Faith…Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking
By Jerry Vargo
Years ago, Timex had a slogan about their watches:
“Timex…takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”
The idea was simply that no matter what you did to a Timex watch, it would keep working. If I remember correctly, they even had a commercial that showed a barren wasteland after a nuclear explosion. Lying on the ground was a Timex watch…ticking away!
A. Faith is a lot like that…it takes a licking and keeps on ticking! So many things try to disrupt our faith. But it seems that we as the church just keep ticking away.
B. Satan hates our faith. Why? Because foundational to his fall from heaven is the idea that he lost faith in his creator.
What amazes me is this: He pushes us…and often tries our faith…and most often pushes us right into the arms of God. He can’t seem to be able to control himself…and the result is that we grow in faith.
C. This is the catch: Even though our faith is shaken at times, even though our faith is disrupted…we must understand that behind it all…God is at work.
D. Now, before I get to the heart of this message, let me say this about faith …Foundational to faith is belief, trust, and most importantly…relationship.
E. So how do we grow in true faith? How do we increase our trust in God?
A. One of the answers to this question is that we must add something to our faith. I don’t care how good a Timex watch is…it is worthless if we don’t add batteries!
B. Go to 2 Peter 1:1-9. Time won’t allow me to expound upon every verse here, but take notice of four things in verses1-4.
1. Peter was writing to those who had obtained faith – vs. 1
2. Grace and peace is multiplied when we know God – vs. 2
3. God’s power has given us everything we need pertaining to life – vs. 3
4. He has given us great and precious promises to help us partake of His nature and to help us overcome worldly lusts – vs. 4.
C. Now, because of these things, God tells us in verse 5 to apply diligence to our walk with Him.
D. He starts a parade. Faith leads the band…and love brings up the rear. And it is here that I want to focus today…on verses 5-7.
E. In the same way, faith without certain spiritual batteries is dead. Faith without the spiritual batteries listed in these verses is dead.
F. We could summarize verses 1-9 like this…Jerry Vargo translation:
“You have faith! Your knowledge of God increases grace and peace. The power of God helps you to live your life in victory. His promises help you to become like Him and to steer clear of worldly ways. Now, because of these things…be diligent! Since you have faith…add the following ingredients…
If these seven things are in you and they are increasing…you will be fruitful…not barren. If you lack these qualities, you’re blind and you have left your first love…forgetting the forgiveness that you received at the beginning of your walk with God.”
G. I want to structure the remainder of this message in a very simple format:
Since you have faith…add…
1. Moral Excellence.
A. Since you have a relationship with God…be a person of character.
B. Character is the reality of who you really are and what you really do.
C. Many of you have heard the old quote that goes like this:
“Your ideal is what you wish you were.
Your reputation is what people say you are.
Your character is what you really are.”
“If we sow a thought, we reap an act.
If we sow an act, we reap a habit.
If we sow a habit, we reap character.
If we sow character, we reap a destiny.”
A. It is notable that character precedes knowledge. The Bible says, “…the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” – 2 Corinthians 3:6
B. This is not to say that knowledge isn’t good. But, knowledge without character doesn’t impress God.
C. Here’s the rub…Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
D. If you want to “keep on ticking” for God…you must add knowledge of God to your faith.
E. Please don’t tell me that you want to grow in God…love God…serve God…and then not show up or avail yourself to every training opportunity that you can possibly attend in this church. This includes:
Wednesday Bible Study
A. Since you have faith…add self-control.
B. You might say, “Pastor Jerry, I just can’t control myself.” Can I just say to you…WHATEVER! When did we begin to swallow that lie from the enemy?
C. Galatians 5:22-23 says:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
D. Next time your tempted to lose control…remember that through God you have the power to walk in self-control…it is in you already. Access it and add it to your faith.
A. Since you have faith…persevere. It is our faith and our trust in God that helps us to endure under trial.
Charlie Brown is at bat. STRIKE THREE. He has struck out again and slumps over to the bench. “Rats! I’ll never be a big-league player. I just don’t have it! All my life I’ve dreamed of playing in the big leagues, but I know I’ll never make it.” Lucy turns to console him. “Charlie Brown, you’re thinking too far ahead. What you need to do is set yourself more immediate goals.” He looks up. “Immediate goals?” Lucy says, “Yes. Start with this next inning when you go out to pitch. See if you can walk out on the mound without falling down!”
B. Point of the story? Do the next thing…persevere through the next storm. Hang in there and don’t worry about all that is to come…God’s grace is sufficient.
A. Godliness is a spirit of reverence and respect to God in all matters. It understands that He is a Holy God.
B. We must add Holiness to our faith. Not outward compliance to certain rules, but inward purity of heart.
C. We must reverence God enough to become Holy. As a matter of fact Leviticus 11:44 says, “For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am holy.”
D. Holiness is not an old-fashioned idea…it is commanded.
6. Brotherly Kindness.
A. Because you have a relationship with God, because you have faith…exercise brotherly kindness to others.
B. Or, continue to walk in love toward the brethren. We so often judge one another and act in ways inconsistent with the Christian life.
C. We often abuse one another knowing that they have to forgive. Let’s be like the Thessalonians Church:
1 Thessalonians 4:9-10
“Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more…”
A. This love is the highest form of love. It is agape love. Love that doesn’t add requirements to it.
– I’ll love you if…
– I’ll love you when…
B. This is unconditional love. And we must add it to our faith. Faith and love go hand in hand:
1 Thessalonians 5:7
“But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love…”
1 Corinthians 13:1-2
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”
A. We need to add these seven things to our faith if we are to take a licking and keep on ticking. I close with the following thoughts that I wrote:
Character without faith is cheap veneer.
Knowledge without faith is useless information.
Self-control without faith is straining unnecessarily.
Perseverance without faith is empty at the end.
Godliness without faith is mere religion.
Brotherly kindness without faith is self-serving.
Love without faith is not true love.