Faith and holiness is what we will concentrate on resetting this week. Last week I began a series on resetting your life. The corona virus pandemic has provided us with an unexpected chance to actually hit the rest button, to not face the devastation of a hard reset but to soft reset our lives.

Isaiah 43:18-19 (ESV Strong’s)

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Usually we run our lives at a pace, but for the first time in a long time many of us are forced to slow down and even rest a little. Forced to step back and take stock, and get back to basics.

 

Today I want to highlight 2 areas I believe God is asking us to reset, as individuals and as a body of believers… Faith and Holiness.

 

NOW FAITH IS…

 

Faith is something we Christians talk a lot about, but often do not get the opportunity to actually engage. This pandemic is an opportunity to reset this important, even pivotal area of our lives. The Bible defines faith like this…

 

Hebrews 11:1 (ESV Strong’s)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

 

Everyone places his or her faith in something or someone. The Moslem puts his faith in the Koran and in Mohammed. The humanist put his faith in himself, a religious person in his own good works. None of these can save, not because they don’t have strong enough faith, but in each case the object of faith is wrong.

 

Our faith is only as good as the object in which we place our faith.  Our faith needs to be in Jesus Christ.

 

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

 

True faith is simple obedience to and believing God’s word in spite of circumstances or consequences.

 

In Hebrews, Faith is described in a two-fold way. It is the “substance of (assurance of) things hoped for,” and “the evidence of (conviction of) things not seen.”

 

Substance is in Greek HYPOSTASIS, meaning “sub stance”, literally  ‘to stand under or to support.’ So Faith is the foundation that gives the believer the confidence to stand. “faith is the confidence of things hoped for.” And it undergirds our entire life and experience.

 

George Muller ran orphanages for Street orphans in the early 1800s, and he lived by true faith.  One breakfast time there was no food. Müller confidently said grace, thanking God for food that simple wasn’t there. Immediately there was a knock at the door. It was the local baker who had woken in the night with a feeling that God was telling him the orphans had no bread. So he had risen at 2.00am to bake some bread for them. Shortly after this came another knock at the door. The milkman’s wagon had broken down outside the orphanage. He asked if he could give them his milk, so as to be able to empty and repair his wagon.

 

It’s this undergirding that gives us the unshakable conviction.

 

WHAT FAITH HAS BEEN

 

But the reality is, we live in a real world, a blessed world, and here in Australia we rarely have to exercise true faith. We have social security, governments that care for us, health provision, food and shelter.when we feel sick we take a pill, we don’t start to pray.

 

But in this pandemic our comfortable lives have been turned upside down. Comfortably successful businesses are in disarray, social behaviour has been morphed, and now all of a sudden we have to step out of our comfortable, cerebral version of faith into a true walk of faith. Suddenly faith becomes practical, real and in our faces as God uses these times to allow us to reset.

 

James 2:17-18 (ESV Strong’s)

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

 

He’s not saying works save you, he’s telling us that faith has to have substance… It has to be exercised to be real, otherwise it’s just theory.

 

Huge crowds gathered to see Charles Blondin walk on a quarter mile tightrope across Niagara Falls. He did it even on stilts, blindfolded, on a bicycle and even took a stove to the middle and cooked an omelet. On one occasion, Blondin asked the assembled crowd if they believed he could carry a person across Niagara Falls in a wheelbarrow. The crowd enthusiastically yelled, “Yes! You are the greatest tightrope walker in the world. We believe!”

 

Ok he replied, who wants to hop in the wheelbarrow right now. No one did.

 

Faith has been largely theoretical for many Christians up until now. But because of this pandemic, suddenly we have the opportunity to step out in faith like never before.

 

WHAT FAITH CAN BE

 

You never know how valuable your faith is until it is tested.

 

In 1799, Conrad Reed discovered a seventeen-pound rock while fishing in Little Meadow Creek, North Carolina. He liked it and took it home and his family used it as a doorstop for three years. In 1802, his father, took the rock to a jeweller who identified it as a lump of pure gold, one of the biggest ever found east of the Rockies.

 

Until its composition was determined, its value was unknown. Our faith is like that… God allows trials and tests and times like right now to determine the strength of our faith. Trials are not designed to hurt us, but too strengthen and prove our faith.

 

1 Peter 4:12-13 (ESV Strong’s)

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

 

Abraham showed genuine faith, and it was sorely tested. God promised him a son and an heir, but he and his wife Sarah were old. But look at what  Romans says about his faith…

 

Romans 4:19-22 (ESV Strong’s)

He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”

 

What we need now is to reset our faith. We don’t need fake it till you make it, and we don’t need religious theory. Right now we need practical, powerful faith, faith that’s real, faith that isn’t full of fear and hysteria, and faith that doesn’t ignore facts but looks them in the eye and says, you might be bit, but my God is bigger!

 

FAITH AND HOLINESS AND WORKS

 

An old Scotsman operated a little rowboat for transporting passengers. One day a passenger noticed that the old man had carved on one oar the word faith, and on the other oar the word works. Curiosity led him to ask the meaning of this. The old man said, “I will show you.”

 

He dropped one oar and plied the other called works, and the boat went around in circles. Then he dropped that oar and began to ply the oar called faith, and the little boat just went around in circles again.

 

After this demonstration the old man picked up faith and works and plying both oars together, sped swiftly over the water, explaining to his inquiring passenger, “You see, that is the way it is in the Christian life. Dead works without faith are useless, and faith without works is dead. But faith and works pulling together make for safety, progress, and blessing.”

 

James 2:17-18 (ESV Strong’s)

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

 

It’s time to reset our faith and holiness and trust totally in the Lord.

 

IS HOLINESS A DYING COMMODITY?

 

For years now Christians have watered down God’s standards of holiness. We’ve let holy living slip, we’ve compromised our morals, and we have stood by silent as our society has celebrated blatant sin.

 

Romans 1:32 (ESV Strong’s)

Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

 

Faith and holiness are way out of vogue today… Tolerance and compromise are what’s being demanded. But I believe this Corona virus pandemic is our opportunity to reset faith and holiness in our lives to what God calls holy!

 

WHAT HOLINESS HAS BEEN

 

Hebrews 12:14 (ESV Strong’s)

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

 

The Greek word for holiness used here is HAGIASMOS, which means consecrated, purified, and set apart for a noble use.

 

For too long we as believers have watered down our definition of holiness and lived nice, upright, reasonable and tolerant lives. But have we really been holy?

 

Our nation certainly hasn’t, and it has passed laws completely contrary to Scripture, with most of us barely raising a whimper. We have been told to be tolerant, to be accepting, to be fair. Any voice raised against the powerful media and lobby groups is labelled hate speech.

 

Listen, you can love people without agreeing with them. You can love a homosexuality without agreeing with their lifestyle. You can be holy and you can love at the same time.

 

But for t by e last several years we have been focussed on so many things in life that are not really God honouring. We talk about money, investments, tolerance, what we want in life, but we rarely talk about how we can become more holy and more Christ like.

 

2 Corinthians 7:1 (ESV Strong’s)

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

 

WHAT HOLINESS CAN BE

 

This is our moment. It’s time to get serious about holiness, starting with our own lives!

 

1 Peter 2:9 (ESV Strong’s)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

 

In this pandemic, we can be the ones shining in the darkness. But we cannot shine if we are impure, sinful and compromised. If we have as much fear as the rest of the country, we simply look the same!

 

1 Peter 2:12 (ESV Strong’s)

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

 

We can stand for what is right and true, and loves others even if we disagree with their lifestyle choices. We must have tolerance for people, but we mustn’t have tolerance for bad or evil or ungodly ideas!

 

We have before us a unique opportunity to reset our moral compass, and become once again a godly and holy nation. Sinful man who was strutting around promoting ungodliness only a few months ago is now cowering in isolation and fear.

 

At this moment the world doesn’t need a weak, insipid, spineless, watered down church compromising it’s values to keep the peace. Right now this terrified world needs a church that stands up and proclaims the Word of the Lord, not in compromise, but in all of its holiness!

 

Now, more than ever, we need to lead exemplary lives before our communities, lives that shine purity and light, not selfishness and insipid compromise.

 

HOW DO WE RESET FAITH AND HOLINESS?

 

So in this incredible moment in history, how do we reset faith and Holiness?

 

You cannot reset holiness if you don’t know what holiness is. And you can’t reset faith, if you don’t know who God is, because He is the object of our faith. So resetting these two areas depends on one thing… You need to know God and His Word more!

 

And what a time to draw near to Him! Most of us are isolated, we have time alone we never had before, and we have the Bible, and loads of great teaching online.

 

Listen, your faith and Holiness will increase in direct proportion to how close you are to the Lord. Holiness involves learning God’s standards and making a conscious decision to live by them, not the world’s standards…

 

Romans 12:2 (ESV Strong’s)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

The more you know God, the more your mind is renewed and the more you will know and experience God’s perfect will in your life.

 

And faith is the same… It’s directly proportional to how well you know God.

 

Romans 10:17 (ESV Strong’s)

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

 

This pandemic is your opportunity to open the Bible and read it and get to know God more intimately. You get to know God by reading His Word. Take the time to read and study and learn, because the closer you draw to Him,

 

James 4:7-8 (ESV Strong’s)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

 

See in that verse how it works together? Cleanse your hands, purify your hearts, and as you reset holiness you draw closer to the Lord. And the closer you are to Him, the greater your faith.

 

So this morning I’m going to challenge you to stop right now and reset these 2 areas of your life. Faith and Holiness.

 

Hebrews 11:6 (ESV Strong’s)

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

 

Hebrews 12:14 (ESV Strong’s)

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

 

HIT THE RESET BUTTON NOW!

 

If you’ve never asked Jesus into your life, then this is the greatest opportunity you’ve ever had to do so.

 

The Bible says we have all sinned, and we need a Saviour, and Jesus is the only way to God. Take the opportunity now, wherever you are, whether you’ve done it before or not, to ask Jesus into your life. To forgive your sin, to give you eternal life and to give you a level of faith and Holiness in your life you’ve never seen before.

 

Come on, church, let’s reset these 2 pivotal areas together, right now.

 

Psalms 139:23-24 (ESV Strong’s)

Search me, O God, and know my heart!

Try me and know my thoughts!

And see if there be any grievous way in me,

and lead me in the way everlasting!

About Darin

Pastor Darin Browne is the Senior Pastor of Coast Church in Woombye, Queensland. He is an international speaker and worship leader and has toured all over the world, produced 8 albums and authored several books.