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MOUNTAIN MOVING FAITH

A.     Introduction:  Jesus made some marvelous statements about faith and believing. Matt 17:20; 21:21,22; Mark 9:23; Mark 11:23,24
     1.     But, for many of us, these verses are a source of frustration because it doesn't work like that for us.
     2.     In the last lesson, we began to deal with the subject of faith and believing, and we want to continue in this lesson.

B.     We want to begin by restating several key points from the last lesson.
     1.     As we talk about faith and believing, remember, we are not talking about the depth and sincerity of  your commitment to Jesus. Mark 10:28; 4:40
     2.     When we talk about faith, we are talking about living by unseen realities. II Cor 5:7; 4:18
          a.     As Christians, we are to live our lives according to unseen realities which are revealed to us in the                     Bible.  
          b.     That means when your senses are telling you one thing and God's word is telling you something                     else, you side in with God's word.  That is faith.
          c.     You side in with the Bible by agreeing with it in word and action.  You speak it out (say what God says despite what you see) and you act as though it is so (despite how you feel).
     3.     You are living by faith when the word of God prevails or dominates sense information in every area of                your life.
          a.     Faith is not a feeling.  Faith is an action.  Faith is the action you take in the face of contrary sense                     evidence.
          b.     Faith is based on the integrity of the word of God.  God, who cannot lie, who knows all things, says something is so.  Then it is so. That is faith. Heb 11:1
               1.     Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title-deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality -- faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses. (Amp)
               2.     It (faith) means being certain of things we cannot see. (Phillips)
               3.     (Faith is) a continual reliance on the unseen world. (Wand)
               4.     Faith is the title deed to things prayed for; the evidence that they are yours before they are                          seen.
     4.     Jesus' statements about faith have been a source of frustration to us for several reasons.
          a.     We have not understood what happened to us at the new birth and we try to take by faith and                          prayer what is already ours by birth.
          b.     We speak to the mountain or the tree and when it doesn't move or die, our response is -- well, that                didn't work.  But, that very statement indicates we aren't even in the ballpark on the subject of  faith, living by unseen realities.     
          c.     We want to specifically deal with these issues in the rest of the lesson.

C.     You must understand that mustard see faith got you into the family of God.  Now that you are in the family, all things that belong to the family are yours. Eph 2:8,9; I John 5:1; Luke 15:31
     1.     We often try to take from God by prayer and faith what is already ours by birth and the results are                     frustrating.
          a.     Jesus spoke those marvelous verses on faith to men who were not yet born again.  He urged them                     to believe.
          b.     In the epistles (written to believers), no one is told to believe and have faith.
          c.     NT believers are not told to believe, they are told to walk -- to conduct their lives according to (act like) what they are and have because they are born again.
     2.     Faith got you into the family.  Now that you are in the family, everything that belongs to the family is  yours.
          a.     Rom 8:17--And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ -- sharing His inheritance with Him; (AMP)
          b.     Eph 1:3--Praise be to God for giving us through Christ every possible spiritual benefit as citizens  of Heaven! (Phillips)
          c.     II Pet 1:3--His divine power has given us everything we need for our physical and spiritual life. This has come to us through our getting to know Him who has called us to share His glory and virtue. (Norlie)
     3.     John 6:47--The moment you believed on Jesus, you became a possessor of eternal life and everything in it or connected with it. I John 5:11-13
          a.     Believeth means a believing one.  Believers have, not because of something they do, but because                     of something they are.
          b.     Believers have because they are believers, not because they believe.
               1.     Many Christians, new creatures, believers, believe they are unrighteous.
               2.     Their unbelief doesn't change a thing.  They are righteous because they are believers, not                          because they believe they are righteous. Rom 5:17; 10:9,10; 3:26; I Cor 1:30; II Cor 5:21
     4.     You can move mountains and kill fig trees -- not because you have great faith -- but because you are a                literal son or daughter of God and you have authority.
          a.     We have been authorized by the Lord to exercise His authority in this earth. Matt 28:18-20
          b.     Through union with Christ at the new birth, we have the same authority He had when He lived on                     earth. Eph 2:5,6; 1:21-23
          c.     It isn't a question of your great faith, but of His great power, ability, and authority which is in you, which is yours, through the new birth.
     5.     After you are born again, you do exercise faith, but it is an unconscious faith.  You simply live,                     conducting your life according to unseen realities.
          a.     You don't think of your faith and how much you do or don't have.  You think of God's ability and  His provision through the new birth.  You think of His faithfulness to make His word good in your experience.
          b.     This faith is based on knowledge of who and what God has made you to be through the new birth                     and acting accordingly.

D.     These verses Jesus spoke on faith are a source of frustration for us because many of us have spoken to the      mountain or the tree, and when it didn't move or die, our response was -- oh well, that didn't work.
     1.     The problem here is that most of us are in the arena of sense knowledge and sense knowledge faith and           we don't even know it.
          a.     There are two kinds of knowledge:  sense knowledge (that which comes to us through our senses)                     and revelation knowledge (that which comes to us through the Bible).
          b.     There are two kinds of faith:  sense knowledge faith (believes what it sees and feels) and                               revelation faith (believes what God says despite what it sees and feels). John 20:29
     2.     In the gospels, people had sense knowledge faith in Jesus.  They could see Him and believe.
          a.     Most of us function in that same sense realm and aren't aware of it.
          b.     We tell something to go or change in the name of Jesus (which we have been authorized to do)                     and nothing happens.  Our response is -- that didn't work.
          c.     How do you know it didn't work?  You didn't see any change.  Your evidence is sense knowledge.
          d.     How would you know if it worked?  If you saw or felt a change.  Your evidence is sense                               knowledge.
            e.     Your faith is sense knowledge faith.
     3.     It takes effort to get beyond the senses, to get out of the sense realm.
          a.     We cannot cover everything which must be discussed in connection with this subject in one                          lesson.
          b.     But, we want to mention two critical issues:  the integrity of God's word and the place of                               confession of God's word.

E.     Faith is based on knowledge of God's word and the integrity of God's word.  God works through His word.     
     1.     When God wants something done, He speaks it first.  He releases His power through and in His word.                Gen 1:3; Heb 11:3;1:3
     2.     What God says comes to pass (becomes visible, changes the physical). Isa 55:11
          a.     Jer 1:12--Then said the Lord to me, you have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over                     my word to perform it. (Amp)
          b.     Luke 1:37--For with God nothing is ever impossible, and no word from God shall be without                          power or impossible of fulfillment. (Amp)
          c.     Isa 28:16--Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a Stone, a tested Stone, a Precious                          Cornerstone of sure foundation; he who believes -- trusts in, relies on and adheres to that Stone --  will not be ashamed or give way or make haste [in sudden panic]. (Amp)
          d.     Rom 4:17--For Abraham believed God -- God who actually brings the dead to life and calls the                     things that are not as if they actually were (and gives them a real existence by doing so). (Amp)
     3.     What God says is so.  If we will side in with His word, He will make it so in our lives = give us the                experience, make it seen.
          a.     If God says something is so, it is so.  God cannot lie.  God has all the facts.  God's word can, will,                     and does change what you see and feel.
          b.     The fact that the senses cannot perceive what God says at the moment is an irrelevant detail.                           Sense knowledge does not have access to all the facts.  Sense knowledge can, will, and does change.
     4.     If we are going to live by faith, if we are going to kill fig trees and move mountains, we must get to the point where, if God says something is so, it is so -- regardless of what we see or feel.
          a.     God's word must settle it for us.  If God says I am healed, then it is so.  I am healed -- despite what my senses say.
          b.     The Bible is God speaking to me now -- God, who cannot lie, who knows all things.
     5.     God will make His word good (make it perceptible to the senses) in my life if I will side in with it.
          a.     There are always two voices speaking to us (usually contradictory) -- the testimony of our senses                     and the testimony of God's word.
          b.     Our testimony determines which one prevails in our life.
     6.     Heb 4:14; 10:23--Faith must have a testimony or a confession.  Confession = HOMOLOGIA = saying the same thing as.
          a.     Revelation faith holds fast to the confession of God's word.
          b.     Sense knowledge faith holds fast to the confession of physical evidence.
          c.     If I accept sense evidence against the word of God, I nullify the word as far as I am concerned.
          d.     Instead, I must hold fast to my confession of God's word in the face of sense knowledge                               contradictions, and God will make His word good in me. I John 5:4; Rev 12:11
     7.     Faith begins and ends with the word of God -- the Living Word and the written word.
          a.     Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. Heb 3:1
          b.     Jesus is the surety or guarantee of God's word. Heb 7:22
          c.     Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Heb12:2
               1.     He is the author (beginner) because we are in union with Him and His faith is our faith.  His                          word is the source of my faith. Rom 10:17; 12:2
               2.     He is the finisher of our faith or the guarantee that God will make His word good in us.

F.     Conclusion:  We have not said everything there is to say about faith, but consider these points:
     1.     It is vital that we study God's word and find out what He has made us to be through the new birth.
     2.     It is vital that we meditate on and think on these things until they dominate us, until we treat the word of God as we do the word of a banker or a doctor.
     3.     It is vital that we develop a habit of confession -- saying what God says.
          a.     Dare to stand in the presence of sense knowledge facts and declare you are what God says you are.
               1.     That disease was laid on Jesus. Isa 53:4,5
               2.     Satan has no right to put it on me. Eph 1:7; Gal 3:13
               3.     God says “By His stripe I am healed”.  Therefore, I am healed. I Pet 2:24
          b.     Sense knowledge and revelation knowledge are often opposed to each other.
               1.     I live in a new realm above the senses, so I am to hold fast to my confession that I am what                          the word says I am.
               2.     The forces that oppose me are in the senses.  The power that is in me is the Holy Spirit.  I                          know that spiritual (invisible) forces are greater than any force in the sense realm.
               3.     There isn't power in all the universe to void one statement of fact in God's word.
               4.     I maintain my confession of spiritual (unseen) realities in the face of sense knowledge                               contradictions.
     4.     Let us hold fast to our confession and never cower for a moment no matter how sense knowledge may                produce evidence to the contrary.  And, we'll see mountains move and fig trees die.