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“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
ALL OF US KNOW SOMETHING OF THE VALUE OF FAITH. For example, we know what the Bible says concerning it.
Hebrews 11:6: “Without faith it is impossible to please God§
Mark 11:22: “Have faith in God.”§
Mark 9:23: “All things are possible to him that believes.”§
Hebrews 11:1: “Faith gives substance to our hopes and makes us certain of realities we do not see.”§
And then, of course, there are the many epigrams that abound today regarding faith:
“Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible.”§
“A little faith will bring your soul to heaven; a great faith will bring heaven to your soul.”§
“Faith, like muscle, grows strong with exercise.”§
Faith is the outstretched hand of the soul taking what Christ offers.”§
Most of us do not question the value of faith. It is the acquisition of faith that we struggle with. Have you ever longed to have more faith but didn’t know how to get it?
Have you ever wanted to live by faith, like those we read about in Hebrews 11? Have you ever said to yourself, “I wish I had more faith because I know that I would be a better person.” Well, right in our text is the key to opening the door to a greater faith. Let’s look at the phrase in verse 17: “faith to faith.”
The first faith speaks of that which is primary (saving faith); the second faith is power-giving (fruitfulness).
We build on the first faith (it is foundational); the second one identifies us.
The first faith is all about assurance; the second tells us what we can become.
The first faith deals with redemption; the second deals with risk.
The first faith is a gift; the second is all about growth.
HOW TO HAVE A MORE POWERFUL FAITH
1. Believe that your faith can grow!
Examples: learning to swim, learning how to ride a bike, learning how to skate. They all started with the belief that we could do it.
Remember when Jesus was in the boat and a great storm arose and the disciples woke Him because they were afraid? He looked at them and said, “O ye of little faith.” Remember the lady whose daughter was possessed and she came and asked Jesus to touch her? As she continually persisted, Jesus finally looked at her and said, “Your faith is great!” Remember when Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica? He said he was thankful because their faith was greatly enlarged.”
Did you see the progression? Little—Great—Greatly Enlarged! If our faith is to expand, we must believe that it can!
A second way to have a powerful faith is to…
2. Associate with others who have great faith.
Rom. 1:12: “That I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.”
I Thess. 3:2: “…and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith.”
Often good circumstances and bad friends equal problems. On the other hand, bad circumstances and good friends equal victory! People we associate with are like elevator buttons—they can take you up or down!
My faith has been enlarged to a great extent by the example of others—observing how they handled adversity and the challenges that life brings. It rubs off, this thing we call faith. The more we associate with those who really trust God, the more we will become a person of faith.
Can you think of someone whose faith has inspired you?
3. Read and embrace God’s Word.
Paul challenged Timothy to be constantly nourished on the words of the faith (I Tim. 4:6).
The life of D.L. Moody has been a constant encouragement to me. One time he said, “I prayed for faith and thought that some day it would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith didn’t seem to come. One day I read in Romans that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” I had up to this time, closed my Bible and prayed for faith. Now I opened my Bible and began to study and faith has been growing ever since.”
So, then, as we get into the Word, we will become acquainted with the great heroes of faith—men like Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, David, Peter, and Paul.
The first morning I heard the mockingbird practicing his bag full of imitations outside my window, I was thrilled by the beauty of his songs. Gradually, however, I began to take this early morning songster for granted. One day as I awoke, it dawned on me that I no longer appreciated my regular visitor. It wasn’t the mockingbird’s fault. He was still there. His beautiful song hadn’t changed, but I was no longer listening for it. As believers in Christ, we may have a similar experience hearing God speak to us in His Word. When we are first saved, the Scriptures, with their soul-stirring instruction and vital spiritual food, are deeply satisfying. As time goes on, however, we routinely read those same portions over and over in a manner that no longer speaks to us. Our spiritual senses grow dull and lethargic, and God’s exhilarating Word becomes commonplace to us. But then, what joy we feel when a passage reveals an exciting truth, and once again we "hear" the Lord! Are you reading the Scriptures out of a tired sense of duty? Or do you still possess the fresh expectancy you had when you first believed? Today, when you read God’s Word, listen closely for His voice.
4. Practice prayer and fasting
Remember the man in Matthew 17 who came to the disciples and asked them for help for his demon-possessed boy? He asked the disciples to pray for him. They prayed and nothing happened. Then Jesus prayed and something did happen—a miracle! The disciples got discouraged and said, “Lord, why is it when we prayed for him that nothing happened?” And the Lord answered, “It was because of you little faith.” Then He talked to them about faith being the size of a mustard seed and how much growth potential it had.
Referring to the boy who was possessed, Jesus said, “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” In other words, there are some problems which are so immense that we must be totally immersed in prayer and fasting—believing God to give that for which we pray. Great problems demand great faith!
5. Remember past victories.
Hebrews 10:32: “But remember the former days, when after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings.”
Keep a victory diary—a prayer book. It will encourage you to pray believingly when you face a mountain.
David found that remembering his past successes with God increased his faith for greater challenge. He told King Saul that the giant Goliath was no problem based on his victories over a lion and a bear.
A good exercise is sit some day and write down all the answers to prayer you have experienced personally—all the victories over sin, temptation, trials, sickness—whatever and then say to yourself, “God and I did it before; we can do it again!” Go ahead and build on that kind of persevering faith.
DR. A.C. DIXON, a well-known pastor in Boston, found his church needed $5,000 to square accounts. He and his deacons prayed about it. One deacon arose and said, “Brethren, God has answered our prayers. He will send the money in next Sunday’s collection. That Sunday it rained all day and the congregation was small. A deacon suggested that they not take the collection. But the deacon who had believed for a good offering said, “I didn’t trust the weather; I trusted God!” They took the offering and it came to $5,600!”