The first question I want to answer is, "How do we get this faith and How do we develop it?" Paul said in Rom. 10:17,
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"
Or to put it in the language we understand, "Faith comes from hearing what God has to say about things!" Our problem often rest in the fact that we are hard of hearing! How many of you have been taught that the only way we can learn what God has to say about anything is to study the Bible? If this is true then we can assume that there are no prophets alive today but that gift ended with the death of the last apostle. However, Paul said that the gift of prophecy was given to the Church. (1 Cor. 12:10)
The Church has become hard of hearing today because we have been taught to depend upon our own intellect to understand the Word of God that can only be understood spiritually. Paul said in 1 Cor. 2:12-14,
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
We have been taught to depend upon the intelligence of our minds to understand the language of the spirit and Paul says that this is impossible without the Spirit of the Lord revealing these things to us. There are numerous passages of scripture that tell us that we have the Spirit of the Lord to teach us about the things of God. Paul said in Phil. 2:12-13,
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
We have used this scripture to warn people that it is their responsibility to work out their own deliverance from sin with much fear and trembling lest they fail and end up in hells fire. This verse of scripture has nothing to do with sin or hell but is talking about the deliverance of our mind or our way of thinking. Paul also said in Rom. 12:2,
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
God is actively working in each of us to reveal His good and perfect will for us in this world. However, we have been taught by men who have no idea of what the will of God for us is because they refused to hear what the Spirit is saying and would rather depend upon their own intelligence to understand what spiritual language is saying. Jesus warned us about this in Lk. 8:16-18, (NIV)
"No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”
David said in Psalm 119:105,
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
Jesus said that we are to be careful how we listen to His word in Mark 4:24,
"Consider carefully what (or how) you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use (to hear), it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."
God is still speaking to His children today but we have become hard of hearing and we no longer listen to Him. Just like the people were when Jesus walked the earth. He said in Matt. 13:13-15,
"Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.’ "
Some one will say, "David, God has never spoken to me! But if He ever did I would listen to Him!" That is exactly what I am talking about! You wouldn't recognize the voice of the Lord if He would use loud speakers to speak to speak to you. How many times have you asked God to give you the answer to some problem you were having and suddenly you get an idea of how it should work and sure enough it works. You pat yourself on the back and take the credit of how intelligent you are to have figured out how to do that. Paul said in 1 Thess. 5:18,
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
I know that most of you have been reading the Bible and all of a sudden you understand what is being said even though you have read that many times. Recognize that it is God working within you to understand what He is saying. Paul understood this and prayed in Eph. 1:15-22,
"For this reason, evey since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way."
Some one will say, "Well, how will I know that it is God speaking to me?" First of all you will know that it is Him by faith. You have read His word where He promised to teach you His will and you accept that word by faith and trust Him to keep His word to you. Here are some scriptures where He promised to do that.
In John 14:25-26, Jesus said,
"These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
In Heb. 8:10-12 God speaking said,
"For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know (have an intimate relationship with) the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."
Now, you can accept these scriptures by faith and learn to listen for the Lord speak to you or you can let your carnal mind argue with you every time the Lord speaks to you and take the credit for what He has said to you. You are not the only one that does this, we preachers are notorious for taking the glory for what the Lord is revealing to us even to the point of copywriting it.
The point I am trying to make to you is that you can begin today to become aware of the Lord revealing His word to you and learn to walk by faith and not by sight in the fact that you have an ear to hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying to you. When you study the word ask the Lord to reveal to you how that word applies to you today.
Last week I shared with you that your faith is a very powerful thing, if you will just learn to exercise it in your life and begin to take authority over the world about you. Be very careful about what comes out of your mouth because if you speak doubt it will undermine your faith and it will appear as if your faith doesn't really work. There are many scriptures that tell us to believe that our prayers are answer when we pray and not just when the prayer is answered. I will share just two of these which are very plain and you should be able to understand what they are saying.
Jesus said to the astonished apostles in Mark 11:22-26,
"Have faith in God (or have the God kind of Faith). For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
The first thing I want to point out to you that Jesus said is that we are to place our faith in God. Can we do that with confidence? Numbers 23:19 says,
"God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"
Many will say, "Well, I have faith in God but not very much in myself!" This is your carnal mind speaking to you because of your life experiences. If you have faith in God you will believe what He has to say about you and you will begin to voice what God has to say about you. Let me give you an example of the man of God that learned to believe God and the result was that he became the father of the faithful. Paul said in Rom. 4:16-22,
"Therefore it is of
that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the
seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the
faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
My dear friends, listen to what the Spirit is saying to you as you read this article. Abraham's faith was in what God had said to him and not in the circumstances that life had brought him. In the natural it was an impossibility for the promise of God to come to pass and Abraham considered this but he decided to trust God and as a result he became the father of all of us who will put our faith in God.
You may ask, "How can my faith become stronger?" This is a very good question and deserves an answer.
First, you have to make sure that the foundation of your faith is based upon the Word of God. Who is the Word of God? John said in Jn. 1:1-4,
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And in Jn. 1:15-17,
"John (the baptist) bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
Most of you will say, "Well, I believe the Word of God!!!" Do you really believe? What about what Jesus said about those who believe? He said in Mark 9:23, (NIV)
"Everything is possible for him who believes."
Do you believe He was telling us a lie when He said those words? Then why do you say with your mouth, "I can't do that!" Who do you expect me to believe? You or the Lord? I quoted to you earlier Mark 11:23 where Jesus said that,
"If anyone says to this mountain Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says. Therefore I say unto you, What things so ever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them."
Do you believe that the Lord will answer your prayers when you pray or do you consistently go before the Lord asking the same prayers? Do you doubt that the Lord will answer your prayers? Then why do you pray for the sick if you don't believe that God will answer your prayers? When your child recovers from the sickness you went before the Lord about, do you ever stop to thank the Lord for healing your child or do you heap your praise upon the medicine or the doctor or nurse? Do you not realize that all healing is from God whether it is natural or supernatural?
Have you ever spoken to a problem you are facing and declare the word of God to it and command it to obey you? Why not!! That's what Jesus said you can do in Mark 11:23!!
The point I am trying to make to you is that your faith must be based and grounded in the Word of God. He watches over His Word to perform it! (Jer. 1:12; Ezk. 12:25)
Most of the time we are just like the disciples in Matt. 14:15-17,
"As evening approached,
the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already
getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy
themselves some food.”
Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered."
The disciples were so accustom to looking first at the natural and making their conclusions based upon what the facts are and as a result in this case they did not have enough bread to feed 100, let alone 5 thousand. The word of the Lord had came to them saying, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat." The carnal mind knowing that they only had five loaves of bread and that was far from being enough bread to feed 5 thousand people immediately voiced their belief of not being able to do what Jesus told them to do. They did not have faith in their ability to multiply the loaves. Their faith was in what their five senses told them.
Someone will say, "Well, yes but that was the Son of God who had that kind of power or authority!!!" Well, who do you think you are? Are you not a son of God? You go to the Lord in prayer and say, "Our Father!" If He is your father, and He is, then you are His Son!" So that argument will not stand.
Secondly, we must learn to speak to the problems we are faced with in this life with power and authority and declare what is going to happen to them! In order for us to do this we must have an understanding of the power and authority that has been given to us as a child of God. Paul understood this and said in Eph. 1:18-21,
"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come."
Paul is praying that revelation will be given to us in order that we may know about the hope God has given to us and that we might understand the riches of the glorious inheritance that God has in each of us, and to know the incomparable great power that has been given to those who believe. How much power has He given to us? The power that has been given to the Church is measured by the power that it took for our Father to raise Jesus from the dead and to seat Him at His right hand by overcoming all rule and power and dominion.
That power is greater that any H-bomb that man has developed and He has given it to us. Jesus said to the disciples in John 14:12-14,
"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
You may say to me, "Well, Dave, if this is true then why are we not seeing this happen today?" The bottom line is the fact that we just don't believe Jesus. Someone will say, "Well, David, He is talking to the disciples!" True, He was talking to the disciples but He said, "Anyone who has faith in me will do even greater things! This includes you and me!
The reason that we don't see more of this happening today is because we have been brain washed and filled with unbelief. We are very dilatory in governing what comes out of our mouths. We constantly express our belief in what our five senses tell us. James said in James 1:5-7,
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double–minded man, unstable in all he does."
James also said in James 1:22-25,
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law (of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, Rom. 8:2) that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does."
Mediate on these scriptures and begin to confess what the Lord has said about you. By this you will be renewing your mind and coming into agreement with what the Lord has said about you.