BECOMING FULLY PERSUADED
1. We are studying the subject of faith.
a. Faith is believing what God has said no matter what we see or feel.
b. Faith is agreeing with God = knowing what God has said, believing what He has said, and then expressing our agreement by the way we talk and act.
2. We, as Christians, are told to walk in the faith of Abraham. Rom 4:11,12; Heb 6:12
3. We said that one of the outstanding traits of Abraham's faith is that he was fully persuaded that what God had promised, God would do. Rom 4:21
4. To walk in effective faith, we must also be fully persuaded. That means:
a. We know what God has promised to do for us.
b. We are absolutely convinced that He will do what He has said.
5. We said that the number one reason for weak and ineffective faith is that Christians are not fully persuaded.
a. They do not know what God has promised = they do not know if what they need/desire is God's will for them.
b. They do not understand how God works.
1. He makes His promise (gives His Word) first.
2. Then, when He gets the right cooperation (faith in, or agreement with that word/that promise), God fulfills His Word (brings it to pass).
c. They do not understand that they must believe His Word before they see any results.
1. And, there is usually a passage of time between when you believe His Word and you actually see results.
2. During that period of time, patience (endurance) must be added to your faith -- you just keep on believing what God has said no matter what you see or how long it takes.
d. If they are not fully persuaded when there is a long period of time between when they believe God's Word and they actually see results, they waver. James 1:5-8.
1. They begin to doubt if this is God's will.
2. They begin to doubt if God is going to do this for them.
6. I John 5:14,15 promises us that if we ask God for something that is His will, He will do it.
a. We can approach God with confidence for this reason. If we make requests which accord with His will, He listens to us; and if we know that our requests are heard, we know the things that we ask for are ours. (NEB)
b. So, if you can determine His will before you ask, you can ask in confidence, and hold your ground till you see with your eyes God's promise fulfilled = be fully persuaded.
7. In this lesson, we want to continue our discussion of faith by looking futher into what it means to be fully persuaded.
B. In order to have faith that is fully persuaded, you must know God's will.
1. That leads to an obvious question -- how can you know God's will?
a. Although that is a broad subject much too big for us to cover completely in this lesson, we can give some general principles which will help us in the area of faith.
b. God's will is His Word. His will is revealed in His Word, the Bible.
c. You determine God's will for your life by first going to the Bible.
2. You do not determine God's will by looking at your circumstances.
a. Christians sometimes say: I'll pray, and if it happens, I'll know it is God's will, and if it doesn't, I'll know it's not.
b. That is the wrong approach.
c. Why would God tell us to live/walk by faith and not by sight, and then use sight to reveal His will to us? II Cor 5:7
3. This brings up another question: God's Word doesn't tell me who to marry or what job to take!
a. God has two wills for our lives:
1. His general will -- general blessings for all; general principles we are all to live by.
2. His specific will -- who we marry; where we work; etc.
b. We tend to focus more on His specific will rather than His general will, but that's backwards!
c. If we will become fully persuaded of His general will, the specific will will get taken care of!
4. God's general will for your life includes everything provided for us through the Cross of Jesus Christ:
a. Righteousness; right standing with God (sonship)
b. Remission of sins; deliverance from sin's penalty and power
c. A plan and a purpose for each of our lives.
d. His promise to lead us and guide us
e. Physical needs met
f. Healing for body and soul
g. Access to all the grace, peace, joy, and strength we need
5. Here's how knowing God's will works:
a. You may not know whether you should take the job at McDonalds or not, but you do know some general principles about work from God's Word.
1. It is God's will that you work (II Thess 3:10), and it is His will that you make enough to support yourself. Phil 4:19
2. We do have favor with God and man because we obey God. Prov 3:4
3. Everything we put our hand to prospers. Prov 28:20; Ps 1:3; 122:6
4. If you will mix faith with God' general will, He'll take care of the specific will.
b. You may not know God's purpose for your life as far as ministry goes, but you do know some general principles from His Word.
1. He does have a purpose for your life. Jer 29:11; Eph 2:10
2. He is directing and guiding you. Prov 3:6
3. You are a particular member of the Body of Christ. I Cor 12:27
4. If you will mix faith with God's general will, He'll take care of the specific.
c. You may not know who God wants you to marry, but you do know some general principles from His Word.
1. Marriage is a good thing; it is His will that we be happy in marriage. Eccl 4:9-11; Prov 18:22; 19:14; Heb 13:4
2. If you will put God first, He will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:4
3. If you mix faith with the general will of God, the specifics will get taken care of.
C. That brings us to another question: how do we express faith in/mix faith with God's general will?
1. We have said that if you do not walk in general faith, specific faith for healing, finances, etc, will be very difficult.
2. We can look at a group of people in the Bible about whom it says: they missed God's specific will for their lives because they did not mix faith with God's Word, God's will. Heb 4:1,2
a. Them = the generation of Israel that God led out of captivity in Egypt.
b. Mix faith with = lit: because they were not united by faith to.
3. We find their story recorded in Ex 14-17 and Num 13 and 14.
a. God sent Moses to lead them out of captivity in Egypt and bring them into the promised land of Canaan.
b. From the beginning, God made it clear that He would bring them out to bring them in; He would defeat their enemies; they would be His armies; He would fight for them. Ex 3:8; 12:17; 15:13-17; 23:31; 34:11
c. Yet, at the edge of the land, they chose not to go in.
4. When we look at their story, we find they blew it in their general faith and in their specific faith.
a. General faith (the trip from Egypt to the promised land) Ex 14-17
1. They murmured (complained) = were unthankful; doubted God's presence, help, and care.
2. They walked by sight (believed what they saw rather than what God said).
3. Notice, they were walking in the right direction (toward Canaan, following God), but they were walking in disagreement with God.
b. Specific faith (entering the promised land and possessing the promise made to Abraham; Gen 13:14,15)
1. They believed what they saw rather than what God said. Num 14:27-29; 31-33
2. They murmured and complained about their situation. Num 15:1-3
5. To not mix faith with God's Word means:
a. You agree with what you see rather than with what God says.
b. You base your words and actions on what you see rather than on what God says.
6. Only Joshua and Caleb entered the promised land. Num 14:30
a. They believed what God said rather than what they saw.
b. They based their words and their actions on what God said rather than on what they saw. Num 13:30; 14:6-9
7. Notice: it was God's will for all those people to go into the promised land.
a. But God's will/God's Word only came to pass in two lives -- Joshua and Caleb.
b. The Bible clearly spells out for us why this happened -- they did not believe God's Word. Heb 3:19; 4:1,2
D. These people were not fully persuaded of God's will.
1. How do we know? By what came out of their mouths.
2. Your mouth locates you!!
a. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Matt 12:34
b. Many Christians say they believe God's Word to them, but their everyday language tells us they don't.
3. It's not a case of willful rebellion.
a. They simply have more confidence in what they see than in what God says.
b. They are fully persuaded that their circumstances have more power against them than any help God might give them.
4. In Matt 6 Jesus taught about general faith.
a. In v30 He tells us that little faith = not expecting God to provide the basic necessities of life.
b. How do you know if you have little faith?
1. Do you worry?
2. How do you talk about yourself, your life, and God?
a. What you don't have; what it going wrong?
b. What you see and feel rather than what God says?
5. One of the keys to fully persuaded faith is your mouth.
a. Your mouth locates you.
b. There is a spiritual law which works like this: you will have what you say. Mark 11:23
1. At the edge of the promised land, God told Israel they would have what they said. Num 14:28
2. That is another lesson for another day.
c. You can school yourself in faith with your mouth. Rom 10:17
1. Remember , that is how God helped Abraham's faith flaws.
2. He even changed Abraham's name from Abram (prince) to Abraham (father of many nations).
3. Every time he opened his mouth to say his name, he was building his faith, become more convinced of God's promise.
1. Faith involves action. James 2:17;26
2. How do you know if you are fully persuaded that what God has promised, He will do?
a. Are there corresponding actions?
b. Do you talk and act like you believe it -- not just at church in front of Christians -- but all the time?!
3. If you aren't fully convinced that what God has promised, He will do, begin to school yourself in faith = preach to yourself.
4. The essence of faith is:
a. Knowing God's will, Word, promise.
b. Believing it.
c. Agreeing with it in word and action.
5. All of that is just a fancy way of saying: being fully persuaded!