Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Discipleship #8: What is Faith?

What is faith? 

Is faith a feeling or  wishful thinking?  Is it a weak “I hope so?”  No,  faith is not a feeling nor is it based on feelings. Paul wrote in Romans 10:17 that  faith comes by  hearing the Word of God.  Faith produces a growing confidence and trust in God’s  Word which enables us to act in obedience to God.    See the definition of faith and examples of faith in Hebrews 11.  There you read of the examples of faith in the lives of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Barak and others who accomplished great feats of courage, and endured trials, such as most of us have never been called to endure. 

In the definition of faith in Hebrews 1:1  we learn that faith is substance and evidence.  The word for substance can also be translated confidence. Confident in what?  Faith is confidence in God and in His Word, the Bible.  The word evidence could also be translated proof.  Faith itself is proof. Faith needs no other evidence than what the Bible says.  Faith comes as we simply read and study the Bible with a hungry heart to know God.  I challenge you to read and study it. The Bible has within it the internal proof that it is the inspired, infallible Word of God.  The more  you study it, the stronger your faith grows.   In fact, one may be saved and become a child of God simply by reading the Bible.  Psalm 19:7-8  Romans 1:16 both declare this fact. 

Now let’s return to Luke 12 as we continue our study of Discipleship. Verses 22 through 28 are addressed to Christ’s disciples, as is the rest of this chapter.  If you are a Christian, Jesus is addressing this to you as well. He refers to them and to us  as “O ye of little faith”.  Peter had “little faith”.  Read Matthew 14:31   and Luke 22:32,54-60.   I’m quite sure that it was not just Peter who had little faith. I believe all the  disciples were men of little faith. In the story recorded in Matthew 14:22-33 of Peter walking on the water to Jesus, it was not just Peter who had little faith.  He at least attempted to walk on the water.  The rest of the disciples remained in the boat.  Where was their faith?

  

A Canaanite woman’s great faith.

  We read in Romans 4:20 that strong faith glorifies God.  In Matthew 15:21-28 we read a heart-stirring story of a Canaanite  woman who came to Jesus and begged Him to heal her demon-possessed daughter.  Note the details of this wonderful story and keep in mind that everything Jesus said was primarily for the benefit of His disciples who looked on Gentiles as dogs, as did all the Jews of that day.     Verse 23 tells us that Jesus did not answer the woman.  He seemingly ignored her. The disciples in disgust told Jesus to send this bothersome woman away.  Jesus played along with His disciples and seemingly agreed with them.  He replied to them,  “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of Israel.” 

I think that Canaanite woman knew that slam against her was said to show the disciples their hard hearts.  She ignored the seeming slam and bowed down and worshipped Jesus and begged Him to help her.  Jesus, continuing His lesson to the disciples, said to the woman. “It is not right for me to take the children (Israel‘s) bread and give it to (Gentile)  dogs such as you.  Listen to what this woman replied in verse 27.  as I paraphrase it.  “True, Lord,  I admit I am a Gentile dog; but Lord, don’t the dogs get to eat the crumbs that fall from the table?”  In verse 28 Jesus answered the woman and taught His disciples a huge lesson that I am sure they never forgot.  He said to the woman,  “O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt.”  Immediately her daughter was delivered from the demon.  Now the disciples were beginning to see their responsibility of taking the Gospel of Christ to the whole world.

 But getting back to the subject of faith, we learn that regardless of how small or how great our faith,  the issue is nor really the size of our faith, but the size of our God.  If our faith is in our omnipotent God, that’s all that really matters.  In the next article I want to show you what little faith can accomplish and how little faith can become great faith. 

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September 7, 2006 - Posted by | Discipleship

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