THE LIGHT OF FAITH
Last Week I spoke to you concerning fear and faith, they cannot occupy the same space at the same time.
In addition to that, faith is the physical action we present to others as a witness to our beliefs, and this is an apologetic act proving God is real.
We could never convince someone we love them by doing hateful acts towards them.
As children we often did this didn’t we? The little boy who has a crush on a little girl so he punches her in the arm, and she is convinced he hates her and is a bully.
So our actions speak very loud, much louder than we think at times, and especially as Christians, people watch us and judge us concerning our honest, and commitment to what we teach.
So as I mentioned earlier; last week I taught that light and dark cannot occupy the same space, and neither can faith and worry.
So tonight, I would like to talk about this faith that should only be present in our minds.
“What is the difference between knowing something in our heads and having real faith in it?”
Faith is about what is most important to us.
For instance: I know my zip code, but I have faith in America.
I know the words that are coming out of your mouth, but I have faith that you aren’t lying.
So let’s examine Faith:
What is faith?
Faith is about what we don’t see. It’s about what we don’t have direct sensory evidence for.
What is sensory evidence? seeing it, hearing it, touching it, or tasting it, we are to have faith in something without the benefit of those senses, save the one of hearing.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
what does assurance mean? pledge, declaration, guarantee, oath, promise reassurance, warranty,
So, what does that mean?
Let’s look at an example offered by the bible.
Hebrews 11:11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.
Because she had true faith she was able to have a child at age 90.
I don’t know about you, but I have trouble accepting, or understanding this.
It explains the depth of her faith, and the faith we all need to obtain
But that doesn’t really tell me how to get it, it just tells me what I am supposed to get…
Can we just do it, OK< from this day on I am going to have the same level of faith as Sarah.
Doesn’t work does it?
Even after all these years of study I do not have that kind of faith, and my saving grace is she was a lot older than I am even now…she was ninety, I am only 68 so I have more growing to do.
HOW DO WE FIND IT?
I watched a movie once that was based on a book titled “the secret”, and it states that most successful people in the world, thought of themselves as the end product while still young, even children. Then believed so much in who they would be when they grew up, that it became fact.
so I decided that I should find out if this was a biblical fact, becoming what we truly believe, why? Because all truth comes from the bible.
Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
Proverbs 27:19 “As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the person.”
What it’s saying is that what you put into your heart defines what kind of character you have, and what kind of person you are.
Example: As your mind/heart is focused on the Lord and the things of Christ, then what will flow out of your life will be the good fruit of purity, grace, kindness, etc…
Above I gave the example that I hear the words you are saying, but I have faith that they are true… I know they are true
But how do I “know” they are true..
The answer: from experience…
Let’s look at a Hebrew word.
Yada, we’ve all heard the expression from time to time, Yada, Yada, Yada when someone else is talking too much…
Yada, very simply means in the Hebrew “to know” but more than just “to know” but to “know intimately.
For instance, I know what it means when someone talks about their parents, meaning their mom and dad. I know what it was to be a dad, for I am one.
But I do not know what it means ( Yada) to have parents, for I didn’t have parents. In the Hebrew we must have experienced it to Yada it, to know it.
So when we know God, we have faith, we have trust in His word, why because we “yada” it. We know it from experience.
Jody made a statement earlier today as I was telling her what I would be speaking about, we don’t really know if our parents are truly our parents, we merely accept it as absolute truth by hearing they were, by seeing a birth certificate, and often by similar appearance, but even that isn’t absolute proof. Now days, we can find out for sure through DNA testing.
But in years past people merely had to accept the physical proof, and we have the same relationship with God, our spiritual birth certificate is the scripture declaring to us that we are children of God, through our faith in Him, and His word.
We normally do not question the facts of our birth; we absolutely shouldn’t question an even more trustworthy document, the scripture.
Jim likes to tell of the time he asked his mother if he had been adopted, and she squelched all doubt in his mind by the answer she gave; which was simple “if we had adopted a child, do you honestly think we would have chosen you?” Apparently that settled the matter.
I think we are starting to get a bit of a fuzzy picture here…
We must have the faith of Sarah.
And to do the things we want for ourselves namely to become giants of faith, we must believe in with an absolute, 100 % of Yada knowledge that we are already giants of faith.
But that still doesn’t tell us how to get it….
Let’s consider Sarah again,
first she heard God’s plan for her, as we must hear God’s plan for us,
2ndly she believed God’s plan,
And thirdly, it happened.
She heard God, and we must hear God as well
the one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
James 1:21 tells us to be Doers—Not Hearers Only:
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Proverbs tells us to guard the fig tree; in other words protect what is valuable: the truth, in other words, be able and willing to confess Christ to others, and be able and willing to defend the word whenever called upon to do so.
The goal of evangelism is to lead a person to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The goal of apologetics should be the same. So what is the difference between the two? In summary, apologetics is a distinct but inseparable part of evangelism.
Evangelism is concerned with the presentation of the gospel…you must know/ yada it to present it in truth and spirit.
Apologetics is concerned with answering objections to the gospel, clearing away obstacles, and commending the Christian faith as the only legitimate answer to man’s predicament
James tells us to be doers meaning, learn the word, and you will know God’s plan, protect the word, be able to defend it through apologetics, and you will eat of it’s fruit, in other words, gain faith.
And by doing so you will honor the father.
So the message is getting a little clearer:
We must have the faith of Sarah.
When we do, those things we believe in through an absolute, 100 % of Yada knowledge starts becoming real.
We gain faith by the word, in other words we study the word.
We learn to listen to the Father through His written word, we hear His voice, and we believe Him.
We guard the tree, in other words be able to defend the word meekly and humbly when it is attacked, you can do this by knowing how to defend. Know the defense, and know how to present the truth so others can accept it.
John 15 : 7 – 8 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
1 Peter 3: 14 -16 14But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, 15but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; 16and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.
The people who always seem to be more happy, upbeat, and fulfilled with their lives are the people who have a good sound mind and who are always thinking about and dwelling on the more positive things in this life.
They choose, with their own free wills, to dwell on the more positive side of this life as versus always thinking and dwelling on the darker and negative side of this life.
The people who are not happy and fulfilled, and who are always pessimistic and depressed all the time, and have negative attitudes towards anybody and anything, are all choosing to think and dwell on the negative side of this life.
The difference between these two types of people is in their thought life. The people who are always happy, upbeat, and positive have chosen to look on the brighter side of things, even in some of the worst case scenarios imaginable.
The Bible is very clearly telling us in the above verses that we can all choose what to think about and dwell on.
We do not have to become slaves to negative and pessimistic type thinking. In other words, we can choose to think about what we want to think about!
Our thinking and thought process does not control us – we control it!
Negative type thinking can be broken.
For many, it has become an actual mental stronghold because they have been mired down into this type of negative thinking for such a long period of time.
What this means is that we are directly responsible for choosing what we think about and dwell on – and then make sure that our thinking always lines up with the Word of God and how He wants us to think about things.
The power lies with us. It is called free will.