The Comfort of Faith in God’s Power

Faith is comforted twice over in relation to God’s power. First, because it knows that he has ample ability to do good. Thus, in order to further the salvation of believers he puts forth his hand to rule and govern all things; heaven and earth are his possession and domain, and every creature depends on his goodwill. Faith is comforted in the second place because it finds ample assurance in his protection, since whatever might do harm is subject to his will, and the devil and his devices are restrained as by a curb. Everything, in short, which might impede our salvation is subject to his control.

– John Calvin

Faith is Refusing to Worry

…a large part of faith…consists of just refusing anxious thoughts…refusing to think about worrying things, refusing to think of the future in that wrong sense… [Having] faith means that I shall say: ‘No; I refuse to be worried. I have done my reasonable service; I have done what I believed to be right and legitimate, and beyond that I will not think at all’… When the devil comes with his insinuations, injecting them into you – all the fiery darts of the evil one – say, ‘No; I am not interested. The God whom I am trusting for today, I will trust for tomorrow. I refuse to listen; I will not think your thoughts.’ Faith is refusing to be burdened because we have cast our burden upon the Lord.

— D. M. Lloyd Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, ii, pp. 156-7

Ikthus Villa Angela Sermon (August 4, 2013)

3 KINDS OF FAITH

(James 2:14-26)

INTRODUCTION:    The Epistle of James has been something of a problem for Protestants – Luther called it “an epistle full of straw” – mainly because James seems to contradict Paul’s teaching that salvation or justification is by faith alone and not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). But the contradiction is more apparent than real. My task this morning is to show that there is no contradiction between James and Paul, and that there is a need for us to heed James’ teaching in order to counteract some people’s abuse or misinterpretation of Paul’s teaching. I will in this message reaffirm what Paul has to say about salvation or justification, that it is by faith alone from first to last, never by works; but at the same I will also uphold what James has to say, that faith without works is dead, and dead faith cannot save anyone. In order to do that we will have to distinguish between three kinds of faith as taught in this passage. Two of them cannot save; only one does. Continue reading “Ikthus Villa Angela Sermon (August 4, 2013)”

My Times Are In Your Hands

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands.” (Psalm 31:14-15)

Faith is a commitment in the context of relationship. It is the response of intimacy, issuing or arising from the sense or realization that that relationship has been in place all along, from the very beginning. From my youth up – even from my mother’s womb – I have been protected, guided, cared for. “My times are in your hands!” Why are my times not absolutely chaotic, such as we would expect from an absolutely godless world? The forces of chaos do not reign supreme; they are held in check. His hands are there caring for the flowers of the field and the birds of the air. My times are my times – a bit of meaningful history, even if not completely comprehensible – because his hands are there: He is there, and my times are in his hands.