2 Corinthians 5:6-7 ESV So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.
The 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote; “The two most important things in our relationship with our Heavenly Father are the life of faith and the walk of faith”.
To hear the audio click on the YouTube image at the end of the manuscript
This is sermon number 4 in the Way of Faith series. The messages are to demonstrate the truth of Paul’s declaration that “we walk by faith, not by sight.” The messages encourage obedience and faithfulness to God’s revealed will even when we cannot see what the end result is going to be.
The first was "Crossing The Red Sea", the second The Walls Of Jericho, and the third "Balaam's Donkey".
In the first two we talked about all of the blessings of having faith in God which causes us to trust, believe, and be obedient to God’s will.
We learned that:
- God is the source of faith.
- The secret of faith is to fear not.
- Faith is activated when God’s people follow His plan.
- Faith’s success is found in going forward when the Lord says move and going in confidence because the Lord’s fighting for you
- When you act in faith you do God’s will without question.
- Praise is the result of our faith.
- When we act in faith God will get the glory.
The last sermon three weeks ago addressed what happens when we don’t exercise our faith through trust and belief. Through Balaam and his talking donkey we learned;
- God speaks to people
- God often speaks to people about their disobedience and sinful ways
- God speaks to people, and failure to heed his Word results in tragedy.
Today we're going to talk about living a life walking by faith.
Matthew 9:20-22 (NKJV)20 And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment.21 For she said to herself, "If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well."22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, "Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well." And the woman was made well from that hour.
Luke 7:44-50 (NKJV)44 Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.45 You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in.46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil.47 Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." 48 Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"50 Then He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you. Go in peace."
The King James Version of the Bible records Jesus saying that “thy faith has made thee whole” or “thy faith has saved thee” seven times. In the New King James Version and New Living Translation it’s translated as “your faith has made you well” or “your faith has saved you”.
The seven scriptures are Matthew 9:22, Mark 5:34, Mark 10:52, Luke 7:50, Luke 8:48, Luke 17:19, Luke 18:42
The words translated whole, well, and saved are the same Greek word sōzō.
Here is how Strongs Greek and Hebrew Dictionary defines sōzō; from a primary sos (contracted for obsolete saos, “safe”); to save, i.e. deliver or protect (literal or figurative) :- heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole. - Strong's Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary.
It’s clear that when Jesus told the woman who had the issue with her blood flow, that her faith had made her whole, that He meant her physical healing.
However when He told the woman who washed His feet with her tears there is nothing to indicate that she had any physical ailment. In this instance her being made well or saved meant something else. Jesus was telling her that salvation had come to her and that she was now completely whole inside and out.
How can I say that?
Jesus Himself said that whoever believed (had faith) in Him would be saved.
John 3:16 (NKJV)16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
John 14:6 (NKJV)6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
In every instance where your faith making you whole or well, or saved, in mentioned, it's important to realize that the word faith has no power to do anything. It’s in what or in whom you place your faith that things happen.
The 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote; “The two most important things in our relationship with our Heavenly Father are the life of faith and the walk of faith”.
Galatians 2:20 NIV I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Habakkuk 2:4 NIV “See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright— but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness --
Here is the dictionary definition of faith:
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
- strong belief or trust in someone or something
- belief in the existence of God
- strong religious feelings or beliefs
- a system of religious beliefs
Here's the biblical one;
Hebrews 11:1 NIV Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
All of the dictionary definitions essentially say the same things but the definition in Hebrews really clarifies it.
The Greek word that is translated to faith is pistis, which has primarily means, “firm persuasion”, a conviction based upon hearing. It is used in the New Testament always of faith in God or Christ, or spiritual things.
It also says in Hebrews
Hebrews 11:6 NIV 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.
Faith is not only to believe, but to be lived
Three Attributes of Faith
Romans 4:3 NIV What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Abraham believed God’s call, God’s promise and God’s plan. He did have his doubts, but he did not act on them.
Faith is being confident and believing in what God says, not just what we see.
2 Corinthians 5:6-7 NIV Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight.
Saving faith prompts us to obey. We can’t really say that we have faith in God if we don’t act on that faith by obeying. Believing and then not obeying makes faith of no account. The bible says that even the demons believe in God, but unlike His children they don't obey so their faith is counterfeit when it come to eternal life with God.
James 2:19 NIV You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
They believe but they certainly don’t obey. You can’t live a life of faith by just believing in God and not obeying.
As we said above Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness but do you think we would be talking about Abraham today if he hadn’t obeyed God.
Genesis 12:1-4 (HCSB) 1 The LORD said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you. 4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he left Haran.
Remember the words of the hymn "Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey." That's what we must do.
- Believing, Obeying, and Working
Works alone will not save you or give you brownie points with God although they do count towards our rewards in eternity. But it is, in my humble opinion, impossible to have saving faith and not do the works that Jesus would have you do.
“Works are the evidence of genuine salvation. They are the proof. Works are the obvious, visible results of being justified by faith. Authentic “saving faith” reveals itself by works.”
We live by faith if we believe, obey, and act (work)!
Galatians 5:25 (HCSB) Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.
We hear Christians say, all the time, that “we walk by faith not by sight”, but do we really know what that means?
What does it mean to have a walk of faith or to walk by faith?
The statement “we walk by faith and not by sight” comes from the apostle Paul’s second letter to the Christian’s in Corinth.
II Corinthians 5:7 NKJV For we walk by faith, not by sight.
The Greek word that Paul used here for walk is peripateō, which is a verb used to describe the Christian’s entire life. The NIV actually says
2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV For we live by faith, not by sight.
The NLT says
2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT For we live by believing and not by seeing.
So to walk by faith is to live by faith.
How do We Walk By Faith?
As followers of Christ we live our lives and focus on things with eternal rather than temporary significance.
2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Since we live our lives in faith and not sight we shouldn’t struggle to achieve the same things that the world does. We go after those realities that are not seen today, like Jesus and heaven.
We should spend our lives glorifying God in everything we do. We need faith to do this because we can’t see, hear, or touch anything spiritual. We base our lives and what we do on God’s Word and not on our natural tendencies which are to follow the way of the world and what’s most popular or attractive. To walk by faith is to live according to what God reveals, rather than trust our own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
The Bottom Line
Walking by faith is fearing God more than man. Walking by faith is obeying God’s Word even when it is in conflict with man’s wisdom. Walking by faith is to trust God and believe Him.
The Example Of Daniel's Faith
Here's an example of a man who lived and walked by faith.
Daniel 6:16 NIV So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
Daniel is a book of miracles and records three of the greatest accounts of supernatural deliverance of individuals found in the Bible: the preservation for the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace (Dan. 3:1–10), the insanity and restoration of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4:1–37), and the story of Daniel in the lions’ den (Dan. 6:1–28).
The events leading up to Daniel's being thrown into the lion's den and what happens is a great example of walking and living by faith.
Daniel was taken to Babylon early on before Jerusalem was destroyed. He was in a group of boys when were groomed to serve the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Through a series of events which you can read in the first six chapters of the book of Daniel, he became very influential with the king. This continued under Darius who was the king of the Medes who had taken over Babylon.
Daniel was about eighty-eight years old when he stood before King Darius. He was still living by faith and still faithful to his Lord. He was still loving, confessing, and serving his Lord.
Daniel's contemporaries were jealous of him because God had divinely given him gifts, which caused King Darius to promote him.
Daniel 6:1-2 NIV It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss.
Daniel 6:3 NIV Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
In other words God blessed Daniel and the other administrators and satraps were envious so they came up with a plan that would cause Daniel to end up in the lion's den.
Their plan was to use Daniel's relationship with God to cause him to be thrown into the lion's den.
Daniel 6:4-5 ESV Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, "We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God."
Daniel 6:7 ESV All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.
So what did Daniel do?
Daniel 6:10 ESV When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. He lived and walked by faith.
Daniel 6:12-17 ESV So what happened? Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, "O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?" The king answered and said, "The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked." Then they answered and said before the king, "Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day." Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, "Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed." Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!" And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his Lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.
As we all know Daniel was delivered
Daniel 6:19-22 ESV Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, "O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?" Then Daniel said to the king, "O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm."
What's to the point I'm trying to make?
Your faith and boldness will put you at odds with the world.
The evil men of Daniel’s day sought to entrap him. They attacked him concerning his devotion to God’s law. They knew Daniel would not stop his praying. The evil governing authorities made the law of the Medes and the Persians conflict with the law of God.
When our worship conflicts with the world's standards you will be thrown into the lion's den.
For thirty days subjects in the kingdom were to refrain from asking a petition of any god or man other than King Darius. For thirty days subjects in the kingdom were to refrain from asking a petition of any god or man other than King Darius.
We see some of the same things happening today concerning prayer in schools, laws desecrating the Lord’s Day, and laws corrupting marriage and the home. We are ridiculed. We're called fools, and idiots, and other derogatory things.
Faith can cause us to be thrown into the lion's den but God will deliver us by faith.
Faith gets us thrown into the den of lions, but God gets us out. God is able to deliver us from dangerous situations, including those caused by our sins.
Daniel 6:23 ESV Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
Darius tossed and turned all night. He could not eat and he could not sleep. Early the next morning, Darius ran to the lions’ den;
Daniel 6:20-22 EASY When he got near to it, he shouted aloud. His voice showed that he was afraid. ‘Daniel, you are a good servant of the living God. Was your God able to save you from the lions ?’ he said. Then Daniel said to the king, ‘I want you, the king, to live for all time. My God sent his angel , who shut the lions ' mouths. So the lions have not hurt me. God knows that I have done no wrong thing. I have not done anything to hurt you, the king, either.’
The overjoyed Darius scooped Daniel up out of the den and immediately executed the men who had hatched the plot. He then proceeded to issue a decree that everyone in his kingdom was to fear and reverence the God of Daniel. Listen to Darius’ testimony:
Daniel 6:26-27 ESV I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions."
God was glorified!
Daniel was not more precious to God than you or me so we can know, for certain, that when we face difficult and overwhelming circumstances God’s love for us is just like the love that He had for Daniel. The kind of love that caused God to send his only Son to die on the cross as the sacrifice to atone for our sins That kind of love is greater than anything we can encounter.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.