Part 1 / Lesson 3 – WHAT IS FAITH?
During the Old Testament the word “faith” was seen as the act of being faithful to a calling or need. During the New Testament the word “faith” was seen as the act of believing in a teaching and/or a teacher, and thereby becoming an obedient and faithful disciple.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
The first occurrence of our English word “faith” in the Bible is translated in Exodus 17:12 as the word “steady.”
But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
Exodus 17:12 is not the only passage where this word “emunah” is found. It is however the first occurrence of the word “faith” in the Bible. Concerning this type faith, the Bible teaches that the “just shall live by his faith.” That “faith” refers to emunah, for a man who lives for God does so by his “faithfulness” to God.
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.
Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
Hebrews 11:1 is often used to define faith. It also does not describe faith in a way of belief, but rather as an act of belief. It refers not to what one thinks about faith, but rather what they do in faithfulness.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
To achieve biblical faith one must use this formula: Facts (God’s Word) produces Faith (not in self, but in Jesus’ Word!) and that produces Feelings (the anticipation that comes from belief!). We see Paul teaching this same formula in the next verse:
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Faith is a verb that is based on a noun. It is an action (faithfulness) that is based on a faithful person (Jesus). The more we know Jesus, the easier it is to walk faithfully in His ways. Consider Hebrews 11:1 when reading the next verses. The bracketed words were added by me.
1 John 5:14-15
(14) And this is the confidence [Substance] that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: (15) And if we know [Evidence] that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is [Evidence], and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him [Substance].
In Luke 18:8, Jesus Christ asked the question: “When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” If you’re wondering what kind of “faith” He is referring to, it is to Faithfulness!
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom [evaluated facts in action]: a good understanding [evaluated facts] have all they that do [faithfulness] his commandments:
(21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (24) Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
(8) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
(13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (14) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
(17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
(3) Through wisdom [evaluated facts in action] is an house builded; and by understanding [evaluated facts] it is established: (4) And by knowledge [facts] shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
The Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God. In its pages are found the truest source of facts concerning history, since all of history is “HIS-STORY”!
The Bible was not written by well meaning men who were giving their own dissertation on God; rather the Bible says that it is a collection of words that were recorded by faithful men as they were guided by God.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
(16) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Peter 1:20-21
(20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. (21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Since God is His Word, a person’s response to the Bible is equal to their response to God. As a result, obedience to God’s Word is obedience to God, and vice versa.
2 Timothy 2:15
(15) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
(1) Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (2) But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (3) And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (4) The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. (5) Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. (6) For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
The goal of learning is to grow in christlikeness. As a believer studies, they should seek to align their lives to God’s Word.
(22) But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (23) For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: (24) For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. (25) But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
(28) Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
(39) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
(14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth
God extends to mankind a standing invitation to approach Him with their needs. The way a child of God is to approach God’s presence includes offering up praise and worship.
(4) Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Praise and worship is a believer’s meager attempt to show their appreciation of the power and majesty of God. Praise and worship is not given to get God’s attention. Instead they are offered because God is so extraordinarily worthy of receiving them…and so much more!
THANK; THANKS; THANKSGIVING
(thank), (thanks), (thanks-giv’-ing), (thanks’-giv-ing): Both the verb and the nouns appear almost uniformly for yadhah, and eucharisteo, and their cognates. Eucharisteo is the usual Greek verb for “to thank,” but yadhah takes on this force only through its context and is rather a synonym for “raise” or “bless” (which see) Septuagint renders yadhah usually by exomologeo, “speak forth together” “praise” (compare Tob 12:20; Sir 39:6, etc., and the use of “thank” in English Versions of the Bible to correspond), and this verb reappears in Matt 11:25 parellel Luke 10:21, with English “thank” (the Revised Version margin “praise”). Compare the use of anthomologeomai (Luke 2:38) and homologeo (Heb 13:15, the King James Version “giving thanks,” the Revised Version (British and American) “make confession”; the King James Version is preferable). For charis in the sense of “thanks” (note the singular “thank” in the King James Version Sir 20:16; Luke 6:32-34), see GRACE. 1 Peter 2:19 the King James Version has “thankworthy” for charis, the Revised Version (British and American) “acceptable,” the Revised Version margin “grace.” BURTON SCOTT EASTON (International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft)
“An act of worship or acknowledgment by which the virtues or deeds of another are recognized and extolled. The praise of man toward man, although often beneficial (1 Corinthians 11:2; 1 Peter 2:14), can be a snare to man (Proverbs 27:21; Matt 6:1-5). But the praise of God toward man is the highest commendation a person can receive. Such an act of praise reflects a true servant’s heart (Matthew 25:21; 1 Corinthians 4:5; Ephesians 1:3-14).
The praise of man toward God is the means by which we express our joy to the Lord. We are to praise God both for who He is and for what He does (Ps 150:2). Praising God for who He is is called adoration; praising Him for what He does is known as thanksgiving. Praise of God may be in song or prayer, individually or collectively, spontaneous or prearranged, originating from the emotions or from the will.” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
“Reverent devotion and allegiance pledged to God; the rituals or ceremonies by which this reverence is expressed. The English word worship comes from the Old English word ‘worthship’, a word which denotes the worthiness of the one receiving the special honor or devotion.” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
Psalms 96:9 O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
- We pray as a congregation because the Bible says…Acts 4:24 They lifted up their voice to God with one accord.
- We lift-up hands in church because the Bible says…Psalm 134:2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.
- We sing with all our heart because the Bible says…Psalm 98:4 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
- We play musical instruments because the Bible says…2 Samuel 6:5 And all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments.
- We clap and shout unto God because the Bible says…Psalm 47:1 O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
- We dance before God because the Bible says…Psalm 150:4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
- We testify in public because the Bible says…Psalm 22:22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
- We pray for the sick for healing because the Bible says…James 5:14-15 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elder of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
- We allow the operation of spiritual gifts because the Bible says…1 Corinthians 14:26 When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation.
PRAY BY FAITH
Jesus’ own disciples asked Him to teach them to pray.
(1) And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
Prayer is best defined as communicating with God. That means both parties talk and both parties listen.
Men and women are allowed to pray in Jesus’ name. What this means is they are allowed, through Jesus’ name, to gain access His presence. It is in that place that lives are changed and needs are met.
(23) And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. (24) Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
(17) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
1 John 5:13-15
(13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (14) And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: (15) And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
(16) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Repentance is the FIRST STEP in answered prayer.
(12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
1 John 3:20-21
(20) For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. (21) Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
The condition of a person’s heart can hinder their prayers from being answered. This condition can be tested by observing the way in which a person treats their spouse, their children, their family, their church family, their coworkers, their neighbors, and others.
1 Peter 3:7-12
(7) Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (8) Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: (9) Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (10) For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: (11) Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. (12) For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
(Also see Ephesians. 6:1-5, I John 4:21)
The hardest part of faith is not believing whether or not God hears or answers prayers. Rather it is found in the degree to which a person can accept the fact that sometimes God’s Will does not align to their request. When this happens God will not answer as they asked. Many times this occurs because a prayer’s focus was on selfish gain rather than on God.
(3) Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
1 John 5:14-15
(14) And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: (15) And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.
Prayer can become extremely frustrating if a child of God doesn’t see their prayers being answered. God’s Word reveals His Will. Thus, the best way to avoid unanswered prayer is to pray God’s Word.
RECEIVE GOD’S PROMISES
Christianity is not a word to be associated with poverty. Forfeiting material things does not mean a person will be spiritual. What every Child of God is called to do is to die to their own self. This action makes a way for Jesus’ Spirit and His Will to become that Christian’s spirit and will.
(21) For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
(44) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
1 Corinthians 3:21-22
(21) Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; (22) Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
If God said it, you can believe it! When He makes a promise, He ALWAYS keeps His Word!
(24) No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (25) Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (26) Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? (27) Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? (28) And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: (29) And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (30) Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (31) Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (32) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (33) But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (34) Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
To receive the blessings of God, a beliver must see themselves as their Heavenly Father sees them—as His children.
1 John 3:1-2
(1) Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
(9) And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (10) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (11) If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? (12) Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? (13) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
To help build faith, keep a chart of all your prayer requests. As these are answered, mark them as answered. These answered prayers will help show how often God responds to your prayer. This list can then act as a faith builder during future times of need.
The first step is to have faith in God, not in man. God and His capabilities cannot be seen in the same light as a human’s inadequacies.
God specializes in removing mountainous obstacles. He doesn’t show a way to cope with them. He also doesn’t give directions to travel around, over, or through them Instead God wants His people to have faith in Him that can REMOVE their mountains!
(22) And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. (23) For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. (24) Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
Receiving God’s promises requires both forgiveness of others, and forgiveness of yourself.
(25) And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (26) But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
(23) Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; (24) Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Receiving God’s promises requires not wavering in belief. It is vital to stand on the belief that God does answer prayers, and to stand firm on that fact until He has brought His Will to pass!
(6) But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. (7) For 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.
Christian’s must prepare themselves to battle the enemy in whatever arena they are engaged. Satan’s preferred method of attack is to use a person’s feelings and thoughts against them. Such attacks are spiritual. As a result, victory will only happen through spiritual means…this means they will need to know God’s Word.
(1) Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. (2) And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. (3) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. (4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (5) Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, (6) And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. (7) Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (8) Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; (9) And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. (10) Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (11) Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
The Bible says that other people are not a person’s enemy. Their enemy is actually an unseen spiritual foe. These spirits may influence people to act as their agents; but a believer must remember that behind their fleshly attacks is the real enemy, and that enemy is not the person, but is the evil to which they have submitted.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6
(3) For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) (5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (6) And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
(1) From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
(10) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (11) Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (12) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (13) Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (14) Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (15) And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (16) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (17) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (18) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Submission to God is the key to overcoming the temptation to do evil. A flesh and bone body cannot fight a spirit, but they can allow THE SPIRIT to fight for them. It is not the person that fights then, but Jesus that gains them the victory. After a Child of God invites Jesus into their battle, they then need to get out of His way to allow Him to freely work.
(7) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.
Submission comes through an intimate relationship with the Almighty.
1 John 5:3-5
(3) For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (4) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (5) Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
It is important to study God’s Word everyday and to strive to commit God’s Word to memory.
(11) Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
One’s faithfulness to God’s call allows them to become the person God has called them to be. They do this through an intimate relationship with Jesus. This closeness comes as they approach Jesus by faith through their prayer, their fasting, their praise, their worship, and their Bible study.
(13) Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (14) For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURES OF PROMISE:
- Comfort: Hebrews 13:15; Psalms 23:4; Psalms 27:10; Matthew 5:4; Matthew 11:28; 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8
- Death: 2 Corinthians 2:9; John 3:36; Job 19:25-27; Romans 6:23
- Discouragement: Ephesians 6:11, Ephesians 6:16; 1 Peter 5:7-8; James 4:7-8; Psalms 42:11; Joshua 1:9
- Fear: 1 John 4:18; Psalms 34:4; 2 Timothy 1:7; Isaiah 41:10; Psalms 27:1; Psalms 23:4; Psalms 56:11
- Finances: 3 John 2; Proverbs 8:21; Matthew 6:33; Psalms 34:9; Psalms 37:25; Psalms 84:11
- Healing: Psalms 34:19; Psalms 103:2-3; Matthew 8:16-17; James 5:14-16; Mark 16:18; 1 Peter 2:24
- Loneliness: Isaiah 41:10; Psalms 139:7; Deuteronomy 31:6; John 14:16
- Peace: Romans 5:1; John 16:33; Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:7-8; John 14:27; Colossians 3:15; Psalms 34:14; Proverbs 16:7; Numbers 6:24-26
- Word of God: Matthew 24:35; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12; Joshua 1:8; John 15:7; Psalms 119:105; Isaiah 55:11
The next lesson in the GROW Discipleship Course Part 1 is entitled: Born Again by Faith
Copyright © 2000 TK Burk. All Rights Reserved.