This sermon – Living By Faith – Forming Convictions – was originally preached 2014.01.05 by Leon Yoder.
The Just Shall Live by Faith
The world is full of deceptions, darkness and untruth that will deceive man. Man has a tendency to go towards the things that he wants, an unsaved man tends to go towards evil.
There have been men and women who have lived by faith. Choosing to follow the things that God says instead of the pulls of the world around them.
Abraham was a man of strong conviction. He believed and knew that what God says is good.
There was no question when Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. There was no hesitation. He knew God’s way was right and best.
Moses, even though he didn’t spend all of his youth with his parents, picked up the truth of the God of the Hebrews. There came a point in his life where he knew that he had two options. He could either be great and famous and powerful… or he could be a part of the children of Israel. He chose to stand and suffer with the people of God rather than the life that he could have had as Egyptian royalty.
Daniel, when he heard that he was not to pray to anything or anyone but the king, chose to take God’s perspective. God’s ways are right. Daniel knew what the law was, but he chose to kneel and pray, just as he had been doing before. The law of the earthly king did not make a difference, Daniel knew, believed, and was willing to stand for God’s ways.
Paul could have had an easier life here on earth, but he believed that God’s ways were right and lived by that conviction.
What is a Conviction?
A conviction is a strong belief that gives direction to life. Some convictions we would choose to die for. It isn’t something that we just “like” or would vote for in a democratic system.
There is a difference between following a standard and a conviction. We can teach standards. We can teach our children what is right and what is wrong. It is only when they “own it” that those things are a conviction in their hearts.
Timothy had an advantage. He had a godly mother and grandmother. They taught him well, but he accepted those things and believed them in his own heart. Those things became convictions.
There Are Some Levels of Convictions
There are some things that are great truths. Things like “Jesus is coming again.” Some of the how or why of those great truths are not quite as “important” as the great truth of Jesus coming again.
This is not to say that the secondary things are not important, but it is to say that the great truths are definitely important.
In our church life there are some things that vary even among the members of a small church. But there are some great things that must be a part of a church. Things like charity, submission to authority, etc… those are “great truths.”
Developing Personal Convictions
To begin with we need to accept that the Bible is the truth of God. The ultimate and infallible resource on truth. The world can [and will] mock those or belittle those who choose to believe the Bible is totally accurate. That doesn’t change this “great truth.”
In our abiding in Christ there is more than just a “love for God.” He is the Lord we love. We take what we can read in the Bible and what Jesus taught very seriously.
People who have communion with God are disciples. They are learning. We need to be sure to put the important things first.
Jesus tells us the most important commandment is to “love God more than anything else.” Secondly he says we are to love everyone else the way we love ourselves. The rest of the law is based on these two things. We must first believe these foundational truths…
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
How we respond to the light that God shows us is a very critical thing. Evil men hate the light and prefer the dark. Carnal Christians are often uncomfortable when the light is shined on them. Radiant Christians love the light!
Those who love the light will find more light. Those who love the Lord will learn to love him more.
Follow the light!