THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 4-4-04
LESSON TITLE: THE IMPORTANT DOCTRINES OF CHRIST: "THE DOCTRINE OF FAITH"
Here we are together again on another first day of the week - our Lord's Day! I am so glad you have decided to join us today for another time of service to our God. How blessed we are this morning to again come before the throne of God and participate in acts of worship which laud and magnify His great and holy name. My hope and prayer is that we will each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His wondrous and precious will. So as we begin this morning, let's start by talking to our Creator in prayer, will you bow with me!
Let me begin this morning by thanking our viewers in the Dadeville, Missouri area. Furthermore, let me encourage you to visit with the congregation which meets in your area, even today. The Flint Hill Church of Christ has been a long time supporter of this work of our Lord and I know that they would enjoy having you visit with them as they assemble before the throne of God.
What about this morning, do you have time to give to God? Well, at 10:00 o'clock, this congregation will be gathering for a Bible class - which will be followed by a worship assembly at 11:00. If you are able, please visit with this congregation very soon. If you need any further information about this family of God, please contact us and we will do our best to help you get in touch with these brethren.
Let me also take a moment to mention that on April 25, we will again be gathering to tape songs for this program. So I hope you will mark you calendars for just a few weeks from now and join us for this time of offering, service and praise to God.
Well, it's time to join in our first song of the morning, so won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Let Me Live Close To Thee!"
(SONG # 1)
Every day when I read the Bible I am always reminded of the powerful God we serve. Recently I read from Jeremiah 5:22, and it seems that Jeremiah knew the power of our God. There we read, "Do you not fear Me?' says the LORD. 'Will you not tremble at My presence, Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, By a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, Yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it." Wow, what a great reminder of just how mighty our God is. Everything that we see, know and experience is because of His Wonder and greatness for He is the Creator and giver of all.
Let's notice a few things about the text we just read. First God does not want us be afraid of Him, so that we are unable to follow and obey Him. This would be an uncontrollable fear or terror at the thought of God. However, then the verse turns around and says we will tremble at the thought of His power and greatness. This fear is out of respect, honor and reverence to such an awesome God. And finally, what does this verse say God can do? In a word - Anything! But let me go a step further, not only can our God do anything, Our magnificent God has done and can do everything He desires according to His Will
So what about us, are we humbled in the presence of such a wondrous God? Have we humbled ourselves to the point of obedience to His Will? If not, chose today to submit to the Creator by doing what He has commanded according to His Word!
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. As far as our series, today we will be continuing to talk about, "The Important Doctrines of Christ!" The specific lesson of the day will deal with the, "The Doctrine of Faith!"
We are glad to have a guest speaker with us who is no stranger to our regular viewers. We thank brother Kevin Patterson for being with us this morning. Brother Patterson is the minister for the Bolivar Church of Christ, and at the appropriate time he will be leading us in this study from God's Word. Now let's join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, "Yield Not To Temptation."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Kevin Patterson
Good morning. As always, I count it an honor and a blessing to be here and to be able to share with you a portion of God's Word. I want to encourage each and every one of you, if you ever find yourself in the area of Bolivar, Missouri to look up the Lord's church there. We would love to get to know you and to study with you perhaps and to have you come and be a part of one of our Bible studies or time of worship. We meet on Sunday mornings at 9:00 and we also have a worship assembly at 10:00. We have another time of worship each Sunday evening at 6:00, and then we have a Bible study every Wednesday at 7:00. We would sure encourage you to be a part of that anytime that you find yourself in our area.
For several weeks now, we have been studying a series of lessons on "The Important Doctrines of God." We opened the series by noting that the doctrines of God are His teachings on a particular subject. Thus far, we have studied specifically the doctrines of God Himself of sin and also forgiveness.
This week, we are going to examine the doctrine of faith. So we begin our lesson this morning by asking the question, "What is faith?" Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionary defines faith as a moral conviction of religious truth or the truthfulness of God. It is more than simply a strong hope or desire. It is more along the line of knowing that something is going to be a certain way or knowing that something is a certain way because of the evidence that we have either seen or perhaps even not seen but yet know is there. It is an absolute belief without question. It is an absolute belief that is based upon the evidence that I mentioned earlier that is either seen or unseen, but provide in the conviction.
I would have you consider for just a moment perhaps the best definition of faith which is found right in God's Word in Hebrews chapter 11, and verse 1. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." I want you to consider for just a moment perhaps the best definition of faith which is found right in God's Word in Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 1. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." I want you to consider that. It is "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." You know we use the word "faith" in many different ways and not all of those ways are correct, but we often use it and use if commonly to describe some of the things that we have some belief in. For instance somebody might say, "I have faith that my team will win the Superbowl." Well they don't really have any evidence that their team is guaranteed a win. Maybe they had a good season. Maybe they are the favorites going into the game, but they don't actually know whether their team is actually going to win. The weatherman perhaps might say, "I have faith that tomorrow it will rain," but we know that weather forecasts change and so we know that this, too, is not something that is based upon an absolute conviction, but a very strong hope or desire, sometimes even based upon a good, educated guess. Sometimes we might even say that we have faith in the word of a good friend or family member, but we know that even the best of friends and even the most loyal of family members are not always true to their word and they sometimes let us down.
So even though we have a strong desire in these people and in these situations based upon evidence, sometimes based upon no evidence, we recognize that that's a little bit than our faith in God. Our faith in God is something that must be absolute. It must be a conviction that is within us. It must be a trust that does not waiver. It is something that is based upon the evidence that not only surrounds us in the world about us, but is also provided to us in God's Holy and Inspired Word.
Where does that faith come from? Well, I perhaps just answered it. But I want to ask you to consider Vine's Dictionary and Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words for the term "faith." It defines faith as "a trust or firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing." And that is almost exactly what Romans chapter 10 and verse 17 teaches us, that "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." To boil all of that down, true faith, absolute faith, conviction without wavering in God and heaven above and all things that are godly and pertaining to life and godliness. These things come from a faith that is developed out of God's Word. That means no other source, no other book, no other type of teaching that is alien or foreign to the Bible is to be the basis of our faith. We want to be a Bible-based people because only in God's Holy Word can we develop a type of faith that is ultimately pleasing to Him.
We also ask the question, "Is faith important?" We live in a country that has its origins in many Christian principles and beliefs and to ask that question here in this country might sound a little strange because in most every religion that we find at least in our nation most all of them would give a whole-hearted "yes, faith is important. Faith is necessary. Faith is something that a person has to have if they are going to have a relationship with God." I would agree with that. After all, Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 6 reads, "But without faith, it is impossible to please God. For he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." I want you to consider that for just a moment. "Without faith it is impossible to please Him." So first of all, we must have faith, but that faith consists of an absolute belief that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
I want us to consider for just a moment the way that faith is used in the Bible, because as I mentioned a moment ago, most people are not going to argue that faith is important. Faith is important. Faith is necessary. Faith is something we must have if we seek to be pleasing to God, but yet at the same time, some people only use one definition of the word "faith." They only use it in one way and faith is like a coin. It has two sides and for us to understand all of God's counsel and all of God's Will on the subject, we've got to look at both sides and understand the difference between the two.
First of all, let's take a look at the first way that faith is defined in the Bible and that is as we have already mentioned in some of our definitions before. It is a moral conviction. It is a firm persuasion. It is a trust. It is a mental belief that something is so. If you consider for instance John chapter 8 and verse 24. "Jesus said, therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins, for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sin." Faith is the fundamental building block of Christianity. It is the beginning place for all things that we would want in our lives if we are to pursue God and His Will for us. Jesus says, "Unless you believe that I am He, you're going to die in your sin," because until you acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior, your faith is never going to develop into anything more and in fact it will end right there and as Jesus said we will then die in our sin.
Consider also another passage that John writes in John chapter 20 and verses 29-31. You might remember one of Jesus' apostles, Thomas. We often refer to him as Doubting Thomas because until he saw the nail holes in Jesus' hands and put his hand into Jesus' side where the sword had pierced Him, Thomas said he wouldn't believe that He is actually resurrected from the dead. Jesus said to him in verse 29 of chapter 20, "Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed." There's the visual evidence that we were referencing earlier. But I want you to consider what Jesus says next. "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." You know I have never seen Jesus Christ. I have never seen the man standing before me and yet I believe that He exists. I believe that He existed in the form of a man and I believe that He is in heaven today with His Father sitting at His right hand, at the throne of power. Continue on, verse 30, truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book, but these are written that "you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and that believing you may have life in His name." You see that mental belief system, that trust that Jesus is our Lord is the beginning point of Christianity. It is the beginning point of our faith. It will lead to something that can save us, but we're going to ask the question in a moment, "Is that mental belief system alone enough?"
I want you to consider also what John writes in a later book, 1 John chapter 5 and verse 13, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the son of God that you may know that you have eternal life and that you may continue to believe in the name of the son of God."
The question that I ask a moment ago is "Is this mental belief system alone enough?" I want you to consider the other side of the coin now. I want you to consider what the Bible teaches us about faith in action. Faith not being simply the belief system which is insufficient, but the overall complete picture of faith which involves action. I want you to consider for just a moment John chapter 6 and verses 28 and 29, "Then they said to Him, what shall we do that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said, "This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He sent."
Actually faith is not simply a mental belief system nor can it only be that, but it must be something that we put into action. We must act upon that belief and make it a part of our living being.
One of the passages I want to share with you at this point is out of the book of James chapter 2 and beginning in verse 14, a passage of scripture that many religious leaders in our history have wanted to dismiss even to the point of dismissing the entire book of James because they did not like what it read. But here is what God has to say through the inspired author, James. "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked or destitute of daily food 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? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." Now I want you to consider that statement for just a moment. Those who say that faith only is sufficient to save contradict this passage of scripture from God's Word because here it says that faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Continuing on, "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. You believe that there is a God, you do well. Even the demons believe and tremble." I want you to consider for just a moment, does Satan believe that God exists? Do the demons have a faith that Jesus Christ is a son of God, is the Lord and Master of the universe? I would say yes, absolutely. But will they be saved in the end? No! A faith only is no better than that of Satan and his legions of angels.
I want you to continue on with me. Verse 20, "But do you know, o foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" Was not Abraham, our father, justified by works when he offered Isaac, his son, on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works? And by works faith was made perfect. Do you want to have an imperfect faith or do you want to have a perfect faith? An imperfect faith is defined as "a faith without action," but a perfect faith is defined "by faith in action."
And the scripture was fulfilled which says that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness and he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man was justified by works and not by faith only.
Likewise was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
So if we are going to understand the doctrine of faith, we have got to look at both sides of the coin. If somebody looks at the book of James and says, "I don't agree with that because it teaches something that my particular religion does not embrace," we've got to ask the question, "Are we following God or are we following men?"
Faith is absolutely necessary for anyone who wishes to have their sins forgiven, to become a child of God and to live eternally with Him in heaven above. However, faith only in the Father, faith only in the Son, faith only in the Spirit, is not enough. Faith only that the Bible is God's Holy and Inspired Word will not suffice. Faith alone or faith only cannot save. Why? Because that is the doctrine of men and not a doctrine of God. Only when one believes in the Master and obeys His Will can he be found pleasing in the sight of God. This kind of faith is an active faith, a living faith, and a saving faith because it is the doctrine of God.
(SONG # 3 - "Wonderful Words Of Life!")
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
But for now, let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:
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Thanks be to God for His doctrine of faith, that is required of those who want to be pleasing to Him. Are you practicing the commanded and needed faith which God confirms in His Word?