(The exclusiveness of the word faith)
It was early morning of September 17, 2004 around four o’clock, I was awakened by our television which had been on the whole night; it was on channel 9 on KQED. There were scholars: historians, university professors, a journalist and a theologian, all were discussing about faith of different religions. They quoted Sigmund Freud. Freud is the founder of psychoanalysis. He was a scientist and a brilliant man, but he was an atheist. The scholars referred to Sigmund’s view of faith. Although they referred to C.S. Lewis’ view of Christianity and of its faith, the program ended up with no clear answer about what faith really is. Overall, I was not satisfied with their discussions.
Although I have been teaching about faith so many times in the church, reading and studying from books written by various Bible scholars, teachers and theologians, still there was a burning desire in my heart to do research. The first thing I did was get my Strong Concordance and looked up for the word “FAITH”. By the way, a concordance is not a dictionary. A Bible dictionary is where you will find definitions or meaning of words that you will find in the bible, preferably noun words that needed to be explained. Whereas a Concordance is where you will find words in the Bible that is used from Genesis to Revelation. It may be a noun, pronoun, verb, and adverb or adjective, most words can be found in the Strong Concordance.
I was stricken with amazement to find out that the word “FAITH” is only mentioned once in the Old Testament. It is mentioned in Habakkuk 2:4 where it says, “The righteous will live by faith.” It was quoted by Paul in Romans 1:17.
In the New Testament books from Matthew to Revelation, the word “FAITH” is mentioned 243 times. In Matthew, Jesus mentioned faith eleven times. In Mark four times. In Luke ten times. I was surprised that not even one word of faith is written in the gospel of John. Why? I was contemplating for a while then I remembered that in Matthew, the writer presented Jesus as the king of the Jews. In Mark, the writer presented Jesus as the suffering servant and in Luke the writer presented Jesus as a Man. But the gospel of John the writer revealed Jesus emphatically as GOD.
(John 1:1-3) “In the beginning was theWORDand theWORDwas withGODand theWORDwasGOD. He was withGODin the beginning.Through Him all things were made, without Him nothing was made that has been made.”
(Verse 14), “TheWORDbecame flesh and dwell among us.” It was Jesus who became flesh. He is God the Creator. Here in the book of John, Jesus clearly claimed that He is God. (John 10:30) Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” That was why the religious leaders accused Him of blasphemy. In John 14:9, Jesus said: “Don’t you know me Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father, How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?”
Romans10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” The word of God is Jesus. Faith will only come in a heart of a man if you preach that Jesus is the Only Savior and that He is God according to what the Bible says. That is why there was no need of mentioning the word FAITH in the gospel of John. There are groups of religion that says Jesus is not God He is only a man. That is subtracting from the gospel or taking away from the Word. There are also those who believe that Jesus is God, but then you also have to worship other gods for salvation. That is adding to the gospel or adding to the Word. Contaminated gospel is no gospel at all. That’s bad news. Faith will never come in hearing a contaminated gospel.
The people who are converted to Islam, are they sincere to their belief? Sure they are, otherwise they won’t be willing to die and kill other people who do not belong to their religion. How about the Hindus? How about the Buddhist and all the religions in the world that doesn’t believe in the Bible and of Christ? They are sincere too. Is it not faith? The Bible says that it is not! A man, any man is capable of believing anything. Believing anything other than Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God and the only Savior based upon what the Bible says, is not faith at all. Faith is exclusively in believing Jesus Christ. (Romans 10:17) “Faith will only come from hearing about Jesus Christ, which is the Word of God.”
Men did not just randomly write the Bible. In 2nd Timothy 3:16, it says, “All Scripture is God-Breathed…” In 2nd Peter 1:20-21, it says, “No prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
It is very clear that God is the author of the Bible. God intricately or meticulously designed even arranging the Word “FAITH” in the Bible. Although English is not the original language, I believe that God is behind in arranging the word faith and to be discovered in the Strong Concordance.
I was amazed to find out that in the Old Testament though it is a thick book compared to the New Testament, only once Faith was mentioned. That one verse is very important and needed to be explained. From Habakkuk 2:4, it says, “The righteous shall live by faith.” In Romans 3:10, “As it is written: No one is righteous no not one.” It is only GOD who can declare a man righteous. If a man receives Christ as his personal Savior then he’ll be clothed with Jesus’ robe of righteousness then and only then will a man can live by faith. (Isaiah 61:10)
Were the men of God in the Old Testament without faith? Yes they have faith as the book of Hebrews declares. But the word faith was not used yet in the Old Testament book. They have hope for the coming Messiah to save them. But the word faith was not used yet.
When Paul was accused before King Agrippa his defense was this; (Acts 26:6-7), “And now it is because of my hope in what God has promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me.”
Only in the New Testament were the Patriarch was called men of faith. Why? The Word has not become flesh yet. That’s why.
I was converted in a Pentecostal Church where signs and wonders is the focus in the ministry. We fasted and prayed hard so God can make miracles in our midst. Yes it works and I thank God for that. But yet I found out in the Bible that miracles are not the guaranty for people to have faith in the Lord. In Romans 10:17, it says “Faith comes from hearing”, not from seeing.
In Matthew 11:20-21, “Jesus began to reproach the city of Chorazin and Bethsaida were most of His miracles were done, yet they did not repent.” If they have believed then they should have repented. They don’t have faith, that’s obvious even though most of the Lord’s miracles was done in their midst.
Jesus story about the rich man and Lazarus where the rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house to warn his five brothers so they will not come to the place of Torment were the rich man was. Abraham answered, (Luke 16:29-31) “They already have Moses and the Prophets let them hear them.” The rich man says “But Father Abraham, if someone will go to them from the dead they will believe.” Abraham said. “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.”
So, seeing miracles to the extent that even a man is raised from the dead is not a guaranty for people to have faith. “They already have Moses and the Prophets let them hear them.” What does it mean? It means they already have the scriptures. What is the scripture telling about? Jesus said, “Moses and the Prophets were talking about me.” (Luke 5:46-47) Jesus said, “You search the scripture because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of ME.” (John 5:39)
The Old Testament book is not just an account of how God in the beginning made the world and how He called and gave Abraham a promise. It is not just the history of Israel. It is not just about the law given to Moses. But most importantly it is all about the coming Messiah. It is about the coming of Christ the Savior. The center theme of the Scripture is Jesus Christ.
(John 5:39) The scripture bear witness of Jesus.
(John 5:46-47) Moses’ writings were about Jesus.
(John 8:24) Jesus said, “I AM HE” He who? “The Promise Messiah, the Christ, theSavior.”
Many times Jesus rebuked His disciples and says, “O, men of little faith.” In Matthew 6:30, Jesus was addressing to the Jews and to His disciples when He said “O, men of little faith.” He was expecting them to believe because they have the Scripture. When He came, it was the fulfillment of their Bible that was why He always says to them. “Have you not read in the Scripture?”
Little faith is not about the amount or the quantity of faith they have. But they have doubts in their hearts about the claim of Jesus that He is the One as the Scriptures say He was even though they have seen miracles after miracles.
There was a centurion who was a Gentile who didn’t have the scripture, yet he believed the Lord. In Matthew 8:10, Jesus marveled and said: “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.” No doubt that the Centurion heard the Scripture read in the Synagogue because he was the one who built the building for the Jews. (Luke 7:5)
A Canaanite woman was crying out, “O, Lord, Son of David have mercy on me, my daughter is cruelly demon possessed.” Why did she mention Son of David if she had not heard from the Scripture read in the Synagogue about a descendant of David the Messiah to come? Jesus said to the woman, “O, woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.” (Matthew 15:21-18)
No doubt the Centurion and the Canaanite woman based their faith upon what they heard from the Scripture about the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you don’t believe what the Bible say about Jesus, signs and wonder are of no use. There is even danger on seeking miracles because Satan can make miracles too.
For me I don’t base my faith upon miracles though I have seen miracles in my life until now. I base my faith on what the Bible says about Jesus that He is alive, that He is God and the only Savior. I may be healed from my illness or not. I may prosper financially or I may live in poverty, I still believe that Jesus is alive because the Bible says so. What else can I say? Without Him our life will be meaningless. He is the object of my faith.
Biblical faith can only be obtained exclusively in believing Jesus that He is God and the only Savior. Other than that teaching all other beliefs are just fanatical belief NOT FAITH AT ALL. Those brilliant people, those scholars, who were discussing about faith, were totally wrong in their speculations.
Sad to say that the most abused word in the Bible is the word “FAITH” by greedy preachers. They are commercializing the word faith alluring people to give so they become rich by merchandising the word. These preachers say faith is a force. What you have to do is to enlarge your faith. How? You have to do something. Make business with God. If you send a large amount of money to them you are exercising your faith. Small amount of money you send you have a little faith. What a shame! They will use the word SEED FAITH when you cannot find such compounded words in the Bible. When will these so called preachers learn to be honest in their preaching of the Word? FAITH CAN ONLY BE OBTAINED EXCLUSIVELY IN BELIEVING JESUS THAT HE IS GOD AND THE ONLY SAVIOR AS THE SCRIPTURE SAYS.
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Sermon by: Pastor Bobby Cabonce