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Anatomy of Faith

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Years ago the captain of a large vessel set sail with his family from Liverpool. His destination was New York. One night when everyone was asleep, a sudden squall arose. The wind came sweeping over the water, struck the vessel and almost capsized it. Everything movable was sent tumbling and crashing, and the passengers became aware that they were in imminent peril. Everyone was alarmed, and many sprang from their berths and began to dress. The captain’s little daughter, just 8 years old, was awakened and cried with fright, “What’s the matter?” When they told her about the storm she asked, “Is Father on deck?” Assured that he was, the little one dropped back onto her pillow without a fear. In spite of the howling winds and crashing waves, she was soon fast asleep.

This ought to be the attitude of every Christian as we face the rough seas and stormy days of life. The Bible tells us that we are to “live by faith.” In verses like Mark 11:22 and Hab. 2:4, we are reminded that faith is to be the daily lifestyle of the believer. When we read Rom. 14:23, we learn that anything that isn’t a product of this faith life is a sin. In Heb.. 11:6, we see that without this quality called faith, we will never be able to pleas the Lord. We know that we are saved by faith, Eph. 2:8-9, but just how do we go about living everyday of our lives by faith?

  1. THE FALLACIES SURROUNDING FAITH
  2. Faith Is Not A Blind Leap- There are those who feel that a life lived by faith is the life of a fool. They speculate that faith is nothing more than a leap into the dark. However, faith is much more than just walking around blind waiting for providence to bump into you. Faith is your response to the promises of God for your life. (God says, “I will lead you.” Faith responds, “I will follow.” God says, “I will feed you.” Faith says, “I will eat.” God says, “I will meet your need.” Faith says. “It is done.”) Faith is never a leap into the dark, it is always a based upon the firmest of foundations, The Word Of God. The person who really walks in faith never walks through life blind. He always knows what is ahead
  3. Faith Is Not A Blank Check- (Ill. The “Name it and claim it” philosophy that permeates much of the church in our day. People have been taught that if they want something from God, then they are to pray about it and believe it than look for it to happen.) (Ill. There are many who have become discouraged in their faith and disappointed with God because He didn’t do it like they were told He would.) Faith is not a blank check! God is not our little cosmic Santa Clause just waiting for us to place our orders and then drive away with anything and everything we desire.

(Ill. The implications of this way of thinking! If this is true then God is not more than a genie who has no other purpose than to grant our wishes by the thousands. God’s is about far larger and greater things than just waiting for us to come up with a new want for our wish list)

  1. Faith Is Not A Bad Choice- Ill. There are those who would say that it is foolish to walk in total and utter dependence upon the Lord. These people argue that God is an unknown. That He is an unseen force with which man cannot interact and have fellowship. They call the Christian who lives by faith a fool! However, the Christian who determines to truly live his life by total faith in his Heavenly Father will never be disappointed with God, nor will he struggle through life blindly. There will be a deep settled assurance that God is in absolute control of all situations and the His will shall always be accomplished in the life of the believer. (Ill. As believers, we can either choose to please the Lord, or we can choose to please ourselves. If we are determined that we are going to please the Lord, then we are going to have to walk by faith in Him and in His Word and will.)
  2. These are a few of the things that faith is not, let’s take a look at what faith is. We have seen theFallaciessurrounding faith, now let’s look for a moment at the Facts surrounding faith.
  3. THE FACTS SURROUNDING FAITH

If faith is none of these things, then exactly what is it?

  1. Faith is defined and described by verse 1. Notice that faith makes “things that are hoped for” as real as the things that are and it provides the unshakable “evidence” of those things that are ours asa result of our relationship to Jesus Christ. In other words, it brings the future within the present and makes the invisible seen.
  2. Thankfully, the author of Hebrews did not leave us in the dark concerning what all this “sureness and certainty” were to be based upon. In verse 2, the writer speaks of the elders and says that by their faith, they earned a good report from God. Then, he goes on the speak of their faith and in every instance, either stated, or implied is the promise of God. Notice:
  3. V. 3 The Creation account is reliable because it is based upon the Word of God.
  4. V. 4 Abel offered a more pleasing sacrifice because of faith in a promise.
  5. V. 5-6 Enoch received the first plain air ride because he had faith in the promises of God.
  6. V. 7 Noah built the Ark and survived the flood because his faith floated on the promise of the Lord.
  7. V. 8-19 Abraham left home and country, sojourned in a foreign land, offered his son as a sacrifice to God and looked or an eternal city. His faith was based on the unshakeable foundation of the Word of God.
  8. V. 20-22 Isaac, Jacob and Joseph all died in faith looking to the fulfillment of the promises of the Lord.
  9. V. 23-29 Moses forsook Egypt, led Israel, did the will of the Lord, all in response to the promises of God.
  10. V. 30 Israel conquered Jericho because of faith in a promise from God.
  11. V. 31 Rahab was saved because of her faith in the Lord’s promises.
  12. V. 32-40 Thousands down through the ages have responded to God’s promises with faith and they have seen Him do great wonders.
  13. With these facts in mind, what is faith? Faith is the assurance that God will do exactly what He has promised to do! (Ill. Anything based on guesswork, peace of heart, wishful thinking ect., will end in failure. God is a God who responds to a people’s faith in Himself and His promises.

(Ill. If you climbed up on top of this building and said, “I am going to jump off of here and not hit the ground. I believe that God is going to make me fly. I have prayed for it and asked Him to hold me up. I have peace in my heart that He will make me fly. I believe that this is His will, so I am going to leap off this building and He will make me fly.” Before you jump, please tell us what to do with the body, because you are probably going to die!)

(Ill. Many people have become disappointed with God because He didn’t do something they told Him to do. We must remember that faith is not a lasso which we throw around God’s neck to make Him do our will. It is not some button we push to force God into doing what we want. Many have prayed for things they wanted or thought they needed and their requests were denied. Many of these people become bitter against God and cease to follow Him. Sometimes, the things they prayed for were legitimate, like the healing of a relative, a new job, some problem, etc. However, when they forget that they haven’t been given a clear promise from God concerning that situation, they are in for disappointment. We can pray about anything we want to, then we can hope that it will come to pass, but we can only have faith in those things which God has already promised to bring to pass. When I expect God to do as He has promised, that is faith. When I expect Him to do as I wish, then that is presumption! God will honor the first and ignore the second!)

(Ill. Our prayers of hope versus the prayer of faith!When I pray that my neighbor will be saved, I can have faith that God will save him, if he will turn to Jesus. However, I can only hope that he will be saved, because he may decide not to receive Christ.

When I pray that my need might be met, I can believe that it will be met because God has promised to meet it – Phil. 4:19.

When I pray that a person will be healed, I can hope that it will happen. I know God has the power to heal, but I do not know that it is His will. I do not have His promise in the matter.

When I pray for the safety of my children, I can hope they will be safe, but I cannot have the absolute assurance that they will be safe, because I do not have the Lord’s Word on it!

However, when God says it will be a certain way in His Word, then you can count on it being just as He has said. Therefore, anything that is promised in the Book can serve as the basis for genuine faith.)

  1. So, what is faith? Faith is simply the deep settled assurance that God will do exactly what He has promised to do.

III. THE FUNCTION OF FAITH

What exactly will faith do for you? After we are saved, there are certain functions which faith performs in our lives. As I look at these things, I cannot help but be encouraged.

  1. Faith Calms Our Fears- I am not sheltered from bad things, but in the midst of them I have His promise – Rom. 8:28; 1 Cor. 15:57; 2 Cor. 4:17. (Ill. Phil. 4:6-7)
  2. Faith Cushions Our Falls- I am not immune from sin and temptations, but when and if I fall, I have His promise! It is possible for the Child of God to fall down, but we can never fall out – John 10:28. If we do fall, we have His Word that we will be forgiven when we turn to Him in repentance, 1 John 1:9. This is not an excuse to fall, but it is an encouragement to those who have and those who will!
  3. Faith Confirms Our Future- I do not know what I will face tomorrow, but I know that when all my tomorrow’s are finished, I have a future secured in the Lord Jesus Christ, John 14:1-3.
  4. Faith Claims God’s Finest- Faith doesn’t gorge itself on the slop of the world. It sets it’s sights higher. Faith believes that God will be true to His Word and there, faith responds to that Word, acts upon that Word and receives the fulfillment of that Word, Rom. 4:21; Heb. 6:18. (Ill. There are many who never learn what God can do because they are never willing to believe that God can do!)
  5. Faith Challenges Our Failures- What I mean by that is that faith believes Phil. 4:13. Faith says that we can be all that God wants us to be. Faith accepts the notion that we do not have to settle for second best. Faith says that we can have everything that God has for us and that we can have it right now. Faith says that we do not have to live to the lower standard of the world. Faith just takes God at His Word and serves Him.
  6. Faith Calls Our Friends- Faith says to those around us that what god has done here, He can do in your life too. Faith reaches out to those in sin because it knows that everyone who turns to Jesus for salvation will be saved. Faith believes God’s promises concerning salvation by faith.

In conclusion, God’s will is that we live by faith! Not the blind leap of the foolish, not the blank check of misinformed, but the deep settled assurance that what God has said He would do, He is more than able and willing to do. Does that describe your life?

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