Monday, July 21, 2008

Kainos--Owning the Faith Part 3

Kainos is a group for young adults at Believers Fellowship.

We have been going through a study called “Owning the Faith” based on the Book of Galatians. Some studies suggest that 80% of kids raised in the church will leave the church when they hit 18. Why is that? One reason is because many of them don’t “own their faith”—their faith is something that they inherited from their parents, not something they embrace for themselves. In our series called Owning the Faith we have been talking about we can make our faith our own.

Last time, Johnny shared about the power of our faith story. This week, we looked at Paul’s journey of “owning the faith.” We were in Galatians 2:1–10.

After a review of where we were to this point, I asked three questions of the group based on Galatians 2:1–10:

How did the other apostles know that Paul’s faith was legitimate?
Verse 9 says that the apostles “perceived the grace that had been given to him.” Peter, James and John couldn’t deny the work that God was doing in and through Paul. He was a radically different man, and people were coming to faith because of it.

So, we said that one key to owning your faith is that your faith has to “work” for you. There are some things that you believe because people have told you that they are true. There are other things that you believe because you’ve tested them and they “work.” The things that work for you are the things you own. So, we have to be willing to take risks with our faith—to test out the things that we believe so that we walk away with greater confidence in them.

What significant event happened in Jerusalem that put Paul’s faith to the test?
Verses 1–3 talk about the attempt to get Titus circumcised. Paul says in verse 2 that he was afraid that he had run in vain. Why would he be afraid of that? He didn’t know how James, John, and Peter were going to respond to his ministry. If they came down hard against him and compelled Titus to be circumcised, it would nullify all of the work that he had been doing to that time. Nevertheless, Paul was not afraid to risk testing his faith.

So, we said that another key to “owning the faith” is asking hard questions. We’ve created a subculture where there are a lot of questions that are “out of bounds”—Is the Bible really true? Is Jesus really the only way? What’s the deal with Hell? We can’t be afraid to ask hard questions. If we ignore the problems, they aren’t going away. If we ask the tough ones, we’ll walk away with more confidence in what we truly believe. Whatever doesn’t kill our faith will only make it stronger.

What happened between Paul’s conversion and his trip to Jerusalem?
In short, time. Verse one starts, “Then after fourteen years . . .” A significant part of owning the faith is giving yourself enough time to digest what troubles you.
So, that being said, any comments about owning the faith? What are some hard questions that are often out of bounds? Any stories of putting your faith to the test?

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