THE NATURE OF FAITH

12-7-03 Doggett

“What is faith?  It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen.  It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us even though we cannot see it up ahead.” Hebrews 11:1 (Living)

A great flood of water suddenly came upon a small town, in which caused many in this town to evacuate.  A religious man looked out of his first floor window and noticed a man in a rowboat shouting unto him “Get in the boat I’ll row you to safety “Get in, Get in!”The religious man replies, “No I have faith in God, He will save me.” Later the water rises to the second floor and a speedboat comes by and the guy tells him to get in I’ll take you to safety.  The man again responds that he has faith in God and that ‘God would savehim. With the water at the roof level the man is now standing on top of the chimney when a helicopter throws down a ladder “the pilot using a bull horn shouts down to the man “Grab it, Grab it, Grab it!” Again the man turns down the request for help stating that he had faith in God, and that God would save him.  The man drowns and arrives at the gates of heaven with broken faith and says to Peter, I had belief that God would save me but he didn’t and I have been let down.”  St. Peter chuckles and responds, “I don’t know what you are complaining about, God sent you a row boat, a speed boat and a helicopter, “What more did you want?

NATURAL FAITH / SPIRITUAL FAITH

  • “God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 (KJV)
  • “…..not everyone has faith”. 2 Thess. 3:2 (NIV)
  • “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen” Heb 11:1
  • “Now without faith it is impossible to please Him” Hebrews 11:6

Sound like a contradiction, Not at all, All people live by faith, society is built on a foundation of faith. We drink water out of a faucet with perfect confidence that it is safe.  We eat food in a restaurant, confident that it is not contaminated.  We drive down two lane highways trusting the other guy to control his vehicle.  We put our money in banks trusting them not to lose it.  We cross bridges, go under bridges, get on airplanes, get into boats, go up in high rise buildings, we trust doctors and nurses with our lives, we submit to the surgeons scalpel entirely by faith.  This kind of faith is What’s called “NATURAL FAITH”.  Natural faith is often mistaken for Spiritual faith. Natural faith trusts itself to things seen, in the realm of the natural senses and in the word of others.  Paul says, “All men have not faith” (2 Thessalonians 3:2).  Untold numbers who exercise faith in the natural realm have no faith in the Spiritual realm.  Natural faith rests itself wholly on things, things visible and things temporal.  “SPIRITUAL FAITH” rests itself in things unseen, things invisible and things eternal

FAITH TOWARDS GOD

“Let us stop going over the same old ground again and again, always teaching those first lessons about Christ. Let us go on instead to other things and become mature in our understanding, as strong Christians ought to be. Surely we don’t need to speak further about the foolishness of trying to be saved by being good, or about the necessity of faith in God;” Hebrews 6:1 (Living)

In repentance one turns from sin, while in faith one turns toward God.  They are like the two sides of a coin; they belong to each other in a Biblical conversion.  The writer of Hebrews states for us the absolute importance of faith when he says “without faith it is impossible to please God, for he that comes to God must believe that He is (Hebrews 11:6). This is faiths beginning.  Faith must begin with the fact that God is, and that He rewards those that diligently seek Him.  Nothing can be known or received of God unless man first believes that God is.

HEAD FAITH (What faith is not) / HEART FAITH (What faith is)

Head faith is simply agreement to a set of historical and doctrinal facts about Christ, God and the Bible.  Multitude of religious people “believe” in the Bible, God and Christ but it is merely a mental assentto facts without any real heart faith in Christ.

“So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. You must also do good to prove that you have it. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all–it is dead and useless.     [18] But someone may well argue, “You say the way to God is by faith alone, plus nothing; well, I say that good works are important too, for without good works you can’t prove whether you have faith or not; but anyone can see that I have faith by the way I act.”     [19] Are there still some among you who hold that “only believing” is enough? Believing in one God? Well, remember that the demons believe this too–so strongly that they tremble in terror! [20] Fool! When will you ever learn that “believing” is useless without doing what God wants you to? Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith.”  James 2:17-20 (Living)

FAITH IS NOT PRESUMPTION

“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” Psalm 19:13 (KJV)

Presumption means to take for granted, to suppose to be true without having positive proof. It means to be arrogant, over confident. Presumption is often mistaken for faith because it imitates faith.  By faith the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, but the Egyptians presumed to do so and were drowned (Hebrews 11:29).  The faith of Israel was in thereceived Word of God.  The presumption of the Egyptians was to imitate the faith-action of Israel without having received a word from God.  Presumption is to imitate the faith-actions of others without personally having a Word of God Quickened in your heart.

FAITH IN ONESELF

The principle is “Faith towards God”, not faith in oneself.  Much “faith” preaching today teaches man too have faith in himself, his own abilities and latent soul powers.  This kind of faith makes man his own savior and god.  However, the Bible shows that true faith is in God, through Christ.

WHAT IS FAITH?

“Faith” simply means “trust, assurance, confidence in another and another’s word.”  Faith towards God is simply to trust God. To trust His Word and to have confidence in Him that His Word is true and that He will keep it.  It is to wholly trust and rely on God and His Word.  There is but one true and proper source of faith, the Word of God.  If faith is not built upon the Word, it can never stand the storms and tests of life. The key verse to this fact is Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

To truly hear the Word is to hear the Lord Jesus Christ speaking to our hearts by the Spirit. The living Word is the Christ of God. He is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2)

TWO ELEMENTS INVOLVED IN FAITH

(1)   INTELLECTUAL ELEMENT– It is impossible to have faith without knowledge, though it is possible to have knowledge without faith.  When a person hears the word of faith, it brings the knowledge of God, Christ, salvation and redemption just like it’s doing this morning in this class.  This is to create faith not mental assent, as I have already noted

(2) THE EMOTIONAL ELEMENT- this is the response of the heart to the truth of the Gospel. Feelings must not be mistaken for faith, but faith will involve feelings.  God’s order is fact, faith and feelings, never feelings and faith.  The Christian life is not to be governed by feelings, but neither is it to be without feelings.  Faith is solidly founded on the fact of the Gospel, not feelings. The feelings will follow the faith.

“They believed His words; They sang His praise” (Psalms 106 12 NKJV)

FROM FAITH TO FAITH

The New Testament shows that there are various aspects of faith, and the believer is to proceed from “Faith to faith” until he comes to the fulness’ of the Son of God.

  • SAVING FAITH-saving faith is God’s gift to the repentant sinner that he might be saved.  This aspect of faith is passive.  Here the person trusts Christ and His word for salvation  “For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it. Ephesians. 2:8 (TEV)

FRUIT OF FAITH- thisaspect of faith is spoken of as a fruit of the Spirit.  It is more of an active faith.  It is faith with obedience.  Passive faith trusts the Word when it can do nothing.  Active faith obeys the word when God has spoken it (turn read Hebrews 11: 8-10, 17-19,28,30,31; Luke 5:4-6; Galatians 5:22)

GIFT OF FAITH

This aspect of faith is spoken of as a fruit of the Spirit.  It (1 Corinthians 2:1-13).  It is among the nine spiritual gifts and is a supernatural impartation of faith for the miraculous.  This faith involves speaking the Word.  It is given to members in the body of Christ “as he will”(manifestation).  It is not to be mistaken for the other aspects of faith.

PERFECT FAITH

I believe that this aspect of faith will be manifested when the saints come to perfection, when every doubt and measure of unbelief will be driven from the heart. It is then that the word will be made flesh in the believer and no unbelief will be manifested, for all will come to full faith.

Can’t you see? His faith and his actions worked together; his faith was made perfect through his actionsJames 2:22 (TEV)

This is how the believer will go from “faith to faith”. Jesus was The Word made flesh and no element of doubt and unbelief was ever found in Him.  This is God’s will for His people.  Unbelief came by the fall, by man hearing the word of unbelief through the lips of the serpent (Gen 3:1-6).  Faith comes by redemption, by hearing the word of faith from the lips of the Lord Jesus.

DEGREES OF FAITH

When a person repents and accepts Christ as his Savior, and receives saving faith, then he has to move into the life of faith.  The justified are to live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4)

The Bible indicates that there are degrees or measures of faith.  It is God’s will that all move on in the life of faith and indeed go from faith to faith.  This can only be as a person maintains the life of faith in a personal relationship with Christ and His Word, the source of continuing faith.  Here is a list.  “The Measures of Faith”

No Faith(Mark 4:40)- Little Faith(Matthew 8:26; 14:31)-Weak Faith(Romans 14:1)

Dead Faith (James 2:17)- Vain Faith (1Corinthians 15:14)- Great Faith (Luke 7:9)

Fulness of Faith (Acts 11:24)- Steadfast Faith (Colossians 2:5)- Rich Faith (James 2:5)

Strong Faith (Romans 4:19-20)- Measure or Proportion of Faith(Romans 12:3-6; 1:17)

About Thomas Doggett

Thomas is the C.O.O of Valley of the Son Christian Ministries Inc. located in Southeast Arizona - Thomas has TH.M degree from Life Christian University in Tampa Florida, Dr. Douglas Wingate Director. Thomas has over 40 years of ministry experience and is commited to reaching any and everyone throughout the world and worldwide web to meet their current needs in ministry. These teaching are free to anyone and are designed for the student who is hungry and thirsty for God's Word. Valley of the Son Christian Ministries Inc. has understood the "New Paradigms of Ministry" that God has allowed and is currently using the internet to reach thousands of people all over the world who may have never been reached. Men cannot live by bread alone they need God's Word to survive Matthew 4:4. There are millions of people who are not yet attending a local church for whatever reason and have a real need to get a hold of the things of God. We realize that methods change, however the word of God never changes and we encourage all of our internet friends to continue to maintain relationships and community. We also encourage you to find a local church assembly that preaches the gospel of the Kingdom of God; Jesus' primary message. Valley of the Son Christian Inc. is a non-pofit ministry and has a call to meet the needs of the homeless, strange, widow, the hungry and the hurting in the Arizona area. We can all demonstrate the love we have for God and our neighbor by contributing what we can to the health and welfare of the world. We are committed to reaching out to everyone who may be hurting, feeling hopless or just have a need to talk to someone. We must all pitch in together. If everyone swept in front of their own door the whole world would be clean. Blessings to all in Jesus! WHEN THE STUDENT IS READY THE TEACHER WILL APPEAR.
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