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SENSE KNOWLEDGE FAITH
A. Introduction: We have begun to discuss some things about faith and want to continue in this lesson.
1. The subject of faith is a source of frustration for many Christians.
a. Jesus made some marvelous statements about faith and believing when He was on earth.
b. He said we could move mountains and kill fig trees. He said all things are possible to the one who believes. Matt 17:20; 21:21,22; Mark 9:23; Mark 11:23,24
c. But, for most of us, it doesn't work like Jesus said and we get frustrated.
2. So far, we have identified three reasons why faith doesn't work for us like Jesus said it would.
a. #1--We don't understand what mountain moving, fig tree killing faith is.
1. This kind of faith is not the same thing as the depth and sincerity of your commitment to Christ.
2. This kind of faith is living by unseen realities -- things that are real but cannot be seen with your physical eyes. II Cor 5:7; 4:18
3. This kind of faith is an action rather than a feeling. It is acting as though what God says is so without any physical evidence. It is acting in agreement with God's word despite what you see or feel.
b. #2--We try to take by prayer and faith what we already are and have through the new birth.
1. Faith gets you into the family of God and makes you a literal, actual son of God.
Eph 2:8,9; I John 5:1
2. Once you are born of God and in the family, everything that belongs to the family, is true of the family belongs to you. Luke 15:31; Rom 8:17; Eph 1:3; II Pet 1:3
3. It is yours because of what you are (a child of God) not because of what you do (believe it).
4. You don't have to keep receiving by faith the things that came to you through the new birth. You simply have to act like what you are and have.
c. #3--We have sense knowledge faith and don't know it. Sense knowledge faith does not move mountains or kill fig trees.
3. In this lesson, we want to go into more detail about sense knowledge faith to help us identify it in our lives and then eliminate it.
B. Let's briefly restate some things we've already said about sense knowledge faith.
1. There are two kings of faith -- sense knowledge faith which believes what it sees and feels, and revelation faith which believes what God says despite what it see 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. Revelation faith honors God's word and God's integrity.
b. Sense knowledge faith is actually a form of unbelief. It is actually walking by sight. John 20:27
2. Most of us function in the arena of sense knowledge faith and aren't aware of it.
a. Everyone of us would say we believe the Bible -- every word from Genesis to Revelation. And, we are completely sincere when we say it!
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 without realizing it.
3. We tell something to go or to change in the name of Jesus (something which we have been authorized to do) and nothing happens. Our response it -- that didn't work.
a. How do you know it didn't work? Because you didn't see or feel any change. Your evidence is sense knowledge.
b. How would you know if it had worked? If you saw or felt a change. Your evidence is sense knowledge. That is sense knowledge faith.
c. Revelation faith believes that something is so without any physical evidence if God says it is so. Period. If God says something is so, it is so. End of discussion.
4. Our minds struggle with this kind of thinking and our natural response is -- yes, I understand all that, but it didn't work, it isn`t working. Or, what if I do it and it doesn't work?
a. These responses show you're in the sense realm. God's word doesn't settle it for you. What you see and feel settles it for you.
b. For mountain moving, fig tree killing faith, God's word settles it. Period. End of discussion.
C. Let's look at an example of revelation faith and contrast it with sense knowledge faith to gain more insight into the difference between the two.
1. Mark 11:12-14; 20-23--Jesus and His disciples came upon a fig tree with no fruit and Jesus cursed it.
2. Sometimes people wonder why Jesus went up to a tree with no fruit on it in the first place.
a. The fig tree's fruit is green and inconspicuous, hidden among the leaves until the time of ripening. The tree can appear to have fruit without actually having any. It is a hypocrite tree. (Unger's Bible Dictionary)
b. v13--The time of figs was not yet = it was not the season of gathering figs yet. However, it was almost time for them to be harvested.
1. In Judea, figs ripen around the time of Passover -- as early as the end of March. This particular incident took place five days before Passover began that year -- the beginning of April.
2. Passover was the time of harvest. So, it was the time of ripe fruit, but not quite harvest time when Jesus approached the fig tree.
3. Also, the fig tree puts forth the fruit first, then the leaves. There was every reason to expect fruit on the tree because it had leaves.
3. People sometimes wonder why Jesus cursed the fig tree. There are several things to consider -- more than we can deal with in this lesson.
a. Many Bible scholars believe this incident was a visual picture of what was about to happen to the nation of Israel. They are about to reject Jesus as their Messiah and give Him over to be crucified. The end result of that decision will be destruction for their nation.
b. It is also clear from the context that this was an opportunity for Jesus to demonstrate how faith works through both His actions and His words.
4. As we study this incident, remember a key point. Jesus did things like this (spoke to the fig tree and it responded to His words) not as God, but as a man living by the life of the Father and anointed by the Holy Spirit. John 6:57; Acts 10:38
a. When Jesus came to earth, He took on a complete human nature. Jesus did not cease to be God while on earth, but He did not live as God. He lived as a man. Phil 2:7,8; Matt 4:1-4; James 1:13
b. Jesus is our example for living because He lived as a man.
1. We can do, we are to do, what He did while here on earth. John 14:12; I John 2:6; 4:17
2. We can do what He did because we have been authorized to do so and we have been empowered to do so through the new birth.
d. Matt 21:21--Concerning this particular incident (cursing the fig tree), Jesus specifically said we can do this, too (change things with words).
5. Let's reread the account of this incident and note these points:
a. v14--Jesus did not pray about the tree. He spoke to the tree. Jesus repeatedly said that He spoke the Father's words.
1. Can a word from God or the word of God change something physical, material, visible?
That is exactly what happened here.
2. The man Jesus spoke God's word with visible results. God's word in our mouth will produce the same results that God's word did in the mouth of Jesus.
b. When Jesus spoke to the tree, nothing happened that could be seen with the physical eyes.
1. Notice what Jesus did after He spoke to the tree. He walked away. He did not inspect the tree to seen if anything had happened or changed, to see if He had the manifestation yet.
2. Once the word was spoken, it was a done deal as far as Jesus was concerned. Period. End of discussion.
c. v20--The next day, Jesus and the disciples passed by the tree and it was dead.
1. Jesus didn't comment on it. He didn't need to. He had known what happened to the tree since the day before. He knew the tree had died.
2. If there had been no physical change that second day, what do you think Jesus would have done? Passed it by!
d. v21--When Peter made reference to the tree that second day, Jesus was not surprised with the results.
1. He had walked away from the tree the day before because it was settled by the word.
2. His evidence was not the death of the tree (physical results). His evidence was the spoken word of God on His lips.
6. Most of us, if we are honest about it, would have to admit that when we spoke to something and there was no change, we did one or more of the following.
a. We spoke again with more force -- just in case we didn't do it right the first time.
b. We started checking for physical changes.
c. We asked somebody to agree with us in prayer that it was done -- just to mix their faith with ours.
d. We told everyone -- I'm just waiting for the manifestation.
e. We kept confessing -- I believe I have received it -- in order to bring it into manifestation.
7. All of that is sense knowledge faith. Why?
a. You're looking for physical evidence. God's word didn't settle it for you.
b. And, or, you're trying to make something happen. God's word didn't settle it for you.
c. If what you are seeing or feeling is affecting your words and actions in any way (besides the fact that you can see and feel it), you are in the arena of sense knowledge faith.
D. This is difficult for us to grasp, to accept, because it is contrary to natural reasoning.
1. Your mind wants to say -- I know God says I am healed, but I still hurt. How will I know, how can I know, if the tree is dead ( or if I am healed) if I can't see or feel it? God says so!!
2. Consider this point. Immediately after Jesus spoke to the fig tree, was it a live tree or a dead tree?
a. It was a dead tree even though there was no visible, physical evidence. The word of God was spoken.
b. How do you reconcile the fact that a dead tree was still alive? You don't have to.
c. The live tree was contrary sense evidence. That's all it was.
1. It was real, but it was subject to change by a higher reality -- the word of God.
2. Things which are seen are temporary. When His friend Lazarus died, Jesus said of him -- he sleepeth. In other words, His physical condition is temporary. John 11:11; II Cor 4:18
d. Don't try to reconcile or explain contrary sense evidence in your life. Jesus didn't try to do so.
1. After He spoke to the fig tree, Jesus walked away without any explanation to anyone.
2. Before He spoke to Lazarus, Jesus said, “This is a temporary condition”.
3. Refuse to give place to any thought that would contradict God's word. II Cor 10:4,5
a. Refuse to take physical evidence as proof that God's word is not true, that it has not worked.
b. You know that two plus two equals four. If someone showed you a book or a paper which says two plus two equals five, you wouldn't begin doubt that two plus two is four. You'd reject the two plus two is five.
c. Why? Because truth cannot change! And, truth will change what is true!! God's word will change what you see.
E. Conclusion: We have not said all there is to say about mountain moving, fig tree killing faith. But, consider these points:
1. Faith is based on the word of God which reveals unseen facts to us. Rom 10:17
a. You cannot believe or act on what you do not know. So we must get knowledge from God's word.
b. God, who cannot lie, who knows all things, says something is so. Then, it is so. That's faith.
2. You must take time to meditate on these things until the reality of what God has done for you and made you to be begins to dawn on you.
a. God's word has to have as much sway with you as the word of a banker or a doctor or as two plus two equals four.
b. You are what God says you are, you have what God says you have -- not because God said it, but it's not really so, He's just saying it, etc. -- but, because you are and have invisible, spiritual realities through the new birth whether you believe it or not.
c. God is telling you what you have, what He has made you to be through the Cross and new birth.
3. Now, you must begin to act like what you are and have despite what you see and feel.
a. The number one way you do that is by saying about yourself and your situation what God says despite what you see or feel.
b. We are to confess what we really are and what we really have in the face of contrary sense evidence and hold fast to that confession. Heb 4:14; 10:23; 13:5,6
1. That doesn't mean say it 10,000 times until you make it come to pass.
2. It means when sense evidence rises up to contradict God's word, you hold fast to what God says by saying it yourself.
4. God is faithful. He will make His word good (visible) in your life if you will put it above all other evidence and hold fast to it.