Sermon #10 — Habakkuk Series

 

      Title:                                 faith is…

 

      Text:                                 Habakkuk 2:1-4

      Subject:               Faith in Christ

      Date:                                Tuesday Evening — October 19, 2010

      Tape #                 Habakkuk #10

      Readings:           Darrin Duff and Allen Kibby

      Introduction:

 

Open your Bibles to Habakkuk 2. I want to pick up right where I left off last Tuesday. May God the Holy Ghost give me wisdom, grace, and power to preach to you about the most important of all subjects: — Faith in Christ. Because this is the most important of all subjects, Satan causes much confusion about it in the minds of men. The title of my message is — Faith is…

 

(Habakkuk 2:1-4) “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. 2 And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make [it] plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. 3 For the vision [is] yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. 4 Behold, his soul [which] is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”

 

The just shall live by his faith. — For now, let’s just focus on that one statement. —The just shall live by his faith. I pray that the Lord God will enable me to “[speak forth] the vision, and make [it] plain, that [you] may run that [hear] it.”

 

His Faith

 

The words “his faith” may be properly understood as referring to the faith of him who was promised in verse 3, the Lord Jesus Christ. If read as referring to Christ, the meaning is this: — All who live before God, all who are justified before God, live by the faith of Christ, being justified by the faith of Christ. That, of course, is exactly what God the Holy Spirit tells us repeatedly (Romans 3:22; Galatians 2:16, 20; 3:22; Ephesians 3:12; Philippians 3:8-9). —— Our faith in Christ receives that justification that Christ accomplished for us by his faith and his faithful obedience unto death as our Substitute (Romans 4:25). We live because he lived and died for us.

 

(Romans 3:20-26) “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

 

(Galatians 2:16) “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

 

(Galatians 2:20) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

 

(Galatians 3:22) “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”

 

(Ephesians 3:12) “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”

 

(Philippians 3:8-9) “Yea doubtless, and I count all things [but] loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them [but] dung, that I may win Christ, 9 ¶ And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:”

 

Without question, the words his faith may be properly understood as referring to Christ’s faith as our God-man Savior, the One who loved us and gave himself for us, promised in verse 3. Yet, in each place where the Apostle Paul was inspired to quote Habakkuk 2:4, the word “his” is omitted. Paul quotes Habakkuk’s words, “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). —— So, it is obviously the Holy Spirit’s intent for us to apply the words to each of God’s elect. He is declaring that all who are justified before God, all who have life from God, all who are born of God, live by faith in Christ. Every heaven-born soul lives trusting Christ. —— Our faith in Christ is not the cause of life, but the evidence of it. As in physical life we live by breathing, so in spiritual life we live by faith. Our God given faith in Christ receives that which the Lord Jesus accomplished for us by his faith as the God-man, our Mediator, Representative, and Substitute.

 

Proposition: That which the prophet Habakkuk speaks of as “faith” is the God-given confidence believing sinners have in the Lord Jesus Christ. Anything other than this God-given confidence in Christ is not faith; but only a delusion of the soul.

 

My subject is faith in Christ. — Faith is… Here is a sevenfold definition of faith I picked up from a sermon by Ebenezer Erskine a long, long time ago.

 

1. Faith is the gift of God. — It is not the product of a free will. It is the operation of the Spirit of God by the Word of God.

 

All other graces flow out of faith in Christ. Love for our God and love for one another flow out of “faith which worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6). And that faith from which all other graces flow is an inwrought miracle of omnipotent, saving grace. Faith in Christ is the gift and operation of God the Holy Spirit in the heaven-born soul.

 

Faith is not hereditary (John 1:11-13).

 

(John 1:11-13) “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

 

Grace does not run in bloodlines. There is no genetic predisposition to faith in some people! Faith is never communicated by education, environment. And faith is not communicated to sinners by religious ceremonies and rituals. — Faith in Christ is the free gift of God’s sovereign grace (Ephesians 2:8-9). — “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ…to believe on him” (Philippians 1:29).

 

(Ephesians 2:8-9) “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

 

If you obtain faith, you will get it by God’s gift and you will get it by God’s appointed means Gospel Preaching (Romans. 10:13-17).

 

(Romans 10:13-17) “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (14) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (15) And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? (17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

 

If you obtain faith, you will get it by Divine Revelation (Matthew 16:16-17; Galatians 1:15).

 

(Matthew 16:16-17) “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

 

(Galatians 1:15-16) “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called [me] by his grace, [he revealed] ” his Son in me.”

 

Faith is wrought in us by the regenerating grace and the irresistible call of God the Holy Spirit, by the almighty operation of God (John 6:63; Ephesians 1:18-20; Colossians 2:12).

 

(Ephesians 1:18-20) “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, (19) And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, (20) Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.”

 

(Colossians 2:10-12) “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”

 

Faith is the gift of grace alone,

My God, how can it be,

That You should choose, in saving love,

To give that gift to me?

 

A fallen, guilty sinner, I

Deserve eternal wrath;

Helpless, I would not come to Christ,

Could not escape my death.

 

Great God, You sought this sinner out,

You called, and now I live!

You gently forced me to Your Son,

And caused me to believe!

 

A sinner saved by sovereign grace,

My praise I cannot hold:

Hail, sovereign, free, unchanging grace!

Salvation's of the Lord!

 

2. Faith is in Christ. — The Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, the Son of God, is the Object of all true faith. Our faith in God is faith in Christ Jesus — our Lord, Savior, Mediator, and Hope.

Š      Christ is the Bread; faith is the mouth that eats.

Š      Christ is the brazen serpent; faith is the eye that looks.

Faith looks to Christ, as the children of Israel looked to the brazen serpent (Isaiah 45:22; John 3:14-16).

 

(Isaiah 45:22) “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”

 

(John 3:14-16) “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

 

3. Faith is receiving Christ the Lord. — Faith in Christ is not merely hearing about him, knowing about him, and acknowledging him. Faith in Christ is the committal of my life to him as my Lord.

Š      Is Christ meat? Then eat!

Š      Is Christ Living Water? Then drink!

Š      Is Christ the Refuge? Then flee to him!

Š      Is Christ Lord? Then worship him!

Š      Is Christ Lord? Then lose your life to him!

 

(Mark 8:34-37) “And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

 

4. Faith is resting upon Christ. — Faith is not an isolated act based upon an intellectual knowledge of some facts. Faith is trusting in and resting upon Christ. Faith in Christ is true Sabbath keeping (Psalm 37:1- 7; Isaiah 58:12-14; Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:2-11).

 

(Matthew 11:28-30) “Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.”

 

(Psalms 37:1-7) “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; [so] shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring [it] to pass. 6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 7 ¶ Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”

 

(Isaiah 58:13-14) “If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words: 14 Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken [it].”

 

(Hebrews 4:2-11) “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it]. 3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh [day] on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. 5 And in this [place] again, If they shall enter into my rest. 6 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: 7 Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. 8 For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. 10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God [did] from his. 11 ¶ Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

 

When you stop working for grace, you have it. When you quit working for God’s favor, you have God’s favor. And the only time you quit working is when you start resting!

 

“Nothing, either great or small,

Nothing, sinner, no;

Jesus did it, did it all,

Long, long ago.

 

When He from His lofty throne

Stooped to do and die,

Everything was fully done:

Hearken to His cry: -

 

‘It is finished!’ Yes, indeed,

Finished every jot:

Sinner, this is all you need,

Tell me, is it not?

 

Weary, working, plodding one,

Why toil you so?

Cease your doing: all was done

Long, long ago.

 

Till to Jesus’ work you cling

By a simple faith,

Doing is a deadly thing,

Doing ends in death.

 

Cast your deadly doing down,

Down at Jesus’ feet,

Stand in Him, in Him alone,

Gloriously complete!”

 

5. Faith is resting on Christ alone! — The word “alone” is important. Most men, by nature, try to add something to the sacrifice and intercession of Christ. God has established a bridge of communication between heaven and earth by the obedience and blood of Christ, and every other passage is blocked by the holiness and justice of God.

 

Faith receives Christ as Lord and receives everything from him by free grace (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).

Š      Faith brings nothing!

  • Faith promises nothing!
  • Faith does nothing!
  • Faith receives everything!

 

(1 Corinthians 1:30-31) “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

 

6. Faith is resting upon Christ as he is presented in the Gospel. — We ask no other sign than the Word of God. Faith is not simply believing there is someone named “Jesus,” or someone called “Christ.” Faith is believing the record that God hath given concerning His Son. — “He that hath the Son of God hath life.” —— What is God’s record concerning his Son?

  • Sovereignty!
  • Substitution!
  • Satisfaction!
  • Success!

 

(1 John 5:1-13) “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, [even] our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

 

“6 ¶ This is he that came by water and blood, [even] Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.”

 

“10 ¶ He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

 

“He that believeth on the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved, be his sins never so many; but he that believeth not in the Lord Jesus must be damned, be his sins never so few” — (Thomas Brooks).

 

7. Faith is resting upon alone Christ for all my salvation: —— sanctification, righteousness, and full redemption! — The goal of faith is the salvation of our souls; and that is what our Lord Jesus undertook in the everlasting covenant and completed on Calvary when he cried, — “It is finished!’’

  • Does God require complete obedience? — “It is finished!’’
  • Does God require perfect righteousness? — “It is finished!’’
  • Does God require absolute holiness? — “It is finished!’’
  • Does God require the full satisfaction of justice? — “It is finished!’’
  • Does God require perseverance? — “It is finished!’’
  • Does God require faith? — “It is finished!’’

 

“O gift of gifts! O grace of faith!

My God, how can it be

That Thou, who hast discerning love

Shouldst give that gift to me?

 

Ah, grace, unto unlikeliest hearts

It is thy boast to come;

The glory of thy light to find

In darkest spots a home.”

 

Trust Christ, and He will save you. Indeed, if you trust him, he has saved you. —— “He that believeth on the Son of God hath everlasting life” (John 3:36).

 

Oh, may God the Holy Spirit grant you faith in Christ! May he be pleased to perform in you that mighty operation of His grace, without which you will forever perish!

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

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