Faith

Bible Study on Faith

Faith in Action

Verses on Faith:

James 2:14-26 – Faith without works is dead.

Matthew 7:21 – Many will say Lord, Lord.

Luke 6:46-49 – If call Him Lord need to do what He says, build on the solid foundation.

Luke 7:1-8 – The centurion.

Hebrews 11 – The faith in action of the patriarchs

Galatians 5:6 – We need to have “faith working through love”.

Matthew 6:30-33 – Of little faith, seek first, and all these will be added.

Matthew 17:20 – Faith in God is extremely powerful, as a mustard seed.

Matthew 21:21 – Almost ditto.

Romans 1:17 – The righteous shall live by faith.

Romans 10:10 – With the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness.

Some basic questions on faith in action-

Intro:

Everyone has faith. There is not an able-minded person in the world who doesn’t have faith in something. Much of the world claims faith in a god. Much of the rest of the world claims faith that there isn’t a god. Others, claim they don’t care and don’t make a judgment on it, but in so doing they are showing their faith that whether there is a god or not is not important. Practically people have faith in money, faith in government, faith in people, faith in themselves, etc. etc. Of course as believers our faith is fundamentally different than the world’s. Victor, you have faith, right? Describe your faith. Ask one or two more. Today we’re going to have a bit more open discussion instead of me talking all the time. I will ask several questions and hopefully all of us will think deeper about our own faith, it’s importance, and if we are really acting it out in our lives.

According to 1 Corinthians 13:13, faith is one of the three most important characteristics for a believer. Why is it so important for a believer to have faith? Hebrews 11:6

Faith is the only way that we can come to God. If we don’t come to God in faith we can’t come to God at all. We must believe that He exists. We must believe that He is true. We cannot please God unless we truly believe Him. So in a way faith comes before any other Christian characteristics. It comes before patience or forgiveness or love. But what comes before faith?

Knowledge. Romans 10:6. We can’t have faith in something that we don’t know or haven’t heard about. In Romans 10:14 Paul asks, how can they believe in Him whom they have not heard? So first comes knowledge and understanding of who God is. However, knowledge is not enough to please God. And knowledge of God does not equal faith in God. It is necessary, but not the same. Knowledge says “I understand.” Faith says, “I believe.” So for the believer, faith is paramount.

But what is faith and who is it in? Who is the world’s faith in? Hebrews 11:1. How about some definitions? Moses, what does the Greek word mean?

See English and Greek definitions.

In English-

Faith- Belief or trust in a higher power. The fundamental idea in Scripture is steadfastness and faithfulness. But note that saving faith is not only belief, because even the demons do that. Hebrews 11:1, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

In Greek-

FAITH

pistis NT:4102, primarily, “firm persuasion,” a conviction based upon hearing (akin to peitho, “to persuade”), is used in the NT always of “faith in God or Christ, or things spiritual.”

The word is used of (a) trust, e. g., Rom 3:25 [see Note (4) below]; 1 Cor 2:5; 15:14,17; 2 Cor 1:24; Gal 3:23 [see Note (5) below]; Phil 1:25; 2:17; 1 Thess 3:2; 2 Thess 1:3; 3:2; (b) trust-worthiness, e. g., Matt 23:23; Rom 3:3, RV, “the faithfulness of God”; Gal 5:22 (RV, “faithfulness”); Titus 2:10, “fidelity”; (c) by metonymy, what is believed, the contents of belief, the “faith,” Acts 6:7; 14:22; Gal 1:23; 3:25 [contrast 3:23, under (a)]; 6:10; 1:27; 3:10; 1:3,20 (and perhaps 2 Thess 3:2); (d) a ground for “faith,” an assurance, Acts 17:31 (not as in KJV, marg., “offered faith”); (e) a pledge of fidelity, plighted “faith,” 1 Tim 5:12.

The main elements in “faith” in its relation to the invisible God, as distinct from “faith” in man, are especially brought out in the use of this noun and the corresponding verb, pisteuo; they are (1) a firm conviction, producing a full acknowledgement of God’s revelation or truth, e. g., 2 Thess 2:11-12; (2) a personal surrender to Him, John 1:12; (3) a conduct inspired by such surrender, 2 Cor 5:7. Prominence is given to one or other of these elements according to the context. All this stands in contrast to belief in its purely natural exercise, which consists of an opinion held in good “faith” without necessary reference to its proof. The object of Abraham’s “faith” was not God’s promise (that was the occasion of its exercise); his “faith” rested on God Himself, Rom 4:17,20-21.

So faith is a “firm conviction”, being “completely persuaded” being “assured”, “trust”, etc. Do each of you have a firm conviction that God is true and real? Are you completely persuaded that what He revealed about Himself in the Bible is true? Do you trust Him? Do you believe His promises?

I am pretty confident all of us will say “yes” to those questions. Most people that call themselves Christians will say “yes” to those questions. However, this level of faith is still not as high as we need to go. Satan and his demons also believe God is real; they are completely convinced He is true. Yet they don’t have a saving faith or a relationship to God. Biblical faith is tied hand in hand with action.

So what does it mean to have faith in action? How should faith be applied to our lives?

James 2:14-26 – Faith without works is dead.

Matthew 7:21 – Many will say Lord, Lord.

Luke 6:46-49 – If call Him Lord need to do what He says, build on the solid foundation.

Hebrews 11 – The faith in action of the patriarchs. Discuss the action each patriarch took that evidenced his faith. How about any examples of people in the Bible that expressed faith in words, but not in action?

Galatians 5:6 – We need to have “faith working through love”.

Romans 1:17 – The righteous shall live by faith.

Romans 10:10 – With the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness.

Read and discuss the above verses.

From all of these verses it is abundantly clear. Real faith in God WILL produce fruit in our lives. Real faith in God WILL be applied to our lives, not matter if it means sacrifice or difficulty. Real faith WILL bring changes to our lives. True believers in Christ cannot go through life saying they believe while not making tough changes to serve Him.

For Moses, his faith caused him to give up a great position and become a shepherd and an enemy of the most powerful nation in the world. His conscience was bothered by everything going on and his faith wouldn’t allow him to keep living in the same way.

For Noah, his faith caused him to stand up against all the scorn and ridicule of the people around him, to reject all of his experiences of what he knew to be “scientifically true” around the world, to believe in God that something would happen that had never been seen before. And then this faith caused him to spend 100 hard years building a mammoth boat. This wasn’t a profitable job. But he had faith in God, and this brought about huge changes in his life. He wasn’t disappointed as his faith saved him and his family.

For Abel, his faith caused him to sacrifice the best sheep of his flocks, sheep that could have been sold or eaten. It’s not a big thing compared to what some others did, but sometimes faith in action is making little changes and little sacrifices.

For Abraham, his faith caused him to leave behind his home, culture, and many belongings for a foreign land that he hadn’t seen and didn’t know much about. This was a HUGE change. It wasn’t the 21st century and Abraham couldn’t get online and check out everything about Canaan. If he got there and didn’t like it he couldn’t just catch a flight back. Neither could he pick up a phone and call his old friends and family. It meant a complete change of his entire life with no going back. This was a huge “risk” he took for God. Later his faith caused him to sacrifice his only son to God.

These are real people with real faith applied in real situations. There is a connection between “faith” and “faithful”. Faith in God makes faithful people. Faith is not a hypothetical. Neither is it something belonging only to Bible-time saints. I’ve seen many believers make tough choices to serve God and apply their faith to their lives.

But as many as I’ve seen make tough choices to apply their faith to their lives, I’ve seen many more do the opposite. Their faith became only a knowledge as something in their life was more important than God.

Mr. Parents (Someone who believed in God and was very excited, but backed down when he talked with his parents)

Mr. Exam (Someone who expressed desire to serve and follow God, but decided the exam was more important so took a “break”, but never came back)

Mr. Girlfriend (Someone who claimed to be a believer, but who refused to follow the biblical instructions and warnings in this area because his gf was more important than God)

There are countless more:

Mr. Career

Mrs. Vain

Mr. Immorality

Mrs. Popular

Etc. etc.

So let’s start talking about our faith on a practical level. What are some areas you find it hard to apply your faith in?

Discuss and how to begin applying biblical faith.

Practical Ideas:

Tithing an offering, generosity – Stinginess, holding on to the money you have

A balanced with work schedule with time for Christian pursuits – Excessive busyness and time at work

A heart for evangelizing the lost – Uncaring attitude towards others

Service projects to help the poor or brothers/sisters – free time focuses on self

Wanting to share what God is teaching you with others – A mostly “secret” walk with God

Willingness to go against parents/friends/culture to identify and serve Christ – Wanting to keep your faith secret from others and cowing to unbelievers wishes in spiritual areas

Giving up job/lifestyle/girl/etc. if they are a hindrance to your walk with God – Holding on to worldly connections and making excuses for it

Words and lifestyle always a light wherever you are – Adjusted behavior depending on the people around you

Taking action to serve God when the future is unknown – Not willing to take any “risks” for God

For me it tends to be trying to keep control and plan my own future. I’m very conservative and “safe” so if God asked me to quit my job and move to Mongolia it would be quite difficult for me to take the “risk” and put myself completely in God’s hands. So that’s something I need to work on.

What can we do to strengthen our faith?

Get to know God more. The more we know Him the more we will recognize His goodness, truth, and power and the more we will have faith in Him. We do this by reading the Bible.

Take that leap of faith. Take the leap of faith to apply Biblical principles in your work or make a sacrifice or give up something. When God “catches” you and fulfills His promise it will strengthen your faith for the next “leap”.

Suggested Applications:

Pray for more faith.

Read biographies of Christian missionaries and workers/preachers. You will find countless examples of God’s provision.

Go back in your life and count the ways that God has already proven His faithfulness to you.

Examples of faith in Action – (basically Hebrews 11)

Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Paul

Negative examples of faith –

Judas, Some of Paul’s disciples, The young rich man who wouldn’t give up his money to follow Jesus. Matthew 19:20-22

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