What Faith Is

October 21, 2001 AM
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

If you would, open up your Bibles with me to the book of Matthew twenty-one. Matthew twenty-one. And when you reach Matthew chapter twenty-one, signify by saying, "Amen." In Matthew chapter twenty-one, beginning with verse eighteen it said,

18. Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.

19. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

20. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

21. Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

22. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Let us pray. And I mean, let us pray.

Most holy and gracious heavenly Father, we thank You for the opportunity to come before You with thanksgiving in our hearts. Father, search our hearts today. And if there be anything in our hearts, Lord God, that would cause us not to be able to hear Your Word and receive it and apply it, we ask that You would move it.

Now Satan, you are bound today. You are forbidden to operate. We command you to loose your hold and to go back to the dry places.

And Father, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer. In Jesus' Name, amen.

The title of this message today is "What Faith Is, What Faith Is."

The most difficult part of prayer is not asking for the thing that we're asking. But the most difficult part or prayer is believing what we are asking for shall be given to us.

It's difficult to be fully convinced about something that we cannot see. It's difficult to be fully convinced about something that we cannot tangibly touch. It's difficult to believe and to be convinced about something that's not in our reach. Glory to God. It's difficult to be certain about something that the world says that we cannot have.

Faith is much more than believing God or just hoping hard. Every aspect of our lives should operate by the exercise of faith. Ephesians two, verse eight and nine tells us that we are saved by faith through grace. We're saved by grace through faith.

In Galatians two and verse twenty, it tells us that we live by faith. In Second Corinthians five and seven, we walk by faith. In First Corinthians sixteen and verse thirteen, we stand by faith.

In Matthew seventeen and verse twenty, we are overcomers by faith. In First Timothy six and twelve, we fight the good fight by faith. And in First John five and four we achieve victory by faith.

Hebrews eleven and six tells us but without faith it's impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He's a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. If you are going to get the blessing of the Lord, it's by faith.

You came to this house today and you were looking for something. God help you if you were looking for somebody other than Him. God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him by faith.

Faith is an uncompromising belief in something. When we look at the translation of that word "faith," (glory to God) it means assurance. People of God, in these last days you and I have got to be assured of who we believe in and what He's able to do.

There is something that is going on in our lives today. There are needs that we have. But the only way they're going to be supplied is if we have faith. I know it's an old message, but it's a good message. It's a real message. It's a true message. You can't get nothing except you have faith. Come on, give God a handclap of praise.

The apostle Paul summed it up by saying in Romans fourteen and verse twenty-three that whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Wait a minute. We are the body of believers. But he said whatsoever's not of faith is sin. Wait a minute. We are the people that are called by His Name. But whatsoever's not of faith is sin.

People of God, we've been in this thing for quite some time. But we're still walking by sight. We talked about the blessing on Friday night, and how Jesus took the two fishes and the five loaves, and He looked up and blessed it.

It's easy to ask. But when you ask, you've got to ask in faith. You've been asking, but most of us have been asking in hope and not in faith. We have been reciting what we need instead of reciting what the Word says.

Faith is an uncompromising belief. Listen. That word "uncompromising" means that I won't conform. I won't compromise with anything that's outside of what He said, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little. I am assured that He that began a good work in me, I am assured that He shall perfect everything that concerns me. Oh, Jesus.

We've been waiting on the promises of God. But the only problem is, we haven't been waiting in faith. We've been hoping for it, and hope is good. But the Bible says faith without works is dead. I've got to do something.

When Jesus lifted up those two fishes and those five loaves, remember... Glory to God today. When He lifted it up, not only was He praying, but He was praising. Not only was He praising, but He was consecrating. He was saying to God that, "I know that You're able to make the impossible possible. I'm not looking at what it is in the natural. I might as well be blind in my natural sight because I don't need my natural sight for You to do something for me."

He's trying to tell us something today. We come to church, but we get tired of coming to church. You know why? Because our prayers are going unanswered. Oh, you don't hear me today. You see, if your prayers go unanswered for long enough you're going to begin to lose interest in God. And when you come through the door, all it'll be is a ritual. You'll sit there with no joy. You'll sit there with no peace.

Well, when I really learn how to ask in faith, He said I could say to the mountain, "Be thou removed and cast into the sea."

He said without faith it's impossible to please Him. You've been trying to lift up your hands to please Him. You don't hear me today. You've been trying to do a little dance to try to please Him. You've been trying to sing a little song to try to... Oh, you don't hear me today. But without faith it's impossible; there's no way to please our God.

Faith is assurance that He is my Healer. Faith is assurance that by body that is racking in pain was healed before the foundations of the world. Now that's faith. Faith is no matter how it looks in the natural, I know He's able.

Many of the saints of God are giving up because they ask but they have not received. Churches filled up with people asking, but nobody's receiving anything. Something ought to click in our mind that there's something wrong.

"Lord, You said anything I ask according to Your will, You hear me." Now there's a difference when He delays His answer to your prayer. But in those instances, I have to learn how to wait on the answer.

Saints of God, children of God, people of God, sons of God, it's time to start walking by faith again. You remember when the faith message started being preached? People thought those folks that were preaching faith were out on some tangent. But now people are going back to the faith message. Because the body of Christ seems... It seems as though we've gotten out of hand.

People leaving Christianity to follow other religions. Why would I follow another religion if mine is working? They were not taught how to receive from the Lord. There was that measure of doubt that was on the inside of them that caused them to fall away from the faith.

When we look at Hebrews eleven and one, it tells us that now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. And for by it the elders obtained a good report, or a good testimony.

They knew who He was. And they knew what He was able to do. And they believed Him for the promise. They believed God for what He said.

Many of us get a word. And a lot of times we want that word to come to pass right then. But every now and then God has got to get you ready for the fulfillment of that prophecy. You see, if He fulfilled it right then, you might destroy yourself. If He fulfilled it right then, you might destroy somebody else. There's a process that we got to go through to get to the end result.

They obtained a good testimony because they knew how to operate in faith. When God begins to speak, we need to listen. We need to listen with the intent that this thing is going to benefit me. We listen with the intent of whether or not this word is for me. But we should listen with the intent that whatever is being preached somewhere in my life it's going to benefit me.

Too many times we find ourselves on what we'll call a spiritual pedestal. And we don't get that foundation laid. For if that foundation was laid, no matter what anybody had to say or whatever comes, we would not be shaken. But we judge ourselves to be more spiritual that what we really are.

And when the wind begins to blow... Oh, you don't hear me today. When the storm comes, first we start rocking. We start swaying. We start compromising. We start dipping and dabbing until eventually we give up. But if we will stay in faith, no matter what the situation, He'll work it out.

The word "evidence" in Hebrews eleven and one is a blessed word. It said it's the evidence of things not seen. In order for there to be evidence, there has had to be, there would have had to be something that was there. If it was never there, there could be no evidence.

So the evidence is not in what I can see with my natural eyes. It had to be there already. But it's up to us to claim the blessing. It's there, but you're afraid to claim it. The baby was already in Sarah's womb, but she was afraid to claim it. She laughed at it.

Many of us, our blessing is right there, but we're looking at what happened in the past. And we're allowing our past to dictate our future. Get your mind out of your past. Many of us are saying, "How in the world can God bless me when I used to do this?" Put the past in the past. Faith is what we've got to get back to.

In Romans ten and seventeen you know what it says. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by what? The Word of God. But how can they hear without a preacher? And how can he preach except he be sent?

See, many preachers can preach, but you can't hear them unless they're sent to you. Faith cometh by what? Hearing. The Bible said in Revelations he that hath an hear, let him hear. It's God that has even got to give you the ear to hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying to the church. Where's the church? Inside of you.

Our faith has got to come to another level because you're tired now. Who am I preaching to? You're tired. People don't want to admit when they're tired. But you're tired. If the truth be told, you're tired. Am I the only one that gets tired? You get tired sometimes.

When God speaks to us by His Spirit, the Word of faith is born in our hearts. When the Word of God is spoken, there should be a birth that takes place on the inside of us. There should be a baby that has been born. And when a baby is born, people rejoice.

So when the Word of God comes into our spirit, we need to be a people that's rejoicing. There's a faith that's birthed in our hearts. It comes through the womb of the Spirit. And there should be a celebration.

In Philippians four and six we know it tells us to be careful for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving we ought to let our request be made known unto God.

Thanksgiving is a response to faith when we are convinced about something. See, there'll be no thanksgiving when we're not convinced. Oh, you don't hear me. See, we get convinced once it manifests. But the blessing is to be convinced before it manifests. Jesus told Thomas, "Blessed are they that have not seen but yet believe." Thanksgiving even before the manifestation is going to bring the blessing.

Many saints have been under the misconception that faith is just simply believing that God can do anything. There's no problem with a lot of us of believing that God can do anything. It's believing that God is going to do it for us.

We can stand in agreement and hold hands with the saints of God and pray elaborate prayers with eloquent speaking voices, and surely know that it shall come to pass.

But when we pray for ourselves, there's an element of doubt and unbelief that we contend with, isn't there? We begin to fight with ourselves. We begin to struggle within ourselves. We're not struggling with anybody else. We're struggling within ourselves. Stop struggling and receive your peace. Receive your peace today.

The disciples had a powerful word for Jesus. They said, "Lord, increase our faith." If your faith is not where it needs to be, your prayer should not just be praying for your needs. You should pray that the Lord increase your faith. "Increase my faith," is what our prayer should be.

Many of us are believing God to move these mountains. But God is saying to us, "You tell the mountain to move." He said if you have faith of a grain of mustard seed, you can say to the mountain, "Be thou removed and cast into the sea."

There was a woman in the Bible. Glory to God. And she came to Jesus. And she said, "Lord, my daughter is vexed with a devil," in Matthew fifteen. And the disciples said to Jesus, "Send her away." And Jesus said, "I am sent to the lost sheep of Israel." But then the Bible said that she began to worship." (Tongues.) And she said, "Lord, have mercy on me."

And Jesus began to talk about how He could not give what was theirs to the dogs. But then she exclaimed and proclaimed to Jesus that even the dogs receive the crumbs that fall off their masters' table. And Jesus spoke to her...(tongues)...and said, "Woman, great is your faith." And her daughter was healed.

You see, if we get weary enough, we'll believe God, won't we? If we get to the point (glory to God) that we don't have nowhere else to go, to whom no one else to turn, we'll start to believe God. But as long as we can believe that somebody in our midst is going to be a blessing to us, as long as we can see somebody else's flesh, then we won't have faith in God.

People of God, this morning it's time to increase our faith. You've been waiting for the blessing, and it seems it just won't come. Ask Him to increase your faith. And if He's telling you just to wait, ask Him to increase your faith to wait on Him. But don't give up.

Saints of God are turning to taracons, calling Miss Cleo, Miss Cleo, as if Miss Cleo is going to help you. God has prophets that operate on His side. If I have faith in God, I don't need to go to the doctor. Where is your faith? Where is your faith?

People want to dog Peter because he began to sink when he stepped out on the water. But at least he had enough faith to step out. Jesus didn't say to him that, "You don't have any faith." He said, "Oh ye of little faith."

But do you know how much faith it took to step out on the water? Our faith isn't even at the point where Peter's faith was. We stay in the boat. We stay where it's safe. But you got to step out the boat today. If you're waiting on the miracle, it's time to step out the boat.

Jesus told him, "Wherefore did you doubt?" Jesus is in our midst. And He's asking us the same question, "Wherefore did you doubt?" Doubt is the enemy of faith. If you have doubt in you, it's time to get the doubt out of you. Cry out to the Lord and say, "Lord, help my unbelief." Ask Him to help, and He will help. Saints, it's time to walk by faith.

Give God a handclap of praise.

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