Summary of the Sermon by Pastor Aries Zulkarnain, Executive Pastor, City Harvest Church, at Bethany International Service, on Sunday, 29 Apr 2018
Live by Faith Not by Sight
We are in the season whereby Passover was observed before the ascension of Christ. Why is it that Jesus wanted to stay on the Earth even though He had completed His mission? Before Jesus went up to heaven, He wanted to leave behind His last teaching in John 20:29, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus wants us to have strong faith in the midst of crises and tough times – to live by faith not by sight. This is the kind of faith that Jesus wants us to own. How are we going to face life’s crisis when we cannot see God physically? Often in crises it is difficult to feel God, it is in the valley that we cannot sense God. Our eyes and mind can fool us.
We must continue this journey of faith even when we go through life’s crises. Jesus taught Mary this principle in John 20:11-16. Mary mistook Jesus for the gardener (v. 14). Mary was extremely discouraged that her Messiah had died, her faith had taken a beating when she failed to recognize Jesus. Mary knew Jesus but failed to recognize Him because her faith was in crisis. When Mary heard the words of Jesus (v. 16) her eyes opened and her faith rose up. We need to deal with our problem according to the mind of Christ. When things seem dark, the Word of God will bring our faith back on track. Habakkuk 2:1 “I will stand my watch and set myself on the ramparts and watch to see what God will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected.” If we can see what God sees, we can see Jesus in the Word of God in the midst of our crisis. Keep on reading God’s Word because His Word is as good as His Name. The Word of God will be translated into vision, God’s revelation will come to us and our faith will remain intact.
Sometimes our salvation does not look like our expectation. God’s ways are higher than ours and it is always for His glory and for our own good. Many of us can see Jesus in good times but not in an ordeal. Jonah could only write his experiences (the Book of Jonah) after reflecting on what had happened. The sea was getting rougher and the crew threw him overboard. He was drowning and he expected the Lord to send a ship to save him. Instead, the Lord sent a huge fish to swallow him up. Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights, his faith got short-circuited. He got deeper into trouble. Hold on to your faith like Jonah, he finally came out from the belly of the huge fish. The huge fish was God’s vehicle for Jonah’s salvation. We need to reconcile that God can use crises for our good.
Thomas was branded as a doubter because he did not believe when the other disciples said that they had seen Jesus (John 20:25). He would only believe if he saw the evidence of Jesus’ resurrection - the nail marks in His hands and put his finger where the nails were, and put his hand into Jesus’ side. After eight days, Jesus appeared before Thomas and the other disciples, and spoke to him. Thomas believed. Jesus taught this principle – blessed are those who have not seen but yet believed (John 20:29).
Our problems are there for us to see Jesus, the resurrection power is not a force but it is Jesus Himself. Jesus wanted His disciples to live by His Word so that they could last the distance. Live by faith and not by sight. Being a Christian is not to agree with God’s method but to seek His face continually. When in the valley, we have to walk through it, and not drive though. We want quick deliverance, but the journey of faith requires us to walk with God until we are out of the valley victoriously. Stay in the Word to keep our faith intact.