Summary: Spiritual Gifts series - 2 of 13.
THE GIFT OF FAITH
INTRO: All Christians have saving faith. This verse is talking about Mountain moving faith. The power to lay hold of God’s promises for results.
ILLUS: There is a story about a fellow who fell off a cliff and plunged about seventy-five feet until he grabbed the protruding limb of a small bush growing out of the side of that cliff. After securing his grip, he looked down a thousand feet to certain death. Then he began to cry: “Help me! Somebody please help me!” Soon he heard a voice, “I am here and I am ready to help you.” The frantic man called back: “Great! Help me! Who are you?” The voice answered, “I am God and I am ready to help you.” The astonished man cried out, “Oh thank you, Lord. Help me!” The voice replied: “Now have faith in me. Trust me. Turn loose of that limb, and I will save you.” The man looked down a thousand feet, thought for a minute, and then said, “Is there anybody else up there?”
Faith is not very popular with most of the world. Our secular world says, “Faith is superstition.” The rationalist says, “Faith is the antithesis of reason.” Most of our world echoes the sentiments of Sergeant Friday on the old “Dragnet” television program: “Just the facts, Ma’am.”
I. A GOOD DEFINITION.
Paul said that faith is a gift of the Spirit. While all Christians are saved by the grace of faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ, the Bible says there is also a gift of faith which the Holy Spirit supplies for the good of the church. With this gift certain members of the body of Christ can see the invisible, believe the incredible, and receive the impossible.
Too often, we tend to try to run the church much the same as we would run a business. A church cannot be run like a business. We must depend heavily on faith. God blesses when we depend on him. He does not bless us when we depend on self.
II. A GOOD EXAMPLE.
Only Jesus possessed the gift of faith perfectly. At significant times in His life, He was able to summon the faith necessary for awesome challenges (e.g. the times when He was challenged, about to be arrested, and not fighting at his arrest).
The disciples were astounded at the power Jesus manifested. He attributed it to faith. Surely the greatest example of the faith of Jesus was the way He faced the cross.
The N. T. is filled with other examples of men and women of great faith. Abraham, Solomon, the Apostles.
III. GOOD USE OF THE GIFT.
How can you know if you have the gift of faith? Here is a partial checklist to help you discover if this is your gift:
1. Can you see the invisible? — That is, do you often feel the presence of God when others don’t? Some people never sense God’s presence.
2. Can you believe the incredible? — Some people dismiss the simplistic but obvious solution to a problem as being too incredible. Some can never find a solution.
ILLUS: Chuck Swindoll tells the following story: Several years ago I met a gentleman who served on one of Walt Disney’s original advisory boards. What amazing stories he told. Those early days were tough; but that remarkable, creative visionary refused to give up. I especially appreciated the man sharing with me how Disney responded to disagreement.
He said that Walt would occasionally present some unbelievable, extensive dream he was entertaining. Almost without exception, the members of his board would gulp, blink, and stare back at him in disbelief, resisting even the thought of such a thing. But unless every member resisted the idea, Disney usually didn’t pursue it.
Yes, you read that correctly. The challenge wasn’t big enough to merit his time and creative energy unless they were unanimously in disagreement! (I suppose when you’re a Disney, you’re free to press on when the board says “shut’er down!”). Is it any wonder that Disneyland and Disney World are now realities?
3. Do you receive the impossible at times? — What is your track record when you have believed God’s Word, aligned yourself with it, and waited for its power?
4. Are you a dreamer? — Do you have great visions of what our church can do and be? Are you sometimes impatient with those who are slow to believe what God can do?
ILLUS: The sign in the window read: “Boy Wanted”. Young John Simmons, though he was lazy, saw his opportunity and applied. He was quickly hired by elderly Mr. Peters. The pace was leisurely so he enjoyed the job. Toward the middle of the afternoon however, he was sent up to the attic — a dingy place full of cobwebs and infested with mice. “You will find a long, deep box there,” explained Mr. Peters. “Please sort out the contents and see what should be saved.”