Ladies Bible Study

A Study of Faith

Part 1

Faith Ė What is it?

In the past year to year and a half, I have gone through some tough times, hard times. God was always there for me and I triumphed in these times in many ways, because of God and His love for me. But I will not deny that they were hard and in many ways I felt that I had somehow missed God and His perfect will in some way.

Off and on, over the past months I would meditate on these seeming failures and say to God, "where did I miss it? What happened?" I recently was bothered by a sinus infection and chest cold and I really asked these questions, wondering why I was not healed. I am strong enough in the Word to know that God does not change. His Word does not change; His promises are forever, so it must be me! So I began to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show me.

The first thing I realized through the leading of the Holy Spirit was I needed to get back to basics. I needed to go back to the basic teaching of faith, relearn and let the Holy Spirit guide me to all truth and then go forward from there.

This series of lessons is what the Holy Spirit revealed to me, through the Word and teachings of sound ministers of the Gospel. It has helped me tremendously, and I believe it will be a big benefit to you, ladies and a wonderful blessing.

The first thing I realized was I did not really understand the concept of Biblical Faith.

So today, were going to look at what faith is and what it is not.

Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

We have all heard this, read it and heard hundreds of sermons preached on it! But what does it really mean?

Websterís Dictionary defines Faith as:

  1. Belief in the truth, value or trustworthiness of someone or something.
  2. Loyalty or allegiance.
  3. Belief or trust in God; religious conviction; a system of religious beliefs.

Nelson Bible Dictionary defines Faith as:

  1. A belief or confident attitude toward God, involving commitment to His Will for oneís

Life. Genuine saving faith is personal attachment to Christ involving a combination of reliance on Christ and commitment to Him. It involves a personal decision to depend on the finished work of Christ at Calvary as the only basis for forgiveness from sin and obtaining eternal life. The believer must follow Christ in obedience to His commands.

 

 

 

Both of these definitions helped some, but did not really clear up the issue for me. I still didnít understand why my faith in certain areas did not work. So I went further.

Faith is the very essence of your Christian life.

First and foremost it is the instrument by which you received salvation. This is an important concept and I don't want you to loose sight of this thought as you read further.

Ephesians 2:8: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,"

Galatians 2:16 ""knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified."

Faith is not self-confidence but confidence in God or Christ. It is trust or firm reliance in someone or something, in this case God and his promises. It is the assent to the testimony of the Word of God, united with trust!

It is an active principal both of the understanding and the will of God.

It is the confidence in the absolute truthfulness of every statement, which comes from God.

The first thing I want to do, is talk about what faith is not .It is not hope!

Websterís Dictionary defines hope as:

  1. To want or wish for with a feeling of confident expectation.
  2. A wish or desire accompanied by the expectation of its fulfillment.

Hope if always for the future and things of the future, not the present. Faith is always the present.

Let's look at Biblical hope.

Romans 4:18: "who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be."

This Scripture is referring to the promise made to Abraham by God. Abraham contrary to hope, in hope believed in the promise of God. A promise that he would not live to see completely fulfilled. Abraham believed the spoken Word of God, he did not have the Torah, or the New Testament to stand on, he only had the Spoken Word of God. Yet he believed, in hope, not looking at the natural things. He wanted or wished for God's promise to come true and he stood firm in that hope and believed that what God had spoken was absolutely true.

One of the things I really love about Abraham is that God gave him a way to speak faith and stand in faith even though he did not have Jesus or the Holy Spirit.

Genesis 17:4-5,15-16: ". "As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nationsÖ Then God said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.''

God gave them both a way to speak faith, each time they called each otherís name.

Every time Sarah said, "Abraham, come here." She was saying, "Father of many nations come here." Each time Abraham called out to Sarah, whose name means princess, he was saying "Princess, mother of nations, mother of kings." Isnít that wonderful!!!

 

 

 

 

Romans 5:2: "through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

This is another hope we have as Christians, we have the hope of seeing the glory of God one day, that His Glory will be revealed to us in all itís fullness in Godís time, or when we die, which ever comes first. It is belief in a future event, not a present event.

We as believers have many hopes in Christ, "Christ in you the hope of Glory", we hope for the return of Christ, the rapture of the church, the raising of the dead in Christ, the assurance that we will die and go to Heaven and see all our loved ones who went before us.

These are all future events we believe in; we cannot change the occurrence or the timeline, these are all in the hands of God.

This is hope not faith!

Romans 8:24: "For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?"

Interesting Scripture isnít it?

It is no longer hope if it has already happened, It is then a proven fact. Therefore you no longer need hope. Hope is always in the future! Faith is always in the present!

We do not need to hope that Godís promises for us are true, we need to believe they are true!

Biblical Faith is not the natural faith we function in everyday. We function in faith daily. You go out to your car everyday, put the key in the ignition and it starts. You donít sit there and say, "Well, I hope my car will start now." NO! You just put the key in and it starts and you drive away. We do not even give it a second thought. Why? Because we have always, since we were old enough to realize what was happening, seen the key put in the ignition and the car start. We have seen it, heard it start and seen it drive and we believe.

When we enter a dark room, we walk over to the wall and flip the light switch and the light comes on. We donít sit there wondering if the light will come on, we know it will, because it always has in the past. We have seen it and have faith the light will come on.

We put a pen to paper and expect it to write; in fact we are frustrated when it doesnít. We donít act surprised when the ink flows out of the pen and we write. Why? Because we have seen it and believe. This is natural human faith, faith based on what we see, hear, feel or taste. It is not based on anything but physical evidence. It has absolutely nothing to do with Biblical Faith.

James 2:19: "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble!"

Even the demons in Hell believe there in one God, but that does not save them, or change their situation because it is head knowledge, not faith.

Biblical faith is not based on feelings, physical evidence or natural events. It is based solely on the Word of God.

So, now that we have discussed what faith is not, let's go back and look at what faith is.

Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

 

 

 

 

Moffattís Translation

"Now faith means that we are confident of what we hope for, convinced of what we do not see."

- Revised Standard

Hebrews 11:1 "NOW FAITH is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

- Living Bible

Hebrews 11:1 "What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead."

-- New Jerusalem with Apocrypha

Hebrews 11:1 "Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for, or prove the existence of realities that are unseen."

The first thing I want to you to realize is it is now faith! Faith in the present tense, faith as we are speaking.

Faith that is an active living force. It is a noun, but also a verb, because it is an act. Let's go back to the verse; "faith is the substance of things hoped for." When we speak of substance we are talking about something with mass or weight. When we say something is substantial we mean it is strong, sturdy, or well built. We may also mean a large amount of something as in "a substantial sum of money." It is the basic or most important part of something.

"The evidence of things not seen." What is evidence? It is proof. When a person is on trial for something the court presents evidence or proof that he/she did what they are accused of doing.

So, looking at these explanations, letís read this verse this way.

"Faith is the strong, sturdy, most important part of things hoped for, the proof of things not seen."

In other words, Faith is sturdy, strong, large, and important and the basic make up of things hoped for. It is proof positive that what you hoped for will become a reality.

When you look at it in this light, you can see where we have missed it.

We have so many times, prayed for something and then waited to see a manifestation before it we believed in the answer. Faith says it is now!

We think we have prayed in faith, when in reality we have only prayed in the thing we believe in, not prayed in what we know!

We must move from knowing what we believe to believing what we know!

Demons in Hell believe in God, but they donít know God.

People of false religions acknowledge the existence of some type divine power, but they donít believe in God, or His power. It is not what you know but what you believe!

In our Christian lives we act in faith and we donít even realize it. One of the biggest acts of faith you ever took was believing in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

1 Peter 1: 8-9: "whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith the salvation of your souls."

Think about it! You believed in Jesus even though you never saw Him, never heard Him, never shook His hand. Think of the faith that took. You will not have the physical evidence of that until we receive the end of our faith and that is our eternal life with Christ. Yet we still believed.

 

 

 

 

We believed we are saved, because the Word of God says we are. It is based on nothing less or more. We will not truly realize it until the Lord returns or we die a physical death, then we will see Christ in all His Glory! Amen!

Why is it so easy to believe that and not believe the other things? We must take this faith and transfer it into the other areas of our lives!

Another act of faith you performed was being baptized with the Holy Spirit. It was not something you did or felt it was something you received. Then you did something more; you spoke in tongues as evidence of your baptism. Speaking in tongues for the first time took a tremendous amount of faith. You had to be willing to throw away everything you knew, and open your mouth and speak. The thing is, every time you continue to pray in tongues it is an act of faith.

Stop and think about it for a minute. The same faith you used for salvation, baptism in Holy Spirit, and speaking with tongues is the same faith you use for everything else in your life. It is no different. It is the same. Using it and exercising it just makes it stronger.

Acting in faith is taking your faith, wrapping it around the promises of God and bringing them back to you as the evidence of the answer. It has nothing to do with what you feel, see, hear or taste, but only on the Word of God. Amen?

Let us begin now to practice this act and receive the evidence of things hoped for!

Hebrews 11:1:

Moffattís Translation"

"Now faith means that we are confident of what we hope for, convinced of what we do not see."