Series B Pentecost 4
“Walking in the Dark”
"For we walk by faith, not by sight"
July 9, 2000
2 Corinthians 5:7

INTRODUCTION: In our text for this morning St. Paul tells us in simple words:  “ For we walk by faith, not by sight.  (v. 7.) What does that sentence mean?   Since Jesus has ascended, we walk on earth without the sight of the human Jesus.  Paul says that as long as we live in this physical body, we are apart from Christ.  Thus, Paul wishes he could die, for that would mean that he would be with the Master. If Christ were physically here, we would live in sight of him.  BUT since Christ can not be seen with the naked eye, we must walk our Christian way by faith.  Just what does this mean to the Christian today?

These are profound words!  In this phrase Paul reminds us that faith is for this world, and sight is reserved for the other world.  It is our duty, and will be our interest, to walk by faith, till we come to live by sight in glory. Let’s consider what it means to walk by faith in this world.

  1. When Paul says that we walk by faith, there is a given, and that is that we must have faith in the first place. Now what is faith? The writer to the Hebrews explains to us:  “Now faith is the assurance of {things} hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

In the life of the Christian faith and hope go together; and the same thing that is the object of our hope is the object of our faith. That object of faith and hope is the Savior Jesus Christ.  Faith is a firm conviction and an expectation that God will perform all that He has promised to us in Christ. In other words, to have faith is to take God at His Word.  To have faith is to have the conviction that God can be trusted because of who He is and what He has done. This conviction is so strong that it gives the soul a kind of quiet confidence that can not be found any place else in this world.

Transition: Faith finds its focus in the words and promises of Christ. Where there is faith there is a confidence that God will act for us. That’s what courage is all about.  That’s what it means to walk by faith and not by sight. 

  1. To have faith is to have courage – courage to act in the light of faith. It's easy to walk by faith when there is a clear direction.  It’s another thing to venture forth in faith when there appears to be little or no direction.

Illustration:  This past week there was an official report that gave the findings to the airplane crash of John Kennedy Jr.  What the report said was that Kennedy became disoriented in the haze over the ocean and crashed his aircraft into the sea.  A week and a half ago our family vacationed on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  After an afternoon thunderstorm, as we looked out over the horizon, it was difficult to determine where the clouds and water separated.  It was one giant hazy soup. 

How difficult it is at times to see the future.  It takes courage to trust God when everything about us seems so uncertain.  The report determined that the crash of the Kennedy aircraft was due in part to pilot error. John Kennedy Jr. trusted his own abilities; which eventually failed him, rather then trusting his instruments which could have saved him.  His instruments would have told him that he was in danger.  His good sense is what got him into trouble. We walk by faith and not by sight!

What is our instrument panel?  The conventional wisdom of this age says that you should trust yourself and make your own decisions.  The Scriptures, on the other hand, remind us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). The Psalmist reminds us “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105) So often we would like the light in the lamp to be a floodlight which brightens up the sky all around us.  Yet, we have not been guaranteed that the light would burn as bright as we would like. Often that light which leads us is only but a small beam that can illumine just a few feet at best. God has promised that He will guide and lead us.  He has promised that He will direct our path. The direction He gives us is always correct and yet, He has never promised that we could see the future.  We must say with the hymn writer “I need Thy presence every passing hour!” (TLH #552 stanza 6)    

  1. To walk by faith is to have hope – for a solution to our problems, for better days ahead.

So often, Lord, it strikes me how difficult it is following you from afar. You are in heaven while we scrabble through our earthly lives. How I long to see You with my own eyes, to hear your voice for the first time! I envy the disciples who followed you through the dusty streets of Capernaum. They could touch your cloak, see your face. They knew the tone of your voice, whether you laughed or winked at the little children. Yet all I have is the Word spoken and read. When life becomes challenging, when my faith seems to waver you seem so distant.

(Jesus:) 'Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." (John 20.29)

Forgive me, Lord, but it all seems so unnecessary! You have died and risen. You ascended to the right hand of the Father. Why could you not stay on earth with Your Church? We need You here now as much as when you walked this planet. Why did you leave your Church on earth?

(Jesus:) in My Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.' (John 14.2)

But we feel so alone. We are like orphans.

(Jesus:) I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.... because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you.' (John 14.18)

Your comfort is great, Lord Jesus. To know that the Father loves us, that you have sent Your Spirit to comfort and to teach us, even to preach the Gospel through our frail voices. You assure us You are for us. Grant us strength to tell the Good News that God is for us. Help us always to walk in the truth Your Spirit imparts to us. Help us ever to keep at least one eye heavenward as we await Your return. By Your very words we believe you will come again for us. Come quickly, Jesus. We long to see You with our own eyes, to hear You speak with our own ears.

(Jesus:) Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14.27)...''I am going...to prepare a place for you. And if I go...I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am. (John 14.2b-3)

That, my friend, is what it means to walk by faith and not by sight!  Amen.

Credit to Pr. Jeff Henry, Pastor of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Huntington, WV for the third major section of this sermon…it is an excerpt from his Ascension Day sermon delivered at Our Redeemer on June 1, 2000

+ Soli Deo Gloria +