Summary: Is faith relevant today and what can it do for me?
Faith for Today
Mark 11:22 “And Jesus answered saying to them, "Have faith in God.” NAS
I. Pardoning Faith
Romans 5:1 “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,”
A. Some fail to receive God’s forgiveness because they feel they are too sinful. “Surely God will forgive me,” they say.
B. God desires that everyone be saved. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
C. He is able and willing to forgive the vilest sinner. Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.”
D. Repentance and faith bring God’s pardon and peace. Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;”
E. Illustration: Merlin Carothers, author of the book Prison to Praise, had firsthand experience of what it is like to be declared righteous. During World War II, he joined the army. Anxious to get into some action, Carothers went AWOL but was caught and sentenced to five years in prison. Instead of sentencing him to prison, the judge told him he could serve his term by staying in the army for five years. The judge told him if he left the army before the five years ended, he would have to spend the rest of his term in prison. Carothers was released from the army before the five-year term had passed, so he returned to the prosecutor’s office to find out where he would be spending the remainder of his sentence. To his surprise and delight, Carothers was told that he had received a full pardon from President Truman. The prosecutor explained: “That means your record is completely clear. Just as if you had never gotten involved with the law.”
II. Purifying Faith
Acts 15:9 “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” KJV
A. Many Christians fail to completely surrender their lives to Christ; they hold some portion in reserve for selfish pursuits.
B. When we commit ourselves totally to Christ, giving Him first place in our lives, the Holy Spirit “purifies our hearts by faith.”
C. Purifying faith brings power for service, enabling the Christian to share Christ with others. Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me…” KJV
D. Illustration: in high school shop class when we would do the foundry work. The metal would be heated to liquid, and the impurities would float to the top and thrown away.
III. Penetrating Faith
Matthew 15:28 “O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.”
A. There is no mountain too steep, no valley too deep for faith to handle. Faith lifts burdens, lightens bereavements, and liberates those in bondage.
B. Faith penetrates doubts, discouragements, and defeats, bringing victory.
C. Penetrating faith is miracle-working faith. It conquers every situation and circumstance. It is the kind of faith we need for today. Mark 11:23-24.
IV. Persevering Faith
Romans 5:2 “through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” NAS
A. Perseverance – “The steadfast effort to follow God’s commands and to do His work.” (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
B. Every Christian needs persevering faith when contrary winds blow and storm clouds gather.
C. When there seems to be no progress, no promise, no purpose, we must keep on keeping on – working, praying, believing; holding fast to the assurance that faith brings the victory.
D. Acts 27:22-25. How great is your faith?
Illustration: The physics professor had just finished his lecture about the pendulum, wherein he had shown the mathematical proof that an untouched pendulum will always swing in ever-decreasing arcs.
He then asked for a volunteer to demonstrate this fact by standing against a wall with a pendulum bob against his chin, then releasing the bob and allowing the pendulum to swing naturally through its arc. The professor reminded the class that the bob would return to, but not quite touching, the chin. No one volunteered. Although the science students “believed” that this law was true, they were unwilling to put it to the test.
How like many of us in our relationship with God! We know the facts, but are unwilling to risk a step of faith based on them.