The early church operated in powerful faith as seen in the following. The believers were passionately committed to God, to His kingdom and to His church. They were hungry for the Word and the presence of God. They operated in a spiritual environment that saw healing, miracles and gifts of the Spirit. As a result of their faith, they gave liberally to God: some of them even sold properties to help those in need. Led and empowered by the Spirit, they evangelized the lost and planted churches. Their faith was radical and life changing. Smith Wigglesworth said, "When faith lays hold, impossibilities must yield. When we touch the divine and believe God, sin will drop off; disease will go; circumstances will change."
The Definition of Faith
Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
The Bible says that we are to walk by faith not by sight. This means that we do not live our lives based on how things look. We must develop the ability to look at things through God's eyes. God sees infinite possibilities; He sees miracles, breakthroughs and deliverances; He sees the way where there seems to be no way; He sees His kingdom and His purpose being worked out. By faith, He wants us to see what He sees so that our thoughts and prayers can be in agreement. God wants us to see into the realm of the Spirit so that we can see beyond the natural, into the spiritual reality that determines natural reality.
Faith calls us to have confidence in God. It recognizes the attributes of God. Through faith we see God as omnipotent: He is able to do anything; He is the almighty who by His great power created the vast universe and beyond that created every spiritual entity. Further, He is good and loving and will do those things that are in our best interests. Faith expects something from God and is confident. We pray in faith because we anticipate that God is going to do something. It makes no sense praying if there is no expectation. The expectation may be salvation of a loved one, missionaries to be sent around the world, financial provision, grace and wisdom to deal with a problem; whatever it is, there must be an expectation that God will do it. Faith is also confident: we are to come boldly before the throne of grace. In this light, faith causes us to recognize who we are: we are sons and daughters of God who have been given the right to come into His presence and present our requests to Him.
We must believe God for the right things: those things that bring God glory. For example, we can pray for the salvation and the blessing of others. There are many things that we can believe God for, which include some of the following. We can pray for revival in the nation: that God will move in a mighty way to save and to deliver and to transform society and government so that His kingdom is established. We could pray for the blessings of God on the church: God wants to bless the church so that it experiences His fullness and realizes its purpose. We can pray for deliverance for others: that God will set free those who are in some kind of bondage to demonic forces. Additionally, we can pray for family and self: for healthy marriages, financial provision, godly children, personal success, deepened faith. There are many other things we can pray for such as healing, anointing, wisdom, provision of a job or a promotion, protection, influence, favor and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The key principle is that God must be glorified in our prayers.
The enemies of faith are doubt, unbelief, uncertainty, ambivalence (doublemindedness) and worry. Doubt is the failure to believe God and to trust in His promises. It is the inability to see things through God's eyes.
Circumstances are magnified while God is minimized. In one town, Jesus was unable to do many miracles because of the people's lack of faith: God will hardly move in an environment that is saturated with doubt. People who doubt think naturally rather than supernaturally; they think in the flesh rather than in the spirit. Unbelief is a lack of belief, a lack of confidence in God, His Word and the moving of the Holy Spirit. God's fullness does not come to the person who doubts.
People who are uncertain are not sure that God wants to intervene miraculously; they don't know if what they are praying for is God's will or they are not sure that God is interested in doing a particular thing for them. They may have a feeling that there are certain barriers preventing God from doing something miraculous. However, the prayer of faith can eliminate any barrier and break through to access the power of God. People who are ambivalent waver between faith and doubt. Such ambivalence paralyzes them from moving forward in faith. The Bible says that a doubleminded man is unstable in all his ways. Faith causes us to be sure, to be unwavering, knowing the mind and the will of God. Persons who are worried are anxious about the situations of life. They put all the responsibility on themselves rather than placing the majority of that responsibility on God. The enemies of faith must be overcome if believers are to experience the supernatural fullness of God.
Faith Is Needed to Please God
Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Faith is needed to please God. You could be pleasant, mannerly, respectful, knowledgeable, attend church, preach, fast, give and do a lot of other good things, but none of that really matters unless you have faith. There are two things we need to look at. We must believe that God exists: He is the I am that I am, the eternal, self-existent God - the God without beginning and end who does not depend on anyone for His existence; while we need God, God does not need us. He is Savior and Redeemer: the One who delivered us from the control of Satan and sin and graciously gave us eternal life. He is the Elohim, El Shaddai, Jehovah: He is the God of greatness and glory who created the world ex nihilo (out of nothing); He is the omnipotent God, the God who faithfully keeps His covenant.
We need to have a right concept of God. A song writer says, "I have made you too small in my eyes... Be magnified O Lord, for You are highly exalted and there is nothing that you can't do, O Lord my eyes are on you." God must quicken my understanding of who He is. That's why worship is so powerful: in worship, we rehearse who God is. Our faith is stirred up the more we recognize who God is.
The second thing that we need to note from Hebrews 11:6 is that God rewards those who diligently seek him. There must be fervent passion when we approach God. We are to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness: this is no 5 or 10 minute experience. Too many Christians spend hours doing things that have no eternal value: shopping, watching television, attending sports events and other activities, but devote very little time to prayer, to seeking God's face and encountering His presence. The Bible tells us that if we seek God we will find Him and He will show us great and mighty things that we did not know. The seeking here is a passionate, heartfelt seeking that tenaciously pursues God. There is nothing casual and complacent about this seeking.
The problem is that we don't want God bad enough. We are not hungry enough for the presence of God, not thirsty enough. At times we sing songs without grasping the full intent like "You are the air I breathe, you are my daily bread; I'm desperate for you, I'm lost without you." We should be able to sing with all conviction, "When I look into your holiness, when I gaze into your loveliness, when all things that surround me become shadows in the light of you. When I've found the joy of reaching your heart, when my will becomes enthralled in your love... I worship you, the reason I live is to worship you." People want house, car, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, money, popularity, position and whatever else before God. Passive Christianity is dead Christianity: God doesn't want us to be lifeless, weak and anemic. When we seek God, He will reward us according to His perfect will. Scripture says delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart and that the blessings of God make rich.
Do you have faith? Do you really have faith? Faith produces results. Faith results in obedience and worship. Faith will move mountains. Faith releases the glory of God. Faith causes you to be a blessing. Faith brings victory and joy. Faith brings power to overcome problems. Faith releases God's resources. Faith results in miracles. Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God. Faith comes by getting a revelation of God: Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up; the apostle John had a revelation of Jesus Christ and fell at His feet as though dead. God wants to increase your faith, so that His supernatural presence is with you wherever you go.
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