For years we have preached on “How Do We Get Faith?” Up until recently, everyone was agreed that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). But not anymore. There are those today, even some among us, who are contending for a faith that does not come by hearing. They are claiming that faith comes into our hearts through experimentation or from some source other than the Scriptures.
Modernism and liberalism discount the faith that comes from the written Word. It contends for a faith that comes in a roundabout way through social experiences, or religious experiences, or through inner feelings. Many do not believe because the Bible says it; they say they believe because they feel it. So, the Scriptures are no longer their standard of authority and source of faith.
Liberalism, modernism, and neo-orthodoxy is based upon a misunderstanding of the Bible. These people have abandoned the Bible as God’s verbally inspired Word of God. They have taken a knife and cut it to shreds. The Bible is the Word of God not simply words about God. It is the verbally inspired Word and we learn about God from God.
True faith comes from hearing the Word of God. John 20:30-31 says, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Ephesians 1:13, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth.” The teaching of the Bible stands like a solid rock above the shifting sands of human experience. The teachings of the Bible are clear cut and indestructible. There is no fuzziness about them as is the case with subjective human feelings. A faith based on the Bible comes from God and not from man.
When one drifts away from faith which comes by hearing the Word of God, he sets out on a restless sea without a compass. He is liable to go any- where, do anything, or teach anything. Such a person starts talking about his “experiences,” claims to “witness” for the Lord, and says he “feels” the Holy Spirit.
Biblical faith is when a person takes God at His Word. It is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). Without this faith it is impossible to please God and be saved (Heb. 11:6). This faith must be a “living,” “obedient faith” (James 2:24; Heb. 11:8-40). This obedient faith obeys what God has told us to do not what we “felt” should be done.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:21-23).
The Institute for American Church Growth asked over 10,000 people this question: “What was responsible for your coming to Christ and this church?” They replied as follows…
- I had a special need: 3%
- I just walked in: 3%
- I liked the minister: 6%
- I visited there: 1%
- I liked the Bible classes: 5 %
- I attended a gospel meeting: 0.5%
- I liked the programs: 3%
- A FRIEND OR RELATIVE INVITED ME: 79%
“Go ye” means, “Go me.” Evangelism that is most productive is PERSONAL evangelism. It is seeing the soul as the most important thing in the world and targeting those with whom we come in contact each day. In this, evangelism becomes PURPOSEFUL. We can target the entire world, but we must proceed one soul at a time. Read the following passages: Philippians 2:19-24; 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10.
It is easy for one to look on the dark and negative side of life and forget to think about all the good things of life. The song “Count Your Blessings” exhorts us to think about all the blessings that God has given us "and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”
“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm103:1-5).
We are blessed in many, many ways. How many people are in poor health in countries because they do not have the medicines and technology available to them. What if we had to take one of our loved ones to a doctor only to learn that the needed medication is not available. Truly, we are blessed. Again, think of the opportunities with which we are blessed. There are all types of educational and job opportunities open to us and our children. All these basically have been handed to us.
Think of the spiritual opportunities that are ours. We are privileged to go to worship service several times a week and meet in a nice dry building. We are privileged to study under someone who has diligently studied the Bible probably for years. Yet in some countries many congregations have to rent a place for an hour or so a week and do not have the teachers and/or resources that is available to many.
However, there can be a danger in our blessings. In the long ago, God warned Israel; “And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage” (Deut. 6:10-12). We too need to beware lest we forget God.
Indeed, we have been blessed. The greatest blessing of all is Jesus Christ. He is greater than any material blessing.