John Bunyon - Living Upon God Who is Invisible

Steve Viars October 22, 2017 2 Corinthians 1 & 4
Outline

 “Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.” John Piper

Romans 12:15 - Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

2 Corinthians 1:9 - We had this sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God that raiseth the dead.

“By this scripture I was made to see that if ever I would suffer rightly, I must first pass a sentence of death upon every thing that can be properly called a thing of this life, even to reckon myself, my wife, my children, my health, my enjoyment, and all, as dead to me, and myself as dead to them. The second was, to live upon God that is invisible, as Paul said in another place; the way not to faint, is to "look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” John Bunyan

Every English household that owned a Bible also owned the famous allegory. Eventually, it became the bestselling book (apart from the Bible) in publishing history.

3 potential benefits of suffering

I. Trials Can Bring Us to the End of Ourselves

2 Corinthians 1:9 - …so that we would not trust in ourselves.

A. From Scripture

2 Corinthians 6:11 - Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide.

2 Corinthians 11:23-27 - …in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

B. From John Bunyan

“We came together as poor as poor might be, not having so much household-stuff as a dish or spoon betwixt us both."

“I had few equals, especially considering my years…for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of God…I was the very ringleader of all the youth that kept me company, in all manner of vice and ungodliness.”

“As I walk’d through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a Den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a Dream. I dreamed, and behold I saw a man cloathed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a Book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the Book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying What shall I do?”

“I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, ‘The same yesterday, today, and forever’…Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed.  I was loosed from my afflictions and irons; my temptations also fled away…now went I also home rejoicing for the grace and love of God.” Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

C. For you

D. For our church

II. Trials Can Help Us Put Things in Their Proper Perspective

A. From Scripture

2 Corinthians 1:9 - …indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves…

2 Corinthians 4:18 - …for the things which are seen are temporal…

B. From John Bunyan

“His popularity as a powerful lay preacher exploded. The extent of his work grew. ‘When the country understood that…the tinker had turned preacher,’ John Brown tells us, ‘they came to hear the word by hundreds, and that from all parts.’ Charles Doe, a comb maker in London, said (later in Bunyan's life), ‘Mr. Bunyan preached so New Testament-like he made me admire and weep for joy, and give him my affections.’ In the days of toleration, a day's notice would get a crowd of 1200 to hear him preach at 7:00 o'clock in the morning on a weekday…The greatest Puritan theologian and contemporary of Bunyan, John Owen, when asked by King Charles why he, a great scholar, went to hear an uneducated tinker preach said, ‘I would willingly exchange my learning for the tinker's power of touching men's hearts.’" John Piper

“Would he stop preaching?"

"My lord, he dares not leave off preaching as long as he can speak."

"What is the need of talking?"

"There is need for this, my lord, for I have four small children that cannot help themselves, of which one is blind, and we have nothing to live upon but the charity of good people."

Matthew Hale with pity asks if she really has four children being so young.

"My lord, I am but mother-in-law to them, having not been married to him yet full two years. Indeed, I was with child when my husband was first apprehended; but being young and unaccustomed to such things, I being dismayed at the news, fell into labor, and so continued for eight days, and then was delivered; but my child died."

Hale was moved, but other judges were hardened and spoke against him. "He is a mere tinker!"

"Yes, and because he is a tinker and a poor man, therefore he is despised and cannot have justice."

One Mr. Chester is enraged and says that Bunyan will preach and do as he wishes.

"He preacheth nothing but the word of God!" she says.

Mr. Twisden, in a rage: "He runneth up and down and doeth harm."

"No, my lord, it is not so; God hath owned him and done much good by him."

The angry man: "His doctrine is the doctrine of the devil."

She: "My lord, when the righteous Judge shall appear, it will be known that his doctrine is not the doctrine of the devil!"

"Elizabeth Bunyan was simply an English peasant woman: could she have spoken with more dignity had she been a crowned queen?"

By this scripture I was made to see that if ever I would suffer rightly, I must first pass a sentence of death upon every thing that can be properly called a thing of this life, even to reckon myself, my wife, my children, my health, my enjoyment, and all, as dead to me, and myself as dead to them.

“If nothing will do unless I make of my conscience a continual butchery and slaughter shop…I have determined, the Almighty God being my help and shield, yet to suffer, if frail life might continue so long, even till the moss shall grow on mine eyebrows, rather than thus to violate my faith and principles.”

C. For you

D. For our church

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

III. Trials Can Help Us “Live upon God Who is Invisible”

A. From Scripture

2 Corinthians 4:18 - …while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

B. From John Bunyan

“George Whitefield said of The Pilgrim's Progress, ‘It smells of the prison. It was written when the author was confined in Bedford jail. And ministers never write or preach so well as when under the cross: the Spirit of Christ and of Glory then rests upon them.’" John Piper

C. For you

“Bless you, prison, for having been in my life!” Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956, Vol. 2 (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), 615-17.

D. For our church

- One of the marvelous characteristics of biblical Christianity is that it provides a compelling and comprehensive lens through which to view and respond to suffering…  

- and when I mention that word, for our purposes this morning, we’re thinking about it in at least three ways:

1. The low grade suffering we all face because of the disappointments of life in a fallen world…

- why do you put 12 socks in the dryer and only 11 come out?

- and that’s an attempt at humor – but no one here this morning is a stranger to disappointment…

- John Piper sent out this tweet a couple of years ago that I think summarizes the point well – Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be.  Grieve the losses.  Then wash your face.  Trust God.  And embrace the life you have.Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.

2. There are also those among us who are facing episodes of more acute and significant suffering.

- that’s part of being in a church family…along with our own families and other relationships…

- Paul told the Romans to Romans 12:15 - Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

- our hearts break with news of brothers and sisters who are walking through deep and difficult waters…and that’s always the case within our church family…and it might be part of your story today…

3. Then there’s the opportunities for ministry that suffering provides…

- so when we hear about  hurricanes and floods in the Caribbean and Florida and Texas, and a mass shooting in Las Vegas, and wildfires in CA…

- or poverty and crime and violence or rising drug use in our own community…all tied to suffering in one, way, shape or form….

- it’s not long from when followers of Jesus Christ hear of such things till when our hearts are asking…Lord, how can I serve…how can I pray…what need can I meet in your name and for your glory?...

- I know of a man whose mother and younger sister died within 30 days of one another when he was 15 years old…

- his father remarried within a month and brought great heartache to the family…

- this man was drafted into military service at age 16 and taken away from his home and all that was familiar. 

- one night another soldier took his place as a sentinel and was shot in the head and died.

- this man had four children with his first wife – their first daughter Mary who was born blind…

- after his first wife passed away he remarried but within months was put in prison for 12 years for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in England…

- he longed for his family and was especially concerned about the impact on his daughter Mary…

- he was released and later imprisoned again…

- he died while traveling on horseback for 50 miles to successfully reconcile a man in his church and his father…and after being caught in a rainstorm, developed a violent fever and died away from home, completely apart from his wife and children…

- yet here’s what this man wrote… He quoted 2 Corinthians 1:9 where Paul says, "We had this sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God that raiseth the dead." Then he says, By this scripture I was made to see that if ever I would suffer rightly, I must first pass a sentence of death upon every thing that can be properly called a thing of this life, even to reckon myself, my wife, my children, my health, my enjoyment, and all, as dead to me, and myself as dead to them. The second was, to live upon God that is invisible, as Paul said in another place; the way not to faint, is to "look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

- this man was poor…he was uneducated…he obviously suffered much…

- yet during one of those imprisonments…he wrote a book that is consistently in lists of the top 10 most printed books of all time. 

- Christianity today says of this book -- Every English household that owned a Bible also owned the famous allegory. Eventually, it became the bestselling book (apart from the Bible) in publishing history.

- see, biblical Christianity provides a compelling and comprehensive lens through which to view and respond to suffering.

- have you guessed yet the name of this man and the book he wrote?...we’re talking about John Bunyan and his famous work Pilgrim’s Progress…

- with that in mind, please open your Bible now to the two passages he references – 2 Corinthians chapter 1 and chapter 4…page 140 in the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- today we’re essentially landing the plane on this emphasis we’ve been making all year on the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation…we said back in January that we would devote 4 Sundays to historical sketches…so we’ve looked at John Wycliff and John Hus (we did them together), and then Martin Luther and John Calvin…this morning we’re going to advance the ball about 100 years to the life of John Bunyan…

- let me try to map out what we’re hoping to accomplish this morning…

- 2 important passages of Scripture

- Life of John Bunyan

- Practical applications to you

- Practical applications to us

- in order to do that well, we have to have a basic understanding of

- the context of Scripture

- the context of Bunyan’s life

- our context as a church today…

- so please adjust your seatbelt…because we’re going to be navigating in and out of those categories in a way that I prayerfully hope is going to be helpful to us and glorifying to God…

- read 2 Corinthians 1:6-10 (through the word “hope”)

- read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

- We’re talking this morning about Learning to Live Upon God that is Invisible…and with the time we have remaining, let’s organize all of this around 3 potential benefits of suffering.

I. Trials Can Bring Us to the End of Ourselves

- we saw that key emphasis in 2 Corinthians 1:9 – “so that we would not trust in ourselves.”

- for each of these points – we’re going to see how this is true from Scripture, from the life of Bunyan, for you, and for our church

A. From Scripture

- the book of 2 Corinthians is by far Paul’s most personal letter…in which he opens up about the many hardships he has endured…not to receive pity or sympathy…but to counter those who were trying to undermine his apostleship…

- in part by suggesting Paul’s weaknesses and trials showed the Lord’s blessing was not upon him…which sounds a lot like Job’s counselors back in the OT…

- so Paul says -- 2 Corinthians 6:11 - Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide.

- and even lists some of the hardships he’s faced…

- 2 Corinthians 11:23–27 - …in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.

- there’s some words for the advertising brochure for our next seminary class…

- but throughout this book Paul says, there are benefits to trials…they bring us to end of ourselves…

- and would we all agree this am – that is a painful but important place to be?...

B. From John Bunyan

- there is a lot of fascinating European history that undergirds this story that time just not permit us to discuss in any kind of depth this am…but the impact of:

- the invention of the printing press - the publication of the Bible

- the collective emphases of the reformation

- mass publication of other tracts and books for the common man

- on the government, and the church, and society was amazing…

- so Bunyan’s father was poor as was the family of his first wife…he would later write…

- “We came together as poor as poor might be, not having so much household-stuff as a dish or spoon betwixt us both."

- he had very little formal education…

- by his own admission he was a wicked man….he later wrote…“I had few equals, especially considering my years . . . for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of God . . . I was the very ringleader of all the youth that kept me company, in all manner of vice and ungodliness.”

- please think about that in light of the first few lines of Pilgrim’s progress…AS I walk’d through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a Den, and I laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a Dream. I dreamed, and behold I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a Book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the Book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying What shall I do?

- so you have all the suffering of Bunyan’s early years…and the impact his sinful life was having on his soul…and his young marriage and trials with his children…

- he felt like a man…clothed in rags with a great burden on his back…

- how many of us can relate to that?...where suffering brings us to the end of ourselves?

- amazingly, his wife’s family was so poor – that as far as we know, she only brought two things to the marriage…books she inherited from her now deceased father…

- Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven by Arthur Dent

- Practice of Piety by Lewis Bayly

- it was through that and the preaching of pastor John Gifford that John Bunyan repented of his sin and placed his faith and trust in Christ…

- Bunyan later wrote in his book Grace Abounding to the Chief of SinnersI also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness was Jesus Christ himself, “The same yesterday, today, and forever” . . . . Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed.  I was loosed from my afflictions and irons; my temptations also fled away…now went I also home rejoicing for the grace and love of God.

- see, his suffering brought him to an end of himself and into the arms of his forgiving Savior…he no longer had a great burden upon his back…

C. For you

- you may be here this morning and you’ve not yet trusted Christ as Savior and Lord…

- you may even be angry at the disappointments and suffering you’re facing…

- friend – is it possible that God is trying to bring you to an end of yourself?...

- there are all sorts of people here today who could give testimony to this fact…I had to be brought to the end of myself before I was willing to admit my need and place my faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ…

- if you’ve never done that…we would invite you to do that today…

D. For our church

- we are at a fascinating point in our history…

- and I’ll just say for me personally – I’m shocked at the position the Lord has placed us in…

- Many of us had hoped it had happened…but honestly, it appeared that that particular elevator door has closed…

- now you might say – now you’ve lost me…

- here’s the point as succinctly as I can make it…

- the concentration of suffering in our town and most cities is downtown…you can find it everywhere of course, but the highest concentrations of poverty, homelessness, domestic violence, addictions…it’s always in our urban centers…

- but churches that tend to be theologically liberal are often located downtown…here and in most cities…

- where churches that choose to believe the gospel and the Word of God are often in the suburbs…

- and when you layer in the increased secularization of our culture – especially in the cities…there’s not much openness to Bible believing churches helping to address suffering in our cities…

- so how do we take what Paul found, and what John Bunyan found, and what many of us by God’s grace have found…and make it available everywhere, including our downtown areas?

- it felt like that elevator door had closed…

- and then by a series of incredible events, we were invited by our city leaders to join them in the task of serving our urban areas better…without ever being instructed that we had to abdicate the gospel and core biblical truth in order to do so…

- to do gospel centered ministry in the crucible of suffering…

- now here’s what I want to point out as your pastor – because I think it’s imperative that every person at Faith understand this…

- we have an amazing, an unexpected, and an unprecedented open door of ministry…

- and I hope we understand that…

- and I hope we also recognize that elevator door could close at any time…

- and here’s the point – wise people will cram as much as we can in that elevator before the door closes…

- and even if we have to do it…knowing there will be adversity and suffering involved…that very well may be exactly where God wants us because it will by its very nature bring us to the end of ourselves…

- here’s the second benefit…

II. Trials Can Help Us Put Things in their Proper Perspective.

A. From Scripture

- 2 Corinthians 1:9 - indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves…

- 2 Corinthians 4:18 - …for the things which are seen are temporal…

- now, you might say – OK – but how does that play out in real life suffering?...this is where Bunyan’s story plays out so well…

B. From John Bunyan

- after Bunyan trusted Christ, he began preaching…and out of that crucible of trial, a marvelous preacher emerged…

- John Piper explains that part of the story… His popularity as a powerful lay preacher exploded. The extent of his work grew. "When the country understood that . . . the tinker had turned preacher," John Brown tells us, "they came to hear the word by hundreds, and that from all parts." Charles Doe, a comb maker in London, said (later in Bunyan's life), "Mr. Bunyan preached so New Testament-like he made me admire and weep for joy, and give him my affections." In the days of toleration, a day's notice would get a crowd of 1200 to hear him preach at 7:00 o'clock in the morning on a weekday…The greatest Puritan theologian and contemporary of Bunyan, John Owen, when asked by King Charles why he, a great scholar, went to hear an uneducated tinker preach said, "I would willingly exchange my learning for the tinker's power of touching men's hearts."

- that’s why John Bunyan ended up in jail…because he eventually became a pastor of the non-conformist church in Bedford, England – and in 1662 an act was passed mandating that all pastor be ordained in the state church and abide by the common Prayer Book…and he refused because he insisted that he had to preach the gospel as outlined in the Word of God…so we was imprisoned for 12 years…

- by this time his first wife had died…and he married a younger woman who immediately became the step mother to his four children including their dear daughter Mary…

- her name was Elizabeth…and she actually went to the prison seeking her husband’s release of August of 1661…please listen to this interaction between young Elizabeth and these wicked men who had imprisoned her husband…

“Would he stop preaching? "

"My lord, he dares not leave off preaching as long as he can speak."

"What is the need of talking?"

"There is need for this, my lord, for I have four small children that cannot help themselves, of which one is blind, and we have nothing to live upon but the charity of good people."

Matthew Hale with pity asks if she really has four children being so young.

"My lord, I am but mother-in-law to them, having not been married to him yet full two years. Indeed, I was with child when my husband was first apprehended; but being young and unaccustomed to such things, I being dismayed at the news, fell into labor, and so continued for eight days, and then was delivered; but my child died."

Hale was moved, but other judges were hardened and spoke against him. "He is a mere tinker!"

"Yes, and because he is a tinker and a poor man, therefore he is despised and cannot have justice."

One Mr. Chester is enraged and says that Bunyan will preach and do as he wishes.

"He preacheth nothing but the word of God!" she says.

Mr. Twisden, in a rage: "He runneth up and down and doeth harm."

"No, my lord, it is not so; God hath owned him and done much good by him."

The angry man: "His doctrine is the doctrine of the devil."

She: "My lord, when the righteous Judge shall appear, it will be known that his doctrine is not the doctrine of the devil!"

Bunyan's biographer comments, "Elizabeth Bunyan was simply an English peasant woman: could she have spoken with more dignity had she been a crowned queen?"

- that’s what her husband meant when he said…By this scripture I was made to see that if ever I would suffer rightly, I must first pass a sentence of death upon every thing that can be properly called a thing of this life, even to reckon myself, my wife, my children, my health, my enjoyment, and all, as dead to me, and myself as dead to them.

- all John Bunyan had to do was promise that he would stop teaching the Word of God

- here’s what he said about that… If nothing will do unless I make of my conscience a continual butchery and slaughter shop . . . I have determined, the Almighty God being my help and shield, yet to suffer, if frail life might continue so long, even till the moss shall grow on mine eyebrows, rather than thus to violate my faith and principles.”

- don’t you love that phrase – till the moss shall grow on my eyebrows…

- trials can help us put things in their proper perspective…

C. For you

- is it possible that the Lord might be allowing some kind of suffering in your life to motivate you to reevaluate what really important…or to loosen your grip on perhaps even something that would be fine in its place…but has captured too much of your desire and delight and affection?

D. For our church

- what is it that we’re trying to cram in the elevator door of urban ministry before the door of opportunity closes?...

- in the verses just prior to the ones in 2 Corinthians we’ve been studying…Paul makes this crucial point… 2 Corinthians 1:3–5 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.

- that’s who we are…people who were suffering because of our own sin…but have found forgiveness in Christ provided by the Father of mercies…

- and that softens our hearts to anyone else who might be suffering in any way who has not yet found the Lord…

- and we still suffer because we wrestle with on-going sin surrounded by other who are doing the same…

- but that is progressively bringing us to the end of ourselves…and helping us put temporal things in their proper perspective…and what we’re finding is “comfort in abundance through Christ”…when Christ is all you have, you learn that Christ is all you need…

- and why is it, according to this passage, that we have been comforted in this way?...so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God”

- so how does that work itself out?

- I love what’s happening at FW…because college life can be very challenging…with professors who exist to “increase ones suffering”…

- think of what it’s like to come to Purdue from another country/culture…

- or from another town…away from home…

- all the financial pressure, and academic pressure, and cultural pressure…

- along with the temptations that go along with living at Vanity Fair to borrow on of Bunyan’s metaphors….

- what do we want to be – a group of people who are seeking to benefit from our suffering inviting others to join us in the quest…let attack our suffering together…as spiritual friends…

- there’s nothing like the power of people finding comfort and simultaneously reaching out to comfort others…

- like the person on the couch on a frosty day saying – would you like to share some of my blanket?...

- I love what’s happening at FE…where we have one of our counseling centers, and the school, and one of our community centers, and VOH, and the senior living community, and our food pantry/clothing closet, and our community athletic leagues…

- we don’t want anyone in our community suffering…what?...

- we don’t want anybody in our community suffering alone...

- think about the Hartford Hub and our Men’s Restoration Ministry at Bethany Farms…

- the beauty of the images there are breathtaking…what God has done and continues to do through his people is a thing of sheer delight…

- [if time, could talk about Utah, pastor in a church that is dying, trying to get his people to look outside themselves, asked to speak on community based outreach ministry, weeping…]

III. Trials Can Help Us “Live Upon God Who is Invisible.”

A. From Scripture

- 2 Corinthians 4:18 - while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

B. From John Bunyan

- it is amazing that a man with no formal education wrote a total of 58 books -- all of which are filled with such sound theology – and such creative genius in describing the beauty and wisdom of the Lord…

- how did that happen?...friend – God often does His best work in prison…

- (John Piper) George Whitefield said of The Pilgrim's Progress, "It smells of the prison. It was written when the author was confined in Bedford jail. And ministers never write or preach so well as when under the cross: the Spirit of Christ and of Glory then rests upon them."

C. For you

- “Bless you, prison, for having been in my life!” Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago: 1918-1956, Vol. 2 (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), 615-17.

- is it possible that God is calling you or me look less upon the things that are visible yet temporal, and more on the things of God that are both invisible and eternal…

D. For our church

- this northend community center project is a dream come true…

- because we have not in any way had to compromise the truth of the Word of God…there’s been some pressure to do that from time to time and we have, with a smile on our faces, refused to be ashamed of the gospel…

- but think about the kinds of suffering that will be addressed there – and the opportunities we’ll have…

1) Family Homelessness…

2) Car Works – direct interface with those who are suffering…

3) Bauer and their work with affordable pre-school and childcare

4) Senior Center

5) Meals on Wheels

6) Hanna

7) Big Brothers Big Sisters

- I want to thank each person/family that has already made a commitment to our Seeing More Clearly Capital Campaign…

- did you see the report in your bulletin?...nearly $17M…

- people who are essentially committing themselves to some level of “voluntary financial suffering”…

- but where your treasure is…that’s where your heart will be…

- a prime opportunity to “live upon God who is invisible”

 


Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video