Faith’s Growth and Direction

“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.”  (Mark 11:22)

“And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.”  (Luke 17:6)

“It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.”  (Mark 4:31-32)

“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.” (Heb. 11:6)

“He that cometh to God must believe that He is.”

In First Corinthians chapter three and verse 11 we read,

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1Cor. 3:11)

It has been said many times that “the New Testament is concealed in the old and the Old Testament is revealed in the new.” But there is a problem today in that many times the Old Testament Scriptures are not emphasized at all.

Some denominations and ministers have even done away with the Old Testament Scriptures in their preaching and teaching, except for a few Bible stories and prophecies that are sometimes referred to.

When Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness by the devil, the Bible says in Matthew chapter four and verse four,

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4)

The Bible tells us that Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses in all points. We are not under the Law of Moses but many of us do not know what the Law is that He fulfilled, when the fulfilling of that Law is instrumental to you and I as a Christian in understanding our position in Christ.

Jesus fulfilled the prophets but the problem is many Christians do not know what the prophecies are that He fulfilled, when the fulfillment of those prophecies is what gives us the basis for believing that Jesus is the son of God.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2Tim. 3:16-17)

Jesus quoted the Old Testament. The apostles quoted the Old Testament.

In Luke chapter 24 verses 13 through 27, we read the story of Jesus appearing to two disciples on the road to Emmaus after his resurrection. The Bible tells us in the 27th verse,

“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27)

Jesus taught from the Old Testament.

“Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. (Psalm 40:7-8)

Paul also would enter into houses and synagogues and teach from the Old Testament, persuading them out of the Law and the Prophets that Jesus was the Son of God.

“And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.” (Acts 28:23)

This was the basis for the faith they had that Jesus was the Messiah prophesied of old. This was the basis for their extraordinary faith which the Bible says in the Book of Acts “turned the world upside down.”

A person cannot have full working faith without knowing and believing in exactly who Jesus is, what He has done, and what He will do.

Notice I said full working faith.

A person can believe in Christ, but to have full working faith we really need to know exactly who Jesus is, what He has done, and what He will do for us.

This is found not only in knowing what the New Testament has to say about Christ, but also in knowing and understanding the Scriptures that Jesus fulfilled contained in the Old Testament.

The English word for “faith” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word pronounced “pis’-tis”, which has a threefold definition.

The first definition is “conviction”. The second definition is “especially reliance upon Christ for salvation”, and the third definition is “constancy in such profession or confession”.

In this threefold definition we actually have the three types of faith the Bible talks about.

Number one is “conviction”. This is a worldly kind of faith. A person can have a conviction that their doctor is the best doctor there is. A person can be convicted that they have the best lawyer. A person can have convictions concerning any number of worldly things.

It doesn’t take faith in Christ to have these kinds of convictions. This is the worldly type of faith.

The second type of faith is “reliance upon Christ for salvation”. This is the ability given by God unto every individual to believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ if he or she so chooses.

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17)

This is faith unto God for your salvation.

The third definition for the Greek word “pis’-tis” (faith) is “constancy in such confession or profession”. This is the faith of God. This is the ability to stay constant and unwavering in your confession or your profession of faith no matter what.

This is the type of faith that God used to frame the worlds.

This is the type of faith that “turns the world upside down”.

This is the faith the Bible talks about in Hebrews the 11th chapter beginning with verse one,

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)

This is the faith of the Son of God.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)

If you have been born again then God has given you the ability to have this type of faith. This is the measure of faith that the Bible talks about in the Book of Romans,

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Rom. 12:3)

God has given believers His faith but many believers have misdirected that faith. There is only one direction for faith and that is in Jesus Christ, God manifested in the flesh.

Christians want to know how to have more faith; however Christians do not need more faith. Christians need to know how to properly direct the faith that God has already given them so that it may grow.

Jesus compared faith to a mustard seed. In Matthew chapter 17 and verse 20 we read,

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matt. 17:20)

Now a mustard seed is extremely small, but a mustard seed can grow. Jesus gave the parable in Matthew chapter 13 verses 31 and 32,

“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” (Matt. 13:31-32)

Jesus compared the kingdom of God to the mustard seed which is the smallest of all herbs, but once it is planted it grows into one of the largest of the trees and the birds come and lodge in its branches.

In other words, if we want our faith to be the “mountain moving faith” that Jesus talked about, we don’t need more faith. We just need for our faith to grow and it is going to grow when it is properly directed and fed.

A beautiful example of this in the Bible is the Old Testament story of Abraham and Sarah. The Bible teaches us the things that happened in the Old Testament are examples and shadows of things that were to come in the New Testament.

“Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” (Heb. 8:5)

The best example and shadow for the growth of New Testament faith is Abraham.

How many times have you heard someone preach about Abraham fathering Isaac when he was about 100 years old?

“And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” (Rom 4:19-21)

God had promised Abraham that his seed through his wife Sarah would become as the stars in the sky for multitude, but yet Sarah had been unable to conceive. Now to show His power, God had waited until Abraham was at the age of 100 and Sarah at the age of 90 to declare that this was the time for it to happen.

We marvel at the faith of Abraham in that he believed God even though his body was now almost dead due to his age and Sarah was beyond the age of childbearing. He staggered not at Sarah’s body but he was strong in faith believing that what God had promised him he was able to perform.

He was strong in faith and at the age of 100 he was able to father a son, but did you know that his faith grew?

At the age of 137, Abraham took another wife named Keturah after Sarah’s death and she bore him six more children.

“Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.” (Gen 25:1-2)

So we see that Abraham had great faith at 100, but his faith grew. It didn’t just stay there. It grew. Abraham realized that through faith, what he was able to do at 100 years old, he could also do at 137 years old.

God wants our faith to grow.

In Romans chapter 12 verse three, the Bible says,

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Rom. 12:3)

The Apostle Paul says, “To every man who is among you.” This is the faith given to believers. There is not a single person here today who having been born again does not have the measure of faith.

The Bible says in Second Thessalonians chapter three and verse two,

“And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.” (2Thess. 3:2)

The “measure of faith” is given to believers only.

We are not talking about the faith that someone needs to have to get saved, but we are talking about the faith that God gives to every believer once they are saved.

Faith is also a part of the fruit of the Spirit. The Bible tells us in Galatians chapter five and verses 22 and 23,

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23)

Fruit is a result or product of an effort. An apple tree produces apples. An orange tree produces oranges. Faith is the fruit or result of the Spirit.

It is impossible for us to create faith by works or efforts. It is produced by the Spirit of God. It is the faith of the Son of God. Second Corinthians chapter three and verse five tells us,

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” (2Cor. 3:5)

Next- Jesus is the Christ: The Prophecies Fulfilled

Available online for $4.99 at bn.com for the NOOK, at amazon.com for the KINDLE, at the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPAD, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-book reading devices

Available online for $4.99 at bn.com for the NOOK, at amazon.com for the KINDLE, at the iBookstore on iTunes for the iPAD, and at Lulu.com for the PC and all other e-book reading devices

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