it, check it out, and if you're born again with the Holy Spirit, he will bear witness in your spirit. Now, if you're just selfish and religious, then you'll try to protect your religion, and then that'll create another problem. And so today is the first day of what I will call "a can whoop opened on the devil," amen? We gonna eat his lunch, amen?
Now, let's go to the book of Hebrews chapter 11. Let's start off with the faith issue, because we're talkin' about the trials of our faith, and for most of us, we have been trained, not that anything's wrong with it, but maybe there is some things I wanna look at. We've been trained to have faith in our faith. Does everybody understand that when I say, in other words, you have faith in all of the faith principles that you operate, and you're looking and depending on you. You're looking and dependin' on your performance in faith to bring you victory, but how many of you have ever ventured out in faith and ended up a little disappointed because you didn't see the manifestation of your faith? Can I get a witness?
I have, many times, you know, where, whether it was sickness and I was havin' faith and that didn't happen or whether it was finances and I was believin' for that, did all thing... that didn't happen. I remember, one time, you know, my aunt, she's gone home to be with the Lord, but, you know, I remember releasin' my faith. I remember usin' all. I remember goin' on a fast. I remember puttin' on the Jewish... what's that cloth? Yeah, and I did everything I knew to do, and she died, and I'm like, you know, "But my faith was"... have ever been that? "My faith was", this. "What happened"? And then there are lots of Christians who have, you know, they're not Christians anymore because of that, the failure of their faith, okay?
And so I'm thinking', "Lord, maybe I'm missin' somethin' here, this". I have faith in my faith, and I'm thinking, well, you know, "There's somethin' not there". Faith in my faith. And I heard that. I was trained in that, and then sometimes I would, you know, do the principles and have faith in my faith, and then I see some results, and then sometimes I didn't, and then, I guess, when God was tryin' to get my attention, there was a stream of times that I did and, just, nothin' happened. I never did think about leavin' him, but I'm thinkin' somethin's not right. Somethin's... I'm missin' somethin' here, and I need to know this, okay?
And then the first time I taught it publicly in front of 12,000 people, I was rebuked publicly for it, and I thought, "Well, I didn't say nothin' wrong," and they just didn't understand it because I just knew that was the right thing. And I put it on the bench there for a moment and put it on the sideline for a moment and just simmered in it and worked out some more details on the inside, and here we are today. Are you ready? So, now, here's where we start. I go to Hebrews chapter 11:4, and I look at all these people that did things by faith. Verse 4, he says, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts, and by it he being dead speaketh".
So that was his faith. Verse 5, "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death". That was his faith. Verse 6, "But without faith it's impossible to please God, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him," 7, "By faith Noah," did what he did, "being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear", you can read all that. Next one, he says, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into the place which", let's go to the next one. He says, "By faith he sojourned there," Abraham, "into a land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in the tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, and the heirs", and, come on, let's, "Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed", and her faith.
Go to the next one: "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac, and he that had received the promise offered up his only begotten son", go to the next one. But, now, notice, all of the people you see in Hebrews chapter 11, were Old Testament saints. Every last one of 'em were Old Testament saints, and one thing about Old Testament saints, they live by their faith, amen? And by their faith, they did some great things. So you don't see me comin' down on them. By their faith, they did some awesome things, but look at what he said at the end of showing us all the Old Testament, all the Old Covenant prophets. Look what he said at the end: "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise". They got a lot of good things to happen, but they didn't receive the promise. "God having provided some better things for us," New Testament saints, "that they without us should not be complete".
So even though they got a good report with their faith and havin' faith in their faith, he said God's got somethin' better, better for us. Now, I'm gonna tell you right now, the faith of New Testament people should be different than the faith of Old Testament people. Someone said, "What're you talkin' about"? Okay, you remember me, years ago, goin' through these four Scriptures when I taught on faith? Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians chapter 3:11 Hebrews 10:38. All right, now, let's do it again with that in mind I just shared with you. Go to Habakkuk chapter 2:4. Habakkuk 2:4. There's a three-letter word I never could work out, and so I just kind of did somethin' with it, but I never could work it out.
Look at this: "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him", now, this is talkin' about Old Testament people, "but the just shall live by his faith". You remember, Bishop, we would go around, talkin' about "The just is gonna by live by his faith," or we said it was God's faith? No, no, no, no. It's makin' it very clear. In the Old Testament, you just saw the heroes in the Old Testament, they were living by their faith, and they got great report. There are some things that happened when they were living by their faith. But God said that we're gonna have somethin' better than our faith. Y'all followin' me? He said that "they are not upright in him, but the just shall live by his faith". Every person in the Old Testament that believed in God lived by their faith. His faith. His faith.
Now, I don't see it anymore in the New Testament. Romans 1:17, let's look at it real quick. Romans 1:17. Now please understand me: I am not, by any means, saying that, when a person lived by their faith, that things didn't happen, but even in the Old Testament, you see these guys livin' by their faith, and they still went through hell, some of 'em. Yup, they got a good faith report after they came out the fiery furnace, after they left the lion's den, after the flood. Now watch this: "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.'" Go to Galatians chapter, was that 3:11? "But that no man is justified or declared righteous by the law in the sight of God, it is evident, for 'The just shall live by faith.'" Hebrews chapter 10:38, "Now the just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him".
Now, if I had enough time, I would dissect those three Scriptures, and they would all be grace-based situations. Righteousness is a grace-based situation by faith. This situation here about not drawing back, that's a grace-based situation. Now, let me take you where I'm talkin' about. Galatians 2:20, go there. All right, so what's the "better"? Instead of... what's better than living by your faith? Because, if you're livin' by your faith, you're depending on you. You gotta depend on you. If you're livin' by your faith, your faith and the faith of those heroes of faith, then they're dependin' on them. And there's nothin' wrong with that unless somethin' better comes. I'm not doggin 'out the old. I'm just sayin', why stay in the old when somethin' better has come? Why use the telephone at home with the long cord? You remember that? Tryin' to walk around when you got a cell phone. The better has come.
Now, if you wanna stay, and the Bible tells you, you wanna stay stuck back there, you can, but if the better has come... calm down. You're not supposed to be screaming. Calm down. When the better has come, just go towards the better. And look what it says: "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God". The just shall live by the faith of the Son of God. I no longer have to live by my faith. I can live by the faith of the Son of God. So that means, when Jesus says, see, what is the faith of the Son of God? I need to break that down. The faith of the Son of God is all that has been made available, all of the finished works of Jesus Christ that has been made available to us by his faith.
In other words, he did it. My faith is not responsible for the righteousness of God being available. My faith is not responsible for healing being available. My faith is not responsible for any of the finished works bein' available. Those things are not available because of my faith. Those things are all available because of the faith of the Son of God. And so for me to have faith that I'm the righteousness of God, when I'm not doin' right, I'm not righteous 'cause of my faith. I'm righteous 'cause of the faith of the Son of God. So now I put my faith in the faith of the Son of God. My faith is in what Jesus has done. In other words, even when I say, "I don't believe I'm righteous," you have to not contend with this. Jesus believes you're righteous. So even if you don't believe you're righteous, believe what Jesus believes.
So what do you have to do to have faith? All you gotta do to have faith is to be born again and invite Jesus in, and now Jesus lives in you, praise God, so you have faith right now. You have faith right now. That's why I won't tell you, "Don't come down here if you don't have faith". What I'll tell you is "Don't come down here if you don't have faith in what Jesus has already done". Jesus has already healed you, so don't come down here, beggin' and believin' God that your faith can get you healed 'cause I found out that my faith is lacking in a whole lot of ways, but his faith has already manifested the stuff. So rather than me tryin' to make somethin' happen with my faith, Jesus has already made it happen with his faith, so I'm gonna have faith in his faith, and I live now in this flesh by the faith of the Son of God.
So we talk about faith for New Testament Christians. Here's what I'm talkin' about. You're sick. "Well, I have faith I'mma be healed". I hear what you're sayin', but with precision, you're sick. "Well, I have faith in the faith of the Son of God, who has made healing available for me, therefore my faith is in what's already finished. My faith is not in me doin' these set of things to make this happen. I believe because Jesus believed it, and what he believed has already happened, so my faith is by the Son of God. We live by the faith of the Son of God. I am living by the faith of the Son of God". What position now are you in when you now live by the faith of the Son of God? Watch this. Where do you find yourself when you now live by the faith of what Jesus has done? You find yourself in, watch this, rest. You rest. You rest.
Why do you rest? 'Cause you know that this thing being manifested is not necessarily on you. It is on Jesus, and so if Jesus believe you're righteous, I believe I'm righteous, and so I enter into rest. I can rest now because Jesus has made me righteous, and I believe what Jesus believes. Glory be to God. And instead of me puttin' all the pressure on me, when my faith has gotta get this to happen, I say to myself, "Jesus's faith has already made it happen, and so now I have faith that I can receive what he has already manifested by his faith". Somebody, says, "You've been a little picky". Not necessarily. Do you know the things that have happened in our lives when we put all of it on our shoulders? You put it all on your shoulders. "I'm the righteousness of God". And now what happens? Now through your works, you're tryin' to get somethin' that's already been gotten. "Oh, God I need to be healed".
And so, on your faith, you're doin' everything you can so you can get healed instead of havin' faith that Jesus has already made healing available. It even messes up your prayer life. You pray for two hours. I'm done in ten minutes 'cause you're doin' all of your... you're sayin' all the Scriptures. You're makin' all the confessions. You're doin' everything the Bible meant for Old Testament Christians to do without having faith in Jesus Christ to try to make it happen. And I go before God and say, "Father, I believe you believe that I'm healed, therefore, I believe you, and because you believe I'm healed and I believe what you believe, then I now rest that I'm healed". All of a sudden, you can't do nothin' in this life without depending on Jesus, and that's what he wanted. The difference is faith that depends on you and your effort, and faith that depends on him, and we now have the better. We now live, we live by the faith of Jesus Christ.
All right, go back to that, let's read it in The Message, this thing in The Message, verse 19 through 21, in The Message: "What actually took place is this," and this is what it reads in The Message: "I tried keeping rules and workin' my head off to please God", can I get a witness? "and it didn't work, so I quit being a 'law man' so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not 'mine,' but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that".