Summary: Part Two of the series of Principles of Faith
Lesson Two: What Faith Is
Foundational Text: Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Intro: The Bible gives four scriptures which tell us that the just must live by faith: Rom. 1:17, Hab. 2:4, Gal. 3:11, Heb. 10:38. We said last week that the reasons we need to understand, and be walking, or living by faith is: we can not please God without faith, we can not obtain the promises contained in God’s Word without faith, we receive protection from fiery darts with our faith shield, we are saved by faith! We also looked at people in the New Testament using their faith, and being pleasing unto Jesus. This evening, we are going to discover by the Word of God what faith is. How many of you understand that if my definition of faith is incorrect, or if I don’t know what faith is, I can’t walk by it, I can’t please God, I won’t receive any promises of God, I will not be able to protect myself against the onslaught of the enemy. Many people have faith accidents, and it works for them, but they can’t repeat the process because they don’t know what happened. So, we must know what faith is before we go any further.
I. What is Faith?
A. Easier to find out what something is by discovering what it isn’t.
1. Faith is not Hope
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
1Co 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
a. Define Hope: elpis (el-pece’) Fromἔλπω elpo¯ which is a primary word (to anticipate, usually with pleasure); expectation (abstract or concrete) or confidence: Webster: expect or look forward to, with desire and confidence. Confidence in a future event; expectation of something desired.
b. We are not saved by hope, not pleasing to God with hope, can’t walk by hope, can’t appropriate the promises by hope, no protection in hope.
c. Hope always is future tense. “I’m gonna get healed, I believe God’s gonna heal me!” If that person remains in that position of hope, they will die!
2. Faith is not natural faith, or human reasoning. We could call it sense knowledge. Got to see it first. Got to feel it before I believe it. Only one person in the Bible was led by feelings, and he was deceived! Found in Gen 27:21-22 And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not. (22) And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. Living proof that going by feelings can get you in trouble, and cause you to miss God. If you go strictly by your feelings you can be deceived!
a. Sense knowledge is the Thomas kind of faith
Joh 20:24-29 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. (25) The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. (26) And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. (27) Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. (28) And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (29) Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
b. Notice, Jesus tells us we are not going to be blessed with the Thomas kind of faith, or the seeing before believing
c. 2Co 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
B. Faith Is
1. pistis (pis’-tis) From G3982; persuasion, that is, credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly constancy in such profession; by extension the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: - assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.
2. Vines tells us faith is a firm persuasion, a conviction based upon what you have heard. Simply: Faith is what you believe! Our complete definition therefore would be: Faith is a firm persuasion, a conviction, a belief based on what you have heard, and have accepted as truth!