Monday, March 13, 2017

Faith In What?

In this bible study we explore what God is actually telling us to have faith in.  We discuss why people become Christians, and why we attend the churches we attend.

Review of What Is Faith?

  • Paul said that Abraham, Abel, and Enoch must have had faith because they pleased God
  • Because you can’t please God without faith
  • Faith comes by hearing the word of Christ means that faith comes from hearing the gospel
  • Anyone that calls upon the name of Jesus will be saved
  • Calling upon the name of Jesus means calling Jesus Lord
    1. Accepting Him as your Messiah
  • To have faith you must:
    1. Believe Jesus and God exist
    2. Have heard the gospel
    3. Believe  that Jesus is the Messiah
    4. Accept Jesus as your Messiah
  • Even Satan satisfies the first 3, but all 4 are needed to have faith and receive salvation
  • If you are saved you have faith; if you have faith you are saved
  • Fear is the opposite of faith
  • We are often afraid when we aren’t in control of a situation
  • When we don’t know how to resolve a situation we focus on the worst case scenario
  • One way to conquer fear is to put place physical items in your home to remind you of a scenario when God came through for you
  • When we encounter a situation we should trust in God to solve it instead of trusting in our own knowledge, power, or influence
  • We should live in dependence of God

Faith In What?
What is your faith based on?

  1. Seek His Face Not His Hands
  2. Why Do You Follow Jesus?
  3. What is your faith in?

  • John 6:1-2
  • John 6:10-14
  • John 6:24-29
  • 1 Cor 2:1-5
  • John 5:39-40
  • 2 Cor 3:14-16
  • John 20:29

Seek His Face Not His Hands

John 6:1-2
1After these things Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee (or Tiberias). 2A large crowd followed Him, because they saw the signs which He was performing on those who were sick.

John 6:10-14
10Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11Jesus then took the loaves, and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. 12When they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.” 13So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. 14Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.”
  • They had seen Jesus healing people
  • Some may have come because they needed healing
  • Some may have come to hear Him speak
  • Others came because they thought the miracles were signs that Jesus was the Messiah
  • They didn’t know Jesus was going to feed them
  • They kept following Him even though they were hungry

John 6:24-29
24So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the small boats, and came to Capernaum seeking Jesus. 25When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You get here?”
26Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. 27“Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” 28Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”
  • The only work God requires is belief in Jesus
  • God doesn’t require any other action on our part
  • This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want us to do good works

This new crowd had only come for the bread
  • They weren’t there because they saw the signs
  • They didn’t care whether He was the Messiah or not
  • They came because they wanted some bread
  • They came to get physically fed instead of spiritually fed

The motive was different

Some people only follow God in hopes that He will bless them

Don’t pursue the gifts more than the giver of the gifts
  • don't follow Him for what He can give you follow Him for Him
  • the faith shouldn't be in what He gives you

Selfish Prayer

  • Who has a friend who only calls when they need something?
  • Who has a friend who only talks about themselves?
  • How many of us are that friend when it comes to God?
Some people say that when they pray God doesn’t talk back
... try talking to Him about something He wants to talk about
prayer is not my opportunity to have my way with God
  • it’s my response to His invitation to develop a relationship with Him
  • it’s my chance to:
  • tap into God’s heart
  • understand His will and purposes
  • to help release His purposes into the earth

Why Do You Follow Jesus?

Open Source Example

Why people contribute to socially benevolent activities (OpenSource, Yelp, )
  1. Save the world
    1. Doing this will make the world a better place
    2. Unselfish desire to make things better
  2. Social interaction
    1. Be a part of a community
  3. Seeking significance or validation
    1. Show how smart, caring, empathetic, etc. they are
    2. Attention

What is your motive for following Jesus?

  • Salvation
    • Go to Heaven
    • Fear of Hell
  • Response to Jesus’ love for you
  • To have an easier life
  • Your parents told you it is was the right thing to do
  • Remove your guilt

Why People Attend Church

Reasons why people go to church / bible study
  1. Speak to their life
    1. Application
    2. Can see themselves in the message
    3. Can relate to the message
  2. Hear a word from God
    1. God speaks to them through the pastor
    2. Get a prophetic word
    3. Hear the gospel
  3. Experience God
    1. Feel God's presence
    2. Encounter the Holy Spirit in sermon or worship
    3. To make their faith tangible
  4. Evoke emotion
    1. Want to to be: moved by the sermon
    2. inspired
    3. encouraged
    4. Convicted
    5. Validated
    6. Challenged
    7. Be happy
    8. Recharged for the week
  5. Religion / Obligation
    1. This is what I'm supposed to do
    2. Brought up that way
    3. Family values
    4. Tradition
  6. God told you to
    1. God said this is where you belong
  7. Knowledge
    1. Understand the bible
    2. Learn something new about the bible
    3. Understand the bible (interpreter)
    4. Understand God's character
  8. Rescue
    1. Saved from something
    2. Escape
  9. Community
    1. Fellowship of other members
    2. Be around like minded people
    3. Safe fellowship
    4. Accountability
  10. To Serve
  11. To Worship
  12. To grow
  13. To get back in “God mode”
    1. Focus in the Kingdom
  14. To find a mate

Which ones do you identify with?

How do people choose a church?

People choose a church based on:
  • The pastor / preaching
  • The choir / music
  • The people / fellowship
  • Proximity to home
  • Denomination / doctrine
  • Population / size
  • Childcare / children church
  • Status / popularity of church or pastor (e.g. on radio or tv)
  • What they focus on
    • Missionary
    • Discipleship
    • Prosperity
    • Prophetic / Spiritual gifts
    • Satan and demons
    • Kingdom
  • Duration of the service

What Is Your Faith In?

Faith in Your Pastor

1 Cor 2:1-5
1And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
  • Paul didn't want to use impressive speaking ability to draw people to Christ
  • If he had then we could say that they believed because of Paul’s speaking ability
  • They believed because “they heard” the good news

Abundant Life
  • A lot of people left after Pastor Paul left
  • Pastor Hurmon
  • Francis Chan left his church

Don't put your faith in the teaching gift but in the giver of the gift

Faith in Reason

John 5:39-40
39“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

  • Debating on doctrine
  • Argue with atheist

They debate:
  • Did God choose us or did we choose God?
  • Can you lose your salvation?
  • Does the bible have errors?
  • Will sinners suffer eternally?
  • Do the spiritual gifts still exist?
  • Why does God allow sin?
  • Why do good things happen to bad people?
  • Is the earth 10,000 years old?
  • Did Paul actually wrote the book of Hebrews?
  • Is there evidence that God exists?
  • Who created God?
  • Would you be Christian if you were born in Iran?
  • When will the world end?
  • What happens to people who never heard about Christ?

It is good to have an understanding and a position on these issues.

Story: I took 6 years to study

Problem is when: Basis of faith is an argument

My belief in God isn't based on having a better argument
  • It's based on knowing Him
  • The Word of God is supposed to lead you to an encounter with God
  • I had to realize that my salvation wasn't tied to my ability to reason.

Biblical knowledge is important.  It just shouldn’t be the basis of your faith.

"Do you know God as an author or as a father" - ML

  • Your faith shouldn’t be based on your ability to logically understand it
  • On your ability to argue and prove a theological point

Did your faith come from hearing the good news?  
  •  … or hearing a good argument?

If an argument got you saved...a better argument can get you unsaved.

Faith Comes Before Understanding

2 Cor 3:14-16
But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.
15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;
16 but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Faith comes first; understanding comes second

Faith In Blessings

Word of Faith

  • Christians can access the power of faith or fear through speech
  • You can achieve wealth and health through the declaration of what the Holy Bible said
  • God wants you to have material blessings
  • If you have faith God will bless you materially
  • Often links tithing (seed) to blessings

It’s a doctrine based on material gifts not the giver of the gifts.

We should speak what we want
  • It’s okay to ask
  • shouldn’t be the basis of relationship

That’s like those who came to Jesus for
  • Healing
  • Bread

some people couldn't survive success
- they’d forget about God
- if you're faithful with little God will trust you with more

You shouldn’t tithe expecting a return
  • You give because God deserves it
  • Because it is God’s
  • You are not loaning it to God expecting interest

Example: tithing in college

It's not that it “doesn't work”
  • but that shouldn’t be the basis of the relationship

Faith In An Experience

John 20:29
29Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”
  • Those who haven't seen Jesus but believe will be more blessed than those who saw Him and believed
  • If you have had an encounter with God then you should hold on to that as your proof
  • We shouldn’t base our belief in God on an experience
  • If you haven’t had an encounter you shouldn’t rely on that as your validation
  • It is good to seek God and pursue an experience

Some people are so desperate for an experience that they end up worshipping whatever answers back
  • Whatever gives them an experience must be God
  • They don't know God’s voice
  • Seeking Him needs to involve reading the bible

Want to go get “zapped”
  • Laying of hands

The bible never speaks of the New Testament converts seeking an encounter with God

Your faith shouldn't be based on the encounter

Faith in a Prophet

Some go from prophet to prophet looking for a “word from God”

They don't have a direct relationship

Faith on Others

If your confirmation that God is real depends on another person then you run a risk of idolatry
  • Hear from God from a Sermon
  • A word from a prophet
  • Impartation of the Holy Spirit through a person

That's faith is in a man

Do you depend on that person to “refuel”?
Do you depend on that person when you have problems or when you’re discouraged?

When you’re mature you’ll turn to God for that.

You need to be in the bible


Faith is the most normal response to the discovery of who Jesus is
- it's a confidence in God’s nature and His word
- unbelief comes in when we're unsure

Put your faith not in the things of God but in the God of the faith      
  • Don’t put your faith in what God can do for you

Example: faith I’d get a job
  • Didn’t need faith after I got a job

If you're getting material blessings regularly from God you don't need faith.
If all your needs are fulfilled you don’t need faith.
If you fully understand God and the bible then you don’t need faith.    
If you can logically prove and explain God you  don’t need faith.
If God speaks to you face to face all day you don’t need faith that He exists.

Faith is the evidence of things not seen.

Our faith should be based on the belief that Jesus died to save our sins
  • Not in the hope that he will heal us
  • Not in the hope that He will give us material things
  • Not even in the hope that He will “show Himself” to us     
  • Not based on the Holy Spirit manifesting Himself in some way
  • Not based on the fact that we can explain God
  • Not based on the fact that we understand God’s ways

Our faith is based on the gospel that we’ve heard
  • The Good News
  • And our belief that it's true

Our faith is in the fact that “God so loved the world that He gave his only beloved son that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life”.

Presenter: Michael Leadon 

  • Before Jesus fed 5,000 people He had a crowd following Him because they saw Him healing
  • Some likely needed to be healed and others thought that these were signs that He was the Messiah
  • After the miracle Jesus said that the new crowd followed Him because they wanted bread
  • Jesus said they should be seeking Him instead
  • We examined our own lives for areas where we are seeking God’s hands instead of His face
  • We saw that our prayer lives can be focused around what God can do for us
    • Instead of seeking what we can do for Him
    • Instead of seeking His will
  • We also looked at reasons why people become Christians
  • We looked at the reasons why people attend church
  • We discussed the reasons why people choose a particular church
  • Some people put their faith in their pastor
  • Some people put their faith in their logic and reason
  • Some people put their faith in receiving a health or financial blessing
  • Some people put their faith in some encounter with God or the Holy Spirit
  • Finally we discussed that if you’re getting everything that you want from God then you don’t need faith
  • If you fully understand God and the bible then you don’t need faith
  • The basis of our faith should be that Jesus died to save our sins and give us eternal life


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