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Sun, Oct 19, 2008

02 - Faith Toward God (Part 1)

Hebrews 6:1-2 & Hebrews 5:10-14 by David Nathan
The writer of Hebrews admonishes the believers because they had not grown in their faith, nor had they become fruitful in teaching/discipling others. There comes a time in every Christian’s life when God expects us to be able to share the fundamental principles of our faith with others. We all reach this stage at different times but God expects us all to arrive and begin to produce fruit. Only once we have mastered these basic principles can we begin to mature in the things of God. Ironically, most Christians do not fully comprehend these basic principles of the Christian faith.

What is faith?

Hebrews 11:1

  • True faith is an assurance deep in ones spirit that God will do what He says in His Word. Faith in God is not moved by the circumstances of life but rather looks to the unseen, omnipotent God who is able to change circumstances regardless of what our currant situation looks like.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV) "For we walk by faith, not by sight."

What is faith towards God?

2 Timothy 1:12 (NKJV) "For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day."

  • The word faith comes from the Greek word pistis, which is translated as, assurance, confidence, conviction or faith.
  • Therefore faith towards God is to have assurance, confidence and conviction in God and in His Word.
  • Faith is a verb and therefore is expressed through action and conduct (James 2:14–18).

Where does faith come from?

Romans 12:3 (KJV) "...God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith."

  • Faith is a gift that is given to each believer by God.
  • We all receive the same measure of faith at salvation

Ephesians 2:8-9

  • Faith is a gift from God that we receive when we open our hearts to the gospel message.
  • We cannot work to earn faith, it is freely given by God who by grace alone gives us the gift of faith that saves us.

How much faith does the Christian need to be effective for God and live a life pleasing to Him?

Luke 17:5–6 / Also read Matthew 17:20

  • Jesus taught His disciples that faith the size of a mustard seed was all that is required to do great exploits for God.
  • Faith is not measured in size but in depth. The closer we draw to God through relationship with Him, in prayer and in the knowledge of His Word, the deeper our faith grows.

Faith toward God must become a lifestyle

Hebrews 10:38

  • God demands that those of us who are saved must continue to live by faith in Him. Faith in God must become a lifestyle to the Christian. We are to trust God in every area of our lives i.e. work, family, relationships, church, protection, finances etc.
  • God takes no pleasure in us when we cease to live by faith and go back to a life of self-reliance, independence, doubt and unbelief.

Hebrews 11:6

  • The only way to please (ĕuarĕstĕō – please well, gratify entirely) God is through faith. God takes no pleasure when we doubt Him.

How do we to apply faith, or, How does faith work?

Hebrews 11:13 "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth."

2 Corinthians 4:13

  • True faith speaks out what it believes with conviction in the heart. Confessing God's word without having conviction in your heart is not a Christian, but a new age philosophy/doctrine.
  • The mouth cannot convince the heart to believe but rather the heart convinces the mouth to speak forth what it believes.

Is positive confession faith in action?

Mark 11:22-24

  • Faith speaks out that which the spirit of man has been made assured of by the Holy Spirit.
  • Positive confession seeks to persuade the spirit of man to believe that which the soul of man is assured of.
  • A positive confession of faith from the re-born spirit is faith in action. A positive confession from the unregenerate soul is presumption.

Addressing positive confession

Proverbs 18:21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruit."

Proverbs 23:6–8 (Read) "For as a man thinks in his heart so is he"

Romans 4:17 "who calls those things which did not exist as though they did."

  • The above three scriptures are used by the Word of Faith movement to support their doctrine that believes that Christians have the ability to change their circumstances by the words they speak.
  • However these scriptures speak of firstly, God's ability to create with His Words and not ours. Secondly, that the mouth can only speak out what is already in the heart. This has to do with a persons heart attitude and not an ability to "create" with our words.
  • Compare with Matthew 12:33-37

How does our faith grow?

Romans 10:17 (NKJV) "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

  • Faith comes when we expose ourselves to God's word. As we learn more about God and His promises to us, our faith then is extended to trust God for the things that we come to know are in His will for us.

Hebrews 4:1-3

  • Knowing God's Word and will does not automatically mean that we have faith in Him, faith must embrace His Word and trust despite circumstances.

James 1:2-4

  • Trials and tests of faith that are endured without doubt, will always result in stronger and deeper faith towards God.

How do we use our faith if we cannot find Scripture to stand on?

Matthew 14:22-33

  • If you cannot find a Scripture to stand on then wait for a word (rhema) from God.
  • Stand on that spoken word as you would on Scripture, without doubting and that word will sustain you.

What is presumption?

Deuteronomy 17:12-13 and Psalm 19:13

  • According to the Oxford Dictionary, as a noun it means, arrogance; assurance; taking for granted. As a verb, it means, unduly confident; arrogant; forward.
  • Presumption is acting arrogantly and having confidence in that which we have not received through God, either by rhema or logos through His word or by confirmed prophecy.

What is the difference between faith and presumption?

Numbers 14:39-45

  • Presumption is acting on God's word out when it is appropriated out of context, or in rebellion or disobedience.
  • Presumption is the fruit of ignorance of God and His word.
  • Faith seeks to act in obedience and submission to God and His word. Presumption acts through self.
  • God never blesses us when we act presumptuously even if our motives are pure.
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