What is faith? : What is faith? 1. Not intellectual agreement
More than intellectual assent or belief because it involves trust.
e.g. Belief in whether Blondin, the tightrope walker, could push a laden wheelbarrow as he walked on a wire above Niagara Falls. Many believed this but did not have sufficient faith to agree to be the load in the wheelbarrow.
We could only be sure of an intellectual faith if we were sure we could win every argument.
This contrasts with Christian faith which is faith in a Person (Jesus Christ) and involves not just intellectual knowledge but a relationship with God himself.
The Christian is born again of the Spirit to be a New Creation in Christ.
'Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come'
'And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.'
False Faith: in the wrong thing/person: False Faith: in the wrong thing/person We must also have trust/faith in the right object (Person).
Sincerity, conviction and sacrifice can all be misplaced. People can even give their lives for bad causes.
Postmodernism is wrong: we can not all be right in believing our own contradictory truth stories: there is a universal truth and it is vitally important that we believe the right things.
How can we know we are believing in the right thing when often fulfilment of a religion’s promises comes in an afterlife (or reincarnation) only after death? Then it’s too late to find out we are wrong.
Christianity makes astounding promises for our present life and the eternal life we will know then is just an extension of the eternal life we can know now.
Trust in a false god will not be a sure faith because false gods will never deliver
False Faith: trusting in ourselves (our own goodness, good deeds or righteousness): False Faith: trusting in ourselves (our own goodness, good deeds or righteousness) We cannot claim to be right with God on the basis of our own good works. Our own righteousness is like 'filthy rags' and our religious knowledge and training as 'refuse' compared with 'the excellence of knowing Jesus Christ and being found in him'.
Jesus said 'Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
We are saved by grace (unmerited flavor) not by works so that there is no opportunity for boasting. We have faith in what Christ has done for us not our own good deeds or righteousness.
'The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise', Psalm 51.17
No-one achieves God’s standard of righteousness: all should be looking for mercy and not justice.
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith'. Rom 1.17
Slide4: False faith: not in God Himself In a religious teacher or priest
We must trust in Christ and his redeeming death not instead put out trust in men however pious, religious or exalted they may be. Jesus is the only mediator between Man and God.
Our own religious leader or priest cannot save us. See example of Micah’s misplaced confidence in his own priest (Judges 17-18).
In a holy building or city
In the time of Jeremiah, the Jews put their confidence in Jerusalem believing that since they were living in a Holy City, no ill would befall them. They were wrong: invaders came and conquered the city and took many of them off into exile. We should not put our trust in holy places or buildings instead of God.
In parents, relations, ceremony or community.
Faith can never be second-hand or appropriated from others.
'Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God'. John 1.13 False faith: not knowing Jesus: False faith: not knowing Jesus Jesus spoke of some who would come to him on the day of judgement boasting of all the works and miracles they had done in his name.
Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
We must know Jesus ourselves as well as his forgiveness. Some may be attempting to follow his way without entering the narrow gate.
'Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it'.
Those who come to Jesus for forgiveness, come to him also to be his disciples. They need to be saved not only from past sins, but from present and future wrongdoing by knowing him better, becoming more like him and letting him live his life through them. True Faith and Assurance: True Faith and Assurance True faith is faith in Jesus Christ and his death for us on the cross as the only and all-sufficient grounds of our forgiveness and justification. The Christian life is lived by faith in him and in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The New Testament makes it clear that it is possible to have assurance of true faith and know that we are Christians and have eternal life
'I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life' 1 John 5.13
This assurance is firmly based on the activities of all 3 members of the Trinity.
The promises which the Father gives us in his Word
The sacrifice of the Son (Jesus) for us on the cross
The assurance of the Holy Spirit in our hearts
Assurance:The Word of God: Assurance:The Word of God Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (Rev 3.16)
Jesus wants to have fellowship with us but we must let him in.
Jesus promises us eternal life
'I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand'. John 10.28
This eternal life is the quality of life that comes from living in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ
'Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent' John 17.3
'I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full'. John 10.10 Slide8: Assurance: The work of Jesus What Jesus did on the cross enables him to give us eternal life as a free gift.
On the cross Jesus took all our sins (wrongdoing) upon himself
We must accept his death for our sins and put our trust in him
Then we can know that our sins are forgiven
'Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus' Romans 8.1
On the cross before he died, he was cut off from God, his Father : 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'
This made it possible for the alienation (barrier) between us and God to be removed , for his Father to forgive us and for us to enjoy a personal relationship with God.
Slide9: 'If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor (the Holy Spirit) to be with you forever'
When someone accepts Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, God ‘s Spirit comes to live with them. We become aware of this through:
the enabling he gives to do God’s work and to witness for him
the help and inspiration he gives to our prayers
the love he brings to our hearts for others
the transformation he brings to our character.
'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law'. Gal. 5.22 Assurance: The Witness of the Spirit