What is Biblical Faith?
by Cooper Abrams
by Cooper Abrams
Introduction: The single most important thing in a person's life is faith in God. The question is what does that mean? Note what God says about faith:
Ephesians 2:8-9 declares only by faith in Jesus Christ can a person be saved, have his sins forgiven, and receive eternal life with God in heaven.
Hebrews 11:6 further explains that we are not only saved by faith and trust in Him, but cannot please Him apart from faith.
"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."
Let's look at some examples God gives us of those who had biblical faith, which is true faith, and how it effected their lives:
Noah lived in an evil time as Genesis 6:5-8 records. However, Noah was a righteous man, meaning he was "right" with God and lived a godly life. God says of him:
"By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." (Hebrews 11:7)
Noah preached God's truth for 120 years the people would not believe and rejected. The evidence of that was how they lived. They lived without any respect for God or of life itself. Murder, idolatry was rampant and men did every sin imaginable.
ILLUS: We also live in an evil time. I believe America is fast becoming a nation whose "Every imagination of the thoughts is only evil continually." Homosexuality, abortion, and every sin imaginable are accepted in our society as normal. Many Americans think nothing of committing these gross sins. In our society lying, stealing, being unethical is perfectly all right if you get some benefit from it. They call this sinful philosophy "situation ethics." It rejects the truth of righteousness and evil which God gave us so our lives and society could be lived in peace and harmony. Foolish Americans are accepting this sinful rejection of God's truth and American is fast become a nation devoid of any moral character.
Many believe it may be too late already to save this nation...some believe our nation has gone too far. I do not know, but spiritually I know things look awful bad. God's word tells us that times will grow worse as we get closer to the Rapture and the coming of the seven year Tribulation.
No matter how far America has descended from God's truth, I thank God, that based on God's Word, it is not too late for a sinner, who will believe in God and trust in HIS promises...to escape the judgment that is SURELY coming. But that can only come into the life of a person who will believe God.
In the days before the Flood there were evil times, Yet one man believed God...One man found Grace because he trusted God who created him. Salvation and obedience is an individual thing and is not dependent on what others are doing. God still will accept all who will believe and repent and follow Him. Judgment is for the unbelieving and God is warning men today of the consequences of sin just as He did through Noah before the Flood.
When God spoke Noah believed! He trusted God and in what God said. Noah was a man, just like you and I. What made him outstanding was....He believe in God! He based his whole life, NOT JUST PART OF IT, on the promises of God. He understood the principle that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write centuries later in Rom. 12:1-2.
"I Beseech you therefore my brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to the Lord, which is you reasonable serve, and be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed...by the renewing of your mind..that ye may prove, that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God."
I heard Paul Harvey made a statement that is very true. He said,"IF you don't live it, you don't believe it!"
Many are mistaken into thinking that if we give mental accent or lip service to the Bible it is the same as faith. The Word of God says that is not so. If one has a biblical belief and faith, that belief will govern the person's actions. Biblical faith is more than the knowledge of something....it is the application of the knowledge we believe. We can say we believe all we want too, but....if that belief does not affect our lives, it is not biblical faith.
I want us to look at the faith...Biblical faith according to God's word on the matter. This is the faith that condemned the world, and faith that made Noah heir of the righteousness of God. I want us to understand the faith that saves the soul from sin and an eternal Hell. We can carefully study the examples God has given us in Hebrews 11 to help us understand the difference between a true saving faith and a believe that is not biblical faith.
I. WHAT WAS THE BASIS OF NOAH'S FAITH?
A. The verse says being, "warned of God."
1. Faith is not a leap in to the dark. Many think faith is like jumping off a building. All the way down you hope there is something that will break your fall and save you. This is not biblical faith! Biblical faith knows the final outcome. However, knowing and believing in the reality of what happens when a person falls off a high building should keep the sensible man from jumping or falling off the building.
2. True faith is based on God's revealed TRUTH. It is based in knowledge and acceptance of the truth. It is based on the One who is Truth...it is based on God's own Word as written in His Word the Bible. It is based in Jesus Christ, in who He is, and what He came to earth and accomplished.
3. It is based on the promise of One who is all powerful and can bring about what He wills to happen. What He promises HE can and will do! Biblical faith in founding in the Person of Jesus Christ and His character. Do you ever wonder why the cults and false religion all deny He is God? It is a cunning deception of Satan to degrade the Lord and show Him as less than He truly is. He is a way to cause a person to doubt His power and character. He is God. As fully and wholly God is can do all He has promised! That is a message and truth Satan tried to weaken and bring into question. Have you ever wondered way the religion of Utah proclaims that their faithful men can become God's? It is just a ploy to strip Jesus Christ of His divinity, power, righteousness, dignity, and drag Him down to the level of sinful man. What is so special about Jesus....you can become a Jesus yourself! You can be be a god too.
B. THERE IS A FALSE IDEA OF FAITH.
1. Christians have too often let the world, or the false teachers define for us Biblical truths. We have gotten our understanding of faith from the Pentecostals and the Charismatics and the so called "Faith Healers" on TV and Radio. These are evil men who pervert the word of God to make money. As Peter rebuked Simeon who also wanted to use God to make money...Peter said "your money perish with you." The faith they present to their listeners is a distorted and deliberate perversion of biblical faith. Many use this false view of faith for the obvious reason conning people of their money and as the Bible says for "filthy lucre" (money).
2. Their false idea of faith has misled many. Many have the idea that faith is something mystical. Faith to many is an invisible attribute. Some unseen force, a power one might have and conjure up by force of one's mental abilities. It is simply a form of oriental mysticism in which a man uses his mental powers to control something. This is a pagan idea and idolatry.
Some think it to be a mental exercise. We focus our attention on believing something and then make ourselves believe it. This erroneous view presents faith as a work of one's mind in which we coerce ourselves into accepting something.
THAT FALSE TEACHING, SAYS WE CAN MANIPULATE GOD AND MAKE HIM A PUPPET OF OUR SUPPOSED FAITH. If we believe something strong enough then God must perform it. Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us we can control God by believing. IT IS A FALSE IDEA THAT SAYS THE ONLY LIMIT TO OUR USING GOD IS OUR ABILITY TO MAKE OURSELVES BELIEVE SOMETHING.
Folks that is not faith as presented in the Bible! When one has this view, it actually clouds true faith, and leads us away from real Biblical faith. IF YOU GET NOTHING ELSE OUT OF THIS MESSAGE UNDERSTAND THIS: BIBLICAL FAITH IS ACTING ON THE PROMISES OF GOD. IT IS A MATTER OF ACCEPTING GOD'S WORD, TRUSTING HIM BECAUSE HE IS OUR CREATOR, OUR GOD, AND THEN DOING WHAT GOD HAS SAID. IT IS LIVING BY THE PROMISES OF GOD MADE IN GOD'S WORD THE BIBLE.
WE BELIEVE....WHAT HE HAS SAID and WE THEN ACT UPON THAT BELIEF.
Biblical pastors preach God's truth that when a man/women is truly saved there is a change in their lives. Saving faith, brings a saving change in which the believer lives his life as God directs. He believes God....and his belief then governs this future actions. It is not a saving faith that professes Jesus as one's Savior, and then lives their lives as before, continuing in worldliness and sin.
The greater your trust in God, the more dependent you are on Him...the greater things God will do through you. THIS IS NOT GREATER THINGS YOU WILL DO...BUT GREATER THINGS GOD WILL DO THROUGH YOU. When you are trusting in God and relying on His provision and intervention in your life...it is God who is doing the work and not you. He is using you because your faith in Him allows Him to.
C. GOD TOLD NOAH THE WORLD WAS GOING TO BE DESTROYED BECAUSE OF SIN.
1. So what was Noah's great act of faith??!! Did Noah do something we cannot do? Did he have some ability that we today do not have.....the answer is no. He was just like you and I. What was Noah's great act of faith...simply this: He believed it was God who spoke to him and he obeyed God and he built a boat....by God's blue prints too.
2. If it was God who spoke to him, then what he heard was true so he acted upon it!
3. What did Hebrews 11:6 say? "He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."
4. Noah believed in God, and he accepted and feared God, thus when God said He was going to destroy the Earth....Noah believed it knew it was true and started getting materials together to build the Ark. All this was based on very simple thing.....God said it. Noah believed what the bumper sticker I once saw says: "GOD SAID IT, I BELIEVE IT AND THAT SETTLES IT!"
D. QUESTION? DOES GOD SPEAK TODAY? CAN YOU HEAR GOD SPEAK THIS MORNING?
1. What is it that I hold in my hand? The Bible...God's recorded and preserved Word to man. As surely as Noah heard God speak to him audibly....we can hear God speak to us!
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life" (John 5:24).
Folks, God can and does speak to us with the same power as He spoke to Noah. Nothing is lost in the fact that we have the written WORD.
"God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets. has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds." (Hebrews 1:1-2) It is the same Word. John 1:1, 14 tells us plainly who the word is:
Noah believed God, so he acted on it and based his life on it!"
2. NOAH prepared the ark and he preached to the lost souls around him. That is what God's word said to him.
3. Not one other person believed out side his family! But Noah did! Faith is not a action of the masses, but the action of each separate individual to God's word. His faith in God's Word, in God's promises, saved Noah and his family. By trusting in God's Word today...God will save you. If you are here today and saved....you were saved the same way Noah was saved.
No one in this room was saved apart from believing God and trusting it him. And no Christian can please God apart from obedience to God's instructions and promises.
II. WHAT WAS NOAH'S FAITH BASED ON?
A. Was Noah's faith based on what he could see?
1. No. It had never rained, or had there ever been a world wide flood. No one on earth has ever built an ark, seen one, or had, had any thought of one.
2. For 120 years there was no physical evidence in Noah's life or his knowledge that what God said could happen.
3. He had no knowledge to base his belief on except that God said it would happen. It had never even rained on earth...certainly there was never any flood. The basis of Biblical faith is not in miracles and visible demonstrations of God's power. The heart of the error of the popular false religious movements, yes even some Baptist is, they look to signs for their faith instead of the promises of God. Many who claim to know Christ are not experiencing His presence and power in their lives. Some then turn to look for some tangible thing that can hang their faith on.....some sign that show them that God is real.....some outward manifestation of God in their lives.
They conclude God is present because they feel He is there. YET, if they have no experience, no feeling, nothing exciting happens....they falsely conclude that God was not there! Do you see the error of that kind of thinking? They are not believing God and taking Him at His word. Folks God is not a fair-weather God! He is always present in the believer's life....whether we recognize it or not. It is a lack of faith, a lack of taking God at His Word IF we conclude that God is not present at any time in the believer's life.
Many feel that if things are going well then God is there and blessing, But when things are bad or not so good they lose sight of God. But when the miracles are not happening they become disillusioned and their faith wanes. Sad to say....I have seen occasions when miracles and supposed acts of God were made up or even faked to keep folks excited about God! The TV is full of this heresy and it what sustains the false TV evangelists who are milking millions for people.
For some churches it is a regular practice to try and stir up emotions so folks can feel like God is there. >How sad! To ignore God who is present and try to lure people into a false sense of God's presence. Folks the entertainment churches are doing just that. That is the basis of the modern emerging church movement. By the way....even that title is false. Those who are emerging churches. That are NOT true churches, but the devil's counterfeits.
B. The Biblical record is that the great miracles of God have not really turned men to the Lord and have not increased men's faith in God. Folks I do not mean to lessen the importance of miracles in the Bible. God used them and they always achieved the effect God intended. TRUE FAITH IN GOD WAS ONLY REAL WHEN MEN AND WOMEN SIMPLY BELIEVED GOD AND TRUSTING IN HIS PROMISES DID AS GOD DIRECTED.
What a great miracle God performed when he divided the waters of the Red Sea and the Children of Israel escaped Pharaoh's chariots that were bearing down on them. Yet, in only days the people had forgotten what God had done and began complaining bitterly.... mad at Moses and God. The whole history of Israel is one of God's deliverance over and over again....but when God performed the miracles their faith was short lived and they soon returned to unbelief. In the New Testament Jesus performed miracle after miracle. Everyone in Israel knew of Christ's supernatural acts. Nicodemus, said what was the undisputable fact...." Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him." (John 3:2) Yet, did the people in seeing the signs and wonders turn in faith to God? The answer is NO!
They saw the dead raised from the grave, those born blind and lame healed totally. They saw the Lord feed on two occasions thousands of people. Folks many of them ate the bread and fish Jesus made.....did it cause in them a great faith..NO! They did not believe His promise of eternal life and forgiveness of sin. The miracle made no difference. A faith that is based on a miracle, must have a continuous string of miracles to keep that kind of faith. If miracles are not present then, a miracle based faith will fail. Miracles in the Bible were sign gifts that authenticated the message of the one who God used to perform the miracle. Never, is a miracle presented as being the basis of biblical faith.
C. In John 6:26 (READ) They followed Jesus for the food he put in their bellies. Their bellies were filled by a clear miracle of God and all they could think of was "Do it again! Give us more!" They were not motivated to faith by the miracles! John 6:30 says they continued to ask for a sign. They had seen the miracles yet it was not enough. Note what they said: Show us a sign that we might believe! Look at V35-36. They saw and did not believe. V40 This is the will of God...BELIEVE on the SON. V47 "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." John 6:47 That statement was the knowledge they needed to be saved, but what happened? Jesus then told them again, but look at verse 60, "This is a hard saying; who can hear accept) it."
Note V66: They all left but the twelve. The Bible records the heart wrenching statement of Christ. "Will you also go away?" What did Peter respond to Christ's question? You have the signs the miracles...NO, he said, you have the words of life. Words of live...let me say it again....Words of life. Not signs, feeling, but the revelation from God....HIS VERY WORD!
In Luke 16 Jesus told the story of Lazarus and the rich man. The rich man lived his life ignoring and thereby reject God...the God that he as a Jew was supposed to know. But he would not believe and he died and in Hell, begged for Lazarus to be sent back to warn his brothers. Abraham replied to him: "Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." V29 Moses and the Prophets refers to the Old Testament. The Old Testament was available to him and his brothers. The rich man still in unbelief cried, "And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent." (Luke 16:30)
The rich man knew his brothers did not believe the Word of God....He knew he had not believed it. His wrong thinking continued even in Hell. He concluded that they would believe if they saw a dead man return to life.
"And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (LUKE 16:31)
What saved Lazarus was simple faith, he believed and trusted in what God said. He trusted the promises of God.
He was a poor beggar. He was not looking for the "health and wealth god" of the ungodly TV evangelists. God chose not to bless him with material things....Clearly his faith was evidenced or based in God's material blessings. But in absolute trust in God, in who God is, and what He promised.
D. Noah believed God in spite of what logic and experience had taught him.
The verse says he was moved with fear". The Greek Word is used here means to be circumspect, (by implication) to be apprehensive; to reverence. When he heard the Word of God, that God was going to destroy the world, he became apprehensive. Fearful. With no physical evidence on which to base his actions, he acted anyway and continue doing so for 120 years! Why? Because God said it and he believed God.
III. WHAT ACTION DID NOAH'S FAITH DIRECT HIM TO TAKE.
A. With God's warning was also a promise of deliverance! Noah believed God, and accepted God's promise of salvation. Note the evidence that he truly believed. "he moved with fear, prepared an ark in order to saved his house."
B. He built something no one there had ever seen. He build a large barge or boat (actually a barge) on dry land. Noah and his family could see the action of faith in his life. God provided what was needed, the strength and skill to build the great boat. Others could see too. IF YOUR FAITH IS BIBLICAL FAITH..REAL FAITH IT WILL PRODUCE ACTIONS...IT WILL BE SEEN... How did the people who did not believe in God react? Folks they laughed, they ridiculed, they made fun...BUT it did not turn Noah from believing God. His faith was in God....Not in people, not in the world. His faith was not in logic, and human wisdom, but God's word.
B. Could the antediluvians have been saved? Yes. Absolutely! Did God warn them? Yes. He warned them through his preacher Noah. 1 Peter 3:19-20 "by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water."
2 Peter 2:5, "and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly;"
Noah preached for 120 years while the ark was being built, yet only his family believed. Don't you think that made all Noah did worthwhile? He family as saved because He believed God and obeyed Him.
IS GOD WARNING MEN TODAY?? OH YES! MOST FOLKS THANK IT IS FOOLISHNESS.
A. But some wise men..believe God. They hear God's preach and teach God's word. They know in their hearts it is true as the Holy Spirit of God bring conviction.
1. Some are saved!
God is offering redemption today! God warns us we are in our sin...lost headed for a devil eternal hell. Can't see it, can't feel it....But folks it is God who is saying it.
2. Thank God that is not all God has said!! He promised to save all who will believe.
3. Noah is safe with the Lord even at this moment, as well as all who down through the ages have believed and obeyed God.
He was saved!!!! Not only physically from the Flood, but more importantly God saved his soul.
4. Folks the question is simply this: WILL YOU BELIEVE GOD TODAY?
That yes, you are a sinner. Yes you know that if you die you would spend eternity in hell.
You know it is true...not because a preacher said it...but because God said.
Would you also believe what God has said about the Lord Jesus Christ..
You do not have to spend an eternity in hell. Christ Jesus has already paid you for your sins...and God says he will wipe the slate clean...if you will by simple faith trust him...right now. God has promised that to you and I.
Would you pray right now as the words of the wonderful song,
"I am trusting Lord in thee, Oh thou Lamp of Cal-va-ry, humbly at your throne I bow, save me Jesus....saved me now."
B. You have God's word on the matter, He will save you, simply take God at His word.