We live in an interesting world. Some doctors are constantly sick. Some fitness coaches are unfit and overweight. Some mathematics teachers in school cannot pass a mathematics exam. What a tragedy! One reason for tragedies like these is that many people have a theoretical knowledge about something, but they do not apply that theoretical understanding in practical daily life. When the doctor understands what to do to remain healthy, but doesn’t do it, then he will get sick. When the fitness coach understands what to do to remain fit, but doesn’t do it, then she will remain unfit. When the mathematics teacher understands how to solve the problem, but does not use that understanding, then he won’t solve the problem.
In a previous lesson (102 – What is Faith) we learnt what the Bible teaches regarding faith. Faith is understanding that God’s Word is always true because God’s Word has creative power to fulfil itself.
1. Is simply understanding what faith is enough to please God?
James 2:19 the devils also ________ , and tremble.
NOTE: The Bible is clear that even Satan and his followers (the enemies of God) understand what faith is. They also understand that God exists and that His Word has creative power. They have seen God creating by His Word.
2. When I understand that God’s Word is always true because it has creative power, what does God expect me to do with this knowledge?
Romans 1:17 The just shall ______ by faith
NOTE: God expects that His people should live according to the understanding that His Word is always true because it has creative power. God wants us to exercise faith, or “to do” faith, and then we will have life.
3. How did Jesus say we should live?
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not ______ by bread alone, but by every _______ that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
NOTE: Here Jesus makes it clear that God’s people should live by every Word that proceeds out of God’s mouth. In Romans 1:17 Paul made it clear that God’s people live by faith. These two passages teach the same idea. Remember that faith is understanding that God’s Word is always true because it has creative power. And so it becomes very clear that living by faith is living by every Word that proceeds from God’s mouth. It is important to note that Jesus didn’t say that we will live by simply understanding every Word that proceeds out of God’s mouth. Jesus expects that we live according to every Word that proceeds out of God’s mouth, and then His Words will give us life.
4. What type of faith do we have if we only understand that God’s Word is always true because it has creative power, but we do not live according to that understanding?
James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is _______ , being alone.
NOTE: The Bible calls it a dead faith. If this is what a dead faith is, then what will we call a living faith? A living faith will be when we understand what faith is and live according to that understanding.
5. Can we choose whether we want to live by faith or not?
Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore _________ life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
NOTE: God has given us the freedom of choice. Love is a choice and therefore it can never be forced. God gives us His Word and says that if we choose to live according to His Word we will have life. He says that if we choose to live according to the word of another we will die.
6. Who else had to choose to exercise faith in God’s Word and live, or not live by faith and die?
Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely ______ .
NOTE: As long as Adam and Eve chose to live by faith, to live according to every Word that God spoke, they would have eternal life. But God warned them that if they choose to live according to the word of another then they will have to die. Eating from the forbidden tree would mean that they do not exercise faith in God’s Word.
7. What does Jesus desire us to choose?
Mark 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst ___________, all things are possible to him that believeth.
NOTE: Jesus wants us to choose to live according to God’s Word. The moon doesn’t have freedom of choice, and if God told the moon to travel around the earth then the moon will obey the voice of God and travel around the earth because the power in God’s Word will enable it to do so. But God created humans with the freedom of choice. That means that He will not force Himself into our lives. When He gives you His Word, filled with power, then that power will only be available to you if you choose to allow it in your life. Remember that Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). If your friend puts a loaf of bread on the table, then you can choose whether you want to eat it or not. If you choose to eat it, then you will receive the nutrients from the bread. If you choose not to eat it, then you will receive nothing from that loaf of bread. This is how is works with God’s Word. God makes His Word available to you, but He does not force you to live according to it. If you choose to allow that Word in your life and thus live according to His Word, then you will receive the power from that Word. If you choose not to allow that Word in your life, then you will receive no power from it. It is not having bread that fills you, but eating it. It is not having God’s Word that empowers you, but it is living according to that Word because you believe it has power in itself that will empower you.
8. What important lesson did Abraham and Sarah learn?
Genesis 15:5-6 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he __________ in the LORD
NOTE: When Abram was more than eighty years old and had no child, God told him that he would have a child. Abram accepted the word of God and believed that God’s Word will create what was spoken by God. But Sarai, his wife, did not put her expectation upon the Word of God only. She made her own plan to bring forth a child. She gave her servant to Abram, and the servant conceived a child. But God did not recognize this child as the promised one. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai to Sarah. God taught Abraham and Sarah that in carrying out the promise of God, nothing but dependence upon God’s Word to fulfill the promise will do. Our own plans just bring trouble and delay God’s promises. But when Abraham was 99 years old and Sarah was 89 they only relied on the creative Word of God to fulfill the promise of a child. All works, devices, plans and efforts of their own were excluded and they lived by faith alone. God’s Word fulfilled itself and Isaac, the child of promise, was born. “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” (Hebrews 11:11).
9. Abraham is called the father of faith. Why is this so?
Genesis 22:2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt __________ upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
NOTE: Abraham received Isaac from God by trusting the Word of God only. After Isaac was born, God had confirmed the Word by declaring, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” Genesis 21:12. And now Abraham was told to offer Isaac for a burnt offering! But if Isaac is dead, what will become of the promise of the blessing of all nations in him? How can Isaac’s seed be as innumerable as the stars of heaven if he is dead? Here Abraham had to trust the Word of God as against the Word of God! And Abraham did it, hoping against hope. Abraham did not insist that God should explain how seed as the stars of heaven could be called in Isaac if he is to die. Abraham understood that faith is believing that God’s Word is always true because it has creative power, and Abraham lived according to this understanding. It was settled in Abraham’s mind. He arose and took his servants and Isaac and went three days’ journey. Abraham said unto his servants, “Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you” (Genesis 22:5). Who will go? “I and the lad will go.” And who will come again? “I and the lad will go… and come again to you.” Abraham expected to have Isaac come back with him as certainly as that he went with him. Hebrews 11:17-19, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead.” Abraham expected to offer Isaac for a burnt offering and expected then to see Isaac rise from the ashes and go back with him. Why? Because he knew that the Word of God said that in Isaac shall his seed be called and that his seed shall be as the stars of heaven. Abraham would trust that Word only, that it would never fail, because he knew that God cannot lie because His Word is creative. On the mountain God provided another sacrifice in Isaac’s place, and Abraham and Isaac came down from the mountain alive. This is what it is to exercise faith, or to live by faith, and that is why we know Abraham as the father of faith.
10. How long does it take for faith to work?
Matthew 8:2-3 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And ______________ his leprosy was cleansed.
NOTE: Faith works immediately. As soon as you accept and live according to that Word which was spoken by God, then that Word will give the power. When God speaks a Word for a specific time in the future that Word will immediately fulfil itself at the very moment when the time has come.
John 5:5-9 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And __________ the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
NOTE: Once again, faith works immediately. This sick man might have said, “Lord, if You will make me whole, I will obey Your Word.” But no! He believed Christ’s Word, believed that he was made whole, and he made the effort at once. He made the effort to walk, and he did walk. The impossible became possible, because he acted on the Word of God, and God gave the power. This is what it means to live by faith. When we act on the Word of God because we understand that His Word is creative, then we allow that Word to do its work in us and the power is given to fulfil that Word. Do not wait to see something first, or feel something first, but act on the Word and believe that the Word will be true, not because you feel it or see it, but simply because God has spoken it.
11. Does the Bible record other people doing the impossible through living by faith?
Matthew 14:26-29 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he __________ on the water, to go to Jesus.
NOTE: It is impossible for man to walk on water, but God’s Word made it possible for Peter when he believed the Word and obeyed the Word. Peter understood that God’s Word has creative power and he lived according to that understanding. He did not wait for a sign or a feeling, but he obeyed simply because Christ spoke the Word and when he placed his feet on the water, the Word of God gave him the power to walk on water in order to fulfil the Word that was spoken by Jesus, “Come”.
John 2:2-9 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine…His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, ____ it… Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;)
NOTE: It was because they obeyed every Word that Christ spoke that these people saw the creative power of Christ. If they didn’t live according to every Word that He told them then and there, they would not have seen the miracle. But they obeyed Him, not because they saw something or felt something, but they relied on His Word only. This is the lesson which Jesus taught while He was on earth, that the gift which God promises us, we must believe we do receive it, and it is ours.
Faith is understanding that God’s Word is always true, because His Word has creative power. But understanding the power of God’s Word will not give you power, just like holding a bread in your hand will not fill you. God desires that we will choose to allow His Word to enter our lives and thus live according to every Word that proceeds from His mouth. We do not need a sign or a feeling to act on God’s Word, but we act on His Word because we know that He will supply the power because His Word is always true. Confidence in the divine Word will lead to a doing of that Word. And when we act on God’s Word, His Word will provide the power to fulfil the Word spoken and we will see His creative power.
Is it your desire to live by faith, to live by every Word that proceeds from God’s mouth, and so experience the creative power of His Word?