We have been teaching a written series on what faith is and what it is not. We continued with how to employ faith. We broke faith down into its three components, (Hebrews 11:1 1. Now, living in this present moment, 2. With Hope/Joyful expectation of 3.The Unseen).
We know that it is urgent to understand what faith is because we are required to live by faith. (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11).
Since we have been justified (found not guilty) FREELY(not by our performance) by his GRACE ( God’s willingness ability and power to do those things for us that we can not or will not do for ourselves) through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24); We are the ones who are being required to live by faith.
Therefore, it would be well for us to know where to get faith. What then is the source of faith? Understandably, there is much confusion about this subject even within the body of Jesus. The reasons for the confusion are clear. We know who the author of confusion is and it is not Jesus. The evil one is still confusing the elect the same way he has since the beginning. “Surely he did not say”. Same old deceit, new victims.
The evil one has been twisting scriptures since the beginning of time. He has confused many of us from the pulpit. He has confused many of us with ignorance. He has confused many of us by deceiving us into accepting clichÂ»s instead of thoroughly studying the word. He has been clouding the issue of faith for years. He does not want us to understand faith. He had me misguided for years. I know the truth because I have continued in the Word and God revealed it in his word and it has always been right in front of me. I want to share the truth that will at first anger many who have been taught some of the things that we will discuss. However, it is the truth so, if you get angry read on.
The evil one is powerless. He has been defeated in everyway by Jesus. Jesus has given us dominion over all of the powers of the evil one. All he can do is use our confusion and ignorance to deceive us. He has two goals. His goals are to devalue the blood of Jesus and to take away our testimony because with these two forces he is defeated.
The evil one devalues the blood of Jesus by making us believe that his work on the cross was incomplete and that we must do things to improve it. If we believe that we can add anything to the work of Jesus then his blood has no power.
Many of us have been taught that even our faith is under a performance standard. We have been taught that our faith can be expanded, grown or perfected. This teaching is based on the comments of Jesus regarding, “Great faith, ever increasing faith, little faith and no faith”. If there are varying degrees of faith as described by our Lord then, it is assumed, that we must somehow progress through each of these levels. However this entire proposition is based on an incorrect understanding of the ministry of Jesus. At the time Jesus was observing and commenting on these levels of faith, all men were operating in the flesh of their faith. So indeed they did have varying levels of Faith.
Our source of faith is Jesus. In the 12th chapter of Hebrews Paul our teacher appointed by God, explains that ” Wherefore seeing that we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets us, and let us run the race with patience, looking unto JESUS who is the AUTHOR and FINISHER of our faith.” There is no ambiguity here. Jesus is clearly the Author and the Finisher of our faith. He began it and he ended it. How did he do this?
Ephesians 2:8 and 9…”For by Grace are you saved through Faith, and THAT IS NOT OF YOURSELVES, IT IS A GIFT FROM GOD NOT OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST. Paul our teacher appointed by God has made an unequivocal pronouncement guided by the Holy Spirit. Faith is a gift from God and it is not of works lest any man should boast. It was given as a free gift when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
Romans 10:9 ” That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.”
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of those that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things?”
But they have not all obeyed the gospel (believed Jesus) for Isaiah said, Lord who hath believed our report?”
“So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. This is the most misunderstood scripture in the Bible. We have all been taught from this one comment that faith comes by “hearing and hearing”. The result is that many of us have believed that we could increase our faith by hearing and hearing more teaching. We were led to believe that faith could be expanded or grown by saying more scripture. This is not what the teaching says or is about. Go back to the 9th verse and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in context through the 17th verse and you will see that we have been mistaken.
This whole teaching is a direct statement that faith comes from accepting Jesus and being saved. It is clear that Paul is teaching that it is necessary to send teachers to teach the plan of salvation because from salvation comes faith. The second half of the statement in the 17th verse says “and hearing by the Word of God” What Paul is saying is that the Word of God in the person of Jesus and his teaching is where faith comes from.(John 1:1) “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was with God”. (John through the revelation of the Holy Spirit has understood that Jesus is the living Word).
Romans 12:3 “For I say unto you, through the grace given unto me, to every man among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as GOD HATH DEALT TO EVERY MAN THE MEASURE OF FAITH.
Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.”
It is clear that Paul the teacher to the gentiles is telling us that Jesus is the source of our faith. That it is a free gift from him. Since it is a gift from God it can not be taken away. Since Jesus began and ended it, it can not be improved, enlarged or expanded.
Does faith come from hearing? Absolutely. You hear the gospel of Jesus. You confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus. You believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. You are given “The Measure” of faith as a free gift from God, not of works lest any man should boast. You receive all the faith you will ever need.
Our problem is not and has never been our lack of faith. All we need is faith as a grain of mustard seed and we can move mountains. Our problem is that we need to make a decision to walk in faith by choosing to live one moment at a time with joyful expectation of the things that we can not see. Our challenge from Jesus is contained in Mark 11:22, 23 and 24.
How to receive from God by our Lord Jesus:
Mark 11:22…Step one…”Have faith in God.”
Mark 11:23 Step two the challenge from the Great I AM in the person of Jesus. “I tell you the truth, that whosoever shall say to this mountain, be thou removed and be thou cast into the sea; and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things that he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says.”
There are no qualifications in this statement of truth from Jesus. No where are there conditions of how good you are or varying degrees of faith or who your daddy is. Jesus is making a clear profound direction and stating a problem. The problem is the doubt in our hearts. He knows the problem. He is describing the problem and now he is about to state clearly without qualification the solution to the problem.
Mark 11:24 The Solution to all of our reception problems. Jesus is telling us to make a choice, a decision… “Therefore, I say unto you whatever things you desire, when you pray believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.”
There you have it from the Lord of Lords, The King of Kings, The Author of our Faith, The God Most High. No ifs, and’s or buts. Are you telling me pastor is that the reason my daughters cat died is that I didn’t believe when I prayed for it?” NO. Jesus is telling you that. I am reporting as ordered.
I challenge each of us to repeat Mark 11:24 out loud at least 3 times a day for the next 30 days. If you accept the challenge your life and the lives of all of your family, team mates, friends and associates will be changed for ever.
Stop trying to get more faith, expand your faith, grow your faith or stretch your faith and make a decision to accept the measure of faith you have been given and walk in it. You will be amazed what will happen in your life when you make a conscious decision to believe Jesus and “believe WHEN YOU PRAY that you have received whatever things you desire.”
As you ponder these things and pass them on to those you love remember that they are your gift from God. They are the promise reported by Isaiah the prophet from your creator to you. They are “the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places”. They have been given to you so that you may know that “I, The Lord, which calleth you by thy name, am the God of Israel”. You are the new Israel of whom God speaks. Remember that kings and prophets and wise men sought these things with all that they had and they did not find them. Treasure them in your hearts.
Love to all, Pastor Allen