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Measuring Your Faith

Matt. 9:29

 

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     These tremendous words were spoken by Jesus to two blind men.  They were

greatly rewarded by their faith because their eyes were opened.

     In one of his sermons, Dr. Vance Havner points out that Jesus did not say,

according to your "fate" or according to your "fortune"; nor did He say,

according to your "fame," "friends" or "feelings," but He did say, "According

to your faith . . ." (Matt. 9:29).

 

     There are five different kinds of faith affecting our lives.

     1.  NATURAL FAITH.  This is faith in a bank where money will be safe,

faith in a mailbox that our letter will be delivered, or faith in an employer

that we will be paid at the end of the week.

     2.  INTELLECTUAL FAITH.  A woman baking a cake and following a recipe is

exercising intellectual faith.  She believes that the cake will result from

pouring in certain ingredients.

     Recently, we had an eclipse of the sun.  Scientific facts led us to accept

by faith that the eclipse would come at a certain time and none of us were

disappointed, as it came right on schedule.  The next one is scheduled to come

in 2024, and all of us believe that it will be on schedule, too.

     3.  HISTORICAL FAITH.  We believe that Napoleon actually lived and

led a great army.  We believe that George Washington was the first

President of the United States and that Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg

Address.  This is historical faith.

     4.  SAVING FAITH.  This is Bible faith that God will keep His promise

and save us by grace, through faith.

     5.  VICTORIOUS FAITH.  This is the faith of a child of God that helps

him to exercise prayer and obedience in the Christian life, believing that God

will give certain rewards and benefits because He has promised to do so.  We

read in the Scriptures, "And this is the victory that overcometh the world,

even our faith" (I John 5:4).

     In this message we are not discussing natural faith, intellectual faith,

historical faith or saving faith; but let us consider victorious faith that

helps the Christian to do things for God.

 

DIFFERING DEGREES OF FAITH

     The Bible speaks of a "measure of faith" and also of a "proportion of

faith."  Our text says, "According to your faith."  This seems to

indicate that there are various degrees of faith.  Let us consider several

verses that help us to understand this truth.

 

     1.  NO FAITH.  In the Bible, we read the statement, "How is it that ye

have no faith?" (Mark 4:40).  Jesus asked this question of His disciples in the

boat when they feared that they would perish.  Surely there are many defeated

Christians living without power and victory who have no faith.

     2.  LITTLE FAITH.  In Matthew 8:26 Jesus said, "O ye of little faith." 

This again is the account of the disciples in the ship.

     3.  WEAK FAITH.  "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye . . ." (Rom.

14:1).  Here the Apostle Paul is referring to an immature Christian who has not

been made strong yet.  He is spoken of as being weak in the faith.

     4.  DEAD FAITH.  We read, "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead"

(James 2:17).  Genuine faith brings forth action.  There is proof when there is

faith.  James admonished his readers to show him their faith by their works.

     5.  VAIN FAITH.  The Bible speaks again of another kind of faith.  " . .

.and your faith is also vain" (I Cor. 15:14).  The word "vain" means empty or

of no avail.  [If Christ be not risen...]  Faith is only as good as its object!

     6.  GREAT FAITH.  Jesus spoke to the Gentile woman who sought for crumbs

from under the table and said to her, "I say unto you, I have not found so

great faith, no, not in Israel" (Luke 7:9).  In several places Jesus spoke of

those who had great faith.

     7.  FULL OF FAITH.  The Bible says this of Barnabas:  "For he was a good

man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith" (Acts 11:24).  This early New

Testament Christian was a tremendous example and pattern for all believers. 

What a great compliment, that he was full of faith!

     8.  STEADFAST FAITH.  " . . .beholding your order, and the steadfastness

of your faith in Christ" (Col. 2:5).  There is great peace and contentment in

being settled and relaxed about the promises of God.  Israel continued in doubt

and unbelief, but Paul complimented the early Christians because of their

steadfastness of faith.

     9.  RICH IN FAITH.  James speaks in his book of being rich in faith. 

"Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith?" (James 2:5).  He is

insinuating that faith is a more valuable asset than money.

     10.  PRECIOUS FAITH.  Peter wrote, " . . .to them that have obtained

like precious faith . . ." (II Pet. 1:1).  He was referring, of course, to our

salvation that makes us partakers of the grace and mercy of God.  This is

surely a precious attribute.  The word "precious" is often used in relation to

something that is scarce and very valuable, such as precious stones; but here,

it is "precious faith."

     11.  HOLY FAITH.  Then the Bible speaks finally of "holy faith."  "…building up yourselves on your most holy faith…" (Jude 20).

     In all of these Bible phrases, we see an evidence of degrees of faith.

 

PEOPLE OF FAITH

     No sermon on faith would be complete without reference to Hebrews, chapter

11, where we find the great Hall of Faith.  God's men of faith are listed one by

one, with comment about their ministries and achievements.  We read about:

     1.  ABEL.  "By faith Abel . . ." (11:4).  We read how Abel was able to

offer up a more excellent sacrifice than his brother Cain because he saw with

the eye of faith that his act of slaying a lamb was a symbol of the sacrifice

of Christ on the cross.

     2.  ENOCH.  "By faith, Enoch was translated that he should not see

death" (11:5).  It is said that Enoch walked with God.  His walk was inspired

by his confidence in the words of God.  He was surely a man of faith.

     3.  NOAH.  "By faith Noah . . .prepared an ark to the saving of his

house . . ." (11:7).  God had said it was going to rain.  No one else believed,

but Noah had great confidence in God's promise and rain it did, forty days and

nights.  Noah was glad he had faith and all of the others wished they had!

     4.  ABRAHAM.  "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out . . .went

out, not knowing whither he went" (11:8).  Abraham's faith led him into a land

that he had not seen.  In fact, he did not know where he was going!  He was

simply following God's leadership, trusting that the Lord would keep His

promise to make his seed as the sand of the sea and the stars of the sky and

the dust of the earth.

     5.  SARA.  We also read of Sara's faith.  "Through faith also Sara

herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when

she was past age" (11:11).  It is said that by faith Sara delivered a child

when she was past the age of bearing.

     6.  ISAAC.  It was faith that caused Isaac to put the blessing on Jacob

and also on Esau (see 11:20).  He actually believed that his prophecy would be

carried out in the lives of the two young men.

     7.  JACOB.  "By faith Joseph, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons

of Joseph" (11:21).  He blessed Manasseh and Ephraim, and promised that certain

things would come to pass in their lives.  God had promised this to Jacob

openly and publicly, declaring that it would come to pass.

     8.  MOSES.  It was faith that caused Moses to turn down all that was

offered as the son of Pharaoh's daughter (11)24).  He chose to go with God's

people and suffer their afflictions, because he believed this was God's will.

     9.  JOSHUA.  It was by faith that Joshua was helped to see the walls of

Jericho fall.  God had committed Himself to Joshua and promised that it would

come to pass.  Joshua led his people to the city of Jericho, trusting the Lord

would bring it to pass.  They would have surely branded him a nut and a fool

had it not happened as it did.  But, Joshua was willing to take his chances and

bank on the promises of God.

     10.  RAHAB.  Rahab, inside the city, also worked by faith (see 11:31). 

It brought about the saving of her household.

     The Bible is filled with stories of people of faith who believed God.

 

QUESTIONS ABOUT FAITH

     1.  WHAT IS FAITH?  The Bible says, "Now faith is the substance of

things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1).

     2.  WHERE DO WE GET FAITH?  "So then, faith cometh by hearing and

hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17).  The more a person reads the Bible

and mediates in the Book, the more he will have.  The Bible promises, "For

whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13). 

But the next verse explains further, "How then shall they call on him in whom

they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not

heard?" (vs. 14).

     3.  WHAT DOES FAITH DO FOR A SINNER?  Faith brings salvation to the

sinner.  "For by grace are ye saved through faith . . ." (Eph. 2:8).  The thief

on the cross is an example of this.  He had no opportunity to make restitution

or even to be baptized.  He simply trusted in Christ and went that day to

Paradise.

     4.  WHAT DOES FAITH DO FOR THE SAINT?  For the Christian, faith is the

overcoming factor.  We read, "And this is the victory that overcometh the

world, even our faith" (I John 5:4).  Christians of great faith do great works

and accomplish great things for God.

     5.  WHAT CAN WE DO BY FAITH?  In the Scriptures we read that it is

possible to "walk by faith," "pray in faith," "add to your faith," "contend for

the faith," "continue in the faith" and many other such phrases.

     6.  WHAT SHOULD WE NOT DO?  We read in the Bible that it is possible to

"depart from the faith," "deny the faith," "err from the faith" and "waver in

faith."  These things are to be avoided.

     Someone has said that faith "sees the invisible, faith tries the

impossible and faith bears the intolerable."  Surely faith is a great

characteristic in the life of a human being.  We should pray as the disciples,

"Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief" (Mark 9:24).

     Lord, help us to believe.

 

 

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