Attitude of Faith
by Pastor Andrew Morgridge (14 October 2018)
We had a wonderful service last week, that raised cogent prayer points. That prayers are answered and victories maintained is my concern this morning. Let me take a text from Matt. 14:14-32.
In Matthew 14, we read, that And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away (Matthew 14:14-32 KJV).
According to Thayer Definition the word constrained means to necessitate, compel, drive to, constrain, by force, threats etc (Thayer Definition).
Heb. 11:6 tells us the end results of faith – PLEASING GOD. It also tells us what activates faith to make it work: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV)
- It is the picture of God in relation to the exercising of faith and
- Who should exercise faith and
Faith is pistis according to Thayer Definition means: conviction of the truth of anything, belief, in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it.
- P. Yohannan in the book “The Road To Reality” in Chapter 14, Spiritual Intimacy, spoke about the word earnest which means to: To seek out, search for, To seek out, i.e. investigate, scrutinise, To seek out for one’s self, beg, crave, To demand back, require (Thayer Definition).
The Lord Jesus Christ came in the flesh to destroy the works of satan, and to return power and dominion to those who will believe on Him – the sons of God (I Jn 3:8), For this cause. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him: and with His stripes we were healed”. He took away the curse of sin that prevents access to God with the blood He shed on the cross of Calvary: sealing salvation for mankind and the guarantee of receiving from God with the cry. “It is finished” (Is 59:1-2: Is 53: Col. 2:13-15). He has also given us the Holy Spirit to teach us all things (the word of God and the things freely given to us (In 14:26: I Cor 2:12). All God requires from the man in need to enjoy the benefits of the blood that was shed on Calvary is that he should believe on Him and His finished work of redemption. Jesus said. “If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory God? (Jn 11 :40: Mk 11 :23-24: Lk. 17:6).
Failure to believe on God basically calls Him a liar. This portrays His word as ordinary letters and thus ineffectual or powerless (i.e. it cannot give life, solve problems or change situations for good), This is the same as limiting the Holy One of Israel; and like the Israelites of old who first limited Him, whatever the man that limits God receive from Him might not benefit him, and worse still, he might never enter into the rest of God (Ps 78: 19-41: Heb 3:17, 19; 4: 1). That is why the Bible says. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).
Now for faith (big or small, depending on the measure God has given you) to be effectual, it must transcend the level of just believing the Lord, it must go into the realm of action, This is what is called “faith with works”, And concerning praying and receiving, the works that must follow, faith is submission to the leading or counsel of the Lord. Put differently, obedience must accompany faith. As the Lord said to David when he prayed that the Lord should preserve him from trouble: “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held In with bit and bridle lest they come near unto thee. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about”. (Ps 32:7-10), Other examples to show that obedience to the leading of God must accompany faith are as follows: Noah never saw rain in his life but because God told him He would destroy the world with rain, he went ahead and demonstrated faith by building the ark as God commanded him (Gen 6: 11-22: 7:1-12). Likewise Abraham by faith when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed: and he went out, not knowing wither he went (Heb 11:8), And in the New Testament, we find such examples as Simon Peter the fisherman whom Jesus told, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your net for a drought”. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had done this they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net broke (Lk 5:4-7). And in the same manner, a man who was blind from birth received his sight by simply obeying the Lord. Jn 9:1-7 “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.”
There were others too who received by their action. Unlike the people mentioned above, these ones were not responding to instructions. They simply believed the Lord and acted by faith. The woman with the issue of blood was such a one: She said. “If I may touch but His clothes. I shall be made whole. And straightaway the fountain of her blood was dried up: and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague (Mk 5:31- 34). Other examples in this category include the centurion who told Jesus. “Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go and he goeth: and to another, come, and he cometh: and to my servant, do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed. Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. (Mt 8:5-101. And perhaps, the most educative and inspiring of this lot is the case of the man that was sick with palsy: “And they sought means to bring him in, and lay him before Him. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tilling (roof) with his couch into the midst before Jesus. And when He saw their faith. He said unto him, Man thy sins are forgiven thee Arise: and take up thy couch, and go into thine house (Lk 5: 17-24).
Another dimension of faith is in confession: When Mary was told she would give birth to the Child Jesus, all she said was. “Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word”. And it came to pass (Lk 1). In the same manner, Paul also believed the Lord in a tempest: confessing the promise of the Lord that He would preserve the lives of those with him. And by so doing, he saved his life and the lives of those with him, even as the Lord had promised (Acts 27: 1-25).
And in these ways men have continued to receive blessings from the Lord. Now, why is faith so important? This is a question that must be addressed in the light of the fact that there is a greater truth, than, just receiving from God behind His insistence on faith for receiving: for He has been known to give where there is no faith’: He gave the Israelites quails, not because they had faith. They just wanted to see whether He could do it. That is not faith, but tempting God: and they got their just recompense for it. Also, when Peter was in prison, the disciples prayed for him, but when they received the result, they were amazed (Acts 12:1-16). Faith will not be surprised at the result of prayer, but will simply accept it with joy and thanksgiving (Ex 15:1-21: Ps 63:1-7).
What then is this greater truth, that God has hidden in “faith for receiving”? This greater truth is that every time we exercise faith we return in the spirit back to the days of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden before they sinned: when they had fellowship’ with God, had abundant provisions and authority over the creation of God. These God returns to His children from the moment they give their lives to Him. But the reality and practicality of it is only as they continue to reverence God in love and humility, obedience, trust and absolute dependence on Him. This is what is meant by the fear of the Lord, and it is the backbone of faith – without it there can be no faith Deut. 13:4 “Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.” That is why the Lord stressed that it must be learnt by every child of God Deut. 4: 10 “Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.” And the fact that the young Christian with little fear of God in him cannot manifest the qualities of the sinless Adam like the older and more experienced Christian is an Indication of this. Thus, as we exercise faith by reverencing the Lord In humility like the Centurion who said unto the Lord, “Trouble not thyself for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof …’ (Lk 7: 1-10): as we believe the Lord for answer to prayers, we are declaring to the world the goodness of the Lord in the work of redemption which has delivered us from the power of darkness (bondage and lack), and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son (Eph. 2: 1-6: Col: 13) where joy and abundant blessings are freely given to us(Ps 16:11; Ps 112:1-3: Ps 115:11-15: Ps 128).
Secondly, as we live in the fear of the Lord, we maintain the righteousness of Christ in us, as the testimony of the faith of Noah and Abraham confirms (Heb 11:7; Jam 2:23). And when we are afflicted because of our sins (Ps 119:67), we ask for forgiveness even as we exercise faith (Mk 2: 1-12),
Thirdly, as we show our trust and dependence in the Lord like the woman of Zarephath who in obedience gave her last meal to Elijah despite the famine in the land, the Lord will delight in us and our barrel of meal and cruise of oil will never fail (1 Kings 17:8-16).
These were the things that made the apostles acceptable and presentable to God (Acts 10: 15), and thus made it possible for them to receive quick answers to their prayers (e.g. Acts 3:1-8; Acts 14:8-10); just like Adam who named the animals, and it was so, without God disagreeing with him. Put differently, perfect faith (a combination of all the elements that make up the fear of God) made it possible for them to exercise authority over satan and the creation of God (Acts 9:31; 1 Pet. 2:17). Need we then wonder why the Bible says, ”But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).
Whose report will you believe? Isa. 53:1. Faith cometh by hearing…the word, not negative reports. In Acts 21:10-14 Agabus told Paul that he would be arrested and chained in Jerusalem, yet Paul still went on to Jerusalem because he had a God-given vision (Acts 26:14-19) that gave him stability.
You need one to be stable.
Stability as an attribute is something to be desired by all. According to the 21st century Chambers Dictionary it connotes: something that is firmly balanced or fixed; not likely to wobble or fall over; firmly established; not likely to be abolished, overthrown or destroyed; someone not likely to behave in an unpredictable manner; not fickle, moody or impulsive. This is talking about a sweet disposition: mannerism, attitude or way of life
These definitions speak of someone who has an anchor in something greater than men. Men will ultimately fail because they have limitations (Isa. 51:12-13; Psa. 49:6-7; Jer. 17:5-7) and other gods are not God; they cannot, like the God of the Bible create, provide solutions, determine time and the bounds of habitation (Co. 1:16; Acts 17:24-26; Isa. 44:24).
And it is this sweet Jesus, the anchor of our soul, by the application of His principles that makes possible the Stable life – the sweet, unruffled way of life.
David & Goliath 1 Sam. 17:1- : He saw, he did not see a giant. He saw a defeated foe because God is bigger than a giant. And to show it he ran towards him while the others ran back. So the attitude of faith should be positive
Let me close with 2 stories. I’ll tell you two true-life stories
There were a set of guys who went hiking or mountain-climbing; and they fell. As they were falling, they were laughing because they had supported themselves and they said the rope they were using is an original alpine rope; and has a red thread by which it is identified and at a point in time, the rope will tug (to hold them firmly), and so they did not care. Unfortunately, when it was time for the rope to tug, it broke and they all died.
Those who went to evacuate them from the rock saw that the red thin line was not on the rope; they did not buy the original. They risked their lives not checking their foundation, believing they were safe, they killed themselves because they did not check the line. The writer of the story said, “Every mountain-climber in the alps knows that there is only one rope to use, the alpine rope. But these guys did not check, they assumed and they died.
The next story is one you may have read on the internet, but is also a true life story.
A guy was climbing a rock when he lost his footing and started falling. As he was falling down, he prayed and said, “Lord, you got to help me here”. He did not hear anyone around but suddenly, the rope tugged and held firm; by this time, it was already dark. After praying continuously, he heard a voice say, “lose yourself and let go, I will hold you”. The guy looked down and since he could not see or feel anybody else out there, he ignored the voice. He did not lose himself and out there he froze to death. The next day, those who went to look for him saw that he was almost at the foot of the rock, less than two feet to the ground. If he had loosed himself, he would have lived. Who do you trust, who is your anchor? That’s the questions the Lord asks you today. In John 10, that seemed to be the question that Jesus was asking the people.