OceanSide church of Christ
|Previous||Return to Sermons||Next|
WHAT FAITH IS
Victor M. Eskew
A. The Bible stresses the need for man to have faith.
1. Hebrews 11:6
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.
2. Ephesians 2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.
3. Romans 5:1
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
B. But, exactly what is faith?
1. Different individuals have different views of faith.
2. The Christian’s view and the positive thinker’s view and the atheist’s view of faith are all different.
C. We want to look at faith solely from the standpoint of what the Bible has to say about it.
1. In this lesson, we will examine what faith is.
2. In our Bible class, we will study what faith is not.
I. FAITH IS A CONVICTION
A. Conviction is defined as a firm or fixed belief.
1. The atheist has a firm belief that God does not exist.
2. The modernist firmly beliefs that the Bible is not the inspired Word of God.
3. Christianity is also based upon firm and fixed beliefs.
a. Hebrews 11:6
1) God is, that is, He exists.
2) God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
b. Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 8:24).
I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for it ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
B. Our convictions start first with the existence of God and move from there to the conviction that the Bible is the Word of God.
1. If these two convictions are false, then we have no basis for our existence.
2. If these two convictions are true, then our faith will rest solidly on these (Rom. 10:17).
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
3. God exists.
a. If there were ever a time when absolutely nothing existed, then nothing could exist now. Only nothing comes from nothing.
b. If something did exist, it was either living or non-living. If non-living, then we could not have life now. Life does not come from non-life.
c. Conclusion: Something existed. That something had to be living. That living “something” was the living God.
II. FAITH IS BELIEF BASED ON EVIDENCE
A. Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
B. There are two ways that faith can be produced in an individual.
1. A person can literally see the proof for himself (Ex., Thomas).
a. John 20:25
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
b. John 20:27
Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing.
c. NOTE: This type of evidence does not exist for us (II Cor. 5:7).
(For we walk by faith, not by sight).
2. This does not mean that our faith is not undergirded by evidence. It is just a different kind of evidence.
a. It is the evidence of the testimony of reliable witnesses.
b. Example: I have a carved wooden face of a man with a go-tee that is 10 inches long.
1. How many of you believe this?
2. Why do you believe this? It is not because you have seen the face. You believe it because I am a reliable, trustworthy witness.
3. Show the face. Now there are some of you who believe because you have seen.
c. Jesus pronounces a blessing on all those who believe without having seen (John 20:29).
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
III. FAITH IS A TERM WITH MANY DEFINITIONS
A. Faith can involve what some have termed “mental assent.”
1. This is a mere belief in what is true that is held in the mind.
2. Example: The demons believed Jesus was the Son of God (Matt. 8:29)
And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
B. Faith can involve what some refer to as “the system of faith.”
1. It is the body of doctrine that is supposed to produce faith within man. Thus, it is the entirety of the gospel of Christ.
2. Two verses:
a. II Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
b. Colossians 1:23
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.
C. Faith conjoined with obedience that enables the soul of man to be saved (Acts 15:9).
And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
1. Peter was speaking about the conversion of the Gentiles, specifically the household of Cornelius.
2. He said that their hearts were purified by faith, but that faith involved obedience (Acts 10:47-48).
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord….
IV. FAITH IS THE ELEMENT THAT MOVES ONE TO ACTION
A. Faith comes when one hears the Word of God and is convicted about what God has said. That faith moves one to do whatever God instructs.
B. In I Thessalonians 1:3, Paul said that he remembered the “work of faith” done by the church. They worked and labored for the cause of Christ because of faith.
C. Hebrews 11
1. By faith Abel offered (Heb. 11:4).
2. By faith Noah moved with fear and prepared an ark (Heb. 11:7).
3. By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed… (Heb. 11:8).
4. By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac (Heb. 11:17).
5. By faith the Israel passed through the Red Sea as by dry land (Heb. 11:29).
6. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days (Heb. 11:30).
D. Galatians 5:6
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
V. FAITH IS ONE’S WAY OF LIFE
A. Three times in the New Testament, we read this phrase: “The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38).
B. We have already read II Corinthians 5:7.
(For we walk by faith, not by sight).
C. All that we do in life is governed and directed by the Word of God. When we obey God’s will, we are walking by faith.
1. In Acts 6:5, Stephen is described as a man who was full of faith.
2. Onesimus is called a faithful and beloved brother (Col. 4:9).
3. Silvanus is also referred to as “a faithful brother (I Pet. 5:12).
D. Abraham was a man whose life was characterized by faith.
1. Paul used him as an example of faith in Romans 4.
2. He also references him again in Galatians 3:9.
So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.
A. Faith is the key component of salvation.
1. Faith believes the facts of the gospel.
2. Faith embraces the promises of the gospel.
3. Faith obeys the commands of the gospel.
B. Upon obeying those initial commands, one then lives a life of faith by living in obe-dience to the gospel (Heb. 5:8-9).
C. Those remain faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10) will possess a faith that will bring them victory (I John 5:4).
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcom-eth the world, even our faith.