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2021 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - The Just Live By Faith - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - The Just Live By Faith - Part 2


Robert Jeffress - The Just Live By Faith - Part 2
Robert Jeffress - The Just Live By Faith - Part 2
TOPICS: Grace-Powered Living, Grace, Faith, Salvation, Righteousness

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. Some people think that faith is a personality trait like being hopeful or optimistic but the true definition of faith holds a much deeper meaning. Today, we're going to turn to Romans 1 to look at three characteristics of genuine faith and discover why it's absolutely essential for salvation. My message is titled, The Just Live by Faith, on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

The late James Boice mentioned several reasons for unanswered prayer, I'd like to expand on them for a moment. One possibility for unanswered prayer is unconfessed sin in our life. One possibility is there is some overt, obvious sin in your life, some act of rebellion against God that is keeping him from hearing your prayer. There's a second reason the Bible gives, sometimes it's because of idolatry. Do you remember the story in Ezekiel 14 when the leaders of Israel came to the prophet Ezekiel and asked him to pray for them? So, Ezekiel asked God, "What should I do"? God said, "Don't pray for them". Can you imagine coming to your pastor and saying, "Pastor pray for me", and I say, "I'm sorry, God told me not to pray for you". That's exactly what happened.

Now, some of you are saying, "Well, that sure don't apply to me. I don't have a two-foot shrine in my bedroom of some false God that I kneel before every night before I go to bed. I may be guilty of a lot of things but not idolatry". Think again, notice where these idols were that God condemned the Israelites for. The idols were where? In their hearts. Not in a shrine, it was in their hearts. You know what an idol is? An idol is anything or anyone you love more than God. Anything or anyone you love more than God has become an idol. And God said, "I will not answer the prayers of those who have idols in their hearts".

Third possibility for unanswered prayers, a lack of generosity. Proverbs 21:3, Malachi 3:7-11. We don't give to God financially in order to get something in return and yet Malachi 3 is very clear that if we do not give God what belongs to him, the offering that belongs to him, it is like we are robbing God. And he draws a relationship between robbing God and unanswered prayer. There is a famine in the land and the Israelites wondered, "God, why aren't you answering our prayer"? And God said, "Why are you robbing me"? Will a man rob God? The Israelites said, "Well, how are we robbing you"? God said, "In your tithes and your offerings, bring the whole tithe into the storehouse". You know what it's like when we hold on to money that belongs to God? It's like sticking a revolver in the face of God and saying, "Stick them up".

Can anybody imagine doing that? But even more far-flung is to say, "Okay, with one hand, I'm going to stick that revolver in God's face. With the other hand, I'm going to open my hand and say, God, would you please give me something"? Can you rob God and ask from God at the same time? There're some here today, you are robbing God and you know you are. You're not tithing, you're not anywhere close to tithing. That may be one reason for unanswered prayer in your life. That's not the word of Robert, that's the Word of God, Malachi 3. Well, those aren't any reasons that actually applied to the apostle Paul.

Now, there is a fourth reason that God did not answer Paul's request affirmatively and immediately. It was because of the sovereign will of God. Paul said, "I want to come". And then in chapter 15 verses 20 to 22, Paul explains the reason that God had said no to his request. And that is God had a different plan for Paul, he wanted Paul to preach the Gospel where it had never been preached before. And then later, he had a plan for Paul to come in Rome. Did you know Paul eventually made it to Rome? He made it as a prisoner but he made it to Rome as he had been praying. God had a different plan and he had a different timetable. And I want to say to some of you this morning, one reason God has not answered your prayer affirmatively yet is because he has a better plan and a different timetable than you do.

There're some of you right now here watching in day one, perhaps you're a single adult. You've been praying for God to bring the right man or woman into your life and you've said, "God, why haven't you done so? Why haven't you brought that person"? God has a different timetable. He has a better person than you could possibly imagine. He has still more work he wants you to accomplish as a single adult before he brings that person into your life. There're some of you right now, you're saying to God, "God, I just hate this job, why am I stuck in this job? When in the world are you going to move me out of this job"? Quit looking at me that way, Walter. That don't apply to you. No, but there're some of you who are thinking that. It's not that God has forgotten you, he still has more that he wants you to accomplish where you are and he is working perhaps right now behind the scenes orchestrating the way for you to go on to your next place of service, he's doing things you're not aware of right now behind the scenes. And suddenly on a day that begins like any other day, your circumstances are going to change.

There're some of you right now who are concerned about physical illness in your own life and the life of somebody you care about, you've been praying that God would heal that illness. Let me tell you, God is going to ultimately heal you. It may be 20, 30, 40 years from now but in the span of eternity, healing's coming rather soon when we get those brand new bodies. But God may be saying no to that request for immediate healing, the same reason he said it to the apostle Paul. He said, "Paul, your faith is going to be strengthened and my name is going to be glorified by how you respond not to health but how you respond to suffering". One reason that God doesn't answer affirmatively and immediately is because of the sovereign will of God. Paul says, "True, saving faith is faith that trust God to do what is best, it is a faith that can endure unanswered prayer".

Thirdly, Paul says true, genuine, saving faith enables us to receive the righteousness of God. Look at verses 16 and 17. He says, "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God and the salvation to everyone who believes". For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. You might think, "Well, Paul, who would ever be ashamed of the Gospel? I would never be ashamed of the Gospel". Really? You might want to think about that again. Have you ever been ashamed of the Gospel? Maybe it's been a time when you were afraid to directly confront that non-Christian teacher in the classroom or that boss of yours who says something and does something that is overtly against the Gospel. Or maybe it's by being fearful to share the Gospel of Christ with that relative, with that close friend of yours.

You use the excuse you don't want to offend them, the real truth is you don't want to be rejected by them. Or maybe you're hesitant in a group to hold on to that belief and articulate that belief that all other religions really are dead in roads, there is only one way to God and that is through faith in Jesus Christ. The fact is we've all been ashamed of the Gospel at one time or another. We've all failed to stand up as we should. But Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ". Notice the three reasons he gives for not being ashamed. First of all, he said, "The Gospel is man's only hope for salvation". One reason we don't have to back down is because the Gospel is man's only hope for salvation. He said, "For I'm not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes".

This year, earlier this year, there was an award-winning movie that's up for a number of Oscars, the movie is called "Gravity". It's the story of two astronauts played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney who find themselves marooned in outer space with no way to get home. By the way, ladies, if you find yourself marooned in space, it's probably not bad to be with George Clooney, that's probably not that bad but anyway, that's the movie plot. They're marooned and they're desperately looking for a way to get back home. If some voice were to come over and say, "If you will just push this button and this button and this button, you will arrive safely at home", would those astronauts be offended by the instruction? No, they would have welcomed the instruction but they were alone, drifting by themselves. That is a great picture of mankind. All mankind is drifting farther and farther away from God. And there are not many ways back home to God, God has instituted one rescue plan and that rescue plan is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And that's why we don't have to be ashamed to say there is one way to be saved.

Ladies and gentlemen, that word save and salvation, that's not a Baptist word, that is not some heck word. There are people today who want to make fun of, "Oh, you all talk about being saved, being saved, being saved". Look, that is the word Paul uses 13 times in the book of Romans, for our Gospel really is the means of salvation. All of us are drifting away from God, we are headed for an eternity of hell and there is only one way back to God. And did you know by the way, that non-Christian you talk to, that friend, that relative, that work associate, they have that sense that they're lost, they have a sense that they're drifting. The Roman statesman seneca who was a contemporary of the apostle Paul said, "All mankind is looking for a hand let down to lift us up. Everybody's looking for divine intervention, for divine help to lift us up out of our lostness. The Gospel, should not be ashamed of it is man's only hope for salvation".

Secondly, Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel for the Gospel is for everyone". Look again at verse 16. "For it, the Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and then to the Greek". The Gospel is not just for the wealthy or the poor, the educated, the uneducated, the young or the old. Here's one way that Christianity is so different than other religions, the Gospel is open to anyone, everyone, regardless of their religion, nationality, economic place in life, the Gospel is for everyone. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher of yesteryear was talking to a group of young children and he said to those children, "I realize you're young, but you are old enough to sin and you're old enough to die. And as long as those two things are true, you need a Savior".

It doesn't matter what a person's background is, it doesn't matter what his religion is, it doesn't matter what his stage or age in life is. As long as somebody is old enough to sin and old enough to die, they need the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is for everyone. Thirdly, Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel for the Gospel is received by faith". Look at verse 17. For in the Gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. Literally, it begins and it ends with faith. For as it is written, the righteous shall live by faith. The apostle Paul understood that truth perhaps better than anyone. His life did a complete one ad after his confrontation with Christ on the road to Damascus.

In Philippians 3, Paul shares what his life was like before he came to Christ and after he came to Christ. Before he came to Christ, Paul was like so many people you talk to, perhaps like some of you watching or listening right now. You think your right standing with God is a series of pluses and minuses. You do some good things, pluses. You do some bad things, minuses but at the end of your life if your pluses outweigh the minuses, you get to go to heaven. Most all of mankind believes that, pluses and minuses, just have more of one than the other and you're okay. In Philippians 3, Paul said, "That's the way I used to view my life". He talked about all of his prior accomplishments that he was depending on to get to heaven. He was a Jew, he was circumcised on the eighth day, he was a pharisee, a keeper of the law, zealous in his faith, on and on and on he went. He thought, "That's why I'm going to be welcomed into heaven". But then he says, "But then I realized those things I counted as gain were actually loss to me compared to the incomparable joy of knowing Christ".

Paul said those things he was gripping tightly as his entrance pass into heaven, those things were actually keeping him from heaven because as long as he was holding on to his works, his hand was not open to receive the gift of God's grace through faith. And that's why Paul said, "My prayer now, Philippians 3:9, is that I might be found in Christ, not having a righteousness of my own which is derived from keeping the law but a righteousness that comes from God through Christ on the basis of faith". The righteous shall live not by works but by faith.

At the beginning of this series, I told you a story of a Catholic monk named Martin Luther whose life was impacted by this book we're studying, the book of Romans. You remember while he was a professor at the university of Wittenberg, that he kept reading the book of Romans over and over again that he was teaching. And there is a phrase in that book that he kept turning over in his mind, it was the verse we're looking at today, verse 17. The righteous shall live by faith. Martin Luther's son, Paul recounts this true story in his father's life. He said, as a Catholic monk, his dad, Martin Luther, traveled to Rome as all good monks and all good Catholics would. And they would go while in Rome to the chapel of St. John and they in the chapel of St. John, there was a stone staircase made with stones that supposedly had come from Pontius Pilate's home. And those stones were stained red. They were said to be stained with the blood of Jesus himself as he ascended those stairs to stand before Pilate.

And so Pilgrims from around the world would come to the chapel of St. John and there they would kneel at the base of the staircase and they would kiss the first level that contained the stains of Jesus' blood. And then they would painfully on their knees, bring themselves up to the next level and pray for hours, and then the next level. And they felt like as they made that painful ascent up the stairs, that somehow they were ensuring the remission of their sins and assuring themselves that they would not suffer punishment and purgatory for years. They were there to earn God's forgiveness. And so Martin Luther, a faithful Catholic, made his Pilgrimage to the chapel at St. John and as he knelt there and as he prayed, the words of Romans 1:17 kept coming back to his mind. The righteous shall live by faith. And as he went up to the next level, again, he heard the voice louder, the righteous shall live by faith.

And Martin Luther said there was a war that was going on in his spirit. By fear, said Martin Luther, the righteous will be made right with God. By faith, said the apostle Paul. And as he made his way to the next level, by fear, said the Roman Catholics, by faith, said the Word of God. By fear, said those who stood beside me ascending the stairs, by faith, said God our Savior. The righteous shall live by faith. And when he ascended to the top of the staircase, he stood up, horrified by his own superstition and folly, he descended that staircase, he walked out of St. John's chapel that day and his son said from that point on, the foundation of his life, his ministry and finally the protestant reformation was that verse, the righteous shall live by faith. How is a person made right with God? How can we who are sinful men and women be assured of God's forgiveness? It is not by fear, it is not by works, it is not by ritual, it is not by religion, the righteous shall live by faith.
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