Pastor John Samson
It is almost impossible to overemphasize the necessity for faith. Numerous scriptures tell us this: Heb 11:6 tells us that we can't please God without it; "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that he is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
Faith is the only way to be victorious: "this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith." (1 John 5:4)
We can't live without it! Hab 2:4; Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; and Heb 10:38, all tell us that "the just shall live by faith."
Whatever is not done in faith is actually counted as sin; "for whatever is not from faith is sin." (Rom 14:23)
If we can't please God without it, can't win without it, can't live without it, or if we do, we're in sin, then the subject of faith demands our attention, and serious study.
Though there have been many sermons on the subject of faith, most have simply declared that we certainly need this thing called faith. There has been very little teaching emphasizing how to live a life of faith.
The first thing to grasp is the fact that we as Christians have all the faith we need to win in life. In the new birth, everyone of God's children received all the faith they would ever need in their recreated human spirit.
2 Peter 1:1 - Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:
2 Peter 1:1 makes a very clear and definite statement regarding our faith. Peter was obviously one of the 12 original foundational apostles of Jesus. Yet here he says that Christians (those to whom he was writing) has already received the same kind of faith as the rest of the apostles. In other words, whether someone had the calling of apostle or not on their lives, they had exactly the same faith as an apostle.
Knowing this fact changes everything. We do not study faith in order to try to get it or to reach out for it. No the Christian, with the mind renewed to the word of God, starts from the position of having received faith at the new birth, and now studies how to use that which has been given to him by God. To use an illustration from the auto world; we are not Ford Escorts trying to operate like Farrari sports cars. No, we are Farrari's now learning about the power and potential built into us under the hood! God has put faith on the inside of us as believers, and we are learning how to release what God has already put within us.
Mark 11:22 - So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God." Jesus was obviously funtioning with faith in His Father by speaking to a fig tree, and seeing it obey His word. The tree dried up from the roots within a 24 hour period. Now He was teaching that anyone could do the same thing if they worked by the same law He was using; that is, if they operated in faith. Because Jesus was operating by spiritaual law, He was saying that all believers, following the same law, could do the same thing. He went on:
"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. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." v.23,24
The fact that Jesus says "whoever" means that this is a law and will work for all believers. In the same way that gravity works for everyone, so does this law of the kingdom of God. When God grants this kind of faith, it will always accomplish God's intended purpose.
Verse 23 teaches that someone operating with faith in God believes in the heart that which is said with the mouth will come to pass. Jesus declares that someone operating in this kind of faith "will have whatever he says." Faith believes that what is said will come to pass, and then speaks it!
Eph 2:8,9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." The salvation, the grace and even the faith that saves us are each the gift of God, not the result of human effort and will.
In saying that we all have the same faith, I am not saying that we are all functioning in all of it, just as we do not all function in all the love of God poured out in our hearts (Rom 5:5). God says that the love of God, has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Of course, I don't know of too many people who are functioning in the love of God, 100% of the time. But, according to God, now that we are Christians, His love is already in our hearts, and He is waiting for us to release that love to others in His Name.
What is true about the love of God, is also true about this kind of faith also in one sense.
The Bible speaks of at least two kinds of faith. In the new birth, God gives us a faith to trusts in Him for salvation. It is what I call "communion faith" - the faith God gives us so that we can commune with Him. It is a supernatural kind of faith that was never the product of our old nature. It is entirely God's gift to us.
But the scripture also talks of a "gift of faith" (1 Cor. 12:9) which is sovereingly given to believers. It is distributed "as he wills" (1 Cor. 12:11). This kind of faith moves mountains. We could call it mountain moving faith. When God imparts this faith, it is almost as if one is emptied of doubt. I've seen this occur perhaps only two times in my ministry, but the results were remarkable and God gets all the glory for the miracles that took place.
So the faith we need for everyday life is already present in our spirits, and we are already
"complete in Him" (Col 2:10). 1 John 4:17 says, "As He is, so are we in this world." Jesus said, "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 the Father," John 14:12. It is only because we have received faith in the New Birth that we can do the same works as Jesus. Jesus actually expected believers to do exactly what He was doing. This would be totally impossible if we were given less resources than Jesus had in His earthly walk. And in the new birth God gave us a supernatural faith; and by the will of the Sovereign Holy Spirit, the "gift of faith" operates to accomplish seemingly impossible things - mountains are removed.
Jesus declared, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, for He has anointed me to preach... heal... deliver... restore sight..." etc. Luke 4:18. And that's why He could expect any of His disciples, once they were filled with the same Holy Spirit to do everything He was doing.
ALL HAVE THE SAME FAITH, NOT ALL THE SAME CALLING
Although we as Christians have each received faith on the inside of us, we need to be aware that we each do not have the same call from God on our life and ministry. Rom 12:3 says, "For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you..." In other words, "to you Christians in Rome," which would also apply to the Christians in Phoenix, Sydney, London, or wherever else you are from. He wasn't writing to sinners, or to the world, but to believers - to Christians. He goes on, "I say... to everyone 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." Here, as the context shoes very clearly, Paul was not referring to the kind of faith we receive in the New Birth, but the faith to receive and exercise the gifts and ministries God calls us to do once we were saved. The distinct measure of faith that we each receive corresponds to the distinct role that God has given us individually within the Body of Christ. Verse 4-6 continues, "For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body... Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them..." Then he lists some of the gifts God has placed within the Body.
In Romans 12:3, God is saying, "don't be high minded, or think too highly of yourself, but think soberly, as God has dealt to each one the faith needed to fulfill their distinct role within the Body." You have faith to fulfill your ministry in the Body, and I have faith th fulfill mine. But understand, we are not in competition with each other, just as the hand is not in competition with the eye or the ear.
An Evangelist has faith to fulfill his ministry which would make most other saints go nuts overnight, if they took on just financial pressure of his ministry! (I know of one who currently needs more than $1,000,000 a month, just to break even!) This man would probably not do too well as a Pastor because that is not what he was born to do - in other words, it's not his call from the Lord. But if the Pastor teams up with the Evangelist and the Evangelist teams up with the Pastor, and the souls saved through the Evangelist's ministry outreach are brought into the Church, that becomes a very powerful team! That's the way God set up His Body, with each part having a specific job to do.
WHAT FAITH IS
Seeing that we have a defenition for faith in Hebrews 11:1, let's look at the verse in a number of different translations.
"Now faith means that we are confident of what we hope for, convinced of what we do not see." Moffatt
"Now faith is a confident assurance of that for which we hope, a conviction of the reality of things which we do not see." Weymouth
"Faith is the realization of things hoped for - the proof of things not seen."
Twentieth Century New Testament
"Now faith is the assurance of the things we hope for, the proof of the reality of the things we cannot see" Williams
"Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we hope for], being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality; faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses."
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." New King James Bible
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." New American Standard Bible - Update Edition
1. FAITH RELATES TO THE UNSEEN
FAITH IS THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN
Faith is the evidence! The word "evidence" means "that which supports the existence of something," or "that which supports that fact a thing exists." If I have evidence of something, that means that I don't actually have the thing itself, but have some substantial substance showing that the things exists. Therefore, evidence proves the existence of something else. The Word declares that faith is the evidence of things not seen. Just because we cannot see a thing, does not mean that it does not exist. Just beacuse a thing is not perceived by the senses, does not mean that it is not real. For instance, right now, there are many different radio waves present in the atmosphere. Just because we do not see or hear them, does not mean that they are non-existent. Simply by turning a receiver on, and adjusting the frequency, we can tap into many different radio programs, which were certainly in existence before we turned the radio on. The radio receiver is not the source of the broadcast, but simply allows us to perceive with our senses what is real in the realm of the radio waves.
Similarly, faith perceives as real fact, what is not revealed to the senses, but is revealed by the Word of God. Faith is certain of the existence of something, when our senses have yet to taste, see, hear, smell or touch it! In fact, when something is perceived by the senses, faith is no longer necessary. When you can see it, you no longer have to believe it is there, you know it is there. When I am up front teaching this lesson, you don't have to believe I am there, you can see me and know that I am there!
What is faith's certainty? The Word of God! Faith is certain of God's Word when the senses have no evidence to support faith's conclusion. All faith needs is the evidence of God's Word!
2 Cor 4:17,18 "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 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."
Here Paul tells us that the things which are seen are only of temporal order, they are subject to change. Think of that! Everything we can see is not of an enduring nature or substance. However, everything in the unseen realm, is eternal. Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Word will by no means pass away!" The unseen realm is the realm of the Spirit, where God's Word is law! It was in fact God's Word in the unseen realm that created the world and all that is in the seen realm. God says, "don't look at the things which are seen." Obviously He is not saying that the seen things do not exist. If they do exist, we would not be able to look at them anyway! No, He says, don't look at them, or don't live your by the conclusions your senses give you, when that which is seen is contrary to God's Word. God's Word is of a higher order, and has power to change that which is seen! God's Word tells you what is real is the unseen realm, just as a radio tells you is real and happening in the realm of the radio waves. Smith Wigglesworth said it well: "I am not moved by what I see, nor by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe, and I believe the Word of God."
For instance, when you are sick, although it is true that your sickness is real, don't be moved by that, but be convinced of the realities of the unseen realm, made known to you through God's Word. It tells you that "by His stripes you were healed." 1 Peter 2:24. You do not need to deny the existence of the sickness saying "I'm not really sick." for that would not be true. Your body is sick! However, you are not looking to your body as a source of truth, "the things which are seen," but to the unseen eternal realm, where the Word of God is law. You are not therefore to deny the existence of sickness; merely its right to continue to exist in your physical body.