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28th September 2014
As we celebrate the 40th birthday of King's Church Hastings today, what will give us confidence over the next 40 years? Christians are meant to have confidence, and not a confidence that ebbs away but that grows and grows. We are supposed to have confidence in God, confidence in His plans for us, and confidence in the Church.
The world defines confidence as loud and brash. The confidence that we're talking about is not being self-sufficient – it's not about me! You can be timid and feel that you lack confidence, but God floods us with a confidence that is a deep security that can be quiet and on the inside, but is full of certainty.
The confidence that Christians have doesn't look like the modern-day definition of confidence. Our confidence for the future rests on four things...
Firstly, we believe in an unchanging God: God is the same yesterday, today and forever. You see, whether my confidence is up or down, I believe in a God who is unchanging. He doesn't wake up in a bad mood and change His mind! It says in Malachi 3:6 that God does not change. We do. He does not. Everything is changing around us. People will let us down. But we build our lives on the God who is unchanging in His very nature.
And this God who doesn't change has come to dwell in my life. God is here and He promises to never leave us. Jesus said, "I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matt. 28:20) Abraham was confident in God because he was "fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised" (see Romans 4:21). Everywhere we go we put our feet on things that shake and move. But when we come to Jesus we find a firm foundation – a rock who doesn't move.
As Christians, our confidence doesn't come from within us, but from knowing the God who doesn't change.
Secondly, we have confidence because of the person of the Holy Spirit. When we read Acts chapters 1 and 2, we read about exactly the same people, but they have been radically changed. What has happened to them to make the difference? They have been given the Holy Spirit! And we are too. He is our helper, our fortifier, our empower. He is the confidence-giver. We can't live the Christian life in our own strength. If we keep being filled with the Spirit, we will grow in confidence.
Thirdly, we need to have a growing confidence in what Jesus is doing in His Church. There are lots of Christians who are happy with Jesus but they lack confidence in the Church. Can you love Jesus and not love His bride, the Church? Jesus wants you to love His bride, too. If we're disillusioned with the Church, Jesus isn't, because He is the One building His Church!
My confidence in the Church comes from knowing that the One who said He'd build it and the gates of hell won't prevail against it is perfectly able to do what He said He'd do! Whatever our experience of Church has been, be confident in the One who is doing the work. Invest you time, energy, money, service into the Church, because it's the most exciting thing happening on the earth! And it will endure for all eternity.
Finally, we need to be confident in the gospel. As the apostle Paul wrote: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..." (Romans 1:16-17) Paul is very confident in the gospel. But today we are in a confidence crisis. Sometimes people ridicule us and laugh at us or are offended by us. Sometimes we don't see the results of the gospel. This can lead us to lose hope and back off.
But it is God's will for us to have a growing confidence in the gospel. The message we have has the power to change people's lives! No other message can radically transform people at the root of their being. Where would you be if it wasn't for the gospel? It can work for your family, your friends, strangers you met... Revelation comes when we speak out this message. Nowhere is too hard for the gospel. Let's not make excuses. A hard, secular society is a great place to be, as we'll get to see what the power of the gospel can accomplish!
To download the sermon on 'what makes you confident?' click here.
Posted by David Holden