Sunday, 28 June 2015

Understanding Faith ~ Ganeida

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

Our definition of biblical faith comes from Hebrews 11:1. The rest of Hebrews 11 is a commentary on Hebrews 11:1.  Rabqa does such a great job on teaching on Faith I was loath to touch this one but Faith is what the Lord said so Faith it is.

Rabqa is giving us the practical application of faith so I am going to touch on the theory that undergirds the practical teaching.

I would like to start with some definitions because definitions place us firmly ~ & also because English can be a most frustrating language & imprecise. For example we know Greek has 4 words for love while English had just 2 & the definition of *charity* subtlety morphed over time into something else. Likewise English has one word for *sadness* while, apparently, according to Scot’s Lamenters, you can never run out of Gaelic words for sadness.

I know this is going to be a bit much so please check the blog or go straight to Mounces, [Link] which I will link to from the blog if you want to verify anything.

So the Greek word Paul uses for Faith is PISTIS.  It carries the meaning of a firm conviction.  It does not mean *belief*.  It does not mean *hope*.  They are related but not what is meant here.  Pistis is the word used every time the word faith is translated in this chapter.  Faith is a firm conviction.

The next word I would like to look at is the word translated as substance, assurance, confidence: HYPOSTASIS. This is an assumed position, a mental realizing.

The little word for [elpizō]means to rest in, put hope & confidence in, while conviction ELENCHOS means evidence or proof.

Now come down to the next verse for just a moment.  The word I want you to examine here is approved ~ martyreō.  This has the same root as we get in Acts 1:8 & the Greek from which we get our word martyr & is used in a variety of ways: witness, testimony, martyr.

So you’re probably getting the idea that faith is not a namby~pamby word.  It is a strong word.  It is an active word.  It is not belief, it is action.  A verb.  As James tells us, faith without works is dead.  That is because faith is always an action.  How do I know?  Well, look at the rest of Hebews 11…

Now this chapter is sometimes called the Hall Of Faith because it gives us quite a list of saints who were justified by faith.  They’re all dead & we forget that at the time they exercised their faith they were alive & kicking & their faith was alive & kicking too.

My first point is that every single person mentioned in any detail was alive & declared righteous by their faith before the Law was given to Moses
Justhang on to that thought for a moment.  I will come back to it. 

Paul, that Jewish legal~eagle, is very precise.  He builds line upon line, precept upon precept. He starts at the very beginning, with the foundation that we accept by faith the fact that God made the universe.  All of it.  Not a Big Bang.  Not Jupiter.  Not Woden. God.  Yahweh. I AM.  It was created out of nothing that can be seen by God Himself. Scripture says God created; Faith believes His word.

Paul then gives us a list of 10 people who are commended for their faith: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses & Rahab.  Attached to each is an action because faith is an action. Abel gave a sacrifice; Enoch walked with God; Noah built an ark, Abraham prepared to sacrifice the son of the Promise, Isaac & Jacob inherited the promise by faith & blessed their progeny by faith, Sarah believed though she was infertile & Abraham was impotent [gotta love the original!], Joseph prophesied,  Moses left Egypt, Rahab protected spies & ensured the safety of her entire family.

Now Hebrews chapter 10 is all about the deity & humanity of Christ & the supremacy & sufficiency of Jesus as our Great High Priest because it is Jesus who is the foundation of our faith.  This is foundational because the Law does not save.  Works cannot save. Jesus saves. However works are evidence of faith in action. Every single person declared righteous by faith was looking to the coming of Christ & was holding onto the promises of God in this regard.

As I was reading through this chapter & considering all the different ways we could talk about Faith the Lord highlighted something that is actually incredibly fascinating.  It is fascinating because without faith it is impossible to please God & we are a people who put our faith in the practical outworking of the Word of God because if God says something it will be so!  God is not a liar.

Starting in verse 32 Paul says: stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. 
33 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and

received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions,34 quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their
weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. 35 Women received their loved ones back again from death.

We know these stories.  We heard them in Sunday school as children.  We sang Dare to be a Daniel, Dare to stand alone. The walls of Jericho came tumbling down, tumbling down, tumbling down…  We heard these stories of faith preached upon & stood amazed at the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. However Paul continues:

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. 36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half,[d] and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all

that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.

We all know people who have not received something that they believed God for.  They died without receiving the fullness of what had been promised.  What are we to make of this?  Did they lack faith?  Were they in error?

When we run up against scripture that seems to contradict what we believe, what we have been taught or what our own expectations are what are we to make of it?

Firstly we are to look at the scripture in context.  Here Paul is talking about the main promise that runs through all of scripture; that of a saviour who would redeem the entire world from sin.  Even a cursory study reveals that all the great men in scripture had a revelation of the Son of God coming to redeem mankind ~ yet not a one of them saw that promise fulfilled!  Remember, before Jesus birth, there had not been a prophet in Israel for 400 years & when John broke that silence Jesus was already a mature man.

Secondly, remember that there are promises given that we may not live to see either: the rapture, the return of Christ, the end of Satan’s rule on this earth.  That does not invalidate the promises. The promises stand.

Thirdly, when it comes to personal promises the principle remains.  We are hold onto the firm conviction that what has been promised will come to pass.  Scripture has some strong words to say on the matter.

Life in Christ is one of faith ~ & to live by faith is to trust implicitly in the goodness & love of God; that all things are working for our good; that God is who He says He is: our provider, our salvation, our healer…Regardless of circumstances.  Regardless of what people say.  Regardless of what satan whispers in our ears to the contrary because to believe otherwise is to call God a liar & scripture says:

And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away." Hebrews 10:38

for we walk by faith, not by sight 2 Cor 5:7

Now in this matter we are not helpless babes. Romans 10:7 says So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. In context it is referring specifically to the faith that brings salvation but there is also a spiritual principle at work here.
 If you are believing for healing, feast your spirit & soul on the scriptures that speak of God as the healer.  It will build up your faith like nothing else.  Put the word in your mouth & make a positive confession, declaring who scripture says God is before all of His creation.  Ditto if you need provision. Whatever you need, whatever you are believing for, put the word in your heart & in your mouth.  It will create in us that * firm conviction* that allows us to rest in the assurance of the things we cannot yet see.

See the thing that built up the Giants of faith was they knew their God.  Know God.  Know what He says of Himself in His word.

Faith is one of the eternals.  1 Cor 13:13 says Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love.  The greatest of these is love, but faith & hope are essential.  Hope helps keep our faith alive.  Faith & hope cling to the truths God has declared.  It is not for nothing the Word is a sword.  It is an offensive weapon.  We need to practice using it constantly to activate our faith.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

How to turn your faith loose PART 1 ~ Rabqa

       This message is in 2 parts.  Part 2 follows after, which will be the previous post according to blogger.

Rom 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness & with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 

Let us look at the word confess..... we find there are four kinds of confession in the New Testament, we will look closely at them because there is much confusion with the subject of confession. 

(1)The Jews confession of sin. There is the teaching of John the Baptist & Jesus' teaching the Jews which was confession of sin. 

Mk 1: 4-5 John came baptising in the wilderness & preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Then all the land of Judea & those from Jerusalem went out to him & were baptised by him in the Jordan river confessing there sins. 
 Mk 1:14-15 Now after John was put into prison Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. & saying " the time is fulfilled & the kingdom of God is at hand Repent & believe in the gospel. 

(2) The confession of the sinner under the New Covenant.   In this confession Jesus made a very important statement in the New Testament in Jn 16:7-11 nevertheless I will tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart I will send Him to you. & when He has come HE WILL CONVICT THE WORLD OF SIN,& of righteousness & of judgement; of sin BECAUSE THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IN ME, of righteousness, because I go to My Father & you see Me no more; of judgement because the ruler of this world is judged. 

Notice that Jesus said in V9 Of sin because they do not believe in Me. Jesus is saying that the sinner will be convicted by the Holy Spirit of all but one sin, & that is the sin of rejecting Jesus. 

How many times have we insisted that the sinner must confess all sins in order to be saved, well actually no one could confess all the sins he's ever committed, no one could even think of all the wrong things he's ever done. NO the main confession he must make is the Lordship of Jesus 

Rom 10:9That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus & believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved. 

(3) The believers confession of his sins. this confession is when he is out of fellowship with God Jn 1"9 tells that if we confess our sins He is faithful & just to forgive us & James 5 :16 tells us quiet plainly that if we confess our faults to one another that we may be healed. 

(4) The believers confession of faith. in this confession we MUST confess our faith in the Word, in Christ & in God the Father. 

It is so important that we make the distinction between the confession of the sins of the Jews under the old covenant to whom Jesus & John the Baptised were talking,& the confession of sins of the sinner under the New Covenant who has never met Christ. 

Matt 3:5-6 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, & all the region around the Jordan went out to Him (John) & were baptised by him in the Jordan confessing their sins. 

This is a picture of God's covenant people confessing their sins & being baptised by John. It is important to note that this is not a CHRISTIAN baptism, Jesus had not yet died & risen, & John did NOT baptise in the Name of the Father & the Name of the Son & the Holy Spirit he only baptised in the Name of the Farther. These were Jews under the law, & under the old covenant, before Jesus' death, burial & resurrection. 

 Acts 19:18 & many who had believed came confessing & telling their deeds. These were Gentiles it doesn’t say what they confessed but quiet plain that they were believers who were confessing their sins of practising magical arts. 

Now I want you to know that they were not confessing there sins in order to be saved, the Bible tells they were already saved, you see it was so much easier to confess their wrong doings already being saved. 

Eph 2: 4-7 tells us that God is rich in mercy, he has a great love for us & even when we were dead in trespass He made us alive together with Christ by grace we have been saved, He has raised us up together & to sit in heavenly places, & in all the ages to come he might show us the exceeding riches of His grace. His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 

We cannot earn our way into God's favour, THAT'S an impossible task. no amount of good works would ever be enough. Take a moment & reflect on the riches of God's grace & thank Him for His loving kindness toward you. 

The confession the sinner makes... he does not     
not have to give anything up in order to be saved lets look at Rom 10:9 again it says that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus & believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead you will be saved. 

Notice it says if you confess This is the real confession the sinner makes. He is guilty of only one sin in the sight of God & that is the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord & Saviour, Therefore God demands that the sinner confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This is real repentance, This is real faith. 

To demand that the sinner confess his sins before God  makes him into a new creation as we see in 2 Corn5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation, old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.

 If we are in Christ Godly living is a must, it may result in disfavour with others because it warns of judgement for the ungodly, Godly Individuals live by the ethic of love, selflessly asking how can I live for the benefit 
 of others? They are not lawless or sloppy in the way they live, rather, they seek to do right in everything. 

 The sinner is a child of the devil, so the thing he must confess is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He must confess Jesus as his saviour in order to be saved. He must let Jesus dominate his daily life. Confessing the Lordship of Jesus Christ it is the very heart of the gospel. 

once a person is born again God will deal with him about the things he needs to change & will give him the power to do so. 

Look again at Rom 10:9 If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus. So there must be a vocal confession by the person, his lips must frame the words, confession is not just for his sake but also for the sake of those unsaved persons around him, & for the benefit of satan, declaring that you are no longer under his dominion. Not one of us, nobody at all can be saved without confessing the Lord Jesus. 

The Believer confessing his sins. this the third type of confession that is spoken of in the New Testament is of the believer confessing his sin when he has broken fellowship in Ps 137:1-4 we see a type of broken fellowship. 

By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song & those who plundered us requested mirth, saying sing us one of the songs of Zion. How long shall we sing the Lords song in a foreign land? 

This Psalm shows us how Israel had sinned they were carried away into captivity in Babylon. They could remember Zion, of course. 
They hung their harps on the willows & when their enemies asked for a song, they cried, how shall we sing the Lords song in a strange land. verse 4 pictures broken fellowship. Sin always puts the light out, so faith has no song when fellowship is broken, 

  Jn 3:9 teaches that we used to be full time sinners & once in a while we did something right. After years of developing a close & personal relationship with God & His Word we can concentrate on being a full time obedient child of God. Yes we still make mistakes but maybe not as many as once we did. Of course we are not where we need to be but, praise God we are not where we once were. 

Once you have confessed your sin, DON'T keep on confessing the same over & OVER again THAT only builds up weakness, doubt & sin-consciousness into your spirit. If you have confessed your sin once, God forgave you & He forgot it, so you need to do the same. God has no memory of you sin once you truly repent & ask forgiveness. 

Isa 43:25 tells us this very clearly. & Ps 103:3 says that He forgives all our iniquities & heals all our diseases. Isa 1:18 tells us though our sins are like scarlet they shall be white as snow. Ps 103:12 reminds us that as far as far as the east is from the west He has removed our transgressions from us. 

Let us now look at Heb9:14 This verse of Scripture is saying that Jesus offered His blood by the Spirit. The Spirit & the blood work together. The promise of the Holy Spirit  could not be poured out on the Day of Pentecost until after the blood was poured out on the cross at Calvary. The blood & the Spirit still work together today. Honour the blood, & you will see the Spirit poured out in your life. 

Remember If you sin, & you repent & confess your sin to God, you should have no more remembrance of it, God doesn’t, so why should you? Then you can see with what confidence we can come before God in prayer & know with certainty that He hears us.