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  • There are many questions you are faced with every day. We are all searching for answers

  • that will make a real difference in our lives. It's hard to imagine that these answers

  • might be right in front of us. Get ready to discover answers in the Bible with Bayless

  • Conley.

  • Welcome to the broadcast today. We're going into the second part of a message about what

  • faith is. And in particular we are looking at men and women from Hebrews chapter 11 that

  • walked by faith. And yet each one of them had a different way to express their faith.

  • We found out last time that Noah expressed his faith through preparation. God said that

  • there would be a flood. So without any evidence other than God's word he prepared. And we're

  • going to move on to another well-known biblical figure in today's message. And talk about

  • what faith is. And I believe with this person or the next one or the next one that we discuss

  • you're going to learn some keys that will help you in very practical ways to express

  • faith in God in your own life. And remember: without faith it's not hard, it's not

  • just difficult, it is impossible to please God.

  • Here's Bayless Conley with part two of his continuing message from last week.

  • When you believe God's Word that He said something is going to happen, your action

  • is to prepare. It's how you release your faith.

  • Gloria Sutton, she basically oversees all the Answers television broadcasts that goes

  • out of Cottonwood Church around the world. And she has been in that position and doing

  • that for about 16 yearsan amazing gal! Let me tell you how it started. God spoke

  • to Gloria's heart about 20 years ago that she was going to be the Director of Television

  • Correspondence here at Cottonwood Church. No such position even existed. There was no

  • Director of Television Correspondence. We didn't need one. We didn't have the position.

  • She was the head over a large pharmacy in a medical center, responsible for all of it.

  • So she started every single day listening to the cassettes. That's what we had then.

  • There weren't any CDs or other means, but so it was cassettes. At least we weren't

  • doing 8-tracks or reel-to-reel, anymore. So she listened to the CDs of the messages every

  • day over and over and over on her way to work, on her way home from work; during lunchbreak

  • she listened to the messages from Sunday and Wednesday over and over and over. And she

  • does that for several years. And she began saying to herself over and over, “I am the

  • Director of Television Correspondence for Cottonwood Church.” She said she would say

  • it out loud and laugh in the car by herself. And then she started getting the pharmacy

  • readygetting all the files, all the documents, everything in order to hand over to someone

  • else because she's going to be the Director of Television Correspondence at Cottonwood

  • Church. She hadn't told another soul, but she got everything ready, trained the people

  • up, got everything ready to hand it over. And then she started making up little songs

  • about it and singing songs to herself. And I don't know what they sounded like. I'm

  • not even going to try. And then after two years, she said, “I finally told my husband,

  • Bob, and I told my parents.” She said, “I'm going to be the Director of Television Correspondence

  • at Cottonwood Church.” Now she didn't come to us and tell us that. We went and sought

  • her out and said, “Gloria, we'd like you to come work for the Television Department

  • at the church.” And you know what? She has a staff, oversees the office, everything that

  • happens here in the U. S., but she also oversees our correspondence centers and our offices

  • in eight different countries. It's in multiple languages around the world. She's responsible

  • for all of the banking. She's responsible forwe have boards in all of those different

  • nations, which we have to have. We have board members there. We have correspondence in the

  • language of the people. There's websites set up in all of the different languages.

  • Guess who is responsible for all that? Gloria Sutton is. Well, I'm going to tell you how

  • it started. She began making preparations. She started preparing. And if she hadn't

  • prepared, it never would have happened for her.

  • Noah, what's faith about? It's about making preparations.

  • How long did you stay with it, Noah? A hundred years.

  • Okay. What is it that God has quickened to your heart? What has He talked to you about?

  • Have you made any preparations at all? Believe your husband is going to be saved? Have you

  • gotten him a Bible and had his name embossed on it yet? Or gotten an iPad with a Bible

  • program on that you're going to give to him when he responds and gives his life to

  • Christ? Have you done any kind of preparation at all? Faith is expressedfaith is released

  • it's turned loose through making preparations.

  • All right, we come to another one in verse 8, Abraham. “By faith…” Everyone say,

  • By faith.”

  • By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive

  • as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

  • Abraham would tell us, “Oh, faith is about obedience. It's about doing what God tells

  • you to do, even when you don't know what's coming next.”

  • In Genesis 12:1-2 it says this, “Now the Lord said to Abraham, 'Get out of your country,

  • from your family, and from your father's house to a land that I will show you. I will

  • make you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great, and you shall be

  • a blessing.” Now when God said that to him, Abraham's father had just died, his younger

  • brother had just died, and Abraham is taking care of his nephew, all while he is at the

  • age of 75. And God says, “Abraham, go, and I'll bless you.”

  • Go? Go where, God?” “Just get going. I'll show you later.”

  • A lot of people would have said, “Uhm, God, don't You think I'm a little old for this?

  • You know, I was thinking about retiring. And my younger brother just died, and we're

  • just sort of getting settled in in this place, and really? Seventy-five? You are saying to

  • go, and You are not telling me where I'm supposed to go? No, just go. Uh, well, do

  • You have a map?” “No, no maps.”

  • Well, a vision. Can you give me a vision? Show me in a vision.”

  • No, no vision.” “Well, can you send me someone that's

  • been there, and then they can come and tell me about the place?”

  • No, I'm not sending anyone. Just go. I'll tell you when you get there.”

  • And by faith Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going. You see, God gives you

  • a little light, and then He expects you to walk in it before He will give you more light.

  • I was probably 15 or 16 years old. I was with a friend, we're back in the San Gabriel

  • mountains. We had taken our backpacks in and we were fly fishing on an upper part of the

  • San Gabriel River, and we were down in a place there's no road or anything to it. It was

  • a bit of a wilderness area. And he and I found an old abandoned mine. It was literally a

  • hole that was just cut out of the granite side of a cliff. All these trees and shrubs

  • had grown up in front of it, and there were some old twisted tracks coming out, and we

  • went, “Awesome!” We didn't even have a flashlight with us, but we had a whole bunch

  • of stick matches. Somebody says, “What if there's a bear in there?” There could

  • have been a bear in there! “What if there's snakes in there?” There could have been

  • snakes in there! “What if there's a shaft that just falls away down through the floor?”

  • Well, there actually was one of those. But if you don't go in, you don't get the

  • adventure! So we lit our first match, and we walked in. And it's, “Ow! Your turn.”

  • Light another match with your thumbnail, and you walk in a little farther. And when that

  • light's goneand it is inky black you cannot see your hand in front of your face.

  • And we did that. It took about 15 matches, and then I was glad because there was a shaft

  • that just went poomph! And we dropped a match down there and never saw it hit bottom. So

  • we lit another one and we went around that big hole, lighting these matches; and when

  • we'd walk in the light of that match, when it was gone, we had to light another one to

  • get more and to go forward. We finally got to the very end of the mine, and then we had

  • just a few matches to get out. We barely made it out.

  • But the point is: if you'll walk in the light God gives you, He'll give you more

  • light. But if you have to know everything, you will not be used very much by God. Abraham

  • says, “Hey, if you want to be a blessing, God says, 'You go out to the place that

  • I will show you, and I will make your name great, and I will make you a blessing.'”

  • A great part of our capacity to be a blessing, to be used by God, is our willingness to obey

  • Him when we don't know what's up the road ahead. Has God said anything to you? You may

  • not get it, but you have clear direction. Friend, act on that. Abraham tells us that

  • is faith. That's how you release your faith.

  • And then his wife, Sarah. We read about her next in verse 11:

  • By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when

  • she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.

  • If we asked Abraham's wife, Sarah, “Sarah, what's faith all about? How did you release

  • your faith?” She said, “Look, faith is about receiving.” By faith Sarah received

  • strength. And that word, strength, is the same word translatedmiraclethroughout

  • the New Testament. “Because she judged Him faithful who had promised.” She judged Him

  • faithful because of His character generally and, specifically, because of His promise,

  • because of His word. And according to Romans 4:19, her womb was dead. But she received

  • by faith the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

  • You know, in Mark 11:24, Jesus talking about faith, He said, “Have faith in God.” And

  • then in verse 24… that's verse 22. Verse 24, He said, “Therefore I say to you, whatever

  • things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

  • When you pray,” Jesus said, “believe that you receive them.” Jesus said this

  • is how you have faith in God. It has to do with receiving when you pray. The substance

  • of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen.

  • Somebody says, “What's your evidence God has answered you?”

  • Faith in His Word. I believe that I have received.

  • You know, I had a friend. He actually shared this story in front of the congregation a

  • long, long time ago. And I, you know, to be honest, if it would have been my story, I

  • wouldn't have shared the detail that he shared. But he did. He got up and shared that

  • he had had this terrible skin condition in a very private place on his anatomy for like

  • I think it was over five years. It might have been almost ten years. And he said, “I have

  • been every minute, every day in absolute agony because of this condition in my private section

  • of my body.” I remember thinking, “You didn't have

  • to share that you know, it would have beenjust let them think it's on your back. Come

  • on!” But he did, and he said, “Agony! For years,”

  • he said, “I prayed and prayed and prayed and nothing's ever happened. I've been

  • to physician after physician. I've gotten ointment after ointment. I've gotten shots.

  • I've done everything and never got a moment's relief.” He said, “And one day I was reading

  • Mark 11:24 and realized I've been practicing it in reverse. Jesus said, 'When you pray,

  • believe you receive, and you will have it.'” He said, “I wanted to have it and then believe

  • I receive it.” He said, “I realized I had to receive it by faith in its unseen form

  • before I would ever have it in its seen form.” He said, “Something changed in me.” He

  • said, “I prayed a simple prayer: God, Jesus bore my sicknesses. By His stripes I was healed.

  • I believe I receive healing for this condition.” And then he lifted his hands and began to

  • thank God. Spent a little while just worshiping God, worshiping God. And within 36 hours that

  • condition completely cleared up and never came back.

  • Now if Sarah was here tonight, she's sitting in the congregation, she would be saying,

  • Amen, brother. Yeah, that's right. Amen! Faith is about receiving.” And then I want

  • to look at one more person as we close. There are certainly more here, but time won't

  • allow us. Let's look at Moses. Look at verse 24 with me.

  • By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,

  • choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing

  • pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches

  • than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

  • By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing

  • Him who is invisible.

  • Moses would tell us faith is about refusing, choosing, and forsaking.

  • Moses refused to be identified with the wrong family. He chose what family he would identify

  • with. He refused the temporary pleasures of sin. He forsook Egypt to lay hold on that

  • city in heaven.

  • And, you know, tonight there are only two families in this world, spiritually: Those

  • that are saved and those that are lost. There's no other families. There's only two families.

  • You are either in Christ or in Adam, as the Scripture says. First Corinthians 15:22 says,

  • In Christ all are made alive, but in Adam all die.” Every one of us when we are born

  • into this world, we are made part of Adam's family. He was the fountainhead of the human

  • race. Everyone in the world is part of Adam's family. The only way to get in Christ is to

  • embrace Him as Lord and Savior. You are in one or the other. And Moses made a decision.

  • He refused and he forsook some things, and he chose the right things.

  • But, friend, let me tell you: Though following Christ means you have to make some pretty

  • major choicesyou have to refuse and forsake some things. But nothing compares with the

  • staggering beyond comprehension blessings that God has laid up for those that love Him.

  • There is no comparison whatsoever. I've got my eye on that invisible city. It's

  • invisible to me now, but one day faith is going to turn to sight. I've got my eye

  • on the coming reward. I've got my eye on that city that doesn't need the sun to light

  • it by day or the moon by night because the Son, He isthe Son of God is the lamp and

  • the light thereof. This life is a blip on the screen, my friend. It's here for a moment

  • and then it's gone. It still… I know I say this a lot, but it freaks me out. I'm

  • 61 years old. How did that happen? Weird! And I don't feel like it in my heart; but

  • when I look in the mirror, I get confirmation every time. And so I want to choose the right

  • things and forsake the wrong things and refuse the wrong things.

  • And then we look at verse 28,

  • By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn

  • should touch them.

  • Of course, that Passover was a type and a shadow of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for

  • us. The Bible says in First Corinthians 5:7, “For indeed Christ our Passover was sacrificed

  • for us.” That sacrificial lamb that was slain in Egypt and then they put the blood

  • around the door, when the angel of death passed through Egypt, it had to pass over the homes

  • where the blood was on the door. That's where the word, Passover, comes from. And,

  • friend, because my heart has been covered with the blood of Jesus, spiritual death just

  • has to pass over me. I am off limits. In fact, let me show you how off limits we are once

  • we accept Christ. Look at the very next verse:

  • By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting

  • to do so, were drowned.

  • When Moses led Israel through the Red Sea, Pharaoh and his army, they were drowned in

  • the Red Sea. Once you embrace Christ, when you are washed in the precious blood of the

  • Lamb, listen to me: The devil has no more authority over you than Pharaoh did over Egypt

  • once he was drownedthan Pharaoh did over Moses after Pharaoh was drowned in the Red

  • Sea. Jesus came that He might destroy the works of the devil. I don't ever worry about

  • the devil. Great big God, little bitty devil, he's a defeated foe. I've been transferred

  • out of the kingdom of darkness, placed in the kingdom of God's dear Son. I've been

  • given authority in Jesus' name. Hallelujah!

  • Won't you bow your heads, close your eyes just for a moment.

  • Heavenly Father, thank you that You have put faith in our hearts. Now we know it's up

  • to us to develop it, to grow it, and to exercise it, to release it. We know You are good. We

  • know You are merciful. We thank You that there is not the slightest variation of changing

  • with You, but only good and perfect things come down from You. So, God, we have an underlying

  • confidence that You will care for us. We thank you for those specific promises. And we're

  • not just going to be like the demons that believe and tremble. We are going to believe

  • and give; we're going to believe and obey; we're going to believe and prepare; we are

  • going to believe and receive; we are going to believe and walk with You; we are going

  • to believe and refuse and forsake and choose; we're going to have actions that correspond

  • and cause our faith to move towards You for we know that without it, it is impossible

  • to please You. I speak a blessing over Your people tonight.

  • Just for a moment, if you're here and maybe you've never made your peace with God, you've

  • never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the Bible says that through His precious blood

  • that the sin of the world was atoned for. He died as our sacrifice. As He hung upon

  • that cross, suspended between heaven and earth,