I just simply can't resist taking time out from transcribing "Invading the Impossible - Part 9" to highlight the odd few key quotes here. I hope that by doing that it will ensure that they are not missed when the entire sermon is published finally some time this week! I have just been amazed by the feeling of being on an ascending escalator in accompanying City Church International with Rob Rufus as he preaches through this "Invading the Impossible series". He repeats similar truths quite frequently but in the past my eyes would glaze over if someone said something like; "We will never move beyond the Cross". Now I see it! This Gospel being preached is truly God's POWER not just to get us to heaven but for daily living here and now and as Rob himself says;
"Folks there is NO distinction between the righteousness to get you to heaven and the righteousness to get heaven to you".
Before I post the various quotes from Rob on this awesome truth of FAITH - I just wanted to draw attention to John Piper's latest book; "The Future of Justification - a Response to N T Wright". I read it rather reluctantly because I am trying to limit my reading to a "grace diet" - but I did have a week's holiday and so fancied something Piper-ish. To begin with I had great sympathy with what N T Wright was saying but as I got into the content of the book, I was amazed at some of John Piper's masterful unpacking of the truths of justification. And how similar he sounds to Rob Rufus!
I posted a whole host of quotes here - but here's a few that grabbed my attention particularly.
Piper on radical, grace living:
"What makes radical, risk-taking, sacrificial, Christ-exalting works of love possible is the fact that Christ's perfect obedience (counted as our righteousness) and Christ's perfect sacrifice (counted as our punishment) secured completely the glorious reality that God is for us as an omnipotent Father who works all things together for our everlasting joy in Him".
Piper on the ONLY hope for Christian living:
"Our only hope for living the radical demands of the Christian life is that God is totally for us now and forever. Therefore, God has not ordained that living the Christian life should be the basis of our hope that God is for us. That basis is the death and righteousness of Christ, counted as ours through faith alone. On the cross Christ endured for us all the punishment required of us because of our sin. And in order that God as our Father, might be completely for us and not against us forever, Christ has performed for us, in His perfect obedience to God, all that God required of us as the ground of His being totally for us forever".
Piper on the ONLY way righteousness is given to us:
"Imputation is not the conferring of a status without a ground of real imputed moral righteousness. It is the counting of an alien, real, moral, perfect righteousness, namely Christ's as ours".
How awesomely wonderful! I was pleasantly surprised to read a book I thought would be a simple engaging in debate with a fellow theologian - but found my faith was re-inforced by reviewing again the truths of justification ... by faith. Faith! Faith is something I have struggled with as a Christian. In the past I have walked the Christian life by legalism, rules and regulations. Indeed I was once told that I had to go to church - not because I wanted to, but because I MUST. I was assured that the desire to go to church would follow after. I read my Bible by laws, rules and regulations. But faith was somehow absent.
So I found it thrilling that Rob Rufus dealt with this issue of faith - and HOW TO GET IT - in "Invading the Impossible - Part 9". Here's what he had to say (and incredibly this wasn't his main subject in the sermon! He was dealing with reigning in life!).
"How do you enter into reigning to invade the impossible? By resting in the gift of God's righteousness. How do you rest in the gift? By developing your faith more and more and more in the fact that you are currently, right now, irreversibly, perfectly the righteousness of God!"
"The more your faith in this righteousness grows, the more you rest and the more you enter into rest, the more and more you enter into reigning. And the more you reign, the more you invade the impossible and the more you invade the impossible, the more the Lord is glorified and the more exciting and fulfilling your life becomes".
But then of course the question comes - well how do we grow in faith? Rob has an answer;
"But you see faith has to grow and how does faith grow? Does faith grow by someone laying their hands on you? Not at all. I wish it did. I would ask the greatest men and women of faith to put their hands on my head and then I could walk in faith. No faith is not given that way. Romans 10:17 says; "Now faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God". So there is something you can do about little faith. You can hear and hear about the gift of righteousness and the more you hear the gift of righteousness, the more your faith increases! When faith in righteousness increases, the more peace and rest increases and the more they increase, the more reigning and ruling increases and invading the impossible increases!".
Faith comes by hearing - and hearing by the Word of God! It is so incredibly simple! Isn't it?!
"So faith comes by hearing the Word of God - but faith goes by hearing the word of law, rules and religion. Faith goes by just watching TV or hearing bad news. Faith goes by listening to backslidden Christians who are bitter and twisted and cynical and unimpressed and oppressed".
What we hear REALLY does matter! If we take time to listen to the Word of God, to hearing positive grace messages then we grow. But if we spend our time listening to TV and other things - our faith goes. It decreases! Rob goes on;
"Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Any person on the planet who is walking with faith - you know they are listening to CD's, that someone is listening to tapes and DVD's on a regular basis - because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Faith goes by not hearing and hearing the wrong things. Faith is like Vitamin C - you cannot store it for long. You take it today and you are going to need to take it tomorrow because you don't store it for long. Faith can be used today but it will need to be replenished by hearing and the hearing of the word of righteousness.
Because when you use your faith to see a miracle happen, you use your faith for a marriage problem or for a demand or a challenge, then that faith is depleted. And you know that if you keep drawing out of your bank account without putting back in then the day will come when they will say if you keep drawing out of your bank account then you will go to jail. Do you know what a nervous breakdown is? A nervous breakdown is a sign that you are in a faith overdraft and there is nothing left in their account because they have not put faith back in. Faith comes by daily hearing the Word of God".
I heard this and realised that so often I leave myself in a "faith overdraft"! We need faith DAILY! Yet I realised that if I listen to one sermon mid-week I am wrongly proud of myself because it isn't Sunday! We need to be listening to faith-building resources DAILY! Not just any old sermons. And certainly not in a legalistic manner! Faith-building sermons! Sermons that you finish and sit back with your faith bubbling away because the Word of God has been expounded in Spirit and in power!
Finally Rob said;
"If your outflow of faith exceeds your income of faith - then your upkeep is going to be your downfall".
Rob then moves into the bulk content of his sermon about reigning in life - and so I will post these quotes with the hope that they are encouraging! I hope the point is clear - let's be careful what we listen to. Let's guard our ears! There is a reason I am positive why Ephesians mentions that the piece of spiritual armour for our heads is the "helmet of salvation". What truth will better guard our minds and our heads and our thoughts than the knowledge that;
"By developing your faith more and more and more in the fact that you are currently, right now, irreversibly, perfectly the righteousness of God!".