WHAT FAITH IS ALL ABOUT- #3, How to Get Faith in God
‘But without faith it is impossible to please him:’ (Heb 11:6a)
WHAT FAITH IN GOD IS ALL ABOUT
(This was the theme for a series of lessons I taught in our Adult Bible Class in January 2016. The lessons have been edited for viewers of this blogsite.)
#1 LEARNING GOD’S WORD AND ENCOURAGING BIBLE STUDY IN 2016
#2 WHY THE WORD OF GOD IS IMPORTANT
* * * * * * * * *
# 3 HOW DO WE GET FAITH?
There is no way of getting around it, but personal BIBLE STUDY is the most important way to learn about faith in God. Studying God’s Word is THE WAY to get Faith. Belief and trust in God involves seeking and finding Him in the Word of God, in the person of Jesus Christ, and by being guided and taught by the Holy Spirit.
Faith is believing that God is who He said He is, and that He will do what He has promised according to His Word. Titus 1:2 states that God cannot lie. Numbers 23:19 tells us:
‘God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it?…’
To have Faith is to believe and trust in God. It is BELIEVING GOD that sets us apart from unbelievers. If faith is equated with belief, then the opposite of faith is unbelief. For example, an atheist does not or will not accept Biblical creation because he does not believe in God’s Word. He is an unbeliever, one who does not believe in God; he has NO FAITH to speak of to believe in the God of all creation. Psalms 14:1 states ‘The fool hath said in His heart, there is no God.’ So besides having no faith in God, the unbeliever is said to be a fool.
But God’s desire for us (actually for all mankind) is that we believe in Him, put our faith and trust in Him, and maintain our faith by having it grow through the study of His Word. The reason for this is because ‘faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God’ (Rom 10:17). Learning about God in the Bible pleases Him because we are building our faith in Him. Heb 11:6 states:
‘Without faith, it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of the that diligently seek Him.’
Bible reading and study is an important activity for the very reason that it will help us develop faith that will enable us to please God! To be APPROVED BY GOD we must study His Word. 2Tim 2:15 says this:
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
We can build and strengthen our faith by listening to Bible-based sermons and Bible lessons from anointed Bible-believing teachers and preachers. Other ways to experience faith are by listening to testimonies that are faith-building, and reading about ‘heroes of faith’ in the Bible whose lives depicted their search and struggles in seeking God and pursuing His will for their lives. We can also increase our faith by participating in a Bible study group. Through discussions, personal sharing and praying for one another there are many blessings to be had, as well as practical lessons to apply God’s Word to our own lives.
Recently we learned in Ezra and Nehemiah how the Israelites returned to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple and repair the gates and walls of the city (Neh 8:7-12). God raised up Ezra, a scribe and priest, and Nehemiah, a king’s cup bearer to turn the hearts of His people back to Him. God also laid it upon the hearts of many to help, including heathen kings. The faith of God’s backslidden people was stirred when God’s commandments were taught to them 4 hours a day for 7 days (Neh 8:3,8) and the Israelites repented of their sins. A national revival resulted. This is what America needs- a Revival. We have rejected God as a nation and need to repent and return to faith in God (2Chron 7:14).
JAMES- Faith and Works Chapters 1-2 tell us about faith and works that should accompany each another. James 2:17 says, ‘Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone’. Some people give lip service or just profess to be Christians, but that is not good enough. Faith must be accompanied by actions. James also talks about living our faith by loving our neighbor, taking care of the poor; ‘be DOERS of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves’ (James 1:22). The apostle Paul said, ‘…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling’ (Php 2:12).
A FEW EXAMPLES ABOUT FAITH
- Faith of Abraham– He left his homeland to follow the call of God, to become the Father of Many Nations (Gen 17:5).
- Faithful– as in Parables: the faithful and the unfaithful servants (Mt 25:14-30, Lk 19:12-26)
- Great Faith– A centurion with a sick servant said ‘Lord I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed’. Jesus marveled and said, ‘I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel’ (Mt 8:8, 10).
- Little Faith– When Peter walked on water, he doubted and began to sink, ‘And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?’ There are those who doubt that God sees their situation and would meet their needs to provide for them. These folks are said to have LITTLE FAITH. Many Christians fall in this group.
- No Faith– One reason for unbelief is fearfulness. Fear and faith cannot exist together. Read Mk 4:37-40 about how the disciples in a storm feared for their lives; Jesus rebuked the storm and it became calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? In troubled times, we must TRUST GOD and not be Fearful!
- Child-like Faith– Spoken of in 3 gospels where Jesus said to not stop the children from coming to Him.
THE FAITH OF A CHILD
In Mt 19 Jesus spoke of the kingdom of heaven belonging to children: in Lk 18 He said whoever doesn’t receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it, and Mk 10 repeats what is said in Matthew and Luke.
Why did Jesus say it is children who will enter the kingdom of heaven? The nature of infants and children is that they are basically innocent, believe what you say, don’t ask questions to challenge adults, and they will model our behavior and character.
Applied to us as children of God, this means that we should believe, not doubt. We need to just trust God and His Word. We may not understand a lot of things, but we know that God’s Word is Truth and God cannot lie or contradict himself. With God every promise in Christ is ‘Yea and Amen’ (2Cor 1:20); God does not change- Malachi 3:6 states ‘For I am the Lord; I change not.’ Unlike men, God’s nature and character does not change, so we can trust Him!
STORIES OF CHILDREN WHO HAD FAITH
The boy who shared his lunch. This incidence of the feeding of the multitude is related in all 4 gospels. This is my take on a boy who shared his lunch from John 6:
Andrew, a disciple of Christ, met a boy who came to see and hear Jesus. As they talked he found out that the boy’s mom packed him a lunch in case he stayed out all day. Andrew talked the boy out of his lunch which Jesus blessed and fed the multitude of hungry people, who had spent the day listening to Him speak on the kingdom of God. Can you just imagine the boy telling his family how he witnessed the miracle of HIS LUNCH feeding 5,000 men, not counting men and women, and that there were 12 baskets of food left over?!
Slave girl testifies of God’s healing power. Namaan, a high-ranking captain of the Syrian army had leprosy and a young servant girl (who was taken captive by the Syrians) told his wife that he should go to Israel. When he got there he was to find Elisha the prophet of God who would pray for his healing. Naaman was very angry that Elisha sent a messenger out and did not come out to meet him. The servant told Naaman to dip himself 7 times in the Jordan River then his leprosy would go away. He was reluctant, but did so and was cleansed. You can read about the servant girl’s faith and Naaman’s healing in 2 Kings 5:1-14.
(More on Faith-To Be Continued)
Posted on March 15, 2016, in Hearing From God And His Word, Teachings and Exhortations and tagged Child-like Faith, Elisha the prophet, Ezra and Nehemiah, faith, Faith and the Bible, How to be approved by God, How to Have Faith in God, How to please God, Miracle of loaves and fish, Naaman Syrian Captain of Army, Why study the Bible. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.