Summary: Can faith fix anything? If something does NOT happen the way think it should, is because you didn't have enough faith? Consider the difference between Biblical faith and the teachings of those who would make us doubt God's faithfulness in prayer.
OPEN: It has always impressed me how many great hymns have been based upon various Scriptures. As I was thinking about our text this morning I read I John 5:4 where it says “this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” and I recognized an old popular hymn. Does anybody else know which hymn this would be?
That’s right: “Faith Is The Victory.”
Stand with me and let’s sing that hymn this morning:
“Encamped along the hills of light,
ye Christian soldiers, rise,
And press the battle ere the night
shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
let all our strength be hurled;
Faith is the victory, we know,
that overcomes the world.
(CHORUS) Faith is the victory!
Faith is the victory!
Oh, glorious victory,
that overcomes the world.
To him that overcomes the foe,
white raiment shall be giv’n;
Before the angels he shall know
his name confessed in heav’n.
Then onward from the hills of light,
our hearts with love aflame,
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night,
in Jesus’ conqu’ring name.”
Faith is the victory (pause) that overcomes the world.
That’s what the verse in our text today said:
“…this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
That’s a great promise!!!
God’s telling us that our faith is MIGHTY thing!
It gives us power in this world we wouldn't have otherwise.
Hebrews 11 is the great chapter of faith in Scripture tells us that as well. The author of Hebrews tells us about the faith of men like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and Moses and several others. And then the writer goes on to say
“what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection.” Hebrews 11:32-35a
Do you believe that?
That’s the kind of power I want in my life.
I want a powerful faith that can OVERCOME this world and give me victory.
Can I hear an AMEN??
But there’s a fly in the ointment.
The author of Hebrews doesn't stop there with the words we just read. He goes on to write:
“Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” Hebrews 11:36-38
One preacher reflected on this part of Hebrews 11 and wrote:
“I guarantee you that no one ever taught me this side of faith in Sunday school. Imagine what would happen if they did.
‘Okay, children, today we’re going to learn how trusting… God might get you torn in two, thrown into jail, hated by your friends, and will force you to drive an old beater the rest of your life.’
It would certainly thin the herd.”
And I wouldn't blame the herd for thinning out.
Nobody I know is interested in a faith that would lead to pain, struggling, torment and pain. Most people what a power in faith that gives them confidence – not fear.
That’s why certain kinds of preachers only dwell on something called the “prosperity gospel.” They teach their followers that all they need to believe and have enough faith… and their faith will fix everything… and everything will be OK.
It’s a popular message. It draws the crowds. And it’s often preached by TV evangelists because it is a crowd pleaser. People come, put their tithes in the mail, and buy that preacher's books and tapes.
Some of the more highly recognized “prosperity preachers” are folks like Robert Tilton, T. L. Osborn, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, and Kenneth Hagin. And the list could go on and on.
These kinds of preachers sell a god that is channeled through visualization, positive thinking, and – a real popular one – “Name it and Claim it.”
"Name it and claim it" is all about naming what you want, claiming it before the throne of God – and then being so intense about your faith that you WILL receive what you've named and claimed, that it will be yours.
Preachers like this draw in people by the 1000s because there are people out there who feel helpless in this world and they want a God who will step in and will FIX what is wrong. A god that would give them healing and security, and success.