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1: What Is Faith? | 2: Building Your Spiritual Muscle | 3: What Faith Is For 4: How Do You Get Faith? | 5: Faith & Works | 6: Faith & Patience
7: Faith & Trials | 8: Faith & Trials Pt. 2
Topical Sermon Outlines: Faith: What Faith Is For PDF

Faith: What Faith Is For

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A boat is tossed around on the sea. The wind blows fiercely. Out of all the men in the boat, one stands up, and in response to a voice he hears, steps out of the boat and onto the sea. Peter was the only one of twelve who walked on water. (Mat 14:25-29)

What is faith for?

We've already seen that it's a gift from God, but what is the purpose of the gift?

A common attitude is that God is like a vending machine, and I've got this currency called "faith", and as long as I just keep feeding in the right amount of currency, the vending machine has to keep popping out little goodies, like healing, peace, forgiveness, prosperity, blessing...

You might think that's a very selfish attitude, but that's how many Christians use their faith.

So first of all, let me say that faith is not some kind of heavenly currency so that we can get what we want from God.

Faith is not just a means to getting rich, getting healed, getting this, getting that, getting.

Do I believe that God wants to heal us? Yes I do.

Do I believe that God wants us to prosper? Yes I do.

But I need to make three qualifications to the whole concept of prosperity.

First, when God promises to prosper us I believe He has a very different idea of prosperity from the concept we've been brainwashed with in our materialistic society.

What is prosperity?

If you didn't have much money, but did have a happy marriage, would you be prospering?

If you didn't have many possessions, but your children were all walking in the Lord and actively serving Him, would you be prospering?

If you didn't have much money, but had a fruitful, Christ-centred ministry, would you be prospering?

We need to constantly evaluate whether our interpretation of the Word of God is what God actually intended or just a result of the conditioning of our culture.

My second qualification is that God is sovereign.

God can change the rules any time He likes.

You say, "But God has to act according to His Word."


But I sometimes wonder if our belief that God has to work according to His word is really because we are so concerned with His integrity, or because we like to keep God under control, in a box.

We like to reduce the way God works to a set of rules, to a formula, anything that will help us to make our lives predicable.

Because we don't like being out of control - that's why the church as a whole, and Christians individually, regularly slip back to the Law - it's safe, predictable, comfortable.

Do you know what the basis of that is? Fear.

We're often afraid to let God have complete control. Because He mightn't do things the way we think they ought to be done.

We've got to have the humility to admit that we often don't even understand the full meaning of the Word that we think God has to act according to.

We have to remember that God is only obligated to act according to His Word, not according to our interpretation of His Word.

And in the sovereignty of God, many fine faith-filled men and women of God have died in a condition that could be described as anything BUT financially prosperous.

Heb 11:32-39 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: (33) who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, (34) quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. (35) Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. (36) Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. (37) They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (38) of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. (39) And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise.

The third qualification we have to make when it comes to discussing prosperity is that God is not obliged to answer selfish prayers.

James 4:2,3 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. (3) You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

God doesn't have to provide all our wants.

But if God chooses to prosper us materially, the reason for that prosperity is so that we can bless others.

It's that we might use our prosperity in service to Him.

2 Cor 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.

He doesn't bless us so we can have a good time, or so we can live a life of ease.

Of course we get the overflow - but we are blessed for the same reason Abraham was blessed (Gen 12:2) - so that we can be a blessing to others.

So let's take a look at what faith is for.

1. Faith establishes our relationship with God

Rom 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Gal 3:11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith."

The only contact you and I can make with God is by faith.

The only way we can come into a right relationship with God is through faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross.

Faith is the very bedrock of our relationship with God.

2. Faith is given so we can walk with God and enables us to please God

Once we come into right relationship with God through faith, God wants us to continue the life of faith - by walking with Him

Heb 11:5,6 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. (6) But without faith it is impossible to please Him......

What a man of God! Surely there must be dozens of chapters in the Old Testament devoted to Enoch's exploits as a man of faith.

Interesting isn't it? What did Enoch do that earned him a place in the Bible's faith chapter? The Hall of Fame?

Gen 5:21-24 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. (22) After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. (23) So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. (24) And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

What did he do? By faith he walked with God - for 300 years, and some are flat out lasting 300 days.

He walked with God and that pleased God.

And so can you - you may never write a book, or conquer a kingdom, or raise the dead.

But if, by faith, you walk with God, you'll please God too.

Could you ask for more?

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.


Rom 14:23 for whatever is not from faith is sin.

Wow! Does that expand your definition of sin a little?

Anything that's not of faith.

But it's through faith that we please Him.

If you walk in true Bible faith, you can be assured that, no matter what your weaknesses or occasional failings may be, you are pleasing to God.

You give Him pleasure.

3. Faith makes us partakers of God's righteousness

Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

Paul says this in Romans 3, and to prove his point, in Romans 4 he cites the illustration of Abraham.

Gen 15:1-6

How did Abraham receive his righteousness from God?

Was it through faith plus going to church?

Was it through faith plus reading the Bible?

Was it through faith plus being a good guy?

No. It was faith plus nothing.

Faith in the finished work of the Cross gives us righteousness.

That's why: (John 19:30) So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

"Finished" means "wanting nothing necessary to completeness".1

The crucifixion was totally complete, nothing lacking - Jesus had completed the work He came to do.

No sacrifices, no good works, no observing of the law was necessary to complete it and make it effective.

And faith gives us all the benefits of the Cross.

4. Faith enables us to be partakers of the promises of God

Heb 6:12 ... but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

The Bible is jam-packed full of promises - salvation, deliverance, healing, love, joy, peace, provision for our needs - they're all found in Christ.

And we inherit them through faith.

There are several instances in the Gospels of Jesus actually saying, "Your faith has made you well." Or, "Your faith has saved you."

Not "I have made you whole" - but your faith.

Because it's through our faith that we are able to receive the promises of God.

Eph 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ."

The blessings of God are there in the heavenly places in Christ - our faith makes them a present reality.

5. Faith takes us into the realm of the unseen, the realm of the unknown

I feel sorry for any Christian who's doing what they've always done.

If our life is the same today as it was a year ago, 2 years ago....why on earth do we need faith?

Faith is so we can maintain our contact with God - that ought to make a difference to our life.

Faith keeps the challenge in our life.

If our faith isn't leading us into areas we've never explored before - no matter how small - we've got to ask ourselves if we're really living by faith.

Faith isn't something we exercise at certain special moments - prayer, gifts of the Holy Spirit, receiving healing or provision.

The Word of God tells us "the just shall live by faith"

We need it for our whole life, because it takes us out of our comfort zone.

Mat 14:22-33 Peter steps out of the boat and walks on water.

Poor old Peter, he began to doubt, and sank.

And today we laugh at Peter and say, "If that were me I would have had faith. I wouldn't have sunk."

But Peter did something that most Christians are terrified of doing - he not only stepped out of a boat, he stepped out of his comfort zone.

How many Christians are prepared to do that?

If I asked you to step out of your comfort zone, not in the middle of a storm and great waves, but in the friendly, comfortable atmosphere of your own church, how would you respond?

Faith or fear?

What if I asked you to share your testimony briefly?

There would be those who would flatly refuse.

Faith or fear?

What if you were asked to share briefly and minister communion?

Would you do it? Faith or fear?

What about tithing? Faith or fear?

If you're walking by faith, there's the constant challenge of faith.

But when you're really walking by faith, there's always the possibility of fear, discomfort.

Which one will gain the mastery? Faith or fear?

Luke 17:26-30 And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: (27) They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. (28) Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; (29) but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. (30) Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

What's the key thought here?

Business as usual, life goes on as it always has, no change, no yielding to the challenge of faith.

That's one of the characteristics of a faithless world and it's also one of the characteristics of a faithless life.

Staying in the comfort zone.

But God wants us to be a people of faith, to rise to His challenges.

1Thayer's Lexicon of the Greek New Testamentas quoted by Kenneth Wuest in Word Studies in the Greek New TestamentVol 3 (Treasures) p114

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