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Faith --

What It Is, How To Get It &

How To Use It

By Bart Nelson

 

 

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What it is: Heb. 11

V.1 Now faith – assurance, belief, fidelity, conviction of the truth of anything, trust, holy fervor, faithfulness, the character of one who can be relied on. One of the best definitions of faith was the picture of two people who know, trust and each other well. One promises something, commits to something, or asks a favor (for example a loan) and the other party agrees. There is no doubt, fear or unbelief that what was agreed to will happen. (If there is, then the parties didn’t really know, trust and love each other like they thought.) In these type of relationships, your word is your bond. Even a handshake isn’t needed. In reality what is going on is surrender and submission. With a person, this might involve only part of our life. With God, what is demanded is all of our life. To trust someone absolutely is to surrender and submit absolutely. Is. 60.8 But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand. Mk. 14. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Rom. 12.1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Jam. 4.7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Faith is not complex and really is not hard, once the surrender and submission is done. If we haven't submitted and surrendered, all other helps on faith won't (help, that is). This is what it should be like between God and us. If there is trouble believing, trusting, having faith it means we don’t know and love Him well enough yet, for He is truly faithful to His word and covenant and is absolutely trustworthy. He loves us absolutely, knows everything and is all powerful, so the surrendering and submitting is relatively easy (if we've died to us!).. Although Abraham didn’t need it, we even have a written copy of the covenant (sometimes known as the Bible, the agreement between God and us)! We can’t believe beyond what we know of the word and our covenant. That’s why we need to meditate in it day and night.

Is the substance – confidence, substructure, foundation, is firm, that which has actual existence, real being, the substantial quality, nature, of a person or thing, the steadfastness of mind, courage, resolution, trust, assurance.

Of things hoped for – trust, to wait, full confidence. Know that we know what we know in our knower.

The evidence proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested, conviction

Of things not seen: not beheld, not aware, not looked on, not of the bodily eye, not gazed at, not perceived by the senses, not felt, not discovered by use, not known by experience, not seen with the mind’s eye, not having (the power of) understanding, not discerned mentally, not observed, not considered, not contemplated, not weighed carefully, and not examined.

Faith doesn’t change God, faith moves God to change things around us.

 

V.3 by faith we understand. V.4 by faith Able offered. V.5 by faith Enoch pleased God and was taken.  V.6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. We can’t please God without faith. The faith He is looking for believes that He is and that He rewards us if we diligently seek Him. We must realize that God, His Word, the blood of Jesus, the new covenant and the name of Jesus NEVER FAIL. They are the unshakeable foundation of our faith. Every fear is a fear that one of God’s promises will fail. Think of some fears and see if this is not so!  

 

V.7 by faith Noah prepared. V.8-10 by faith Abraham obeyed when called out, dwelt in a foreign land in tents, and waited.  V.11-12 by faith Sarah received strength. V.17-19 by faith Abraham offered his only son of promise. Abraham believed in the resurrection of his son, when no one had ever been resurrected before!  V.20-21 by faith Isaac & Jacob blessed, V.22 by faith Joseph made mention and gave instructions.

 

V.23 by faith Moses’ parents hid him. V.24-29 by faith Moses refused the world and chose suffering affliction. He esteemed reproach, forsook Egypt, did not fear, but endured, kept the Passover, and passed through the Red Sea by faith, V.30 by Israel’s faith, the walls of Jericho fell. V. 31 by faith, Rahab the harlot (who ended up in the lineage of Jesus) did not perish because she hid the spies.

 

V.32-40 By faith Gideon, Barak , Samson, Jephthah, , David, Samuel an/d the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens, women received their dead raised to life again -- others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection, still others had trial of mocking and scourging, yes, and of chains and imprisonment, they were stoned, sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented of whom the world was not worthy, they wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us. This faith is not just pie in the sky when we die (although that’s important, too), but it is cake on the plate while you wait, right here and now kind of faith. There is something in this list that almost all of us can relate to or apply faith to our lives. As we can see from some of these examples – some of the results of faith are not what we would want for ourselves. God, however, saw these folks through many things, He was there all the time. Looking at the exterior of a person’s life doesn’t always give the clue as to whether they have faith or not, as much as we would like it to.

 

 Heb. 12.1-4 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin (looking at this in context for the first time, I believe the sin is unbelief, doubt, or lack of faith) which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. Jesus had faith, faith to endure and to strive even to bloodshed!

 

How to get it: it is a gift – Rom. 12.3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Rom. 15.13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Eph. 1.8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Heb. 12.2 Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus starts our faith and He completes it. WE just need to co-operate with Him in the process. 2 Pet. 1.1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and a apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. (This from a man who walked on water, healed the sick by his shadow, preached to thousands, and walked out of jail bonds a free man without human intervention! This faith is received by righteousness, which is also a gift.) Rom. 10.17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Jude 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. Getting the word of God into us and praying in tongues are two of the ways mentioned in the word to increase or feed our faith. Of course, we know that the more we use a muscle, the more effective it becomes. The same is true with our faith.

 

How to use it: We may not realize how much Jesus taught about faith, Although He didn’t have lots of extensive teaching about it, He related almost everything He encountered to faith, both great and little….

 

Mt. 6.28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Not worrying, but trusting, about clothing and food (the small stuff) is key.

 

Is. 55.10-11 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. Mt. 8.7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! Jn. 4.46 So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.”49 The nobleman said to Him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!” 50 Jesus said to him,  “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!” 52 Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him,  “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household. Understanding the power of the authority of the spoken word shows great faith. Jesus raised the dead, cast out demons and healed the sick with just the spoken word. We are to do the same! – John 14.12. 2 Cor. 4.13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. Rom. 10.8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach). Speaking out what we are believing for is the first step in walking out our faith.

 

Mt. 9.27 When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” 28 And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” What a scary scripture, “according to your faith, let it be unto you”! Lord, help our unbelief!

 

Mt.14.28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Here the same man gives us examples of great and little faith. It was great to step down out of the boat onto a stormy sea. But it changed once he had overcome the greatest obstacle. Rather convicting, isn’t it!  2 Cor, 5.7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. Peter started walking by faith; it’s when he started depending on his senses that he fell. We must not be moved by our senses but by what the word says. Show illustration of walking. 2 Cor. 4.16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things, which are not seen, are eternal. Walking by the senses? We end up basing our life on the temporary; the things that will pass away, that are not as real as the things which are not sensed. A principle of faith: the closer we are to a situation, the harder it may be for us to believe. It may be easier for us to believe for someone we don’t know well than for a close friend, family member or ourselves. Why would that be? Perhaps because our senses pick up more when the person is close and less when they are far away. This is just something to be aware of in our battles.

 

Mt. 16.8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? 9 Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? –  but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. We need to learn from past victories and not have to relearn each time. Meditating on what God has done for us and others in the past can help our faith. An awesome exercise that I have done and would encourage you to do is to list the miracles in your families’ lives. Take some time, start a list and add to it often as God brings things to mind. This will build your faith for the tough times that always come. Think of how He has provided, healed, saved, delivered, given peace that passed understanding, to name a few examples.

 

Mk. 4.35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them,  Let us cross over to the other side.” 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 40 But He said to them,  Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Jesus had said that they were going to go over to the other side, but the disciples lost sight of what He had said and focused on the storm and Jesus apparent disregard. Any of this sound familiar?

 

Mk. 5.22 And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet 23 and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” 24 So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. 35 While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue,  Do not be afraid; only believe.” 37 And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. 38 Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly. 39 When He came in, He said to them,  “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.” 40 And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying. 41 Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her,  “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated,  “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42 Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement. Jn. 14.1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. Here faith and fear, belief and anxiety, trust and doubt are contrasted as Jesus did over and over. The two forces are opposite yet are very similar –they both believe what cannot be sensed will be. One trusts what God says; one trusts what the enemy says. We are told to not fear, doubt, or be dismayed many, many times in the Bible, while we are encouraged and commanded even more times to have faith, trust and believe. 2 Cor. 10.4 F or the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, Don’t wait for doubt, fear, and unbelief to leave, KICK THEM OUT! Another key here is that Jesus put out all but those who did not believe! Never discourage another’s faith, that only hurts their faith as well as your own. Instead, discourage unbelief!  Rom. 14.21 It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. 22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin. Doubts, fear, worry, unbelief – all opposites of faith, are sin. If it’s sin, we need to confess it and repent and move on! Because fear, doubt and unbelief are such natural things, we tend to just dismiss them or even welcome them. We need to see them as scripture does – as sin and deal with them as such. Jms. 1.6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. What a strong indictment by the Lord’s brother concerning doubt, something we should surely give heed to. God won’t work without faith, the enemy won’t work without doubt or fear.

 

Mk. 5.25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said,  “Who touched My clothes?” 31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say,  ‘Who touched Me?’ ” 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her,  “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” Mk. 7.24 From there  He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden. 25 For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 But Jesus said to her,  “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” 28 And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.” Mt. 15.28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Lk. 5.17 Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 18 Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. 19 And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. 20 When He saw their faith, He said to him,  “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” Extreme works backing up faith – overcoming crowds, interrupting conversation, religious tradition, apparent opposition from Jesus Himself, and even a roof – is rewarded!

 

Mk. 9.17 Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. 18 And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.” 19 He answered him and said,  “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” 20 Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. 21 So He asked his father,  “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 Jesus said to him, “ “ ‘If You can!’ All things things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it,  “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” 26 Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 So He said to them,  “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Jesus rebuked the disciples and those around for lack of faith and preparatory prayer and fasting. Notice that Jesus didn’t stop to pray and fast, that had already been done! All things are possible if we will believe!

 

Mk. 10.46 Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” 50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. 51 So Jesus answered and said to him,  “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.” 52 Then Jesus said to him,  “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road. The lessons here are persistence and asking specifically. Notice, Bartimaeus asked for mercy, Jesus asked what, specifically, he wanted. Many will pray for God to ‘bless’ large groups of people (my church, all the missionaries, etc.). How, exactly will we know if God answered that prayer?

 

Mk. 11.20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” 22 So Jesus answered and said to them,  “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. 25  “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Why would Jesus link forgiveness and faith? He understood the principle – Gal. 5.6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. 1 Cor. 132 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. We start our walk with faith, but if we don’t arrive to love, the journey will be fruitless.

 

Mk. 16.9 Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. 12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. 14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them,  “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Jn. 14.12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. Here Jesus rebukes unbelief and links it to hardness of heart! Lord, I don’t want that rebuke! I am what the Bible says I am, The signs follow believers, not apostles, teachers, preachers, evangelists, etc. but believers. I can do what it says I can do. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, including those inner voices. What matters is what God’s word says. Jn. 20.24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he 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.” 26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said,  “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas,  “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Thomas really didn’t really have faith because he saw and then believed. That doesn’t require faith. We receive the blessing of faith when we believe before seeing!

 

Lk. 17.5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” 6 So the Lord said,  If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.  The amount of faith is not the key. All we need is a small amount of faith in a huge God! It only takes a small wire, connected to a huge power plant, to do a great amount of work! Also, like a seed, faith will grow when it is put in the correct environment – water and warmth are all that are needed. Faith and what we say are linked, one follows the other. It is the first work and step of faith.

 

Lk. 17.12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. 15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. 17 So Jesus answered and said,  “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him,  “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you whole.” Giving thanks and praise shows God our faith and increases the work God is doing. Nine were cleansed, but the one who returned to give God glory was made whole! (It was one thing to be clean of the leprosy, another was to have the missing body parts replaced!)

 

Lk. 22.31 And the Lord said,  “Simon, Simon! Indeed Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” 33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34 Then He said,  “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” Satan was going to test Peter’s faith, but Jesus was praying for him. He is praying for us today! Peter wasn’t willing to take Jesus’ warning to heart, are we?

 

Jn. 1.50 Jesus answered and said to him,  “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And He said to him,  “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” Jesus praises Nathaniel’s simple faith. Many will see much, much more and still not believe. May we follow his example.

 

Jn. 3.10 Jesus answered and said to him,  “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 15 Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 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. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Jn. 11.25 Jesus said to her,  “I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” Life and belief are two major themes linked in John. Jesus states them over and over. Want life and all its by-products? Faith is the way to receive it.

 

Jn. 6.29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” 35 And Jesus said to them, “I AM the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. Jn. 7.37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” Hungry and thirsty? Faith is the key to be filled. Want rivers oaf living water for you and ministry to others? Again, faith is the key,

 

Jn. 12.35 Then Jesus said to them,  “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. 36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them. Don’t doubt in the dark what God has spoken in the light!

 

Rom. 4.1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. 5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, 10 How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, Works are a sign that faith is working. They are not an end in themselves, but are the fruit of faith., 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. 13 For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect, 15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression. Our justification is by faith alone. If we can’t believe that God not only takes away our sin, but also puts Jesus’ good works on our account, then we can’t be justified. 16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all 17 (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed – God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; 18 who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.” 19 And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb. 20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised  He was also able to perform. Abraham put more confidence in the promise of God than in what he knew to be true in his body and Sarah. He wasn’t in denial, but consciously chose to believe God. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. Jms. 1.14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe – and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

 

Rom. 8.15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 10.17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Job 3.25For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me. 2 Cor. 4.13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak. 1 Tim. 1.7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Heb. 2.15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Faith and fear are forces – they come, they are spirits, etc. We must choose which we want to hook up with! 1 Tim. 6.17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. We are going to trust, believe, have faith in something. We will doubt, fear, and not believe other things. It’s a spiritual law. Let’s choose to trust, believe and trust in the Lord and reverently fear Him and lets decide to doubt, distrust, and not believe our senses and the enemy. The reverse is a scary proposition. Whose report will you believe?

 

Heb. 3.7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. 10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ 11 So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ” 12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. 4 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, since they not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest…although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. Have we ceased from our own works? Here unbelief and disobedience are strongly linked. It is not something to be taken lightly. Entering rest is a perfect picture of the life of faith. As we are trusting God to work in an area, we are to keep our hands off except where He tells us to act. We rest in Him. That’s faith and trust.

 

Num. 14.26 Now they departed and came back to Moses – they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. This was the land that the Lord sent them, not Moses! 28 Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there…30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”  31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” 14.1 So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. 2 And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why has the Lord brought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” 4 So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.” 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. 6 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; 7 and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” Joshua and Caleb had the vision, with God, all things are possible if we only believe! 10 And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. 11 Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? If we ever get in a situation like this, it is very important for us to realize that people really reject and disbelieve the LORD and not us!! Whose report will you believe? I will believe the report of the Lord! Psalm 27.1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Prov. 29.25 The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Lk. 12.4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. We are told over and over again to not fear man but God. It is a strong temptation to trust in what a man may say rather than what God says. We have this choice daily. Who will we fear, who will we trust? 2 Cor. 1.9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, 11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many. 2 Cor. 3.4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. God is our sufficiency in every situation. He alone is worthy of our faith, trust and belief. He doesn’t want us to trust any thing or any one but Him, especially ourselves!

 

Eph. 6.16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench ALL the fiery darts of the wicked one. Why would Paul say above all? Perhaps because the shield can cover all areas? What a powerful piece of armor we have in faith – it can quench ALL the fiery darts and missiles of the enemy. It doesn’t work to pick them out of our skin once they’ve landed, it is to be used to keep them from touching us in the first place. 1 Jn. 5.4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? Jude 3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. Check out the intense words – necessary, exhort, contend, earnestly – Jude was serious about this. Have you ever thought about faith as something to contend for? I’m not talking about creed and doctrine here, I am talking about the battle we’ve been discussing the whole way through. The battle to believe and not doubt, to rely on faith and not our senses, the war between trusting and worrying, etc. Are you ready for it?

 

The bottom line is this: whenever a situation arises that is a challenge – give God the first opportunity to respond. It is tempting to run immediately to the doctor or medicine, to credit cards, to a friend and not run to Him alone that has what we need. He may choose to use those methods, but give Him the opportunity to say o. Go to the word to discover verses that cover what the challenge is. Pray the word to the Lord (don’t pray the problem only, pray the promises of God), speak the word to the situation, and thank and praise God that it is done, When the enemy comes at us, do as David did and run toward him in the Name of Jesus and the Word of the Lord.