Faith! (Part 2)

“He who loses money loses much.  He who loses a friend loses much more, but he who loses faith loses all.”

Last week we based our lesson on the following scripture.

Hebrews 11:1

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

We broke the scripture down to the following statement.  “Faith is a conviction or belief that is so strong that it is evidence in of itself.” We each need to have faith in God so strong that it doesn’t matter what anyone else says, that no one can talk us out of believing God.  We also learned that the word faith is tied to the words belief and trust, and these words are used interchangeably with the word faith.  So we can say we need to trust, believe in God, and walk by faith.  Finally, we learned that James taught that faith without works is dead.  And this means that if our actions are not right before God, our faith means nothing.

The devil works a lot on young people today and their actions.  He convinces them that it is ok to be halfway with God and the other half with the world.  Or you can say it this way; it’s ok to be one way at church and then behave another way when you get to school.  God doesn’t have just “Sunday Christians.” A Sunday Christian is a Christian at church on Sunday only.  God wants us to be 100 percent for Him on Sunday and Monday, Tuesday, every day of our lives.  We shouldn’t behave one way at church and another way at school.  Young people, God calls us to have a faith strong enough in Him that no matter what is happening around us, our faith tied to God shows.

We also talked about trust.

Psalms 37:5

“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.”

These verses teach us to commit our lives to God and trust in Him.  We must lay everything in our lives before God and believe He will work everything out for us.  This trust or faith is a commitment to God’s will.  God wants us to trust Him and believe that all He does will work for our good.  He wants us to trust Him and have faith that he will be good in everything.  He knows about everything affecting our lives, and He cares about our situations, even our worries, our fears, thoughts, and ideas.  There is a verse in the Bible I love.  It says Jesus looks after the birds and the animals of the earth.  He gives them food and homes.  When I read about God doing this, it reminds me of all the ways God provides for us.  Because of this, we never need to worry.  We can know that God is with us, and He looks after our needs because He loves and cares for us.  Because we have this faith and trust in God, we believe He will supply our needs.  One way we can put our faith into action is in prayer to God for our needs.

Prayer is essential.  It is a way we can talk to God.  We can have faith that God will move on our 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.”

God hears and answers our prayers as long as they are in His will.  Sometimes young people go to God in prayer and become discouraged when God doesn’t answer their prayer.  But are you remembering to pray for God’s will to be done?  Don’t get caught in the trap of expecting God to answer your prayers in a certain way.  God sees the big picture, and He knows what we need.  Through prayer, we practice our faith.  Remember Peter’s story from last week?  The saints prayed, and God set Peter free in a miraculous way.  God answered the saints’ prayers.

Acts 12:11

“11 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.”

12 So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.

13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer.”

14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate.

15 But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so.  So they said, “It is his angel.”

16 Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.”

We serve a mighty God.  So we need to come before God in faith, believing that He hears and answers our prayers.  The amount of time or degree of earnestness in which we pray has a lot to do with the bearing on our ability to believe or have faith that God will answer our prayer.  How hard will you press, or how determined are you to have your prayers answered?  Will you make a special effort in your devotions every day?  Are you willing to keep praying for years?

I have a cousin in our congregation suffering from pain due to a situation for ten years.  The Saints prayed for her all these years and continued to hold on for her healing.  When this year, she came down with Covid.  It didn’t look good for her, but she had no pain after she began to recover.  It was gone!  God used Covid 19 and worked a miracle in His own way!  So are you willing to pray for each other and with each other for faith to see God move on situations?  When you pray together as a team for need and God moves on that need, no one can convince you that it was by chance that God answered the prayer.

Is your faith growing stronger through your prayer life?  Our faith needs to grow stronger by using it.  We practice faith through prayer, seeing God answer our prayers, and when we continue to do this again and again, our faith in God grows stronger.  You can compare growing faith to growing strong muscles.  To help your muscles grow stronger than they are now, you need to lift heavy weight again and again.  Faith is the same way.  You must exercise your faith by practicing through prayer and seeing God answer those prayers.  Then, your faith will continue to grow.

When our faith is strong, we will have faith for others.  On the other hand, if you do not practice and exercise your faith, your faith will remain weak, and the devil will lure you away.  So keep your faith strong.

You can find another one of my favorite Bible stories about faith in the book of Mark chapter two.  Jesus was at a house preaching and healing the sick.  There were so many people in the house that it was packed, and no one could enter.  Then came a group of men carrying a friend of theirs who was paralyzed.  They brought their friend a long way to see Jesus because they knew He could heal him, but the many people hearing Jesus preach blocked the way into the house.  These men didn’t give up.  They wanted to get to Jesus because they had faith Jesus could heal their friend.  So they took their friend to the rooftop, opened up the roof, and lowered their friend to where Jesus was in the house.

Mark 2:5

“5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”

Mark 2:11

“11 “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

12 Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Jesus wants us to have faith to believe in God so much that our faith helps others.  We read that when Jesus saw the faith of the man’s friends, He healed the paralyzed man.

In closing, how strong is your faith in God?  Is it so strong that no one can convince you there is no God?  Is your faith so strong that you can trust and believe that He has your life planned for you?  My challenge to you today is to have faith!  Have faith in God!