THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

PROGRAM AIR DATE - 9-24-00

LESSON TITLE: WHAT IS FAITH?

WELCOME

Let me welcome each of you to the Living Word Program on this beautiful Lord's day morning! It is always a privilege for us to have you with us as we commit this time of Service to our God. As we study from God's Word and sing praises to His name, may we all do our part in making this worship acceptable in His sight. To God be the glory in all things. Now will you bow with me in prayer!
(Prayer)

Let me begin this morning by extending a very special invitation to you to be a part of our next taping of congregational singing for the Living Word Program. This taping will take place on Sunday, October 8th, from 2:00-4:00, in the afternoon, at the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ building in Springfield. I hope you will plan to be a part of this time of worship, fellowship and thanksgiving to our God. As well as accomplishing together a great service in getting God's Word out to the lost and dying of this world. I hope to see you there.

I also would like to take a moment to welcome a new supporter of this work of our Lord. The Aurora Church of Christ in Aurora, Missouri, has committed to be a regular part of this ministry of Christ. This fine family of God meets regularly for worship and Bible studies. Please feel free to contact me if you need any more specifics about their times of worship or assemblies. I would be happy to put you in touch with their minister brother Bobby Stafford. Thanks be to God for this congregation and for their desire to get involved in the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is great to have them aboard!

One of the greatest blessings we have in our worship to God is our songs of praise to Him. I know many of us really enjoy blending our voices together, before His throne, to glorify His holy name. Well, it is now time to join in with the brethren in our first Hymn of the morning. Please participate with the congregation as we sing together, "A Wonderful Savior!"
(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

If I asked you this morning about Faith, what is the first thing that comes in your mind? I would probably hear a variety of ideas that all touch on the full meaning of this great Bible term. In fact, some of us might even have a hard time really putting this concept in our own words.

The Bible is full of many descriptions and stories which help us to understand what a true faith is, from the great faith of many to the small faith of others. It is important that we all know more about faith so that we may find where we stand in relationship to this important study in God's Word.

Today, I want you to begin knowing and understanding more about what faith truly is. Why? Because the Bible says that, "without faith, it is impossible to please God," Hebrews 11:6! So, if we have to have it, we surely must understand it.

Beginning this morning, we are going to be studying the vast topic of Faith. We want to spend several months together really breaking this subject down and understanding it from a Biblical standpoint. From trying to understand what it really is, to trying to apply it in our own lives. I know you and I want to know what God says about faith, so that we will know how to achieve it, thus making ourselves pleasing in His sight.

So today, we want to begin this study together on faith by asking the question, "What is faith?" Our guest speaker this morning, who will begin our new series, is Bobby Stafford. Brother Bobby is the minister for the Aurora Church of Christ, in Aurora, Missouri. After our next song together He will return with this study from God's Word. Now let's again join in song. The name of this hymn, "Give Me The Bible."
(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Bobby Stafford

I'd like to welcome you today to The Living Word program and thank you for tuning in to listen to this lesson on "What is the Meaning of Faith?" Faith is truly one of the most amazing words in all of the Bible and it's to the Bible that we need to go to discover what the meaning of faith truly is. And what better place in all the Bible to begin our search than in that great faith chapter in Hebrews? And that is Hebrews chapter 11.

Hopefully you have a Bible handy with you at home and you can pick that up and read along as we're going to be reading a number of passages from God's word today. Let's begin by reading Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

In the language of the New Testament, the word translated substance as a compound word. It brings with it the idea of that which stands under or that which is a substructure or a basis. So we see from the very beginning of this text that faith then is the foundation of our hopes. It is that which supports our hopes. It's that which upholds our hopes. So the stronger we see that our faith truly is, the more sure and steadfast our hopes are going to be. So then faith becomes to us a well-grounded confidence in all of our hopes, and this confidence is one that's sure and steadfast. It's one that has a firm and solid foundation. So we see from the very beginning of our lesson, at least a part definition of what Biblical faith truly is.

Often when we look at a particular verse in the New Testament, it's very worthwhile to examine those verses just prior to the one we're looking at, and often those verses give us some additional insight into the meaning of our particular text. That is certainly true in Hebrews chapter 11, verse 1, because if we go back to Hebrews chapter 10, we see the writer there encouraging his readers to have this kind of faith, a sure and strong and steadfast faith.

Let's go back to Hebrews 10 and begin reading there in verse 35. The writer says, Therefore do not cast away your confidence which has great reward. For you have need of endurance so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. For yet a little while, then He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith, but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who draw back to perdition but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

They should, if it's the kind of faith that the Bible desires, should keep us from going back, from drawing back. And it should have the opposite effect. It should encourage us. It should urge us. It should move us forward to the realization of our hopes and that of course the salvation of our souls.

The apostle Paul wrote to the church at Rome some words that have a great deal to do with faith and its connection with hope. We go back to Romans chapter 8 and begin reading there in verse 23. Not only that but we also who have the first fruits of the spirit, even we ourselves grow within ourselves eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption, of our body. For we were saved in this hope. But hope that is not seen is still hope. So why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

He mentions there in Romans chapter 8 the redemption of our body and for those who have lived a faithful life, the redemption of our body is that last act of redemption that God does for us. He changes our body into something that is suitable for that great eternal home in heaven. It's that change that the apostle Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and I would certainly encourage you to go back and look and 1 Corinthians 15 with me as we read a few verses there beginning with verse 50. 1 Corinthians chapter 15, verse 50. Now this I say brethren that flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold I tell you a mystery, we shall not all sleep but we shall all be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory. Oh death, where is your sting? Oh Hades, where is your victory?

That's certainly going to be that last act of redemption, the changing of our bodies into an incorruptible immortal one that is able to live an eternity in heaven, and for that Christian who has indeed lived a life of faith, that is one of our greatest hopes, that salvation of our souls that will usher us in to that eternal home.

The apostle Peter also mentioned this in one of his epistles. And if we turn toward the end of our Bible to 1 Peter chapter 1, we read these verses that the apostle Peter wrote that have so much also to do with our faith and what it will produce. In 1 Peter chapter 1, let's begin reading in verse 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ according to His abundant mercy who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance in corruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice. Though now for a little while, if need be, you've been grieved by various trials that the genuineness of your faith being much more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ whom having not seen, you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

And so we certainly see in Hebrews chapter 11 the connection there between faith being the substance of all of our hopes. Well, turning back to Hebrews chapter 11, we see the 2nd part of verse 1, and that says that faith is the evidence of things not seen. In the language of the New Testament, the word 'evidence' there brings with it the idea of verification or certainty or proof and that's all kind of embedded in the idea of evidence.

You know we can not actually see God? We can not go outside or go in a room or go in some particular building and actually see God. But nevertheless, we can know that He exists because He has left proof of His existence.

If we turn back to Romans chapter 1 and we read this, in Romans chapter 1 and verse 20. For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so they are without excuse.

Paul makes it very clear when he was writing to the church at Rome that there are plenty of proofs in the world that show us with certainty that God does exist and that He obviously has great power. So we can have faith in God. We can believe in God. The Psalmist wrote in Psalms 19:1 that the Heavens, the firmament shows His glory. So we can just look around us and see truly that He does exist, and we can have faith in God and in His existence just as if we could actually go out and see Him or touch Him. We can have that much assurance. Why? Because of the evidence.

Well, the Bible is truly the inspired word of God. The apostle wrote that it actually came from the mind of God. God breathed it out. And so when we open up the pages of the Bible, we can trust it as a reliable source of evidence for those things not seen, the creation of the world being one of those. The Bible tells us very clearly in Genesis 1:1 that In the beginning it was God that created the heavens and the earth, and because we trust the Bible and know it is inspired of God, we know that it was God that actually did that creating. It informs us of that and we can be confident of that very thing. We can be just as confident that God truly did create the heavens and the earth as if we were given the privilege of viewing that act of creation. I can't imagine what that would have been like to actually view God creating the heavens and the earth, but I'm just as sure that that happened. I have just as much faith in that act as if I would have had the privilege of viewing that particular act. That's how sure we can be of that. And again, it's because of God's inspired word.

There's an aspect of faith that is very, very important for us to understand. It goes right along with Hebrews chapter 11, verse 1. That's what Paul wrote back in Romans chapter 10, verse 17 and probably to most of the viewers, this is a very well-known passage that you've read many, many times in your life. Romans chapter 10, verse 17 says, So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

Here a very important aspect of faith is revealed and that is that the main or primary source of our faith is to be the Bible, the inspired word of God. SO I can have full assurance that what the Bible talks about actually happened, whether it was the creation of the world, whether it was the great flood of Noah's day, regardless of what particular historical act it refers to, I can be assured and I can have absolute confidence that that actually happened. Well, this has a lot to do with our salvation because the Bible tells us of God coming to this earth in human form in the person of Jesus Christ and Him living this life amongst men, teaching, preaching, and ultimately being delivered up to die on that cross of Calvary. The Bible tells us that He was buried. Then the Bible also tells us that on the 3rd day, He rose from the dead and that now He's reigning in heaven over His kingdom. Because I know that the Bible is true, I can trust it, I can have faith in that act. I can have assurance and confidence that Jesus did actually die on the cross for my sins. I can be certain of that very thing. I can actually be just as confident and just as certain of that act of that particular event in history than I know that George Washington was the 1st president of the United States. There's certainly far more evidence that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead than there is that George Washington was the 1st president.

So we see how that faith is the evidence of things not seen. I didn't seen Jesus Christ die on the cross. I didn't see Him buried and I didn't see Him rise from the dead. But I can have certainty that that happened because God's word tells me that. So when God speaks, that settles it forever. I don't need anything else. Why? Because when God says something, that's the truth, and I know that and I can be absolutely positive of that very thing.

For us who believe in Jesus, and who are basing our salvation on His death, burial, and resurrection, those are very comforting words to know that we don't have to doubt in any way, in any form what actually happened and that we can live our entire lives here with certainty and with confidence that if we are faithful and we live as God wants us to live, then one day He is going to deliver on those promises and He's going to change our bodies and one day we'll be able to enter that wonderful, wonderful place of heaven, and be able to live for an eternity with God our Father forever. Thank you for listening today.
(SONG # 3 - "To God Be The Glory!")

CLOSING

Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged by our time together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God.

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:

The Living Word
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May we all learn more about what faith truly is, so that ours may be more acceptable in His sight!
(Program closing)