A long walk on a short pier

Walk by Faith in a "Show Me" World

by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Summary: Your intellect and your five senses are hollering “No! It won’t work. I’ll make a fool of myself.” But God’s Word and His Spirit say “Yes!” We are faced multiple times daily with the challenge that we walk by faith, not by sight.

Acts 8:26-31  ...[27] he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians.... [29] The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” [30] Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet.

•• Philip took the proverbial “long walk on a short pier”. He had been having an immensely successful revival in Samaria, with many conversions and healings, signs, and wonders manifested (Acts 8:5-8). Philip immediately left all that to follow the instructions from “an angel of the Lord” to go down to the desert (Acts 8:26-27), where he was to encounter the Ethiopian official.

•• Just imagine the scene, with uninvited Philip running up to the chariot of the queen’s treasurer, then jogging alongside! Talk about walking by faith! ... or more precisely in this case, running by faith! One of the Ethiopian treasurer’s guards could easily have run Philip through with a spear.

•• But the Spirit of God (8:29) was the instigator of Philip’s faith venture, and the Ethiopian high official was wonderfully ministered to by Philip, was saved and baptized in water, and went on his way rejoicing in his newfound salvation (8:36-39).

•• Philip’s obedience to the Lord’s prompting is a classic biblical illustration of God’s desire that we “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7, KJV). Philip did not “see” the results in advance. No, but rather he stepped forth in faith, in obedience to what he perceived as God’s leading.

•• When it comes to witnessing, let us take some of those long walks on some short piers.
• What do we have to lose? What’s the worst that might happen? — we get rejected ... we get made fun of ... we get ignored...

• What’s the best that might happen? — The person with whom we share the Gospel gets saved and spends eternity in heaven!
•• Many years ago my wife took that “long walk” of faith with a good friend of hers. She risked that friendship by making a strong presentation of the Lord’s salvation to her friend, caring more for her eternal soul than for the friendship that she was risking by her bold witness. Thankfully, the lady accepted my wife’s testimony, got saved, and has served God now for several decades, including time with her husband on the mission field.

•• Today your mission field is all around you. Each morning ask the Lord to allow you to touch someone’s life for Jesus Christ. Then listen for the Holy Spirit’s promptings inclining you to speak to this or that person. Then do it — take the walk of faith, step forth on that Holy Ghost leading. Be emboldened by the Scriptures' exhortation that we walk by faith, not by sight or mental calculations.

Acts 9:32-35  As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the saints in Lydda. [33] There he found a man named Aeneas, a paralytic who had been bedridden for eight years. [34] “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus christ heals you. Get up and take care of your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. [35] All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

•• Healing is an area where we have numerous opportunities to walk by faith, not by sight. Just go ahead!
Believe Jesus when He said that you “shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover(Mark 16:18, KJV).

• Believe God when He said, “I am the Lord who heals you(Exodus 15:26).

• Believe that Jesus “took up our infirmities and carried our diseases” (Matthew 8:17).

• That’s what Peter did! Walking in faith in His Lord and Savior, Peter boldly spoke to the crippled man and said, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you. Get up!” And Aeneas did get up, and the astounded populations of two entire towns turned to the Lord! All because a believer was willing to walk by faith, not by sight. His eyesight told Peter that the man was seriously crippled. But his faith told him that Jesus would heal the man. He acted on that faith, and a two-city revival followed!
•• Or remember the apostle Paul in Acts 14:8-10 — “In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. [9] He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed [10] and called out, ‘Stand up on your feet!’ At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.”
• Paul took the long walk on the short pier. He knew that Jesus was the Healer. But Paul still had to walk by faith, not by sight. He had to step forth in obedience to the word of God declaring that Jesus still heals today. Jesus the Healer “is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
•• How will people be healed if we don’t step out in faith?
• I think back to May 1978. My wife had been childless for the first six years of our marriage due to a diagnosed infertility condition. Then a woman of God came to us and said that the Lord had awakened her the night before and said to tell my wife, “Your barren days are over!” Walking entirely by faith, and in the face of our six years of childlessness, this woman declared God’s healing revelation to us. A year later the first of our four children was born! Hallelujah!

1 John 5:14-15  This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. [15] And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.

Matthew 21:21-22  Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. [22] If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

•• Let’s take some long walks, not short ones, in prayer.
• Let’s take some giant steps, not baby steps.

• Let’s bring God some big requests, not just little ones.

• Let’s trust God to help us overcome our mountainous obstacles, not just our mole hills!
## Step one = determine that it is God’s will and is well supported by God’s Word, the Bible.

## Step two = Ask in prayer ... believe ... and receive!

•• Let’s confidently ask God — and believe Him for — healings ... miracles ... revival in your city ... and much more.

Hebrews 11:8  By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

Genesis 12:1,4-5  The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” ... [4] So Abram left, as the LORD had told him ... [5] and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.

•• Abraham was an example of walking by faith, not by sight, in life decisions — God spoke and 75-year-old Abraham obeyed, “not knowing where he was going.” But he had heard from God, and that was enough to go on.
• Permit me to add a caution here: Abraham had certainly heard from God. If he had not heard from God, then his going would have been presumption, not faith. It is important to make that distinction. Presumption can lead to much hurt and damage. But faith in God, when God clearly speaks and leads, is the path of blessing — even if on the surface it doesn't all seem to add up.
•• I have a friend in Alaska. Some years ago he was a rising executive in a large, influential business.
(1) Then God spoke to him to quit his job and go to fulltime bible college.

(2) He did so, with no guarantees and no looking back.

(3) After he finished bible college, to the amazement of many of us, that same business rehired and promoted him!

• At God’s urging, he had taken a walk of faith. And God honored and blessed him for doing so.

Galatians 3:2  I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?

Acts 19:2,6  [Paul] asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” ... [6] When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.

•• Ministry — in this case, ministering the mighty baptism with the Holy Spirit to others — is at least to some degree always a step of faith. You have no visible certainty in advance what results will come. But you do have the certainty of the promises of God’s Word!
• The apostle Paul knew that people “receive the Spirit ... by believing”. So Paul spoke God’s truth to them, then he stepped out in faith and laid hands on them, and they received the Spirit and spoke in tongues and prophesied.
•• In 1971 I remember publicly answering the altar call for the baptism with the Holy Spirit at a conference at Anchorage First Assembly of God. Believe me, this former Catholic was taking a “long walk”! And God blessed, and I received what I was seeking.

•• Also in 1971, a group of us young counselors at a Christian youth camp in Alaska stepped out in faith. Sensing the Lord’s direction, we prayed in the cabin for about 20 young boys who received the baptism with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in tongues.
• We counselors were fairly new at it ourselves, but we chose to believe God’s word and to walk by faith, not by sight. So we took that long walk on a short pier, and God powerfully honored our faith by pouring out His Spirit on those 20 youths.

In conclusion — the challenges are constantly changing. It may be personal witnessing ... praying for the sick ... responding to a Holy Spirit prompting ... praying the prayer of faith for a great need ... ministering the baptism with the Spirit to others ... and a host of other opportunities. That which is common in all of them is that we walk by faith, not by sight. Study God’s Word, pray for guidance, and respond in obedience and faith — faith in God and faith in His Word. He will not fail you!

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©1999, James H. Feeney. Copyright statement.