By Pastor Mark Banyard

This is a new year but it’s the Beginning of New Beginnings.  And I believe that God has promised that He is going to do many, many things.  Some of those things He has already fulfilled. Some of those things He is fulfilling. And some of those things are yet to come.  I believe one of the things that is yet to come is another move of the Spirit.  You can call it revival in the nations, in your nation and in the nations.  And so, we are in our hearts crying out to God for something. But yet at the same time, we need to understand that God has actually promised us something that He wants us to align our hearts and our minds with what He has already promised.

     Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)

In the NIV it says this: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Are you sure of what you hope for today?  Faith is certain of what we do not see. And so, the promise of God has been given to us.  And in order for us to wait with hope in the fulfillment of the promise, we need faith. Faith is the substance of our hope. The substance of hope is faith.  And without faith, we become … hopeless. We are not able to sustain the waiting of the Lord to fulfill His promise. And so, faith is the substance of things hoped for, things that we can be certain of, that we can be sure of, even though we do not see them.

The most common application of Hebrews 11:1 is to preach on Faith.  And I too, am going to speak about faith. But my message to you is about the Promise.  Because you see, if there is no promise, then you don’t need hope. In fact, if you have a promise and it’s being fulfilled, then you don’t need hope.  Hope is about something that you are being promised, that you are waiting for. We talk about hope all the time.  But we are not talking about biblical hope. We are talking about a longing and desire of the heart – ‘I wish’, maybe, could be, should be, round of possibility, brain-storming, imagination, creative thinking.  That is what we are talking about. That may or may not be biblical hope. But if it is not a promise from God and it doesn’t require faith in order to be sustained, then you don’t need hope.  Hope is about a promise.  And if you don’t have promise, you don’t hope.  

And so, my first question to you is this: What are you hoping for?  Is it a fresh start? How many of you in 2019 would like to start all over again?  How many of you would like a new beginning? There are some of you who actually do not want a new beginning.  Everything is going okay for you. You are just hoping for a nice, slow gradual increase and that will be okay. You see, you need to understand what you are hoping for.  

And the question is, if you are hoping for something, then is there a Promise that has been given in order for you to have Hope?  But if you are hoping for something that is not a promise from God, then you actually don’t need biblical hope.  You don’t need hope where faith is the substance, what you need is ‘good luck’.  If you are hoping for something that is outside of God’s will and His power, a promise that doesn’t require God to do something miraculous, a promise that is impossible for you in your strength, power, education and skill sets to fulfill, then chances are you are hoping, wishing, dreaming, imagining something that is the desire of your heart and that is not necessarily from God. It’s okay, if you’ve got that kind of hope or you’ve got those kinds of things on your heart.

But let’s be clear about it. If the promise is not from God, you don’t need faith as the substance of a hope for something that God has promised to you.  You need to work hard. You need the education.  You need to give yourself to it. And eventually, over time you may get those things.  But we are not talking about what we want in the natural. We are talking about what God wants to give us that’s supernatural, that’s miraculous. You see, when God comes and does something in Malaysia, it will be miraculous!  It will not be something that you and I can take credit for. It won’t be something we can say we worked hard for.  Now, there is a lot of hard work to do. But we do not place our trust in our hard work to bring about the Kingdom of God. As we work, we trust God to do something that is greater than our work in and of itself.  Amen? So, let’s be clear about it today.

You know, how many times are people praying for something that’s not actually been promised to them by God.  And so they are using their faith, they are using prayer, they are trying to lay hold of something, O God, just give this to me.  And now, God loves us. We are His children. You know, if we ask Him for bread, He doesn’t give us a stone. He likes to bless us.  He likes to encourage us with good things. But let’s be clear about praying for revival for the nation. If that is what God has promised, then it’s going to be something that only God can do in and through us by His power so that when He does it, everybody will know it’s not us but it’s God! (to be continued)

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