Sermon Outline 16 July 2017 – Faith Walk
What is faith?
- Faith is defined as to believe, trust, and rely on. It also means to be firmly persuaded, to have a conviction regarding a belief.
- The Greek and Hebrew words translated as faith also imply steadfastness, firmness, and stability.
- Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as:
- ESV – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
- NKJV – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
- Amplified – Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].
Who has faith?
- Every believer has faith. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”
- Believers are justified by faith. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Galatians 2:16 – yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
- Romans 12:3 – For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment,each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
- This shows us that we all have faith, even if the only faith we see is the faith to be saved.
How do we get faith?
- Romans 10:17 – Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
- Hebrews 12:2a – looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…
- Faith comes by prayer and by fasting. When the disciples were trying to cast a demon out of a boy, they were unable to do so and in Matthew 17:17, Jesus called them a faithless and twisted generation. When the disciples asked Jesus why they could not cast the demon out, He told them in Matthew 17:20 because of their little faith. Speaking of the same incident in Mark 9:29, Jesus told them that this kind of demon does not come out but by prayer (and in some translations, fasting).
What are the characteristics of faith?
- Faith is not excitement. It is not emotion. It is not stubbornness. It is not commitment to an idea. It is much much more. Some people confuse stubborn desire with faith. Faith is not based on us. It is based on our Lord, not on ourselves. Faith is not attained through disciplines.
- Faith looks to God first. Faith trusts God completely. Faith is dependent on the Lord.
- Faith is not blind. Faith is reasonable, but is not based on knowledge and logic. Faith is based on what God says to us. He doesn’t talk us into faith, but speaks words of faith and writes that faith upon our hearts. We choose to believer what He says and we also choose to act on what He says.
- Faith endures. Faith grows in patience. Faith based on love endures with good temper. It never fails.
- 1 Corinthians 13:13 – So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
- Galatians 5:6 (Amplified) – For if we are in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but only faith activated and expressed and working through love.
- Faith works through love. Faith from God cannot work apart from love. Faith is a characteristic of God as much as love is a characteristic of God. Faith is not achieved through works, but faith produces works that reflect the faith we already have.
- James 1:2-4 – Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
- 1 Peter 1:6-7 – In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
- Faith acts on what it believes. Faith is not passive. Faith continues to act because of the promises of God. Faith is not swayed by the wind and the waves of life. Faith endures, not because the one having faith is tough, but because the one having faith keeps their eyes on the Lord. The strength of our faith is not based on us, but is based on who God is. One of the great characteristics of a faithful believer is that they know the character of God. We cannot expect to know His character completely, but we can know Him progressively more and more throughout our lives.
- Colossians 3:1-4 (Amplified) – Therefore if you have been raised with Christ to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead, keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above, the heavenly things, not on things that are on the earth, which have only temporal value. For you died to this world, and your new, real life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
- John 15:1-8 – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
- True faith is focused on the Lord and stays focused on the Lord to the end.
Faith is eternal
- The context of 1 Corinthians 13:13 is that faith, hope, and love live on forever. Knowledge is temporary. Languages are temporary. But faith, hope, and love live on forever.
- Hebrews 11:3 says that we cannot please God apart from faith.
- Habakkuk 2:4 says that the righteous shall live by faith.
- Romans 1:16-17 – I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
Faith is powerful
- Mark 11:22-26 – And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
- Matthew 17:20 says that if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could move a mountain. It is extremely powerful.
- Hebrews 11:3 says that God created the entire universe through faith. He spoke and it was.
Where does faith come from? How do we get faith?
- Romans 10:17 – So faith comes through hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
- Hebrews 12:2a – looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…
- Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
- John 16:13 – When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
- 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 – For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
Focus of faith
- Jesus is not just our example. He is everything when it comes to faith. He gives us faith. He matures our faith. He perfects our faith.
- Hebrews 12:1b-2a (Amplified) – stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, looking away from all that will distract us and focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith, the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity.
- 1 Timothy 6:11b-12 – Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.
- James 1 says endure in faith so that patience (or steadfastness) may have its full effect.
What if I get it wrong?
- 1 Peter 1:6-7 says much the same thing as James 1:2. Rejoice in your trials because your trials will work patience and steadfastness in you and it will prove that your faith is genuine. The dross gets burned off. The dross is those things we drag with us on our faith race that hinder us. We may even think they are good things, but they are not helping us, so the Lord burns it off. We must rely solely on Him in faith.
- God says in James 4:6, quoting Proverbs 3:34, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.
- Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
What next? What do we do?
- Determine to live by faith as God commands.
- Set your heart and mind on the Lord.
- Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
- Rely on Him. Trust in Him.
- Know Him and His character. That will carry you through the difficult times.
- Let the Author of your faith speak to you so that you may hear His word.
- Then run the race of faith all the way to the end, enduring every difficulty without doubting, allowing patience to complete its work in your heart.