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Summary: What we believe about God we believe because of our faith.

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THE POWER OF FAITH

Text: First John 5:4

Someone has said that "The CRITICS of the Christian religion have often contented that religious faith is a form of psychological "escapism". A man, they say, finding the problems and demands of adult life too much for him will attempt to return to the comfort and dependence of childhood by picturing for himself a loving parent who he calls God". (J. B. Phillips. Your God Is Too Small. New York: Collier Books, 1961, p. 33). The Bible says "THE FOOL says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none that does good" (Psalm 14:1 RSV). For the fool who says there is no God let him or her answer this riddle. Does a wrist watch make itself or did it have a maker? Obviously, the atheists who would make the claim that there is no God would have no other choice but to answer that the wrist watch had to have a maker. By the same token, we would have to say that the universe as we know it had to have a maker. The theories that claim that matter started spinning around until it took shape and form is too hard to believe. If the theory of evolution is true, then it is also true that a wrist watch could make itself right?

What we believe about God we believe because of our faith. Flesh and blood have not caused us to believe what we believe about God. No, we believe what we believe about God because of how God has revealed Himself to us (Matthew 16:17).

"An old writer says, "Faith is the foot of the soul; so it comes to Christ. Faith is the hand of the soul; so it receives Christ. Faith is the arm of the soul; so it embraces Christ. Faith is the eye of the soul; so it looks upon Christ. Faith is the mouth of the soul; so it feeds on Christ. Faith is the lips of the soul; so it kisses Christ". (James Smith. Handfuls On Purpose. Volume IX. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1947, p. 159). And without faith God’s Word says that it is impossible to please God: "And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him" (Hebrews 11:6 RSV).

FAITH IS PRECIOUS

Faith is precious because it is desirable. Without faith, one cannot have hope. Faith believes relying on the memories of God’s providence in the past with the confidence that God will provide in the present and future. If one does not have faith, then hope will not exist. Why is faith desirable? It is desirable because it the element through which we are justified (Romans 3:28). This faith is not a faith in ourselves. No, it is a faith in what God had done for us through Jesus Christ.

There is the story of a lady who went to see her doctor. She was calm. The doctor ’s attention was even caught by it. "... The doctor said, "I suppose your peace comes from faith, but as for me I never could exactly make out what faith is." "Well, doctor," said the patient, "so far as I understand it, faith is just this, to trust God with your soul as I am trusting you with my body. I put my case in your hands, and I am leaving it there." "I never saw it so simply before," said the doctor who became a trusting and fully persuaded (Romans 8:38) man". (John Ritchie. 500 Gospel Sermon Illustrations. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1987, p. 37).

Faith is precious because it is attainable. Our faith makes it possible for us to experience being united to our Savior like the branch to the vine (John 15:5). John Wesley once wrestled with the issue of faith. He did not feel as though he could preach faith to those whose faith he sought to inspire when Wesley himself felt that he was lacking faith. Wesley had intellectual faith, but what he wanted to be sure of was that he had saving faith. Peter Bohler, a Moravian friend of Wesley’s told him to preach faith till he had it and then he would have it. Bohler’s advice to Wesley might sound odd, but Biblically it is true. Jesus said that if we had the faith of a mustard seed then we could move mountains (Matthew 17:20). Now when Jesus said that, He was not necessarily talking about mountains in the literal sense. He was talking about mountains as if they were likened to obstacles that threaten to discourage.

Faith is precious because it pacifying. Faith gives us peace that goes to the root of the problem. The kind of peace that the world gives is the kind of peace that cannot go beyond the surface. The kind of peace that Christ gives (John 14:27) passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) because it is the kind of peace that will help us in the face of adversity. It helps us, because it is that kind of peace that rules in our hearts (Colossians 3:15). It is the kind of peace that we have when we have lost a loved one who is a Christian. It is that kind of peace that enables us to grieve without losing hope (First Thessalonians 4:13).

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