If God Is Faithful Why ? I
IF GOD IS FAITHFUL, WHY...? I
A. Introduction: As Christians, we are called to live by faith. Rom 1:17; II Cor 5:7
1. Faith is believing what God says.
a. Faith puts God's word above every other source of information.
b. Faith expects God to do what He promised.
2. One thing vital to strong faith is knowing that God is faithful.
a. Faithful means steadfast in keeping promises or fulfilling duties. Steadfast = not subject to change.
b. God keeps His word, His promise -- and that characteristic never fails.
c. God has gone to great lengths to demonstrate / reveal His faithfulness to us.
3. His faithfulness is revealed in His creation. Rom 1:20
a. Day and night, the seasons, the sun, the moon, all come, all move, as He said they would. Gen 8:22; 9:9-13
b. God Himself used them as examples of His faithfulness to encourage His people. Jer 31:35-37; 33:19-26
c. Jesus pointed to creation as a display of God's faithfulness. Matt 6:24-34
4. In the last lesson, we looked at how God the Father demonstrates His faithfulness through God the Son, Jesus -- the Faithful and Truth Witness. Rev 1:5; 3:14; 19:11; I John 5:20
a. God planned to send Jesus to die for our sins before He ever formed the earth. II Tim 1:9; Titus 1:2; Rev 13:8
1. God first told man almost 4,000 years before Jesus came. Gen 3:15
2. During that time, God restated His promise over and over.
b. Throughout Jesus's time on earth, He said and did things specifically to fulfill God's word.
c. Jesus had an expectancy that His Father would be faithful to Him. John 11:41,42
d. Jesus had to trust in His Father to raise His from the dead. Luke 23:46; Ps 22:8
e. In the years between God's promise of Christ and His resurrection from the dead, many obstacles came up which attempted to block or thwart God from fulfilling His word about Jesus. But none of that stopped God. Gen 16:15; Ex 32:7-14; Matt 2:12-18
5. All of this brings up a question: If God is faithful to fulfill His word, why don't things automatically come to pass in our lives?
B. To answer that question, we must begin by discussing how God works in our lives.
1. You might say: you can't know how God works. He's God!! His ways are past finding out!! But, that is not so!! God works according to His word.
2. God works in our lives (demonstrates His power) in one of two ways: He works sovereignly, and He works through our faith.
a. When we say God works sovereignly we mean: God moves in people's lives apart from their faith because He is good.
b. When we say God works through faith, we means He moves in people's lives because they believe His word, His promise to them.
3. The fact that God is sovereign means He is all powerful, in complete control.
a. We often use the word to mean things like this: God took your baby and burned your house down because He is sovereign. But that is incorrect.
b. When we study the Bible, we find that God uses His sovereignty to bless and help people apart from their faith -- not to harm people.
4. No one has a promise from God that God will sovereignly use His power on your behalf to help you.
a. No one has a guarantee that God's promises will automatically come to pass in their lives.
b. But, on the other hand, everyone has a promise from God that He will use His power on your behalf through your faith.
c. If you will believe His promise to you (His word), He will do it. He will bring it to pass -- make it happen.
C. This is best understood by looking at a specific example. Let's look at physical healing.
1. One of the things God has provided for us through the Cross of Christ is physical healing.
a. Isa 53:4,5--Surely our sicknesses He hath borne, and our pains He hath carried them...and He is pierced for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace is on him, and by his bruise there is healing for us. (Young's Lit)
b. Sickness is a curse of the law according to Deut 28, and Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law. Gal 3:13
c. Sickness had the right to exist in our bodies when we were guilty of sin, but now that we've been redeemed, sickness has lost that right. It is now a trespasser.
2. Christ's death removed our sins, and that means the potential is there for us to have physical healing for our bodies. I Pet 2:24
a. All of God's provisions for us through the Cross are offered, they must now be fulfilled.
b. God has given us His word about what He has done through Christ. Now, it must be brought into the physical realm.
3. There are two ways for this to happen:
a. By an act of God's sovereignty where He heals someone.
b. Through faith -- someone believes God's promise about healing and God fulfills His word in their body.
4. I Cor 12:4-11 lists what are sometimes called gifts of the Spirit.
a. The term gift can be misleading. These gifts are actually manifestations of the Holy Spirit. v7
1. Manifestation = PHANEROSIS = exhibition; (fig) expression; (by extension) a bestowment.
2. These are all ways in which the Holy Spirit demonstrates Himself.
b. One of the ways the Holy Spirit manifests Himself is through gifts of healings (gifts = CHARISMA = spiritual endowments).
1. Notice, these manifestations are given by the Holy Spirit AS HE WILLS for the common good.
2. Notice, they don't happen to everyone. v7;11;28-30
c. They are not gifts in the sense that a person has it and can use it when and how he likes. It is up to the Holy Spirit.
d. No one has a promise of being healed by a manifestation of the Spirit.
e. Gifts of healings occurred in the ministry of Jesus. John 5:1-9
1. Sometimes, people use this incident to try to prove it isn't always God's will to heal all because Jesus only healed one man.
2. But, they don't realize that while on earth, Jesus ministered as a man anointed with the Holy Ghost. Phil 2:6,7; Acts 10:38
3. Jesus did no miracles (had no miracle working power) until He was anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power. John 2:11; 1:32,33
4. Jesus could heal people one of two ways -- through a manifestation of the Spirit or through their faith.
f. There were limits on Jesus's power during His earth ministry.
1. He was limited in His home town. Matt 13:54-58; Mark 6:1-6
2. We are told their unbelief hindered the demonstrations of His power. (unbelief = no faith)
3. Luke 5:17-26--Power was present to heal, yet only one was healed.
5. On the other hand, in James 5:14,15 ANY who are sick are told to call for prayer and that the prayer of faith will save them.
a. Save = SOZO = deliver, protect, heal, preserve, do well, be or make whole.
b. These verses tell us that the prayer of faith SHALL heal ANY for whom it is prayed.
6. Jesus taught about the prayer of faith in Mark 11:24
a. We know this is a prayer of faith because of the context -- Jesus is teaching about faith. v12-24
b. First Jesus demonstrated faith. v12-14; 20
c. When Peter expressed amazement at the results of Jesus speaking to the fig tree, Jesus explained what happened.
d. Jesus told the disciples (and us) to have faith in God. v22
1. Faith in God = lit: faith of God (margin note; Worrell's translation). 2. Believers are to demonstrate the faith of God. Rom 10:17; Eph 2:8,9
e. Jesus then gave two key characteristics of the faith by which God operates.
1. v23--This kind of faith believes in the heart and says with the mouth and things change.
2. v24--This kind of faith believes it receives when it prays.
f. Jesus did both in His demonstration.
1. He believed that what He said would come to pass.
2. He believed it was settled when He prayed (when He spoke).
3. We know this because He went on His way and wasn't surprised by the results the next day.
7. People were healed by faith during the ministry of Jesus. In 2/3s to 3/5s (12 out of 15) of the specific cases of healing mentioned in the gospels. the faith of the individual was involved. Matt 8:5-13; Mark 5:25-34
8. So, receiving the healing Jesus has provided can come one of two ways:
a. Through a gift (manifestation) of the Holy Spirit -- no one has a promise of this. Through faith -- all have a promise of this.
b. Many people die waiting for a gift or manifestation of the Holy Spirit. No one dies who prays the prayer of faith.
D. This brings up several questions we need to answer.
1. Why doesn't God use His sovereignty to help more people?
a. He has already sovereignly helped us by sending Jesus to die for our sins.
b. You're talking like we deserve something from God. We deserve nothing and should be grateful for what He has given. Matt 20:1-16
c. God is not interested in building and improving the kingdom of this world.
1. He will ultimately bring an end to that kingdom (new heaven, earth).
2. He is now building His eternal spiritual kingdom.
2. Doesn't all this emphasis on faith take away from the sovereignty of God?
a. Yes, God is sovereign and can do what He wants, but it is clear from the Bible that He interacts with people on the basis of their faith. Matt 9:22; 28,29; Mark 10:52; Luke 7:50; 17:19; 18:42; Acts 14:9
b. Remember what faith is -- taking God at His word.
1. Believing what He says even when what we see contradicts it.
2. Believing that God will fulfill His word = bring it to pass = bring it from the invisible to the visible realm.
3. How can I tell if I'm depending on God's sovereignty or grace through faith?
a. If you are relying on God's sovereign touch in your situation you, you are hoping, praying He'll do something for you. He may not.
b. If you are relying on God's grace through your faith, you know He will do it -- and He will.
c. If you are relying on God's sovereign touch in your situation, you are waiting to see what will happen.
d. If you are relying on God's grace through your faith, you know that God has already done something for you through Christ, and you are just waiting to see the physical results.
E. Conclusion: How does all of this relate to the fact that God is faithful?
1. Obviously, our faith doesn't have anything to do with the fact that the sun came up today or that Jesus came the first time, or that He is coming again.
a. But these help us because they are vivid examples of God's faithfulness. b. And, His faithfulness is the ground or basis for our faith.
2. Heb 11:11--Because of faith also, Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] who had given her the promise, reliable, trustworthy, and true to His word. (Amp)
3. No one has the promise of a sovereign miracle from God -- although people do receive them.
a. But, everyone has the promise of God's help through their faith.
b. Faith begins with a decision to believe God's word no matter what.
4. Faith is our part, but even in that, God helps us by showing us how faithful He is. And, that inspires our faith.
5. You and I can pray like David in Ps 143:1--Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me and in thy righteousness.