Faith With Secular Evidence

Faith is the flag ship of the Christian movement.  Faith is believing and seeing the reality of God’s Kingdom without the benefit of any “outside stimuli.”  Faith left to itself is Rev Paul Hoffmastersimply a word in the dictionary.  The faith that is exhibited by Believers today is more like hope, which Webster defines as “A feeling that what is wanted will happen.”  This secular definition of hope is what has been substituted by Believers for faith.  Many believe that feelings will not only jump start their faith, but will also give them the help they need in fulfilling their hopeful desires.  Feelings tend to dilute faith.  All of us have been propelled and decelerated by feelings.  Feelings tend to decide how we respond to life.  “I don’t feel like going to church today.”  “I don’t feel like reading my Bible.”  “I don’t feel like praying,” etc…  Feeling is the antidote to faith.  When Believers use feelings to nudge along their faith, they will experience limited spiritual accomplishments.  So many Christians limit their faith by their feelings.  They will take a Scripture and initially accept its intent, but as time passes and the Word does not seem to work in their lives, they begin to question whether they correctly understood the verses.  The “can of feelings” opens and everything from sadness, disappointment, depression, anger, and confusion push against the truthful reality of God’s Word.

Faith rests in the integrity of the Scriptures.  God means what He says and says what He means.  There is no need for secular evidence or prompting by feelings to bring about the reality of God’s Word.  What is needed is faith upon faith, faith to believe in faith.  We must have faith that the Bible is the Word of God, and faith to believe the fulfillment of the Word.  A Syrophenician woman came to Jesus to seek healing for her daughter.  After a challenging statement from Jesus and her response, she left for her home with faith in His words that her daughter was delivered. (Mark 7:25-30)  Feelings had nothing to do with her faith.  She simply believed and responded in faith.  I can imagine that as she returned home, she walked with a confidence that was not attached to feelings, but with an assurance that her daughter was healed.

A Christian must never allow feelings to interfere with their faithful obedience.  There should never be a time when feelings determine the degree of one’s faith.  Feelings can compliment faith, but never question faith.  Whenever feelings dominate our reaction to the Word, the Word will be limited in its action.  A number of times, Jesus confronted His disciples for not exhibiting faith.  The reason for their faithless behavior was they were operating on feelings and emotions.  On the Sea of Galilee, they saw the boisterous waves and wind and feared for their lives.  Feelings snuffed out their faith. (Matthew 8:23-27)  When are we going to stop letting feelings challenge our faith?  Feelings should be subject to the Word, not the Word subject to our feelings.  One of my favorite songs is, “The Word Is Working Mightily In Me.”  David Ingles composed this little tune that simply says, “No matter what I feel or see, the Word is working mightily in me.”  The Word takes precedence over every emotion or feeling that our mind wants to exhibit.  We don’t need any evidence to help secure our faith.  Faith is simply believing and acting on what God says, no matter what our eyes and emotions tell us!

The church vs. the Church Part 2

Paul Hoffmaster

Paul Hoffmaster

God’s intent, based solely on Biblical context, was to restore His chosen people to a place of prominence in the world.  But due to their rebellion, the way to kingdom reality was blocked by the hardening of their hearts.  The Jews wanted a status position where they become the conquerors instead of the conquered.  As one studies the Scripture, one can readily see the intent of Kingdom building in God’s plan, but due to the sinfulness of His people, God had to first deal with their rebellious heart.  Zachariah’s prophesy was a basic continuation of Old Testament prophesies that Israel would be delivered from their physical enemies.  When that was accomplished, the Jews would be able to serve Him without fear.  They would be before God in “…holiness and righteousness,” all the days of their life. (Luke 1:67-75)  That was God’s plan, but due to the sinfulness of His people, their physical deliverance would not be achieved until their hearts were changed.  To bring about that change, Jesus would come as a Savior, not a physical deliverer.  For the Jewish people to understand what the ministry of the Messiah would be, a forerunner would come to change the people’s concept of why the Messiah was coming.  Instead of looking for a physical deliverance, they needed to see the importance of a changed heart.  John the Baptizer would present Jesus as the “lamb of God” who would take away their sins. (John 1:29)  John was stressing the importance of changing their preconceived notions by way of repentance.

The Apostle Paul, understanding the foundation of the Christian faith, made a proclamation that the only thing that really mattered was, “… Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (I Corinthians 2:2).  Whenever the Church loses sight of the Cross, its foundation will be in jeopardy.  Whenever the Church manipulates Scripture to promote an excitement transfusion, it has lost its power.  Whenever the Church proclaims financial prosperity while ignoring fiscal responsibility, it has misdirected the use of God’s money.  Whenever the Church stresses physical healing over spiritual healing, it has lost its vision.  Whenever the Church seeks signs and wonders instead of displaying Holiness, it has become a broken vessel.

The majority of agnostics and non-believers are witnessing the displays of the “people’s church”, rather than God’s Church.  The alarming thing is the actions of the people’s church are getting all the attention, while God’s Church experiences collateral damage. One of the problems that face the Church today is how it responds to the “rebellious church.”  If it fails to address false doctrines by not promoting Biblical truths, it will negatively answer Jesus question, “…nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)  The true Church will be defined by how it responds to its identity crisis.

The conduct of the people’s church invites ridicule.   It hurts to see God’s Church the recipient of ridicule because of unbiblical actions by those who claim to be Believers. The media, from the news conglomerates to the entertainment industry, are exposing the people’s church for what it is, but the tragedy is they think that it is God’s Church that they are exposing.  Believers are anticipating an external challenge to the Church, when we need to look within the Christian circle.  Satan realizes that the best way to derail the true Church is to build new tracks on which the people’s church will travel farther and farther away from God’s intent.