Faith: I Believe – Help My Unbelief, August 24, 2014

I recently read a blog and the writer wrote the following:

“A few years ago I felt like prayer had stopped working. In fact, I began to doubt whether it had ever worked at all.

I was just talking to myself in an empty room. Quieting myself to “hear” God really didn’t work either. In fact, that just made things worse. The longer I waited with nothing happening, the more my anxiety kicked into gear, worrying that God really wasn’t going to respond.

I know that some Christians go through a season of doubt like this and can’t survive. They can’t find God and have to give up. In my own case, I held on. I can’t make it sound like I did something better. I just ended up in a different place after seeking prayer and counsel from trusted friends and family who walked with me through that season.” Ed Cyzewski

If we removed from the Bible every person who doubted God, it would be a very short book.

Mark 9: 14-29

What is the difference between doubt and unbelief? Are they the same thing? As Guinness in his book God in the Dark was very helpful in breaking this down. He writes,

“…to believe is to be “in one mind” about trusting someone or something as true; to disbelieve is to be “in one mind” about rejecting them. To doubt is to waver between the two, to believe and disbelieve at once and so to be ‘in two minds.'” He writes that the “heart of doubt is a divided heart.” Unbelief is the “willful refusal to believe or of a deliberate decision to disobey.”

Doubt says I am having a hard time believing. Unbelief says I refuse to believe.

Doubt is honesty. Unbelief is stubbornness.

Doubt says I know I could do this if I had the strength. Unbelief says I will not do it.

Doubt keeps searching for the light. Unbelief is content with darkness.

Doubt says I don’t know what God thinks.  Unbelief says I don’t care what God thinks.

Doubt can lead to unbelief. When you doubt, the key is to be aware of the movement of your heart in that direction towards unbelief. Guinness adds, “Continued doubt loosens the believer’s hold on the resources and privileges of faith and can be the prelude to the disasters of unbelief.”

The Downside to Unbelief:

And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. Mt.13:58

And He wondered at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages teaching. Mark 6:6

Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.

Mark 16:14

So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:19

What Unbelief will not do:

What then? If some  [fn]did not believe, their  [fn]unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? Romans 3:3

Mercy is available: even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; I Tim.1:13

And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. Rom.11:23

Focus

Hopelessness assaults human mind in many surprising ways and anyone who is caught unaware by its intimidating presence, his heart will melt helplessly like a block of ice in the heat of the day. Panic, blunders and emotional breakdown are negative results of being captured by this nerve-racking state. In fact, an early surrender to its sphere of influence means nailing the last nail on its victim’s coffin. Beyond doubt, hopelessness is a life-destroyer. Jose Cabjar

A quick scan on Acts Chapter 27 is undeniably enough to lead us to realization how hopelessness tried the faith and courage of the Apostle Paul and other men during their sailing to Italy. In Acts 27:20, it is written, And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. (KJV) This Bible passage shows us a glimpse of man’s hopelessness during life-threatening moments. Emphatically, it tells us that all hope was taken away.

Stanley Jones : “What gets your attention, gets you.”
If I put a quarter close enough to my eye it can block out the sun.

How easy it is to focus on everything that is happening around us and become doubtful.

How easy it would be for us to doubt, fear, worry, and give up hope!

But Let’s look at what Paul Did as an example for us:

Acts 27:21-37

Faith continued, August 17, 2014

I am exploring faith from different perspectives. 

For instance when light passes through a prism the light bends. As a result, the different colors that make up white light become separated. This happens because each color has a particular wavelength and each wavelength bends at a different angle.

 

So today let’s continue to explore the different aspects and manifestations of faith.

 

 

1.     Faith Comes by Hearing

 

Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

Galatians 3:1-5

 

2.     Faith Prevails

 

Luke 22:24-34

 

3.     Faith works by love

 

“For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love” (Amplified Bible, Galatians 5:6).

 

A good battery may not be able to work because it has been drained. You don’t throw away a good battery; instead, you recharge it. Your faith may be in great shape, but unable to work. You can recharge it by plugging it into love. Love energizes faith

 

This is so important because “God is Love”.  God cannot work against His nature.  All the virtues of God work in harmony with one another.

 

There are things that can hinder faith from working:

 

*Unforgiveness saps faith of its strength and power:

 

This is the story of Jesus cursing a fig tree. You know the story. He spoke to a fig tree and told it to die. It did. Then He told his disciples that they could do the same thing…even move mountains by exercising faith. What is not usually known about this incident is the last statement Jesus made about faith and prayer:

 

 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” Mark 11:25

 

*Fear can paralyze our faith

That is why Love is so important

Perfect Love cast out fear

 

I John 4:7-21

 

It is important to understand the importance of the Holy Spirit in our faith working properly:

 

Faith works by love, the Holy Spirit fills us with the Love of God and His fruit which consists of Love.

 

Romans 5:1-5

 

Praying in the Spirit keeps me in the Love of God

 

Jude 14-21

 

It is not faith in the total absence of fear but faith in spite of my fear, or faith that overcomes my fear.

Faith: Saving, Redeeming, Triumphant, August 10, 2014

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

 

1.         Faith is the essence of our relationship to God and the instrument by which the gift of salvation is received:

 

 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

 

2.         Faith is the key that releases the resources of heaven into our situation.

 

Mark 11:12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.  13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.  14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

 

20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots.  21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”  22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.

 

           The object of our faith is in God! Not in Faith

           Strong’s defines this kind of faith as conviction, confidence, trust, belief, reliance, trustworthiness, and persuasion

 

3.         Three Different Expressions of Faith

 

These are true of every believer

 

A.        Saving Faith

This is faith that believes resulting in salvation. It causes us to be born again, to secure the promises of God for personal peace, the companionship of His daily presence, and the promise of eternal life with Him

 

Saving faith is humble: It says, “I need the Lord”, it is honest, because it admits, “I have sinned”  It makes us fully acceptable with God, because Jesus, was sacrificed on our behalf.

 

This faith “justifies” us. Makes us right with God.

 

B.        Redeeming Faith

 

This is faith that believes God will turn what was meant for evil for good to bring about a greater purpose.

 

This is faith that believes God will restore what has been lost.

 

This is faith that believes God will use your story as an instrument to help others recover!

 

C.        Triumphant Faith

 

This is the faith spoken of in the Bible in these ways:

 

1)         It Looks unto Jesus

 

Hebrews 12:2 “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.

 

2)         It Overcomes

 

Rev.12:10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. 11″And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

 

3)         It Walks by faith and not by sight

 

2 Cor.5:6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord– 7for we walk by faith, not by sight–

 

4)         Sees into the Heavenly Realm

 

Acts 14: 8 At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk.…

 

Elisha Captures Blinded Syrians

 

2 Kings 6:15 Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 16So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha

 

5)         Is bold in coming to God

 

Eph.3:12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him

 

Heb. 4:12 For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.  13 Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done.  14 That is why we have a great High Priest who has gone to heaven, Jesus the Son of God. Let us cling to him and never stop trusting him.  15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin.  16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.

 

Closing:

 

Triumphant faith confronts the spirit of doubt and fear and makes a choice to clearly identify it and present it to God.

 

Triumphant faith holds firm, looks to Jesus, and praises the Lord in the middle of whatever trial or difficulty we face.

Faith: You have a Different Spirit – Let It Be Known, August 3, 2014

Numbers 13:1-33; 14:1-24

 

Faith: You have a Different Spirit-Let It Be Known

 

I.              There will always be a conflict:

 

A.   Of the few and the many

B.   The Confident and Fearful

C.   The Courageous and the Cowardly

D.   The Doubting and the Believing

 

II.            Characteristics of People with a Spirit of Faith

 

A.   They see themselves as giant killers and not grasshoppers

B.   They are willing to stand out from the majority opinion

C.   They allow God to capture and seize their attention and affections (worship)

D.   They See the Bigness of God instead of just the bigness of their problem

E.   They see the eternal end instead of the temporary circumstance (Caleb persisted in faith for another 40 years)

F.    They face their very real fears with their very real faith

G.   They know who they are in Christ and who Christ is in them.