Faith [Alyvia Bruce]
 — Alyvia Bruce

May 21, 2017
Confirmation Sunday

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
1 Peter 1:3-12

In his book, Six Hours One Friday, Max Lucado tells the story of how he and his boat survived a hurricane. An old fisherman gave Max the advice to take his boat to deep water, drop four anchors off each corner of the boat, and pray that the anchors held. Max survived that storm, but he says that he learned an important lesson, all of us need an anchor that will hold during the storms of life.

That anchor is our faith. What have you put your faith in? Where do we find a faith strong enough to make it through the storms of life? Peter knows how important faith is and he gives us a great picture of faith, a faith that we can anchor deep with, and a faith which will hold us during the storms of life. When Peter wrote his letter, things were changing. In the beginning of the first century church, the government remained unconcerned about this new religious sect. As the church grew, the constrictions of the government increased. Peter is writing to a people who are finding it increasingly difficult to live their faith. Even today it is not easy being a Christian, but we must find a way to live our faith without compromise. The question is not if we have faith, every one has faith. The atheist has faith that his rational reasoning has removed the possibility of God. He has faith in his intellectual ability. Others have faith in their abilities, skills, connections, friends, family and themselves. Everyone has faith. The question is where is your faith anchored?

Sooner or later the storms of life will begin to blow and then the question becomes will the anchor of faith hold. Peter gives us three reasons that it is important to anchor our faith in Christ. {#1} Faith in Christ is imperishable. How can that be? Well look where faith in Christ is kept, in Heaven. Jesus says that we are to put our treasures in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy or the thief steal.

If our faith is set upon the things of this world, then our faith will perish. Countless kingdoms have come and fallen, economies have been built and destroyed, and nations have been established and vanished. All that is left of some of those kingdoms are ruins. Only the kingdom of God has remained constant in the past two thousand years. Our faith is to be set in heaven, and not on the things of this world. That is the only way that we know our faith is imperishable. {#2} Our faith will be uncorrupted. History is full of leaders who started off with the best intentions but pride, ego, or other flaws got in the way. If we place our faith in a leader, it is but a matter of time before the corruptible nature of the individual is revealed. God has absolute power, but it is uncorrupted. There is no pride or ego in the power of Christ. He is also the only person for whom absolute power has not corrupted, even a little bit. Our faith can only be incorruptible, when it is placed in Christ. {#3} Our faith in Christ is unfading.

I know of lots of people who are fad people. They jump on the latest trend or idea, and about six months or a year down the road, they jump on something new.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And the faith we have now will see us through the Last Days. Our faith must be anchored in the timeless nature of Christ, but I can hear the question. How do you know that a faith in Christ will hold up during the storms of life? Why should I trust Christ? Because, this is no ordinary faith, it is a tested faith. Time and time again, people have placed their faith in Christ and found that the anchor holds. Peter found a tested faith is valuable, revealing, and centered on love.

Peter here plays upon a great image, the goldsmith. A goldsmith would melt the metal down until it became a liquid. All the impurities would come to the surface and the goldsmith would scrape them off and allow the metal to cool. He would then come back and repeat the process over and over. His goal was pure gold. How did he know when he had pure gold? When no impurities came to the surface When he could see his reflection in the melted gold.

Peter says that our faith is like gold, as it is tested, it will begin to bring the impurities to the surface. When the impurities are removed our faith becomes more valuable. (1:7)

Our faith begins to reflect that deeper knowledge of Jesus, and our lives will begin to change. When you and I live differently, because our faith is growing, those around us will see the difference. Quite literally, your life begins to reflect the image of Christ. Just as the goldsmith knew he had pure gold, when he looked into the metal and could see his reflection, Jesus desires His reflection in our lives. That can only happen in a refined faith that has been tested.

Peter talks about how we love Christ even though we have not seen Him. In Hebrews we have the definition of faith, “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1). The essence of faith is that it does not require our sight or proof. But notice that faith is “reality”. Just because something is not seen does not negate (ne-gate) its existence. Many people ask me, how can you believe in something that you can’t see or touch or know is there? But how do you know gravity is real? You feel it. A faith in God works the same way, you don’t need materialistic proof of His existence, you can feel it. Peter says that real faith is loving a Christ, you have never seen, but still know exists. In our postmodern world, we often hear the statement that what works for you may not work for me. So Peter had a faith in Christ that was timeless. His faith was valuable, revealing, and full of love. But how does that mean, what worked for Peter will work for me? Almost as if Peter anticipated your question, he writes about the faith of others. The prophets of the Old Testament found their faith in God to hold. God spoke to the prophets and told them that the Messiah was coming. He gave them a hope that the One who could deliver them was on the way. The message of the prophets can be summarized as, “Hang on. God is working and the Messiah is coming. Get ready, your deliverer is coming.” Doesn’t that sound like a message for people at the end of their rope, for people who don’t know where to turn? It is a message of hope and encouragement. It is a promise. How many people do you know that need to be encouraged not to give up. How many people in this room need to be told that there is help on it’s way. Maybe you need to hear that God’s promises are for you. That is the message of the Old Testament prophets.

Peter points out that the true faith is not only tied to the prophets, but also the fulfillment of those prophecies. There is a faith in the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus. Christianity is the only religion which cannot reinvent itself. All other religions are based upon a philosophical basis. Other religions have been created out of a human mind. If all religions were wiped from the face of the earth, someone could come along, have the same thoughts and ideas, and recreate any of the religions. But not so with Christianity. Our faith is built upon the prophecies of the Old Testament, prophecies which said a Messiah is coming. Our faith is built upon Jesus. We believe that he is the Messiah, the embodiment of the Old Testament prophecies. We believe that He died on a cross for our sins and that he rose again. We believe that he is coming back. If all of Christianity were to be destroyed, how could we recreate it in our minds? We could not. Our faith is not built upon philosophy, intellect, or creative speculations. Our faith is built upon the historical fact that Jesus, God’s only Son, died on a Roman cross, in Jerusalem, in 30 AD. Our faith cannot be recreated, but thank God it is a faith which has stood the test of time, proven itself faithful when tested, and is the only true faith which holds in the storms of life.

Peter then talks of how the faith of the Old Testament and the Gospels is for these present days. Peter literally says, “Angels desire to look into these things.” Can you imagine what that must be like? Angels are leaning over the rim of heaven and looking down. They have seen what God did with the prophets. They have seen how Jesus fulfilled the prophesies with His birth, life, death and resurrection. The angels have seen Lucifer kicked out of heaven, the resurrection of Christ, the dead raised, the Red Sea parted, and demons exorcised. But what they desire to see, is what God is going to do now. The angels are watching you and me, and they want to see what the next chapter will be like. How will our faith and God’s great actions meet? Our time to live our faith is now. All of us have faith, but will your anchor of faith hold in the storms of life? Is your anchor of faith a true anchor? Is your faith built upon the truth of scripture. Is your faith tested? Do you know how valuable, revealing and full of love, a faith in Christ is? Is your faith timeless, or will the newest fad or the latest philosophy cause you to tie to a new anchor? Only a faith in Christ is true, tested, and timeless. It is not a question of if you have a faith. It is not a question of if the storms of life will come. It is the question, will your anchor of faith, hold through the storms? The time to anchor your hope and faith to Christ is now, before the storms show up.