Sunday's Sermon (Print Copy)

 

"Walk by Faith, Not by Sight"

 by Pastor Wayne

June 13, 2021 - Pentecost 3 - B

 

Sermon text: “So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord – for we walk by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5:6-7

 

I wish I could see what my retirement will be like.

I wish I could see what it will be like

            not to have my regular pastoral duties.

I wish I could see what health problems

            I will face as I get older.

I wish I could see what new ministries

            of which I will be a part.

I wish I could see what congregation

            will be my new church family.

Yes, I wish I could see what my retirement will be like.

 

I imagine that you are wishing

            that you could see into the future as well.

Perhaps you wish that you could see

            who will be your new interim pastor.

Perhaps you wish that you could see

            what it will be like here at Salem without me.

Perhaps you wish that you could see

            if we are for sure past the pandemic

                  and that everything will soon get back to normal.

Perhaps you wish that you could see

            how things will be in your work, family and neighborhood

                  in the next year.

 

Yes, there are many things in the future

                  that we wish we could see and know for sure.

Of course, seeing into the future is impossible.

We may have our dreams and hope for what the future will bring,

            but none of us can see in the future with any real clarity.

We cannot even see, for sure, what tomorrow will bring!

For we who are wrestling with questions about the future

            we have some very encouraging words

                  in our second Bible reading for today.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote:

      “So we are always confident;

      even though we know that while we are at home in the body

                        we are away from the Lord –

            for we walk by faith, not by sight.”

We walk by faith, not by sight!

 

Most all of you here today have good physical eyesight.

So when our worship service is over this morning,

            you will be able to see and find your way back home.

But now imagine if you had very poor eyesight or were blind.

How would you ever get home?

Well, obviously, you would have to depend on someone else.

You would have to depend on somebody that you could trust

                  to lead you out of the church building,

                        through the parking lot and then drive you home.

With poor vision, you would really have to depend on others.

 

Trusting someone else to lead us

            is what being a Christian is all about.

It is as Paul put it: “we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Not being able to see what the future will bring

            we are to have faith that God will lead us.

So putting our complete faith in God, we are to…

                  walk by faith, not by sight.

 

Of course, we would prefer walking by sight.

Just as we who have physical sight prefer being independent

                  and making our own way home today from church.

We much prefer doing that on our own.

We would not like depending on someone else to take us home.

Our human tendency then is to walk by sight.

Because if we can walk by sight, then we can go as we please.

If we can walk by sight, then we have the assurance

                  that we can take care of ourselves

                        and not depend on anyone else.

One person in the Bible who wanted to walk by sight

            was the disciple Thomas.

He wouldn’t believe Jesus was alive again

            unless he could see Jesus with his own eyes.

The risen Lord soon did appear to Thomas

                  and then Thomas finally did believe.

But Jesus also said to Thomas:

      “Have you believed because you have seen me?

      Blessed are those who have not seen

                  and yet have come to believe.”

 

On the other hand there was Abraham.

He was a man who often did walk by faith.

God had told Abraham to leave his home

                  and go to a new land.

Later it was written about Abraham in the book of Hebrews:

      “By faith Abraham, when called to go to the place

                        he would later receive as his inheritance,

            obeyed and went,

                  even though he did not know where he was going.”

                      (Hebrews 11:8)

Throughout his life, Abraham often walked by faith.

Even when he couldn’t see the results or see the answers,

            he simply trusted that God would take care of him.

And God also did.

 

We also need to walk by faith…

            faith not in our selves…

            faith not in our family or friends…

            faith not in our money or possessions…

            faith not in our own abilities….

                  but faith simply in God and in God alone.

Our faith needn’t be big.

In fact, faith the size of a mustard seed is all that is needed.

 

On a wall in the Hesed House in Aurora there is a quote

            from Martin Luther King, Jr. that says:

      “Faith is taking the first step

                  even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Of course, we can never “see” the whole staircase.

We can never even “see” the next several steps

                  or even the next step.

Nevertheless, we move forward with faith in God.

This is what it means to “walk by faith, and not by sight.”

“Faith is taking the first step

            even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

 

Looking back on my life, I now realize

            that the most difficult times in my life

      were the times when I attempted to walk by sight.

I wanted to see the outcome of a difficult situation.

I wanted to see what I should do.

I wanted to see if the situation made any sense at all.

I wanted to see, but could not.

Attempting to walk by sight will always sooner or later

            lead to a dead-end –

                  filling us with despair over a lot of questions

                        for which we cannot see the answers.

Rather than walking by sight, we need to be walking by faith…

            moving ahead trusting that somehow and in some way

                  God will guide us and take care of us.

 

Attempting to walk by sight is often difficult,

            because we are attempting to walk on our own,

                  without trusting God to lead and direct us.

We should rather walk by faith…

      walk by faith – God will go with us…

      walk by faith – God will provide for us…

      walk by faith – God will always love us…

      walk by faith – God will see us through the storm…

      walk by faith – God will take us to his heavenly home…

God’s Word to us today is clear:

            we are to… “walk by faith, not by sight.”

 

Amen.

 

Amen.