Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
For the umpteenth time Mrs. Youngston came to her pastor to tell him, “I’m so scared! Joe says he’s going to kill me if I continue to come to your church.” ”Yes, yes, my child,” replied the pastor, more than a little tired of hearing this over and over. “I will continue to pray for you, Mrs. Youngston. Have faith – the Lord will watch over you.” ”Oh yes, he has kept me safe thus far, only…..” ”Only what, my child?” ”Well, now he says if I keep coming to your church, he’s going to kill YOU!” ”Well, now,” said the pastor, “Perhaps it’s time to check out that little church on the other side of town.”
SATANS ZONE DEFENSE
One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. Luke 5:1
In the game of basketball Zone defenses are usually designed to keep the ball out of certain areas, especially areas close to the basket. Even more common are zones designed to match up with players in certain areas and still attempt to keep the ball out of the basket area. Satan is always found near the zone trying to trip you up by filling your heart and mind with doubt and unbelief. Our enemy major desire is to ‘Protect the Zone’, to stop the opposition from scoring. He makes sure the most dangerous opposition players are covered first (are you strong in faith). If a player (believer) is free and likely to score, he trys to cover them to stop the score. As believers we need to ‘Shut Down’ his defense by operating in strong faith. Jesus is always found within the zone (the place of faith) to help you when it comes to winning the game of faith. The zone defense is to keep you and me from getting close to Jesus. Once you penetrate that zone defense of the enemy by pressing in with your faith you can then begin to take and make that shot of faith.
HEARING AND BELIEVING THE WORD WILL BREAK DOWN SATANS ZONE DEFENCE / IF YOU WANT STRONGER FAITH ASK FOR IT.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 (KJV)
Let’s look at the definition of faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”Faith is the evidence. That makes faith a noun!A noun, according to my grade school teachers, is a person, place, or thing. Faith becomes the evidence, the proof, that what we are seeking does exist! Does that make sense? It is already in existence! Your faith WILLmove that mountain that God wants moved!! It is your faith that allows God to do His thing!! How do you get more, stronger faith?In Chapter 9 of Mark the disciples couldn’t cast out a spirit in a boy. The boy’s father asked Jesus to help and Jesus told him in verses 23-24, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”Notice, the father must have heardthat Jesus had the power to deliver his son, but was struggling with his faith. In other words, the father might have said, “I want to believe because you say that is what it will take, but I am having difficulty because it is believing something I have not yet seen. Help me to have unwavering faith.” So, the answer to the question of how do we get more, stronger faith is to ask for it.
God wants us to have strong faith. If He wants it then we will get it if we ask for it. Read Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”Remember, God cannot lie. Ask and it SHALLbe given you. Seek and ye SHALLfind. Knock and it SHALLbe opened unto you. GLORY
PRESSING INTO THE ZONE
And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. She said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. Mark 5:25
This woman whom was bound in torment and disgrace teaches us much about faith. She was diseased for 12 years with the issue of blood, which made her unclean during the entire time. With the pain and discomfort that accompanies her illness along with the strict ordinances of separation the Mosaic Law demands, she might as well have had a disease. Below is the law that was followed for women with an issue of blood. Lets all turn to Leviticus 15:25-27 “25
These particular passages do not say anything about her social status or where she was living. The do speak much of her courage and faith. Even after 12 years, she never gave up the faiththat she would be healed someday. Her faith was so great that she went and sought Jesus, and braved the crowd around her just to touch the hem of his garment. She knew that there would be those who knew of her uncleanness, and if she would accidentally touch someone else, they would be unclean also. A person, who knew she was unclean, would not be happy to have made contact with her. The woman pressed beyond satans zone defense and into the faith zone.
To touch the hem of his garment, she would have to have been crawling along the ground somehow, or walked up behind Jesus and stooped down. I believe she was as discreet as possible as not to draw attention to herself. If she wanted attention, she would have gone up to Jesus or cried out to him. She knew that by asking him to heal her, she would also be asking that he become unclean for her. That would be unacceptable to many in the crowd, and would have started trouble. She probably self-conscience and maybe even to embarrassed to ask for healing because of the nature of her problem. She was thinking that if I could just sneak in the crowd and touch the hem of his garment, I’ll be whole. At the moment she touched Jesus’ garment, he turned around and told her that her faith made her whole. Yes, Jesus said her faith made her whole. Jesus did not say that he made her whole, but it was her faith that made her whole. She was one of the few who were healed that Jesus said it was their faith that actually healed them. This type of faith is very strong. What impresses me the most about it is that there is basically no question in the person’s mind about what is going to happen when they apply their faith.
STEPPING INTO THE FAITH ZONE
“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. Matthew 8:8 (NIV)”
“While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Matthew 9:18 (NIV)”
Just as the woman knew she would be whole, the centurion in Matthew 8:8 knew that his servant would be healed. It is an unshakable faith that the certain ruler in Matthew 9:18 had when he went to Jesus even though he knew is daughter was already dead. It is that type of faith that many people strive for, but is also the hardest to understand and apply.
A BLIND MAN STEPS INTO THE FAITH ZONE
“And they came to Jericho: and as he (Jesus) went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus. Mark 10:46
WALKING BY FAITH
“So then, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ. Romans 10:17 (TEV) “
Rom 10 17 Faith comes by hearing, not by seeing. Isaac should have known better. His father, after all, was the most famous father when it comes to faith. The Scriptures tell us that “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” The voice was Jacob’s (Gen 27:22), but it “felt” like Esau. Millions have been fooled by their feelings or misled by what they saw. It is natural to want to “see,” or to “feel” everything is alright. Missouri is not the only “show me” state. All who demand evidence and proof are headed for a state of misery. Such a state is populated by those who “walk by sight.” But those who walk by sight cannot really see at all. ”Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.”
Our faith must feed on the hearing of the Word of God, not by what we feel. ”Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” The temptation is always the same: to walk by sight, to live by might, and to forget what’s right. “Who art thou my son? And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau…” Remember we still live in a world where the “father of lies” spins his web. Though a thousand voices whisper or shout in the streets, may we long to hear only one familiar voice and say with Samuel, “Speak [Lord] thy servant heareth” 1Sam. 3:10. I dare not trust the way I feel Be something smooth or coarse Only faith is really real God’s Word truth’s only source
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE “EARS TO HEAR?”
The Scriptures say much about the ears and hearing. To be able to hear with attention or interest, to listen to, to give heed to, to yield to, and to obey the Scriptures is a “great blessing”.
In the gospel of Matthew our Lord said:
Matthew 13:16“But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.”
And in the Old Testament we read:
Proverbs 20:12“The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.”
Psalm 78:1“Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your earsto the words of my mouth.”
Proverbs 4:20“My son, attend to my words; incline thine earunto my sayings.”
So basically we can explain an “hearing ear” by three simple commands:
- “Give ear… to My law”;
- “Incline your ears to the words of my mouth”;
- “attend to My words.”
THE HEARING EAR
The “hearing ear” is sensitive to God’s Word and obeys it. Two more Scriptures that depict the “hearing ear” are also found in the Book of Proverbs:
Proverbs 15:31“The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.”
Proverbs 13:1“A wise son heareth his Father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.”
The “hearing ear” is the ear that listens to correction. It gives heed to reproof and rebuke. It receives all punishment and chastisement from the Lord. It “heareth the reproof of life.” As a wise son, it hears the Father’s instruction which includes all the checks and restraints, rebukes and reproofs, correction and instruction that comes from the Father’s hand
Are all of God’s children “wise” sons and daughters? Do they all hearken to the Father’s commands as outlined in His Word? Do they all “hear” the Father’s chiding and reproof?
No, as Proverbs 13:1 tells us “…A scorner heareth not rebuke.” These are those who are arrogant boasters and mockers of “harsh” or corrective words from the Lord.
In 2 Timothy Paul tells us:
2 Timothy 4:3“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears:”
They are desirous of hearing “pleasant” things from the Lord. They want “smooth” words from God that conform to their carnal wishes and feelings. They want to hear the kind of instruction that will allay their restless and uneasy sinful desires.
The apostle Paul goes on to tell us about those who turn away their ears from the Truth and turn them unto fables and falsehoods in the next verse:
2 Timothy 4:4“And they shall turn away their earsfrom the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE
“But my people didn’t listen, Israel paid no attention; Psalm 81:11 (Msg)
In John 10:27 our Lord says, “My sheep hear my voice…” Nonetheless, Hebrews 3:15 warns, “…Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts…”
Even though we are God’s children and hear His voice, there are times when the Father speaks things to us that we do not like to hear. The temptation presents itself to become stubborn or obstinate to the Father’s command. The Scriptures abound with example after example of times when the Father cried unto Israel, His people, and they would not hear.
They were supposedly God’s sheep, yet they would not give heed to His Word. They did not like His terms. They refused to be ruled by His commands. “Israel would none of Me.” What does this mean? They refused or rejected God. They did not incline their ear to Him. They did not worship Him or find satisfaction in Him. They were no longer attached to Him or cleaving to Him as their “All-in-All”.
Christ’s last message to the church – “Listen”
Blessedis he who reads and those who hearthe words of this prophecy, and keepthose things which are written in it ..Revelation 1:3 (NKJV)
Even though all believers have “heard” and have responded in saving faith to Christ, too often as they continue on they seem to experience a “loss of hearing”.The expectation is that “listening” will characterize the believers’ walk but believers can also drift. Believers can become “dull of hearing” (cf. Heb. 5:11). If a person refuses to listen either they have never TRULY been saved or they have a serious problem in their walk (cf. 1 Cor. 3:1-3). In either case they need to REPENT! Hence, five of the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 are called upon to “repent”. Seven times (once to each church) we hear the refrain, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Listening is an evidence of salvation (cf. 1 Thess. 2:13) but also the on-going condition for spiritual blessing for those who are believers.
Revelation 1:3 (NKJV) Blessedis he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (emphasis mine)
“That dog is all ear!” Response of someone about a well-trained hunting dog who wouldrespond on command to his master. God help us to be “all ear” to our Master!