Practicing the Principle of Faith
Sermon Summary
This message deals with the topic of faith and uses 1 Peter 1-9 to discover four principles of faith. The four principles are: Faith cannot exist without trust/Faith is a living hope/Faith is fueled by God’s power/Faith does not exempt us from difficulty. There are certainly more than four principles when it comes to faith, but these four are some of the basics. The message ends with an example from Scripture where Jesus takes the disciples for a boat ride and they encounter a storm. Jesus is in the boat sleeping and the disciples panic believing they will all perish. Jesus calms the storm and speaks of their lack of faith. The lesson learned? If Jesus is in the boat, He’ll handle the storms.

Small Group Discussion Guide
1. How do you define faith?


2. Why is trust an absolute necessity for faith to work?                                              

Rom 15:13  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

3. Our faith in God causes our hope to become a living hope. First, what makes it a living hope? Second, how does a believer’s hope differ from the hopes of those who have no faith in God?                 

1 Th 4:13  Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.                                                              

1 Th 4:14  We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.                                                  

1 Th 4:15  According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.                                                                            

1 Th 4:16  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.                                                                    

1 Th 4:17  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Th 4:18  Therefore encourage each other with these words.


4. While faith does not exempt us from difficulties, God’s power stands behind our faith and allows us to make it through any storm. However, just like the disciples, we sometimes forget that Jesus is in the boat and will handle things. Why is it so hard to exercise our faith in times of trouble?

Rom 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

Rom 8:36  As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

Rom 8:37  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Rom 8:38  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,

Rom 8:39  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.


Full Sermon Notes
Practicing the Principle of Faith
1 Peter 1:1-9

Before we get started I need to make a couple of quick corrections from last week. I've often said I don't need to tell jokes when I preach, because I do enough goofy things own my own. Last week I told you Matt Chandler had an inoperable tumor and then proceeded to tell you how they operated on him. What I meant to say was his tumor was not benign but malignant and they couldn't remove all of the tumor. Anyway, he's still preaching the gospel because God's still got a purpose for him on this planet. Amen!

Second correction. I told you we were on the interstate when we came upon that accident and then proceeded to tell you the details of the two lane highway we were on. Last time I checked there are no two lane interstates. It was a state highway.

Moral of this story is you're preacher's not perfect and he probably doesn't need to go back and listen to the podcast. Here's the deal…if I didn't believe by faith that God uses imperfect vessels to carry His perfect message, I would have to stop preaching. But God doesn't depend on our ability, but our availability and our willingness to be used by Him! Amen. And this is just one example of practicing the principle of faith.

Let's pray and ask God to use an imperfect vessel today to bring His glorious message.
PRAY!

Open your Bibles or turn them on, if you use You Version, we'll be in 1 Peter 1:1-9.

1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,

This was written to Christians who had been scattered to many places because of persecution. They were called God’s strangers. I don't have a problem with being called a stranger because I am a stranger in this world. A sojourner on a mission! I don't live by the same principles as the world! I also don't have a problem with the word elect because God has chosen to love us all and when we accept his Amazaing grace we
become one of His elect! And here's the amazing thing…God chose us before we chose Him. He chose to love us before we ever chose to put our faith in him and love Him in return. It's a beautiful thing that we were on God's mind before we ever even gave Him a thought! Listen to the next verse

1 Peter 1:2who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge (forethought) of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

The word for foreknowledge and forethought is the Greek word prognosis.
So we could say the prognosis is this: We love God because He first loved us and provided a way through His Holy Spirit and by the precious Blood of Jesus His Son for us to become a part of His family! Because of God's first love for us we can have grace and peace in abundance! What does this have to do with faith? Everything. Let me tell you something you must establish before you can ever have faith in God. Do you trust God? If you don't trust God you will never place your faith in Him!

Principle #1
Faith cannot exist without Trust!

Have you ever thought about that? You don't put your faith in people you don't trust. That would be foolish. By the same token, if you haven't established in your mind and heart that God can be trusted you will never put your faith in Him. You may not understand everything God does or allows to happen, but you must decide whether or not you trust His motives, His desires, His will, and His plans for you! No one will live by the principles of faith if they've not first decided to trust God's basic goodness. John knew this and wrote the following words in 1 John 4:13-19

9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
13We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.
14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God.
16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
17In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.
18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19We love because he first loved us.

We can trust God because God is love! We may have a lot of questions but we don't have to question His love for us because He proved that on an old rugged Cross. That's why I can trust Him no matter what! Let's look at the next few verses of our text…

1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Principle #2
Faith is a Living Hope!

I love the way this verse puts it...

1 Peter 1:3... In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

New birth into a living hope! Before I trusted God and placed my faith in Him I had no living hope! Everything in life had a question mark and was always tempered by my fear of death and knowing someday I would have to leave all my dreams and hopes behind!
But living by the principle of faith, I know that I no longer have to fear death or the grave. Why do I not fear death? Because my faith is not in a dead God but a God whose grave is empty! Paul put it this way...

1 Cor 15:51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed —
52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

And the things I treasure most now, I'll keep forever!! Praise God! Forever!! Because I now know the most important things in life are not things at all. They are my relationship with God and with others! The next verse talks about the end result of our living hope and our newfound treasures…

1 Peter 1:4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade —kept in heaven for you,
5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.


Principle #3
Faith is Fueled by God's Power

Shielded through faith by God's power! When we learn to trust God and let Him give us a living hope, we become shielded by His power! This reminds of the truth that it is not how powerful our faith is but how powerful the God in Whom we place our faith! Our salvation is made sure because we are shielded by God's amazing power! Talk about making a difference in a person's life! I don't depend on the power of Larry. Larry is weak. Larry has no power that could ever compare to God's almighty power. Because God's power is at my disposal, I don't have to be powerful!
Even Paul the apostle knew his ministry depended on God's power in every way. Listen to what Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church...

1 Corinthians 2:1 When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.
2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.
4bMy message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,
5so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

Ephesians 6:16 says...
16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

The reason our shield of faith can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one is because our shield of faith is powered by The God of all gods! The Lord of Lords, King of Kings! Listen to what Paul had said just a few verses earlier in 1 Cor 1:18ff

18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

 
Principle #4
Faith Does Not Exempt Us from Difficulty

As I alluded to last week, some think if we have enough faith we will not be subject to difficulties or hardships. God's Word does not promise this. It does however, promise God will be with us and we will absolutely overcome anything thrown at us. Peter makes this clear in our text...

1 Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire —may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

God's power to our shield of faith is strong. Nothing gets through the shield unless God allows it. God doesn't cause bad things to happen, but He at times allows things to happen and that's when we have to remember principle #1. Faith cannot exist without trust. We have to trust God's goodness and His ultimate desire to work all things together for our good. Sometimes we just are not going to be able to see it. It won't make sense. That's were our faith comes in. We walk by faith and not by sight!
Faith does not take us out of the storm, it calms us in the storm and ultimately get's
us through the storm! Ken Gire put it this way in a book entitled "Finding God's Peace in Perilous Times."

“It's humbling to realize for us who have been given dominion over nature how limited that dominion is. We can light candles, but we can't hold back the night. We can prepare for storms, but we can't prevent them. We can't stop the rains in times of flood or start them in times of drought. We can't shorten winter or lengthen spring."

Sounds so bleak, What's the answer? Faith in the one who can handle the storms of this life!

Luke 8:22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out.
23As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
24The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.
25“Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

The storm didn't catch Jesus by surprise.
Jesus led them into the storm. Jesus used the storm to teach them a lesson.
They didn't get it right away, but eventually they did!
Lesson for you and me…
If Jesus is in your boat, no matter how ferocious the storm, He’s got it, let Him handle it! That’s practicing the principle of faith!