Summary: We must realize that faith is not a commodity to be gained, but a life to be demonstrated.
What to Do with Your Faith
We operate on faith everyday...just not always faith in God.
Illustration: Faith is central to all of life. For example, you go to a doctor whose name you cannot pronounce and whose degrees you have never verified. He gives you a prescription you cannot read. You take it to a pharmacist you have never seen before. He gives you a chemical compound you do not understand. Then you go home and take the pill according to the instructions on the bottle. All in trusting, sincere faith!
I. Realize the Value of Faith
“Above all, taking the shield of faith…” Ephesians 6:16
A. Faith is of utmost importance. Without faith we not only displease God, but we can receive nothing from Him. James 1:6-7 “But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,” NAS
B. Faith in Christ brings salvation to the repentant. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” NAS, healing to the afflicted, and comfort to the bereaved.
C. Faith brings strength, safety, and security. Its value is beyond estimation. Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him,…” NAS
D. Illustration: At a circus a huge elephant was tied to an eighteen inch stake. Could he not easily have pulled it out of the ground and be free? Sure! But he had tried it when he was a baby and was unsuccessful. The elephant had concluded that he could never pull it out of the ground. So there he stood, a massive creature capable of lifting whole trees, yet held captive by a puny stake. What small stake could faith release you from?
II. Recognize the Vision of Faith
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2
A. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29:18 KJV. Illustration: A young preacher went to a small church and God was showing him a great vision for this church. He worked very hard do his part, setting the example and encouraging others to see God’s vision and the potential for this church. In big letters he posted on the wall above the baptistery, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” No one would catch the vision. No one wanted to see it. None cared to see it. They were content with the way things were. One day, God called him to another church. And on his last Sunday there, after his last message delivered, a strange thing happened. As he was walking down the aisle to leave for the last time at the close of the service, for everyone to see, the ‘W’ fell from this sign…to which it now said, “Here there is no vision, the people perish.” Many Christians want to “see” results, receiving first and believing later. They lack the vision of faith.
B. We must keep a positive outlook and a continuous uplook. Believe (for financial, physical, mental, or spiritual needs) and we shall receive.
C. The vision of faith brings “the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1.
III. Radiate the Virtues of Faith
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing…” Romans 15:13.
A. The virtues of faith include salvation, serenity, strength, security, and joyful service unto God.
B. We radiate the virtues of faith when we help the less fortunate, visit the sick, comfort the bereaved, and witness to the unsaved.
C. “Rejoice with joy unspeakable.” Miracles happen when we use and exercise our faith. 1 Peter 1:8-9 “and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” NAS
IV. Rejoice in the Victory of Faith
“This is the victory…even our faith.” 1 John 5:4
A. Let us never fail to praise and glorify God when victory comes. Hebrews 13:15 “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” NAS
B. Rejoicing over victories of faith strengthens our faith. Sharing our victories with others inspires and increases their faith also.
C. The greatest motivation for prayer is answered prayer. The greatest motivation for great faith, is Hebrews 11:1…