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LIVING BY UNSEEN REALITIES --PT II

A.     Introduction:  As Christians, we are supposed to live and walk by faith. Rom 1:17; II Cor 5:7
     1.     To live by faith means to live your life based on unseen realities which are revealed to us in the Bible.
     2.     In this lesson, we want to continue to talk about how to live by faith so that we can be, do, and have all           that God intends for us in this life.

B.     If you are going to successfully live and walk by faith, you must get your picture of reality from the Bible.
     1.     From the Bible we learn that man is more than a physical body.  He is a spirit who lives in a body.
          II Cor 5:6-8
          a.     You will outlast your body in its present form. II Cor 4:16
          b.     When you were born again, the life of God came into you, into your spirit. I John 5:11,12
               1.     That life recreated you, made you a new creature, God's workmanship. II Cor 5:17; Eph 2:10
               2.     That life is now your position and your power.  Everything in that life is in you now because                          that life is in you. John 15:5;  I Cor 1:30
          c.     You are to rule your body and your soul (mind and emotions) by the new life in you.
     2.     From the Bible we learn that two realities exist side by side -- the seen and the unseen. II Cor 4:18
          a.     The seen realm is the one we contact with our physical senses.  The unseen realm is the eternal                     realm, the realm where God and His holy angels dwell, the realm of God's kingdom.
          b.     The unseen realm is more real than the seen realm.  Not seen doesn't mean not real or less real.  It                means invisible.
               1.     The invisible God created all that we see with His word. I Tim 1:17; Col 1:15,16
               2.     The unseen created the seen, will outlast the seen, and can change the seen. Heb 11:3;
                    II Kings 6:13-23
     3.     From the Bible we learn that, through the new birth, you and I became part of the unseen realm.
          a.     Col 1:13--We are now in the unseen kingdom of God.  The kingdom of God is the invisible realm                     where God dwells.
          b.     At the new birth, God's light and life comes into us (our spirits).  His kingdom comes into us,                          connecting us with the unseen realm around us. Eph 5:8
          c.     Luke 17:20,21--The kingdom of God within us is the new birth.  Observation = ocular evidence                     (evidence obtained or perceived by sight); within = inside.
     4.     From the Bible we learn that through the new birth, through uniting us to Jesus, God has made full                provision for us to live this life and the life to come. Eph 1:3
          a.     Spiritual means invisible, immaterial.  Not seen doesn't mean not real or less real.
          b.     Just because we can't see these things or fully understand how they work at this point in our                          existence doesn't mean they're not real.

C.     If we will learn to live and walk in the light of these unseen realities, they will change what we see and           feel.  In other words, if we learn to live by faith, we will overcome in life. I John 5:4
     1.     To live your life based on unseen realities means that you live your life as though these unseen things                are real, are really there, are really affecting your life.
     2.     In the last lesson, we used the example of living in the light of the telephone to illustrate what it means           to live in the light of something.
          a.     We live our lives as though telephones really exist.  We talk and act like they exist.  We expect                     them to do certain things, count on them to work for us, to be there when we need them.
          b.     We don't even think in terms of having faith to use them.  We think in terms of their availability,                     their reliability, their effectiveness.
     3.     To live by unseen realities means we live our lives as though God, His kingdom, His power, His                     provision, the changes in us because we are born again, are real, are really there.
          a.     We talk like it.  We act like it.  Our actions demonstrate that we know the unseen is real.
          b.     We expect to see and experience the effects of the unseen realm in our lives.
          c.     Our actions reflect our unconscious dependence on them.
     4.     Faith is really the action you take based on the knowledge you have of unseen realities.
          a.     Faith is an action which demonstrates that you are living by unseen realities -- just like you live by                the telephone.
          b.     Your actions are based on knowledge of the unseen realm revealed to us in God's word.  
          c.     Your actions correspond to what the Bible says about unseen realities.
     5.     People often say -- I believe the Bible, every word from Genesis to Revelation.  And, they mean it!
          a.     But, then, they contradict the Bible through their words or actions.  I know what the Bible says,                     but.  John 11:24,27,39
          b.     What they are actually expressing is mental assent or agreement with the truthfulness of the Bible.
               But, they do not make it true for themselves (act like it is true for them) through their words and                     actions as they respond to life.
     6.     For the rest of the lesson, we want to look at some examples from the Bible of people who lived in the                light of seen information and people who lived in the light of unseen information to help us identify                which we are living by, and then correct it, if need by.

D.     Mark 4:35-41--Jesus and the disciples were in a boat and a great wind storm blew up.
     1.     Seen information told them the storm was severe and was creating waves which filled their boat.
          a.     Their conclusion, assessment, belief, based on sight, was that they were going to die.
          b.     As the situation unfolded, their words and their actions perfectly corresponded to their belief.  We                     can tell what they believed by their words and actions.
     2.     The disciples also had unseen information in this situation -- facts revealed to them by God's word.
          a.     They knew about angelic protection for God's people. Ps 34:7; 68:17; 91:11; II Kings 6:13-23;
               John 1:51; Matt 4:11
          b.     Jesus had already preached the Sermon on the Mount and had taught them that they had a                          heavenly Father who knows they have physical needs to whom they could pray. Matt 6:8-11
               1.     The Father takes care of birds and flowers and they matter more to Him than a bird or flower.                      If they will seek God's kingdom first, He'll meet their physical needs. Matt 6:26-34
               2.     Their Father is a prayer answering God. Matt 7:7-11
          c.     They had seen Jesus in action enough to be familiar with how He worked.  Look at a typical day in                the life and ministry of Jesus. Matt 8:1-17
               1.     He healed every disease presented to Him through His word.
               2.     It was so clear how Jesus worked that a Roman centurion recognized it.  All Jesus had to do                          was speak the word and things happened. v8,9
          d.     Mark 4:3-20--Jesus had already told the disciples the parable of the sower sowing the word.  Jesus                had explained to them how Satan comes to steal the word through affliction, persecution, and                          tribulation (Matt 13:21).
     3.     In the face of a destructive storm the disciples had inside (unseen) information about God's care,                     provision, and help, yet, the first words out of their mouths were -- don't you care that we perish?
          a.     Jesus called this little or no faith.  What did they do?  Did they reject and abandon the Lord?
          b.     No, their words and actions (fear) showed clearly that they were walking in the light of what they                     saw rather than in the light of unseen realities.

E.     Abraham is held up to us as an example of one whose faith and actions worked together and brought      results.  In other words, he walked by faith, by unseen realities.
     1.     James 2:14-17 talks about the relationship between faith and actions and refers to Abraham.
          a.     Several mistakes are made by some who interpret these passages.  Some say:
               1.     We are saved by doing good works.  That contradicts the clear teaching of the rest of the NT.                          Titus 3:5; Eph 2:8,9
               2.     The works we must add to our faith are acts of charity.  Yes, we are to do charitable works,                          but that isn't what the verse is talking about.
          b.     The acts we add to our faith are actions which demonstrate we believe what God has said. v18-20
               1.     v21-24--Abraham's “works” were offering Isaac on the altar of sacrifice. Gen 22
               2.     v25,26--Rahab's “works” were helping the Hebrew spies at Jericho. Josh 2
          c.     James 2:14--What good is it, my brethren, if a man professes to have faith, and yet his actions do                     not correspond? (Weymouth)
          d.     James 2:18--Nay, some will say, “You have faith, I have actions; prove to me your faith apart                          from corresponding actions and I will prove mine to you by my actions.” (Weymouth)
          e.     James 2:22--You notice that his faith was co-operating with his actions, and that by his actions his                faith was perfected. (Weymouth)
          f.     James 2:22--In his case, you see, faith co-operated with deeds, faith was completed by deed.                          (Moffatt)
     2.     How did Abraham's actions correspond to faith when he offered Isaac up for sacrifice? Heb 11:17-19
          a.     Gen 15:1-5--When Abraham and his wife were too old to have kids, God promised him a son.
          b.     Gen 12:1-3--God further promised that this would be the son through whom a great nation would                     come, and through whom the seed, Jesus, would come.
          c.     Gen 22:1-18--The son was born as God promised.  Then, God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.                      Abraham was so convinced of God's word (promise) to him (that of a son, a nation, a land, and a                     Savior), he needed no physical evidence for it -- including Isaac himself.
     3.     Notice, Abraham did this by faith, which is living by unseen realities, God's word.
          a.     God had told Abraham he'd have a son, a nation, a land, and a Savior.
          b.     Physical proof was an irrelevant detail to Abraham and his actions demonstrated that.
     4.     Rom 4:19-21 gives us some insight into how Abraham lived and acted.
          a.     He considered not what sight told him. Considered = to observe fully; gave no thought to. (Knox)
          b.     He praised God for what He could not yet see.
          c.     He was fully persuaded (convinced) God would fulfill His promise.
     5.     Abraham and the other OT saints commended for their faith in Hebrews 11 lived their lives in the light           of unseen realities.  Their actions corresponded to what they believed.
     6.     Heb 11:13--Sometimes people misread a verse in Hebrews and take it to mean God doesn't always                fulfill His promises to us.       They say even the OT saints didn't get all that God promised.  
          a     God did not say no to certain promises He made to those OT people.  Timing was and is involved                     in all of God's promises.  Jesus came at the right time. Gal 4:4
          b.     God made numerous promises to Abraham.  Timing is involved in those promises being fulfilled.
               1.     God promised Abraham a son, Isaac.  DONE!! Gen 21:1,2
               2.     God promised Abraham that Jesus would come from his line.  DONE!! Gen 12:3; 17:19
               3.     God promised Abraham descendants more in number than the stars and the sand.  
                    IN PROGRESS!! Gen 15:5; Gal 3:29
               4.     God promised Abraham his descendants would have the land forever.   STILL TO BE                               FULFILLED!!  Gen 13:15; Amos 9:15
          c.     God fulfilled every promise Abraham needed in his life during his life -- Isaac, provision,                          land, wealth. Gen 24:1,35; 21:3; 13:2
          d.     This verse has nothing to do with “not everyone gets their promises fulfilled in this life.  That's                     why I didn't get healed.”
          e.     We need to keep in mind the big picture -- unseen, eternal realities.  Abraham didn't cease to exist                when he died or became less real somehow.          
               1.     He's in heaven with the Lord -- still believing God's promises and looking forward to the day                          when he comes back to earth with Jesus to live in the promised land once more.
               2.     Right now, he is part of the cloud of witnesses rooting us on in our faith walk. Heb 12:1

F.     Conclusion:  How can we learn to live in the light of unseen realities?
     1.     We must become fully persuaded as Abraham was.  That takes time and effort.
          a.     As we study Abraham's life, we see that God revealed Himself to Abraham and gave him His                          word over and over again. Gen 12:1-3; 15:1-21; 17:1-22; 18:9,10
          b.     God changed Abraham's name to Father of Many Nations so Abraham could think about and                          confess God's promises. Gen 17:5
          c.     Abraham made some mistakes along the way.  You don't know how persuaded you are until the                     test comes.
     2.     God did something else for Abraham.  He gave Abraham two proofs of His faithfulness.
          a.     He promised Abraham a son and then He swore by Himself. Gen 12:1-3; 13:16; 15:4,5;
               Gen 22:16-18
          b.     The basis of faith is God's word -- the integrity of God and His word. Heb 6:13-18
     3.     God cannot lie and God is faithful.  God is behind every word He speaks.
          a.     God will make His word good for us, in us, through us -- bring it to pass in the seen realm.
          b.     Jesus was and is the guarantee of God's word to Abraham and to us. Gen 22; Heb 7:22
     4.     If we are going to live by unseen realities revealed to us in God's word, or live by faith:
          a.     We must take time to meditate (think and say) in God's word until the reality of unseen things
               begins to dawn on us.
          b.     We need to hold fast to our confession of faith (saying the same thing God says) because He is                     faithful. Heb 10:23
          c.     We need to honestly examine ourselves and identify words and actions which do not correspond                     to what we say we believe.
     5.     When our words and actions line up with God's word, the unseen will change the seen in our lives.