Faith (Part II)
Faith Comes By Hearing
(Romans 10:17 KJVA) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
I was listening to my radio show that I produced a few years ago and realized how much I had forgotten. The show was about personal empowerment. It was called The Encouraging Word and I produced four one hour programs. It was designed to be a call in radio talk show. The program that I listed to this past week was the second of the series and it was on habits. I was talking about how our success or failure debends upon the habits we establish.
“You are what you repeatedly do…excellence is not an event… it is a habit”
In the passage that we are looking at above it declares that our faith comes by hearing. I suggest to you that it is not a one time hearing of the word but consistent and repetitive hearing.
Our behavior is formed by us watching the world around us. It develops as we do one thing and get a specific response. We quickly discover as a child that if we cry someone will feed us. Then as we grow older we soon discover that people do not want to hear us crying any more so we had better stop or no one will feed us. Do you notice how everything is beginning to revolve around eating? Tells you one of my major habits these days.
What I hope to help us with today is to learn how we can strengthen our faith. We should be believing in and living a miraculous, Holy Spirit empowered, super natural life of abundance. Instead many of us our stuck in mediocrity. We get bogged down with the every day affairs. We end up too busy to seek the will of God and too tired to go after the prize of His high calling.
Like a car driving down an old county road we get our wheels in a rut and stay right there traveling down the road of least resistance. It is going to take an extra push on the accelerator and a pull on the steering wheel of life to get us out of that rut and onto the pavement of God abundant plan for our lives.
God’s plan for your life is to, by faith, pull yourself out of that rut.
There are basically two different types of, or aspects of faith that I want us to look at today. The first is perhaps the easiest for most of us. The Bible tells us that we are saved by grace through faith…
(Ephesians 2:8 KJVA) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
This is the faith that we
have in Jesus. It is the faith that comes by hearing the gospel of the
Now the reason that this is by faith is because we were not eye witnesses of the resurrection. And like someone telling you about something that happened to them, you can either believe them and have faith in what they have told you, or you discard what they say as a story.
That is what we had to, and have to continually decide for ourselves. Do we have faith in the Biblical account of Jesus?
Now, I know that most of the people reading this and most of the people sitting in the pews listening to this sermon have already come to that knowledge. But I also know that I can not assume that everyone has. And in fact I know that if everyone who I send these messages out to actually do read them then there are indeed at least one or two who do not have that faith…. YET!
So let’s look at a few of the facts.
Fact number one. There was
an man named Jesus who lived and preached in
Flavius Josephus (AD 37?-101?, a Jewish historian)
Tacitus (A.D. c.55-A.D. c.117, Roman historian) mentions "christus" who is Jesus - Annals 15.44
And I could go on and on… If you have any doubt of that much just Google “historical accounts of Jesus.”
So let’s move on to fact number two: the death upon the cross:
Historian Tacitus also made mention of the crucifixion, writing in AD 112.
".. people called
'Christians', hated for their abominable crimes. Their name comes from Christ,
who, during the reign of Tiberius, had been executed by the procurator Pontius
Lucian of Samosata, a Roman satirist (c. 175 AD), said;"[Christ is] .. the man who was crucified in
Then we can again go back to the quote from the Talmud above. Which if you do not know what the Talmud is it is the Jewish, not Christian, but Jewish religious writings, considered scripture.
Flavious Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 18:63-64, said; "About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared."
OK….. So the fact that He lived and died should not be any great leap of faith. It is the resurrection that shakes our shaking. What proof is there of the resurrection. I mean, you have the personal accounts of the men who wrote the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And then there is Peter’s account of the resurrection. We are also told in the book of acts that over 500 people saw the resurrected Christ.
The fact is that most of them were badly tortured and killed in an attempt to get them to recant on what they saw. I don’t know, I am not real fond of pain myself. If I was telling some bold face lie about some impossible event it wouldn’t take much more then a good twist of my arm to tell them I was just kidding. These people where put to death.
only apostle’s death the Bible records is James' (Acts 12:2). King Herod had
James put to death “with the sword” – likely a reference to beheading. The
circumstances of the deaths of the other apostles can only be known based on
church traditions, so we should not put too much weight on any of the other
accounts. The most commonly accepted church tradition in regards to the death
of an apostle is that the Apostle Peter was crucified, upside-down on an
x-shaped cross, in
Matthew suffered martyrdom
James, the brother of Jesus
(not officially an apostle), the leader of the church in
Bartholomew, also know as
Nathanael, was a missionary to
For more wonderful accounts of the torture and death that these early believers underwent read FOX’S BOOK OF MARTYRS.
Ok, I am going to stop there for today. If you still do not want to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Then that is your choice, but do not let it be told in heaven on the day of judgment that you were not told.
Now, I have to clarify something, I have been preaching, and preaching hard against Christians being judgmental. It is not for us to judge.
(Matthew 7:1 KJV) Judge not, that ye be not judged.
(Luke 6:37 KJV) Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:
I want you to know that the world knows what you believe. And the truth is we believe that if they do not choose to open their eyes to the truth of God’s eternal provision for them they are condemned to eternal hell. Imagine being a non Christian for a minute. “
These people who call themselves Christians, who are no better then we “non-Christians” are think they have some special ticket to heaven. And even worse because we don’t believe the way they believe, then they are telling us that we are going to die and spend eternity is the fires of hell. Well, they can just go to…….”
So, I am not telling you to be pointing your fingers at people and saying this one is saved and that one is not… I am telling you not to be so quick to throw stones. I am also telling you the truth is if someone chooses to deny the sacrifice made for them by the God of all creation then they are condemned already.
(John 3:16-19 KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
You know, I spent all this time on this first aspect of faith that I am not going to be able to fairly give the second even the slightest attention. So let me end today’s encouragement with some encouragement. You may have denied Christ in the past. You may have been running away from God your whole life. You may have slipped back some this past week, but God…. Those tow wonderful words “BUT GOD.” But God loves you. And HE has loved you for a very long time.
By putting your faith in Jesus you can walk away today knowing, really knowing that all of your sins are forgiven and you have a new, fresh start on life. Let today be the beginning of a new tomorrow for you. Live life to it’s fullest bringing glory to God in all you say and all you do.
Thank you for being a part of this ministry and may God richly bless you and your loved ones…. AMEN!
May God bless you and continue to make you a blessing!