Steven Furtick - Say Hey By Faith
Our year-end offering will be amazing. I hope all of you will participate. We ask each family that's participating to choose a word that reflects what you're believing God for in this season of your life, and then I usually pick a word for our whole church. This year it's going to be really simple. Our word that we're gathering around for this offering is the word trust. Touch your neighbor and say, "I trust in God". We'll call it our trust offering. Not like a trust fund or something like that, but in a way it is, because it's us believing that our God, our Jehovah-Jireh, has stored up for us… Everything we will ever need is in his hand. How many have a testimony that all you have needed his hand has provided? I trust in God. Tell your neighbor, "I'm not so sure about you". "I don't know if I can trust you, but I trust in God". I think it will be amazing.
So, I trust in God. That's kind of the subject I'll preach around for the next few weeks as we move this year to a close. Today I'm excited to journey with you into the Scripture. Are you excited to see what God will speak to you today? Y'all, I was running out of the house, and this was the only Bible I could find close by. I didn't feel like going back downstairs and getting the regular one, so I've got this big boy today, big boy Bible. I'm about to beat the Devil half to death with this Bible today. In Hebrews, chapter 11, there is a Scripture that leads to a Scripture that leads to a Scripture that I never thought about before today, but I want to share it with you, because I think it's going to help us to trust in God for where he's taking us.
Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 6. I thought about only reading a few of these verses, but they're all so good I figured they would be offended if we left them out, so we're going to need to do verses 6-16. Can you handle that? All right. Did you wear your elastic waistband today for this Word that I'm going to get you fat off of? Hebrews 11:6: "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith. By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going".
You don't have that much faith, do you? I don't think I do. He didn't know where he was going, but he went. "By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.
People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them". Go back to that first verse one more time. "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him". Before you take your seat, look at your neighbor and say, "Hey". Come on. You've got to do it. You've got to look at your neighbor. All right. Look at the other one, the other neighbor. Say, "Hey"! Now, why did you do that? Why did you say, "Hey"? You don't know how they're going to respond. You did it because I said so. For no other reason, right? I said, "Say, 'Hey.'" You said, "Hey". Okay. That's our lesson today: how to say "Hey" by faith.
One more time on your way to your seat tell your neighbor, "Hey"! You may be seated. Online just put it in the thing. Put "Hey" with the emoji. Let us know where you're from. Hey. Everybody say "Hey" back to everybody online. Everybody on YouTube, just put a "Hey" in the chat. Hey, Blakeney. Hey, Lake Norman. Hey, everybody. I'm going to pull out my phone real quick, get in the YouTube comments, and see who's saying "Hey" to us today from all over the world. I believe by faith that they're saying "Hey" all over the world. Don't you? Anyway… Y'all, I think our phones have changed our relationship with faith, honestly. Do you agree? What I mean by that isn't just that your phone is listening to you. Why did I just talk about it three minutes ago, and now it's all up in my phone if the phone isn't listening to me? Why did I talk to somebody about a Tonal gym the other day, and there was Tonal stuff on my phone?
There have never been Tonal advertisements on my phone until three minutes after I said it to a friend. So why? I don't trust my phone. I don't trust Steve Jobs, and he hasn't been alive in several years. I still don't trust him. I think he's listening to me from somewhere right now preaching this message. I don't trust any of it. But that's not what I mean about the relationship with our phone. I mean there was a time where, if somebody called you on the phone, it took faith to pick up the phone because you didn't know who was on the other end of the phone. How many remember? Yeah. It took faith. Before the eighth day when God made caller ID, it would take faith to pick up the phone, because you didn't know who it was. It could be your boyfriend. It could be a bill collector. It could be somebody wanting you to help them move next Saturday. It could be the person you've been dodging on purpose.
So, then you get an answering machine. You let the answering machine pick up. You let them start leaving a message. Do y'all remember this? Then you pick up like you just happened to walk into the house when they started talking, because you're a liar. Now, my mom did something one time that really takes the cake. I didn't ask her permission to tell this, and I'm going to tell it to you to open my sermon, because it's a good little story to set up my premise. My mom had this one friend who would call at a certain time most every week, and when it was around that time, within that window that that friend would call, my mom would make me answer the phone, because she did not particularly enjoy talking to this friend. So I kind of knew it was my time to be by the phone when this certain time rolled around. I'm not going to say this woman's real name, but let's call her Miss Martha.
In the South you used "Mister" and "Miss". I know that's kind of old-fashioned too, but that's how you did it. "Miss Martha". Names have been changed to protect the innocent. When Miss Martha called, I always knew when she said, "Is your mom there"? that I had to check with my mom before I said, "Yes". So, one day the phone rang around that time, and she said, "Pick it up," and I picked it up. I said, "Hello"? Then I said, "Oh, hey, Miss Martha"! and I looked at my mom to see "What's the move"? because now she knows it's Miss Martha. She's over there going… I'm like, "What do I tell her? She said, 'Is your mom there?'" She mouths to me, "Tell her I'm in the shower". So I said, "Miss Martha, she's in the shower". And then Miss Martha threw a curveball. She said, "All right. How about your dad"?
Now I've got to improvise. Since I'm already lying, I just went with this: "Yes, ma'am, but he's in the shower too". She snatched that phone. "Hey, Martha"! Anyway, it would take faith to pick up the phone, because it might be Martha. It might be Ed McMahon calling you to tell you you won a million dollars. It doesn't take faith anymore because I know exactly who this is, so I get to make a conscious decision. "Do I want to enter into this particular conversation"? It takes faith is what I'm trying to get you to see. It takes faith to enter into a conversation when you are not sure who you will be conversing with should you choose to accept the call. It takes faith. It takes a certain amount of faith.
I know a lot of times we forget this, but even to say God is calling me to do something… It takes a certain amount of faith to know this is really God on the other line, because what if it sounds like God, but it's really just my ambition? What if it is kind of like God, but I'm not sure if it's just me being delusional? What if, while I'm preaching today, something leaps in your spirit while I'm talking and you believe it's God's will for you to hear that and act on it? Because the starting place of faith is the Word of God. Write that down somewhere where you can remember it later this week. When you're like, "I don't know if I should do this or not…" Well, the starting place of faith is the Word of God. We cannot treat every whim we have as if it's the Word of God and just say, "I have faith," because the starting place of faith is the Word of God.
In fact, the author of Hebrews wants you to know you can't even come to God to begin with without faith. Verse 6 says, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe…" It does not say the prerequisite for coming to God is that he who comes to God must behave a certain way but to believe a certain thing. I was talking to a guy the other day who said, "I need to get right with God". I said, "And what do you think it will take for you to get right with God"? He said, "Well, I need to change some things in my life". I said, "Indeed you may, and indeed I do too, but the starting place of your relationship with God is not changed behavior; the starting place of a relationship with God is belief".
It begins with belief. Every fear you're experiencing in your life today begins with belief. Every act of faith you will ever take, every step you will make in the direction of God's will for your life will begin with belief or it won't be sustainable. If it does not start with faith, it will not be sustainable. Any New Year's resolution that doesn't start with faith depends on you. If it depends on you, when you run out of strength, you run out of stamina. Any goal I establish in my life… Now look. This is not something I'm making up. This is a principle the writer of Hebrews is sharing with a group of people who are standing in between their old belief and their new belief. Their old belief revolved around being right with God through the works of the law. By performing these religious duties and by moving into these protocols, they could approach God through the sacrifices of bulls and goats.
Now they've come into a different relationship through Jesus whereby we no longer come in through our works but through our faith. He says, "Anyone who comes to God must believe that he exists". I know you won't admit this, because when you come to church you put on your holiest face, and you pretend like you have no idea what I'm talking about when I say stuff like this, but sometimes it takes faith just to pray, because you wonder, "Is anybody even really listening, and does this matter"? That's why we sometimes can't pray for 13 seconds without losing our train of thought. After 13 seconds I'm like, "Am I crazy? Do I just have an imaginary friend, a grown-up version, called God? Is he really listening? And if he is really listening, then why did my friend die last year"?
He says without faith it is impossible to please God. And not only is it impossible to please God, but it's impossible to even come to him. I have to show you this, because I love every detail of the Scripture, and you might have skimmed over this, and I don't want you to. It says, "Without faith it is impossible to please God, because he who comes to God…" So, when you come to God, you don't come to God because you were really good today and he wants to hear from you because you did really good today. You don't come to God because you have something to brag about, and you want him to give you a gold star for everything you did for him that day. You don't come to God bringing him a list of reasons he should use you and showing him your résumé for how valuable you would be for his kingdom. You don't come to God because, wow!
If he could really get ahold of your life, then he could really start changing the world. You come to God by the very starting point of believing that you can come to a God you cannot see, that he is real. I need to do a test. How many believe Jesus is real? I need a few testimonies to happen, just break out in every section of the church. Look at your neighbor and say, "He's real to me". Tell them, "You can't make me doubt him. I know too much about him". "As a matter of fact, God is more real to me than you are to me, because you're in a body and you're a person and you're sitting next to me. You might be here one day and not here the next, but God is real to me, because he is the one who was and is…" I feel like preaching today. High-five three people and say, "He's real".
So, I come to God with the confidence that… When I roll over and see Holly in the morning, I say, "Hey," and I say, "Hey" to her because her head is next to mine. I say, "Hey" because I see her. When I turn to God, I have to say, "Hey" to somebody I can't see. Not only can I not see him but sometimes I can't feel him. It takes faith to start praying to God. It takes faith to start declaring… It takes faith to believe that your sins are forgiven when you still feel the guilt of them. I can sing "Jesus paid it all," but it takes faith for me to say that, because I'm carrying it with me, and I still feel a debt for the things I did. But he's real. I believe that. We believe this.
The writer of Hebrews is saying to the church… They're all new to this, so they're in between a place of working their way to God and believing in the God they can't see, and he knows they need encouragement. So he says, first of all, anyone who comes to God must believe that he exists, or that he's real, and secondly, that he is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek him. He is a rewarder. Now, if you believe he's real but don't believe he's a rewarder, you won't pick up the phone when he calls because you'll be suspicious about what he wants. You'll be sitting over there silently, like my mom, going… We'll be saying, "Give your life to God," and you'll be like, "But what is he going to make me do if I do"? "Give your life to God". "Well, is he going to make me…? Am I going to have to go…"?
I talked to a guy one time. This guy had so much money, and he thought God wanted his money. I thought that was funny. I thought that was hilarious, that God has a need and he's going to tell you about it. I tried to explain about the streets of gold in heaven. I was like, "They pave what we save. They pave the streets in heaven with what we save up down here". He was so concerned what God was going to make him give up, because he didn't understand yet… He was starting to believe that God is real, but he didn't see God as a rewarder; he saw the Lord as a liability. Sometimes we are afraid to take the step God is calling us to take and accept his call because of what it might cost.
Into this premise and the tension, I would like to talk to you about saying "Hey" by faith, about the fact that a relationship with God does not begin the moment you get your act together but the moment you throw yourself on the mercy of God and say: Just as I am, without one plea, But that thy blood was shed for me, Oh, Lamb of God, I come. That is the faith it takes to enter into the presence of God. When God prompts your heart (as he's prompting many of you today) to get right with him, it is not a righteousness that you go for; it is a righteousness that is engrafted in you and gifted to you. From time to time, I think I need to say these things, because when we say, "faith," we mean a lot of different things. For some, faith has come to mean nothing more than an optimistic outlook.
Well, if that's your take on faith, it won't take much to undo it, because when things don't turn out like they looked in your mind and your life, you will abandon your faith. On the other hand, for some, faith is a classification. They'll say it in a political sense. "These are the people of faith, the faith community," as if faith were synonymous with a voting bloc, like people of faith all vote one way, like our God isn't bigger than your petty little political, agenda-driven boxes you try to get us to check. God can't be contained that way, and neither can faith. For some, faith means nothing more than the moment when you give your life to Jesus, and then after that you're on your own to work your butt off and show him how grateful you are. So, you receive Jesus by faith. "Good luck with the rest of your life. Hope you make it to heaven".
The writer of Hebrews is encouraging these people to continue in the faith. Now watch what he does. He does something so good. He says, "I know what you're going through is new to you. I know this trusting in the righteousness of Jesus…" Now, this is the gospel in one sentence: Jesus died as if he sinned so I can live as if I didn't. I loved that when God showed it to me like that. If we're going to say we're putting our faith in something, we ought to know what we're believing. What I'm believing isn't just that the situation is going to turn out or turn around or make me happy or be everything I wanted it to be, but what I'm believing is that Jesus died as if he sinned so I could live as if I didn't. He died as if he deserved to die so I could live like I could never deserve to live in his grace. He died like a criminal so I could be called a child of God.
That's what we believe. So, it begins with this. We come to God, and we believe he exists, and we believe he is a rewarder of them who seek him. So, this week, when you don't feel worthy to come to God, just remember he died so you could live as if you never sinned, so you could pray as if you never sinned, so you could come boldly in his face and tell him what you need in the time of your trouble, so you can move forward from your past and not be stuck back in it and not drag around a chain that he broke 2,000 years ago. This is what we believe.
So, the next time the Devil tells you you can't come to God and starts putting condemnation in your face, remember Romans 8:1. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus". None! Zilch! Zero! Zip! Nada! When the Devil tries to condemn you, tell him, "Hey, Devil, I appreciate what you're saying. I probably did do something wrong. I know I did stuff wrong. I can add some stuff to the list, but I have the faith to say, 'Hey, Devil, it's paid for in full!'"
All right. Let me run a poll. How many of you has the Devil been beating up over something this week? All right. Do you have faith? Did he die for you? Was his blood enough for you? Did he satisfy the righteous requirements of the law in his body? Did the spotless Lamb of God lay down his life for you? Do you have faith? Do you believe that? Do you have the faith to say, "Hey, Devil, I hear your voice, but it is silenced in the face of a greater voice, a greater grace. A greater covenant has come". He does something so good. He goes, "I know this is new to you…" For how many of you living God's way is new to you? I just want to see a show of hands. Yeah. It's really you I want to talk to, so everybody else can go home.
Let's just stay here together for a minute. And, really, if you didn't raise your hand, you haven't spoken with God lately, because it will always feel new to you if you are going forward. The only way for you to stop feeling that feeling of… The writer describes it in a very particular way. He goes, "Abraham…" Remember, Abraham was the guy who got this all started. He was called the father of faith, the father of many nations. That's what God calls him. That's not what he was. He didn't have a single son when God called him that, and he was 75 when God called him. The Bible says about Abraham in verse 8… This is the verse I thought was so anointed it might break a yoke, it might scare a devil, and it might bring somebody's heart back to a place of beating again. It said, "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went…"
The more I studied this word, the better it got, because it actually is connected… Where it says, "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive…" It literally is juxtaposed in the grammar it's written in in the letter to the Hebrews as an immediate response. What it means is that as he was being called, he went as soon as he was being called. So, you can measure your spirituality in inverse proportion. The time God tells you to do something… However long it takes you to do it, that's how immature you are in your relationship with him. I have a lot of growing up to do, so I need this word.
Look at it again. He was called to go to a place he would later receive. So, he's not going to get it right away. He obeyed and went. This part will probably trip you up. "…even though he did not know where he was going". Going without knowing. That is faith. Answering and not even knowing. "Is this really God? Is this really going to happen"? At this point in the sermon, there are usually about 10 reckless people who use this as an excuse to quit their job and move to Canada. That's not the essence of the text, though. It is not about a geographical location change; it is actually about staying in faith. Now look. If we celebrate this text on the first level, it's good. Abraham went without knowing. That is worthy of our admiration that he did that.
So, the writer of Hebrews says, "I know this is new for you. Let me call one of your familiar characters who you know so well, who actually is the hero of this entire faith system you are coming from, and let me use it to juxtapose against what you now have in Jesus, that is, the new and living way opened by his covenant". He says, "Hey, Abraham, show us how to do it". Exhibit A. Exhibit Abraham, as he gives us this case study in faith. He says, "Abraham was called to go somewhere he did not know, and he obeyed and went by faith". It said he didn't know where he was going. Don't we love to celebrate when someone goes to something new? I don't really enjoy weddings. Whatever. I don't really like them. I want to come back in, like, seven years and then have the big party. I know that's mean and everything. That's pessimistic or something like that. I just can't get too happy right yet for y'all.
I see everybody else is, and in many ways I feel like I have a very dark heart. I'm probably confessing a very deep character flaw to you. But I will be much happier for you… I would love to show up at your twenty-fifth thing. I would love it then. The longer it goes the happier I can be for you and the more inspired I can be for you. The Bible says, "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother". There is a leaving and a cleaving. Right? I'm really confused why we so celebrate the leaving, but the cleaving, the commitment it requires, what it takes to really cleave… In your relationship with Jesus, it is worthy to celebrate that you left a life of sin. When you take a step of faith, it is worthy of celebrating that you have now stepped out into the unknown. That's wonderful.
If God tells you to go start a business, I'll clap for you. I'll clap for you, and I'll be happy for you, but not as happy for you as I can be when you call me in three years or five years and say, "It has been a recession, but I stuck with it in the recession, and God showed me strategies for this business in the recession. We had to lay some people off, and we had to change our business model, and that was really rough. I had an ulcer, and I asked the doctor to prescribe something for it, and it took three different medications. I had a hard time knowing when to be home versus when to be at the office, but here I am still staying and standing and believing. Winds blew and rains came and the house stood firm". What I'm trying to say is that "stepping out" faith is great.
So is staying faith. In all of the years I read about Abraham, I celebrated that he had the faith to go. He obeyed and went. That's wonderful that he went. Here's all God told him: "I'm going to bless you. I'm going to make you a great nation. All of the nations of the earth will be blessed through you. You're going to have descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky, the sand on the seashore". And Abraham obeyed and went. What I never thought about, though, was after he obeyed and went… "Oh, isn't that wonderful? He went to a place he didn't know. Isn't that wonderful"? What I never wondered was what happened when he got there.
Now look at verse 9. "By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger…" In my imagination, I always kind of pictured Abraham going to the Promised Land, and when he got there, there was a parade for him in his honor. I know the Bible doesn't say that, and I know that's a stupid thing to think, but that's the way I thought of it. Maybe not an actual, literal parade, but you know what I'm saying. It's like, "You're here! Ding! Ding! Ding! You made it to the Promised Land. You're here, Abraham. Congratulations! You had the faith to step out. Now come on in". So, when I read that by faith he obeyed and went, and it was followed by "By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents…"
Here's what I want to tell you: it's possible to arrive at your promise and live in a tent. It's this feeling of, "I'm here, but this is way different than how it sounded when I left". Anybody there? "I'm here". Remember when you were in seventh grade and all you wanted was your driver's license? You're driving. Where are you going? What are you going to do when you get there? Now, two things happened. He got there without knowing where there was. That in itself is complicated. I've heard people say things, and I don't mean to pick on it. I'm sure I've said something like this. "If I could just have clarity from God, and if he would just confirm his word to me…" "I am waiting for confirmation. That's what I'm waiting for".
Okay. Confirmation comes after commitment. He obeyed as God was calling him. It wasn't even complete yet. It wasn't even a destination yet. It was just something God moved him by, but then he got there, hundreds of miles with hundreds of people, with a caravan full of people he was responsible for, and he lived in tents. Have you ever had God bring you to a promise and then make you pitch a tent? He brings you to a place, he brings you to a moment, he brings you to a relationship, he brings you to a stage of life, he brings you to your anointing, he brings you into the area of your giftedness, and you know, "This is it," but then you think, "Is this it"?
I could understand if he lived in a tent for a week while the apartment lease was going through. I could understand if he lived there for six months while he found the best school district in Canaan. Abraham lived in tents the entire time he was in the Promised Land. What I'm trying to say is you might be a pilgrim in something God called you to possess, and just because it doesn't feel stable doesn't mean it's not secure. There are times where I question God, and my faith gets low. "Did you really say to do this? Did you really say to forgive them"? Sometimes even when I get up here… "God, did you really tell me to preach this"? Just because I don't feel it in the moment… Just because it's foreign doesn't mean it isn't yours. So, here's what I want you to declare by faith. Say, "It's mine".
Now, that sounds selfish, because we're not supposed to talk in church about what we have and what God gave us. It's supposed to be all about him. But he said, "I will bless you". He said, "I will make you…" He said, "I will guide you". It's not really him that we doubt; it's us. Have you ever had to hold on to the truth living in a tent? Have you ever had to suffer from clinical depression and show up smiling at an office building? Have you ever had your kids not doing well, but you had to be there for somebody else's kid? Have you? Then you've lived in tents. It is being somewhere you're supposed to be, but the accommodations aren't what you imagined.
I was reading some definitions of faith. Check this out. It said not only is it about our salvation, but there is a situational faith as well. It is a faith that defies all contradictions and outward circumstances but looks entirely to God and his promises alone. One said, "Faith is living as if God's power for the present is real and his promise for the future is secure". That's faith. Saving faith. He died as if he sinned so I could live as if I didn't. Faith is living as if. I'm going to say this again. Faith is living as if. Faith is going forward as if you knew where you were going and then going home and wondering, "Am I there?" because you're living in a tent. Faith is saying, "I am fully forgiven by Christ" even as the waves of shame wash over you, and instead of drowning in the regret of that shame you transform it by the power of grace into wisdom so you never make those mistakes again.
Faith is showing up to church as if you knew God had a word for you even though you secretly wonder, "Is he talking to someone else"? Faith is picking up your tent and moving even though you don't know how far you'll have to go. Faith is making your home in joy even though sorrow may last for the night. Faith is giving God praise for who he is when you can't even see what he's doing. Faith is reaching on your inside reserves and pulling from your experience to say, "Hey, God, I need you right now". Faith will stretch a stick over the water. Faith will pick up a rock and hit a giant in the head. Faith will say, "Hey, Jesus, if it's you, tell me to come," and Jesus will say back, "Come," and faith will walk on one word. Faith will step out on four letters.
Faith will jump out of the boat and say, "God, hold me up by your righteous right hand. If you had not been on my side, my enemies would have swallowed me alive". "So here I am, God. Hey, God, it's your man Furtick, and I need you now. I don't deserve it, but I receive it, and I claim it by faith". What do you need from God today? Claim it by faith! What do you need him to do in your body? Claim it by faith! What do you need him to carry you through? Claim it by faith! Clap those hands if you have a claim by faith. "I don't have what you think I need". Faith. Father, bless in the name of Jesus. Bless them right now. Everybody shout, "Faith". By faith. So, how are you coming to God after everything you've done? By faith. How are you really believing that God is going to redeem the years when you're the one who wasted them? By faith.
Here's what I love. He had to show up as a stranger to something God gave him. Have you ever had to show up as a stranger to something God gave you? I had a friend invite me over the other day, and nobody knew I was coming. I was invited by my friend, but I was treated as a stranger by the people who had to let me in the door. They had no idea who I was. I waited and waited, because I knew, "When my friend finds out I'm here, I'm going to walk right past all of these people who don't believe I belong". He showed up as a stranger to a place God gave him. Is that not what Jesus did for us, who came to his own, and his own received him not? He showed up on the earth he created, was rejected by the humans he fashioned, was crucified by the ones he came to save, but because he showed up as a stranger, I can come to him as his child.
How many are grateful for access? Just because it feels foreign doesn't mean it isn't yours. When you've hurt a long time, healing feels foreign. It doesn't mean you won't be healed. You just might have to live in a tent. A tent is an interesting image, because the New Testament also calls our mortal bodies a tent. In 2 Corinthians 5:4, Paul says that while we are in this tent (speaking about our bodies), we groan and are burdened. "Wait. I thought we were blessed". We're blessed, but we're burdened, because we're living in tents. You're living in a tent. It doesn't mean you're not in the promise. You're just living in a tent. It takes faith to say, "Hey". It takes faith to welcome something into your life that you've never had before.
So often, we are glorifying the goodbye, but we're not saying "Hello" to the promise. Imagine Abraham walking through Canaan. Nobody knows who he is. He's living like a nomad, but he's the father of many nations. Can I prophesy this to you? You're bigger than what you're living in. The bondage, the dysfunction… Abraham was the most famous person the writer of Hebrews could bring up to illustrate faith, but he showed up like a stranger. It takes faith to show up like a stranger. Do you think Abraham walked into Canaan and they were all like, "Oh, you're Abraham. Take over. This is great"? He had to show up in a tent as a stranger.
I see you coming into your promise. I see you coming into your wholeness. I see you coming into the next season of your life, but you're coming in as a stranger. Stay. Faith feels foreign. Stay. Joy feels foreign. Stay. Peace feels foreign when all you've known is storms. Stay, because if you can stay in faith… Watch what Abraham does. Look at what he did in verse 13 of Hebrews, chapter 11. "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance…" I see you welcoming your dream from a distance. I see you welcoming your prodigal child coming back home from a distance. You can't really see it yet, smell it yet, touch it yet, but it's coming from the distance. "…admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth".
Watch what they did. Not only did they welcome it from a distance, but verse 14: "People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own". So, they saw it in the distance, and they had the faith to say, "Hey". "Hey, joy. Hey, peace. Hey, new beginning. Hey, redemption. I welcome you. I'm not walking in it yet. I'm still living in this tent for a little bit, but I welcome you". Will you welcome the Holy Spirit in your life in this season? You're living in a tent, but you're not your body. Some of you are living in a very, very hard situation, but you are not this situation. You are bigger than what you've been living in. You're walking as a nomad, but there are nations in you, purpose in you, glory in you. "I'm bigger than what I'm living in".
So, come on and say, "Hey" by faith. "I see it in the distance. I feel it sometimes. I get a glimpse of it sometimes. I get a little bit of freedom, then I go back. I get a little bit of relief, then I come back". Welcome it in. Don't just believe in it; believe it in. Don't just believe in what he did on the cross; believe it in until it permeates you, until you know, "I am what he says I am". There is an anointing on this word. There is a heavy anointing on this word. I don't know who it was for. I don't know what you are living in. I don't know what tent you are disappointed by. I don't know exactly what God has called you to do or be, but I know this: if you will welcome it, you can walk in it. It begins with you saying "Yes" to God and agreeing with him concerning what he sees you to be.
Abraham believed and so became. What might you become if you believed, if you didn't go back to what you came from but said "Hey" by faith? "Okay, God. This is a new thing for me". People who talk this way are looking forward to a city with foundations whose builder and maker is God. Since the starting point is faith, I would like to invite you right now to pray a prayer. This prayer is specifically for all of you who have been distant from God. You don't bridge that gap by good behavior; you bridge that gap by faith. You put your total trust and faith in him right now. You call on him; he will save you. You call on him; he will cleanse you. You call on him; he will lift your life from the pit and crown you with love and compassion. The Bible says it is by grace we are saved through faith. It's the gift of God.
Right now, I would like to lead you in receiving this good gift, this gift of his grace for a new beginning in your life. Maybe you've never put your trust in Jesus Christ. Maybe you've done that once, but you haven't said "Hey" to him in a long time. Today he is calling you, and today he is welcoming you. Right now, if the desire of your heart is to believe in Jesus and turn from your old way of life and give him your everything, I assure you that he exists and he is a rewarder of them who will diligently seek him. All over this church and online, I want you to repeat this prayer after me. We're praying all together out loud for the benefit of those who are coming to God in this moment. Say:
Heavenly Father, I am a sinner in need of a Savior, and I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Today, I make Jesus the Lord of my life. I believe he died that I would be forgiven and rose again to give me life. I receive this new life. This is my new beginning.
On the count of three, shoot your hand up if you prayed that. One, two, three! All over the room, hands going up before I even said, "Three". Welcome. God bless you. We receive you with open arms. God receives you with open arms. This church receives you with open arms. Congratulations on your new beginning. Congratulations. For all of those who just placed their faith in Christ… First of all, let's clap our hands one more time for them.
It sounds like I planned this announcement with my message, but if you'll stop by the tent on your way out, there's a Bible we'd like to give you. Stop by the tent. What nobody knew was in that tent was the father of many nations. Woo! Say "Hey" by faith. This is not a dating seminar, but I believe there are some things God is bringing into your life that you are welcoming from a distance. It may take a while, but don't let the tent fool you. By faith it shall be. Clap those hands one more time, everybody who receives it.