Summary: One type of faith is Living Faith. Do you really have it?
February 10, 2008
Text: Romans 1:8-17
Title: Where is Your Faith?
I want to share with you today about the topic of faith. For the past two Wednesday nights we have been studying in Hebrews Chapter 11 – the great “faith” chapter in the Bible. In that chapter we see the stories of the Heroes of the Bible and how they were examples of great faith. If you look at some of the individual stories contained in Hebrews 11 and stop and think about it you have to wonder, “How in the world did they ever do that?”
For example, 7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.
8By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11By faith Abraham, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise…
30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.
These are great examples of faith. But what kind of faith is this? This type of faith goes beyond just hoping and believing God’s written word. Paul talked about the spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. The gift of faith is one of them. Could it be that the Old Testament saints spoken of in Hebrews 11 were special because they had been given the gift of faith? It could be but I don’t think that is it.
There is another kind of faith that is spoken of in the Bible. Ephesians 2:8, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith… This is saving faith. It is what each of us has experienced if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We have confidence that we now belong to Him and that heaven is now our home. Could it be that saving faith is the type of faith that the saints of old had? Yes, I think that is so but that’s not all.
The type of faith I want to talk about today is the faith mentioned in Galatians 2:20. It is living faith. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. It is the faith that is given you after you have trusted Christ. It is the faith that is enhanced in you with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is the faith that Paul speaks of in Romans 1. It is the faith to unabashedly confess who you are in Christ and who He is in you to a world that so desperately needs to hear the words of hope.
As I share the word with you today I want you to pay attention to these three things about faith. 1) it is a faith that is shared. 2) it is a faith that is mutual. And 3) it is a faith that is powerful.
I. A FAITH THAT IS SHARED. (8-10) 8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. The church in Rome that Paul is writing to at this point had not been established by an apostle. It is a church that had been established by lay people. The church in Rome had already gone through some persecution. Acts 18:1-2, 1After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Let me pose a question to you. How do you think the faith of the Roman church had become known over the whole world? There is a cliché that says, “All roads lead to Rome.” The reality is just the opposite – all roads led away from Rome. And these Christians to whom Paul was writing must have been vocal in their faith. They continued to tell others about Christ and their faith was becoming known all around the world. You see, faith is vocal. Because of the living faith we have, we should want to tell others about what God has done in our lives. This is not a case where people from all over the Roman Empire had seen these nice little Christian groups going about their business, hiding in the catacombs and having church services, and being nice to everyone. What kind of faith is that? This is a bout a faith that was demonstrated by sharing the gospel with others in spite of the threat of further persecution. It is a faith that is willing to die for the cause of Christ. It is the kind of faith that caused Paul to say that he had been praying for them constantly. The original Greek translation means that there was not much time that passed between Paul’s times of prayer for them. It is the kind of faith that brings new life to a church.