Faith and Confession
FAITH - Study verses: Hebrews 11:6, Romans 10:17
"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him." "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ."
The bible makes it very plain that faith is essential for the Christian life. In addition to our study verses, two other verses make this clear. Rom.14:23 - "...and everything that does not come from faith is sin." Heb.12:2 - "...Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..."
WHAT IS FAITH? Hebrews 11:1 tells us, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of things we do not see." Think about that for a moment then let's see how the Amplified version of the bible puts it. "Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of things (we) hope for, being the proof of things (we) do not see and the conviction of their reality - faith is perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses." The famous words which open this chapter are not so much a definition as a description of faith. They tell us what faith does rather than what it is. The result of faith is that it furnishes us with a secure foundation on which our hopes can rest and with a conviction that those things exist which are not earthly or temporal and which, therefore, we cannot see. So, faith is accepting God's word as truth, and acting upon it. See James 2:17-22. Remember, faith is:-
Hope is something we would like to see take place. See 1 Corinthians 13:13, where faith and hope are listed together.
NOT IMAGINATION OR WISHING THINGS INTO BEING.
Faith is not something worked up by exciting human emotion, or some kind of fantasy to escape into. See Romans 4:17-25 where it says Abraham faced the facts and trusted God.
JUST BELIEVING. To believe is to accept a given fact, based on the evidence of our feelings. But with faith we cannot work ourselves up to believe; the Holy Spirit must place the ability to believe in our hearts. Faith is seen in what we do because we believe. See James 2:17. Faith is a total dependence on God and a willingness to do his will. It is not something we use to put on a show for others. It is complete and humble obedience to God's will, readiness to do whatever he calls us to do. The amount of faith isn't as important as the kind of faith - faith in our all-powerful God.
HOW AND FROM WHERE DOES FAITH COME ?
If we read Hebrews 12:2, again we see that Jesus is the source of faith, "Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." This is further explained in Romans 1:17. Having already said that faith is sourced in God's word, we have the first key in answering the question, "How and from where does faith come?" Our study verse Romans 10:17 explains it more plainly, that it is by hearing and receiving the word of God. The second key is accepting or believing; look at the example of Noah accepting the word God spoke to him. See Heb.11:7 and also Gen.6:
ROOT of Noah's faith - he was warned by God.
RESPONSE of Noah's faith - he was moved in holy fear and built an ark.
REWARD of Noah's faith - was the salvation of his family.
The evidence that we are accepting God's word is clearly explained in John 8:31-32 which says, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." This is what happens to us when we come to God with faith as Hebrews 11:6 says.
CONFESSION - Study verse: Romans 10:9
"That if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
Our salvation is undoubtedly secure as we are prepared to acknowledge and confess our allegiance to Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in Heaven." (Matt.10:32-33). So we can see it is extremely important that we are witnesses to what Jesus Christ has done in our lives. Witnesses are those who, in a court of law, give testimony to, or confess, the truth. Acts 1:8 tells us that we are to be witnesses, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth."
According to Vine's dictionary of New Testament words, the word 'witnesses' means:-
1. Those whose lives and actions testified to the worth and effect of faith, and whose faith received witness in scripture, or 2. One who bears witness by his death.
We should be people who give witness to Jesus by:-
a) What we say - 2 Cor.5:17-20.
b) How we live - Mark 16:20, Gal.2:20.
Paul is a good example from the bible:-
To whom did he witness? Acts 26:22-23 - testifying both to small and great.
When did he witness? Acts 9:20 - at once.
How did he witness? Acts 13:16-41 - he reasoned and explained the scriptures, he gave the facts scripturally.
Did he share his own experience? Acts 26:9-21 - He told his own personal story, how he felt.
We also need to confess our faith, give testimony to what we believe to be ours through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
PREPARING YOUR TESTIMONY. Your testimony should give glory to Jesus and be witness to the life-changing gospel of grace. Here are some practical hints that may help you:-
STRUCTURE - your testimony using the before, how and after method, if that's appropriate.
NO TANGENTS - don't go off on tangents, keep to the point.
NO JARGON - use words your listener will understand.
USE EXAMPLES - give details of people, places, events that add interest and make it real.
BE LIVELY - start in a lively way, don't be dull or boring.
BE HONEST - don't exaggerate.
NO COVER UP - of problems and difficulties you have had.
SPEAK ABOUT JESUS - so it becomes clear how your listener may also respond to him.
AVOID BEING CRITICAL - especially of other churches and Christians.
HIGHLIGHT - the good things God has done and is doing for you.
REMEMBER - IN ALL THINGS GIVE JESUS GLORY.
Prayer / Water Baptism