Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What Does the Bible Teach About Faith?

Last evening we restarted our Campus Bible Talk after a few weeks break for summer.  We looked at "What Does the Bible Teach About Faith?"  We looked at the way in which the Bible describes faith, in Hebrews 11, and what kind of faith does God require from us.  We talked about how we can grow in our faith and how we show our faith through the acts in our life.

Here are the notes of our discussion.


July 4, 2011
What Does the Bible Teach About Faith?
Opening question: What is something you believe about Canada but which you have not seen with your own eyes?
Whether it is the Northern Lights or the fact that during the summer there are areas in Canada’s north that have sunlight for twenty-four hours, there are many things that we believe because we have heard from other people, people we can trust, even thought we have not seen them with our own eyes.  This is a good definition of faith – believing something you have not seen.
What does the Bible teach us about the faith?
1.         How Does the Bible Describe Faith
In Hebrews 11:1, we read:  Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
According to this verse, faith means:
a)    “to have confidence in the things we hope for” – the promises of God, even though we do not have them yet, we are sure that we will receive them (in the same way that if your mother or father promises you that they will do something for you or will give you something and you know you can trust them); and,
b)    “assurance about what we do not see” – the realities of the spiritual world – I can think of buying an apartment just by looking at the blueprint or a model of what the apartment or the house will look like, a showhome.
The importance of faith is clear from verse 6: 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.
What does it mean “impossible”?
We cannot approach God without believing that He exists and that He will keep His promises – in the same way that a house cannot be built without a foundation, we cannot even think of getting closer to God if we do not believe in His existence.  This is a process that may take different lengths of time for different people, but it is a process that should take place before one can begin to get closer to God.
2.         The Biblical Faith is Based Upon Facts – not Blind Faith
A lot of times we may be told to believe something just because someone says it – without any facts, without any evidence, without anything to support that.  While sometime this may be necessary (as in when a friend tells you a story or an event that happened to him and he is the only source of that information), this is not the type of faith that the Bible requires from us.
In Romans 10:17, we read that:  Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. 
Where is Biblical faith based upon?
The Biblical faith is faith based upon the evidence, on the true message about Jesus, about his life, his miracles, his teachings and his sacrifice.  These events did happen!
The decision to have faith in God or not is a personal decision that every person makes for himself.  Although we are influenced and at times persuaded by our friends and relatives, we should not believe in God simply because my teacher, my friend or my family believes in God. 
3.         Acting Upon Your Faith
The Bible talks about having “little faith” and “much faith” and also discusses the notion of “living faith.”
What does it mean “living faith”?
“Living faith” means that our faith should be alive in our lives.  We should live in such a way that other people around us can see our faith active in our lives.  The words of James are very useful in describing the importance of faith to be visible in our lives.  James says in his letter, chapter 2:14-19: 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?  15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.   19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
If you have faith in God, this means that you believe His commandments and you will work upon those commandments.  So, when God tells us that we should “love one another” we need to do so believing it is best – 1 John 4:7-8:  7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
This is true also for the other commandments in the Bible, which every word comes from God.  If we have faith in God, we will obey Him fully and continually, all the time.
Conclusions
Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  The Biblical faith is based upon facts and is not blind faith.  Believing or not in God is a personal decision, that we should take carefully and wisely.  And finally, our faith, when we begin to have it, should grow and stay alive in our hearts and in our lives.



Campus Bible Talk 2011

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