June 4, 2023

What is Real Faith?

Passage: Luke 7:1-10, Matthew 15:21-28

Luke 7:1-10 and Matthew 15:21-28

Definitions of “Faith”
We can easily be confused about what "faith" really means because the word is used to signify so many different things:
• Complete trust or confidence (you of little faith)
• Firm belief, especially without logical proof (just have faith)
• A system of religious belief (a people of faith)
• Belief in God or religious doctrines (Christian faith)
• Spiritual apprehension of divine truth apart from proof (a leap of faith)
• Things (to be) believed (confession of faith)
• Duty or commitment to fulfill a trust, promise, etc. (keep faith)
• Concerned with the supposed ability to cure by faith rather than treatment (faith healing)

Faith vs. Presumption
Often, we can assume that real faith is simply believing that something that we want will happen.
• I’ll come through the operation okay. I have complete faith in my doctor.
• You’ll get this job. You’ve just got to have faith.
• We don’t have a place to live yet, but we're not looking. God will take care of us. We have faith.
• Jesus healed those other people. You’ve just got to have more faith.
• So you weren’t healed – I guess you just didn’t have enough faith.

God has not promised that anyone will come through an operation, get a particular job, or be healed, so
believing that is not real faith, but rather presumption.

Faith and Trust
Trusting God because of a specific promise that He has made is a better understanding of faith.
When we ask, "Do you believe in God?" we mean, "Do you believe that God exists?" When we ask of a
politician, "Do you believe in him?" we mean, "Do you trust him?" We need to come to the point where
believing in God means trusting Him.
God has given us many promises. Here are some examples:
Philippians 4:19 – And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Matthew 6:26 – Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your
heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

God's promises
God's promises are usually conditional, and can amazingly be used to give us certainty about anything
we need to know in the Christian life, in this four-point pattern:
(1) God cannot lie.
(2) God said it.
(3) I believe it.
(4) That settles it.

Why This Works
This four-point logical argument works because God's faithfulness dictates that if we meet His condition,
He is obligated to do what He promised.
Titus 1:2 – A faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie,
promised before the beginning of time.
This is not “a leap of faith” or “without proof”.
We can use logic with any of God’s promises.

We can know that our sins are forgiven:
(1) God is faithful to His promises. He cannot lie.
(2) 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us
from all unrighteousness.
(3) We have confessed our sins (if we have).
(4) Therefore, we know that our sins are forgiven.

Jesus Lives In Our Heart
(1) God is faithful to His promises. He cannot lie.
(2) Revelation 3:20 – Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the
door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
(3) We know we have asked Him to come in (if we actually have).
(4) Therefore, we know that He has come in, and lives in our heart.

We Can Know That We Have Eternal Life
If you ask some people, "Will you go to heaven when you die?" they will answer, “I hope so!” This is
because they are hoping that they have lived a good enough life to please God. Real salvation comes
when we admit to God that we are sinners and call on God's mercy and forgiveness. No longer counting
on our own good works, we can know that we will go to heaven when we die.
(1) God is faithful to His promises. He cannot lie.
(2) 1 John 5:1 – I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you
may know that you have eternal life.
(3) We believe in His name (if we've surrendered to His supreme Lordship in our life).
(4) Therefore, we know that we have eternal life.

How to Love by Faith
(1) God’s will is for us to love our neighbours, even our enemies.
(2) 1 John 5:14-15 – This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything
according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know
that we have what we asked of him.
(3) We can ask God for His love for difficult people.
(4) We act in love, because “God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”
(Romans 5:5)

Trusting God's promises is the key to knowing all these things for sure – no "leap of faith" is required!

The Great Blondin
The trailblazer of all Niagara Falls daredevils was a French acrobat, Jean Francois Gravelet, with the stage
name “The Great Blondin”. On June 30, 1859, he successfully crossed the Niagara Gorge, about a mile
downstream from the Falls, on a 1,100-foot tightrope, 160 feet above the water. During the summers of
1859 and 1860, he crossed 23 times and set the bar high for showmanship. On his first walk across,
when people held their breath in fear that he would fall to the river below, Blondin paused to sit on the
rope, stopped again to stretch out on the rope, did a backflip, then dropped a coil of string to the Maid
of the Mist below, pulled up a small bottle, and nonchalantly drank from it. Eventually, Blondin would
cross blindfolded, on stilts, on a bicycle, in the dark, in a burlap sack, with his feet shackled, without a
balancing pole, or secured in bushel baskets, and carrying an iron stove on a wheelbarrow, stopping to
light a fire and cook an omelet halfway across.
One day, after completing many successful stunts, Blondin asked the crowd, "Do you believe I can carry a
person across in this wheelbarrow?“ The crowd enthusiastically shouted, "Yes, yes, yes. You are the
greatest tightrope walker in the world. You can do anything!” Blondin smiled broadly and shouted back
to the cheering throng, “It is great that you believe in me. Now who wants to get in the wheelbarrow?”
The crowd grew strangely silent!

Do We Trust God?
Likewise, we can say that we trust God in general terms, knowing that He is a powerful, wise, kind, loving
God, wants the best for us, even though that may involve a period of suffering, even death. It's in
the suffering and death part that people question His kindness and goodness, so that's the part where
people find it difficult to "have faith" i.e. to trust God.
“Either trust or worry but not both!”

Do we really trust God?