Mark 9:23 And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” (NASB)
These are bold and spectacular words. They open the treasure house of the Eternal King
to the children of clay, the privilege of God’s own omnipotence and all the possibilities of His infinite resources. Side by side these two astounding declarations stand, “All things are possible with God;” “All things are possible to him that believeth.” (A.B. Simpson)
What is Faith
Dictionary.com definition – –noun
1. confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
2. belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
3. belief in god or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
4. belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
5. a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.
We have the English word “faith” but what are the Bible writers talking about when they use the word “Faith” ? For this we look to the scriptures to discover what they are talking about when they write we need to live by faith.
Heb.10:38-11:3 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (NASB)
what the righteous live by
This is a quote from the scriptures Hab.2:2-4 Then the LORD answered me and said,”Record the vision ……For it will certainly come, it will not delay. “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith. (NASB)
Here we see two lives portrayed One is Proud the Other is Faith – Pride comes as a sign of self-righteousness not faith-righteousness.
Self-Righteousness is a righteousness achieved by following rules – it comes from human effort and human will not from the faith of Christ within the heart of man.
Paul also quotes Habakkuk in Rom 1:17 For in it God’s righteousness is being revealed, out of faith for faith, according as it is written: “Now the just one by faith shall be living.” (CL)
When Paul says “out of faith” he is indicating that faith is the source and foundation of the hearing of God’s holiness “to faith” indicates that faith is the receiver and container that receives and contains God’s holiness unto righteousness.
assurance of things hoped for
In other words it is the guarantee of what you believe. The word “hope” here is not something you are wishing for but something you are assured of. Hope speaks of a true belief
conviction of the unseen
Conviction is the Greek word “elenchos” and it means: a proof, test or evidence. Faith is the evidence of the unseen. Such as – the proof the unseeable wind is moving is the fact that I see your hair being blown around by the unseeable wind.
Jn.4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (NASB)
Spirit in greek “pneumati” it means spirit, wind. God himself is unseeable but you can know Him or perceive Him by His affect in you and the things in creation. He can be seen through touching things in creation by blowing on them as it were.
The True Living Faith of a Believer is the Evidence of God’s Existence
Faith comes by:
Rom.10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Hearing – Jesus said: Mark 4:9 And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23; )
Matthew 13:11-17 Jesus answered them, “To you (his disciples) it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,…. while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND;
YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;
FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL,
WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR,………
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.
“For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. (NASB)
Jesus distinguishes a very important difference between His Disciples and the Religious Leaders of the time was the ability and or lack of ability to both hear and see spiritual realities. The disciple John addresses this again to each of the churches in his letter the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
To each of the 7 churches in Asian John wrote : Rev.2:7 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches ….”
The First step in a walk of faith is the willingness and openness to hear. In order for someone to really hear they have to be open to listen. Those who “KNOW” cannot hear because they are already filled up with knowledge. Living from a Knowledge of Good and Evil is not the same as living from the Life of Faith.
Hearing the Word of Christ
What are we to be hearing? The Word of Christ and what is this Word?
John 1:1,14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Word is the expression of God i.e. Jesus – The Word of God is a person and his name is Jesus.
A though may form in the brain but it is not know to another until it is expressed by the person. The thought forms the word and expresses it by wind through the mouth. Jesus is the Word of God – the expression to us of the thought of the mind of God.
Is the Bible the “Word of God”? Jesus refers to what we call today the Bible as the “Scriptures” Jn.5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;
In the scriptures we do find expressions of the Word of God i.e. Jesus, like the one above – We can say it like this “The word of God said “you search the scriptures because you think….” When one says “The word of God said” this is not quoting a book but a person who is called Jesus. The Bible quotes the Word of God but it in and of itself is not the Word of God and this can be very confusing to a lot of Christians. Jesus above tried to bring clarity to this point when he spoke to the religious leaders and said “You search the scriptures” Paul also tried to bring some clarity to this point when he wrote the saints in Rome.
Rom.10:4-9 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness. But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).” But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching,
Many Jews read the Bible as a book of rules and laws to be followed. When Jesus, the Word of God came they rejected him in favor of their written rules and laws. They ended up quoting scripture in order to reject him. In Paul letters to the saints in Rome he declares that Jesus Christ is the end of following rules and laws to make one righteous and that “faithing Christ” – The Word of God is now how the righteous live. That the righteous live by the Word of God in your heart and mouth and not from a legal reading of the Bible like the Jews did.
Rom 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (NASB)
It is the Word of God (Jesus) that dwells in your heart, He dwells in your brothers and sisters hearts as well. You will find the Word of God expressed within the scriptures. For those who have eyes and ears to see they will find the Word of God within all of His creation as well as hearing it from within your heart. John 7:38″He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”
Under nervous and physical exhaustion, Simpson became convinced that he was to die at a certain day and hour and was overwhelmed with despair and the inability to find God and receive eternal life. When that moment passed, he rallied some, but he felt as if his life was hanging upon a thread. At length one day in 1858, he stumbled upon Walter Marshall’s Gospel Mystery of Sanctification in his pastor’s study, and his eyes fell upon a paragraph that he took as a message from God: The first good work you will ever perform is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Until you do this, all your works, prayers, tears, and good resolutions are vain. To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is just to believe that He saves you according to His Word, that He receives and saves you here and now, for He has said — “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” The moment you do this, you will pass into eternal life, you will be justified from all your sins, and receive a new heart and all the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit. This was like a shaft of light from heaven. He fell upon his knees, looked up to the Lord Jesus, and prayed believing that God received, saved and forgave him. An inward assurance and spiritual blessing followed. The Word of God became as divine revelations to him personally. pg.5 AB Simpson – An Integrated Spirituality with Christ as the Center by Rev. David John Smith
Faith – Alive or Dead:
James 2:14-20 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
In the Christian world their has been a battle since the time of Jesus with his friends Martha and Mary. Martha was a doer for Jesus and Mary was one who loved being with Jesus. Both are necessary but there is a time and order to things. Jesus said to Martha –
Lk.10:39-42 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Doing is necessary but it must follow and not precede hearing Christ. Jesus was speaking and that meant it was time to listen and not do. Often doers are more concerned with doing than listening and listeners more interested in listening than following what is being said. The reality is both are needed but listening must be first then the doing follows.
Faith and Believing
Faith begins with hearing then moves into believing but proof of believing is seen in ones actions. If you really believe in your heart that eating a certain type of food is the best for you then you would do it and if you believed in your heart that eating Big Mac’s is very bad for you then you would not do it. Everyone lives out their belief’s no matter what they say or even think they believe – true belief is found not in the mind of man but within the heart of man.
Prov.23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he….(KJV)
Matt.12:34 You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. (NASB)
Lk.6:45 “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. (NASB)
It is within the heart that Christ i.e. the Word of God, desires to dwell or incarnate –
Eph.3:17-19 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. (NASB)
Col.3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (NASB)
Are we ones who have ears to hear Christ speak to us? Are we wealthy and rich in our knowledge about God and in real ‘need’ of nothing? Are we a people on fire for Christ or just warm toward Him? Such was the church in the city of Laodicea. Christ said to them:
Rev.3:20 20’Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (NASB)
In Revelation the Door that Christ is knocking on is that of a church and not to someone of the world. It is to Christians that the Word of God~Jesus is desiring fellowship. The Word of God is asking for anyone who HEARS HIS VOICE i.e. The Word of God. You see the works the people were doing were good works but they were not being directed by Christ – they were coming from a people trying to be like Christ – doing things he would do but not getting direction from Him.
A Doer of the Word
James 1:22-25 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. (NASB)
You know you believe when you willingly do.
Mark 9:24 Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” (NASB)
Unbelief is the greatest sin and in reality the only sin.
“He that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” This is strong language, but there is no doubt that the sin of unbelief, according to the divine standpoint, is the most hurtful of all spiritual conditions. It destroys the very contact of the soul with God as effectually as the cutting of a telegraph wire would prevent the transmission of a message. The Life of Prayer Ch.5 A.B. Simpson
Faith is –
1. Hearing the Word of Christ (not just reading but hearing with spiritual ears Christ
speak to you personally)
2. Believing the Word of Christ (true heart belief not just metal acceptance or brain belief)
3. Doing the Word of Christ (If you truly believe what you have heard it finds a home in
your heart and you always do what comes out of your heart)
November 29, 2010 | Categories: Bible, Disciples of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Reimagining Church, Religion, The Lord, The Word, Truth, Wise Sayings | Tags: A.B. Simpson, Faith, Scripture | 1 Comment