FAITH IS NOT OUR BELIEVING THAT GOD CAN…IT IS OUR KNOWING THAT HE WILL!
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see
But without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must
believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.
A Biblical statement of fact and it tells us very clearly that God views faith as being very important to our relationship with Him. Without it we cannot please Him, no matter how hard we try or how much we do. Even though the Bible does say that faith without works is dead, it is still our faith that is paramount to God not our works. We come to God through our faith and can never come to Him through works alone. Remember the two men who hung on the crosses on either side of Jesus. One ridiculed Jesus the other believed in Him. The one who believed in Him never got a chance to do any kind of works for the Lord, but today he is with Him in Heaven. Why? Because of his simple faith in Jesus and who he believed He was. Faith expects from God what is beyond all our expectations. The way of victory is the way of faith. This act was a beautiful example of the love of our Lord, extended to a man who has done nothing to deserve it, we call it Grace, an act of love, God’s Unmerited Favor, Try to understand what happened that day on Golgotha’s Hill for our works are very important, but they do not save us and they can not save us, for it is by Grace through our Faith that we are saved. The way of Victory is the way of Faith and our progress is dependent on our Obedience to Him. Faith expects from God what is beyond all out human expectations.
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing
you are under the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man
has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
43 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
But we need to understand something so fundamental and true that many miss it and that is the Love of God. This is a love that no mere human can fully comprehend because it is so vast and eternal and was expressed on a hill called Golgotha, not told to us, shown to us. This is the kind of love that even a human father can understand. If a father sees one of his children in danger, hurt and bleeding, will he stop and analyze his child’s faith before he responds? No! A thousand times no! He will run to the child’s side, no questions asked, no analysis of the child’s faith, why? We know why, because he is motivated by his love for his hurting child. It’s not the child’s faith that motivates him, it is not anything the child may do, it is simply because of the love he has for him. What kind of an earthly father would leave a child bleeding and hurt simply because the child didn’t show love or exhibit some kind of faith in him? This is the same reason why our Heavenly Father will never neglect nor leave one of his children to suffer alone. He will never shut his ear to their cries simply because their faith in him may be weak. He responds because of one reason alone, His matchless love for His children.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Greater love has no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.
2 Timothy 2:13
If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.
All our faith must rest in the loving kindness and faithfulness of our heavenly Father. The Bible tells us that we are to glory in the love and everlasting kindness of our heavenly Father. For God’s love for we His children is so great that He hears our cry before we even call. That is why Jeremiah said;
But let him who glories, glory in this, that He understands and knows
me, that I am the Lord which exercises loving kindness, judgment, and
righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of your
selves; it is the gift of God,
9 it is not by works, so that no one could boast.
Jesus responded to the thief’s simple faith, for where there is no faith Jesus does very few works. His power is unlimited but unbelief will hinder His working in our lives. He has chosen to work through people of faith. We should ask ourselves constantly if our faith allows Jesus to work in and through us.
Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their lack of faith.
When our faith is grounded in Jesus the results are so very different. He responds to us and to our faith, even if that faith is as small as a mustard seed. Faith is the whole man rightly related to God by the power of the spirit of His Son Jesus. Faith is an active principle in the believers’ life which always puts Jesus first. The most sublime utterances of faith written in the Bible are the replies of Job to his friends and of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s reply to King Nebuchadnezzar.
“Though He slays me, yet will I trust (hope) Him.” — Absolute Faith
17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able
to save us from it and He will rescue us from your hand, O king.
18 But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will
not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
THREE HEBREW YOUNG MEN ANSWERING THE KING
He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to
this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you.
He said to him, “Arise, go your way.Your faith has made you well.”
1 Peter 1:7
The genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that
perishes, though tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory
at the revelation of Jesus Christ
What is Faith?
We have read this many times or at least have heard it quoted. Let’s attempt to put it in a way that might be easier to understand; ‘Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we don’t see’. The reward for this kind of faith is to receive what you believe for. It is based on our confidence or trust in a person, that person being Jesus Christ. It is a faith that is not based on our senses or physical proof, such as, ‘when I see it I will believe.’
The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he
(Thomas) said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and
put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I
will not believe.”
27 Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach
out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed;
but blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus made it very clear to Thomas that faith based first on seeing and believing was not His idea of faith. After you have seen and touched, it takes no faith to believe. The Bible does not say that without great accomplishments, without fame, without attaining great wealth, it is impossible to please God. It says without faith it is impossible to please Him. There are many in the same boat as Thomas, a boat filled with doubt and fear. People who will not believe until they can physically see or feel what it is they are to believe. We call these people, ‘doubting Thomas’. Faith in God is the kind that steps out into the unknown, not knowing where it is going or what will be the outcome, the end result. To have this kind of faith, the kind that pleases God, we must have total trust in Him and who He is. This kind of faith was displayed by Abraham and his son Isaac and the Roman Centurion who believed in Jesus for the healing of his servant.
9 He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.
10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.
11 But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, “Abraham!
Abraham! “Here I am,” he replied.
12 Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said.“Do not do anything to him.
Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from
me your son, your only son.”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under
my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell
this one, ‘Go,’and he goes; to another, Come and he comes. I say to
my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this He was astonished and said to those following him,
“I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
This is true faith, being sure of the one we serve and believing that He can and will do all He has said He would do. Certain that what cannot be seen doesn’t mean it does not exist. All around us the physical foundations we have built our futures on are crumbling, people have lost faith in their leaders, in their government and even in their churches. The reason being, when the waters began to get rough they took their eyes off of Jesus who is our only “Sure foundation!” We can move forward at His command even when it is not logical or reasonable, even when our human side is fearful and weak. It does not require Faith to begin our journey when we can see where we are going, it is taking the next step into the unknown, when we cannot see what is beyond it.
So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested
stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will
never be dismayed.
Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One Who is leading. It is a life of Faith, not one of intellect and reason, but a life of knowing who makes us “go.” The root of faith is the knowledge of a Person, God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.
The final stage in the life of faith is the attainment of character. There are many passing transfigurations of character; when we pray we can feel God’s blessing as if His arms are wrapped around us and for the time being we are changed, but we need to be aware that when we get back to the ordinary days and ways the glory can vanish. The life of faith is not a life of mounting up with the wings of Eagles as we sit back and do nothing. It is a life of walking and not fainting. It is not a question of sanctification; but of something infinitely further on than sanctification, it is a faith that has been tried and proved and has stood the test. Abraham is not a type of sanctification, but a type of the life of faith, a tried faith built on a real God. “Abraham believed God.”
Those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength. They will mount up
on wings like eagles ; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and
not be faint.
Peter is another example of this very thing, for at first his faith said I can do it, for it was Jesus who called to him to step out of the boat and walk on the water so that he could come to Him. BUT he then took his eyes off of Jesus and looked at the immediate physical situation he found himself in. The wind causing the waves to rise all around him was what his eyes now focused on, he had already concurred the physical impossibility of walking on water but his eyes where on the raging water and his faith wavered and he began to doubt. When we doubt, we sink; and we go down with our doubts for this is where Satan works the best, in our minds through our doubts. Remember, Peter had already conquered the physical, the impossible; he was walking on the water. This was something no one other than Jesus had ever done before but Peter’s faith wavered. He let what he saw with his physical eyes take his spiritual eyes off of Jesus and he went down, he sank because his weak faith could not support him. Jesus said to him, “You of little Faith, why did you doubt?” Faith without works is dead, Peter’s faith had no works behind it and it failed him. He started right and ended wrong.
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” He said. Then Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water
and came toward Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind (and waves), he was afraid and, beginning
to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. “You of little
faith,” He said,” Why did you doubt?”
How do we come by this Faith?
That is a question asked by many. There are many books written on faith and how to find it. Faith is hard to come by, and harder yet to hold for it is believing with all your heart what your feelings say cannot be and what your eyes cannot see. There are many opinions as to what faith is and how you get it. If we want to know how we come by faith we only have to go as far as our Bibles for Gods Word has the answers to all our questions. As we hear and meditate on the Word and lean not to our own understanding our faith will grow and our spiritual life will mature.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
We cannot minimize the importance of the Word of God in our Christian walk for our faith comes by hearing or reading it. Many books have been written to cover just about every subject we can think of. There are many good books and some not so good. Some books are full of truth and wisdom and some full of heresies and fiction. But all of them are man’s opinions, based on his own presuppositions, on his limited knowledge and education. The Word of God is the only book in existence that we can stake our very lives on. It is Truth, it is inspired by God’s Holy Spirit, it is the power of God, it will never steer us wrong. It is eternal and it is forever settled in Heaven and God holds it, He magnifies it, above His own name.
I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for
Your loving kindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your
Word above Your name.
‘God’s Word will keep you from sin – but sin will keep you from God’s Word‘
Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in Heaven.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of
God to salvation for everyone who believes,
Our faith doesn’t just happen. As we read the Word of God and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ our faith begins to grow. We get weaned off of the milk and begin to get into the meat of the Word and we realize that our faith is getting stronger. It is developed through constant use, and practice, and through the many circumstances and adversities that come into our lives. These are our trials and disappointments, our hardships, our disillusionments and losses, our frustrations and our failures. The Bible tells us that when these things happen to us we are to count them all as joy. I know, it sounds crazy, it’s not natural, but it is what the Word admonishes us to do in order to produce perseverance. It is when we are able to do this that our faith grows and matures; and as it matures our spiritual lives will honor the Lord.
2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith will produces patience [perseverance]
1. Your Faith Decides Your Experiences
2. Faith Is the only voice God Respects
3. God’s only pain is to be doubted; God’s only pleasure is to be believed.
4. Doubt produces tragedies as quickly as faith produces miracles.
5. Doubt produces pain like faith produces healing.
6. Doubt authorizes satanic attacks in your life.
7. What enters you determines what exits from you.
8. Every decision you make will be from fear or faith.
9. Faith is voice-activated; you speak it, believing it.
10. Faith comes when you hear God speak.
FAITH versus FEELINGS
One frequent complaint heard from God’s children comes from people who just don’t “feel” God’s presence anymore. Or, they were once “on fire” for the Lord and just don’t understand why they don’t “feel” Him like they use to. We need to be careful not to make the mistake of judging our relationship with the Lord or our service to Him, based on how we feel. Our relationship with Christ isn’t an emotional experience. We accept Christ by FAITH. It is a relationship built on “faith, and not on our “feelings”. Our feelings can betray us since they are so undependable and they can change from one situation to another, even from moment to moment. Our feelings are like a thermometer and they go up and down continually depending on how we feel at any given time. Our faith, however, is not based on how we feel, but on what we believe. It is similar to our natural feelings towards our spouses, our children, or friends; they may change but it doesn’t stop them from being who they are in our lives. We have accepted Christ by faith and our relationship to Him is based on that faith, not on our feelings. Just because our feelings may change, our relationship with Him does not for He does not change.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
As we mature in Christ and as those who have walked this way with the Lord before us can attest, we begin to rely less on how we feel and more on our faith. As we have said before the wonderful thing about all of this is that Jesus is the same “yesterday, today, and forever” and so our faith lies in one whom we can totally trust to do as He said He would do. He is immutable; this is an educated way of saying that He is “unchanging“; He is our solid foundation that cannot be moved. So regardless of our feelings, whether they are good or bad, He is always the same. His promises are “yes and amen” they are trustworthy and there are no surprises from God. He doesn’t change the rules or His mind on the spur of a moment. His love, His concern for us will never change or fade away.
2 Corinthians 1:20
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.
And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
The longer we walk with Christ the more our faith is strengthened and we do not let how we feel govern what we do. A strong faith in Him along with what we believe is sufficient to guide us through this life’s journey, because we know that God never changes. For many people, this is a big hurdle to overcome, the hurdle of our feelings versus our faith and when we overcome it we will then understand that we don’t have to count on the way we feel to determine our walk with the Lord. This doesn’t happen overnight, it is a day-to-day commitment, a commitment that is based on One who never changes, our Lord Jesus Christ and He is always by our side when we need Him.
2 Corinthians 5:7
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
The Christian faith patiently endures tribulation, steadfastly seeks God’s wisdom, and consistently puts that faith into action. The faith that endures will not be found by looking through rose colored glasses, or by empty religious props or words. It will not endure by living the easy life, or living by our emotions or sentiments. It will endure and mature as we deny the flesh, take up our cross and follow after Jesus. God is more concerned about your trusting Him than your wanting to feel His presence for it is faith not feelings that pleases God. The truth of the matter is, God’s presence is always near whether you feel Him or not. It is at times like this, when you feel nothing and are wondering where God is that He wants you to exercise your faith and trust and rely on His unfailing Word not your emotions. Our emotions are never stable they are always changing but His Word never changes it is a solid, unshakeable foundation that we can stand on. If our faith is based on our emotions or our feelings it is shallow at best with no solid foundation, just as the house that was built on the sand fell when the winds of adversity blew against it. It doesn’t ‘require faith to begin a journey when we can see every step we need to take ahead of us, right through to the end.
By my God I can leap over a wall.
26 But everyone who hears these Words of Mine and does not put them
into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat
against that house, and it fell with a great crash
Building our Faith on Sand.
Biblical examples of Faith.
6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those
who had explored the land, tore their clothes
7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through
and explored is exceedingly good.
8 If the LORD is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land that
is flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us.
9 Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not be afraid of the people
of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone,
but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
Joshua and Caleb, two of the twelve sent to spy out the land of Canaan. All twelve heard and knew what God told them, all saw the same things in Canaan, but they came back with two completely different points of view. Ten forgot what God had said and focused on what their eyes had seen. Joshua and Caleb’s focus was on what God had said and had faith in Him and His promises. The others first doubted, and then fear set in and their faith left them. When you walk in faith there will always be two of Satan’s helpers following close behind you. They are called doubt and fear, they go everywhere together and are just waiting for the right moment to enter your mind and control your thoughts. Because Joshua and Caleb had the attitude of men whose faith was grounded in their God they could not be shaken by doubt. They were also ready to act on that faith and they did not fear what man could do. They knew that the way of Victory is the Way of Faith. They also knew that Strong Faith expects from God that which is beyond all human expectations. Whatever progress we make is dependent on our complete Obedience and Trust in Him.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, (fear of man) but of power and of
love and of a sound mind.
Attitudes as well as actions are important, for our attitude leads to and affects our actions. Remember, what we are will determine what we do. Saving faith results in godly attitudes and actions. The spirit of fear (fear of man) does not come from God; it comes from doubt which comes from Satan. This fear is different from the Fear of God that we are commanded to have. We must remember that faith and works, our actions, go hand in hand, they are inseparable for without works our faith is dead. The Apostle James put it this way;
22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works
faith was made perfect?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead
Joshua and Caleb were faithful to God for they believed what He had said to them and because of this they were not only hearers of the Word they were doers of it also. Their faith was grounded in their God, not in their senses, emotions, human understanding nor what their physical eyes could see. They had not forgotten what God had done for them in the past and they were convinced in their hearts they He would do what He said He would do in the present. The others let doubt and fear of what man could do control their faith, they let their own understanding dictate what they would believe instead of acknowledging what God had already done in their lives and the lives of their people. How quickly the human side of us can forget what God has done in the past and allow the circumstances of the now dictate how we will respond in the present. The miracles that God had brought about for their deliverance from Egypt were not mere happenings they were awesome in there magnitude. They didn’t just walk through the Red Sea as it opened before them; they walked on dry ground, not mud. Yet they so quickly forgot, and doubt entered into their minds and because of this their problems became as giants to them and they felt as though they where mere grasshoppers before them.
By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land,
2 Corinthians 11:23-27
23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am
more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, I have
been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.
24 Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes minus one.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned; three times I was
shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,
26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers,
in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger
from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger
at sea; and in danger from false brothers.
27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known
hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and
I read this and immediately I had to say, “Father forgive me for every time I have dared to complain, or murmur.” What we have just read is an account of what a man of God has endured as he faithfully followed Jesus. At His command Paul continued to move forward even when it did not seem reasonable or logical, even when there where doubts, even when he felt weak. He knew that God doesn’t show us the complete picture but leads us step by step as we walk in Faith. Then to compound all of this we find him in jail facing death. He was and still is a faithful servant of God and he has given his all and what is his earthly reward for giving his all; arrest, imprisonment, beatings, hunger, and now a death sentence. What was his response to all of this, what kind of an attitude did he display? Did he feel sorry for himself; was he having a pity party? Let’s read what he had to say about all of this as it is recorded in God’s Word as an example of true faith to all of us..
2 Timothy 4:6-7
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time
of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the
righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also
to all who have longed for His appearing.
FINISHING THE RACE
Praise God! What an example of faith. Just an ordinary man, anointed by the Holy Spirit to do extraordinary things, he held back nothing back, but oh what a legacy he left. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all say the same thing when we come to the end of our earthly race? Paul’s faith was grounded in one thing and one thing only, the one thing in this world that would never fail him, the one thing that cannot be shaken and never changes, his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 1:12
For this reason I also suffer these things; never-the-less I am not ashamed,
for I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able to keep
what I have committed unto Him until that Day.
What an example of faith. Paul stressed that grace and faith, not law and works, brings about our faith. But the Christian walk is a harmonious blend of faith and works. When trouble comes our way, all that means is that we are a part of the human race. Welcome to the battle. God is getting you ready for what lies ahead. Remember, our faith is always being tested. You are either in God’s fire being refined as pure gold or you are on His potters’ wheel being shaped into the person He wants you to be. Troubles and trials do not mean we are out of fellowship with God, that we lack faith for He uses these things to strengthen us and it also means He is pruning & maturing us that we might grow in Him. Our tests and trials are the Potters wheel He uses to turn, shape and mold us after His own image.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His
Commandments, for this is the whole duty of man,
14 For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret
thing, whether good or evil.
True faith will always produce perseverance, determination, confidence and peace of mind; it keeps you moving forward, pressing on to the end. Lack of faith brings a backward look, along with doubt, fear, uncertainty, indecision, no peace and a break in our relationship with God. All the excuses in the world will not stop the consequences of our actions from coming; they will arise because of our lack of faith. Just as there is a law of gravity that cannot be ignored without suffering the consequences, there is also a law of sowing and reaping. This is God’s law and we would be wise to remember it, for it is one of God’s principles that affect all believers and it works like this;
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap
destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will
reap eternal life.
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will
reap a harvest if we do not give up.
This kind of faith is called fighting faith, it is faith that will not give up, faith that cannot be bought; it endures to the very end. Faith that is tested in the fires of adversity, trials, and temptations, faith that the Father considers more precious than gold, that has gone through the fire and brings forth praise, honor and glory to Himself. The driving passion for this kind of faith becomes the Glory of Jesus Christ. For those who are faithful to the end they will receive Salvation for their souls and a Crown of Life which is awaiting them in Heaven.
1 Peter 1:7
That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold
that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor,
and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
The following is a profound statement made by Jim Elliott, a young missionary who was martyred in the Ecuador jungle; it is well worth repeating and remembering;
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
1 Peter 1:8-9
8 Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet
by believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9 for you are receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
Our calling is not to have constant victory, but to have constant Faith.
It has been said that; Small faith says, ‘I think God can.’
Great faith says, ‘I know God can.’
Perfect faith says, ‘It is already done.’
“Prayer is the key to heaven,
but Faith unlocks the door.”
For we walk by faith, not by sight!