Summary: God needs our faith to move in our lives. In this message, we examine four passages in the New Testament that show how the person's faith enabled Jesus to move.
Many of us say we are living by faith but we are not getting faith results. How can that be? We say we are living by faith and when we pray the reason for our prayers remain unchanged. How can that be?
Could it be, ladies and gentlemen, and I mean no disrespect, that we have been taught a faith that is nothing more than simply believing God to take care of things while we sit back and wait?
Could it be that we have been taught a faith that means we take our needs to God and, because He’s in control, let Him decide whether or not He will help us?
We’re going to see from Scripture whose faith really matters. And it’s my prayer that you’ll see and understand more clearly that when we pray, we are not waiting for God to answer us. He is waiting for our faith.
Faith pleases God.
In Hebrew 11:6, we see why “our” faith is so important.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
This verse is clear: Faith pleases God and He rewards those who come to Him with it. Our faith is the currency that accesses everything Heaven has to offer.
Here’s the movie clip I see when I read this verse: we are walking toward God with our arms outstretched as if we’re bringing Him a great gift. As we approach His throne, He sees faith in our hands. He smiles and hugs us as He accepts with great pleasure our “love gift” to Him. This is what I see when I think about faith pleasing My Father.
Now let’s look at two words in this verse. The first is “without” which means at a space, a part from. That “space” is unbelief or lack of faith. The second is “please”. I’m going to give you, from the Greek, the phrases that are the opposite of “please” – to be disobedient, to dishonor, to bring shame to, to neglect to hear.
Sometimes the opposites of a word paint a more vivid picture than the word itself.
For me, the antonyms for “please” do just that. From our Heavenly Father’s perspective, when we are not living a lifestyle of faith –
• we are being disobedient,
• we are dishonoring Him,
• we are bringing shame to Him, and
• we are not listening to Him.
Now, suppose we read the first part of Hebrews 11:6 this way: “A life that is lived in a way other than in true, unwavering faith, is a life that dishonors God, a life that defies (disobeys) Him and a life that belittles who He is (shames Him). And it shows we’re not listening to Him.” Does this help you see how important faith is to our Heavenly Father?
Many of us hear the Bible but we never truly live the Bible.
When we don’t live what we hear, there will be a space of unbelief that separates us from faith that receives the “rewards of faith”. Many of us have a blind spot. We don’t believe we have unbelief working in us that separates us from true faith. But so many of us do. I did. Let me brighten your day. As we hear and obey the Word of God, we slowly close the space of unbelief that separates us from the faith that brings rewards!
God rewards faith with His promises.
Hebrew 11:6 says that when we come to our Father in faith, He rewards us. What does He reward? God rewards our faith when we diligently seek Him. In other words, He answers our faith when we pray – not our prayers. I know you were not expecting to read that. But it’s true. God does not answer prayers. He answers the faith of the one who is offering the prayer.
And that’s exactly what we see in Scripture.
We are going to look at several examples of people who came to Jesus with a need and received answers because of one thing: their faith. But first, I want you to see something.
In First John 4:4 the bible says “Ye are of God, little children...” In verse 4 of chapter 5 we read “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” According to Scripture there is only one thing Christians have that enables us to overcome the world – our faith. Hold on to that. It’s our faith! Yours. Mine.
Okay, now, Hebrews 11:6 says faith pleases God and He rewards those who have a lifestyle of faith. Why did I say “lifestyle of faith”? Each person identified in this chapter lived a life dependent upon one thing: hearing God, believing God and obeying God. Lifestyle. Remember Romans 10:17? “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”