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Faith

 

Agnosticism

G.K. Chesterton once said that it is often supposed that when people stop believing in God, they believe in nothing. Alas, it worse than that. When they stop believing in God, they believe in anything. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Faith

In Paduka, Kentucky at Mt. Piska Church, the preacher's daughter is age 6.  The other day she was admonished by her mother not to stick her finger in the lamp socket, electricity could hurt her. She dropped a cookie on the floor and was admonished by her mother to put it in the garbage can because there were now germs on it. This time the little preacher's daughter stomped her foot and said, "Electricity, germs, Jesus and Santa Claus, that's all I hear about and I haven't seen any of them!" ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Faith

One of the criticisms you hear of American companies these days is that they are afraid of taking risks for failure may kill a career.  Well, now USA Today reports that some companies are trying to change that by rewarding failure.  So Resources of Canada gives away the Order of the Duck - it's a duck's head mounted on a toilet plunger.  Terry Owen of Champion Products has a plaque for the worst buy of the year - a reward for that warehouse full of three-inch wide paisley belts he bought.  One executive explains all this by saying, "You know, if you don't go to the plate and swing hard, you're never going to hit a home run."  What's true in business is so true in the Church.  Let's take more risks for God. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Doubt

To believe is to be ‘in one mind’ about accepting something as true; to disbelieve is to be ‘in one mind’ about rejecting it. To doubt is to waver between the two, to believe and disbelieve at once and so be ‘in two minds’.— Os Guinness

 

Faith

         Faith is the gift of God. So is the air, but you have to breathe it. So is bread, but you have to eat it. So is water, but you have to drink it.

         So how do we accept this gift? Not by a feeling, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). It is not for me to sit down and wait for faith to come upon me with a strong feeling of some kind. Rather, faith comes when we take God at his word. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Childlike Faith

         When a father picks up his little daughter and tosses her all around in the air, she laughs and enjoys it, for she trusts—has faith in—her father. Even though she finds herself in unusual situations, like being upside down four feet above the floor with nothing supporting her (normally an uncomfortable circumstance), she does not fear, for she trusts her father. That is the sort of faith we should have toward our heavenly Father, too. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Childlike Faith

         Faith is a little boy who ties a rope swing onto a tiny sapling’s branch. Then, noticing that the seat of the swing rests on the ground, he goes to get the garden hose and begins to water the sapling. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Childlike Faith

         Five-year-old Jessica became a bit frightened as lightning flashed and thunder cracked just as she was stepping out of her evening bath. The lights began flickering as she was getting into her pajamas. She remembered the other times the electricity had gone out and they had lit candles. Now she asked if she could “please sleep in Mommy’s room” because of the storm.

         Before kissing her parents good-night, Jessica prayed: “Dear God, I hope it doesn’t thunder and I hope the lights don’t go out.” After a brief pause she continued, “But I thought it over, and you can do what you want. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

         What better way to say, “Thy will be done”? ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Content of Faith

         It was the great Augustine who said, “If you believe what you like in the gospel and reject what you don’t like; it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Content of Faith

         Many ethnic groups decorate eggs for special events,  especially Easter. In some cases the decoration is so much work that to preserve it the egg is first emptied of its contents through small holes in both ends. When you see the eggshell it looks perfectly normal. But, although it is beautiful, it is not a real egg. For what would happen if you tried to make a cake, or cookies, or egg nog with one of those beautiful “eggs”? Of course, it wouldn’t turn out right because the egg was empty of content. Like an egg, the real value of faith is its content. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Definition of Faith

         Suppose there is a fire in the upper section of a house. As the people gather in the street below, a child is seen at the window of a room next to the fire. The fire trucks are at least five minutes away and so will be too late to help. How is the child to escape?

         Now suppose that in the neighborhood lives a large man, well known for his strength and athletic ability. He arrives at the scene and shouts to the child, “Drop into my arms. Don’t be afraid. I’ll catch you.”

         It is one part of faith for the child to know that the man is there. It is another part of faith to believe that the man is strong and able to catch someone. But the essence of faith lies in his dropping down into the man’s arms. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Example of Faith

         Faith is central to all of life. For example, you go to a doctor whose name you cannot pronounce and whose degrees you have never verified. He gives you a prescription you cannot read. You take it to a pharmacist you have never seen before. He gives you a chemical compound you do not understand. Then you go home and take the pill according to the instructions on the bottle. All in trusting, sincere faith! ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Example of Faith

         At a burning building in New York City’s Harlem, a blind girl was perched on the fourth-floor window. The firemen had become desperate. They couldn’t fit the ladder truck between the buildings, and they couldn’t get her to jump into a net, which she, of course, couldn’t see.

         Finally her father arrived and shouted through the bull horn that there was a net and that she was to jump on his command. The girl jumped and was so completely relaxed that she did not break a bone or even strain a muscle in the four-story fall. Because she trusted her father completely, when she heard her father’s voice she did what he said was best. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Example of Faith

         The story has been told of a man who was crossing a desert in the days of the pioneers. He ran into trouble and was dying of thirst when he spotted a pump near an abandoned shack. He had no water to prime the pump, but he noticed a jug of water near the pump with a note attached. It read: “There is just enough water in this jug to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. This well has never gone dry, even in the worst of times. Pour the water in the top of the pump and pump the handle quickly. After you have had a drink, refill this jug for the next man who comes along.”

         What would the man dying of thirst do? To follow the instructions and prime the pump without first taking a drink would be an exercise of the kind of belief the Bible speaks of. Biblical belief requires that one stake his life on the truth of the promise. If the man follows the instructions, he takes the chance of pouring out all the water and getting none to drink if the pump fails. So he must trust that the message is right. He must act in belief, without first receiving, and must trust in the truth of the promise. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Example of Faith

         Near the end of World War II, members of the Allied forces were often found searching farms and houses for snipers. At one abandoned house, which had been reduced to rubble, searchers found their way into the basement. There, on a crumbling wall, a victim of the Holocaust had scratched a Star of David. Beneath it was written the words, “I believe in the sun, even when it does not shine. I believe in love, even when it is not shown. I believe in God, even when He does not speak.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Lack of Faith

         A man was walking along a narrow path, not paying much attention to where he was going. Suddenly he slipped over the edge of a chiff. As he fell, he grabbed a branch growing from the side of the cliff. Realizing that he couldn’t hang on for long, he called for help.

         Man: Is anybody up there?

         Voice: Yes, I’m here!

         Man: Who’s that?

         Voice: The Lord.

         Man: Lord, help me!

         Voice: Do you trust me?

         Man: I trust you completely, Lord.

         Voice: Good. Let go of the branch.

         Man: What???

         Voice: I said, “Let go of the branch.”

         Man: (After a long pause) Is anybody else up there?

── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Law and Faith

         Rabbi Shammai, in the third century of the present era, noted that Moses gave us 365 prohibitions and 248 positive commands in the law. David in Psalm 15 reduced them to eleven; Isaiah 33: 14~15 made them six; Micah 6:8 binds them into three; and Habakkuk 2:4 reduces them all to one, namely, “The just shall live by faith.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Object of Faith

         The degree of faith that one places in a given object is directly proportional to one’s knowledge of the object. For example, consider a man terrified of flying. When he first arrives at an airport he buys insurance at those coin-operated insurance-policy machines. He has his seat belt buckled twenty minutes before take-off and is sure to listen carefully to the routine “Emergency instructions.” He has no faith in the ability of the plane to get him to his destination. But, as the journey progresses, this passenger begins to change. He first unbuckles his seat belt, then has some lunch, and pretty soon is talking to the person next to him and joking. Why the change? What happened? Is there more faith at 36000 feet? Of course not. The more he learned about the object of faith, the plane, the more faith he exercised in that object.

         Sot it is with believers. The more we learn of the Lord, the more faith we can place in him. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Object of Faith

         During an earthquake some years ago, the inhabitants of a small village were generally very much alarmed, but they were at the same time surprised at the calmness and apparent joy of an old woman whom they all knew. At length one of them, addressing the old woman, said, “Mother, are you not afraid?”

         “No,” said the woman. “I rejoice to know that I have a God who can shake the world.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Object of Faith

         Faith is only as good as its object. A small boy in England was asked by a scientific team to be lowered down the side of a cliff to recover some important specimens. Though the scientists offered to pay him greatly, the boy said no. They tried to persuade him further and he consented finally, but only on one condition—that his father would be the one to hold the ropes by which he would be lowered. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Object of Faith

         The object of mans faith is more important than the amount of his faith. For example, you might have a tremendous volume of faith in the ability of a well-known general to fly you across the Atlantic Ocean, even though he has never flown before. Yet—even with all this faith—if you enter the plane and he does the flying, you will probably end up very wet, or even drowned. The problem with you faith was that the object was not reliable in that particular area. Conversely, you might have only the minutest faith in the ability of an unknown twenty-year vet with 29000 hours of flying time, yet he would get you where you wanted to go, because now the object of your faith was reliable in the area of your concern. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Object of Faith

         The power of faith rests in the reliability of its object. After the first cold week of a Northern winter, I might go down to the shores of the nearby lake and with the utmost confidence begin to stride across the newly formed layer of ice. Unfortunately, I would receive only a cold, wet shock for my trouble. As long as the ice was thin, my faith would be meaningless. But let the winter progress and the cold wind do its work, and eventually the ice will become several feet thick. Imagine that I return to the lake. Now, though I may be frightened because of my previous experience, even the smallest, most hesitating step will be rewarded by the solid feel of firmness underfoot. Faith can now accomplish its task, because its object is worthy. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Object of Faith

         Faith is an essential element of life, but the faith must be in God. Sir Donald Malcolm Campbell, the British car-and boat-racer and holder of several world speed records, lost his life while racing a fast boat on one of the lakes of Scotland. The boat exploded and rapidly sank. The only thing that ever surfaced was a toy stuffed animal, Campbells good luck charm. It was powerless to help him in the final and fatal crisis of his life. Faith is only as good as its object is able.

 

Object of Faith

         The comic Steve Martin once said, Its so hard to believe in anything anymoreI guess I wouldnt believe in anything if it werent for my lucky Astrology Mood Watch.

         No one believes in nothing. Everyone has faith. The only differences are in the object of our faith and its intensity. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

World’s Definition of Faith

        In the classic movie Miracle on 34th Street, Santa Claus utters what much of the world thinks faith is: “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to. In other words, faith is irrational, contrary to experience, logic, and knowledge, and is so even at the most common sense level.

         Of course, the Bible knows of no “common sense” that is not sensible enough to recognize that God exists and can do anything. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Faith

In Paduka, Kentucky at Mt. Piska Church, the preacher's daughter is age 6.  The other day she was admonished by her mother not to stick her finger in the lamp socket, electricity could hurt her. She dropped a cookie on the floor and was admonished by her mother to put it in the garbage can because there were now germs on it. This time the little preacher's daughter stomped her foot and said, "Electricity, germs, Jesus and Santa Claus, that's all I hear about and I haven't seen any of them!" ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Faith

One of the criticisms you hear of American companies these days is that they are afraid of taking risks for failure may kill a career.  Well, now USA Today reports that some companies are trying to change that by rewarding failure.  So Resources of Canada gives away the Order of the Duck - it's a duck's head mounted on a toilet plunger.  Terry Owen of Champion Products has a plaque for the worst buy of the year - a reward for that warehouse full of three-inch wide paisley belts he bought.  One executive explains all this by saying, "You know, if you don't go to the plate and swing hard, you're never going to hit a home run."  What's true in business is so true in the Church.  Let's take more risks for God. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Childlike Faith

When a father picks up his little daughter and tosses her all around in the air, she laughs and enjoys it, for she trusts—has faith in—her father. Even though she finds herself in unusual situations, like being upside down four feet above the floor with nothing supporting her (normally an uncomfortable circumstance), she does not fear, for she trusts her father. That is the sort of faith we should have toward our heavenly Father, too. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Childlike Faith

Faith is a little boy who ties a rope swing onto a tiny sapling’s branch. Then, noticing that the seat of the swing rests on the ground, he goes to get the garden hose and begins to water the sapling. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Childlike Faith

Five-year-old Jessica became a bit frightened as lightning flashed and thunder cracked just as she was stepping out of her evening bath. The lights began flickering as she was getting into her pajamas. She remembered the other times the electricity had gone out and they had lit candles. Now she asked if she could “please sleep in Mommy’s room” because of the storm.

            Before kissing her parents good-night, Jessica prayed: “Dear God, I hope it doesn’t thunder and I hope the lights don’t go out.” After a brief pause she continued, “But I thought it over, and you can do what you want. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

            What better way to say, “Thy will be done”? ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Content of Faith

Many ethnic groups decorate eggs for special events,  especially Easter. In some cases the decoration is so much work that to preserve it the egg is first emptied of its contents through small holes in both ends. When you see the eggshell it looks perfectly normal. But, although it is beautiful, it is not a real egg. For what would happen if you tried to make a cake, or cookies, or egg nog with one of those beautiful “eggs”? Of course, it wouldn’t turn out right because the egg was empty of content. Like an egg, the real value of faith is its content. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Definition of Faith

Suppose there is a fire in the upper section of a house. As the people gather in the street below, a child is seen at the window of a room next to the fire. The fire trucks are at least five minutes away and so will be too late to help. How is the child to escape?

            Now suppose that in the neighborhood lives a large man, well known for his strength and athletic ability. He arrives at the scene and shouts to the child, “Drop into my arms. Don’t be afraid. I’ll catch you.”

            It is one part of faith for the child to know that the man is there. It is another part of faith to believe that the man is strong and able to catch someone. But the essence of faith lies in his dropping down into the man’s arms. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Example of Faith

Faith is central to all of life. For example, you go to a doctor whose name you cannot pronounce and whose degrees you have never verified. He gives you a prescription you cannot read. You take it to a pharmacist you have never seen before. He gives you a chemical compound you do not understand. Then you go home and take the pill according to the instructions on the bottle. All in trusting, sincere faith! ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Example of Faith

At a burning building in New York City’s Harlem, a blind girl was perched on the fourth-floor window. The firemen had become desperate. They couldn’t fit the ladder truck between the buildings, and they couldn’t get her to jump into a net, which she, of course, couldn’t see.

            Finally her father arrived and shouted through the bull horn that there was a net and that she was to jump on his command. The girl jumped and was so completely relaxed that she did not break a bone or even strain a muscle in the four-story fall. Because she trusted her father completely, when she heard her father’s voice she did what he said was best. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Example of Faith

The story has been told of a man who was crossing a desert in the days of the pioneers. He ran into trouble and was dying of thirst when he spotted a pump near an abandoned shack. He had no water to prime the pump, but he noticed a jug of water near the pump with a note attached. It read: “There is just enough water in this jug to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. This well has never gone dry, even in the worst of times. Pour the water in the top of the pump and pump the handle quickly. After you have had a drink, refill this jug for the next man who comes along.”

            What would the man dying of thirst do? To follow the instructions and prime the pump without first taking a drink would be an exercise of the kind of belief the Bible speaks of. Biblical belief requires that one stake his life on the truth of the promise. If the man follows the instructions, he takes the chance of pouring out all the water and getting none to drink if the pump fails. So he must trust that the message is right. He must act in belief, without first receiving, and must trust in the truth of the promise. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Example of Faith

Near the end of World War II, members of the Allied forces were often found searching farms and houses for snipers. At one abandoned house, which had been reduced to rubble, searchers found their way into the basement. There, on a crumbling wall, a victim of the Holocaust had scratched a Star of David. Beneath it was written the words, “I believe in the sun, even when it does not shine. I believe in love, even when it is not shown. I believe in God, even when He does not speak.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Lack of Faith

A man was walking along a narrow path, not paying much attention to where he was going. Suddenly he slipped over the edge of a chiff. As he fell, he grabbed a branch growing from the side of the cliff. Realizing that he couldn’t hang on for long, he called for help.

            Man: Is anybody up there?

            Voice: Yes, I’m here!

            Man: Who’s that?

            Voice: The Lord.

            Man: Lord, help me!

            Voice: Do you trust me?

            Man: I trust you completely, Lord.

            Voice: Good. Let go of the branch.

            Man: What???

            Voice: I said, “Let go of the branch.”

            Man: (After a long pause) Is anybody else up there?

── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

World’s Definition of Faith

In the classic movie Miracle on 34th Street, Santa Claus utters what much of the world thinks faith is: “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to. In other words, faith is irrational, contrary to experience, logic, and knowledge, and is so even at the most common sense level.

            Of course, the Bible knows of no “common sense” that is not sensible enough to recognize that God exists and can do anything. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

FAITH
(see also TRUST and BELIEF)

A pastor I know, Stephey Bilynskyj, starts each confirmation class with a jar full of beans. He asks his students to guess how many beans are in the jar, and on a big pad of paper writes down their estimates. Then, next to those estimates, he helps them make another list: Their favorite songs. When the lists are complete, he reveals the actual number of beans in the jar. The whole class looks over their guesses, to see which estimate was closest to being right. Bilynskyj then turns to the list of favorite songs. "And which one of these is closest to being right?" he asks. The students protest that there is no "right answer"; a person's favorite song is purely a matter of taste. Bilynskyj, who holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Notre Dame asks, "When you decide what to believe in terms of your faith, is that more like guessing the number of beans, or more like choosing your favorite song?" Always, Bilynskyj says, from old as well as young, he gets the same answer: Choosing one's faith is more like choosing a favorite song. When Bilynskyj told me this, it took my breath away. "After they say that, do you confirm them?" I asked him. "Well," smiled Bilynskyj, "First I try to argue them out of it." ── Tim Stafford, Christianity Today, September 14, 1992, p. 36.

 

FAITH
Faith in God makes great optimists. Over in Burma, Judson was lying in a foul jail with 32 lbs. of chains on his ankles, his feet bound to a bamboo pole. A fellow prisoner said, "Dr. Judson, what about the prospect of the conversion of the heathen?", with a sneer on his face. His instant reply was, "The prospects are just as bright as the promises of God." ── The Presbyterian Advance.

 

FAITH
When I was research head of General Motors and wanted a problem solved, I'd place a table outside the meeting room with a sign: Leave slide rules here. If I didn't do that, I'd find someone reaching for his slide rule. Then he'd be on his feet saying, "Boss, you can't do it." ── Charles F. Kettering in Bits & Pieces, Dec, 1991, p. 24.

 

FAITH
David, a 2-year old with leukemia, was taken by his mother, Deborah, to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, to see Dr. John Truman who specializes in treating children with cancer and various blood diseases. Dr. Truman's prognosis was devastating: "He has a 50-50 chance." The countless clinic visits, the blood tests, the intravenous drugs, the fear and pain--the mother's ordeal can be almost as bad as the child's because she must stand by, unable to bear the pain herself. David never cried in the waiting room, and although his friends in the clinic had to hurt him and stick needles in him, he hustled in ahead of his mother with a smile, sure of the welcome he always got. When he was three, David had to have a spinal tap--a painful procedure at any age. It was explained to him that, because he was sick, Dr. Truman had to do something to make him better. "If it hurts, remember it's because he loves you," Deborah said. The procedure was horrendous. It took three nurses to hold David still, while he yelled and sobbed and struggled. When it was almost over, the tiny boy, soaked in sweat and tears, looked up at the doctor and gasped, "Thank you, Dr. Tooman, for my hurting."── Monica Dickens, Miracles of Courage, 1985.

 

FAITH
One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, "Jump! I'll catch you." He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, was flame, smoke, and blackness. As can be imagined, he was afraid to leave the roof. His father kept yelling: "Jump! I will catch you." But the boy protested, "Daddy, I can't see you." The father replied, "But I can see you and that's all that matters."

 

FAITH
Here is a similar illustration:

During the terrible days of the Blitz, a father, holding his small son by the hand, ran from a building that had been struck by a bomb. In the front yard was a shell hole. Seeking shelter as quickly as possible, the father jumped into the hole and held up his arms for his son to follow. Terrified, yet hearing his father's voice telling him to jump, the boy replied, "I can't see you!"

The father, looking up against the sky tinted red by the burning buildings, called to the silhouette of his son, "But I can see you. Jump!" The boy jumped, because he trusted his father. The Christian faith enables us to face life or meet death, not because we can see, but with the certainty that we are seen; not that we know all the answers, but that we are known.── Donner Atwood.

 

FAITH
The following letter was found in a baking-power can wired to the handle of an old pump that offered the only hope of drinking water on a very long and seldom-used trail across Nevada's Amargosa Desert: "This pump is all right as of June 1932. I put a new sucker washer into it and it ought to last five years. But the washer dries out and the pump has got to be primed. Under the white rock I buried a bottle of water, out of the sun and cork end up. There's enough water in it to prime the pump, but not if you drink some first. Pour about one-fourth and let her soak to wet the leather. Then pour in the rest medium fast and pump like crazy. You'll git water. The well has never run dry. Have faith. When you git watered up, fill the bottle and put it back like you found it for the next feller. (signed) Desert Pete. P.S. Don't go drinking the water first. Prime the pump with it and you'll git all you can hold." ── Keith Miller and Bruce Larson, The Edge of Adventure.

 

FAITH
Faith honors God and God honors faith! A story from the life of missionaries Robert and Mary Moffat illustrates this truth. For 10 years this couple labored faithfully in Bechuanaland (now called Botswana) without one ray of encouragement to brighten their way. They could not report a single convert. Finally the directors of their mission board began to question the wisdom of continuing the work. The thought of leaving their post, however, brought great grief to this devoted couple, for they felt sure that God was in their labors, and that they would see people turn to Christ in due season. They stayed; and for a year or two longer, darkness reigned. Then one day a friend in England sent word to the Moffats that she wanted to mail them a gift and asked what they would like. Trusting that in time the Lord would bless their work, Mrs. Moffat replied, "Send us a communion set; I am sure it will soon be needed." God honored that dear woman's faith. The Holy Spirit moved upon the hearts of the villagers, and soon a little group of six converts was united to form the first Christian church in that land. The communion set from England was delayed in the mail; but on the very day before the first commemoration of the Lord's super in Bechuanaland, the set arrived.── Unknown.

 

FAITH
The African impala can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance of greater than 30 feet. Yet these magnificent creatures can be kept in an enclosure in any zoo with a 3-foot wall. The animals will not jump if they cannot see where their feet will fall. Faith is the ability to trust what we cannot see, and with faith we are freed from the flimsy enclosures of life that only fear allows to entrap us.──

John Emmons.

 

FAITH
In April 1988 the evening news reported on a photographer who was a skydiver. He had jumped from a plane along with numerous other skydivers and filmed the group as they fell and opened their parachutes. On the film shown on the telecast, as the final skydiver opened his chute, the picture went berserk. The announcer reported that the cameraman had fallen to his death, having jumped out of the plane without his parachute. It wasn't until he reached for the absent ripcord that he realized he was freefalling without a parachute. Until that point, the jump probably seemed exciting and fun. But tragically, he had acted with thoughtless haste and deadly foolishness. Nothing could save him, for his faith was in a parachute never buckled on. Faith in anything but an all-sufficient God can be just as tragic spiritually. Only with faith in Jesus Christ dare we step into the dangerous excitement of life.── Unknown.

 

FAITH
When Hudson Taylor went to China, he made the voyage on a sailing vessel. As it neared the channel between the southern Malay Peninsula and the island of Sumatra, the missionary heard an urgent knock on his stateroom door. He opened it, and there stood the captain of the ship. "Mr. Taylor," he said, "we have no wind. We are drifting toward an island where the people are heathen, and I fear they are cannibals." "What can I do?" asked Taylor. "I understand that you believe in God. I want you to pray for wind." "All right, Captain, I will, but you must set the sail." "Why that's ridiculous! There's not even the slightest breeze. Besides, the sailors will think I'm crazy." But finally, because of Taylor's insistence, he agreed. Forty- five minutes later he returned and found the missionary still on his knees. "You can stop praying now," said the captain. "We've got more wind than we know what to do with!"── Unknown.

 

FAITH
A precocious young man was taken to visit Albert Einstein. After a short visit, they walked out onto the porch and the young man pointed to a tree. "Dr. Einstein, do we know that tree is there?" "Only by faith" he replied.── Leadership, IV, 3, p. 108.

 

FAITH
Sir Wilfred Grenfell, medical missionary in Labrador, found himself adrift on an ice flow, headed out to sea. He mercifully killed his dogs, made a coat out of their hides, put up a distress flag, and lay down and slept. Later he said, "There was nothing to fear. I had done all I could, the rest lay in God's hands." ── Donald Campbell, Daniel, Decoder of Dreams, p. 20.

 

FAITH
My husband, Ron, once taught a class of mentally impaired teenagers. Looking at his students' capabilities rather than their limitations, Ron got them to play chess, restore furniture and repair electrical appliances. Most important, he taught them to believe in themselves. Young Bobby soon proved how well he had learned that last lesson. One day he brought in a broken toaster to repair. He carried the toaster tucked under one arm, and a half-loaf of bread under the other.── Edna Butterfield.

 

FAITH
When a traveler in the early days of the west, came to the Mississippi, he discovered there was no bridge. Fortunately it was winter and the great river was sheeted over with ice. But the traveler was afraid to trust himself to it, not knowing how thick it was. Finally with infinite caution, he crept on his hands and knees and managed to get halfway over. And then he heard--yes he heard singing from behind. Cautiously he turned, and there, out of the dusk, came another traveler, driving a four-horse load of coal over the ice, singing as he went!── Unknown.

 

FAITH
Olympic gold medalist Darrel Pace was to give an archery exhibition in New York City's Central Park, and the event received coverage by all the news stations. Shooting steel- tipped hunting arrows, Pace punctured bull's-eyes without a miss. Then he called for a volunteer. "All you have to do," said Pace, "Is hold this apple in your hand, waist-high." ABC correspondent Josh Howell took a bold step forward. He stood there, a small apple in his hand, a larger one in his throat. Pace took aim from 30 yards away as we all held our breath. Then THWACK-a clean hit that exploded the apple before striking the target behind. Everybody applauded Howell, who was all smiles--until his cameraman approached with a hangdog look. "I'm sorry, Josh," he said. "I didn't get it. Had a problem with my viewfinder. Could you do it again?"── Bob Teague, Live and Off-Color: News Biz.

 

FAITH
During an especially trying time in the work of the China Inland Mission, Hudson Taylor wrote to his wife, "We have twenty-five cents--and all the promises of God!── W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 242.

 

FAITH
To illustrate dead faith, "It is that kind of faith which would lead a man to take a bottle of medicine from his medicine cabinet. Looking at the instructions on it, he says, 'I'm sure they're correct. I have all confidence in the source of the medicine. I know who wrote these directions. I believe everything about it. I know this will relieve my headache, if I just take it.' But he takes the medicine bottle and puts it back on the shelf. He doesn't lose his headache. It continues on. Yet he can say I believe that medicine. I believe all about that medicine. But still he won't take it. That's dead faith." ── James 2:20 - Dr. Harlan Roper, Tape on James, Dallas, Texas.

 

FAITH
In 1853, when young Hudson Taylor was making his first voyage to China, his vessel was delayed near New Guinea because the winds had stopped. A rapid current was carrying the ship toward some reefs and the situation was becoming dangerous. Even the sailors using a longboat could not row the vessel out of the current. "We have done everything that can be done," said the captain to Taylor. But Taylor replied, "No, there is one thing we have not done yet." There were three other believers on the ship, and Taylor suggested that each retire to his own cabin and pray for a breeze. They did, and while he was at prayer, Taylor received confidence from God that the desperately needed wind would be sent. He went up on deck and suggested to the first officer, an unbeliever, that he let down the mainsail because a breeze was on its way. The man refused, but then they saw the corner of the sail begin to stir. The breeze had come! They let down the sail and in a short time were on their way!── W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 240.

 

FAITH
Three elements of personality are involved in making a decision to become a Christian, or in making any significant decision for that matter. They are the emotions, the intellect, and the will.

For example, a young man meets a young woman. They are immediately attracted to one another. They both say to themselves, "Now there is someone I'd like to marry." At that point, if the emotions had their way, there would be a wedding. But the intellect intervenes, questioning the impulsive emotional response. Would we be compatible? What is she really like? Can I afford to support her? Both conclude it would be better to take some more time and answer a few questions before they proceed. So the two begin spending more time with each other. He eventually concludes that she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Now his intellect has sided with the emotions on the idea of marriage.

But the final and heaviest vote remains to be cast -- that of the will. It stops the march toward the altar with the questions, "Am I willing to give up this lifestyle for another? What about my freedom -- is it worth the trade? Am I willing to assume the added responsibility?" The marriage will occur only when the will finally agrees with the emotions and the intellect. And so it is in coming to Christ.── Jim Peterson, Living Proof, NavPress, 1989, p. 170.

 

FAITH
In 1893, engineer George Ferris built a machine that bears his name--the Ferris wheel. When it was finished, he invited a newspaper reporter to accompany him and his wife for the inaugural ride. It was a windy July day, so a stiff breeze struck the wheel with great force as it slowly began its rotation. Despite the wind, the wheel turned flawlessly. After one revolution, Ferris called for the machine to be stopped so that he, his wife, and the reporter could step out. In braving that one revolution on the windblown Ferris wheel, each occupant demonstrated genuine faith. Mr. Ferris began with the scientific knowledge that the machine would work and that it would be safe. Mrs. Ferris and the reporter believed the machine would work on the basis of what the inventor had said. But only after the ride could it be said of all three that they had personal, experiential faith.── Unknown.

 

FAITH Lengthy Illustrations

In college I was asked to prepare a lesson to teach my speech class. We were to be graded on our creativity and ability to drive home a point in a memorable way. The title of my talk was, "The Law of the Pendulum." I spent 20 minutes carefully teaching the physical principle that governs a swinging pendulum. The law of the pendulum is: A pendulum can never return to a point higher than the point from which it was released. Because of friction and gravity, when the pendulum returns, it will fall short of its original release point. Each time it swings it makes less and less of an arc, until finally it is at rest. This point of rest is called the state of equilibrium, where all forces acting on the pendulum are equal.

I attached a 3-foot string to a child's toy top and secured it to the top of the blackboard with a thumbtack. I pulled the top to one side and made a mark on the blackboard where I let it go. Each time it swung back I made a new mark. It took less than a minute for the top to complete its swinging and come to rest. When I finished the demonstration, the markings on the blackboard proved my thesis. I then asked how many people in the room BELIEVED the law of the pendulum was true. All of my classmates raised their hands, so did the teacher. He started to walk to the front of the room thinking the class was over. In reality it had just begun. Hanging from the steel ceiling beams in the middle of the room was a large, crude but functional pendulum (250 pounds of metal weights tied to four strands of 500-pound test parachute cord.).

I invited the instructor to climb up on a table and sit in a chair with the back of his head against a cement wall. Then I brought the 250 pounds of metal up to his nose. Holding the huge pendulum just a fraction of an inch from his face, I once again explained the law of the pendulum he had applauded only moments before, "If the law of the pendulum is true, then when I release this mass of metal, it will swing across the room and return short of the release point. Your nose will be in no danger." After that final restatement of this law, I looked him in the eye and asked, "Sir, do you believe this law is true?" There was a long pause. Huge beads os sweat formed on his upper lip and then weakly he nodded and whispered, "Yes." I released the pendulum. It made a swishing sound as it arced across the room. At the far end of its swing, it paused momentarily and started back. I never saw a man move so fast in my life. He literally dived from the table. Deftly stepping around the still-swinging pendulum, I asked the class, "Does he believe in the law of the pendulum?"

The students unanimously answered, "NO!"── Ken Davis, How To Speak To Youth, pp 104-106.

 

FAITH Lengthy Illustrations

Even back then I was searching for hard evidence of God as an alternative to faith. And one day I found it--on television, of all places. While randomly flipping a dial, I came across a mass healing service being conducted by Kathryn Kuhlman. I watched for a few minutes as she brought various people up on the stage and interviewed them. Each one told an amazing story of supernatural healing. Cancer, heart conditions, paralysis--it was like a medical encyclopedia up there. As I watched Kuhlman's program, my doubts gradually melted away. At last I had found something real and tangible. Kuhlman asked a musician to sing her favorite song, "He Touched Me. That's what I needed, I thought; a touch, a personal touch from God. She held out that promise, and I lunged for it. Three weeks later when Kathryn Kuhlman came to a neighboring state, I skipped classes and traveled half a day to attend one of her meetings. The atmosphere was unbelievably charged--soft organ music in the background; the murmuring sound of people praying aloud, some in strange tongues; and every few minutes a happy interruption when someone would stand and claim, "I'm healed!" One person especially make an impression, a man from Milwaukee who had been carried into the meeting on a stretcher. When he walked--yes, walked--onstage, we all cheered wildly. He told us he was a physician, and I was even more impressed. He had incurable lung cancer, he said, and was told he had six months to live. But now, tonight, he believed God had healed him. He was walking for the first time in months. He felt great. Praise God! I wrote down the man's name and practically floated out of that meeting. I had never known such certainty of faith before. My search was over; I had seen proof of a living God in those people on the stage. If he could work tangible miracles in them, then surely he had something wonderful in store for me. I wanted contact with the man of faith I had seen at the meeting, so much so that exactly one week later I phoned Directory Assistance in Milwaukee and got the physician's number. When I dialed it, a woman answered the phone. "May I please speak to Dr. S_____," I said. Long silence. "Who are you?" she said at last. I figured she was just screening calls from patients or something. I gave my name and told her I admired Dr. S_____ and had wanted to talk to him ever since the Kathryn Kuhlman meeting. I had been very moved by his story, I said. Another long silence. Then she spoke in a flat voice, pronouncing each word slowly. "My...husband...is...dead." Just that one sentence, nothing more, and she hung up. I can't tell you how that devastated me. I was wasted. I half-staggered into the next room, where my sister was sitting. "Richard, what's wrong?" she asked. "Are you all right?" No, I was not all right. But I couldn't talk about it. I was crying. My mother and sister tried to pry some explanation out of me. But what could I tell them? For me, the certainty I had staked my life on had died with that phone call. A flame had flared bright for one fine, shining week and then gone dark, like a dying star.── Philip Yancey, Disappointment With God, Zondervan, pp. 38-40.

 

FAITH Lengthy Illustrations

There was a tightrope walker, who did incredible aerial feats. All over Paris, he would do tightrope acts at tremendously scary heights. Then he had succeeding acts; he would do it blindfolded, then he would go across the tightrope, blindfolded, pushing a wheelbarrow. An American promoter read about this in the papers and wrote a letter to the tightrope walker, saying, "Tightrope, I don't believe you can do it, but I'm willing to make you an offer. For a very substantial sum of money, besides all your transportation fees, I would like to challenge you to do your act over Niagara Falls." Now, Tightrope wrote back, "Sir, although I've never been to America and seen the Falls, I'd love to come." Well, after a lot of promotion and setting the whole thing up, many people came to see the event. Tightrope was to start on the Canadian side and come to the American side. Drums roll, and he comes across the rope which is suspended over the treacherous part of the falls -- blindfolded!! And he makes it across easily. The crowds go wild, and he comes to the promoter and says, "Well, Mr. Promoter, now do you believe I can do it?" "Well of course I do. I mean, I just saw you do it." "No," said Tightrope, "do you really believe I can do it?" "Well of course I do, you just did it." "No, no, no," said Tightrope, "do you believe I can do it?" "Yes," said Mr. Promoter, "I believe you can do it." "Good," said Tightrope, "then you get in the wheel barrow."

The word believe, in Greek means "to live by". This is a nice story...makes you ask, how often do we say that we believe Christ can do it, but refuse to get in the wheelbarrow?── Unknown.

 

FAITH Lengthy Illustrations

As a young man preparing to go to China, Hudson Taylor determined to learn to live by faith alone while he was still in England. His resolve was "to learn before leaving England to move man through God by prayer alone." He worked for a doctor and was paid quarterly. When the time drew near to receive his salary, Taylor was disturbed that his employer said nothing about it. Taylor had only one half-crown piece, but he determined not to break his resolution and ask for his salary. While visiting a needy home on the Lord's Day, Taylor felt led of God to give his last coin to the needy family. The next day he received an anonymous gift through the mail, four times what he had given to the poor! The following Saturday, the doctor finished up his work and said, "Taylor, is not your salary due again?" Taylor told him that it was and became disappointed when he learned that the doctor had forgotten about the salary due and sent all his funds to the bank! He prayed about the matter (for he had bills of his own to pay) and left it with the Lord. That evening, the doctor visited him and said that one of his richest patients had come over after hours to pay his bill! He gave the money to Taylor, who rejoiced. He had learned he could trust God and therefore go to China as a missionary.── W. Wiersbe, Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching & Preachers, p. 240.

 

Faith Humor

A man fell off a cliff, but managed to grab a tree limb on the way down. The following conversation ensued:

"Is anyone up there?"
"I am here. I am the Lord. Do you believe me?"
"Yes, Lord, I believe. I really believe, but I can't hang on much longer."
"That's all right, if you really believe you have nothing to worry about. I will save you. Just let go of the branch."
A moment of pause, then: "Is anyone else up there?"

── Bits & Pieces, June 24, 1993, p. 3.

 

Agnosticism

G.K. Chesterton once said that it is often supposed that when people stop believing in God, they believe in nothing. Alas, it worse than that. When they stop believing in God, they believe in anything. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Doubt

To believe is to be ‘in one mind’ about accepting something as true; to disbelieve is to be ‘in one mind’ about rejecting it. To doubt is to waver between the two, to believe and disbelieve at once and so be ‘in two minds’.— Os Guinness

 

Faith

Faith is the gift of God. So is the air, but you have to breathe it. So is bread, but you have to eat it. So is water, but you have to drink it.

            So how do we accept this gift? Not by a feeling, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). It is not for me to sit down and wait for faith to come upon me with a strong feeling of some kind. Rather, faith comes when we take God at his word. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Content of Faith

It was the great Augustine who said, “If you believe what you like in the gospel and reject what you don’t like; it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Law and Faith

Rabbi Shammai, in the third century of the present era, noted that Moses gave us 365 prohibitions and 248 positive commands in the law. David in Psalm 15 reduced them to eleven; Isaiah 33: 14~15 made them six; Micah 6:8 binds them into three; and Habakkuk 2:4 reduces them all to one, namely, “The just shall live by faith.” ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

Object of Faith

The comic Steve Martin once said, Its so hard to believe in anything anymoreI guess I wouldnt believe in anything if it werent for my lucky Astrology Mood Watch.

            No one believes in nothing. Everyone has faith. The only differences are in the object of our faith and its intensity. ── Michael P. GreenIllustrations for Biblical Preaching

 

FAITH
(see also TRUST and BELIEF)

Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore seek not to understand that thou mayest believe, but believe that thou mayest understand.── Augustine.

Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand. ── Thomas Aquinas.

 

FAITH & WORKS
Faith and works should travel side by side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again -- until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other.
── William Booth in The Founder's Messages to Soldiers, Christianity Today, October 5, 1992, p. 48.

 

FAITH
God our Father has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whoever does not have faith will have nothing.── Martin Luther.

 

FAITH
Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things only learned in a fiery furnace.── Oswald Chambers in Run Today's Race.

 

FAITH
A man lives by believing something, not by debating and arguing about many things.── Thomas Carlyle.

 

FAITH
Faith understands that God intervenes in the natural course of events; on the other hand,  if the natural course of events should happen to answer prayer--that which we call a coincidence--faith still believes God is present.── Brett Blair.

 

FAITH
The true, living faith, which the Holy Spirit instills into the heart, simply cannot be idle.── Martin Luther.

 

FAITH
God does not expect us to submit our faith to him without reason, but the very limits of our reason make faith a necessity.── Augustine.

 

FAITH
The more we know of God, the more unreservedly we will trust him; the greater our progress in theology, the simpler and more childlike will be our faith.── J. G. Machen.

 

FAITH
Faith is not a distant view but a warm embrace of Christ.── John Calvin.

 

FAITH
Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends.── George Muller.

 

FAITH
Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of faith is to see what we believe.── Augustine.

 

FAITH
Live in faith and hope, though it be in darkness, for in this darkness God protects the soul. Cast your care upon God for you are His and He will not forget you. Do not think that He is leaving you alone, for that would be to wrong Him.── John of the Cross.

 

FAITH
Little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your soul.── Unknown.

 

FAITH
The steps of faith fall on the seeming void and find the rock beneath.── Whittier.

 

FAITH
Faith is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.── Augustine.

 

FAITH
Faith is a voluntary anticipation.── Clement of Alexandria.

 

FAITH
Faith is not merely your holding on to God--it is God holding on to you. He will not let you go!── E. Stanley Jones.

 

FAITH Statistics and Commentary

Definition of faith: Hebrews 11:1. "What is faith, unless it is to believe what you cannot see." (Augustine)
Faith is derived from the Word of God: Romans 10:17
Faith's demand: Hebrews 11:6
Faith's design: 2 Corinthians 5:7
The dualism of faith: Hebrews 4:2
Faith's duty: Romans 1:17--live by it.

── Richard Mayhue, Divine Healing Today, Moody Press, p. 100.

 

FAITH Commentary

To live by faith is to live joyfully, to live with assurance, untroubled by doubts and with complete confidence in all we have to do and suffer at each moment by the will of God. We must realize that it is in order to stimulate and sustain this faith that God allows the soul to be buffeted and swept away by the raging torrent of so much distress, so many troubles, so much embarrassment and weakness, and so many setbacks. For it is essential to have faith to find God behind all this.── Jean-Pierre de Caussade, 1675-1751, in Discipleship Journal, issue 40.

 

FAITH Commentary

The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are opposite sides of the same coin.── A.W. Tozer.

 

FAITH Commentary

The N.T. never says that a man is saved on account of his faith, but always that he is saved through his faith, or by means of his faith; faith is merely the means which the Holy Spirit uses to apply to the individual soul the benefits of Christ's death." ── J. Gresham Machen, What is Faith, p. 180.

 

FAITH Commentary

God delights to increase the faith of His children...I say, and say it deliberately--trials, difficulties and sometimes defeat, are the very food of faith...We should take them out of His hands as evidences of His love and care for us in developing more and more that faith which He is seeking to strengthen in us.── George Mueller.

 

FAITH Commentary

Important lessons are given by this alternation of the two ideas of faith and unbelief, obedience and disobedience. Disobedience is the root of unbelief. Unbelief is the mother of further disobedience. Faith is voluntary submission within a person's own power. If faith is not exercised, the true cause lies deeper than all intellectual reasons. It lies in the moral aversion of human will and in the pride of independence, which says, "who is Lord over us? Why should we have to depend on Jesus Christ?" As faith is obedience and submission, so faith breeds obedience, but unbelief leads on to higher-handed rebellion. With dreadful reciprocity of influence, the less one trusts, the more he disobeys; the more he disobeys, the less he trusts.── Alexander Maclaren.

 

UNBELIEF

Important lessons are given by this alternation of the two ideas of faith and unbelief, obedience and disobedience. Disobedience is the root of unbelief. Unbelief is the mother of further disobedience. Faith is voluntary submission within a person's own power. If faith is not exercised, the true cause lies deeper than all intellectual reasons. It lies in the moral aversion of human will and in the pride of independence, which says, "who is Lord over us? Why should we have to depend on Jesus Christ?" As faith is obedience and submission, so faith breeds obedience, but unbelief leads on to higher-handed rebellion. With dreadful reciprocity of influence, the less one trusts, the more he disobeys; the more he disobeys, the less he trusts. 

Alexander Maclaren.

 

BELIEF

You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn't you then first discover how much you really trusted it? 

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed.


In college I was asked to prepare a lesson to teach my speech class. We were to be graded on our creativity and ability to drive home a point in a memorable way. The title of my talk was, "The Law of the Pendulum." I spent 20 minutes carefully teaching the physical principle that governs a swinging pendulum. The law of the pendulum is: A pendulum can never return to a point higher than the point from which it was released. Because of friction and gravity, when the pendulum returns, it will fall short of its original release point. Each time it swings it makes less and less of an arc, until finally it is at rest. This point of rest is called the state of equilibrium, where all forces acting on the pendulum are equal.

I attached a 3-foot string to a child's toy top and secured it to the top of the blackboard with a thumbtack. I pulled the top to one side and made a mark on the blackboard where I let it go. Each time it swung back I made a new mark. It took less than a minute for the top to complete its swinging and come to rest. When I finished the demonstration, the markings on the blackboard proved my thesis.

I then asked how many people in the room BELIEVED the law of the pendulum was true. All of my classmates raised their hands, so did the teacher. He started to walk to the front of the room thinking the class was over. In reality it had just begun. Hanging from the steel ceiling beams in the middle of the room was a large, crude but functional pendulum (250 pounds of metal weights tied to four strands of 500-pound test parachute cord.). I invited the instructor to climb up on a table and sit in a chair with the back of his head against a cement wall. Then I brought the 250 pounds of metal up to his nose. Holding the huge pendulum just a fraction of an inch from his face, I once again explained the law of the pendulum he had applauded only moments before, "If the law of the pendulum is true, then when I release this mass of metal, it will swing across the room and return short of the release point. Your nose will be in no danger."

After that final restatement of this law, I looked him in the eye and asked, "Sir, do you believe this law is true?" There was a long pause. Huge beads of sweat formed on his upper lip and then weakly he nodded and whispered, "Yes." I released the pendulum. It made a swishing sound as it arced across the room. At the far end of its swing, it paused momentarily and started back. I never saw a man move so fast in my life. He literally dived from the table. Deftly stepping around the still-swinging pendulum, I asked the class, "Does he believe in the law of the pendulum?" The students unanimously answered, "NO!" 

Ken Davis, How To Speak To Youth, pp 104-106.


An American scientist once visited the offices of the great Nobel-prize-winning physicist, Niels Bohr, in Copenhagen. He was amazed to find that over Bohr's desk was a horseshoe, securely mailed to the wall, with the open end up in the approved manner (so it would catch the good luck and not let it spill out). The American said with a nervous laugh, "Surely you don't believe the horseshoe will bring you good luck, do you, Professor Bohr?  After all, as a scientist -- " Bohr chuckled, "I believe no such thing, my good friend. Not at all. I am scarcely likely to believe in such foolish nonsense. However, I am told that a horseshoe will bring you good luck whether you believe in it or not." 

Bits & Pieces, September 17, 1992, p. 6.


It hurts more to have a belief pulled than to have a tooth pulled, and no intellectual Novocain is available. 

Elmer Davis.


People refuse to believe that which they don't want to believe, in spite of evidence. When explorers first went to Australia they found a mammal which laid eggs; spent some time in water, some on land; had a broad, flat tail, webbed feet, and a bill similar to a duck. Upon their return to England, they told the populace of this, and all felt it was a hoax. They returned to Australia and found a pelt from this animal and took it back to England, but the people still felt it was a hoax. In spite of the evidence, they disbelieved because they didn't want to believe. cf. J. McDowell, Answers to tough questions, under "miracles"


"Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that thou mayest believe, but believe that thou mayest understand." 

Augustine.


"We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us." 

Samuel Johnson.


Believing things 'on authority' only means believing them because you have been told them by someone you think trustworthy. Ninety-nine percent of the things you believe are believed on authority. I believe there is such a place as New York. I could not prove by abstract reasoning that there is such a place. I believe it because reliable people have told me so. The ordinary person believes in the solar system, atoms, and the circulation of the blood on authority--because the scientists say so. Every historical statement is believed on authority. None of us has seen the Norman Conquest or the defeat of the Spanish Armada. But we believe them simply because people who did see them have left writings that tell us about them; in fact, on authority. A person who balked at authority in other things, as some people do in religion, would have to be content to know nothing all his life. 

C.S. Lewis.


STATISTICS AND STUFF

Saving faith may thus be defined as a voluntary turning from all hope and grounds based on self merit, and assuming an attitude of expectancy toward God, trusting Him to do a perfect saving work based only on the merit of Christ. 

L.S. Chafer, True Evangelism, p. 55-6.


Of unchurched Americans, two-thirds believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ and that he was resurrected from the dead. The belief that Jesus Christ will return to earth someday is held by 62 percent of all Americans. Of the total American adult population, nearly half believe in creationism, and 37 percent believe the Bible to be the actual word of God, to be taken literally, word for word. One-third of church members believe that a homosexual cannot be a good Christian or Jew. Two-thirds of all Americans think their chances of going to heaven are "good." 

George Gallup, "Religion in America", Leadership, Fall, 1987.


"In 1963...65 percent of Americans said they believed in the absolute truth of all words in the Bible. Within 15 years, by 1978, the proportion of the population holding this belief had declined to 38 percent. The current figure of 32 percent represents a new low in literal belief in the Bible" (PRRC Emerging Trends (January 1992):1). The same thing has happened in England. The proportion of people who believe in a personal God has declined from 36 percent in 1981 to 31 percent today. Those who believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God has fallen from 52 percent in 1981 to 48 percent today (International Christian Digest (July/August 1992)). 

Charles W. Colson, The Body,  1992, Word Publishing, p. 336.


Late faith is unavailing. There's little use accepting arks once the rain begins to fall. Death is such an instant storm that by the time you reach for an umbrella, you already need your water wings. 

Calvin Miller, The Valiant Papers, p. 20.


I would recommend you either believe God up to the hilt, or else not to believe at all. Believe this book of God, every letter of it, or else reject it. There is no logical standing place between the two. Be satisfied with nothing less than a faith that swims in the deeps of divine revelation; a faith that paddles about the edge of the water is poor faith at best. It is little better than a dry-land faith, and is not good for much. 

C.H. Spurgeon.


C. H. Spurgeon claimed that 98 percent of the people he met-- including the criminals he visited in England's prisons--told him that they believed the Bible to be true. But the vast majority had never made a personal, life-changing commitment to Jesus Christ. For them, "believe" was not an active verb.

C.H. Spurgeon.


HUMOR

The content of belief is important: Jonathan Whitfield was preaching to coal miners in England. He asked one man, "What do you believe?" "Well, I believe the same as the church." "And what does the church believe?" "Well, they believe the same as me." Seeing he was getting nowhere, Whitfield said, "And what is it that you both believe?" "Well, I suppose the same thing."

Jonathan Whitfield.

 

BELIEF, erroneous

Studies show that sugar pills, or placebos, can alleviate many symptoms if a sick person believes he is getting treatment. Current research reveals that 1 in 3 people find such medication to be helpful--even when they are told they are getting a placebo. This illustrates the power of mind over body. It also shows that a belief may be temporarily effective, even when it isn't true.


Forget what you learned in elementary school--the earth is flat as a pancake. All that stuff about the earth being round and the sun being the center of the universe is a big joke, insists C.K. Johnson, president of the International Flat Earth Research Society, a group that takes great pleasure in poking fun at "globites." The organization, backed by 1400 members from around the world...or rather, from across the plane, gets scads of mail from dedicated teachers and students who blast it as a group of kooks and charlatans. Maybe it is, but Johnson claims the society's largest single group of members is doctors. Then come lawyers and other professional people, like engineers and architects. The Flat Earthers dismiss modern science as a club for sun worshippers and write off the American and Russian space programs as multi-billion dollar hoaxes. "The moon walk was done in a Hollywood set. All faked," says Johnson, a former airplane mechanic. Furthermore, he and his followers insist the sun is not stationary and does not set. They figure it to be a gigantic spotlight, 32 miles across, that moves in an ellipse just 3000 miles ablve the center of the earth. The other stars are just a lot of tiny holes poked in a huge canopy covering this planet. Do Flat Earthers believe in anything? "We believe the Earth is flat. Everything else is pure conjecture," Johnson replies. 

Campus Life, December, 1979, p. 15.

 

DEGREES OF FAITH.

. No faith. “ How is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).

. Little faith. “ O ye of little faith” (Matt.16:8).

. Great faith. “ O woman, great is thy faith” (Matt.25:28).

. So great faith. “ I have not found so great faith” (Matt.8:10).

. Full of faith. “ Full of faith and of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 6:5).

. Weak in faith. “ And be ye not weak in faith” (Rom.4:19)

. Strong in faith. “ Was strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Romans 4:20).

── F.E. MarshFive Hundred Bible Readings

 

FAITH.

Faith in God may be compared to many things.

. Faith is the hand that receives the gift of God, and makes us rich (John 1:12).

. Faith is the eye that looks into the unseen, and beholds things which are beyond human ken (Heb.11:1).

. Faith is the heart’s response to the call of the Lord (Rom.10:10).

. Faith is the soul’s reliance on the Lord Jesus Christ (11. Timothy 1:12).

. Faith is the link that connects with Christ and God (Heb.10:22).

. Faith is the wire along which the electricity of God’s power runs and communicates itself to us (Gal.3:5).

. Faith is the operator which causes the feet to run in glad and swift obedience, as is illustrated in Israel’s marching round Jericho according to the Divine direction (Heb.11:30). Obedience is the proof of faith. Where there is no obedience there is no faith. Therefore if we would triumph, we must obey.

“ To trust and obey,

There is no other way.”

Or to put it more correctly,

“ To trust is to obey.”

── F.E. MarshFive Hundred Bible Readings

 
Living By Faith
 
INTRODUCTION
 
1. An important aspect of being a Christian involves the element of 
   "faith"...
   a. The gospel to which a person responds in becoming a Christian is
      called "the faith" - Ju 3
   b. Those who obeyed the gospel have been "faithful to the Lord"
      - Ac 16:15; Co 1:2
   c. Christians are called referred to as "the household of faith"
      - Ga 6:10
 
2. Indeed, "faith" is the underlying principle of all the Christian's
   conduct...
   a. It is fundamental to our salvation in Christ - Ro 1:16-17
   b. It is central to the life we now live in Christ - Ga 2:20; 
      2 Co 5:7
 
3. Yet the nature of faith and its importance in the life of 
   Christian...
   a. Are often misunderstood
   b. Are often neglected
 
[As we continue to examine "The Significance Of Being A Christian", we
therefore wish to emphasize that it means "Living By Faith"!  What that
entails may be clearer as we first define...]
 
I. THE MEANING OF FAITH
 
   A. INVOLVES THE IDEA OF BELIEF...
      1. The certainty or conviction that one has in some truth or
         proposition
      2. E.g., believing in things concerning Jesus and His kingdom 
         - Ac 8:12
      3. Such faith, or conviction, comes from the Word of God - Ro 10:
         17; cf. Jn 20:30-31
 
   B. INVOLVES THE IDEA OF CONFIDENCE...
      1. The willingness to place one's trust and reliance on someone 
         else
      2. E.g., placing our trust in God, that He is reliable - Ro 4:3,
         20-22
      3. We are to have similar trust in God - 1 Pe 4:19
 
   C. INVOLVES THE IDEA OF FIDELITY...
      1. That one is loyal, committed, and can be trusted
      2. E.g., a faithful steward is one who is reliable - 1 Co 4:2
      3. Our faithfulness (commitment, trustworthiness) is to last even
         to the point of death - Re 2:10,13
 
[A faithful Christian, then, is one who believes in the Word of God, he
has confidence in the Person of God, and is himself loyal and 
trustworthy in the service of God.  Now let's take a look at what can
be said about...]
 
II. THE LIFE OF FAITH
 
   A. INVOLVES CONFESSING OUR FAITH...
      1. I.e., acknowledging our belief in Jesus Christ before others
      2. Something we must do as a condition of salvation - Ro 10:9,10
      3. Something we do throughout our lives - Mt 10:32,33; 1 Jn 4:15
      -- The life of faith is never ashamed to admit that one believes
         in Jesus Christ
 
   B. INVOLVES LIVING BY FAITH...
      1. I.e., conducting one's life with trust in Jesus Christ - Ga 2:
         20
      2. Trusting in the works of Jesus, not our own; that His death
         was truly for our sins - 1 Co 15:1-3; Ti 3:5-7
      3. Trusting in the words of Jesus, and living accordingly - e.g.,
         Mt 6:33,34; Lk 6:46-48
      -- The life of faith is one that seeks to live in harmony with
         the teaching of Jesus
 
   C. INVOLVES BENEFITING BY FAITH...
      1. I.e., enjoying the blessings that come from a life of faith
      2. Such as joy and peace, hope and power - Ro 15:13
      3. Through our faith in Jesus Christ, we can receive such 
         blessings - Ep 3:12; Ph 4:6-7,13
      -- The life of faith does not go unrewarded in this life, even
         though its primary concern is the life to come
 
   D. INVOLVES MAINTAINING OUR FAITH...
      1. I.e., remaining steadfast in the faith we have in Christ
      2. There is a need to stand fast, for faith can turn into
         unbelief - 1 Co 15:1-2; He 3:12-19; 4:1-2,11
      3. To maintain faith, we must add to it other things such as
         virtue, knowledge, self-control, etc. - 2 Pe 1:5-11; 3:17-18
 
CONCLUSION
 
1. A Christian is one who should take his faith very seriously...
   a. It is essential to salvation (both being saved and remaining 
      saved)
   b. It is essential to life (to receive blessings now, and in the 
      life to come)
 
2. Are you "Living By Faith"?
   a. Do you believe what has been revealed about Jesus Christ?
   b. Do you have confidence in Him, that He can deliver on what He 
      promises?
   c. Are you a trustworthy disciple of Jesus, someone He can count on
      to be faithful?
 
Unless we can answer in the affirmative to such questions, we have yet
to appreciate that "The Significance Of Being A Christian" includes
"Living By Faith"!

 

--《Executable Outlines

 
Building On Faith
 
INTRODUCTION
 
1. In the introductory lesson, we noted that growing in the knowledge of
   Jesus Christ...
   a. Involves the development of eight Christ-like graces
   b. Developed in conjunction with each other
   c. Requiring all diligence
   -- Thereby creating an octave of spiritual harmony best exemplified
      in the person of Jesus Christ
 
2. We observed five reasons why we ought to grow in the knowledge of
   Jesus Christ...
   a. Grace and peace are multiplied
   b. All things pertaining to spiritual life and godliness are provided
   c. Spiritual myopia and amnesia are avoided
   d. We will never stumble
   e. An abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord
   -- Certainly sufficient reasons to spur development of a Christ-like
      character in ourselves!
 
3. In this study, we shall take a closer look at the first of these
   eight graces:  faith...
   a. The foundation of our spiritual development
   b. Upon which all other graces are to be "added"
 
[Developing a Christ-like character is therefore built upon faith.  But
one might ask:  "What is faith?"...]
 
I. THE DEFINITION OF FAITH
 
   A. THE GREEK WORD IS PISTIS...
      1. The definition given by Greek scholars:
         a. "a firm persuasion, a conviction based upon hearing" (Vine)
         b. "conviction of the truth of anything, belief" (Thayer)
      2. Used primarily in two ways in the NT:
         a. Subjectively (the faith we have)
            1) Such as our faith in God
               a) "the conviction that God exists and is the creator and
                  ruler of all things, the provider and bestower of
                  eternal salvation through Christ" (Thayer)
               b) Used this way in He 11:6
            2) Such as our faith in Christ
               a) "the conviction that Jesus is the Messiah, through
                  whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of
                  God" (Thayer)
               b) Used this way in Ga 2:16
         b. Objectively (the object of our faith)
            1) "the substance of Christian faith or what is believed by
               Christians" (Thayer)
            2) Used this way in Ju 3
      -- We are focusing on subjective faith (the faith we have) in this
         study
 
   B. AS DESCRIBED IN THE BOOK OF HEBREWS...
      1. Faith is "the substance of things hoped for" - He 11:1a
         a. The NASB reads "the assurance of things hoped for"
         b. The NIV reads "being sure of what we hope for"
         c. Faith is being confident that God will give us what is
            promised, and for which we hope - cf. Abraham's faith, 
            He 11:8
      2. Faith is "the evidence of things not seen" - He 11:1b
         a. The NASB reads "the conviction of things not seen"
         b. The NIV reads "certain of what we do not see"
         c. Faith is having trust or confidence in things unseen by the
            human eye - again cf. Abraham's faith - He 11:9-10
      -- Faith is therefore that confidence or trust in God and Christ,
         regarding things promised or things not seen
 
   C. FAITH IS NOT CREDULITY...
      1. Credulity in the sense of "blind faith", trusting for no good
         reason
      2. Many have this misconception of faith
         a. That faith is believing in something without evidence
         b. As one person said, "You just have to have faith", rather
            than provide reasons for such faith
      3. Yet we shall see later that faith...
         a. ...while trusting in things not seen, with a conviction
            regarding things hoped for
         b. ...is a trust and confidence based upon strong evidence!
 
[With this understanding of faith, one might also ask:  "Is faith really
that important?"  Yes!  Consider how faith is demanded of us...]
   
II. THE DEMAND OF FAITH
 
   A. IT IS THE FOUNDATION FOR A RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD...
      1. Without faith, it is impossible to please God
         a. We must believe that He is - He 11:6
         b. God has no pleasure in those lacking in faith - He 10:35-39
      2. Faith is the underlying element in our salvation and service to
         God
         a. The key that unlocks the way to salvation - Jn 1:12
         b. The motivating force behind our life of service - Ga 2:20
      -- Without faith, we can't even get started in our relationship
         with God!
 
   B. IT IS THE CATALYST FOR POWER FROM GOD...
      1. There is power available to those who believe - Ep 1:18-20
      2. It is power beyond our imagination - Ep 3:20-21
         a. Power that enables us to overcome - 1 Jn 5:4-5
         b. Power that we should be careful about limiting - 2 Ti 3:1-5
      -- Growth requires power from God, and faith is required for such
         power!
 
[Can we appreciate why Peter starts with "faith" in defining it what it
means to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ?  It is the very
foundation upon which to build a close relationship with God and Christ!
But here is another question:  "How can we have faith?"...]
 
III. THE DEVELOPMENT OF FAITH
 
   A. DEVELOPING OUR FAITH...
      1. Remember, faith is not credulity (blind faith with no evidence)
         a. Instead, faith is based upon the Word of God - Ro 10:17
         b. The Word of God provides evidence to produce faith - cf. Jn
            20:30-31
         c. Besides the testimony regarding the miracles of Jesus, other
            evidences include:
            1) Fulfilled prophecy concerning nations and the Messiah
            2) The scientific foreknowledge of the Bible
            3) The high moral standard it contains
            4) The continuity of the Bible despite it various sources
      -- While we may "walk by faith, and not by sight" (2 Co 5:7), it
        is not truly a "blind faith"
      2. Since faith (i.e., trust, confidence) comes through the Word of
         God...
         a. We must be diligent in reading the Bible
         b. Only then will our faith become stronger
      -- Do we appreciate the value of the Word of God in producing the
         faith that pleases Him?
 
   B. MAINTAINING OUR FAITH...
      1. We must guard against the sin of unbelief - cf. He 3:12-14
         a. Many people lose their faith, especially when young
         b. Faith is maintained through constant reading or hearing of
            the Word
      2. We can also maintain faith through Paul's threefold directive 
         - 1 Ti 6:9-12
         a. Flee materialism - undue concern for things of this world
            undermine our faith
         b. Pursue faith - this we can do by feeding on God's word
         c. Fight the good fight of faith - the best defense is a good
            offense; be active in propagating the faith - cf. Ju 3
      -- The nation of Israel lost it's faith in the wilderness, are we
         in danger of losing our faith during our sojourn?
 
[Finally, a thought or two about how faith in God manifests itself
today...]
 
IV. THE DISPLAY OF FAITH
 
   A. THROUGH OBEDIENCE TO THE GOSPEL...
      1. The gospel of Christ requires obedience
         a. Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to those who obey
            Him - He 5:9
         b. The gospel Paul preached leads to obedience - Ro 1:5; 16:
            25-26
         c. Fearful consequences come to those who do not obey it - 2 Th
            1:7-9
      2. How does one obey the gospel?  By obeying the commands of the
         gospel:
         a. The command to believe in Jesus - Mk 16:15-16
         b. The command to repent of sins - Ac 2:38; 17:30
         c. The command to confess Jesus - Mt 10:32; Ro 10:9,10
         d. The command to be baptized for the remission of sins - Ac
            2:38; 22:16
         -- Have you displayed faith by "obeying from the heart" the
            doctrine presented in the gospel of Christ? - cf. Ro 6:17
 
   B. THROUGH LIVING FOR JESUS...
      1. Trusting in His words
         a. Seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness - Mt
            6:33
         b. Doing what He says - Lk 6:46
         c. Observing all that He commanded - Mt 28:20
      2. Trusting in His promises
         a. That He is preparing a place for us - Jn 14:1-2
         b. That He will return one day for us - Jn 14:3
      -- Are you setting an example of one who walks by faith in Jesus,
         and not just by what they can see with their eyes, or 
         accomplish on their own strength?
 
CONCLUSION
 
1. Faith is a simple concept, but a crucial one...
   a. It is simply trusting in God and Jesus
   b. Regarding things not seen yet hoped for
 
2. Without faith, it is impossible to...
   a. Please God, for we must believe He exists, rewarding those who
      diligently seek Him
   b. Grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, for it is the basis upon
      which growth is built
       
May we allow the evidences of God's Word to produce a faith that trusts
and obeys a wonderful Savior, who in turn provides "exceedingly great
and precious promises" as we grow in our knowledge of Him!

 

--《Executable Outlines