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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Tony Evans » Tony Evans - Faith for Your Journey

Tony Evans - Faith for Your Journey

Tony Evans - Faith for Your Journey
Tony Evans - Faith for Your Journey
TOPICS: The Triumphant Trip to Heaven, Faith

We are doing an exposition of 2 Peter 1, verses 1 through 11, calling it "The Triumphant Trip to Glory". And our goal is to be in sync with Peter's goal. Peter had a twofold goal. He states it in verse 8. "If these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless or unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ". His first goal is that you will live a useful, fruitful life. His second goal is in verse 11. "For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you".

So, his second goal is that you will enter heaven as a winner and not a loser. Everybody doesn't go to heaven the same way. Every Christian doesn't enter into eternity the same way. Some will enter as losers, some will enter defeated, some will enter it having not progressed, never having seen victory, because they were neither useful nor fruitful, because there was no increase. "Ever increasing," he says in verse 8.

Now, we've already studied that God has deposited within every believer that which is necessary to live a useful and fruitful life and to have an eternal, abundant entrance into glory. He calls that the divine nature in verse 4, that every believer has been given this seed, this deposit within them that is deity, but you get it in seed form. That seed or the DNA of deity, the God that has been deposited in every Christian soul, like any seed has to grow, like the conception in the womb of a woman of a new life, that seed has to grow in order for there to be the full manifestation of the life that's in the seed.

And so, he says at the beginning of verse 5, "Now for this reason," because you've got the divine life already deposited within you, "Apply all diligence". Stop shucking and jiving, stop playing around, stop taking this lightly, and apply all diligence. Take it seriously if you're going to get the benefit that it offers. You cannot be a casual Christian and expect a magnificent transformation. It doesn't happen that way. You must co-operate with what God is doing inside by, as we saw in Philippians 2, working it out. You don't work it in, it's already been put in, you work it out. That is, you exercise it so that what is invisible becomes visible.

So, that raises the question: How do you do it? Obviously, his key word here is faith. Notice that you are adding to your faith, so he's assuming something, and that is you have a faith to add to. He's assuming you're already a Christian. When you became a Christian, you had to place faith alone in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life. You had to trust Christ for salvation. That means you had to exercise faith, because you're dealing with somebody you don't see, believing in an event that you weren't at, the cross, but placing your confidence that Jesus Christ on the cross died as your substitute personally, and you've received him into your life.

So, you've received faith, which deposited the divine nature inside of you. He says now to see that fully expressed outside of you, to see it working in your life, you must supply or add to your faith. So, we've got to start off by making sure we're on the same page by what we mean by faith. Hebrews chapter 11, verse 1 and verse 6. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen". Verse 6 says, "For without faith, it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them who seek him". Because faith is only faith in God's definition when it has substance.

And notice this. It is a substance tied to something you can't see. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and it is the evidence, something made visible, about something that is not visible. The moment you add sight, you no longer have faith, because if you have sight, you don't need faith. So, faith concerns itself with something you cannot see that's still real, that will manifest itself as evidence. That is, it's gonna show up. But you can't see it at the start of faith. Now, why does this matter? Because verse 6 says, "Without faith, it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must first believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him".

So, you must first believe that he is, that he exists for you to even come to him in the first place. But then he says you gotta believe something else, and that is that he responds, that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. So, you gotta believe two things. You gotta believe that he's there, and then you gotta believe that he acts, he responds, he rewards, that he comes through. You've got to believe in not only his person, his existence, but his ability and his capacity. So, he says if you're gonna come to him, you gotta come by faith. Therefore, if you are a faithless saint, you cannot do business with God.

Faith says one thing, one driving factor, and that is that God has integrity, that he cannot and does not lie, that God possesses integrity. That God says of himself, "Am I a man that I lie"? So, since God possesses integrity and therefore cannot lie, he demands to be trusted. Faith becomes your positive response to what God says, and faith is measured by your movement. It is measured by your walk, not your talk; your life, not your lips. That's why the Bible calls it walking by faith. Why does he want you to stir up this faith? To expand your experience of God so God can make himself more evident to you, for faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

So, God wants to make himself more evident to you, more real to you. He does not just wanna be a concept, an idea, a thought, a perspective. He wants you to see him at work. But you will not see him at work without faith. In fact, it's impossible to see him, so he wants you to supply to your faith, so you expand your faith, so you experience more of him, so that his reality, so, you won't have to piggyback off everybody else's testimony, because you've seen in evidence the invisible God bring visible reality to your life. When you get saved, you begin faith, you begin your faith life. But guess what Romans chapter 1, verse 17 says? It says, "The just," those who gotten saved, "shall live by faith".

He doesn't want faith just to get you started, he wants faith to become your lifestyle. 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 7 says, "We walk by faith, not by sight". So, when you got saved, you began a faith journey, but that faith journey is supposed to become a lifestyle way of operating, not just a past event that happened however many years ago you got converted. See, what a lot of people do is they get started by faith and then forget the faith that got them started, so they never get to see more than their trip to heaven. They never get evidence of God on earth.

He says, "Add to your faith, attach to it, build it, expand it, grow it," so he will let you have challenges designed to grow it. Why does he want you to grow it? He wants you to grow it so that you learn to operate from the spiritual and not just from the natural. See, we operate from the natural where we can put our foot down, where we can see, where we can touch bottom. God, God, I trust you, but I need to be able to touch bottom. I need the natural. He's trying to take you to deep water where you can't touch and where it is all God and where the supernatural has to come in, but he can't do that if he leaves you in the shallow.

So, the question is, does he have integrity? Can he be trusted, or is he a liar to be not believed? We don't even like folk questioning our integrity. So, you can imagine how a perfect God feels when his integrity is being questioned by a human being. So, he wants to attach you to the spiritual, but he will not attach you apart from faith. And so, God wants to expand your faith experience, my faith experience, so that we expand our experience of the invisible God entering our visible world. Evidence, manifestation. Well, how does this work, adding to your faith? Look at James 2, because his goal is that you live a useful, fruitful life and have an abundant entrance into heaven.

Verse 14 of James 2 says, "What use is it, my brethren," because he's writing to Christians, "if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him"? Well, he's not talking about going to heaven, because he calls them brethren. They're already saved and going to heaven. So, it is possible to be a Christian because he calls them brethren and have a useless faith, a faith you can't use, a faith that doesn't work for you, a faith where you don't see God coming through for you. Calls it a useless faith, he gives an illustration. He says, "If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed, be filled,' and yet do not give him what is necessary for the body, what use is that"? Verse 20, "But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, faith without works is useless".

It's a waste of time. "Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, 'And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,' and he was called the friend of God". Now, this is deep. He recites something that happened in Genesis 22. Abraham had been long converted. Abraham was already a believer, but God wanted to do something new in his life, different in his life, supernatural in his life, so he said, "Sacrifice your son Isaac".

Abraham took Isaac and obeyed God, even though it didn't make sense, it wasn't logical, it felt illogical, it was very fearful, but he obeyed God. And when he was about to complete his obedience, the angel of the Lord came and said, "Now I know that you fear me". Oh, what a line that is. "Now I know," wait a minute, you God, you knew that before I got up this morning. What you mean now you know? Well, as we've said before, God knows everything informationally, academically, but God does not know everything experientially until it happens. That's why God became a man, to experience humanity. So, God hasn't experienced everything he knows. Like, God has never experienced sinning. He doesn't know what it is to do sin. He knows what sin is, but it's not in his experience to sin. To bear our sins, but not to sin himself.

So, guess what God wants to do? What God wants to do is he wants to get the experience of how good it feels to watch you trust him. Like Rahab, verse 25, "In the same way was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works, when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead". Her whole home, her whole home got saved and delivered because she believed God and she was the only one who did, because sometimes believing God involves believing him when nobody around you is sharing the belief. She was the only one, her and her family. And so, she saw supernatural deliverance.

And so, there are many Christians walking around today with a dead faith. They rarely see God do anything. They rarely see the supernatural. They rarely see heaven visit history. They don't see it, because they're working with dead faith, meaning it's useless. There was enough there to save 'em, but not enough there for God to intervene into history. So, if you wanna spend all of your life never seeing God show up, you wanna spend all of your life never seeing God invade in some way that he chooses to, then you'll just live in the shallow end of the pool. You'll live, and you'll learn to swim in the shallow end, and you'll stroke a little bit, and you'll walk a little bit, you'll stroke a little bit, you'll walk a little bit, but that deep end experience, you won't have it, because without faith, it's impossible to please him.

And yes, sometimes that involves trusting him when there is no reason to, that is, when you don't have the empirical evidence yet. Faith is like a muscle, it must be exercised in order to be built. You don't get muscles by hoping they grow one day, hoping you bulk up one day, wishing for it, feeling like it, desiring it. None of that is gonna build a muscle. It must be exercised. Faith must be exercised in order for it to grow. If it's not exercised, don't complain that your faith is flabby. He says in Peter, "Add to your faith". Supplement your faith by putting it to work. Add to your faith. So, what that tells you is, faith can be added to, okay? They wouldn't tell you to add to something if, you know, if the addition wasn't there.

Now, watch this. Notice what he says. 2 Peter, verse 2, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you," okay? This goes back to our first sermon. He wants grace and peace on the multiplication table, not the addition table. So, multiplication means you got a lot more, okay? But he tells you to add to your faith. Supply means to add. The word supply was used of a band leader who bought all the equipment for the band. He supplied the instruments, so it meant to supply fully or abundantly, give it all, throw it all in there, so that all the parts are covered. He says, "Add to your faith". But he said, "I want grace to be multiplied".

So, guess what? If you'll add, he'll multiply. So, he'll take your addition and integrate it into a multiplication table so that God's grace, his favor, his unmerited favor is being multiplied to you, because you did some addition to your faith. Now, watch this. Turn your Bibles to Romans chapter 5. Romans chapter 5, verses 1 and 2. "Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," so you got saved, "through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand".

Whoa. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. He says in verse 1 you got saved, then he says in verse 2, when you got saved, you experience an introduction by faith into another realm called grace. Faith, when you got saved, however many years ago that was, gave you an introduction to grace. When you got saved, when you accepted Christ, verse 1, that just introduced you to a whole 'nother realm called grace. Grace is God's unmerited favor. Grace is God doing for you what you can't do for yourself. Grace is all that God has agreed to supply to you. When God gave you the free gift of salvation, it was access not only to walk around heaven all day one day, it was access to all he wants to do in grace for you on your way there.

Now, watch this. This blows your mind, verse 8. "But God," of Romans 5, "But God demonstrated his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". Well, that's salvation. But look at the next two words. "Much more then". Oh, wait a minute, more than getting saved? Yeah, "Much more then, having now been justified by his blood," saved, "we shall be delivered from the wrath of God through him," watch this. "For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life".

Okay, did you get that? He saved you, but there's a whole lot more than just going to heaven. How could there be something better than going to heaven? Experiencing God on your trip there. He says there is much more, because we will experience him and his delivering power in our life. That's a promise. That's a promise, his resurrected life, him sitting on the right hand of the Father right now is designed to do much more than just take you to heaven when you die. And yet a lot of Christians are living to just go to heaven when they die, never having experienced much of God on the trip there. But he says there's much more. He wants to do so much more.

Now, now, now, watch this now, because I want to clarify something. He says that this salvation gives you an introduction into his grace, into whatever his unmerited favor offers. Now, this is where people get messed up on one of two extremes. One, they exercise faith in something God is not offering. See, and that's where you can get tripped up with prosperity theology, you can get tripped up with some of these ideologies, promising you something God never promised.

See, one extreme is trying to get what he doesn't offer, the other extreme is not getting what he does offer. So, some people over there are waiting for God to do something he's never gonna do because he never said he was gonna do it, he never confirmed he was gonna do it, and by the way, let me answer this question, since I'm in the question answering mode. Because the question is: Well, how do I know if God is offering it? That's the question. Two ways. One, is it supported by scripture? That's the first way, is it consistent with his revealed Word? Because if it's not supported by scripture, then you don't have a basis for it.

But then the scripture doesn't talk about everything, so how do I know that this thing that's consistent with scripture is for me, that it applies to me? Bible has a regular answer for that, two or three witnesses. The Bible says by two or three witnesses shall a matter be confirmed. So, the Holy Spirit confirms an application of a biblical principle by giving two or more confirmations of it, and those confirmations mean that that principle applied in this way belongs to you.

So, you look for the confirmation as long as it's consistent with the principle, and then you walk in faith, even though there's nothing you can see. No sight. And then you're introduced to this grace, and this grace begins to supply and expand your experience so you're moving from the shallow end to the deep end. So, let's get this straight. Faith does not make God do what he does not intend to do. Faith does not force God. I believe in you, I'm trusting you, I believing you, I'm believing you, and you don't make God do anything. Here's what it does. Faith accesses what God has already planned to do, okay?

Faith does not make him do what he never planned to do, but faith accesses what he planned to do. I told you before, if you have DirectTV, you have DirectTV, that means you can access what's already out there from the satellite. You don't create programming. You grab down existing programming. So, here it is, everything God plans to do for you is already sitting out there in the unseen world, but until faith is attached to it, it won't be drawn down, it'll just stay up there. Okay, everybody in here has electricity. Everybody in here, your home has electricity. In other words, everybody's home has power. You have power because you have electricity. That means you're connected to the power company.

In fact, there is so much power out there, it's got everybody's house covered. There's nobody who lives in a house here who has to worry about power, because you're attached to electricity and to the power plant. This guy has enough power for your whole house, for all of our houses. It is power galore. But let me make a suggestion. I would suggest that you don't call up the power company and ask them to come turn on your lights. Say T Electric, TU Electric, I want you to come over here and turn on my lights. They ain't gonna come. They ain't gonna come. They're not gonna turn on your lights. What they're gonna do is give you access to their power.

You must plug in your own lamp and flip your own switch, but that doesn't create power. All that does is that it accessed existing power. You have to co-operate with the power connection in order to have evidence of the power's presence. Some Christians are satisfied just to turn on a closet light, and so all they get is a closet experience with God. Other Christians will turn on a bedroom light. They'll get a bedroom experience with God. Some are not satisfied, they wanna light up the whole premises, and guess what? There's enough power for just your closet, and there's enough power for all of your premises, so the question is, how much God do you want?
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