Jentezen Franklin - Wake Up Your Faith
Today, I want to talk about "Wake Up Your Faith". How many of you know faith is important? Faith is important. And the thing about faith is in this chapter of Corinthians, it's pretty powerful. It gives us some insights into faith. When it says in verse 17, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working in us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal".
And then 2 Corinthians 5, one more verse of scripture, "For we walk by faith, not by sight". Say it again. "For we walk by faith, not by sight". So important that we understand that we, if we're going to be people of faith, not people of fear but people of faith, we do not walk by what we see and let it dominate and defeat us, but we hear the promises of God and what we're hearing is greater than what we're seeing. Faith is so important. The definition of faith, according to the Bible, is faith is not what you see.
That's why when Jesus cursed the fig tree and nothing happened, the disciples thought, "Well, He missed it on that prayer". And they walked away and came back 24 hours later and the Bible said that same tree was withered up from the roots. Now, if you were looking on the outside at what you see, prayer was not making a difference. But the moment that Jesus prayed, in the invisible root of that tree, that fig tree was withering up and dying. And even though it looked like nothing was happening, something was happening. And that's how faith works. Faith is trusting God. Faith is being willing to walk off the map and not have all the answers but you just move by faith.
The Bible said Abraham went, not knowing where he was going. We want to know everything. We want to know every question answered before we move. But faith, faith in God, and God cannot be pleased, the Bible said, without faith. I don't care how religious you are, I don't care how many rules you have, I don't care what you abstain from and what you do, He said "if where you are is not requiring faith of you, risk, then you're not pleasing Me", because God loves to see His word trusted. We walk by faith not by sight.
Now, watch this. Don't let what you see hinder what heaven is letting you hear. We walk by faith not by sight. And then, I love this part. That faith, the Bible said in Romans, comes by hearing and hearing the word of God. So don't go by what you see, but go by what you hear, because what you hear from the scriptures and from moments like these that we're having right now is what will determine whether or not you can overcome.
I think of a story in the Old Testament in 2 Samuel 5 of David fighting the Philistines. And the Bible said that God told him, "Now, when you go out to the battlefield, I want you to pull off to the side of the battlefield and get under a grove of mulberry trees, and I want you to wait. And when you hear the sound of rustling in the tops of those trees, I'll go out before you. That's when you're to go and, with your troops, and fight the Philistines".
So here's David. He's looking at an advancing, overwhelming army of Philistines coming right at him. And God says, "I don't want you to be focused on what you see. What you see looks like defeat. But I want you to hear. And when you hear the sound of angels' chariots rumbling over the tops of the mulberry trees, then you move out and I'll give you the victory". Don't go by what you see; go by what you hear. The prophet Elijah was in a famine, and yet, he said, "I hear" If he'd have gone by what he was seeing, everything was drying up and everything was gone. But he did not go by what he saw. He said, "I hear something different from what my eyes are watching. I'm hearing something that is a contradiction to what I'm seeing".
Now, folks, this is what faith does. Faith doesn't just look at facts and say, "Well, I might as well give up". Faith looks at defiant circumstances that look like defeat and listens and you'll never hear heaven talk in defeat. You'll never hear heaven talking "give up, you're right, you should be suicidal and depressed, you're not going to make it". You'll never hear heaven say that kind of stuff. So you have to determine, as a person of faith, am I going to see what I see and watch what I'm watching and let that determine fear and worry and all the things that come from that or am I going to listen to what I hear?
And Elijah said, "I hear the sound of an abundance of rain". Right in the middle while he was watching famine, he was hearing abundance. That's faith. It was a mid-October afternoon, 1982, at Badger Stadium in Wisconsin. Sixty thousand plus diehard fans gathered to watch their team, the University of Wisconsin, take on the Michigan State Spartans. Even though they had the home field advantage, it became obvious quickly in the ball game that Michigan State had the better team. What became odd is as the score became more and more lopsided and Wisconsin fell further and further behind, quarter after quarter, the more they were losing, the louder the fans were getting. The bursts of applause and shouts from the Wisconsin fans grew louder and louder the more they were watching their team lose.
The coaches and players were stunned to hear their fans scream and cheer while they were watching their team lose and lose bad. It turned out that 70 miles away, the Milwaukee Brewers were beating the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the 1982 World Series. Many of the fans in the stands were listening to their portable radios and they were responding to what they heard, not to what they saw. They were celebrating victory in the presence of what looked like defeat. What a contradiction, shouting in the midst of obvious defeat. And the question is are you responding to what you're seeing or are you responding to what heaven is saying?
The arena that they were seeing in was showing them one thing, but there was another arena where a greater victory was taking place and it was screaming another thing from what they were seeing. One was telling them something totally contrary to what they were looking at. And you have to decide are you going to live by what you see and every day you get up you let that determine what kind of day you have, or are you going to live by what you hear? "Man shall not live by bread alone", what he can see, "but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God". "Faith comes by hearing", not seeing, hearing.
"We walk by faith", what we hear, "not by sight", what we are watching. That's the life of faith. That's how you can be up in a down world. That's why you can look at the crazy things that are happening in this nation and, if you let it, it'll drive you down. Or you can turn around and say, "But I'm getting news from another arena and another world and it tells me everything's going to be alright". God is not nervous about politics, economy, all the violence, all the things that are going on in the news. God's not biting His nails. He's King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and He says, "I'm going to take care of My children and My people".
Come on and shout amen if you believe it. I want somebody to shout who's watching a defeat seemingly but you're hearing something that's greater than what you're watching. Wow, that's the shout of faith. And you've got all kinds of problems. Why do you come to church and start cheering? "O praise the name of the Lord, my God". And you usually do it with your eyes closed. You know why? 'Cause you don't want to look at the circumstances you're living in right now. Oh, I'm glad I've got faith that overcomes the whole world. It's by what I hear and not by what I see. I've got a radio up to my ear that's telling me good news in a world of bad news.
And He said, "I want you to get cheerful and I want you to be so odd in a depressed world that when you come together it's like the fans in the stand, watching everything". Morality, everything looks like defeat, defeat, defeat. Look at the laws and the Supreme Court and all these things. Defeat. Defeat. Defeat. Everything's going anti-religion, anti-God, anti-Bible. And we're supposed to be cheering. I ain't going to let this stuff control my soul. The joy of the Lord is my strength. And I know one thing. I'm hearing that Jesus is coming soon. I'm hearing the trumpet is going to sound. I'm hearing He's bringing another kingdom where righteousness will be exalted. My hope is not in this world. Don't live by what you see. Live by what you hear.
And Jesus said, "I want to give you" Three times, He said, "Cheer up". Three times, He said, "Be of good cheer, be of good cheer, be of good cheer". John 16:33, He said, "Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world. And if I could overcome it" I don't care what's going on in your little arena; in the big arena, there's victory. And He says, "I overcame in the little arena and I know you're looking at some things that look like they're overcoming you, but I promise you, if I overcame, you will overcome". And then, in Matthew 9:2, He said, "Be of good cheer because your sins are forgiven".
Don't just celebrate what you've got. Celebrate what you got rid of. You got rid of your shame. Somebody needs to shout. You got rid of your guilt. You got rid of your addiction. You got rid of yesterday. You've been born again. You're a new creation. Your sins are forgiven. Be of good cheer. And then He said in Matthew 14:27, "Be of good cheer! It is I; be not afraid".
So Jesus says, "I want you to give a cheer if the world looks like it's winning, the system of the world looks like it's winning, unrighteousness looks like it's winning. I want my church to really cheer up. And if it looks like sin is rampant and increasing, I want my church to be of good cheer because your sins are forgiven. And if you're in a storm, I want you to be of good cheer 'cause it is I, the water walker, coming on tops of the whitecaps and I don't want you to be afraid". Jesus said in John 15:18, "You're in the world, but you're not of the world".
We're in this arena and we're watching things and you may be watching your child on drugs or you may be watching your marriage in trouble or you may be watching your finances depleted, and you're in the world. But watch this. And that's what you're watching. But He says, "You're not of the world". There's another world that you need to be hearing and it's not telling you to be depressed about what you're seeing. It's telling you, "I hear something else".
I hear Deuteronomy 28 while I'm looking at what I'm looking at. I hear Deuteronomy. I'm blessed in the city. This is what faith people do. They look at defeat and they hear victory. They look at discouragement and they start saying, "I'm blessed in the city. I'm blessed in the field". "You sure don't look blessed. Your car isn't blessed. That's all you're walking, thumbing. Your broke down self. Pulling up on a moped". No, no, no. That's just temporary. Everything changes when you get the word of God. It may not happen today, but it's coming tomorrow. And if it doesn't happen tomorrow, my faith won't let go until He blesses me.
That's faith. Watching one thing, hearing another thing. My faith: I hear I'm healed, according to Isaiah 53. I hear I'm free, according to the book of John. "Whom the Son sets free is free indeed". I hear I'm blessed, according to Deuteronomy 28. I hear that in all of these things, according to Romans 8, I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus who loved me and gave Himself for me. I hear I'm anointed and blessed. That's what I hear. I know I'm seeing one thing, but oh, I'm hearing another. And you may have buried a loved one recently and you saw them go in the grave, but you're hearing another sound that says, "Ain't no grave going to hold that body down. There's resurrection power in the name of Jesus".
Everybody give the Lord a big cheer from the grandstands. No matter what's going on in your personal life on the field, I want to hear a shout in the stands that says, "What I'm hearing is greater than what I'm seeing". We walk by faith, not by sight. Calvary looked like a defeat, but on the third day, the stone was rolled away and Jesus rose triumphant. You know, we talk about the last days and if you're not careful, we paint a picture of gloom and doom only for our children. And it is perilous times. And evil men and seducers are... I've never seen such corruption. I've never seen anything like what we're dealing with. Have you?
I've never seen anything like this. But I'm not worried about it, because at the same time that's going on, I hear something different. "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh". You going to live by what you see or what you hear? "And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" A prophecy is to talk about the future. In other words, "your young people will get filled with My spirit and they'll future talk". Oh, the world's coming to an end, but God says, "I'm going to raise a generation up that's going to have a dream for the future and say, 'We're going to change politics, we're going to change medicine, we're going to change the church, we're going to change the lost, we're going to change the broken, we're doing to change the nation'".
And that only happens when they're filled with the spirit. They get a vision from God of what their purpose is and then they begin to future talk. I'm saying to you today that there is a victory in a great arena that is more powerful, what Jesus did on the cross and at Calvary. The worse it gets, the Bible says, the better it gets for us. Darkness, Isaiah said, "Darkness, darkness, darkness. But arise and shine for your light has come". The darker the world gets, the brighter... He said, "I've called My church from" He said, "You'll go from brightness to brightness, from glory to glory, from faith to faith". Hallelujah.
If you'll put your ear up to the radio, you know what you'll hear? We win. We win. Bring on the antichrist. We win. Bring on the last days. We win. Bring on all hell. Bring it on. Bring it on. Because when it's all said and done, the trumpet's going to sound. Jesus is going to stop at the clouds. He's not coming all the way down to earth. He's going to stop in midair, in the clouds. The Bible said the dead in Christ will go up first. We who are alive and remain will be called up with 'em to meet the Lord in the clouds. We'll gather around the clouds, shout around the clouds, and then go straight up. Hallelujah. That's what I hear, not what I see. I don't live by what I see. I live by what I hear.
And some of you are looking at me on TV, saying, "Why don't you calm down". Why don't you get fired up? We don't need a dead church. We need a church that's hearing a sound from heaven right in the middle of hell. Somebody shout like you believe God is on the throne, death is defeated. Luke 10:17, and I'm almost done, but Luke 10:17 said, "And the seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto Your name", to us. "And Jesus said, I beheld Satan fall from heaven as lightning". I love that. Satan is a fallen foe. He's got one of those little beepers on. "Help. I've fallen and I can't get up".
He's a loser. He's an ex-employee from heaven that was kicked out and replaced. And we are now the worship leaders of heaven and we take his place. That's why he doesn't want you to praise the Lord and cheer in the stands. He wants you to not have any joy because of what you're looking at. But a triumphant church is a church that looks at seemingly temporary defeat and has enough faith to raise its hands in the same arena and say, "But Jesus is alive and Jesus is Lord and He's still healer and He's still deliverer". Everybody take another praise break. I feel this thing. I feel it. Let's let a messed up world hear a jacked up church right now.
Come on. If you believe faith overcomes the world, overcomes the storm, overcomes sin... I'm not through preaching. Sit down. I've got one more point. Then Jesus went on and He said, "And I tell you that in My name you'll tread on I give you power over all the power of the enemy. Nothing shall by any means hurt you. And in My name, you'll tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy". All the power of the enemy. Notice serpents and scorpions. Serpents strike you with their head and scorpions strike you with their tails. But what Jesus is saying is heads or tails, you win. Whatever life throws at you, if it lands on the good side, you win.
If it lands on the bad side, heads or tails, I've got a God who took the stinger out of death and who crushed the head of the serpent and He said, "All I hear is a sound of victory from another arena if I am walking by faith not by sight". Take a praise break and I'm going to wrap it up. Don't wallow in self-pity any more.
So I'm going to ask you to stand to your feet. Hallelujah. Wake up your faith. Don't you go back home like you came. Don't you walk in there and look at those bills and lose your heart and lose your hope. But hear something that's greater than what you're seeing. "But my God shall supply all my needs". No weapon formed against me... He was wounded for my transgressions and bruised for my iniquities. That's what I'm hearing. I'm seeing this, but I'm hearing this. And by His stripes, I'm healed.