Summary: How do you tell whether you’ve got the real thing and not a poor imitation? What am I talking about faith, have you simply got religous faith or saving faith? This sermon will show the distiction between the genuine from the fake.
Eph 2:8- 10. Article 14. Saving faith.” The real thing”
• Have you got faith?
The answer is yes all of us demonstrate a measure of faith everyday from switching on our central heating system to locking your front door at night, to driving a car. You are exercising a measure of faith in all of these things...
We trust the central heating system to function correctly to keep us warm, that the doors we lock will be sufficient to keep the intruders out. That the car we are driving will get us safely from a to b.
Religious faith? We live in a multi faith society there are myriads of people of all faiths. These people exercise faith on a daily basis towards their particular deity or deities. They are called men and women of faith. Some exercise this faith by obeying laws - following ordinances – by living a righteous life and helping their fellow human beings others exercise faith by killing others who do not submit to their interpretation of their religion. For all these individuals following their god or gods they are exercising faith.
I believe this type of faith is built into our human DNA (we are pre- programmed to demonstrate faith – we are spiritual beings) whether were religious or not……….. But whether everyday faith or religious faith this type of faith is poles apart from genuine saving faith found in the word of God and experienced in the Christian life.
• Read article 14. Saving faith. Baptist confession of faith 1689
Questions to ask and answer? 1. Where does faith come from? 2. How do we receive and exercise faith? 3. How do we know we have the real thing? Let’s dig a bit deeper into the Word of God and find out.
1. Saving faith is set apart because it’s a gift from God.
So where does faith come from? How do we receive it? The Bible is clear - Eph 2:8 for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Saving faith is the instrument by which we partake in the gift of salvation. Faith is distinct from the basis of our salvation which is grace and from the outworking of our salvation which is good works. It is through faith Paul declares we are saved and not from ourselves. Paul states our faith is a gift from God. So saving faith is from God and that is the exact opposite to the worlds faith and even to religious faith you see in the world today - both of which come from within....
We must neither consider saving faith in God as a theological transaction where God saves us by grace, as we muster up faith to believe in him no! Both grace and faith have their origins with God and are bestowed upon us as a gift from God. (acts. 18.27. Phi1.29.)
Biblical example :Turn with me to the book of Acts. 16:11-15. Paul is on his 2nd mission journey with Silas and Timothy they’ve received the Macedonian call and after some time arrived in Philippi whilst there on the Sabbath they went outside the city gates by a river expecting to find a group of god fearers in prayer. Here they meet a group of women and began to share the gospel about Jesus. One of the women called lydia was a worshipper of God (proselyte Judaism) a dealer in purple so she was also very affluent also v 14.
1. We see in this case that Lydia is deeply religious she came to the riverside for prayer, she was devout individual had a belief in God (Jehovah) and yet she never possessed saving faith. Why?
Because we read as Paul shared the gospel......v15 the lord opened her heart to respond to the gospel.
• “Saving faith is when the soul of a human being comes into contact with the divine living god and receives the gift of faith to believe and walk in his ways.
Is there anybody today in this chapel man /women boy/girl who believes in god and is a worshipper of god - who comes on a regular basis to worship him , but you don’t really know him, you have faith you believe in God, but the faith your exercising is a religious faith coming from within and not from above! Like Lydia, the faith is mustered up from within your salvation is governed by ( laws, traditions, moral activity , outward appearance before others or even just simply a loving God who simply blesses everyone – the God you have created ). And you come on a regular basis to this small chapel to worship God – but as yet you don’t know him?