God is looking for people of faith!
Faith is very important! It is God’s measurement standard. It is how He evaluates us. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God look on the heart. (I Samuel 16:7)
Luke 18:8 – (JESUS SAID) …when the Son of man comes, shall He find FAITH on the earth?
FAITH IN GOD
Mark 11:22-24 – (JESUS SAID)…have FAITH in God!
Our faith needs to be in God – not ourselves, other people, idolatrous objects, or the circumstances!
LOOK TO JESUS
Hebrews 12:1-2 …let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto JESUS, the AUTHOR and FINISHER of our FAITH, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
IMPORTANCE OF THE WORD
Romans 10:17 – So then FAITH comes by hearing, and hearing by the WORD of God.
Matthew 4:4 – ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, …that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Philippians 1:6 – …being confident of this very thing, that He who has BEGUN a good work (work of FAITH) in you WILL COMPLETE IT until the day of Jesus Christ.
TRUE Christianity is all about FAITH! (Hebrews 11:6).
We can’t please God except through faith!
HEBREWS 11:6 – Without FAITH it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God MUST BELIEVE that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
REVELATION 4:11 …you have created all things, and FOR YOUR PLEASURE they are and were created.
LIVE BY FAITH
Romans 1:17 / Hebrews 10:38 – …the just shall LIVE BY FAITH… but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Galatians 2:20 – … the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the FAITH of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
SAVED BY FAITH
Ephesians 3:17 – …that Christ may dwell in your hearts through FAITH; that you, being rooted and grounded in love…
Ephesians 2:8-9 – … by grace you are SAVED THROUGH FAITH…
Don’t draw back – live by faith (Hebrews 10:38).
I Tim. 4:1-2 – …in the latter times some shall depart from the FAITH…
HOLD FAST TO FAITH!
Hebrews 10:22-23 – …draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith… hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering…
HAVE ENDURING FAITH
Be strong, prevail, be mighty, stand firm, be steadfast, don’t give up or be faint-hearted, unwavering, hold onto, have a good firm foundation, be victorious!
Matthew 24:12-13 – And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who ENDURES to the end shall be saved.
Colossians 1:22-23…continue in the FAITH grounded and settled…
THE FIGHT OF FAITH
I Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good fight of FAITH.
2 Timothy 4:7 – I have fought a good fight — I have kept the FAITH.
HAVE GROWING FAITH
2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 – We are bound to thank God always for you… because your FAITH grows exceedingly, and tribulations that you endure……so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and FAITH in all your persecutions.
HEROES OF FAITH
Romans 4:2—21 (Abraham was strong in faith – fully persuaded that what he had promised, he was able to perform!)
Romans 4:20-24 – He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in FAITH, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who BELIEVE in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.
What was the common characteristic in all of the heroes mentioned? FAITH!
HEBREWS 6:12 – …be followers of them who through FAITH and patience inherit the promises!
How can we follow their examples? THROUGH FAITH!
JESUS & LAZARUS
Jesus said that Lazarus’ sickness would NOT end in death…but that it happened for the glory of God. (John 11:4)
(When He raised Lazarus after being dead 4 days) …now you will REALLY believe. (John 11:15)
John 11:40 – Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you BELIEVE?
John 11:45 – Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, BELIEVED on him.
LAME MAN HEALED
Acts 3:1-16 – (When Peter & John were on their way to the temple to pray.They saw a lame man who was healed, & began walking & leaping and praising God.)
Acts 3:16 (Peter said)… His (JESUS) name, through FAITH in His name has made this man strong!
FAITH OF THE WISE MEN
The wise men demonstrated GREAT FAITH!
They believed in Christ although they had never seen Him. They believed in Him even though the Scribes and Pharisees were unbelieving. They believed in Him even when He was a small infant, and bowed before and worshiped.
They didn’t need to see miracles to convince them.They didn’t need to hear a lot of teaching & preaching to persuade them. They didn’t see obvious signs of divinity and greatness to astound them. They saw nothing but a young child who was helpless, and in need of His mothers care. Yet when they saw the infant, they believed that they saw the divine Savior of the world,
They persevered! It wasn’t easy to pursue their vision. They must have searched and studied the Scriptures diligently, as well as diligently followed the movement of stars. They searched diligently until they found Jesus.
They realized the importance of worship! They were there to worship!
They became heroes of the faith because of their important gifts for the work to the kingdom of God. They didn’t worship empty-handed. They prepared their gift before even starting their journey. They offered themselves first, then gold, frankincense and myrrh. They were supportive of Christ’s mission work. Their faith was demonstrated by their giving.
The wise men are good examples for us to consider as heroes of the faith. What they did for the Lord and his mission are challenges for us to follow! Blessed are those who can believe like them!
This is the kind of faith that God delights to honor. The wise men are honored in the Bible.
Let’s demonstrate the kind of faith that they did! Let’s not be ashamed to believe in Jesus and confess Him, although people all around us may unbelieving. We have many times more evidence than the wise men had, to help us believe that Jesus is Christ!
What about our faith?
STORMS OF LIFE
Jesus calmed the storm …then He asked them,
Mark 4:40 – “Why are you afraid? Do you still have NO FAITH?” 41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
“Don’t doubt in the dark what you heard in the light.” Don’t doubt in the storm what Jesus has told you in the calm before the storm came. What were the promises he gave to you? Remember that JESUS is with you in the storm, and is able to help you through it…
Mark 4:35 – (Jesus had already told them that they would cross to the other side of the lake.
Throughout the Bible we see God speaking promises to individuals & communities, and then for many years it appears that they get the opposite of what was promised.
The Israelites are promised the land that takes years and years to reach.
Sometimes when God promises you something, your journey first takes you through a powerful storm. Your storm may begin to thrash against your boat, like it did to the disciples that out on the stormy seas. It’s dark; it seems confusing; things appear to be out of control and chaotic. You might know what to do & are at your wits end. You wonder – did God really promise that?
You knew that God was doing good things & giving direction to your life and you were up for it, and then the big storm hit. It was the opposite of what you hoped it would be, the opposite of what you thought it would be, and you had no idea of how tough it could get on all your skills and all your energy. You were at the end of yourself.
People experience fear in the midst of storms. We can wonder if Jesus is sleeping like he was in this story. Jesus is being passive and seemingly uncaring in the midst of all they were going through.These can be very vulnerable times in our walk with God – not necessarily when God feels far away, but when I know he’s there and he doesn’t seem to be doing anything about the storm.
Like the disciples, we can say, “Lord, don’t you care if we drown?” or… “Jesus, don’t you care about my situation?” I’m desperate. Please – do something! These are times when we need to keep our faith and confidence in Him! When we are terrified – when it seems like we are drowning, or about to drown from the storm – will we continue to have our faith and confidence in Jesus? Can we believe that He will calm the storm?
As we watch others go through the storms of life, or as we encounter our own personal storms: have we lost confidence in Jesus? When we go through impossible situations in life – it gives an opportunity for Jesus to show his mighty power. Jesus response in this moment leads to an amazing breakthrough, a super miracle.
Can we believe that He is bigger than our biggest storm? That He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world around us? Can we believe that He can and will rebukes the storm? That He’s bigger than our deepest fear, stronger than our greatest enemy, because He is God? In the midst of their storm, the disciples were given a fresh revelation of the goodness and the greatness of God! He is able to rescue & transform lives! Jesus was with them in the storm, and He is with us! He is able to rebuke any storm, and he meet us right where we are, in our desperate times of need.
The disciples didn’t ask for the storm, and they certainly didn’t enjoy the storm. They didn’t even feel close to Jesus in the storm. It challenged them to the very core. But after Jesus stilled it, they came out of that storm with a fresh understanding of God and a greater confidence in His mighty power.
When the storm comes, will we lose confidence in Jesus – that he’s good and that he’s great …that he is willing and able? Maybe we’re like that father who said, “I do believe, but help my unbelief. We can pray for the storms in our cities and nations. Let’s cry out to Jesus who can change things! He will help us safely through our storms.
REWARDS OF FAITH
2 Timothy 2:12 – …if we ENDURE we shall reign.
I Corinthians 3:14 – if anyone’s work ENDURES he shall receive a reward.
Matt 9:29 (JESUS SAID)– according to your FAITH be it unto you!
Let’s keep our eyes on JESUS
Let’s keep looking to Jesus – not focusing on ourselves, or the circumstance, or others. He is able to keep us strong in faith! He is the source of our faith, and the one who is able to complete it!
Jesus is the one who can help us not fall away in the midst of all the tests and trials and storms of life!