We have seen from the previous study that faith is an invisible substance that manifests itself on the physical plane in our lives. However, it is far more than that -- it is not just something that we have but it is also something that we do. We have seen that faith is not hoping that we will see the answer in the future; faith is believing that we have the answer now. Faith sees the answer by continually looking into the Word of God and acting according to what it sees.
1. How does the kind of faith -- that which contradicts circumstances and sees the answers -- grow strong in your life? (Prov.4:20-22) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
To "give attention" to God's Word means to study and obey God's Word. Many Christians have failed, been defeated, are weak and spiritually, emotionally and mentally sick because they have disobeyed the basic commandment of God and have let the Word of God depart from their eyes. However, if you obey this commandment by keeping the Word of God ever before you, then you will see yourself as more than a conqueror; and you will be without so many of the man-made spiritual, emotional and mental struggles, as well as enjoy better health. Many people pray, and instead of seeing themselves with the answer they see themselves as stuck in their problems or getting worse. Forgetting to look continually at the Word, they look at the wrong thing -- at the symptoms, at conditions, at themselves -- and so they walk in unbelief and destroy the effects of their prayer.
2. Abraham had a faith that contradicted circumstances. What did Abraham look at, and what did he refuse to consider? (Rom.4:19-21) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
We as children of faith and sons of Abraham must constantly stand firm upon God's Word even in the face of adverse circumstances and contradictory evidence.
3. What assurance do we have from the mouth of the Lord concerning the truth and steadfastness of His Word? (Isaiah 55:11) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Faith contradicts circumstances. Faith agrees with God's Word. Real faith "says" the answer.
4. What is the evidence of what man really believes in his heart? (Romans 10:10) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Our faith becomes stronger as we vocalise what is in our heart.This does not mean that we can ask God indiscriminately for what we want, say it, and then await its realisation in faith. The Christian's task is first of all to determine what God's will is for his life. He must live by personal revelation. And as far as the Scriptures are concerned, he must discover through careful, prayerful study, whether the written promises are general or specific to special circumstances. Not every promise in Scripture is for every individual. Search the Scriptures and write down one or more general promises which are applicable to all Christians and one or more specific promises which are not relevant to us today, noting the scripture references: _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
5. We find this principle given in the teachings of Jesus. What did He say about our confession? (Mark 11:23) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
6. Did Jesus say it was enough to believe it in your heart? (Mark 11:23) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jesus said that "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." What you say reveals what you believe in your heart to be true. God and His Word are inseparable. God's Word is an expression of Himself. As we grow in love and trust toward God, we must begin to say about ourselves what the Word says. We have what God says we have. We are what God says we are. If God says we are strong, then we are. If He says He cares for us, then He does. If He says that we are healed, then we are.
7. How do we overcome the enemy? (Revelation 12:11)
In both the Old and New Testaments, we see examples of how God's people by putting their faith into action, were able to accomplish mighty deeds. Great miracles were wrought by humble men, who in child-like faith, acted upon God's Word.
8. What did God tell Joshua? (Joshua 6:2) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
9. Did this mean that Joshua and the children of Israel could sit back and relax while the city automatically became theirs? (Joshua 6:3-5) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
10. What explicit instructions did God give them about possessing the land He had already given them? (Joshua 6:3-5) _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
God told them exactly what to do. They had to believe the Word and act on it. Their acting upon the Word was their faith in action. Notice that they were to shout while the walls were still up. Anyone can shout when the walls are down; it does not take any faith to do that. The Israelites were required to act out their faith. They "shouted" first; then they saw the result. We must be careful not to sit and wait for something to come to us. We must have active faith and go up and possess the land that God has given us for an inheritance.
Joshua is a type of Christ. Infact, the name "Joshua" is literally in the Hebrew, "Yeshua", which means "Jesus". The Promised Land the Israelites captured is a type of the Redeemed Soul in Christ, and Jericho its first, apparently most impregnable obstacle. Jericho is a type of the sinful flesh -- of the propensity to sin, of our unredeemed nature. We cannot enter into our spiritual inheritance while "Jericho" stands in our way.
The conquest of Jericho by Joshua contains deep, hidden spiritual keys concerning the victorious life of the Christian. Every stage of the conquest -- the drying up of the Jordan (ch.3), the memorial stones (ch.4), the circumcision (covenant) at Gilgal (ch.5), the angel manifestation (ch.5), and the conditions for the destruction of the city (Q.10, ch.6) all find parallels in the Christian life which you are invited to meditate on preparatory for a later study. Make a few tentative notes in pencil here showing the parallels you can see:
Let us look at the same kind of faith shown by Joshua and Israel in the New Testament.
11. While Jesus was teaching in a house, some men brought their friend to Him to be healed. Because they had difficulty in reaching Jesus, did they give up and go home? (Luke 5:18-19) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
12. What did they do? (Luke 5:18-19) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Notice that they did not shrug their shoulders and go back home. They did not say: "Well, at least we tried. We did the best we could." They did not give up that easily.
13. What did Jesus "see"? (Luke 5:18-19) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jesus saw their action as a demonstration of the faith that was in their hearts.
14. How did the invalid demonstrate his faith? (Luke 5:24-25) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
As we act out our faith in His Word to us, we will reap the results. One of the best definitions of faith is this -- believing God's Word is acting as though it is true.
The following is a formula for faith:
15. What are we exhorted to do? (James 1:22) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
16. How is faith demonstrated outwardly? (James 2:17-18) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
17. How did Abraham demonstrate his faith by works? (James 2:21) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
18. When Abraham acted on God's Word by offering up his only son, what was he demonstrating? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
19. How did Noah demonstrate his faith by works? (Hebrews 11:7) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
20. How is faith perfected or made more perfect? (James 2:22) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
It is in the "doing" of the Word that our faith is made stronger day by day. If we have seen that God has been faithful to His Word in small things, we will not doubt when the big things come along.
21. What is a hearer of the Word but not a doer likened to? (James 1:23-24) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
We, as New Creations of God, can dicover what our lives in Him are to be and what we are like as a new creature by looking into the Word as we would look into a mirror. We must be careful that we do not walk away and act like the old earthly creatures we used to be. We must be careful that we do not forget what God says we are, what He says we can have and what He says we can do.
22. How can we avoid this? (James 1:25)
23. What kind of life will we have? (James 1:25) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Write and memorise the following scripture: James 1:25