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BEYOND THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT: A Dave Kauffman Sermonette

Each year at Passover season we return to the admonition of Paul to Examine yourselves as to whether you be IN the Faith (II Cor. 13:5). What does it mean, being IN the Faith? Can you be OUT, and think you are IN? I wonder HOW MANY are now on the OUTSIDE merely looking IN and ASUMMING that they are STILL clothed in righteousness? Do you STILL HAVE Righteous garments, or are you a Christian Empty Suit? NOW, is the time to CHALLENGE ASSUMPSIONS, the consequences of ASSUMING in this category are DIRE (Matt 8:8-12). Those folks in the end that find themselves on the OUTSIDE (Matt 8:12) had ASSUMPTIONS that they were still IN the Faith They had Examined themselves each year as we do now and saw NOTHING wrong. ASSUMPTIONS in this case can cost you EVERYTHING. YOU NEED TO BE IN THE FAITH BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT! HOW could you make a WRONG assumption regarding FAITH? Lets review FAITH. Faith is the substance of things HOPED FOR, and the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN. (Heb. 11:1) We HOPE for and have FAITH in many things. I HOPE, and have FAITH that my car will start. I go out, and turn the key the EVIDENCE of my Faith is that it DOES. My Faith now turns to having Faith that Ill get to work on time, and when I do, THAT becomes the EVIDENCE of my Faith. WE DEMONSTRATE FAITH ALL THE TIME. Yet, Faith in God seems to elude us. This is COUNTER-intuitive. WHICH is MORE reliable, my car, or God? WHICH does NOT change; my car, or God? WHY is it that I have MORE Faith that my car will start, than I have Faith in Gods promises? THIS, is a REAL poser, getting our arms around this SHOULD be easy, but it eludes the majority. HOW is it possible to MISS the MOST IMPORTANT Faith of all? Its possible, when people set their OWN parameters. I FIND what I expect to find when I tell MYSELF the things to EXPECT. I FULFILL MY EXPECTATIONS. It is no longer the Faith ONCE delivered, it is the Faith of SELFexpectations. I, rather than God have become the dictator of Faiths parameters. I FIND what I EXPECT, because I am now the one setting the rules. I say WHICH promises are VALID, and WHICH are NOT. I do NOT take God at His Word. I essentially make God, in MY image. I look at a CLEAR promise of God in Scripture; I then RE-interpret the Scripture to MY EXPECTATIONS. When Scripture FAILS (Isa. 34:16, Lam. 3 20-23), it was only doing what I EXPECTED. I then BUILD upon THAT, a God that may, or may NOT be there for me; a God thats not always reliable. The EVIDENCES of Gods FAILURES surround me, therefore I EXPECT God to FAIL, and I plan accordingly. I live a life LACKING Faith in God, the Faith ONCE delivered.

What FAITH did Abraham, the FATHER of the Faithful (Rom. 4:16) have? Do we HAVE what he HAD? Abraham, BELIEVED GOD (James 2:23); Abraham DEMONSTRATED his Faith in what he DID. Abrahams ACTIONS became the EVIDENCE of his Faith. Had Abraham merely sat there in Ur, making CLAIMS to Faith, his Faith would have been DEAD (James 2:17). God CALLED Abraham then God gave Abraham things to DO. Abraham DID. Abraham did NOT set his OWN parameters. Abraham BELIEVED God; he did not merely BELIEVE that he BELIEVED, his belief MATCHED actions. Abraham made NO SELF-assumptions. Abraham had Faith IN God, and NOT Faith IN a SELF conceived assumption. No reasoning, no excuses, no intellectual discussion Abraham WENT. FAITH IS A TWO WAY STREET. God calls us IN Faith. Gods Faith goes OUT towards us. We RETURN HIS FAITH in doing those things HE GAVE us to DO. We can NOT return to God something different. We can NOT return to God OUR SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS. If you buy something at Wal-Mart you can NOT return something DIFFERENT expecting your money back. It has to be what CAME from the store. God gave us The Faith ONCE delivered (Jude 1:3), we have to RETURN THAT Faith; the traffic on the TWO WAY Street of Faith HAS TO MATCH. God called Abraham with HIS (Gods) expectations in mind. God HAD Faith IN Abraham. Abraham fulfilled GODS expectations showing GODS FAITH RETURNED (Gen, 22:12). Abraham HAD Faith IN God. It was the SAME FAITH, it matched. The Faith going OUT (delivered) from God MATCHED the ACTIONS RETURNED to God. God accepts the fact that we are fallible human beings (for the moment), but when it comes to being IN the Faith, He can accept NO deviations. We RETURN what was DELIVERED. God has a strict RETURN policy on all items purchased (I Cor. 7:23) Lets NOT force God to call Store security (Matt 13:42). There was a man that once tried to RETURN something DIFFERENT to God, that man was Saul (I Sam 13:13). WHY did Saul NOT make the list of the Faithful? Saul was given something to DO to DEMONSTRATE His Faith; Saul tried to RETURN Faith of HIS OWN parameters. Saul LOST his seat at the table because his ACTIONS did not MATCH. God had called Saul IN Faith (I Sam. 9:17). Saul tried to RETURN something that was NOT IN Faith. Saul had DOUBTED Gods word (via Samuel), and had TAKEN ACTIONS DEMONSTRATEING THAT DOUBT. Saul had FAITH given to him at his calling, and in the end tried to RETURN DOUBT. What Saul DEMONSTRATED was essentially a FALSE ACCUSATION. Gods Word (via Samuel) said God would DO ONE thing, Sauls ACTIONS libeled God; it libeled God in that God would NOT act according to promise DELIVERED. Therefore Saul took matters into his OWN hands, ACTIONS built on DOUBT. You cannot sow DOUBT and expect RIGHTEOUSNESS to grow.

God MADE Saul King. IF God made Saul King WHAT can UN-make that??? So, every action Saul took in order to RETAIN Kingship, and HIS position over the people DEMONSTRATED his LACK of Faith that God can KEEP the initial promise (I Sam 9:17, & 21) made to him. So, EVERY step Saul made to KEEP the Kingship actually DIS-qualified him for it. Every move Saul made TOWARD his goal was in reality met with an EQUAL move AWAY from that goal. He LOST what he sought to RETAIN, because it was NOT done IN Faith (Luke 9:24). Some of us in the Church of God NEED to THINK about this. Are some actually preparing ourselves OUT of the Kingdom of God? Are some being like Saul, trying to RETAIN that initial promise and DIS-qualifying ourselves for it in the process?? Remember, those who cry Lord, Lord (Matt. 7:21-23) thought everything was just fine. Gods Word was GIVEN to Saul IN Faith, Saul RETURNED DOUBT. This is a FRAUDULENT FORM of Faith based on SELF-expectations, Faith built on a FALSE premise of OUR expectations, OUR parameters. FAITH and ACTIONS have to MATCH. We can NOT RETURN something DIFFERENT to God. What Saul tried to perpetuate was FRAUD! When you think about it. WHY was God so seemingly harsh? This was a FINAL act of a life that started with the Faith ONCE delivered at his calling (I Sam. 9:17, 10:1), but then later was BUILT on DOUBT. DOUBT leads to ACTIONS that LIBEL God, and LIBEL (in word or actions) is a FRAUDULENT ACCUSATION about God. When we take ACTIONS into our OWN hand, we state by our ACTIONS that God can NOT deliver as promised. OUR ACTIONS state a FALSE, FRAUDULENT ACCUSATION against God. We may not Libel God in WORD, but we Libel God in DEED. When God makes a CLEAR promise, and YOU take ACTIONS based upon YOUR EXPECTATION, rather than CLEAR INSTRUCTION, you are trying to RETURN to God something He NEVER GAVE; That is FRAUD! This was FRAUD on Sauls part, pure and simple, perpetuated in front of the Nation! God had NO CHOICE but to REMOVE the man. (SECURITY, Have this man REMOVED, he is perpetuating FRAUD upon the store, hes trying to RETURN something NOT purchased here!!!God) Saul was to REPRESENT GOD (I Sam 10:1) to the Nation. Saul was supposed to be a REPRESENTATION of Gods promise (I Sam. 17-27). Sauls actions continuously demonstrated (I Sam. 12:14) Faith in SELF, which is DOUBT of God. Here is Gods promise, I DOUBT that God can deliver, so here is the ACTION I will take. DOUBT led to LIBEL which led to FRAUD (I Sam. 15:10-13 & 20). Saul was now A FRAUD, and left God with NO CHOICE (I Sam. 12:25).

SEEDS of DOUBT are planted when we QUESTION CLEAR INTRUCTIONS from God. This is something that Satan has been using from the beginning, Did God REALLY say (Gen 3:1). Questioning God and His instructions (via APOSTLES & Prophets) is something Abraham did NOT do, but Saul did. Once we question we ALLOW ourselves room to make deviations in the parameters based on OUR view of the situation, as if we seemingly know something that God doesnt (Ps 73:11). IF God only knew such and so He would want me to take THIS action, even though He gave CLEAR instructions to the contrary. Saul RE-defined what he was GIVEN to DO, Abraham did NOT. Think about this: The Spirit given to you at conversion, WILL, grow. It MUST GROW. It can NOT lay dormant long. You take a seed and sprout it, and allow it to grow for a period of time. Then you put a cup over top of it, it wont die immediately, it will yellow, shrink, wilt. If that cup REMAINS over top that seedling, it will EVENTUALLTY DIE, and you can NOT RE-sprout it (Heb. 6:6). But if you REMOVE that cup while that seedling is STILL alive, within a few days the GROWTH PROCESS returns. This is what happened to Saul his Faith had withered to the point where he couldnt even pray FOR HIMSELF (I Sam. 15:25). And THIS is the URGENCY behind Davids prayer, Take NOT your Spirit from me (Ps. 51:10, Mal 2:15). Im SURE when David made that statement he had Saul VERY much in mind. David KNEW how he became King, and he had watched Sauls downfall UP CLOSE (I Sam 16:23). His prayer was that he NOT suffer that same fate. It was a RETURN TO The Faith ONCE delivered. We have to RETURN (Ez. 18:23, Hos 14:1&7, Mal. 3:7) to THAT Faith. That Faith will NOT remain dormant (Luke 22:32, Matt 24:12) long and it will NOT chase us down. The OPPOSITE of Faith is DOUBT. You can NOT return DOUBT to God (Matt 21:21). Faith is BELIEVING God will fulfill HIS assertions, expectations, and promises. DOUBT leans toward OUR OWN understanding (Prov. 3:5), OUR expectations. DOUBT of God is a RE-defining of the Faith and promise that was ONCE delivered along OUR parameters. This is making God in YOUR image, and LIKENESS. (Deut. 4:16) Be careful in thinking that you are Close to God. You may very well be Close to god. You may be Close to the god that is in YOUR image, and NOT the God that called you initially. You may be growing IN the Faith of YOUR expectations. You may be growing IN Faith but in reality growing OUT of THE Faith. DOUBT leads toward Faith IN ourselves, OUR abilities to fulfill OUR VERSION of His assertions, expectations, promises. I DOUBT God; so I RE-write the rules with parameters that I have Faith IN myself to fulfill; OUR OWN FAITH IS DEVOID OF GOD. It SHOWS that we do NOT KNOW God, leaving God with NO CHOICE but to RETURN to us I DONT KNOW you (Luke 13:27).

Again, we can NOT return something that is NOT His. God does NOT DOUBT Himself, so we can NOT DOUBT God. God RETURNS IN MEASURE (Mark 4:24) the Faith we give Him. If we LIE, or try to perpetuate FRAUD to God, He can NOT RETURN THAT, as God can NOT LIE (I Sam 15:29). We can NOT be IN while LIVING a LIE, and being OUT. Lies sent out to God will be RETURNED as unopened DEAD letters (Ps 66:18). We all waver (Heb. 10:23), and our Faith sometimes fails us like it did to Peter on the water (Matt 14:29). Its the LIBEL that gets us in trouble, when the DOUBT BECOMES LIBEL. Everyone in the boat KNEW where the FAILURE lay, it was Peters failure, NOT Gods. It was when Peter DOUBTED that he began to sink. But, Peter NEVER made the ACCUSATION in word or ACTION that it could NOT be done. DOUBT never became a LIBEL. LIBEL, is VERY serious. You can NOT remain IN the Faith, while LIBELING God. (Websters: LIBEL: A malicious writing or representation which brings its object into contempt or exposes Him to public derision) Peter had a FAILURE of Faith, yet REMAINED IN the Faith. In Sauls case he LIBELED God in word and action (I Sam 15:13), this put him finally on the OUTSIDE, so far OUTSIDE that he could not even pray for himself. The SEED of Faith given to him at conversion was now DEAD. FRAUD brought on by DOUBT is SIN. Whatsoever is NOT of Faith is SIN (Romans 14:23). BOTH Faith and DOUBT lead us to PERFORM ACTIONS demonstrating to God what is IN us. What is IN us has to be what was DELIVERED. The Faith ONCE delivered at conversion has to GROW (Eph. 4:15, II Pet 3:18). We are CONTINUALLY RETURNING THE FAITH He gives us in GROWING proportions. And for this growth we are to use Gods measuring stick not our own (Jer. 30:11, Matt 4:24, Luke 6:38 II Cor. 10:13) Reliance on SELF created by a DOUBT in God is a FALSE MEASURE (Lev. 19:35). An equal exchange is a JUST transaction. Fraudulent exchanges come from FALSE Measures, this is UNRIGHTEOUSNESS IN JUDGMENT. Once the SURE measure of what was GIVEN to us is cast into DOUBT, we have nothing left but our own INDIVIDUAL MEASURES. Think on this, can there EVER be Church UNITY when each of us is carrying about a DIFFERENT measuring stick??? Can there be Church Unity when each is defining doctrines u sing their OWN understanding (Prov. 15:32, Prov. 3:5)? Without a common denominator God is left standing OUTSIDE (Rev 3:20). When each is using their OWN measuring stick thats the EVIDENCE that Gods MEASURE has been rejected.

God calls us all IN the Faith. He calls us all IN the SAME Faith. God is the one setting the parameters of THAT Faith. God has DEFINED the rules, the MEASURE of THAT Faith, THIS Faith is what was ONCE delivered to us. We have to RETURN THAT. We can NOT RE-define it. We make God a LIAR if we do. God can NOT lie, and so the ONLY liar in the room is US, and liars will NOT make the Kingdom (Rev. 21:8). God gave Saul something to DO. Saul claimed he DID. One of the two was a FRAUD. God gives us things to DO, are we a DOER (James 1:23-25) of the Word? OR, are we CLAIMING we DID, building upon a DOUBT of that Word. Are we who were ONCE called IN Faith, now on the OUTSIDE because we, like Saul, have now become a FRAUD? The UNITY of the Faith (Eph. 4:13) is WITHIN everyone that has RETAINED what was ONCE delivered. There can be NO Unity if each is RE-defining what they were given. Wherever you see DIS-Unity within the Church of God you see the CLEAR EVIDENCE of a LACK, or waning of, or a RE-defining the Faith ONCE delivered. For Unity there is causation so it is for DIS-Unity. These things just do not happen unannounced in a vacuum. There is provocation for both. For every SHADOW, there has to be SOMETHING that has CAUSED that SHADOW. SHADOWS do not just happen there is something to CAUSE it. SHADOWS provide EVIDENCE of something being there to CAUSE the SHADOW they give EVIDENCE of something GREATER (Heb. 8:5, Col. 2:17) What God gave us at conversion carried with it a SHADOW of the good things to come (Heb. 10:1) SHADOWS GIVE EVIDENCE OF WHAT IS THERE. As, we know in THIS world as the Sun moves, so MOVES the SHADOW. BUT, the Faith ONCE delivered CAN NOT MOVE (James 1:17). God called us IN the Faith which carried with it a SHADOW (Isa. 49:2). We remain WITHIN the Faith by RETURNING the Faith given to us. God has Faith in OUR promise, we have Faith in HIS. There can be NO RE-definition once the agreement is made. At Passover season we RENEW and RE-EVAL THAT agreement. We MEASURE THAT agreement with the MEASURE that came WITH it.

Folks, you can NOT go changing your bet once the die has been cast. At Conversion at Baptism, we cast our lot TOWARD God and HIS WAY, we can NOT go pulling it TOWARD OUR WAY now. The AGREEMENT/COVENANT made THEN, has NOT changed. Passover is the time to EXAMINE, to RENEW the ORIGINAL AGREEMENT. Its like pulling an ORIGINAL signed LEGAL document out of a file folder and CHECKING the stipulations. Have we RENIGED on any parts? God will not RENIG on HIS part, but we fall short and DO, therefore we RENEW it each year. We signed it God signed it, IT IS LEGAL. (Ex 19:5, Ex 24:7, Lev. 26:15ff, Deut. 4:23, Deut. 7:9, Deut. 31:26, Heb. 10:16, Heb. 10:29) It is a little late now to go questioning, DOUBTING that LEGAL AGREEMENT, whether all or in part. Too late to change stipulations, YOU SIGNED IT! God will fulfill His end of the bargain, we MUST fulfill ours. (Deut. 7:12) Gods FAITH has gone out! It is DELIVERED TOWARD us and OUR PROMISE, Gods EXPECTATIONS (Ps 17:15) of Children in HIS IMAGE!! We RETURN that FAITH, the FAITH ONCE DELIVERED, by RENEWING that LEGAL AGREEMENT each year. We RETURN that FAITH by fulfilling Gods expectations, by gradual process BECOMING IN HIS IMAGE. Eventually BECOMING the VERY IMAGE of God, THAT is the MYSTERY OF GOD (Mark 4:11, Rom 11:25, Rom 16:29, I Cor. 2:7-8, Rev 10:7) THE - FAITH ONCE DELIVERED! (Col. 1:27-28) Faith is a TWO way street if we have RETURNED a SHADOW of a DOUBT to God, Then God now has a SHADOW of a DOUBT about us. Do you have REAL Faith built upon Gods promises? Or, have you taken Gods Word given to us by His APOSTLES & Prophets RE-defined it to suit YOUR MEASURE, YOUR standards, YOUR parameters, YOUR understanding, the imaginations of YOUR heart? It is Gods GOAL to make Man in HIS LIKENESS, NOT the reverse. At this Passover season ask yourself are you STILL IN THE FAITH? Have your RETAINED the COVENANT OF OUR PROMISE---THE Faith ONCE delivered? Are you IN the Faith BEYOND