Who is Preparing Your Faith for The Last Hour?
(Excerpts from a sermon)
At the Passover meal with His disciples right before He went to the cross, Yeshua said, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me” (Mark 14:27).
Bewildered, Simon said, “No, no. All these may deny you, but I won't.”
Yeshua responded, “Before [dawn] you will deny me three times!”
Well, we know what happened. Now notice Yeshua's next words: “Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail; and when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31).
What an amazing statement! Yeshua saw what was coming and said that even temporary stumbling could become a part of purifying Simon’s “kernel” of faith.
Sifting involves first pummelling the wheat and then shaking it in a sieve, so the kernels of grain can be separated from the chaff and purified. That's the kind of uncomfortable process that Yeshua told Simon that he WOULD go through.
Now it sounds interesting, when used as an agricultural preaching metaphor. But when it comes to our own life, it becomes deathly painful. It may include uncertainties around money, employment, relationships, personal danger and governmental stability – big question marks and huge stressors.
Satan will try many things in our life to bring destruction, but these four steps will help prepare us:
1. Yeshua outsmarts Satan and prays FOR US that our faith will not fail.
“Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Even if (when) you stumble, Yeshua wants to use it to fortify your faith. You also can take faith steps:
2. Focus on the future.
When we focus on what we have gone through or where we've been in our past, it robs our faith for tomorrow. Look into the future with hope knowing your confidence is definitely not within yourself, by yourself, nor from yourself. Know God is faithful and sees ahead as we put our confidence in Him, even if we don't understand what it will look like.
3. Stand firm.
“…be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil; and after you have done everything, stand firm” (Ephesians 6:10-12).
Simply standing in faith, holding on to what you know about God, and relying on His grace is something that we can do now and when the pressure builds up and things get confusing.
I recently heard of a soldier in our congregation who, at the end of her army service, took a “Jewish identity course.” At the end of this course they asked her if she believes in Yeshua. She said, “Yes.” They asked her to deny Him, and she said, “I can’t.” She took a stand!
4. Take action.
“What good is it … if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can such faith save him? If a brother or sister lacks … food and one of you says to him ‘… be well fed,’ but you don't give him what the body needs what good is it?” (James 2:14-17).
In Hebrews 11, the different faith heroes, each one – Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Deborah … all acted in their own unique circumstances according to the faith that God gave them.