1. It is important that we understand some things about the kingdom — what it is and how it works — because we are members of it.
a. There are two aspects to the kingdom of God.
1. It is an actual place called heaven.
2. It is also any place where God rules and reigns.
b. We enter the kingdom when we believe the facts of the gospel and submit to the rulership of Jesus. John 3:3,5; Luke 17:20,21
c. Now that we are in the kingdom, we are to live by faith. Rom 1:17
2. The faith that we live by is very specific:
a. It believes what God says without any physical proof.
b. It is confident that God will do what He said He’d do.
c. The faith we are to live by involves three elements:
1. Knowledge of God’s will (revealed in the Bible).
2. An act of your will (a decision you make) whereby you choose to accept what God says as true no matter what you see or feel.
3. You then express your decision to believe God, agree with God, through what you say and do.
3. Remember what faith is not (the way Jesus most often used the word): a feeling; sincerity or depth of commitment to the Lord. Mark 10:28; Mark 4:40
4. Now that we are in the kingdom, we must learn to live by faith because:
a. God asks us to do so, and it pleases Him. Rom 1:17; Heb 11:6
b. God has provided us with all that we need to live this life, but that provision come to us through faith, as we live and walk by faith. Heb 6:12
c. Many don’t benefit in this life as fully as they could from being members of God’s kingdom because they don’t know how to walk by faith.
5. In this lesson, we want to continue to talk about faith and the kingdom of God.
1. 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)
a. However, these provisions are spiritual blessings.
b. Eph 1:3–Praise be to God for giving us through Christ every possible spiritual benefit as citizens of heaven. (Phillips)
2. Spiritual does not mean not real or less real — it means invisible. Invisible means you just can’t see it.
a. God is a Spirit and He is invisible, yet He is real. John 4:24; Heb 11:27; I Tim 1:17; I Tim 6:16; Col 1:15
b. All of the seen creation is the work of the Unseen, Invisible God who reigns over an invisible, spiritual kingdom.
1. The invisible created the visible. Heb 11:3; Gen 1:3
2. The invisible can and does affect and change the visible. Mark 4:39
3. The invisible will outlast the visible. II Cor 4:18
4. The invisible realm of God exists side by side with the visible realm. Luke 2:13,14; Luke 9:28-32; II Kings 6:13-17
3. Two key facts you have to understand about the invisible, spiritual kingdom.
a. The Bible is our only tangible, reliable contact with this invisible realm:It tells us how the kingdom works and what provision has been made for us. b. The Bible is the means through which God brings the invisible into the visible realm. Gen 1:3; Heb 11:3; Mark 4:39; Ps 107:20; Matt 8:8
c. When we believe God’s word He brings it to pass in our lives — brings it from the unseen to the seen, the invisible realm to the visible realm.
4. The kingdom to which we now belong is spiritual, and all of God’s provision for us is spiritual = invisible.
a. Our only “physical” evidence of any of this is God’s written word.
1. But, the spiritual (invisible) will affect the seen realm if we will believe God’s word about it.
2. That’s what faith is all about — taking God at His word so He can bring it to pass in our lives.
b. Faith is trust / confidence in God that He’ll do what He said He’d do.
c. That’s why faith comes from God’s word — His word tells you what you can expect God to do. Rom 10:17
1. We are result oriented — we want to see and feel what God has done for us.
a. God wants us to see and feel results, too.
b. But, we have to do it His way — by faith.
2. Sometimes people say that talking about faith takes away from God and puts too much emphasis on us and our part.
a. Yes, God is God, He is Sovereign and can do what He wants, but it’s clear from the Bible that He interacts with His people on the basis of their faith.
b. Faith is involved in producing visible results. Matt 8:13; 9:22;28,29; Mark 10:52; Luke 7:50; 17:19; 18:42; Acts 14:9
c. 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. You must accept the fact that you are now part of a kingdom that operates according to faith in God and His word.
a. In England (the United Kingdom), they drive on the left side of the road. If you move there, you get with the program.
b. We have to get with the program in the kingdom of God. God wants you to know what He has said and believe it — so He can do it.
4. We focus more on results than on God’s word which will produce the results.
a. When you focus only on what you see, all you set is more of the same.
b. Here’s what we often do and say: I prayed and I’m not healed (meaning: I don’t feel any better. Nothing has changed.) Why?
c. You’ve answered your own question = basing what you believe on results (what you can see and feel), and that’s not faith, that’s sight. II Cor 5:7
d. You are saying: I know I’m not healed because I don’t feel any better.
1. That is walking by sight = basing what you believe on what you see.
2. You are waiting for physical confirmation or proof of God’s word and that is walking by sight — and that’s not faith.
e. Faith says: I don’t need any physical confirmation from my senses to prove something is so — I only need God’s word.
5. You must understand, in many situations in life, you have evidence (testimony) coming from the two different kingdoms which exist side by side: what you can see/ feel and what God says.
a. God doesn’t ask us to deny what we see, He asks us to recognize that there are more facts involved than what we can see. II Kings 6:13-17
1. God did not expect Elisha to deny what He saw, but to remember God’s word, God’s promises. Ps 34:7; 71:3; 91:11
2. God did not ask Abraham to deny that he and Sarah were too old to have kids, but to realize that physical conditions can’t stop God from doing what He said He’d do. Rom 4:19
b. God has already met our needs, provided for us, through the Cross.
1. It is an accomplished fact in the invisible kingdom — God has already provided (said yes) through Jesus. II Cor 1:20
2. Now, God simply has to bring the provision into the visible realm — which He’ll do if you’ll believe His word without physical evidence.
6. Faith is trust / confidence in God that He will do what He said He would do.
a. In fact, once you have His word on something, it is as good as done, so much so that you can speak of a thing in the past tense even though you can’t yet see it with your eyes.
b. There is a past, present, and future element to faith. Luke 1:45; Rom 4:21
c. Because God has spoken (past) I will see (future) and right now I believe God’s word — that’s my evidence (present).
7. You must also know that there are two aspects to getting results: receiving and having. Mark 11:24
a. Receive = to take as mine, to accept God’s word on the subject as true without physical evidence = believe it has been granted (past and present). b. Have = physical fulfillment which is confirmed by the senses (future tense).
1. I tell you therefore: everything you ask for and pray for, believe that you have it already, and it will be yours. (Jerusalem)
2. All things whatever you are praying and asking for, be believing that you have received them, and they shall be yours. (Wuest)
3. Have faith that it has been granted to you, and you shall have it. (Goodspeed)
8. There is usually a period of time between when we believe we receive (accept God’s word about our situation) and we have (see the results with our eyes). Why is that?
a. That’s just the way it is — we need to accept that fact and deal with it.
b. God tells us His word works like a seed which implies a passage of time. c. God lives in the ever present now, so to Him, a waiting period is not a waiting period.
d. God works on the principle of maximum glory to Himself and maximum good to us — even if that means you have to wait to SEE results.
e. The only time you can demonstrate, exercise faith (walk by faith) is when you can’t see.
f. That’s why we must add patience (endurance) to our faith. Heb 6:12
1. During the period we can’t see results, patience support our faith. 2. Patience says: because God has promised, I will see; therefore I can hang on (endurance).
9. God does not speak in terms of what He is going to do for you, but in terms of what He has already done for you.
a. God has already provided everything for you through the Cross of Christ — it is done (past tense).
b. All that remains is for Him to bring it to pass in the physical realm.
c. Once you have God’s word, it is as good as done because He will fulfill His word where it produces faith.
1. Sometimes people say: God is sovereign and He will give me what He wants when He wants to do so.
a. Then why could Jesus do no mighty work in His home town because of their unbelief. Matt 13:57,58; Mark 6:5,6
b. Israel missed the promised land because of unbelief. Heb 3:19
c. Of course God can do what He wants when He wants, but there is overwhelming evidence in the Bible that much of what He does is in proportion to our faith.
d. I John 5:14,15–We can approach God with confidence for this reason. If we make requests which accord with His will, He listens to us; and if we know that our requests are heard, we know the things that we ask for are ours. (NEB)
e. You learn God’s will from His word.
2. Faith comes from God, but the number one way it comes to us is through God’s word. Rom 10:17
a. People pray for more faith, but we are not told to pray for faith, we are told to pray for understanding of God’s word. Eph 1:15-19; 3:14-19; Col 1:9; Luke 24:44-46; Ps 119:18
b. When the disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, He told them to use what they had. Luke 17:5,6
c. When the man asked Jesus to help His unbelief, Jesus didn’t answer Him, He healed the child = had mercy on the man anyway. Mark 9:24
1. God’s will does not automatically come to pass in peoples’ lives. II Pet 3:9; Matt 23:37; 13:58
2. God works in our lives by grace through faith. Eph 2:8
a. Salvation is an all-inclusive word.
b. SOTERIA = implies deliverance, preservation, healing, wholeness, soundness
c. God’s grace provides all of those things, but they must be received by faith.
3. We often spend time in prayer asking, begging, pleading God for things He has already done / provided.
a. We should be praying prayers of thanksgiving instead.
b. God is waiting for us to receive what He has done.
4. The benefits of redemption (God’s will for us) don’t come to pass in our lives because:
a. We lack knowledge of what it means to be redeemed.
b. We don’t know how to cooperate with God in receiving the benefits of redemption.
c. All of these things can be corrected by studying God’s general will = His Word.
5. If you know that your need is covered by redemption then:
a. You can know God’s will ahead of time, pray in agreement with Him, and see that prayer answered. I John 5:14,15
b. In other words, you can see your mountain move.
6. How do I know if my need is covered by redemption? That is why we study the Bible — to learn God’s will.
7. This brings up the question: what if, under normal circumstances, God would want me to have this blessing, but He sees something in my life that keeps Him from giving it to me.
a. We don’t / can’t earn anything from God — is that the basis of your approach to God?
b. But, if there is something in your life which will keep you from receiving (unforgiveness, worry, complaining, irresponsibility), God’s Word will show you.
1. Spiritual does not mean not real, it means invisible = I just can’t see it yet.
2. But, the spiritual will change the physical, visible realm if we will believe what God says about it in His word.
3. There’s peace in the kingdom of God. He’s already said yes to it. Rom 14:17 4. But, you have to look to the invisible kingdom through the word of God in order for that spiritual blessing to come to you. II Cor 4:17,18; Phil 4:11; 4:6-8
5. You have to believe what God says before you see it and then you’ll see it.