Today, I want to tackle the most important trait of a great family: Strong Families Have Faith.
Look in a dictionary, and youâ€™ll find this definition of faith: A confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of another person.
Faith is a confident belief in the trustworthiness of God, that He is with you, that He is able to hold your weight; that He exists and wants to guide your life.
At some point, everyone struggles with the decision to have faith or not.
â€œAt some point youâ€™ve gotta ask yourself, â€˜What do you want your life to be about?â€™â€ And when you do, youâ€™re going to find that Heâ€™s more than worth it.â€
Thatâ€™s the wonder of faith. Strong families have faith. They believe in God.Â Study the history of our culture, and one of the most profound truths emerges: Strong families have faith in Christ for all things.
Today I want to give you 15 facts about faith.
What happens when you come to faith in Christ?
1. You get forgiven.
You get your mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual slate washed clean.
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
Do you know what forgiveness is? It means getting a clean slate on the outside and a sense of peace on the inside. People with faith have forgiveness.
2. You get a new life.
Â 2 Corinthians 5:17:
. . . if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
People of faith get a brand-new life. They get to walk away from all the junk theyâ€™ve stored up and live a whole new life freed from its weight.
3. You get a new way of seeing.
Thereâ€™s a famous story in the NT where Jesus heals a blind man.
The blind man says in John 9:25:
â€œYou all can think whatever you want, butâ€¦ â€œOne thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!â€
In the OT, a foreign general named Naaman was healed of leprosy by the words of a prophet of Israel.
Naaman, says to everyone around him:
2 Kings 5:15:
â€œNow I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israelâ€
When a person has faith, they see the world differently. They start to see the world through the lenses of a God who is there, who cares, who has plans and dreams, and who makes promises to His children.
4. You get a new set of values.
When the Holy Spirit comes into a personâ€™s life at their invitation after their expression of faith, they begin to care about things that they never thought about caring about before.
When Jesus was asked how His people should live, He said:
â€˜â€œLove the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.â€™This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: â€˜Love your neighbor as yourself.â€™â€
So people of faith find themselves loving God and loving people, which is often a new orientation to the direction of their life.
5. You get a new sense of purpose.
â€œ. . . we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.â€
In Matthew 4:19, Jesus says;
â€œCome, follow me,â€ Jesus said, â€œand I will make you fishers of men.â€
Look at your list so far, friends. Jesus offers these for free. Where can you get a deal like that? But wait! Thereâ€™s more!
6. You get a supernatural guide for life.
â€œ. . . when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truthâ€
The Spirit of truth is the Holy Spirit who enters a personâ€™s life when they express their faith in Christ for the first time.
He is the third person of the Trinity & is fully God â€“ eternal, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-caring, all-wise, and all-willing to guide you in making not just better decisions, but the best decisions you can possibly make.
7. You get set free from sin.
Romans 6:18 boldly says that, for all Christ followers;
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
Since greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world, you donâ€™t have to sin any longer.
8. You get the potential for better health.
Example:Â Dr. Thomas Oxman of Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire did a study to discover what role religion might play in the health and recovery of elderly people.
He took 232 patients more than 55 years of age who had open-heart surgery.Â Oxman found that those who derive at least some strength and comfort from their religious faith are three times more likely to survive than those who don’t.
9. You get the potential for longer life.
Neil MacQueen cites studies by Duke University, Indiana University, The University of Michigan, The Center for Disease Control, Barna Research Group, and the National Institute for Healthcare Research which conclude that faith will increase the average life expectancy of your children by eight years.
An analysis of 42 studies involving 125,286 patients, published in the June 2000 issue of Health Psychology, found that those with some sort of religious involvement live longer.
Moses said in Deuteronomy 32:46-47:
â€œTake to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for youâ€”they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possessâ€
10. You get to be part of Godâ€™s extended family.Â (with all the benefits)
Galatians 6:10Â says that:
â€œ. . . as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.â€
So God not only draws us into His family, but He tells all our new brothers and sisters to make doing good to us one of their top priorities.
In addition, God says we should:
Galatians 5:13:Â â€œ. . . Serve one anotherâ€
Romans 12:10:Â â€œBe devoted to one another”
Romans 15:14:Â â€œInstruct one anotherâ€
He even says that we should Romans 16:16:
â€œ. . . Greet one another with a holy kissâ€
11. You get Godâ€™s provision. (if you obey Godâ€™s commands)
Proverbs 3:9-10 says:
Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
This is not a promise to unbelievers; itâ€™s a promise to believers.
12. You get a home in heaven.
â€œIn my Fatherâ€™s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you so that where I am, you may be alsoâ€.
Itâ€™s the promise He made to all the faithful: a home in heaven.
13. You get release from the fear of death.
Death is the No. 1 fear for most Americans.
Hebrews 2:15 says:
â€œ. . . by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of deathâ€”that is, the devilâ€”and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.â€
If you know Jesus, you donâ€™t have to fear death.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:55, â€œWhere, O death, is your sting?â€
14. You become able to please God.
Hebrews 11:6 says:
â€œ. . . without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.â€
15. You get the promise of never being separated from Him.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Â
How do you get faith?
1. You make a calculated decision to believe.
Â Joshua 24:15:
â€œ. . . choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . . â€œ
To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.
2. You verbalize your faith.
â€œ. . . if you confess with your mouth, â€œJesus is Lord,â€ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.â€
3. You live by faith.
2 Corinthians 5:7: Â We live by faith, not by sight.
Â Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
You live with Christ as the center of your life, the most important person in your life.
- His agenda becomes your agenda.
- His hopes become your hopes.
- His plans and purpose and values become yours.
All this enables you to become a better person every day.
How do you pass on your faith to your children?
1. You talk about it with them.
Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
2. You serve at church with them.
The most recent research says that children whose parents talk with them about their faith and serve at churchâ€”either with them or in a place where the children can see that Dad and Mom are servingâ€”are twice as likely to have faith themselves when they grow up.
Abraham had faith and passed it on to Isaac. Isaac had faith and passed it on to Jacob. Jacob had faith and passed it on to Joseph.
If the Lord tarries, wouldnâ€™t you like to see faith in your family four generations from now? Strong families have faith and pass on faith.
I want to give all of you a chance to express or affirm your faith, or experience faith for the first time. Iâ€™m going to ask you to repeat three sentences.
Hereâ€™s the first one: Today, I am expressing faith in Christ.
Hereâ€™s the second:Â I admit that He is the Lord and I am not.
Hereâ€™s the third: I admit that I am a sinner in need of a Savior and invite Jesus to be mine.
Many of you have prayed similar prayers for a long, long time. Thatâ€™s good. I believe all of us ought to have some sort of faith conversation with God at the beginning of every day.
Some of you prayed those prayers for the first time. If you did, I want to say, â€œCongratulations!â€ and â€œWelcome to the family!â€
The Bible says that something very significant has happened to you just now, and all heaven is rejoicing with you.
One final illustration, and then weâ€™ll be done.
How can faith affect your family? Maybe you can pass it on to future generations, like Abraham and his descendants did.
Several years ago, Al Sanders did a study of the descendants of Jonathan Edwards. Edwards was a Christian who lived in New England from 1703 to 1758, before America became its own nation. Edwards lived by faith.
Sanders contrasted what happened to the descendants of Jonathan Edwards to those of Max Jukes, who was a hunter and fisher and had little interest in God, but lived at about the same time.
â€œMax Jukeâ€¦married an ungodly girl, and from the union there were:
- 310 [children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.] who died as paupers,
- 150 criminals,
- seven murderers,
- 100 drunkards, and
- more than half of the women [of the family] were prostitutes.
His 540 descendants cost the State one and a quarter million dollars.
“But [this principle of faith and no-faith]â€¦ works both ways!
There is a record of a great American man of God, Jonathan Edwards. He lived at the same time as Max Juke, but he married a godly girl.
An investigation was made of 1,394 known descendants of Jonathan Edwards, of which:
- 13 became college presidents,
- 65 college professors,
- three United States senators,
- 30 judges,
- 100 lawyers,
- 60 physicians,
- 75 army and navy officers,
- 100 preachers and missionaries,
- 60 authors of prominence,
- one vice-president of the United States,
- 80 public officials in other capacities, and
- 295 college graduates, among whom were governors of states and ministers to foreign countries.
His descendants did not cost the state a single penny.
Iâ€™m not so concerned about the cost. Iâ€™m concerned about the faith. You can have this, friends. Strong families have faith and pass it on to their children.
Dr. Greg Johnston preached this message at The Grove Church as part of the “Building Strong Families” series.