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A. Introduction: We've begun to discuss some things about faith and want to continue to do so in this lesson.
1. You don't have to read very far in the NT to see that faith is a vital thing.
a. We're saved by faith. We live by faith. Eph 2:8,9; Rom 1:17
b. Jesus said all things are possible to him who believes, and that, with faith, we can move mountains and kill fig trees. Matt 17:20; 21:21,22; Mark 9:23; 11:23,24
2. But, for many of us, the subject of faith is a source of frustration. It doesn't work for us the way Jesus said it would.
3. We're looking into why it doesn't work for us as Jesus said it would. In this lesson, we want to look further at three areas which we introduced in previous lessons. Faith doesn't work for us because:
a. We don't understand what faith is.
b. We try to take by prayer and faith what is already ours by birth.
c. We have sense knowledge faith and don't know it.
B. The subject of faith can be a frustrating one because we don't know what faith is according to the Bible.
1. When we speak of faith and believing, we are talking about living by unseen realities. II Cor 5:7
a. II Cor 4:18--Two realms exist side by side: the seen and the unseen.
b. As Christians, we are called to live according to unseen realities which are revealed to us in the Bible.
2. The unseen realm is spiritual. That means it is immaterial (not physical) and invisible.
a. Spiritual things are just as real as material things.
1. Not seen doesn't mean not real. It just means you can't see it with your physical eyes.
2. Is Jesus more real than the Father and the Holy Spirit because He has a physical body?
3. Is your loved one who is in heaven any less real because he does not have a physical body?
b. The Unseen, Invisible God created all that we see. His invisible power and kingdom will outlast what we see and can change what we see. I Tim 1:17: Mark 4:39; Heb 11:3
3. Faith is not a feeling. Faith is an action. Faith is the action you take when your senses are telling you one thing and God's word is telling you something else.
a. The number one action connected with faith is confession of God's word.
Heb 4:14; 10:23; 13:5,6
b. Confession means to say the same thing God says about you and your situation.
c. If you side in with God's word, He will make it good in your life -- make the invisible visible.
4. Faith is based on the word of God and the integrity of God.
a. You cannot believe (act on) what you do not know. So, faith must begin with knowledge.
b. God, who cannot lie, who knows all things, says something is so. Then it is so. What God says is. What God says becomes. Heb 6:18
5. Faith is frustrating for many of us because we are trying to believe when we should be acting on the word of God as we would act on the word of a banker or a doctor.
C. The subject of faith can be frustrating is because we try to take from God by faith what is already ours by birth.
1. Faith receives what God's grace offers. We receive salvation through faith. Faith gets you into the family of God and makes you a literal son of God. Eph 2:8,9; I John 5:1
a. Once you are in the family, everything that belongs to the family is yours, belongs to you.
Luke 15:31; Rom 8:17; Eph 1:3; II Pet 1:3
b. You don't have to keep receiving by faith the things that came to you through the new birth.
c. They are yours because of what you are (a child of God) not because of what you do (believe it). John 6:47
2. What do you have (possess) because you are in the family?
a. Righteousness, sanctification (holiness), redemption (deliverance from all bondage), sonship, union with Christ, remission (wiping out) of sins, healing, strength, sufficiency, completeness, a new nature, a love nature.
b. The legal right to use the name of Jesus, God as your Father, Jesus as your Lord, Advocate, High Priest, and Intercessor.
c. The moment you accept Christ as Savior and Lord, everything Jesus accomplished in His death, burial, and resurrection becomes your because He did it for you as you.
d. What ever happened to your sins happened to your sicknesses because they were dealt with at the same time in the same way by the same historical event.
3. All of this is yours from the moment you believe on Jesus and is not dependent on your individual faith now as a believer.
a. NT believers are not told to believe and have faith. They are told to walk (act) like what they are and have through the Cross of Christ and the new birth.
b. Faith is frustrating to believers because most of our efforts are directed at trying to get faith and then reach out and take or claim something by faith.
c. When a need confronts us which was covered by the Cross of Christ, it is not necessary to pray for it, to claim it, to reach out and take it. We only need to thank the Father for what He has already provided.
d. Some might ask: Then, what do we pray for? A lost and dying world! Christians who live in darkness below their rights and privileges.
4. Luke 15:31--Consider the prodigal son and his elder brother.
a. They were sons with the full rights and privileges and provisions of their father's house whether they believed it or not.
b. When a need arose for them which was covered by being a son in their father's house, it wasn't a question of praying, claiming, or trying to believe and have faith.
c. It was a matter of acting like what they were and had.
5. Don't try to believe. Begin to act like what you are and have.
a. How would you act if you were righteous and had the same standing with the Father that Jesus had -- because you are and do!
b. How would you act if you were healed -- because you are!
D. The subject of faith is a source of frustration for us because many of us have sense knowledge faith and don't even know it. Sense knowledge faith does not produce results because it is not the kind of faith we are to live by. It is actually a form of unbelief.
1. There are two kinds of faith -- sense knowledge faith which believes what it sees and feels, and revelation faith which believes what God says despite what it sees and feels. John 20:29
a. God wants us to believe, not because we see and feel something is so, but because He says something is so.
b. Revelation faith honors God's word and God's integrity.
c. Faith in God is faith in His word. The Lordship of Jesus in our lives in the Lordship of His word.
2. Most of us are in the arena of sense knowledge faith and aren't aware of it.
a. We tell something to go or to change in the name of Jesus and nothing happens. Our response is -- that didn't work.
b. How do you know it didn't work? You didn't see or feel any change. Your evidence is sense knowledge.
c. How would you know if it had worked? If you saw or felt a change. Your evidence is sense knowledge. You have sense knowledge faith.
3. The problem is, most of us don't realize, aren't aware, we are doing this.
a. Everyone of us would say we believe the Bible -- every word from Genesis to Revelation. And, we are completely sincere!
b. Most of us believe that God has provided, has said yes to meeting, all of our spiritual and physical needs through the Cross of Christ.
c. Yet, we base what we believe, how we act, on what we see and feel. But, we don't realize we are doing it.
4. The first step in correcting this is to identify sense knowledge faith in our lives. Each of these incidents and statements listed below are examples of sense knowledge faith.
a. Matt 17:14-21--The disciples tried but were not able to cast out a demon.
1. Yet, the disciples were authorized by Jesus to cast out devils and had already successfully done so. Matt 10:1; Luke 10:17
2. Jesus saw the disciples as being able to do it. He considered them able to do it even when they couldn't do it. v20
3. v16--They obviously tried to cast the demon out and nothing happened. What was their evidence that they couldn't do it? What they could see.
4. We look at that and say -- of course it didn't work. Nothing happened! Look! But, Jesus said they could do it even when nothing happened!
5. Jesus called what they did unbelief because they let what they could see affect what they believed, how they acted. Sense knowledge faith is actually unbelief. John 20:27
b. Matt 14:22-33--Jesus authorized Peter to walk on water and he did so successfully for a time.
1. v30--Peter then looked at the wind and waves and began to sink.
2. v31,32--Even when Peter couldn't walk on water, he was still able to do so as far as Jesus was concerned.
3. What made Peter think he couldn't walk on water? What he saw! The wind, the waves -- all of that is sense knowledge.
4. What makes you think you aren't healed? You hurt!! You have sense knowledge faith.
c. John 11:18-45--Martha believed the word of the Lord, but she also believed what sense knowledge told her.
1. v21-27--Lord, I believe my brother will rise again.
2. v39--But, when Jesus commanded that the tomb be opened, her testimony was -- he stinks!
3. I Pet 2:24--I know and believe Jesus bore my sicknesses and carried my pains and with His stripes I am healed. But, I still hurt.
4. I have a headache. I must not be saved! We know that is ridiculous! If physical pain (sense knowledge) does not void one statement of God's word, why would it void another?
d. Oh yes, I believe Jesus bore my sicknesses and carried my pain and by His stripes I am healed. but keep praying for my healing. That is all sense knowledge faith.
1. How do you know you aren't healed? By what you feel. How will you know when you are healed? When you feel better.
2. I know I am healed!! How do you know? I feel better!! That is sense knowledge faith. Your confidence is not in the word of God but in sense knowledge.
5. How do I, how will I, know I'm healed if I can't see or feel it? God says so!!
a. That is contrary to natural reasoning, but we don't live by reason. We live by unseen realities revealed in the word of God. Prov 3:5
b. Luke 5:1-6--Reason told them that what they could see made more sense than what God said. Yet, they acted on what Jesus said.
6. We must get out of the sense realm, out of the arena of the senses, in our thinking. II Cor 10:4,5
a. What is the pain you are feeling? Contrary sense evidence. That is all it is. It is real, but it is subject to change by a higher reality -- the word of God.
b. Remember true and truth. True = what you see and feel, which is subject to change. God's word which cannot change, but which can change what we see and feel.
7. We feel like we have to reconcile what we see and feel with what God says.
a. We have come up with phrases such as: These are only symptoms. I'm waiting for the manifestation of my healing, etc
1. Although there is some truth in each of these statements, they have become masks for sense knowledge faith.
2. Don't try to reconcile or explain contrary sense evidence. Just hold fast to your confession of God's word.
b. The wind and the waves, Peter sinking -- all of that is sense knowledge.
1. God said Peter could walk on water. The wind, the waved, the sinking all said he couldn't.
2. What should Peter have done? Ignored the wind and the waves and kept on walking.
8. The word of God says you are healed. Isa 53:4-6; I Pet 2:24
a. Refuse to give place to any thought that would contradict God's word.
b. Refuse to take the testimony of your senses. That means refuse to accept pain as evidence that you are not healed.
E. Conclusion: We have not said everything there is to say about faith, but consider these points:
1. We must begin to act upon the word of God as we would the word of a man.
2. The word of God (not the senses, not reason) must dominate your mind.
3. We must continually, consistently, say what God says about us and our situation. Confession is faith speaking.
4. If we know the word of God is true, we act on it as though it were true, and it becomes a reality in our lives. That is how faith works.