THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 5-13-12
LESSON TITLE: WHAT IS FAITH?
“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many,” Matthew 20:28!Welcome to our program this wondrous Lord’s day morning. As always, it is a privilege to have you with us for the Living Word. Thank you for choosing to be with us for this time of offering to God.
Today, we have the opportunity together to worship and praise our God. Together we will glorify our creator through songs of praise and through the study of His perfect Word! What better activity could we together engage in this morning for the sake of our God. I hope each of us will do our part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let’s approach our Father’s throne in prayer.
This morning we want to start with a song which reminds us of the blessed promises and assurances from our God. Won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “Blessed Assurance!”
(SONG # 1)
When we talk about faith or having faith in God, we all know this means we must follow His Will! When I think of following God’s Will, I think of the many things He asks me to do as a faithful servant in His Kingdom. For we all know that Jesus Christ was also a servant of God!
One attribute that really stands out in my mind this morning is found in Ephesians 4:32, where Paul said, “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.” What a beautiful verse this is as we learn that we are to be forgivers of others. But you might wonder, “What should motivate me to forgive others?” Well, the same verse answers that question as the writer said, “just as God in Christ forgave you!” You see, we forgive because we have been forgiven.
I am sure that Paul got this information directly from God, because we see that same idea presented by Jesus Himself in the Lord’s Prayer, which is found in Matthew chapter 6, and verse 12. There as Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He said, “And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.” Again the idea, “God forgive us, because we have learned from you how to forgive others.
A final verse which really drives the point home is found in the same opening, just a few verses down - verses 14 and 15. There we read, again in the words of Christ, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Again listen to our Savior’s Word’s - Forgive and be forgiven! But verse 15 is the real key, when He said, “If we don’t forgive, we will not be forgiven!”
As followers of God we must all realize the importance of forgiving, because the only way God will forgive us of our many sins is when we learn to forgive others. And why shouldn’t we be required to do so, because we are to be like our Lord, as those who are striving to be Christ-like! Are you forgiving others in your life so that Christ can forgive you?
Our topic today will head a new direction this morning as we begin a new series together. For the next several months we would like to consider a discussion on Faith, in our series entitled, “But Without Faith It Is Impossible To Please Him!” Our specific lesson of the day will focus on, “What Is Faith.” So please stay with us this morning and in a few minutes I will return and lead us in our thoughts of the Day. Now it’s time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, “A New Creation.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
In John 8:24 Jesus said, “‘…for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.’” As we think about this concept certainly we find a very emphatic, bold, strong statement being made by Jesus. But what is he really saying? Is he really just saying that unless you know me, unless you have heard of me, unless you have thought about me, or is he really saying unless you believe? By saying believe there is something much deeper than just a general knowledge, or an idea, or having heard of but really there is the idea of acting on that belief. I believe that sometimes throughout the denominational world one of the most simple concepts that should be so easy to understand is so often misunderstood, and even misapplied and misused, and that is the idea of belief. Because the Bible tells us we must believe but what is Jesus talking about when he tells us we have a great need to believe. In that context we might also think about the book there of James 2. In James 2, we actually find a clear discussion concerning the idea of Faith and there in verse 18-19 there is mention of even demons. Notice what it says, “…even the demons believe.” Now let me ask you a question, is a demon or a devil a follower of God? Certainly not! The verse there says even demons or the Devil believe, even they know of God, and have heard of God, and are aware of God. But what separates the belief or understanding of a demon and the belief that will lead us to death and sin? Well, what separates those things is nothing! But, what separates the true believer is the fact that they act on belief. In other words they not only know God and have heard of God but when they know and they hear they obey. You see belief! When Jesus says unless you believe, unless you have heard, received, and have acted upon what you have received from Me concerning the Father you will die in your sins. And we know that to be true because the same Lord and Jesus throughout the gospel accounts warned them that if they did not do what Jesus commanded they did not love him, they were not his friends, and they were not in relationship to God true believers. So, that’s what we would like to begin this morning in looking a little bit more deeply at this concept of belief but more specifically in our new series that is concerning Faith. A statement that is taken there in Hebrews 11:6, that we will come back to in just a moment, tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith. So, you can see how paramount it is that we not only understand what faith is but that we understand what it is all about in relationship to how it affects you and I as Christians and those who love God, because if it is impossible to please him without faith I need to know what it is and I need to make sure that I am doing it. Isn’t that correct? Certainly it is.
So we will begin to talk about the concept of faith together. To understand that I thought no better place to begin in God’s word than where we did with belief because Jesus proclaimed the need for belief. But you know what even before Jesus, even before our Lord and God, Paul speaks there to the Romans. There not also only to the Romans, but we see around chapter 8 and then we find in other texts throughout the Bible even the letter to the Galations and throughout other texts that Paul wrote to brethren, that he was always making reference to great men of old. One in particular that stands out to me is Abraham. And do you remember what it said that Abraham was justified by? It was Faith! Jesus had not even yet died but he still was justified by what? Faith, because what we know the Bible teaches us is that faith is something that we not only know and understand but we have put into action, no wonder. We see the beginning of faith or the blooming of faith in the verse there Romans 10:17, where it says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” And so where do we begin to develop faith? From the hearing of God’s word! But you know what, faith is more than that. Faith is not just hearing but the concept being presented there in that verse is not just a hearing but within Romans 10, it is one who has heard unto receiving and obedience. So, it is not just somebody who hears and says, “Oh there’s a God? Ok.” and then goes on with their daily business and walk. It’s someone who says faith comes by hearing the word of God and then belief, Romans 10:9-10. Belief comes from that heart because of the Faith now that you are going to demonstrate in the confession of the mouth, and repentance, and other things that we certainly understand from the beautiful pages of God’s word. Not only do we see faith comes by hearing, faith which we need because it is impossible to please God. So, I need to look to the word of God that I might have faith, learn faith, and grow in my faith.
But we also see in Ephesians 4 that there is something very unique about faith, something unique yet that many in the religious world, especially throughout many of the denominational groups and churches, that they really don’t understand. Within the seven ones of unity, the Holy Spirit reveals to Paul in Ephesians 4, that there is but one faith, verse 5. One. How many faiths? You mean it is not the matter that we can all believe something different and we all have a different faith? Have you ever had somebody ask you before, “What’s your faith?” or “What faith are you of?” Well, I’m of God’s faith or of the Lords faith because the Lord himself through the Holy Spirit revealed to Paul that there is only one faith. You can’t believe different ways. You can’t be divided in Jesus and be acceptable. We learn that from John 17, in the prayer there that the Lord gave for unity. He wants us to be one as He and the Father in Heaven he said are one. Do you think God the Father and Jesus the Son cannot agree on truth? Do you think they have different ideas about what truth or the word is or doctrines? So, how can we? There is but one faith, one faith that comes from hearing the word of God that we take into our lives in order that we might be able to act upon it. Then there is another verse that I want us to look at there in the book of Jude. Of course Jude only bears one chapter but there in verse 3, notice what this inspired writer says, “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 content earnestly for the faith…” What faith? Well, the faith in God. What faith? The faith found in the word of God. What faith? The faith that is the one faith in Jesus Christ! The faith that he says here that they should earnestly contend for, then he goes on to say, “…which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Guess what? Our God has already given us the things pertaining to faith. He has already given us the knowledge. He has already revealed his will. He has made the mysteries known and there is nothing else we are waiting for. The Bible contains everything we need, all things pertaining to life and Godliness, Peter says, and it is inspired of God and therefore is sufficient in every aspect of life. We need no other book, no other religious manual, and no other creed of man but the book of God. The Bible itself teaches us the faith that was once delivered to all pertaining to the gospel of Jesus Christ, that will save and that lead us, as we have began to study this morning into the idea of the one faith that we gain and we learn through the word of God by hearing the word of God and then acting that belief in our lives. That’s what separates me from the devils. That’s what separates me from what we might refer to as an unbeliever, even an unbeliever sometimes may say that they believe there might be a God or that there is some type of a God or some type of higher beings but that doesn’t mean they are a true believer. This is because a true believer is one who follows their God.
Now let’s go to our main text that will really be that passage we use over and over throughout the next several months, concerning the concepts of faith, there in the great faith chapter Hebrews 11. You recall here in Hebrews 11 we find in verse 6 as we have already referenced the idea that we must have faith for it is impossible to please God without faith. So, I’ve got to go to God’s word and I have to find it, implement it in my life, I’ve got to make sure it’s the one faith of my Lord and savior. How do I know? I know because I align it with what I find in the scriptures. But, the next thing that we find here is the definition in verse 1, he actually says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” In other words it is saying the substance, the real ideas, thoughts, and concepts of those things that are hoped for from God. This includes things such as the promises of God, the blessings of this life, eternal life in Heaven. How many of you have ever been to Heaven? None of you have been to Heaven but yet you have the hope, the hope of the substance that it is real and exists. But, then we turn around and we see the other side of it. Although we have the hope in that evidence that will be there and that is real, he says we have never really seen it. As he goes on to actually clarify, it has not actually been seen as a true or concrete evidence. That might be a good word because it is not something that we can hold in our hands or something that I can ask somebody else and they can say, “Oh yeah, I’ve been there.” It’s not something where I can go, “Well, I’m going to go next summer and I’m going to visit Heaven so I can see it and then I’m going to tell others about it.” Well, you see it is that substance of things that we hope for. What is that? The things that we believe in and therefore hope! Where do we learn them? From God’s word! We learn them from God’s word and we believe and have those hopes in the substance of things that we have never seen. We don’t have the evidences but by what? Faith! Faith we believe. We believe it anyway because it means more, it makes more sense, there is more credibility in believing it than many of the other options that this world or man has ever offered. Does it make more sense that everything we see in its complexities today is something that came from nothing? Or does it make more sense that when we look at something and we find design, that it has a designer? When we look at something and we find that there is an effect and with that there has to be a cause. Certainly, you and I understand that as those who believe and know and love in God. When we gold that new born baby in our arms that we know has been brought about by the power of God through what a man and a woman share together. Then what we find is something beautiful from God and how could it just happen by chance? Well, it didn’t. It happened because of God and the plan of God.
Therefore, as we think about faith we begin to clearly understand the need for faith because God demands it and commands it in his word. But, furthermore because it is a faith that is founded in the things we believe on although we do not and have not experienced them. There might be one more area since we have kind of looked at the futuristic ideas that really present themselves in faith. How many of you were at the cross? Well, no one that is alive today was. How many of you were back in the days of Noah? Well, why do you believe these things? You believe them because by faith. By faith you believe and have acted on these things because you know them to be true by God, because the validity of the book that is in front of you, because of its uniqueness and its ability to be something that is consistent and perfect from God, and because of the evidences that you read even through history as we go to history and we see that it coincides with what we have even from God’s word, by faith.
You today are a believer in God because what you have done is you have believed in what you have heard from God’s word and therefore by hearing it you have acted on it. You have acted on that one faith from God only found in the Bible according to his will and therefore as one acting upon that faith you are therefore striving to show yourself unique and different before God and before this world. Why? You want to be a child. You want to be a faithful child. You want to be a child who is unique as Jesus was unique, who is special as all of God’s children are special. You see, once again that’s what makes us different from this world. That’s what shows us to have true faith. When we have acted on what we believe and do what God says and therefore we know we will be blessed today and forever.
(SONG # 3 - “Faith Is A Victory!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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Praise be to God for all that He has done and for the faith which we can have in Him. Are you a true believer in God? Do you show by faith, that you are willing to give God you best?