The Habit Of Faith
THE HABIT OF FAITH
A. Introduction: As Christians, we are now in the kingdom of God. Col 1:13
1. Now that we are in the kingdom, we are to live by faith. Rom 1:17
2. Most of us know we are to live our lives by faith in God, but what does that mean?
a. NT defines the faith we live by through accounts of people who demonstrated faith or lack of it. Matt 8:5-13; Rom 4:18-21;Matt 14:25-31; Mark 4:35-40
b. Common factor in each account = how people responded to God's word.
3. Faith in God is faith in His word because that's where He reveals Himself.
a. Faith is believing what God says without any physical proof because He (God Almighty who cannot lie) said it.
b. Faith in God is confidence that He will do what He said He'd do.
4. The faith we are to live by in the kingdom involves three elements:
a. Knowledge of God's will (revealed in the Bible).
b. An act of your will (a decision you make) whereby you choose to accept what God says as true no matter what you see or feel.
c. You express your decision to believe, agree with God, through actions.
5. We want to continue to look at the faith we live by in the kingdom of God.
B. Let's first make some more general comments about faith.
1. God works in our lives through His word.
a. He sends His word, and where He gets the right cooperation from us (faith), He fulfills His word (brings it to pass in our lives).
b. Salvation is the clearest example of how this works.
c. God sends His word (the gospel), and where it is believed and acted upon (agreed with), God saves people. Rom 10:8-13
2. Notice the faith which saves you comes from hearing God's word. Rom 10:17
a. Faith (confidence in God) comes from God's word because it tells you what He will do for you based on what He's already done for you.
b. That's how faith comes in every area. We don't pray for faith, we hear what God has done through Christ.
c. We pray for understanding of God's word which reveals what He's done.
3. Notice also, salvation is based on something God has already done: He paid for our sins through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.
a. You must understand that every problem in your life is the result of sin (yours, Adam's, or someone else's), and the solution to every problem in your life is found in the Cross (death, burial, and resurrection) of Jesus.
b. If your problem wasn't dealt with at the Cross, there is no help for you today. But, everything WAS dealt with at the Cross.
c. When it comes to living in the kingdom and living by faith, it isn't a matter of getting God to do something for you.
d. It's a matter of coming to know what He has already done for you through Christ and believing it. Then, God brings it to pass in your life.
5. All of God's provision for us begins in the unseen realm. All of His blessings for us are spiritual. II Cor 4:18; Eph 1:3
a. Spiritual does not mean not real or less real -- it means invisible. Invisible just means you can't see it yet.
b. The invisible kingdom of God exists side by side with the visible realm.
1. The invisible created the visible and will out last the physical. Heb 11:3; Gen 1:3; II Cor 4:18
2. The invisible can and does affect and change the visible. Mark 4:39
6. Faith is believing God's word about the invisible kingdom without any physical evidence to confirm it.
a. Faith accepts what has not yet been revealed to the senses, but has been revealed to us by God's word.
b. God then fulfills that word = brings it to pass in the realm where we can see and feel it.
c. Just because you can't see something doesn't mean it is not real (perfume).
7. When Jesus died on the Cross seen and unseen things were going on.
a. Here's what could be seen at the crucifixion of Jesus -- Mark 15:22-38
b. Here's what could not be seen:
1. Our sins were laid on Him; He was punished to obtain peace for us.
2. He was bruised for our healing and made sick with our diseases.
a. Isa 53:5,6--But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement needful to obtain peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes that wounded Him we are healed and made whole. (Amp) b. Isa 53:10--Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick. (Amp)
3. He became a curse so we could be released from the curse. Gal 3:13
4. The curse of the law = poverty, sickness, death, mental and emotional illness, despair, family breakup, discontent, etc. Deut 28)
c. Just because no one standing at the Cross could see any of that didn't mean it wasn't happening or that it was less real than what could be seen.
d. But, it took knowledge from God's word to show the disciples what was going on behind the scenes. Luke 24:25-27; 44-47; Paul's revelations
8. Faith is not trying to get God to do something, it is believing what He has already done through Christ so that He can make it happen (bring it from the invisible to the visible realm) in our lives.
C. One difficulty with all of this is that we want visible results rather than invisible provision, and visible results are sometimes slow in coming.
1. But, you have to settle it in your mind -- visible results are God's problem.
a. My responsibility is to believe God's word without any physical evidence.
b. If I do my part (believe His word), He'll do His part (fulfill His word = bring it to pass in the visible realm).
c. But, the more understanding you have from the Bible about how God works, how faith works, the easier it will be to do your part.
2. You must realize there is a past, present, and future element to faith. Luke 1:45; Rom 4:21
a. Because God has spoken (past) I will see (future) and right now (present) I believe God's word.
b. In fact, once you have God's word on something, it is as good as done, so much so that you can speak of a thing in the past tense even though you can't yet see it with your eyes.
c. Rom 4:17--Who speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed. (Amp)
d. Gen 17:5--Nor shall your name any longer be Abram (high father), but your name shall be Abraham (father of a multitude): for I have made you the father of many nations. (Amp)
3. You must also know that there are two aspects to getting results: receiving and having. Mark 11:24
a. You have to believe what God says before you see it and then you'll see it.
b. Receive = to accept God's word on the subject as true without any physical evidence = believe it has been granted.
c. Have = physical fulfillment which is confirmed by your senses.
1. I tell you therefore: everything you ask for and pray for, believe that you have received them, and they shall be yours. (Jerusalem)
2. Have faith that it has been granted to you and you shall have it. (Goodspeed)
4. There is usually a period of time between when we believe we receive (accept God's word) and when we have (see the results with our eyes). Why is that?
a. That's just the way it is -- we need to accept that fact and deal with it.
b. God tells us His word works like a seed which implies a passage of time.
c. God works on the principle of maximum glory to Himself and maximum good to us -- even if that means you have to wait to SEE results.
d. God lives in the ever present now, so to Him, a waiting period is not a waiting period. In eternity, you aren't going to care that you had to wait.
e. The only time you can walk by faith is when you can't see.
D. What does all this mean for everyday life? How are you and I supposed to live?
1. We are to live / walk by faith. Rom 1:17; II Cor 5:7
a. Live and walk are continuous actions.
b. We must develop a continuous attitude or habit of faith (agreement with God; believing God's word).
2. This must be our attitude toward life: I am what God says I am; I have what God says I have; I can do what God says I can do.
a. What does God say I am? He says I am His workmanship. Eph 2:10
b. What does God say I have? He says I have all things pertaining to life and godliness. II Pet 1:3
c. What does God say I can do? He says I can do all things through Christ. Phil 4:13; Eph 2:10
3. We have to learn to agree with God daily, hourly, moment to moment.
4. What does it mean to agree with God? Two things:
a. You tell yourself the truth = say what He says to yourself. Heb 13:5,6
1. God loves me. John 3:16; Matt 10:30
2. God has a plan and a purpose for my life. Eph 2:10; Jer 29:11
3. God is working in me and for me. Phil 2:13; Rom 8:28
4. My sins are forgiven, removed, and forgotten. I John 1:9; Ps 103:12 5. I am capable of obeying God. Rom 6:7; Phil 4:13
6. God meets all my need according to His riches. Phil 4:19
7. God's quickening me, giving me life, health. Rom 8:11; Prov 4:20-22
8. God is directing my path and guiding my steps. Prov 3:6; Ps 37:23
9. There shall be a performance of those things spoken to me. Luke 1:45
b. When circumstances and feelings give you different information, you side in with or agree with the truth = God's word.
5. You don't deny what you see, you agree with what God says despite what you see, so He can change what you see.
6. What do you do with contrary evidence (circumstances, thoughts, feelings) which tell you something other than what God has said?
a. Nothing!! They are God's problem and you can't change them anyway!!
b. Don't deny what you see but recognize sight doesn't take into account all the facts = invisible information revealed in God's word. Rom 4:19
c. Realize that contrary evidence can't stop God from fulfilling His word. If I promised you $100 on Saturday and a bill arrived on Thursday, would that be any reason for you to doubt my promise?
7. When our experience doesn't match the word of God, we question the word -- it doesn't mean what it says; God in His sovereign wisdom, chose not to fulfill it this time; etc.
a. What if we questioned us and our experience instead of God's word?
b. If I went to England, drove on the left side of the road and crashed, I wouldn't question the system, I'd question human or mechanical sources.
8. All of these facts play into our faith -- whether it is strong or weak.
a. Lack of knowledge of God's word; you can't believe what you don't know.
b. You must be fully persuaded God will do what He promised. Rom 4:21
1. That comes from repeated exposure to God's word.
2. That comes from getting your mind renewed and faith destroying ideas removed.
3. That comes from recognizing that the Bible is God talking.
c. Understanding that faith is a continuous attitude toward life which is used in specific situations. No attitude, no faith.
d. You must begin to speak God's word out of your mouth before you see it, (even) before you believe it. God speaks of a thing as done before it can be seen or felt. We must do so, too.
E. Conclusion: The faith by which we are to live is based on the most reliable evidence in the universe -- the word of God.
1. God does not speak in terms of what He is going to do to or for you, but in terms of what He has already done for you through Christ.
a. God has already provided everything for you through the Cross of Christ -- it is done (past tense).
b. All that remains is for Him to bring it to pass in the physical realm.
2. Once you have God's word, it is as good as done because He will fulfill His word where it produces faith.
3. Develop the habit of agreeing with God on a moment to moment basis, walking by faith and not by sight as a citizen in the kingdom of God.