OceanSide church of Christ
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WHAT FAITH IS NOT
Victor M. Eskew
A. Faith is one of the most important elements of the Christian religion.
B. It is also one of the most misunderstood elements, even by some who profess to be Christians.
C. In this lesson, we want to discuss the subject: “What Faith Is Not.”
I. FAITH IS NOT A BLIND LEAP INTO THE DARK
A. Some think that faith is a blind leap into the dark because faith deals with things that one cannot see with his eyes or touch with his hands (II Cor. 5:7).
B. Some statements others have made.
1. Faith is a non-rational belief in some proposition.
2. Faith is a belief in something that you really do not know is going to happen.
3. Mark Twain: Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.
C. Faith is based upon evidence. The Hebrew writer refers to it as “evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1).
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
1. The word “evidence” can be defined as proof.
2. Our “proof” lies in two evidences.
a. The testimony of reliable witnesses (i.e., Victoria Falls)
b. The evidence of changed lives (i.e., Saul of Tarsus)
II. FAITH IS NOT BASED UPON FEELINGS
A. My feelings should never be the barometer of my faith.
1. Some believe that because they feel a certain way that their faith must be acceptable unto God.
2. We often hear: “I feel that I am saved.”
B. There are many times that faith has to operate in direct opposition to one’s feelings.
1. How did Abraham feel when he was commanded to offer his only begotten son on one of the mountains of Moriah? (Gen. 22:1-2).
2. How did the Israelites feel when they were commanded to enter the Promised Land knowing the giants were in the land? (Num. 14:1).
And all the congregation lifted upon their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.
3. How did Jonah feel when he was told to go to preach to the wicked city of Ninevah? (Jonah 1:1-3).
4. How did the rich young man feel when Jesus told him to sell all that he had and give to the poor? (Matt. 19:22).
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great posses-sions.
C. Feelings do not determine faith. My expression of faith leads to feelings (i.e., the eunuch, Acts 8:39).
And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
D. Two verses:
1. Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
2. Proverbs 28:26 (See Matthew 7:24)
He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely he shall be delivered.
III. FAITH IS NOT A CRUTCH
A. Definition: anything that serves as a temporary and often inappropriate support, supplement, or substitute.
B. Some of those who refer to someone’s faith as a crutch:
1. The atheist who does not believe in God.
2. The person who does not want to submit to the will of God.
3. The person who has an agenda that is opposed by those of faith.
C. If God exists, faith is the way that one has a relationship with God.
1. Yes, we get support from God (Ps. 46:1).
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2. The life we must live, however, is a life of sacrifice, especially to self (II Cor. 5:15).
And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
D. Does God exist?
1. Life does not come from non-life.
Order does not come from chaos.
Design does not exist without a designer
Consciousness does not arise from that which is not conscious.
A mind with all of its abilities does not spring out of that which has no mind.
2. To be an atheist, one must believe in the above contradictions. The psalmist was right when he said: The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God (Ps. 14:1).
IV. FAITH IS NOT THE ONLY ELEMENT IN THE SALVATION PROCESS
A. The Bible does not teach the doctrine of salvation by faith only.
1. Have you ever looked up the definition of “only” or alone”?
a. Alone: the exclusion of all others or all else, solely, only, exclusively
b. Only: without others or anything further, along, solely, only, exclusively
2. To say that faith only saves, is to say nothing else is involved in the salvation process.
a. If a person adds one more thing to the process, it is not by faith only.
b. Does one have to repent to be saved?
1) If the answer is, “Yes,” then salvation is not by faith only.
2) If the answer is, “No,” then one denies Bible teaching (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30).
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
3. NOTE: In the Baptist Church Manual by J.M. Pendleton, there is a huge contradiction to be found due to the use of words such as “wholly” and “solely.”
a. “We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace…” (p. 47). If wholly by grace, nothing else is needed, not even faith.
b. “We believe that the great gospel blessing…is bestowed…solely through faith in the Redeemer’s blood” (p. 48). If solely by faith, nothing else is needed including such things as grace, repentance, and confession.
c. On page 50, the Manual includes repentance and confession in the salvation process. If these are included, then salvation is not “wholly of grace” and is not “solely through faith.”
B. James 2:24
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
C. The reality is that there are many elements involved in the salvation of man (See chart).
God’s Part Man’s Part
Blood of Christ Confession of Jesus’ name
Word of God Baptism
D. Salvation is a system. All parts must be involved for the outcome to transpire.
V. FAITH IS NOT PASSIVE
A. This was James’ point in the second chapter of his epistle.
1. Passages (James 2:14, 17, 18, 20, 24, 26).
2. Four examples:
a. The case of a brother in need (James 2:15-16)
b. The devils (James 2:19)
c. Abraham (James 2:21-23)
d. Rehab (James 2:25)
B. Lazy, inactive, lukewarm, negligent, AWOL, satisfied children of God need to take warning.
1. Faith is to work by love (Gal. 5:6).
2. Jesus died to purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Tit. 2:14).
3. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).
A. Faith is an absolute essential in the gospel plan of salvation.
B. Faith, however, is not what some individuals claim it to be.
1. It is not a blind leap into the dark.
2. It is not based upon one’s feelings.
3. It is not a crutch.
4. It is not the only element of in the salvation process.
5. It is not passive in nature.
C. If you have true Biblical faith, you will
1. Obey the initial commands for salvation.
2. Live zealously in harmony with God’s will all of your life.