Part 2 – The Truth About Faith

Since 2006, I’ve continued my research and study about faith. The first part I shared with you and an article by Jay Snell that started everything. His definition of faith caught my attention. From that article I went back through the Old Testament and saw authentic faith the whole way through the Old Testament.

Here is Snell’s definition of faith:

Faith is information that you receive from God for you to act upon. This information enables you to know in advance what God is going to do in the future concerning a given issue or course of action. This information also enables you to know what you are to do in this course of action concerning this given issue.

Now once I understood what faith meant I wanted to see if I would find it in the Gospels. What was so amazing to me was, this is how Jesus lived his life. I call jesus the pattern Son. Remember when he said,

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, “Verily, verily I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for what things He does, these things does likewise.
John 5:19

For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.
John 12:49

What the disciples can teach us about faith.

Notice how the disciples responded to Jesus when he called them. “

And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left [their] nets, and followed him.

And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James [the son] of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

Now with our definition of faith, what did Jesus say to these men. He said, “follow me…” What did these men do? Peter and Andrew, “straightway left (their) nets, and followed him.”

What did James and John do? They immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

Did Jesus give them instructions for them to act upon? Yes. What did they do? The believing was an act of their faith. They followed him.

Another person that was called by Jesus in the same way was Matthew as recorded in Matthew 9:9, And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

Did Jesus give Matthew instructions for him to act upon? Yes. What did Matthew do? He arose, and followed him.

Another one called by Jesus by a short and somewhat direct instruction was Philip as noted in John 1:43, The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.

When these disciples left all to follow Jesus it was only the beginning of their walk of faith. Jesus had much more to teach them.

From the beginning, Jesus told the disciples that He would make them into something different: Come, follow me,…and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).

Jesus used everyday opportunities to train his disciples. I love how Jesus trained and equipped his disciples. One example of Jesus’ intentional leadership is in the feeding of the five thousand. What I want you to notice is Jesus always included his disciples in what he was doing.

Read through John 6:1-13 and notice all the times Jesus had his disciples minister to the people during this event and what Jesus instructions were.

6 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias.

And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.

And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.

And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.

When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat?

And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.

Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him,

There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?

10 And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.

11 And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.

12 When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.

13 Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.

Look back over the verses above and see what Jesus told the disciples to do. Did the disciples do what he told them to do. Yes.

During this miracle, the disciples were learning about ministry as well as learning about how to walk by faith. Jesus gave the disciples hands-on experience in learning to care for others. He didn’t just have them sit back and watch Him meet peoples needs – he got them actively involved in ministering to the people around them. He does the same with us if we understand what faith means. That’s why we’re told to walk by faith and not by sight. Can you imagine what the disciples were thinking when they saw 5000 men.

Yes this was a miracle. What I want you to notice in verse 3 though, “And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.” I don’t know about you, but Jesus knew this was a learning experience for his disciples about faith.

After feeding the 5000Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and travel to the other side of the Sea of Galilee while he dismissed the crowd. After dismissing the crowd, Jesus went up onto a mountainside by himself and prayed. Why do you think Jesus went up onto a mountainside by himself and prayed?

Later that night, Jesus was on the mountainside alone and the boat was already a considerable distance from the shore being pounded by waves because the wind had grown fierce. Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the water.

When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost, they cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them,

“Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.”

Peter was skeptical. “Lord, he said, “if it is really you, tell me to come to you on the water.”

Come, Jesus said. Peter got down out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the waves driven by the wind, he was afraid and began to sink. He cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Jesus quickly reached out his hand and caught him. You of little faith, he said, why did you doubt?

When they climbed onto the boat, the wind died down. Those on the boat worshipped Jesus saying, Truly you are the Son of God.”

Now let’s ask ourselves some questions.

Did Jesus give some information to Peter to act upon? Yes. What did Jesus tell Peter to do? “Come, Jesus said.” Now Peter is still learning how to walk by faith but when his eyes focused on the waves what happened to Peter? “But when he (Peter) saw the waves driven by the wind, he was afraid and began to sink.

Peter cried out, Lord save me.

Jesus quickly reached out his hand and caught him. You of little faith, he said, why did you doubt?

When they climbed onto the boat, the wind died down. Those on the boat worshipped Jesus saying, Truly you are the Son of God.”

Now don’t be so hard on Peter, he’s still learning to walk by faith and not by sight. Peter got one word, COME, but it’s the one speaking this one word that made all the difference in the world. When they were all in the boat the disciples got a glimpse of the true Son of God and when he speaks, whether by many words or just one word you are enabled to carry it out.

What the story means to us today – no greater story in the Bible demonstrates the profound power of faith
even if it’s just one word from the master!

If you read through the Gospels you will see everywhere how our definition of faith shows up on almost every page.

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