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A. Introduction: We have begun to talk about faith and want to continue to do so in this lesson.
1. When Jesus was on earth, He made some marvelous statements about faith and believing.
a. 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; 11:23,24
b. But, for many of us, it doesn't work like Jesus said it would, and the subject of faith is a source of frustration for us.
2. We are working on identifying reasons why faith doesn't work for us like Jesus said it would.
a. One reason faith does not work for us is because we have sense knowledge faith but we don't know it.
1. Sense knowledge faith does not move mountains or kill fig trees.
2. Revelation faith moves mountains and kills fig trees.
b. In this lesson, we want to continue to discuss some things about the difference between sense knowledge faith and revelation faith.
B. We must begin by making some statements about these two kinds of faith.
1. Sense knowledge faith believes what it sees and feels. Revelation faith believes what God says despite what it sees and feels. John 20:24-29
a. God wants us to believe, not because we see and feel that something is so, but because He says something is so.
b. Sense knowledge faith is actually a form of unbelief. It is walking by sight, which is not faith. John 20:27; II Cor 5:7
2. Most of us function in the arena of sense knowledge faith and aren't even aware of it.
a. Everyone of us would say we believe the Bible -- every word from Genesis to Revelation. And, we are completely sincere about that!!
b. Yet, we base what we believe (and how we act) on what we see and feel without realizing it.
3. How do you know if you have sense knowledge faith in any area? Here's our test: You tell something to go or change in the name of Jesus and nothing happens. Your response is -- 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.
c. You have sense knowledge faith.
4. Our minds struggle with this kind of thinking and our natural response is -- Yes, I understand all that, I know all that, but it didn't work. It isn't working.
a. These responses show you're in the sense realm. What you see and feel determines what you believe, settles it for you.
b. You don't see or feel it working. Therefore it is not working. What you believe is based on what you see and feel.
c. For revelation (mountain moving, fig tree killing) faith, God's word settles it. Period. End of discussion. You don't need to see or feel to believe. You just need to know what God says.
5. I realize your mind brings up a hundred questions, but, if you're going to get this, you're going to have to put those things aside for the time being and take it one step at a time.
a. The first step in understanding the difference between sense knowledge faith and revelation faith is learning to recognize sense knowledge faith.
1. If you believe something because of what you see or feel that is sense knowledge faith.
2. Where are you getting the information for what you believe? From the seen realm or the unseen realm? From your senses or from God's word?
b. The second step in understanding the difference between sense knowledge faith and revelation
faith is realizing that revelation faith is contrary to natural reasoning. I Cor 2:14; John 3:3;
1. Our mind (natural reasoning) wants to say -- I know God says I am healed, but I still hurt. I know God says my needs are met, but how am I going to pay my bills?
2. Our mind (natural reasoning) wants to say -- How will I know, how can I know I am healed if I can't see it or feel it? How will I know if it worked or not?
3. But, we don't live by natural reasoning. We live by unseen realities. Prov 3:5; II Cor 5:7
6. You are going to have to learn to come at it from a different angle if you want to move mountains and kill fig trees. You must get to the point where God's word settles everything.
a. If God says I am healed, then I must be healed.
b. If God says my needs are met, then they must be met.
7. As we study the subject of faith, don't focus on the questions your mind brings up.
a. Take it one step at a time and focus on understanding each step in order.
b. Focus on, meditate on, this fact -- If God says something is so, then, no mater what I see or feel, it is so. If God says the fig tree is dead, then the fig tree is a dead tree even if it is still alive.
C. In Mark 11:12-14; 20-23 Jesus demonstrated mountain moving, fig tree killing faith, revelation faith. Consider these points.
1. Through action and word, Jesus demonstrated and taught revelation faith.
2. Jesus did not pray to His Father about the tree. He spoke to the tree.
a. This is an example of the man Jesus exercising His authority over the laws of nature.
1. Remember, when Jesus came to earth, He took on a complete human nature and became a man.
2. 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. Because Jesus lived as a man, He is our example for life and ministry.
c. We can do, we are to do, what He did because we have been authorized to do so through the new birth. John 14:12; I John 2:6; Matt 21:21
3. When Jesus spoke to that fig tree, there was no visible change. If we were there, we would have said (the disciples would have said) that didn't work!
a. However, Jesus was not affected by sight. He knew that once the word was spoken it was done.
b. This is revelation faith. God's word settles it once and for all, no matter what you see. Period. End of discussion.
4. Here's where the problem comes up for us. Jesus spoke to that tree and the tree was still alive. In other words, from our point of view, it didn't work.
a. But, from the moment Jesus spoke to that tree, the tree was dead. It was a dead tree even though there was no visible, physical change.
b. We struggle with how to reconcile the fact that a dead tree was still alive. But, that is where we need to change our focus from -- the tree is still alive -- to -- if God says the tree is dead, then it's dead.
D. Consider these points about sense knowledge evidence and sense knowledge faith.
1. The life in that dead fig tree was real, but it was contrary sense evidence. That's all it was.
a. It was real, but subject to change. Everything we see is subject to change. II Cor 4:18
b. Sense knowledge facts are temporary and they are no reason to doubt God's word.
c. God's word can and will change sense knowledge facts and make them line up with the word of God, line up with unseen realities.
d. Sense knowledge is limited because it is based only on information from the senses. It does not take into account the facts of the unseen kingdom to which we now belong.
2. We aren't saying that sense knowledge faith is sinful, or that God doesn't honor sense knowledge faith, because He does. God loves people and wants to help people so much, He meets us where we're at.
a. Take physical healing as an example. From God's point of view, every new creature is already healed.
b. You were legally healed when Jesus was raised from the dead and it went into effect in you vitally when you were born again. Isa 53:4,5; I Pet 2:24
c. However, many Christians don't know enough to walk in the reality of the healing they already have, so God has many ways to heal people.
1. Laying on of hands and anointing with oil -- the sick can see and feel, and from that point on, they can believe they receive, believe they are healed. James 5:14,15; Mark 16:18
2. Healing anointings (gifts of healings) -- something outside the sick person comes on them by the power of the Holy Spirit. I Cor 12:9
3. But God wants us to grow and move beyond sense knowledge faith to revelation faith. John 20:29
E. Revelation faith must have three elements.
1. You must have accurate knowledge from God's word.
a. You cannot believe what you do not know. Rom 10:17; Luke 15:31
b. As we've said in previous lessons, one reason the subject of faith is frustrating for us is that we try to take by faith and prayer what is already ours by birth.
c. We must have accurate knowledge of what God has done for us through the Cross of Christ and the new birth and learn to walk in the light of it.
2. You must be fully persuaded or completely convinced that what God says is so.
a. Abraham is held up to us as an example of the faith we are to walk in. He was fully persuaded that what God said was so. Rom 4:21
1. Abraham was not moved by contrary sense information. Rom 4:19
2. Abraham did not need any physical proof of God's promise. Heb 11:17-19
b. To be fully persuaded means:
1. You are completely convinced that what God says is so despite what you see or feel.
2. Nothing you see or feel changes or effects what you believe. Only God's word effects what you believe.
c. How do you become fully persuaded?
1. You must go over God's word, meditate on it until you become fully persuaded.
2. God continually held up His word, His promise, to Abraham until Abraham was fully persuaded, completely convinced.
3. Your heart and your mouth must both be in agreement with God's word.
a. One problem with this whole faith issue is that people try it and it doesn't work for them.
b. There is no such thing as trying it. This is what happens when you try it. Acts 19:13-16
E. Conclusion: We have not said all there is to say about faith, but consider these points.
1. This is not a magic formula. This is not about clearing out hospitals.
a. This is about God being an honest Being who cannot lie. If He says something is so, it is so.
b. It is about us learning to take God at His word and treating Him with as much confidence as we do a banker or a doctor.
2. Take time to meditate on these things and let the reality of them dawn on you until you become fully persuaded, completely convinced.
3. These unseen realities must dominate your heart, mind, and mouth. The Bible is God speaking to me now. It says, and therefore, God says:
a. My redemption is an actual reality. I am delivered out of Satan's dominion and authority. I am free. Eph 1:7; Col 1:13
b. I am an actual new creation created in Christ Jesus. I am a literal son of God. II Cor 5:17;
I John 5:1
c. I am a partaker of the very life and nature of God. I John 5:11,12; II Pet 1:4
d. I am righteous. I can stand in the presence of God without any sense of guilt or inferiority.
Rom 5:17; II Cor 5:21; Col 1:22
e. Jesus bore my sicknesses and carried my diseases, and because of His stripes, I am healed.
Isa 53:4,5; I Pet 2:24
f. God has met all of my spiritual and physical needs through the Cross of Christ. I lack nothing. Eph 1:3; II Pet 1:3
4. Revelation faith sees a faithful God who cannot lie -- tell you something that is not so, that will not become so.
a. Revelation faith thanks God for deliverance even when his senses say he is not delivered.
b. Revelation faith expects God to back His word (make it visible), and once the word of God is spoken, the issue is settled.