Pastor Rick Warren of California's Saddleback Church, which celebrated 35 years of global impact Saturday, started a new sermon series on faith Sunday, listing several differences between seeing with the eyes of faith and the eyes of fear.
"Faith is seeing from God's point of view," Warren told the members as he started his sermon, titled, "Daring Faith: Key To Miracles," Sunday morning.
He quoted Romans 1:17, which reads: "The Gospel shows us how God makes people right with himself—that it begins and ends with faith. The Scripture says those who are right with God will live by trusting in Him."
Faith is not desire, although it may lead you to faith, he said, adding it's not psyching you up or a feeling either.
He read out Hebrews 11:1, "What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen and to be certain of things we do not yet see."
God wants to open our eyes of faith, he said.
Faith is about "things we do not see," Warren explained, and said it still has something to do with our vision. There are many ways of seeing or looking at something, he added, and what matters is how God sees things.
He quoted Ephesians 1:18, which states, "I pray that the eyes of your heart will be flooded with light so that you can see the wonderful future God has promised to those he called . . ."
There's an unseen realm in the world, which is more real than the seen realm, Warren told the congregants. The Bible says anything you see is temporary, and the things that last are unseen, he added.
In Numbers 13 and 14 in the Old Testament, Joshua and Caleb were part of a team of 12 who were sent to survey the Promised Land and report on whether it was feasible for all God's people to go there, Warren said, as an example. While the two said the land was ready for them to claim, the others looked only at problems and challenges saying the people who live there are much stronger and taller. "It's a magnificent land but the people living there are powerful, and their cities are fortified and large! What's more, we saw Anakim giants there!" (Numbers 13:27b-28)
The pastor then listed things that happen when we see with the eyes of fear.
We exaggerate our difficulty and we underestimate our own abilities, Warren said. "We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them." (Numbers 13:33)
We also get discouraged, we criticize and we give up and blame God, he added.
Pastor Warren then explained what happens when we see with the eyes of faith.
Faith shrinks my problem, he said. God is a big God who can work it out; there is nothing too hard for the Lord, he added.
Faith opens the door to miracles, Warren told the members, saying God does miracles even today. "Every time you stretch your faith, God does a miracle," he said, and quoted Mark 11:22-24: "Have faith in God! If you have faith in God and you don't doubt, you could tell this mountain to get up and jump into the sea, and it would. Whatever you ask for in prayer will be yours, IF you only have the faith."
Faith also moves God to act on our behalf, Pastor Warren added. He cautioned, however, that he doesn't believe in "health and wealth" spirituality. But as Mathew 9:29 says, "According to your faith it will be done to you."
Faith unlocks all the promises of God, and there are 7,000 promises listed in the Bible, the pastor said, reading out 2 Corinthians 1:20a: "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are all 'Yes' in Christ!"
When we have faith, God can do more than we can even dream of, Warren said. "Glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us, is able to do FAR MORE than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes!" (Ephesians 3:20)
Faith also gives us the power "to hold on in tough times," the pastor said. Faith takes you through the problem; it doesn't necessarily provide the solution to the problem, he added, and quoted 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we're not crushed and broken. We're perplexed, but we don't give up and quit. We're attacked but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up and keep going!"