Rich in Faith

(Sermon Notes) By Warren Zehrung 10/31/2020

Today we will be speaking mainly about real faith and how it is manifest in our lives.  In the Church today there is a lot of shallow faith masquerading as the real thing.

Here in Mark 9 is the story where Jesus Heals a young man with an unclean Spirit

The young man could not speak, he could not hear, and he was terribly, horribly tormented – foaming at the mouth.

Mark 9:17  And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;

The disciples of Jesus had been unable to cast out the dumb spirit (:18).

We know the story – Jesus healed the young man…

But there is an interesting interchange between Jesus and the father of the young man, and the disciples that is a teaching moment for them – and for us as well.

Brethren, you may not realize this, but every single last thing that takes place in a converted Christian’s life is directed, governed and orchestrated by God.

Mark 9:20  And they brought [the tormented youth] unto [Jesus]: and when He saw him, straightway the spirit tore him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

Mark 9:21  And [Jesus] asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.

For years – since he was a young child he had been tormented by this intolerable demon.

Mark 9:22  And often times it hath cast [the young man] into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us [the father and his son], and help us.

That was a heartfelt plea to Jesus.

Mark 9:23  Jesus said unto him, If you are able to believe, all things are possible to him that believes.

“All things are possible,” that is a big statement that Jesus made to them!

Definition of Faith:  Faith is following Jesus and obeying His voice.

Definition of Faith: Faith is believing what God says – – that He will perform His promises.  God will bring it about.

God-given faith includes both trust in God as well as a body of true beliefs.

The father of the tormented boy had come to Jesus – wanting to believe with all of his might – so that his son could be healed.

He tried to believe without doubt – he was perplexed – he had tried every possible source without success, and now he was at his wit’s end.

Mark 9:24  And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

What an honest answer! – help thou mine unbelief. This man was wising, he was hoping – he was trying with all his might to have perfect faith.

There is a progression that we are given in the Bible that has to do with our spiritual development.  And, it begins at this stage – unbelief.

Unbelief –> Belief –> Faith –> Hope –> Godly Love

Mark 9:25  When Jesus saw that the people came running together [the crowd that had gathered], He rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. [Come out and stay out of him – a permanent healing]

Mark 9:26  And the spirit screamed, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and the [young man] was as one dead; insomuch that many said, “He is dead.”

Mark 9:27  But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

Later, Jesus is with the disciples alone…

Mark 9:28  And when [Jesus] was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?

Mark 9:29  And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, except by prayer and fasting.

For called and converted Christians, God is intimately involved in our spiritual growth.

Paul explains the spiritual growth development.  He begins when we are new in the faith.

1Corinthians 13:9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

We begin our spiritual growth knowing very little.

1Corinthians 13:10  But when that which is complete is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  [it is a process]

1Corinthians 13:11  When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Our development and understanding increase…

1Corinthians 13:12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

1Corinthians 13:13  And now abides faith, hope, Godly love [agape], these three; but the greatest of these is Godly love.

We see Paul laying out the progression of spiritual growth here:  Unbelief –> Belief –> Faith –> Hope –> Godly Love!

Peter develops the concept of hope – which comes after faith – and has to do with the resurrection:

1Peter 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1Peter 1:4  To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you,

1Peter 1:5  Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

So we are back to faith – which is our subject for today.

1Peter1:6  Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations [trials for growth]:

1Peter 1:7  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

We want for our faith to be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ – don’t we?

Definition of Faith:  Faith is seeking God’s will in spite of everything else.

Definition of Faith: God’s way always takes precedent. (comes first)

Definition of God’s Faith:  God wants us to triumph over life – He wants us to succeed – God wants us to make it – He knows we can make it.

1Peter 1:8  [Jesus Christ] Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, [there is the fledgling faith] ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

1Peter 1:9  Receiving the end [or goal] of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Which is Peter’s point here – the hope of the resurrection.

Brethren, you may not realize this, but every last thing that takes place in a converted Christian’s life is directed, governed and orchestrated by God.  Paul realized that.

Romans 8:28   And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.

Why, because God is directing our path to become like His Son, Jesus Christ.  When we are first called we know less than nothing – because we have been a product of this backward world.  We had a very long way to go… Unbelief –> Belief –> Faith –> Hope –> Godly Love – like Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:29  For whom He [God the Father] did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, [Jesus Christ] that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Definition of Faith: Faith is the assurance that God is presently (right now) guiding, directing, and bringing about His will in us and through us.

Proverbs 16:9  A man’s heart devises his way: but the LORD directs his steps.

How often do we find a congregation that is rich in faith these days?  The Title is from here:

James 2:5  Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hasn’t God chosen the poor of this world Rich in Faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to them that love him?

There are degrees of faith.  With each major trial sent by God, our faith greatly increases.  We are to grow and become Rich in Faith.  In today’s sermon we are going to see that genuine faith requires works and obedience to God.  The apostle Paul wrote to the Hebrews, urging them not to relinquish the beliefs and practices they had been taught, but to cling to and defend the original faith once received.

Hebrews 10:23  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.

That profession of our faith which was widely known halfway through the twentieth century has been rapidly eroded to the point that it has become woefully diminished in this last era of God’s scattered Church.  A true Christian faith is rapidly becoming a precious commodity in these last days.  Jesus rhetorically asked the question:

Luke 18:8  Will the Son of man find faith on the earth when He returns?

It should come as no surprise to us that many would depart the true faith as we saw happen in Paul’s day when many left off believing the true Gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:6-7).

There is a false faith and there is a true faith, and it has to do with works.  Works have to do with living our lives in accordance with those principles that Jesus taught – things like Christianity and God’s Commandments.

James 2:17 … if [Faith] does not have works, is dead, by itself.

What is Real Christian Faith?  There is a false faith that we must beware of.  A wrong faith:  In Titus, Paul speaks of the necessity of being of a sound faith – a whole faith – a healthy faith.

Titus 1:13  This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; [– a whole faith – a healthy faith].

So there is obviously a difference that we must be aware of.  There is sound faith – – and there is unsound faith.

Let me ask you a question, brethren.  Do you live your faith?  The world thinks that faith is something you conjure up.  Here is what the world thinks the bible definition of faith is from online.  It sounds very scriptural – but it is totally wrong:

“Faith is the assurance that the things revealed and promised in the Word are true, even though unseen, and gives the believer a conviction that what he expects in faith, will come to pass. … In other words, it becomes so tangible that you now possess it.  It becomes a reality in the spiritual realm.”

Brethren, that is not what faith is.  Sure, that definition sounds “religious” and “holy,” but it is far off the mark.  That definition is saying, “If you believe hard enough, it will happen the way you want it to.”  Brethren, that is not the way it is.  Faith does not work that way.

Of course, the things promised in the Word of God are absolutely true.  But, the Word of God might be totally different from that which someone expects or believes it is.  Let me give you a facetious example: (by treating a serious issue with deliberately inappropriate humor to make the point.)  The beloved apostle John said:

3John 1:2  Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers.

John 10:10  [Jesus said] I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

That is straight from the word of God.  I might believe with all my heart – with all the faith I can muster and conjure up that God wants me to prosper and be rich and live the abundant life.  So I play the lottery to bring about a prosperous and abundant life.  That is obviously a misdirected and false faith.  A mature Christian faith would ask the question; How does one go about finding the prosperous and abundant life of which Jesus spoke?

Belief is the first step after a life of unbelief.  The next step is faith. The next step is hope.  Culminating in Godly LoveBelief and Faith are very real.

John 3:36  He that believes on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.

Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Ephesians 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

We did not decide to have faith on our own!  It is the gift of God:  So we see that faith, given as a gift by God, is what saves us.  But the next verse tells of the results of that salvation:

Ephesians 2:10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.

That means that without exception, we must be demonstrating our conviction, our absolute faith to follow God by doing whatever God asks of us – works.

It takes belief and faith in order to keep the commandments of God.  We are saved by God, by His will, and for His purposes.  He is going to bring us to glory!  Empty professions of faith have no power to change lives.  It is not the profession of faith that saves a person, but the living as Jesus Christ gave us example.

An empty profession of faith is in reality a dead faith that cannot save one from the fate of an adulterous lifestyle (1Corinthians 6:9–10).  There are works – but they are dead works.

A Rich and Mature Christian Faith goes far beyond just knowing and believing in things about God.  “God is Almighty, God is omnipotent, God is all knowing, God is Creator of heaven and earth, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Jesus walked on water, etc.,” those are facts – that is not faith!

Certainly we are to believe in the Creator God.  The demons believe in the one God, and they shudder at the thought (James 2:19).  We clearly must go far beyond that level of belief demonstrated by demons.

Certainly we are to believe that Jesus died for us after living a perfect life.  Genuine Christian Faith produces a walk with God, not a repetition of the same old patterns of sinful behavior.

2Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

1John 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

1John 2:4  He that saith, I know him, and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

1John 2:5  But whoso keeps His word [obedience to God], in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.

Those are examples of what “works” are.

“Believing” in one’s mind is insufficient.  No matter how hard we try to “believe” that something is going to take place, our mind retains a lingering doubt – therefore we cannot move mountains or walk on water.

Mark 11:23  For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

“Believing” like that in one’s mind is not the kind of Faith Jesus is speaking of.

Let’s talk about the kind of Faith that Jesus is speaking of:  When do we put a matter in God’s hands – to take care of – and when do we take care of the matter ourselves?

This is the Parable of the Persistent Widow.  Keep in mind that this parable is about us going to God with our petition.  Jesus is self-deprecating here as though He were the unjust judge.

Luke 18:1  And [Jesus] spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not give up;

Luke 18:2  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:

Luke 18:3  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.

Luke 18:4  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;

Luke 18:5  Yet because this widow troubleth me [bothers me day and night], I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.

Luke 18:6  And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.

Luke 18:7  And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though he bear long with them?

Brethren, we are never allowed to be like Pontius Pilate who washed his hands – saying it is not my problem.

Matthew 27:24  When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Pilate could have done something very noble and saved Jesus’ life – but he did not.  That is why he is regarded as such a degenerate reprobate.  Brethren, we cannot be like Pilate.

Here is how faith works.  Here is the premise:  We find out about a problem in the Church:  If we are able to do good – we are honor bound to do so.  Maybe God placed us in that situation for the express purpose of healing the problem.  We are not allowed to say, “I’ll pray about it and put it in God’s hands.”  That is a lack of courage.  That is not loving your brother.  That is not walking in faith.  That is not being the loving Church member you should be.  No!  God allowed you to see the problem so that you could do something about it.

If God has shown me a problem, and put me where I can help remedy the problem – I must do so.  When God hands us a “problem on a platter,” He fully expects us to do something about it – that is walking in faith.

We are not allowed to say to God – “You take care of it.”  The answer is always, “Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10).  And I will help to bring about your will if I am able to at all.

Especially if I had a part in causing the problem – in any way at all.  If I had any part in the problem – no matter how small – I own that problem.  It is mine to remedy.

When men in authority are the ones causing the problem – it can really become a test of our faith.  The bottom line is to always obey God and not man (Acts 5:29).

This is where “works” play a factor.  We must obey every principle of Jesus Christ.  We must do everything possible to resolve the problem when a superior asks us to violate our integrity and conscience.  We must ask ourselves every question.  Do I have other options?  Will my actions divide a congregation?  Will my actions divide a family?  Do I have a secret agenda?  Do I have an ulterior motive? Am I honoring my parents as God mandates we do?  What are the unseen consequences? – A thousand questions…

When I have followed every precept of God’s way and Law, and the problem still persists – then and only then do I put it entirely in God’s hands – though I continue to pray and fast.

The gift of God is a Faith that is a spiritual component of our mind.  Our faith is our reality.

Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

We do not simply believe; we know to the core of our being that God’s way is our reality.  We cannot figure out for ourselves how God created the universe out of nothing visible.  It is only…:

Hebrews 11:3  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

These are some of the things we are to believe without the slightest reservation:  Our all-powerful God exists.  God can and will do for us whatever He has promised to do.  The Bible is the Word of God.  So we not only believe that God exists – we believe God.

Definition of Faith:

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance [the knowing positively, the conviction, the fully grounded assurance] of things hoped for [expected, trusted in], the evidence [proof] of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1  [Better] Now faith is being clear and positive in our mind of what we hope for and absolutely certain of what are unable to see…

Brethren, you cannot please God without faith.

Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please [God]: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Christian faith, which includes understanding and action, is salvational.  God gives eternal life only to those who believe and obey Him.  The meaning of “Faith,” and “Belief,” are much broader than either word alone.

Definition: Faith is believing something it is right, correct, true, and trust worthy enough to stake our life on it.

Faith is fully believing with complete trust in God.

Faith is the confidence, and certainty, that God intervenes in our lives working His will.

Faith is knowing with total conviction that God guides our personal lives.

Two Faith Healings

Jesus knew what was in the heart of all people with whom He came into contact.  A certain man came to Jesus:

Mark 5:23  And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.

Mark 5:24  And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him.

Mark 5:25  And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,

Mark 5:26  And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,

Mark 5:27  When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.

Mark 5:28  For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.

Mark 5:29  And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.

Mark 5:30  And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

Mark 5:31  And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?

Mark 5:32  And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.

Mark 5:33  But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

Mark 5:34  And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

God the Father was doing the miracle because He knew of her unquestionable faith – but Jesus felt it.  As we read on we see another – different – miracle of perfect faith.

Mark 5:35  While he yet spoke, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why trouble thou the Master any further?

Mark 5:36  As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

These people were not converted – none of the People Jesus healed were baptized or converted.  Here are two case that show how very simple it is to be healed – you just have to have faith and believe!  Believe what?  Believe in God?  Believe in Jesus Christ?  Have faith in what or who?  Believe that Jesus is the Messiah?  Believe that Jesus has the power to heal?  Believe that Jesus has the authority to heal?

I know lots of people who believe in God and Jesus Christ who were not healed immediately – as in these two cases.  Only believe, and your faith will make you whole – what are we missing?

There are many Scriptures that attest to the fact that Jesus knew what was in the hearts of all men.  He has the ability to read our minds and to discern our motives.

1Chronicles 28:9  … the LORD searches all hearts, and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek Him, He will be found of you.

Jesus was punctuating the fact that that He was the promised Messiah.  And discerning the thoughts and desires of their hearts, Jesus knew their requests were nothing more or less than perfect conformity to God’s will.

Unbeknownst to them, at that exact moment, God the Father was fulfilling the Messianic Prophecies:

Matthew 11:5  The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Jesus knew that these two petitioners, the man from the Synagogue and the lady with the issue of blood, had hearts Rich if Faith.

Not everyone has come to the point of knowing and believing that God’s will is being done.  But, Jesus knew that these two qualified perfectly.

Faith is complete trust and faith in God.

Hebrews 11:6  Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

Faith is: not making God act on my behalf.

We cannot tempt God by putting ourselves in harm’s way and then demanding that God intervene because of our ineptness or incompetence.

Faith is demonstrated by good works – works are the evidence of faith.

A person who claims to be a Christian but lives in willful disobedience to Christ has a false or dead faith.

True faith in Christ will always lead to a changed life—a converted life.

Faith is one of those Bible words that get kicked around so much that for many it has become passé today.  True faith is rare and indispensable for a Christian.

Simply saying, “I believe in God, and I believe in Jesus who lived in Israel 2000 years ago,” is not faith.

Faith is our entire life and the living of it as converted Christians.

The fundamental purpose of faith is to keep our heart, mind and eye on God and His promises and to endure, and to do what God asks of us.

Faith is not something that we work up with all of our might.

Definition of Faith:  Yes, Faith is a belief in Jesus Christ – along with everything He said and stood for.  It is a faith that brings us to believe and to do the very things Jesus taught.

Definition of Faith: Faith is the actual doing of… the actual performance of those Godly things we have been convinced to do.  We perform the actions that Faith calls for.

Definition of Faith: Faith is the actual performance of those Godly things we have been convicted of and convinced to do.

Definition of Faith:  Maintain good works.  As we see in…

Titus 3:8  This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. [Over and over we see this] These things are good and profitable unto men.

There is another definition of faith:  Faith is doing what God says to do.

Ask yourself this question – what is most important:  To do what we want to do,  Or, to do what God wants us to do?

Definition of Faith: Faith is being positive of the resurrection and certain that God is fully a part of the process.

Definition of Faith:  Faith means that as a result of what we believe about the truthfulness of God and reliance on Jesus Christ as our Savior, we life lives of consistency in our profession of such faith.

Definition of Faith:   Faith is believing in the power of Jesus’ words.  We want to be a part of bringing His promises to fruition.


End: Rich in Faith