TITLE: LIVING BY FAITH 6/28/2015
By Kenneth Pappas
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LIVING BY FAITH
Camping is a time of soul-searching. Wilderness places are filled with the awesomeness of God’s creation. I wonder what it would have been like sitting at the foot of Jesus as He spoke everything into existence? “Let there be light”! Darkness, nothingness filled the space then all of sudden things lit up. It would have been wonderful!
Sitting at the foot of the mountains I pulled out my Bible and began reading of the creation. I could be there. With my imagination I was watching as God spoke. There was light, water, the sun, the moon and the heavens beyond. It was an amazing mental trip. My Bible does that to me at times; just puts me right there as I watch and listen.
Sitting at my campsite staring at this humongous mountain, yes, I have a great imagination. Was God trying to tell me something? A Scripture came to mind when Jesus said, “if I had the faith of a mustard seed I could move this mountain.” Was he speaking literally or figuratively? Well He did say I could cast it into the ocean. How much faith would it take? Jesus said a small amount. Could I muster up that much faith? Frustrated I began to think about faith and how much I had. I have researched this subject before. God may be showing something new.
Then I began to think of mountains and faith. Habakkuk 2:4 tell us, “The just shall live by faith.” We who believe are “the just”, (Justification). So, can I move that huge mountain?
Yes my faith has waivered. Does that make me a poor believer? I think not. So what did my new search give me?
I was a pastor for 22 years and gave many sermons on faith. Admittedly faith can be a mysterious subject especially when few believers seem not to put it into action. I have been part of “faith healings”, seeing God’s miraculous work. I have asked believing in prayer and found answers. I have seen the faith of others in action.
Jesus said it only takes a small amount of faith. Difficult obstacles fade away with faith and belief. What was my attitude when those miracles materialized?
Soul searching can be a wonderful thing; it gives perspective. God uses His Word to give answers. So let’s start with the most common scripture, Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I think two words most important here are substance and evidence, then the phrase hoped for. We have all hoped for something; love, fame, fortune, some small thing of substance. What do you hope for? Can faith get you that thing hoped for? What do you expect of God? Maybe the better question would be, how big is your God?
Place yourself within the wonderful world of your Bible. Ephesians 2:8, “ For it is by grace you have been saved by faith, it is the gift of God.” Accordingly, it was your faith that got you saved. God gave the gift of salvation, you accepted, “by faith.” How much faith did it take? What was your attitude when you found Jesus? You knew nothing; you had a very small amount of faith yet God gave His gift of grace. Are you seeing yourself receive Christ as your savior? Take a good look; this was the beginning of living by faith.
Faith is the substance, the evidence of your salvation. You hoped and received, then you saw the evidence in your new life. That miracle of new birth came by faith.
The two verses mentioned above are all about faith and how we express it. We can and should live by faith, but how do we do it? Quoted scripture, say and explaining words, doing all sorts of things to gain faith, usually those don’t work. Now here are some words that should be taken to heart. If you are a believer, you already have faith.
Faith and the expression of our faith are connected to belief and trust. Look at the verses dealing with salvation; all require faith, trust and belief. What sort of faith brought redemption? We walk by faith in the same way we received Christ. Our walk of faith requires belief. Read Hebrews Eleven and you will find faith, belief and trust. All the Old Testament Prophets had faith that God would do what He said; they believed.
While serving as pastor I received a call late one evening. A new believers wife had Multiple Sclerosis. Reading of how Jesus said it was faith that caused healings he asked for Jesus to heal his wife. He had faith, belief and trusted God’s Word. We prayed believing and she was sent into remission.
Why then do our prayers seem not to get answers? My belief is doubt. Doubt interferes with a successful walk of faith. When we doubt belief vanishes. James says doubt is unbelief, James1: 1-8. If you doubt something you hope for will happen you guaranty that it won't. Unbelief is sin and sin disengages us with God. Confession of sin brings cleansing (1 John 1:9).
Living by faith isn’t an easy thing with all the things surrounding us, hindering us in living our lives with and for God. We like to trust others or ourselves for solutions. We enjoy accomplishments made on our own. We really doubt God can get us out of big problems or remove a mountain. These things cause our faith to waiver.
I have found living by faith requires a few items that might interest you. First, believe God can do what He says. Second, pray believing God is listening. Third, read your Bible regularly to find answers. The last and most important trust the Holy Spirit to be your helper, your guide, and your conscience. These have helped me personally and have given me the answer to living by faith.
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