Summary: Faith is one of the great weapons in the arsenal of the Christian
Standing in Faith
July 22, 2007
One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, "Jump! I’ll catch you." He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, was flame, smoke, and blackness. As can be imagined, he was afraid to leave the roof. His father kept yelling: "Jump! I will catch you." But the boy protested, "Daddy, I can’t see you." The father replied, "But I can see you and that’s all that matters."
There are times when we have to trust God and jump into His open arms. That is why it is called a leap of faith.
Paul understood the importance of faith and that is why he included it in the full armor of God. Look at Ephesians 6:16 with me.
In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Ephesians 6:16
The shield was a vital part of the Roman soldier’s equipment. There were two types of shields commonly used by Roman soldiers. One was a small round shield no more than two feet in diameter. This shield was used for quick offensive strikes against outnumbered enemies.
The second shield was much larger about two and half feet wide by four and a half feet high. This shield was often made of wood and covered with metal or oiled leather. These were used by troops in the front lines to provide protection for the entire body.
The Greek word pistis deals with the aspect of relationships established in trust and being worthy of trust. The term was often used in the Greek legal system to describe a formal contract between partners. Thus the understanding of faith is that you are entering a partnership with Christ. The words belief and faith appear almost 500 times in the New Testament.
There are three distinct uses of faith that shape our understanding.
1.) Dia – to believe through: the way in which a person comes to faith
2.) En – to have faith in: the realm in which faith works
3.) Eis – to or into: unique to Christian thought. This is the committing to the person of Jesus
Faith is then…
1.) The happy trust that a person places in Jesus
2.) The allegiance to Jesus that flows out of a personal commitment
Real faith is nothing less than absolute commitment to Christ. It is the entering of a partnership relationship with Jesus. Paul taught that faith is trust in the person of Jesus, the truth of His teaching and the redemptive work of the cross. Faith is the radical and complete commitment to Jesus as being the Lord of one’s life.
Faith provides us with a covering over our lives and protects us from the spiritual attacks of Satan. Faith becomes our strong defense against the spiritual difficulties that we face daily.
Faith empowers life
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:25-26
Jesus was speaking here with Martha, just after the death of her brother, Lazarus, when He said these words. Jesus clearly made the connection between faith and life.
The life that Jesus tells Martha about represents two important realities. The first is mortal life. Lazarus had died just days before and now as the Lord of Life, Jesus was going to raise him from the dead. Jesus was given the power over mortal life.
The second is eternal life. Jesus also describes life after death. By faith in Jesus life does not end when we die. Jesus is telling Martha here that the life He plans to give us doesn’t happen until we actually die. Our mortal existence is but a foretaste of what is to come. Faith is expressed through a relationship with Christ. Jesus makes this connection with Martha through His question – Do you believe this?
A man lives by believing something, not by debating and arguing about many things. Thomas Carlyle.
It is only when we believe that we can experience the power of life that Jesus brings. Without faith life becomes powerless. Faith is our direct connection with God and therefore, faith becomes the power conduit of our lives.
Faith eliminates limitations
17 A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not."19 "O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me." 20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, "How long has he been like this?" "From childhood," he answered. 22 "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." 23 " `If you can’?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes." 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again." 26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He’s dead." 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. Mark 9:17-27