Well my friends.. We’ve made it! Today we finish off Faith Fridays and our Twelve Faith Confessions as found in the book Sun Stand Still. If you haven’t picked up the book, do it. It will change the way you look at faith and your relationship with our good Lord.
Today’s faith confession is about increasing in influence and favor for the Kingdom of God. I will be honest when I first read this, I wasn’t quite sure what it mean. So I spent some time really dissecting it and went straight to the Bible to look up the scriptures attached. The scripture in Acts 2:37-47 really clarified what this meant for me. I want to share that passage with you because it just spoke to me so powerfully this morning.
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
So how do we increase in influence and favor in the Kingdom of God? Acts reveals to us there is two parts.
First, as Peter preaches to the masses: repent. In order to receive the salvation of our Lord, we must repent and confess our sins. Our Lord can’t forgive sins we don’t confess. 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When we confess our sins, two things happen. First we are forgiven of any bad, unholy, wicked, or evil thing we’ve ever done in our lives. Anything. He says all and he means all. Secondly, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit living in us.
In the book of John during the days leading up Jesus being arrested and later crucified. He spent a lot of time in fellowship and devotion with his Apostles. He was trying to warn them about what was to come. He was trying to give them comfort about him soon going away. He tells them in John 14:15-17, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” That word helper…. what does it mean? In the footnotes of my bible it tells me it can also mean “advocate, counselor, or teacher”. Now I am sure the Apostles didn’t know what this meant at the time. But later on after Jesus has died, rose again, and assended into heaven, they come to find out what it means. What does it mean to have this Helper inside of us? It means that we have the spirit of our Lord in us. To teach us, to lead us, to counsel us, and to advocate for us.
So the first part is simple. To increase in influence and favor, you’ve got to first believe, confess your sins, and you’ve got to receive salvation for our Lord. What’s the second part? You’ve got to become devoted to it. The last paragraph of our scripture above from Acts talks about fellowship, praying, giving, meeting together in public places, eating together. The second part requires us to walk in our faith. Publicly, around our friends, in our daily lives. Basically we are called to live our lives reflecting our good Lord in all aspects. One of my favorite songs describes this point perfectly. It’s called Reign in Me.
I want all who I meet
To see You through me
I want all that I speak to be You
If there’s anything that I would pray
It’s that the whole world would seek Your face
And in spite of who I can be
Please reign in me
I want all who I meet to see You through me. That’s the second part of increasing your influence and favor of the Kingdom of God. That through you, people will come to know of the Lord. They will see the goodness, love, mercy, and grace of our Lord living and working in you. And they will long for a life a faith, fully devoted to our Lord too.
So as we wrap up this series, I want to pose two questions to you…
1. Have you received the salvation of our Lord? Have you confessed your sins and called out to him, Lord come into my life? And as a result, have you received the Helper, the Holy Spirit to live within you?
2. If you have, are you living your life in a manner that reflects our Lord? When people look at your life, will they be seeing Him?
In case you missed any of them, here are our twelve faith confessions all together.