Faith to Move Mountains

 

What it is

Our English word "faith" comes from the Latin fides, as developed through the Old French words fei and feid. In Middle English (1150-1475) "faith" replaced a word that eventually evolved into "belief." "Faith" came to mean "loyalty to a person to whom one is bound by promise or duty." Faith was fidelity. "Belief" came to be distinguished from faith as an intellectual process having to do with the acceptance of a proposition. The verb form of "faith" dropped out of English usage toward the end of the sixteenth century.

 

Some terms that are synonymous with faith are:

  1. In the sense of having confidence Ė belief, trust, reliance, assurance, and conviction.
  2. In the sense of loyalty Ė commitment, dedication, and devotion.

 

Now these two senses are tightly related. Consider this. How could you be loyal and dedicated to a God that you didnít trust and believe? In other words, without assurance and conviction how could you give Him your committed devotion?

 

What I am most interested in today is Faith in the sense of confidence and conviction. It is my belief that there is very little faith in the Churches today. That is to say, Godís people profess one thing with their mouths but their hearts donít fully believe what the mouth is saying! Why, you might, ask do I make such a harsh judgment, he said rhetorically.

 

Let me suggest to you that there are a number of things that make me feel that faith is seriously lacking.

 

First I note that, generally, the more fervent the proclamation of faith the more subjective is the determination of that faith. That is, I can proclaim my faith in the Bible as the word of God with great certainty and passion. Why? Simply because that faith is something that others cannot easily dispute.

 

On the other hand, if by faith, I proclaim someone healed, the outcome is generally easily determined. Chances are excellent that I will be reluctant to make such a proclamation with great certainty and passion. In this case the determination of my faith is more objective than subjective.

 

The fact that the examples I just gave tend to remain true in many, many, related circumstances leads me to believe that either the one case is overstated or the other case is understated. Human nature being what it is the choice is simple. Faith is seriously lacking in matters where the outcome is easily discerned!

 

Let me give another example.

 

How about the prayer that goes something like this: ďFather please heal my friend, or at least reduce their discomfort.Ē Is that what you would call going boldly before the throne of God? And then it gets worse, when we find we have to ask our friend, ďAre you feeling any better?Ē Is that the way Jesus did it.

 

Why do you proclaim the WORD of God but deny its POWER??

 

Yeah but Ö No yeah buts! He, who we have such great FAITH in said, (John 14:12 NIV)I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

 

DISNEY FAITH - What sometimes passes for faith reminds me of an old Disney animation with this song, ďWhen You Wish Upon a Star.Ē You see, in those movies, the secret was to close your eyes real tight and wish real, real hard. The funny thing is that formula usually contained a fragment of truth and it is simply this; You had to believe with all your might. Now that is a pretty good definition of faith. The only problem is this; God was never mentioned! Instead we heard poppycock about fairies and witches and wishing on a star.

 

Now make no mistake about it. There is power in even this weird, distorted sort of faith. Itís a faith that I sometimes refer to as ďPlacebo Faith.Ē Itís sometimes spoken of as, ďThe power of positive thinking.Ē We all know it sometimes helps people accomplish things. But, I donít believe this faith is going to move any mountains! Itís simply a mechanism that God built into us. If we think we can do a thing, or that a thing can be done, then naturally it is more likely to happen than if we donít have such a belief. Once again I say, this is not the kind of faith that can move mountains.

Perhaps itís because as a child we wished upon a star and nothing happened that we are now afraid to put that much trust in real faith. Maybe we are afraid to appear foolish. Maybe we donít really believe at all.

 

Why is it we are so ready to believe the latest story of impending doom, or gossip, or natural calamity, even if there is no proof, and yet are so reluctant to accept a miracle.

*†† DDT

*†† Global warming

*†† Gas station explosions caused by cell phones

Why do you proclaim the WORD of God but deny its POWER??

 

On the other hand if Benny Hinn or some other person who praises God and gives Him the credit is used to produce wonderful healings and marvelous miracles we can think of a great number of reasons not to believe.

*†† Power of suggestion

*†† Mass hypnosis

*†† And of course Ė a hoax

Why do you proclaim the WORD of God but deny its POWER??

 

How many of us would have found an excuse to not believe Jesus rose from the dead if we had been in Jerusalem when it happened?

 

Are you beginning to see why I think faith is lacking in the church today? So what can we do about it? Letís learn a lesson from our Master. In Luke 22:31-32 He said, ď"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.Ē Even though Simon, AKA, Peter, denied knowing his Lord, the Bible makes it clear that he never lost faith. Maybe we should pray fervently for faith. For ourselves and for each other. For our pastor and for our leaders. Here, and there, and everywhere. Pray and pray and pray. Resolve not to take no for an answer.

 

There is real power in prayer and real power in faith, really! By faith we can overcome temptation. By faith we can overcome trials and tribulations. By faith we can find joy in adverse circumstances. By faith we break down walls that separate us from our loved ones. By faith we can learn how to love in a pure and gracious way. By faith we can overcome fear and learn to forgive. By faith we can receive salvation! By faith we know that Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. You might say that the blood of Jesus was wasted on you if you donít have faith. And wouldnít that be a terrible thing. For he desires that none should perish. Faith then defines who we are.

 

Earlier I mentioned that Jesus prayed for Simonís faith. There was another time when the Lord was concerned about Simonís faith. (Mat 14:25-31 NIV)During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. {26} When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. {27} But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." {28} "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." {29} "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. {30} But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" {31} Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

 

How about you Brothers and Sisters? Are you ready to get out of the boat and come to the Lord in faith?

 

Are you ready to move some mountains?

 

Let us Pray.

 

(Heb 11:1-6 NIV)Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. {2} This is what the ancients were commended for. {3} By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. {4} By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. {5} By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. {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.

 

Today let us all have faith to move mountains!