I have done three studies on moving from faith to faith so far.
But in learning to grow or mature in faith we need to understand the Law of Faith. What exactly is faith and how does it work. If I am to grow in it and mature in it and use it to touch the hem of the Master's garment, I need to know exactly what faith is and the Laws that surround its operation.
We all know what faith is but how can we activate it? How can we make faith work for us, in us, and through us. In case you need a refresher about faith I have a few points for your consideration.
Faith is trust:
Faith is assurance:
Faith is substance.
Faith is believing that you have what you asked God for before you actually see it in the natural.
LAW #1: Faith released by the spoken word carries power to bring forth the invisible.
Faith is not wishful thinking or just hope. It is actually receiving a promise in your heart and mind and walking out as though you already have it physically. It is seeing the invisible.
In the Scriptures we see that faith is substance and evidence.
Hebrews 11:1 ESV Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
We also see that salvation was made real and complete through the confession of faith through the mouth.
Romans 10:9-10 ESV because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
Also it is important to see that God formed everything through the spoken word. Speaking the Word of God has the same power as if God Himself is speaking it. The Father stands behind His Word and it cannot return void.
Hebrews 11:3 ESV By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
There is a lot of teaching about prayer that in proper prayer we learn to accept the hand that was dealt to us. They would say that in prayer God is not moved but our heart is changed to accept the current circumstances. maybe sometimes this is true, however it is not the norm in what we see in Scriptures. Proper fervent effectual prayers of a righteous man avails much. The spoken Word of faith has creative power to change the current situation, instead of just accepting it. Why did God change the world in Gen.1:2 before forming man? He changed the current circumstances and situations to make the world a more desirable living space for mankind before He formed man of its dirt.
Genesis 1:1-3 ESV In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (2) The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. (3) And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
Genesis 1:9 ESV And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so.
Genesis 1:24 ESV And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.
We need to recognize our responsibility to seek to understand and to stand in active faith. Teach me Lord to trust You today for the possible and the impossible so that You would be glorified.
We all have at some time in our lives prayed for "MORE FAITH."
So the question is this: "What is more important, a lot of faith in a small God, or a little faith in a big God?"
It is a no-brainer that all we need is a little faith in a big God to move mountains. However, in order to trust God for both the possible and the impossible we need to grow or mature as the disciples did in their faith. It does not necessarily mean "more faith" as it does "strengthened or mature faith." The disciples went through a growth time which I call their PROGRESSION OF FAITH. It is where they moved from FAITH TO FAITH in their walk with our Lord.
Faith was not instantaneous with the followers of Christ. They started out just like us. They heard Jesus speak and they began their walk of following Him. In these series of studies we will learn how to move from faith to faith.
In study Part 1 we said that the first step was when our Lord Jesus came on the scene and two of the disciples of John the Baptist leaves John to follow our Lord. This happened when you were saved. In order to come to Jesus as Savior we had to leave something. We had to leave the world and our own lives in order to receive His life.
The second step from study two was the moving in faith in cleaving and following. The disciples not only left John the Baptist but they joined themselves to Jesus and followed Him. This is the doctrine of leaving and cleaving.
In the third step of moving from faith to faith we find the disciple Andrew going out and telling his brother, Simon about Jesus. It is a witnessing encounter.
However, what Andrew shared and what Simon heard was more mental assent than a heart change. It was a revelation of the mind. We will see in later studies that Andrew and Simon really had no deep understanding of who Jesus Christ really was. They had to grow in their understanding about the Messiah and Savior of the world, as we do. They had to grow in their understanding that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and that He was God. He was 100% man but not mere man. He was 100% God and although He was 100% man, He was never less than God.
Although Andrew had limited knowledge of the fullness of Jesus Christ, he shared what mental knowledge he had with his brother Simon. We don't need to be saved for 40 years to start witnessing. We don't need to have 100 Bible verses memorized to share Jesus with our family and friends. We just need to share what we know and allow the Holy Spirit to do the rest.
We all need to start out in our faith with a revelation of the mind about the Lord Jesus Christ. I had a head knowledge about Jesus Christ long before anything else. And God used it to move me from faith to faith.
John 1:41 ESV He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).
Speaking the Word with boldness!
Have you ever had a open door to share the Lord Jesus Christ and deep inside you knew you should, but, there it was, FEAR? Rising up within you from no where was this fear that seemed to shut you down. Confusion started swirling around in the brain about what to say next. And you found that it was easier to say nothing about the cross and our Lord Jesus Christ and just continue with the conversation that was in the emotional safe zone.
Then you walked away feeling a sense of guilt that you missed your opportunity and if that person dies and goes to hell, his or her blood will be on your hands.
Well be of good cheer, because we have been blessed with a "much more" promise that we can speak the Word of God without fear.
Boldness to speak the word of God without fear.
Philippians 1:12-14 ESV I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, (13) so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. (14) And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are MUCH MORE bold to speak the word without fear.
Paul was in prison, yet still preaching the Gospel message. This imprisonment served to boast the confidence among the believers to proclaim Christ with much more boldness and without fear. This should serve to encourage us to proclaim the Word without fear for we have not just the Apostle Paul as an example but centuries of godly saints that served and preached in the face of persecution.
Closing out the Introduction:
This is the final post introducing the Book of Philippians.
As we leave the introduction notes and begin with the Book of Philippians we are faced with a promise that contains a promise.
The promise is that suffering will come to believers. But in this promise is the promise of assurance that each suffering can be faced by faith with joy in the Holy Spirit. Let's look at the Scriptures on the promise within a promise.
Philippians 1:3-4 ESV I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, (4) always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,
Philippians 2:16-17 ESV holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (17) Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.
Philippians 4:4 ESV Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
Philippians 4:11-13 ESV Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. (12) I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. (13) I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
With the disciples there was a PROGRESSION OF FAITH.
Faith was not instantaneous with the followers of Christ. They started out just like us. They heard Jesus speak and they began their walk of following Him. In these series of studies we will learn how to move from faith to faith. The Word also teaches us how to move from grace to grace and glory to glory, but those are for another time. For now, we are moving from faith to faith.
In study Part 1 we said...
FIRST: Our Lord Jesus came on the scene and two of the disciples of John the Baptist leaves John to follow our Lord.
SECOND: We find that the doctrine of leaving and cleaving.
Leaving and cleaving is the first command God gave Adam and Eve as a marriage command. The command was to leave the parents and to cleave to one another.
This was a shadow of the substance in the spiritual when we are called to leave the world, leave the law, and leave anything that would cause divided devotion and to cleave to the Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the disciples that left John the Baptist to follow our Lord Jesus was Andrew. He left the teachings of John the Baptist, who was pointing to the light to cleave to the Lord Jesus Christ who was the light. Too many believers have left the world and sin but they are cleaving to a denomination, to a building, or to a creed or code of moral ethics. Jesus said one command to these young believers, "Follow me." After over 2,000 years the command remains the same. "Follow me."
John 1:40 ESV One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.
For He is worthy, for He is worthy, for He is worthy.
To think, that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, decided sometime in eternity past to create ALL THINGS, both that which is visible and that which us not visible.
In that plan God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) decided to create man, and not just create man, but create him in their image. WOW! And in this decision, God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), knew that man would act in a decision of rebellion of God's Word and fall from relationship, fellowship, and image.
It was in the heart of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to redeem man even before man was created. WOW!
To do this, the Son of God (WORD) had to take on, become flesh and walk among us and die for us. The One who had a hand in creating all that is visible and invisible now has lowered Himself to be wrapped in the flesh of man.
He died, He was buried and He arose from the dead and the grave. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. He is the radiant glory of the Father. He is high and lifted up. He is much more superior than the angels and has a name that is much more excellent then theirs.
Hebrews 1:1-4 ESV Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, (2) but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (3) He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (4) having become as MUCH superior to angels as the name he has inherited is MORE excellent than theirs.
Hope: Assurance based on God's Word
Paul makes the argument that those who follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ will have hope. Biblical hope is assurance based on God’s Word. This means that the obedient believer will have ultimate victory on the day of Christ. Therefore, Christian we have reason to rejoice no matter what we face.
Philippians 1:18 ESV What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,
Philippians 3:1 ESV Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
Philippians 4:4 ESV Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
We may hear supposedly well-meaning Christians say, “God helps those who help themselves“. This statement is unscriptural in many ways. The truth is that we can be confident that God does not leave us alone in our Christian walk to struggle, trying to make our way the best we can.
The confidence that we have is that it is God who works in and through us to do His will and to work His good pleasure. Our Christian bookstores are filled with “self-help books.” The so-called “self” of a person cannot live a Christian life. It takes Christ in and through us to live the Christian life.
Philippians 2:13 ESV for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Galatians 2:20-21 ESV I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (21) I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
Do you need encouragement today?
Is the Holy Spirit leading you to bring encouragement to someone today?
Encouragement: In the Old Testament
This is the Hebrew word "châzaq" (khaw-zak), and is used 309 times in the Old Testament. It is translated as "to fasten upon, to seize, to be strong, to be courageous, to strengthen, to repair, to make hard, to cleave, to be constant, to cure, to prevail, to fortify, to help, to be mighty, to aid, and to establish."
Encouragement: In the New Testament
This is the Greek word "parakaleō" (par-ak-al-eh'-o), and is used 108 times in the New Testament. The Greek prefix "para" means "to come along beside." It is used in the word paragraph. The Greek word "parakaleo" is translated as to call near, to invite, to invoke, to comfort, and to exhort.
Acts 20:35 ESV In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Romans 15:4 ESV For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
John 16:33 ESV I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Isaiah 41:10 ESV Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Mark 11:24 ESV Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Walking in freedom is not necessarily the same as being free. I can have national freedom in the USA and still be bond up or be a slave to habits, my thoughts, my feelings, a bad relationship or a sickness or affliction.
Romans 8:2 ESV For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
From time to time we all battle something in the flesh with our bodies. It could be something as simple as the common cold or as serious as a bum heart or a disease such as cancer. I know that over the last 40 years I have had my share of physical ailments, afflictions, and diseases.
Broken: toes, fingers, tailbone, 5 right ribs, 2 left ribs and my complete rib cage.
Surgeries: open heart surgery, 2 left shoulder surgeries, left and right knee surgery, along with some minor things the doctors had to sew up.
Diseases: (Current issues) Heart disease (ASD, LBBB), Lung disease (Chronic Bronchitis, COPD, Asthma), Bladder problems, Kidney problems, Arthritis, Blown discs in lower back, Pinched nerves in neck, Neurofibromatosis, Torn rotator cuff right shoulder, Awaiting complete left shoulder replacement, Awaiting heart CRT, and last but not least, traumatic brain Injury.
Okay, these are some of the things I have lived through and some I still face daily. We as believers are called to be a people of faith. If we are people of faith then we need to confess faith.
Sometimes we can be so overcome by the things we go through that we lose perspective of being a faith people. I asked a person to write out his testimony for me recently. The points of a testimony are:
1. My life before Christ.
2. How I realized I needed Christ.
3. How I met Christ
4. How my life has changed since meeting Christ.
He wrote about two pages on point number one about how bad he was and the other three points he covered in a short paragraph. This is glorifying sin and the enemy. I told him to reverse it. Spend one paragraph on point one of his life before Christ and then two pages on the next three points.
The same can be true about sicknesses, ailments, afflictions, and diseases. We can spend one minute talking about faith and then one hour talking about how sick and broken we are.
The Law of the Spirit of Rom.8:1-2 is a faith confession and a faith walk. I am determined to not only live until the Lord is done with me but I am determined to live healthy until He is done with me.
I will not die broken down, diseased and held together with bubblegum and bailing wire. Now, my current circumstances tell me something different. My body screams at me in pain. Those who read my list above would agree that my body is broken in the natural realm. However, this is not my focus nor my end.
There was a day, on a hill, on a cross, outside a city, that a man, yea more than a man and never less than God, carried my pain, my afflictions, my disease, and everything that can attack my body upon Himself. I daily appropriate that FACT!
As a believer I transcend the natural laws established by God for mankind under the Law because as a Spirit-filled believer I am a spiritual man filled with the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit. That means that the natural laws God established has to be subject to and submissive to the Law of the Spirit that dwells in me.
When Philip baptized the Eunuch in Acts chapter 8, Philip when he come out of the water, was transported by the Holy Spirit about 21 miles away. In the Law of the Spirit Philip transcended the laws of gravity, time and space. By faith I confess this same authority in, through and over my body. I pray the same for you and your family.
We know that believers will have times that are tough.
Some believers have been given a burden to carry that is extreme and one that we are glad we don't have to carry.
Some believers are care takers of a loved one that requires around the clock care, and many times that means missing the fellowship of the saints and the preaching of the Word.
How can we help? We can visit, call, email, or text an encouraging word from God's Word that will help in lifting up their arms, their hearts, and their mind when they have to stand in their place of responsibility.
I know the Word of God says that David encouraged himself in the Lord, (See 1 Sam.30:6), but there were also times that David was encouraged by others. AND...there were times that others discouraged David by what they said or did or didn't do. We can do or say the wrong thing when someone needs a touch or word from a friend. To ensure that we do or say the right thing, we should limit our yes and amen to whatever the Word says about encouraging one another.
Encouraging one another is a command.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Encouraging one another requires that we watch what we say.
Ephesians 4:29 ESV Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Encouraging one another requires planning and having a face to face time,
Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Encouraging one another lifts the weight of a man's heart.
Proverbs 12:25 ESV Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
Encouraging one another help keep someone from falling into sin and having his heart hardened.
Hebrews 3:13 ESV But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Encouraging one another strengthens everyone involved.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 ESV Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.