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Have you ever wondered why faith seems to work for some people but not for others? Maybe you’ve even wondered why your own faith isn’t working.
Today I will reveal the most common missing ingredient that keeps faith from working. Although this has been in the Bible the entire time, this will be the first time most of you have heard this.
Let’s head to the book of Hebrews. Chapter 11 is known as the faith chapter. Many faith messages have been built around this one chapter. But we are going to expand our boundaries today and also look at Chapters 10 and 12.
Turns out, we have a faith sandwich of sorts. Chapter 11 is a glorious chapter of what it looks like when faith works. It is sandwiched between the same teaching before and after.
If it is important enough to mention before and after, that means it is a required ingredient for faith to work. Yet, I’ve not heard one message on faith that looks at Hebrews 10 and 12. They are always just focused on chapter 11.
So now the church finds itself in a place where we desire to have the faith of Abraham and Moses and Noah, but we are all struggling to get our faith to work. We just need the missing ingredient.
Let’s lay the foundation by starting at the beginning of Hebrews 10.
You may have noticed over the past month that the Holy Spirit is shifting how I preach. Instead of taking a few verses and making an entire message out of it, He is having me read entire chapters and even entire books of the Bible.
Looking back, I’m amazed I wasn’t doing this all along. The written Word of God is where it’s at, and I only used a handful of verses in each message?
How many of you are thankful the Holy Spirit straightened me out? We need more of the Word of God. We don’t need opinions or personal interpretations.
Well, we do need clarification at times, which is why God gave the church preachers and teachers. But a few verses ain’t going to cut it anymore. The Holy Spirit is drawing us back to the full counsel of the Word of God.
If you get distracted when I read long blocks of scripture, it’s time to learn a new skill. You must give the Word of God your full attention.
When I am reading the Bible, allow holy reverence to come over you. Don’t get up and go to the bathroom. Don’t reach over and get a drink. Exercise self-control and treat the Word of God as holy.
One thing that helps me focus is closing my eyes. For others, it might be following along in your own Bible. Find what helps you focus and bring your body into subjection.
To follow along, read Hebrews 10:1-18 NLT
This is such good news. When Jesus sacrificed Himself, He forgave our sins completely for all time. He will never again remember our sins and lawless deeds.
This is the foundation for everything we talk about today. We can’t earn forgiveness of sins. You can’t earn something that has already been provided.
Jesus Christ provided eternal forgiveness through His blood. All you have to do is receive what has already been provided. Don’t reject the gift of salvation.
Remember this. Nothing we talk about today is about earning salvation. You can’t earn something that has been provided. Jesus Christ provided forgiveness and freedom. Simply receive it.
Let’s keep reading. Hebrews 10:19-39 NLT
Did that increase your fear of the Lord?
If we deliberately continue sinning after we have received Jesus’ wonderful gift of salvation, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. Not animal sacrifices. Not even the sacrifice of Jesus.
Those who deliberately continue sinning after they receive salvation are trampling the Son of God. They are treating the blood of Christ as if it were common and unholy. They are insulting and disdaining the Holy Spirit.
Do you think God will just excuse those who deliberately continue sinning and welcome them into heaven? No. He will take revenge. He will pay them back. And it’s a terrible thing to fall under God’s judgment.
It’s worth noting that there is a difference between someone who deliberately continues sinning and one who sins and repents.
Let’s use an issue that is so prevalent today as an example. Some people claim salvation in Christ and simultaneously proclaim they are committed to a homosexual lifestyle. In other words, they have chosen to deliberately continue sinning.
Others realize they are trapped in the bondage of homosexuality and are pursuing freedom in Christ. Their sin is not deliberate. They are working out their salvation.
We all have to work out our salvation. We work it out of our perfected spirit and into the flesh. As followers of Christ, we are living a life of repentance.
We are not perfect in the flesh, but when sin is revealed, we turn away from it. We repent.
Take a look at how we work out our salvation:
Philippians 2:12-13 NKJV – Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Notice it didn’t say to work out your salvation with love and kindness. Nope. The only way to work out your salvation is with fear and trembling.
In other words, you honor God to the point where you literally shake with fear at the thought of disobeying Him. You wouldn’t dare trample on the Son of God by deliberately continuing in sin.
But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destructions. We are the faithful ones whose souls will be saved.
All of this – this infusion of the fear of the Lord – is what leads right into everyone’s favorite chapter on faith, Hebrews 11. Let’s read it.
To follow along, read Hebrews 11:1-10 NLT
This chapter gives us several more examples of people who lived by faith. And guess what the common ingredient is? They all feared the Lord.
Let’s take a look at how this chapter comes to a close.
To follow along, read Hebrews 11:32-39 NLT
Incredible. Everyone known for their faith feared the Lord. They didn’t care what others thought, and they didn’t care if they were tortured. They just wanted to please God.
Now notice the next chapter starts with the word “Therefore”. This means chapter 12 is a continuation of chapter 11. Let’s read.
To follow along, read Hebrews 12:1-29
Remember that faith sandwich I told you about? The glorious faith chapter of Hebrews 11 is perfectly sandwiched between two teachings on the fear of the Lord.
Faith won’t work without the fear of the Lord.
The fear of the Lord is the most common missing ingredient that causes faith not to work. Because you really can’t have faith without the fear of the Lord.
The fear of the Lord is what moves us to trust Him when we don’t understand. It’s what motivates us to say “yes” to the ways of the Lord when we’d rather do it our own way.
Faith won’t work without the fear of the Lord.
You must have deep reverential awe of God. You must elevate God above everything else. And, you must die to your own desires so you can live for God and fulfill His will for your life.