by Dr. Lee Roberson
It is my conviction that God has given directions for everything relating to the spiritual life. We have God s very simple plan for evangelism and missions. Those who are saved are to tell those who are lost. We are told of the blessings of following this plan, and we are warned of the drastic results if we do not.
Whether it be baptism, the Lord s supper, tithing, witnessing, or worshiping, God has a given plan. Follow His plan and have success; leave it and fail.
It is also my firm conviction that God has made available all that we need in this life, whether it be food, shelter, inward peace, power for service. It is not God s will for us to live poor, miserable, defeated lives. Such dishonors Him. He wants all to have peace and power.
How are these things obtained? In the simplest way—through faith in God.
Faith is looking to God for help. Faith is the hand that reaches out to take God s gifts and provisions. Faith is resting, relying on the Lord for the fulfillment of all His promises.
The tragedy is that we look to self and to the world instead of to God. This produces faithlessness or unbelief.
Unbelief damns the souls of men; therefore, shun unbelief as you would an awful contagious disease.
Unbelief hinders the Lord s working. When Jesus visited Nazareth, it is said that “he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”
Unbelief shuts out blessings. The vast host of Israel did not enter the Promised Land because of unbelief. For lack of faith, they saw giants and walled cities of Canaan, and declared, “We cannot take the land.”
Unbelief keeps blessings from others. The disciples could not cast the demon out of the afflicted young man because of unbelief.
From this story we can see that want of faith hinders the effective working of God through us. But when we have faith, it brings blessings to others. This was true when the four men brought the paralytic to Jesus. He saw their faith and said to the sick of the palsy, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee,” and then “Arise, take up thy bed and walk.” Faith brings blessings; unbelief hinders blessings.
One of the finest compliments that you can pay a man is to say, “He is a man of great faith.”
Let us see what faith in God does. We shall see what Jesus meant when He emphasized, “Have faith in God.”
I. FAITH SINGS
One without faith has no song. He is depressed, gloomy, despondent, blue. But one with faith can rejoice in the midst of every trial.
It is said that H. G. Spafford lost his entire family in a wreck at sea. In the midst of tragedy, this man wrote:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, tho trials should come, Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
Out of his blindness, George Matheson could write:
O Love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O Light that foll west all my way, I yield my flick ring torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine s glow its day
May brighter, fairer be.
Faith sings! Fannie Crosby fully illustrates this. As a baby of six weeks, hot cloths were placed upon her eyes, destroying her sight. She never saw the beauty of nature nor the faces of her friends, but she had faith in God, and a song was in her heart. Some of the most beautiful and beloved songs in our book were written by Fannie Crosby.
Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain
Free to all—a healing stream,
Flows from Calv’ry s mountain.
I am Thine, 0 Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith,
And be closer drawn to Thee.
Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o ershaded,
Sweetly my soul shall rest.
Hark! ‘tis the voice of angels,
Borne in a song to me;
Over the fields of glory,
Over the jasper sea.
Take the world, but give me Jesus,
All its joys are but a name;
But His love abideth ever,
Thro eternal years the same.
Oh, the height and depth of mercy!
Oh, the length and breadth of love!
Oh, the fullness of redemption,
Pledge of endless life above!
Saviour, more than life to me,
I am clinging, clinging close to Thee;
Let Thy precious blood applied,
Keep me ever, ever near Thy side.
On one occasion when Fannie Crosby was being questioned before a great audience of people, someone asked, “Out of all the songs you have written, which is your favorite?” Without hesitation, she replied,
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
Faith sings, for faith blasts away doubt and fear. Faith lets the light shine through the darkest clouds. Faith gives a lift to the heavy heart.
A few hours ago I talked with a young man who had no song in is heart because his faith was gone. He had been a missionary of a certain denomination but is today nervous and troubled, despondent and sick. He has no happy testimony but quickly ells everyone he has suffered a nervous breakdown.
To every despondent, troubled soul in this service, Jesus admonishes “Have faith in God.” Faith will give a song and bring the light of Heaven to cheer you.
II. FAITH SERVES
True faith always results in action. By faith, Noah built the ark. It was by faith that he labored 20 years.
It was by faith that Moses served God and his people. He turned his back upon Egypt and chose to suffer affliction with the people of God.
By faith Joshua led Israel into the Promised Land. It was by faith that the walls of Jericho fell down after they were compassed about seven days.
By faith Gideon served God against impossible odds. He won a victory over the Midianites with only 300 men.
Faith does not ask for the easy way. Faith goes on despite the hardships and meager results. Faith serves, though the task seem impossible. F. B. Meyer said, “We never test the resources of God until we attempt the impossible.”
Faith does not ask for present pay. If men do not applaud or appreciate, faith works on, willing to wait until the judgment seat.
III. FAITH SUPPLIES
Sinful man is by nature a worrier. He worries about everything—food, drink and clothing. He worries about tomorrow and its needs. He worries about things which have not happened and perhaps never will happen. It is only when man takes hold of the promises of God that worry slips away. Surely God delights in that man or woman who by simple faith achieves perfect peace and rest of heart.
God is glorified by that Christian who refuses to worry, knowing He will provide. But many good Christians refuse to believe the promises of God. They somehow do not believe that God will do what He says, and foolishly they seem to imagine that worry will help the situation.
Jesus gave these words to His disciples which we need to study carefully:
“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment?
“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”—Matt. 6:25,26.
In summary Jesus said, “Take no thought. . .What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink?. . . (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”
And now listen to this word of our Lord:
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. “—Vss. 33,34.
Two things the Lord is commanding us to do: first, to have faith in God; second, to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Faith in God will keep us from worrying about tomorrow. Seeking first the kingdom of God will keep us in tune with our Heavenly Father.
Worry is sin. Paul recognized this and told the church in Philippi that he did not worry. Rather “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Then to assure them of God s love and care, he said, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Look to the Lord for your daily needs.
IV. FAITH STANDS
In this day of hurry and rush, it is very difficult to have faith. But faith stands true to God when all the world turns against you.
Job lost all he had—his property, his family, his wife who told him to curse God and die. His body was afflicted with terrible sores. But he said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (13:15). His faith did not falter when sorely tested.
When that noble man Joshua came to die, he delivered his message to the people. The text was, “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” In plain words, he said, “You can turn to the worship of idols and other gods, but I am standing true to the Lord.” Then the great general made a plea for the people to put away their strange gods and incline their hearts to the Lord God of Israel.
In a day of idol worship, Elijah believed in God. He stood before Ahab and said, “. . .As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” With a courageous heart he stood against the prophets of Baal and brought revival to Israel on Mount Carmel.
The Apostle Paul was hated and despised by his own people. They sought his life, but he stood true to God.
To all weak and vacillating souls, the Lord is saying, “Have faith in God.” Faith will help you stand when the whole world is rushing pell mell into destruction. Faith will enable you to stand for your convictions, though family and friends despise you for it.
I am told that in the Yellowstone National Park you will find a tree called the lodge pole pine. Every year many of these trees fall to the ground. When a storm of some severity hits the area, the lodge pole pine topples over. Why? Because the roots spread out close to the surface and do not go down deep.
May I contrast the lodge pole pine with some of the sturdy trees of this area. The winds blow and the storms descend, but the trees stand. Why? The roots have gone down deep. The faith that stands is the faith that lays hold upon the promises of God. We must have a deep-rooted faith in order to stand when the storms of doubt, fear and persecution sweep over us.
V. FAITH SAVES
Faith saves Christians from mediocrity. The work of Christ suffers from too many ordinary Christians. The ordinary Christian worries, frets, vacillates. He looks and acts like the man of the world. But real faith makes men different.
There should be many illustrations of mighty faith, but we have so few.
It was not long before the end of George Mueller s wonderful life that a friend came to see him. This friend spoke of Mueller s great life work and of the marvelous faith he had in God. Mueller replied, “My friend, I have no monopoly of God s grace. This same life is open to all.”
How wonderfully true this is! The mighty faith exercised by men of days gone by can be our faith. Our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He hears and answers prayer as He always has done.
To save Christians from the sin of mediocrity, let me suggest the following:
First, take God at His word. Believe the Bible. Rest on God s promises.
Second, remember that God has never failed. His past performances assure us of the present.
Third, God is concerned about you. He has always been concerned for others. He wants us to be mighty in faith. Our Heavenly Father cares for us, is “pulling” for us.
Fourth, be optimistic and cheerful no matter the problem. There is always a way out, and God will show it at the proper time. You may be confronted by a Red Sea problem, but nothing is impossible with God. He has a way out.
Fifth, launch out into the deep. Cease paddling around in shallow water. Believe that God is interested in your well being and your success as a Christian. Cast away from the shoreline. Launch out into the deep. Attempt the impossible.
It will only be as we follow these simple suggestions that we will cease to be ordinary, everyday, faithless individuals.
And last, faith saves sinners from Hell. Jesus said, “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation. . . .” John said, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Simple faith saved Simon Peter who was brought to Jesus by his brother Andrew. It was simple faith, not works. We know the Lord changes not. As men and women were saved in Bible days, so are they saved now. If you will come tonight in simple faith, believing in Jesus Christ as your Saviour, He will save you now. This is a part of saving faith.
The invitation is twofold. First, we invite Christians to come for dedication to a life of faith; second, we invite sinners to come to receive Christ Jesus as Saviour.
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.”
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
by Lee Roberson