Summary: Part 1 of 10 in a series dedicated to debunking commonly held myths that we think are in the Bible but really aren't, myths that can and often do have devastating effects on our faith.
INTRODUCTION: Over the past several years one of my favorite television shows has been “mythbusters” on the discovery channel. The show uses elements of the scientific method to test the validity of rumors, myths, movie scenes, adages, internet videos, and news stories. And why do I like the show so much… it’s simple – they blow things up! The show also gives us some striking commentary on the world in which we live; simply stated… there is great power in myths.
BACKGROUND: People don’t set out to build their faith on myths, but somehow falsehoods keep showing up in the way many Christians think about life and God. These beliefs are assumed by millions to be rock-solid truth straight from God that is until life and the Bible prove otherwise. The sad result of such a realization is often a spiritual disaster; at the least there are feelings of confusion, betrayal and a distrust of Scripture, at worst a loss of faith and anger toward both God and His church.
This morning we begin a new series looking at some of these myths, each one of them is a bit like fools gold, it looks good at first but once tested it proves “foolish” or in modern terms “dumb”. We begin with the crazy idea that “faith can fix anything!” It must also be pointed out that “dumb” relates to the idea being held to, not the individual who may hold such ideas!
WHAT FAITH IS
• To begin any discussion concerning faith we must begin at the beginning, by defining the term, what exactly is “faith”
• It has been suggested and I would agree that “faith” is the most misunderstood word in our theological lexicon
• Believe it or not much of the confusion about faith comes from a miss-definition of the concept
• We begin with probably the most well-known passage about faith; Hebrews 11:1
• We start here because part of the problem with the myth we’re dealing with finds is genesis with this verse, not so much with what it is, but what it isn’t…
• Hebrews 11:1 is not a definition of what faith “is”, rather it’s an example of what faith “does”
• We might offer as the definition of faith the one suggested by E.J. Carnell – “Faith is whole-souled trust in God’s Word as true because of the sufficiency of the evidence”
• It’s the assurance that God will indeed do that which He has promised
• In both the OT and NT, faith in its purest form is man’s “reaction” to God’s “action” (TDNT VI.182)
WHAT FAITH ISN’T
• It’s a commonly accepted idea, both in the church and society that faith is a potent mixture of intellectual and emotional self-control that when properly harnessed can literally “fix” outcomes
• This kind of “pie in the sky” hopeful thinking is more about “faith-in-faith,” than “faith-in-God”