Last month, we began our Back to the Basics series talking about the importance of doing a daily devotional in your personal life. This month we are going to be talking about faith. Faith is essential to our walk with the Lord. In fact, faith is a foundational pillar to Christianity. Christ is – of course – the cornerstone.
Please turn with me to Hebrews chapter 11. This chapter is known as the faith hall of fame. I would have to say that this is one of my favorite chapters in the entire Bible. If you want to build your faith – I encourage you to read this chapter consecutively for 30 days. Be forewarned though – it will change your life!
Let’s start this teaching by defining the word “Faith”. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. Jim Haeffele defines faith as: “Faith is trust, assurance and confidence in God. Living faith is shown by service and obedience to God …”
I like how LifeHopeAndTruth.com defines faith: “In the New Testament the English word faith is used to translate the Greek word pistis. The new Strong’s Expanded Dictionary of Bible Words says, “Pistis is used of belief with the predominate idea of trust (or confidence) whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same. ‘Faith’ means trust, confidence, assurance, and belief” (p. 1315).
Let’s talk about some examples of faith found in the Word of God. We are going to begin with a New Testament example. Please turn in Your Bible to Matthew 9:27-30, After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, “Do you believe I can make you see?” “Yes, Lord,” they told him, “we do.” Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.”
Let’s examine this miracle a little. The two blind men said to Jesus: “Son of David, have mercy on us!” If you go back 8 verses, Matthew recounts the story of Jesus healing a man’s daughter. In fact, the father was a leader in the Synagogue. The daughter had just died. He probably was still in shock. However, he approached Jesus and believed that Jesus would heal her. Well, He indeed did heal her! I think this built up the blind men’s faith. Let’s look at verse 27 once more: After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind Him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” The word mercy there is the Greek word Ἐλέησονg (pronounced El-a-o). It means: to show mercy as God defines it, i.e. as it accords with His truth (covenant) which expresses “God’s covenant-loyalty-mercy” (i.e, acting only on His terms).
Now, I want you to see how Jesus responds to faith after a brief dialog with them. Verse 29: Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” Remember what Hebrews 13:8 says? I’ll remind you if you do not (and I would highlight this in Your Bible if I were you). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
So, if Jesus responded to faith while He was on earth, why wouldn’t He respond to faith now! Let’s briefly take a look at an Old Testament example of faith. There were three young men whose names were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They refused to bow down to the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar created. Please turn with me to Daniel 3:16-18. You can go back and read the entire story found in chapter three, however, I want to hone in on verses 16 through 18 because I want you to catch something important here. Daniel 3:16-18: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.“ Talk about faith! I love verse 18: “But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”
As it turns out, they went into the furnace. In fact, the King ordered that the furnace be turned up seven times hotter than usual, He was so angry! Some scholars believe that the King wanted the furnace to reflect his level of anger. Surprisingly, the men were unharmed. Consequently, King Nebuchadnezzar had a heart change and praised God!
God responds to our faith! You do not even need a lot of it. A mustard seed is not just small, it’s tiny. The Word of God declares in Matthew 17:20, “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” In another passage Jesus declares that all we need is child-like faith. Matthew 18:2-4: Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven”.
Next month, I’m going to continue part 3 of this 4 part series. We are going to discuss the importance of serving in your local church…..
Please contact me as I’d love to hear from you!
Pastor Jeremy Empie Jeremy@TheBethesdaHouse.org (641) 569-7024 Ext. 101 Bethesda House 201 High Avenue East Oskaloosa, Iowa 52577-2838 Office Number: (641) 569-7024 Church Service Time: Saturdays, 6:00 P.M. (Meet & Greet) 6:30 P.M. (Worship) Web Site: www.TheBethesdaHouse.org Blog: www.BornForChallenges.org