False Expitations Destroy Faith
FALSE EXPECTATIONS DESTROY FAITH
A. Introduction: We are studying the fight of faith, the fight we all face to hold on to God's promises in the hard times. I Tim 6:12
1. Knowledge from God's Word helps us fight the fight of faith. Eph 6:13
2. We have said that faith is part of the fight of faith. Heb 6:12
a. But, faith works by grace, and people struggle with faith because they don't understand some things about grace.
b. We think that we have to earn or deserve God's help in the day of trouble.
3. But, the same grace that saved us keeps us and helps us in the day of trouble. Rom 8:32
a. Although we deserved destruction (eternal separation from God), He chose to save us and make us sons and daughters -- because of His grace. b. If He saved us by grace -- completely apart from our deservingness -- He'll keep us and help us -- completely apart from our deservingness.
4. We want to continue talking about the fact that our own misunderstandings of some of the basics of the faith can work against us in the hard times.
5. Christians sometimes struggle in the hard time because they have false expectations about what Christianity will do for them.
a. When those expectations don't get met, they get disappointed and bitter. b. False expectations come from:
1. People not understanding their real need so they do not appreciate / benefit from the solution which God has provided.
2. People not understanding the point of Christianity, and consequently not fully benefiting from it in this life.
6. In this lesson, we want to deal with some of these issues.
B. Let's begin by asking the question -- what is the point of Christianity? Why did Jesus come to earth?
1. Jesus came to earth to save sinners. I Tim 1:15
a. Mankind's basic problem is sin -- we have sinned against a holy, righteous God.
b. If every problem in your life were dealt with and nothing was done with your sin, everything else wouldn't matter -- you'd go to hell. Mark 8:36,37
c. All the problems in your life and in this world are the result of sin -- either directly or indirectly.
2. Jesus also came to bring life to the sheep (us). John 10:10
a. Man needs life because man is dead because of his sins. Rom 6:23
1. Dead = separated from God; lacking the life in God; lacking eternal life.
2. But, Jesus took our sins on Himself, joined us in our death, and when the price for sin was paid, He rose from the dead.
b. Now, because our sins have been punished in Christ, when we come to Him, He can give us His life. John 5:40; John 1:4; I John 5:11,12
3. Do you know how Jesus defines the life He came to bring us? John 17:2,3
a. And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [like-wise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah, whom you have sent. (Amp)
b. Eternal life comes to us through knowing God.
c. We can know God because Jesus has paid for our sins, removing the barrier between us and God.
d. We have the privilege of knowing God. Jer 9:23,24
4. The point of Christianity, the purpose of Christianity, the reason Jesus came is so that we might know God.
a. Jesus came to show us God and to bring us to God. Heb 1:1-3; I Pet 3:18 b. Everything else is a secondary issue.
5. Not only did Jesus come so that we could know God, He came so that we could serve God.
a. Jesus died so that we wouldn't live for ourselves any more, but for Him. II Cor 5:15
b. Jesus said that anyone who follows Him must say no to himself and yes to Jesus. Matt 16:24
C. We have watered down some things about Christianity, and many people come into the kingdom with a serious misunderstanding of what it means to be a Christian -- and the hard times shake them. Many fall away.
1. We tell people: Just ask Jesus into your heart; pray this little prayer and you'll be saved; just believe in Jesus; Jesus will fix everything for you.
a. There is nothing like any of these phrases in the Bible.
b. At best, these phrases can be misleading; at worst, they can be inaccurate.
2. As we carefully study the Bible, we find out there is a step which precedes believe, and that is repentance
a. Jesus's first public words of ministry were: repent and believe. Mark 1:15 b. After His resurrection, Jesus sent His disciples out to preach a message of repentance and remission of sins. Luke 24:47
c. And they did!! Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; 20:21
3. Repent = METANOEO = to change one's mind.
a. It is not an emotion, but a decision = an exercise of the will.
b. It is a firm inward decision = a change of mind which leads one to change course, to change direction.
4. To be a Christian means you turn around, you change the direction of your life and begin to live for God, for Jesus, and not for yourself.
a. Through His death, Jesus Christ bought you. You are not your own any more. You belong to Him. I Cor 6:19,20
b. Your responsibility is to glorify God in body, soul, and spirit = conduct yourself in a way that brings honor to God.
5. One reason Christians struggle is that their focus is on self -- what I want, what I need; my problems.
a. Such an attitude can lead to complaining and bitterness toward God and fellow Christians when things don't go your way.
b. We have been erroneously taught that we must first love ourselves before we can love others. Matt 22:36-40
1. We already love ourselves -- we may not like ourselves, but our focus is on us.
2. Our focus is to be on God first, others second, us third.
c. Bible principle = the more you try to get and hold on to this life, the less you'll have. Matt 16:25
6. Our focus should be: What do you want God? How can I bring honor and glory to you in this situation?
D. How does all of this relate to dealing with the hardships of life?
1. False expectations lead to disappointments in life.
a. I've worked in the nursery for a whole year now and I still don't have a wife / husband.
b. Christianity is not about getting a spouse -- it's about living for God.
2. Does that mean God won't help us, take care of us, etc.? Not at all!!
a. God has made some tremendous promises to His followers. Matt 7:7-11; Mark 11:23,24; John 15:7; John 16:23
b. But He spoke those to a specific type of people -- those who have left all to follow Him. Mark 10:28
3. The Bible clearly teaches that godliness (living for God, like God) is profitable, but you must meet certain conditions. I Tim 4:8; Matt 6:33
4. It's always God's will to bless, prosper, and help His people. III John 2; II Cor 9:8
a. However, experience shows us clearly it doesn't work that way for everybody -- in some cases, it is obvious why; in others, it isn't.
b. But, we can't make the mistake of watering down God's promises.
c. We also can't make the mistake of throwing in the towel because it didn't work for us or because it didn't work when, or the way, we wanted it to.
5. There is something very freeing and very stabilizing in the difficulties of life when you have a Daniel 3:17,18 attitude.
a. This statement is not a bad confession. It is a statement of total, complete trust and confidence in God.
b. It is a statement of: even if it doesn't work out the way I want it to, I'm not turning back!! I'm going on with God.
6. We see the same thing in John 6.
a. Jesus multiplied loaves and fishes, and the people who ate came after Jesus.
b. Jesus realized they were seeking more bread, and He used this as an opportunity to teach them that there is more to life than the physical concerns. v26,27; 32-35; 51
c. Then, Jesus begins to explain that the relationship His followers must have to Him is union. And, He used the example of eating His flesh and drinking His blood. v53-58
d. This offended many of the people and they stopped following Him. v66 e. But note the answer / attitude of the twelve disciples to these very perplexing statements -- where else would we go? v67-69
E. The help and solutions to the difficulties in life come from knowing God.
1. II Pet 1:2 -- May grace (God's favor) and peace (which is perfect well - being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears, and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in (the full, personal, precise, and correct knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (Amp)
2. II Pet 1:3 -- For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that are [requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the (full, personal) knowledge of Him who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). (Amp)
3. We know God through Jesus Christ.
a. Jesus removed the sin that separates us from God.
b. While He was on earth, Jesus showed us what God is like.
4. We get to know Jesus, the Living Word of God, through God's written Word, the Bible.
F. Conclusion: I realize when you are struggling with the issues of life, a lesson like this doesn't seem like the kind of help you need.
1. But, one of the reasons Christians struggle so in the difficulties of life is because they don't understand the game plan.
a. You can't benefit from the provision God has made if you don't understand the problem.
b. You can't benefit from the provision God has made if you don't understand how it comes to us.
2. In the hardships of life, there are certain attitudes which will help sustain you:
a. My life isn't perfect, but I know God -- I'm not going to hell, and I have a destiny which will outlast this life.
b. My personal happiness is a secondary issue -- what matters is your will, God, and the furtherance of your kingdom.
3. Does that mean that God won't help us, or doesn't care if we are unhappy? Not at all!!
a. But, right now, we aren't dealing with God's attitudes toward us, we are dealing with our attitudes toward Him.
b. Our attitude should be: What can I do for you, Lord? Not: What can you do for me?
c. Not my will, but your will. Matt 26:39
4. One Bible truth does not negate another Bible truth --we are taking time to study the whole armor of God and see how the pieces fit together.
5. Here are two key facts you must know if you are going to successfully deal with the hardships of life;
a. True satisfaction is life comes from knowing God. You were created for relationship with God. Cultivate that relationship.
b. The purpose of your life is to serve God -- that's why you were created. Fulfill that purpose.
6. We could say it this way: you were created to know, love, and serve God.
a. Understanding of that will sustain you in the fight of faith.
b. Gratefulness for those things will sustain you in the fight of faith.