Christian Sacrifice and Leaps of Faith
November 24, 2018
When jet fighters were first invented, they flew much faster than the propeller planes that pilots had been used to. But still, both planes had an emergency eject system. Initially the ejection system was simple: push the button, clear the plane, and roll forward out of the seat so the parachute behind the seat could open. But leaving the security of the seat was easier said than done. It was one thing to push the eject button, quite another to release from the security of the seat.
On several tests it was found that pilots hung on to the seat during ejection, thus making it impossible for the parachute behind them to be released. The whole process of safe ejection was faulty, not because of mechanical problems, but because of the inability of the pilots to trust, in those desperate moments, the system designed for saving their life. When newer, faster jet planes were built, the need for more advanced ejection systems increased dramatically.
As a result of this problem, the new jets were equipped with an ejection system that forced the pilot out of the seat, thus engaging the rip cord of the parachute. The entire ejection process was a single, fluid movement of machinery that launched the pilot from the plane, leaving nothing to the pilot’s decision-making process. Now pilots had no problem getting out of the seat, because they were literally forced out.
It seems as though pilots need something to force them out of their seats. And for us, the moments we are called to let go of our security and completely trust in God are big moments of faith. God’s ejection design will not force us out of our seats. The leap of faith requires letting go. What is it that we cling to for security? Remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Memory Text: “Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me’ ” (Luke 9:23, NKJV).
Our Beliefs, no. 13, The Remnant and Its Mission: “The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. . . . Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 29-33
Read Romans 15:5.
Ben’s friend Toby just found out his parents are getting a divorce. Toby doesn’t go to church, nor do his parents. Ben feels so bad for him, and he doesn’t really know what to say. Ben and Toby have talked about God occasionally, but it has always been a little awkward.
Ben wants to give his friend some encouragement and pray with him, but he is a little nervous. They have never prayed together before, but Ben makes the decision that he will ask God to open the door for him to pray with Toby this week.
That door opens on their way home from school together when Toby says, “I wish my parents would just get along like your parents. Why does it seem as if God doesn’t care if my family falls apart?” Ben senses this is a good time to offer to pray for Toby’s family..
What do you think he should say? How would you say it? What would you pray about with Toby? How can their friendship be strengthened by this? When have you had a moment like this?
Read Hebrews 12:1-3; 1 Peter 1:16-19; 4:17; 2 Peter 3:10-14; Jude 3, 14; Revelation 14:12.
Think about the great privilege to be an ambassador for Christ to the world. How do you prepare to share the good news of salvation and the hope of Jesus’ soon return with people around you?
“In every age God’s chosen messengers have been reviled and persecuted, yet through their affliction the knowledge of God has been spread abroad. Every disciple of Christ is to step into the ranks and carry forward the same work, knowing that its foes can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 33).
Read Hebrews 11:1.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (NIV).
“Faith is trusting God—believing that He loves us and knows best what is for our good. Thus, instead of our own, it leads us to choose His way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts His wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our sinfulness, His righteousness. Our lives, ourselves, are already His; faith acknowledges His ownership and accepts its blessing. Truth, uprightness, purity, have been pointed out as secrets of life’s success. It is faith that puts us in possession of these principles” (Ellen G. White, Education, p. 253).
If you look more carefully into the lives of our heroes of faith, you will find that there is more to their faith than the big sacrifice they made. In reality, their big moments are likely to be made up of many smaller moments. Maybe what God really wants is for us to take that $100 bill to the bank and cash it in for 400 shiny quarters. Each day it isn’t hard to take the steps of faith a quarter at a time. Pray with someone in need. Apologize to someone you might have wronged in the past. Step out and visit a neighbor on your street and share what God has done for you. Give up something you really want so that someone can have what they really need. Take a risk a quarter at a time. Then, when the “big faith moments” come, your faith reaction will be a no-brainer for you as well.
Match the text with the verse. All verses are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible.
A. Hebrews 11:1
B. Hebrews 12:2
C. 2 Chronicles 20:20
D. Matthew 8:10
E. Matthew 9:2
F. Matthew 9:22
1. “ ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.’ ”
2. “ faith is the substance of things hoped for,.”
3. “ ‘Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.’.”
4. “ Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established;.”
5. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,.”
6. “I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”
Review the memory text.
“Jesus does not present to His followers the hope of attaining earthly glory and riches, and of having a life free from trial, but He presents to them the privilege of walking with their Master in the paths of self-denial” (Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 29).
Do you remember the father who pleaded with Jesus to cast the demon out of his son? “ ‘If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’ ‘ “If you can”?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’ ” (Mark 9:22-24, NIV).
The man feels as if he doesn’t have enough faith. But he does exactly what he was supposed to do—bring his son to Jesus! The “big faith moment” is when he admits that he can’t do much, but God can. When we struggle, the same patient Jesus that helped this father helps us. Faith is an exercise for our soul, strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
Choose from the heroes of the “faith” chapter (Hebrews 11) three people you admire, and list them in the first column. In the second column, think of people you know today that remind you of those biblical heroes, and write why you think they should be listed. In the third column, think of one thing you can do to practice faith. (Be as specific as you can.)
|Hero of the Faith (Hebrews 11)||Faith Hero Today||My Faith|