Summary: Faith begins with the goal of salvation.
What is faith? The question is one that few can answer and even fewer have a good grasp on. Faith is seems as some sort of mystical, magical kind of thing or it is seen as something like pixie dust in Ptere Pan. Faith is not some pipe dream or fairy tale thinking. Faith is the ability to take God on His Word, trust His promises and to be certain of things we cannot yet see.
Faith is not belief without proof but trust without reservation – Unknown
We see faith running through the pages of scripture as a testament to what God can do through the lives of His people. Faith has the power to tap the resources of God and make a difference in daily living. Almost always faith is linked to a person or an event. Thinking through the New Testament we see time after time, faith changes the lives of people. Let me give you a few examples:
Nicodemus was changed by faith from the teacher of Israel to a follower of Jesus
Four friends showed their faith and saw Jesus heal their friend
A Roman Centurion placed his trust in Jesus and found the miraculous
A woman with a hopeless case put her faith in Jesus and found hope again
A woman living with shame and guilt encountered Jesus at a well and found faith moves us to go
Faith has the power to change lives. Faith has the power to bridge the distance between God and humanity to see His hand move. Faith has the ability to see the impossible become a reality. Faith is the foundation of following Christ. This morning we are starting a new series of messages on the subject of faith. We are going to examine the reality of faith through the lives of people and see how they are changed.
If you have your Bibles, please open them to John 3
1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." 3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. " 4 "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!" 5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, `You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." 9 "How can this be?" Nicodemus asked. 10 "You are Israel’s teacher," said Jesus, "and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
The Purpose of Faith is Clarity
People deal with an incredible amount of confusion. It was true in the days of Jesus and it still rings true today. People are confused about Jesus Himself. There is confusion about who Jesus is, what Jesus can do and why people follow Him today. Sadly, much of the confusion is never addressed and people live in a state of confusion.
Knowing about Christ is all a person needs
Jesus was a good man or a great prophet but not God