Faith -- the Substance!
Living TRUTH Radio Broadcast, June 12, 1998
Let us begin reading from the letter to the Hebrews, chapter one:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.
In the last few broadcasts, we have been considering our need to both contend for and live by the faith that was once delivered unto the saints.
This faith is something that is very substantial. It is not the vague, indefinable and nebulous "feeling" that some would have us believe. Neither is it the enormously overcomplicated system of theology that many men have designed.
Faith as taught in the Scripture is very real and powerful! John said it was the victory that overcomes the world! In this inspired, written record we see the many and wonderful exploits that were accomplished -- by faith!
We can also see how ordinary people, old and young, great and small, male and female had possession of it! These were farmers, mothers, kings, warriors; prophets, fishermen, and tax collectors. The faith that they possessed was from God, of God, and in God.
It wasn't just a religion or system of beliefs. It wasn't only a philosophy, or way of understanding the universe. To be sure, many of these principles do enter into the picture, but the depth of the reality of The faith is founded on the fact of The ultimate Truth!
When someone exhorts you to "take it by faith," or to "take a leap of faith," what do you suppose they are really saying? No doubt these words are often used sincerely and with pure motives, but many do not even understand what faith is. Faith is a substance. The faith of the Bible has a sound basis in reality.
Paul exhorted Timothy to continue in the things which he had known and been assured of (2 Timothy 3:14). In other words, he did not expect him to act out of presumption, but out of true conviction. Never did he expect anyone to simply take his word for it. Paul wanted everyone to be fully persuaded in their own minds (Romans 14:5).
The Greek word for "faith" which is used throughout the New Testament is defined in the Strong's Dictionary as a persuasion, a moral conviction. The word for "faithful," is a related Greek word that is defined as trustworthy.
The work of God in an individual's life is to demonstrate His faithfulness, thus building a deep moral conviction and growing sense of trust in Him.
Are you my friend looking for a gushing feeling -- a temporary high, or do you desire a permanent inner confidence in the faithfulness of God? Are you hoping for the faith to acquire some earthly possession, or do you hunger for the permanence and stability which can only come from intimately knowing God?
Do you have any idea of how volatile are the times in which we live? Can you place any confidence in your job, your bank account? Are you finding security in the government of this country, or in the political system? Are there many human beings upon which you can place your full, unreserved trust?
May I say with all passion and fervency, we need the substance of a solid faith in the Almighty God of the universe, Who created us all by His very Spoken Word!
Can you be sure of your religious doctrines and creeds which were handed down to you by your forefathers? Are we, like the Pharisees of the New Testament times, trusting in the faith of our father Abraham? Don't we know that the faith of Abraham was directed toward the very One whom his children rejected?
True faith in God comes by a relationship with God! That relationship is built in our day-to-day practice of walking with Him, talking with Him, believing and obeying His Word, and trusting Him during those times in which we do not even fully understand His purpose.
It is a conviction, a persuasion that grows until we are more sure of His reality than we are of anything else! It transforms us from weak, helpless sinners, into bold, powerful demonstrations of the righteousness of God!
We believe that God is alive, and in us today! Why? Because a penetrating Word has established that knowledge in us, and the evidence of Him is all around us! Yes, the evidence of the evil one is also all too visible, but the pure in heart can actually see God!
In the midst of the death and destruction, the sin and rebellion of this our day, God is speaking a Word of life, hope, consolation, and victory! He is forming a faith within us, a conviction that is being tested by fire! Who are we to believe? The doomsayers? The deceived and deceiving?
Or our God, Who is infinite power, joy and love, as revealed in the glorious face of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Yes, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." (Romans 10:17)
It is also important to: "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Tim 2:15:)
How sad it is today when Bibles are so plentiful, but so few are instructed in how to use them. Some use them to try and predict the future. Others like to impress people of their knowledge. But may we be diligent to present ourselves unto God and to show His approval, handling His Written Words correctly.
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls (James 1:21).
The first thing that we are to do with God's Word is to receive it, and then allow it to become engrafted into our very being!
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving
your own selves. 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:
For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth
what manner of man he was.
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. (James 1:22-25)
How many of you are beginning to see your salvation as an ongoing process? He has delivered us, He does deliver us, and we trust that He will yet deliver us! (2 Cor. 1:10)
The very same process that brought you into His Kingdom, will take you to the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls! (1 Peter 1:9)
First you must hear the Word of the Lord, then you must receive it, and finally you must act on it! But this is not salvation by works -- far from it! You and I are looking into the perfect law of liberty! We are being transformed by the renewing of our minds! (Romans 12:1,2).We must continue to break up the unplowed ground of our hearts, for the planting and harvesting of the Lord!
These doers of the Word are simply those who participate with God in His glorious kingdom! All of us must submit ourselves to those inner convictions which are wrought in us by the Lord. And as this work proceeds, so does the conviction grow!
And as we begin to see the fruit of the Holy Spirit develop in our lives, that tendency to forget who really we are in Him will be overcome!
Phil 2:14-15: Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world....
We thank you for this marvelous faith that was once and for all delivered unto us. Grant us that we may abide in you, and produce the fruit that remains. And may this fruit make evident the substance of your reality within us.
There are so many mysteries in your Word that we yet do not understand, but we believe in you. And we are confident in the work that your Word is performing in us even today.
In Jesus Name,