Summary: Faith is birthed through preaching, but will soon die if we fail to respond!
FAITH’S PERFECT TIMING
TEXT: John 5:2-7, "Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me."
The New Testament has much to say about faith. From it we find that faith manifests itself in different ways. There are at least four different types of faith revealed in the N.T.
1. The “measure of faith”-There is a basic faith inherent in man. It is a faith in a higher power. Although there are some who profess to be atheist, they usually arrive at that misconception from a failure to understand sin and it’s effects on humanity, and to comprehend a Holy God who’s righteousness will ultimately demand justice. The writer of Hebrews mentions this kind of faith. Hebrews 11:6a, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is." This kind of faith is an important and necessary element, but it is just a beginning. Many people believe that God is. Unfortunately the often fail to understand who God is, or they fail to act on that belief. This brings us to the second type of faith.
2. Faith that believes that God is concerned about us, and that He will respond to our seeking and our prayers. Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." This faith begins to move beyond a consciousness of God to an experience of God. This is faith that will bring us into a relationship with God, and will lead us to salvation. But salvation is not the final resting place of faith; indeed, it is only the beginning!
3. The third kind of faith is the Gift of Faith. It is a special, divine enablement from God, who grants it in response to a particular need calling for extraordinary faith to do mighty deeds and/or stand faithfully in unusually trying circumstances. It is a supernatural endowment by the Spirit to accept the utterly impossible. It enables the recipient to discern with extraordinary confidence the will and purpose of God, usually concerning the immediate future. The heart is suddenly emptied of doubt. Faith “sees” the impossible as not only possible but as becoming a reality.
4. Finally, there is faith for the miraculous. This faith may entail each or all of the others at different times (after all, what greater miracle is there than that of salvation), but it goes beyond them to believing God for the seemingly impossible. It is the operation of this kind of faith that concerns us this morning.
How does faith operate? We have all heard of those who seem to have great faith, and we have all struggled at times with what we perceive as our lack of faith. I trust that by the time we are finished today, we all leave with our faith bolstered; but more importantly, I pray that someone will respond in faith to the working of the Spirit and receive the miracle you need!
Jesus came to Jerusalem to the Pool of Bethesda. There he found many that were sick waiting for an angel to come down to the pool and “trouble the waters.” The first person to enter the pool after the troubling was then healed. John 5:5-6, "And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?" Of course he wanted to be made whole! That is why he was living by the pool in the first place. The problem was, due to his condition he had never been able to be the first to reach the waters. John 5:7, "The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me." The point to be made is this: the man had faith to believe that if he could reach the waters he would be healed.