What is Faith?  Sometimes when religious people meet each other, they ask,” What faith do you belong to?”  When they are really asking what church are you part of or what religion do you follow?  Today I want to say to you that there is only one faith.  And the one faith is the faith of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 4:4-6

“4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;

5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism;

6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians and told them there is only one Lord and one faith!  The faith he is talking about is one persuasion.  Meaning we are all following after one God.  So if someone asks you what faith or religion you follow, you can say to them, “My faith is in one gospel, and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ!”

Let’s define the word faith a little bit more and look at what the Bible says faith is.

Hebrews 11:1

“11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Faith is the substance, the evidence, or the persuasion of things hoped for.  Faith is the conviction.  So you can say faith is our foundation and produces evidence.  You could also say that faith is a conviction or belief that is so strong that it is evidence in and of itself.  We need to have faith or conviction about our Salvation,  creation, or any other Biblical issue so strong that an unbeliever cannot persuade us differently.  Would any of you try to convince Brother Benaiah that there is no God?  That would probably be impossible.  We all need to be just as convinced as Brother Benaiah that we believe in the one true God we serve.  Young people, your faith will be tested.  People will come to you and say there is no God, no creation, or  Salvation.  Our faith needs to be so strong that we say no way when people challenge our beliefs!  We should be able to say, “I know there is a God!  I believe in God because of the evidence of His work in my life, and I am convinced there is just one!”  Remember that faith is the substance or evidence we hope for, and faith bridges that gap between God and us.

There are two aspects of faith.  One is faith for answered prayers, and the other is walking by faith.  Originally the New Testament was written in Greek and the Old Testament Hebrew.  If you look at the Greek version of the Bible, you will notice that many words are used interchangeably.  For example, the word gentleness is the same as kindness.  And the word mercy comes from the same root word as forgiveness.  So the word faith in Greek has the same root as the word belief and trust.  In the phrase “walking by faith,” the word faith is closely tied to the word belief.  Let’s look at Hebrews again.

Hebrews 11:6

“6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Again we can use the word faith interchangeably with belief in this verse.  So when we say we have faith, we say we have a belief.  Likewise, if we say we have faith in God, it’s the same as saying we strongly believe in God.  The word faith is very important to us because as Christians, we belong to God’s one body, one Spirit, and one faith.

The Bible also teaches us that faith without works is dead.

1Corinthians 13:2

“2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

Let’s break this verse down; faith means nothing if your actions are not right.  You can tell others you love God, proclaim it in your neighborhood, and carry a Bible under your arm, but if you are still lying, cheating, or practicing other ungodly behavior, your faith means nothing.  Let’s look at what James said on the topic, “faith without works is dead.”

James 2:14-24

“14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food,

16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?

17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

19 You believe that there is one God.  You do well.  Even the demons believe—and tremble!

20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?

22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?

23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God.

24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”

The other word closely tied to faith is trust.

Psalms 37:3

“3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.”

4 Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.

6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.”

The trust the Psalmist speaks about is a life of commitment to God’s will.

First, we learned that faith is a conviction.  It is a belief so strong that it is evidence of itself.  Next, we learned that in the phrase “walking by faith,” the word faith is closely tied to the word belief.  We learned that faith without works is dead.  And finally, the word trust is a life commitment to God’s will.

Now we will discuss faith for answered prayers.

1John 5:14

14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

The scriptures teach us that God hears and answers our prayers as long as they are in God’s will.  Dear young person, don’t get caught up in the trap of thinking God needs to answer your prayers in a certain way.  When asking God for something in prayer, we need to let God know we want His will done.  Many young people struggle with this and say, “God is not answering my prayers.” But we need to look at how we pray.  Are we asking according to God’s will?

Now let’s look at the story of Naaman in the Bible.  You can find this story in the Old Testament.  Naaman needed healing, and he heard about a prophet who could heal.  So Naaman went to the prophet Elisha and told him of his problem.  Elisha gave Namaan specific directions to obtain the healing he needed.  He told Naaman to wash his body in the Jordan River seven times.  But Naaman was offended by this request because the Jordan was one of the dirtiest rivers in the land.  So Naaman complained to the prophet, asking why he had to wash in the Jordan and not one of the other more beautiful rivers.  Naaman was trying to reason with God’s prophet, which is like trying to reason with God.  Naaman wanted his own will.  And it took a humble servant to convince Naaman that he needed to follow the prophet of God’s directions if he wished to heal.  Naaman finally consented.  He washed in the Jordan, and on the seventh wash, God healed him!

Faith in God is real!  It is a conviction and belief with strong evidence of itself!  God is calling us to walk in faith to walk in a strong belief in God!  But our faith means nothing if our works are not right.  Remember, faith without works is dead.  Trust with faith in God is a lifetime commitment to God’s will.  I want to challenge you today.  Know that when we pray to God, He hears and answers our prayers if asked according to His will.

We’ve seen over and again that when the saints of God went to prayer, God answered their prayer.  Let’s look at Peter’s story.

The Apostle Peter was in prison for preaching Jesus and the Bible teaches us that when Peter was in prison, the saints of God prayed for his release without ceasing.  There were soldiers all around Peter, and he was chained.  But when we pray in God’s will, there is nothing in this world that can stop the power of God.  God sent an angel and bright light when suddenly Peter’s chains fell from him, and Peter walked out of prison.  You can read this account in Acts Chapter 12.

Faith is a crucial part of our life with Christ.  Young people have faith in God.  Have faith so strong that your belief in God will never break, no matter what anyone says.