William Stout / General
Biblical Christianity / Faith
What is Faith?
- Is faith a source of power, a force, that we use to obtain?
- Is it just another word for religion? (as in people of different faiths)
- Is it something that is in us, or us trusting in something in God?
- Is it mind over matter?
- Is it activated by our will? Does it work by the force of our believing it?
- Is it affected by our words? the words of others?
- Are there conditions which can increase faith, or decrease faith?
- Are there circumstances that can work against faith, or negate it?
- Does everyone have faith?
- are there different kinds of faith?
- Is all faith equal?
Hebrews 11:6 NKJV
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
- Whatever we determine faith to be it is necessary that we have it
- We cannot please God without Faith
- We cannot be saved without faith
- We cannot enter heaven without faith
- Biblical faith
Dictionary definition of Faith:
1 a: allegiance to duty or a person: LOYALTY
b (1): fidelity to one’s promises
(2): sincerity of intentions
2 a (1): belief and trust in and loyalty to God
(2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion
b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof
(2): complete trust
3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction especially: a system of religious beliefs
Webster College dictionary: “unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence
- This is the definition we will use to contrast with our illustration of “Biblical Faith”
- For the purpose of this message I will focus on biblical faith
- That is, the faith that is described in the bible, and what is meant by the bible in referring to it.
- We will not regard faith as synonymous with “religion” or a set of religious beliefs
- we also will not consider the application of the word as “allegiance or sincerity of intention”
- Instead we will be considering “Biblical faith” with the goal of understanding and then imitating the type of faith that Jesus spoke of to His disciples.
Faith = Pistis
- Every place in the New testament where the word faith appears, it is translated from a form of the Greek word pistis
- 298 occurrences
- So, to fully grasp Biblical faith, it may help to look at this word
A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible 4102. πίστις
- πίστις pistis, pis´-tis; from 3982; persuasion, i.e. credence; mor. conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), espec. reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstr. constancy in such profession; by extens. the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:—assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.
- So, the word as used in the new testament means “to be persuaded” or to have a conviction of the truth as declared by God in His Word.
- In this sense, faith is not a force in itself – like psychic power
- Yet, we will see that when this persuasion is effectively present, it may result in the release of great power
- This activation of power through faith may become so effectual that it would seem to be a force in itself
- This conviction that God is in you – His Word, His power effective in you
John 14:12 NKJV
12 “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 My Father.
- Does everyone have faith?
- Are there different kinds of faith?
- Are there hindrances to faith?
- Can we get more faith?
- How is Faith activated?
- What is the purpose of faith?
Romans 12:3 NKJV
3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is 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.
- Every person therefore has been given at least some faith
Mark 11:22 NKJV
22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.
- Here we are instructed to have faith –
- Or reminded that we have faith
Jesus spoke of people having:
- Great faith (Luke 9, Centurion, Mat 15, woman with daughter possessed)
- little faith (Mat. c6 concerning worry, Mat 8, to disciples about storm (why are you fearful, Mat 14, why did you doubt – Peter walking on water,)
- no faith (Mark 4 – at sea)
- weak faith
- and of being faithless (Mark 9 – concerning possessed boy – all 3 gospels)
- asked the disciples “where is your faith – (Luke 8 – at sea)
- In many instances JESUS told people that “Their faith” had accomplished their miracles
- The Woman with the issue of blood
- The demon possessed boy’s father – if you can believe
- Jairus – Believe only
- The Centurion whose servant was sick
- and others –
Matthew 9:29 NKJV
29 Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.”
In Acts Paul perceived that a man had faith enough to be healed
Acts 14:9–10 NKJV
9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.
- This is very significant because it implies that at least sometimes, the faith of the recipient is a limiting factor
Luke 17:5–6 NKJV
5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” 6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.
When the disciples said Lord increase our faith, Jesus did not lay hands on them and speak in tongues
He spoke Words to them (Words are very important) to increase their level of persuasion –
the power is already within you – you must be persuaded of this in order to activate it
God is in You if you are a Christian
If God is in you – Then the power to do miracles is also in you
All of the gifts of the Spirit work by faith –
That is, these gifts work when you are fully persuaded
Now Faith Is – – –
- The Bible begins to describe faith in Hebrew chapter 11
- Here we are given a defining statement about faith
- followed by over 20 examples of people who had faith and what they did through faith
Hebrews 11:1 NKJV
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
- Although this is often quoted as a definition, it is more of a description of faiths importance and power than an actual definition of the word
- The we are given more than 20 examples also intended to be descriptive of what faith looks like:
- 4 By faith Abel
- By faith Enoch
- By faith Noah
- By faith Abraham
- By faith Sarah
- By faith Isaac
- By faith Joseph,
- By faith Moses,.
- By faith the harlot Rahab
Here we see example of faith
- Faith does
- While some people want to describe faith as an invisible psychic power like force, that happens as if through the power of our will –
- Here it is described as something that results in actions on the part of these believers
- These actions were done “by faith”
- These actions resulted in many miracles that could not have been done by works
Hebrews 11:4 NKJV
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
Hebrews 11:7 NKJV
7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Hebrews 11:24–27 NKJV
24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
- By faith Moses forsook the present riches – looking to God for his reward
- too many people are willing rather to forsake God’s invitation to follow Him, looking to men for their rewards (first and hoping for God’s later) – For example:
Faith is not Works
Yet Faith always results in Works
James 2:18 NKJV
18 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.
- Biblical faith is believing God and God’s Word so much that you will act upon it
- That you will act like Moses, Like Abraham, Like Jesus, when called upon.
- Trusting Him
- Taking up your cross
- Being persuaded
Faith is not simply believing in sacrifice or risk
- It is believing for the “God’s will” outcome so much that you are not moved by sacrifice or risk
- It is believing God so much that you know He will act, according to His will
- It is Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego faith
Daniel 3:16–18 NKJV
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
- When you have this kind of faith miracles happen
- With this kind of faith, your spiritual gifts are activated within you.
- With this kind of faith, your faith will grow continually.