(Thursday, May 21, 2020)
When Paul spoke of the chief elements of the gospel, those things which should fill in our Heart or Spirit, he named, “Faith, Hope and Love. (1Corinthians 13:13). We must know that when God solves our problems, we have faith in His abilities; when God doesn’t solve our problems, He has faith in our abilities. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are portraits of what it means to trust in a sovereign God of grace. We see in their lives examples of what it means to have “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). This faith is demonstrated in the manner in which Abraham chose to follow the call of the LORD God and leave his home, his father, his security and go to an unknown place. When Abraham heard the call of God he obeyed. This was an act of faith. God summoned him and he acted in obedience immediately. He left the security of family and friends to dwell as a stranger in a land, without rights of citizenship or possession. Abraham’s faith is outstanding because he was the first in his family to place his trust in Yahweh, the LORD God. His father was an idolater. Joshua says his forefathers all “served other gods” (Joshua 24: 2 And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods).
The great example of faith is seen in the fact that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not live to see the fulfilment of the promise that the land would be theirs. They wandered as alien nomads in a foreign land, but even in death they were faithful believing in the promise that God would fulfil His promise to them. History proves that God was true to His word and He did provide a land and descendants. When we walk by faith we see the unseen eternal glory in store for every believer. It is by faith that we learn to look beyond the present temporary scene and see the unseen eternal promises which God has in store for His children.
Apostle James one of the siblings of Jesus Christ our Lord makes it clear that true faith is demonstrated in doing righteous acts, even as did Abraham (James 2:14-26; Hebrew 6:1-12). Works are necessary to prove that one’s faith is valid because Abraham’s faith and actions worked together.” By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned” (Genesis 21: 1-18). Abraham could not see how God would keep his promise, but in faith he did what God told him to do. He did not know how God would do it, but he guessed at one possibility: “that God could even raise the dead” (Hebrews 11:19). Abraham himself had once been “as good as dead” (Hebrew11: 11); the same God who gave him life could also give Isaac life. When Abraham took Isaac up the mountain, he told his servants that “we” will return (Genesis 22:5); he did not expect Isaac to stay dead.
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. Moses turned down a privileged position and chose instead to be part of the people of God. He gave up the easy life and suffered. If we have faith like Moses, we will be faithful, even if we are persecuted. Because we begin the Christian life by faith we must also continue by faith. From beginning to end it is by faith.
2.0 WHY TO HAVE FAITH?
Mark 11:22-24; Mathew 21: 21-22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Mathew 17: 14-21; Mark 9: 14-29; Luke 9: 37-43a And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Mathew 14: 26-31 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah was beyond all human possibilities. Abraham was 99 years old when the birth of Isaac was first announced, and 100 when Isaac was born. Sarah was 90 years old! (Genesis 17:15-21) They were as good as dead (Romans 4:19). However, the God who can raise the dead can make a 90 year old woman conceive naturally!
Therefore, I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.However, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2: 5).
3.0 RESULTS OF FAITH (SOME EVIDENCES FROM THE BIBLE)
Joshua 10: 12-14 Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.
As per Cambridge University, this event was pinpointed the exact date – the afternoon of October 30, 1207 BCE precisely 3,225 years ago. Moreover, with the help of the Merneptah Stele, an Egyptian artifact which independently confirms the Israelites’ presence in Canaan, historians have dated Joshua’s entry into the land to between 1500 and 1050 BCE.
Mathew 8: 5-13, Luke 7: 1-10 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.
Mathew 9: 19-22; Mark 5: 25-34; Luke 8: 43-48 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. She was the same woman named Veronica who moved with sympathy when she saw Jesus carrying his cross to Golgotha and gave him her veil that he might wipe his forehead. Jesus accepted the offering, held it to his face, and then handed it back to her—the image of his face miraculously impressed upon it. This piece of cloth became known as the Veil of Veronica.
John 20:18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her…Mary Magdalene, out of whom Jesus had cast seven devils. Once Mary was healed and saved, she left her home in Magdala – practiced her faith in following Jesus and ministering to Him and His disciples of her substance and witnessing to His death and Resurrection to others. Quietly and effectively Mary would do what she knew needed to be done. We never read of Him or His disciples asking for money, yet funds were necessary. Much of it came from Mary and other women like her who had been so richly blessed of the Lord. Alas, not all who have benefited are grateful! Christ once healed ten lepers, but only one came back to thank Him for His grace and power.