Summary: Faith is birthed through preaching, but will soon die if we fail to respond!

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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.

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