Understanding Bible Faith! Having Faith While Living in the Modern World? Part 5
(Ver 1.3) This is Part 5 in a series of advanced studies about the subject of Bible Faith. Today’s lesson will be a further expansion of the basic foundational truths surrounding faith and a discussion of the differences between having faith today in the modern world versus that of having faith back when Jesus walked the face of the planet. Are there any differences to having faith today to that of when Jesus was walking among us? In the modern world we are faced with an enormous set of challenges. There are the distractions of technology, the media and the internet. We have had numerous natural disasters, economic pressures, threats of violence, wars, riots, terrorism and other things that can consume our focus in recent days. Maybe you have been where I have been and have thought the same things that I have thought. I have personally thought it would have been nice to live in the days when Jesus was physically walking around and living with us. Life was just so much simpler back them and you could have seen the God of creation in the flesh. Wouldn’t it have been nice to see Him physically speaking, healing, walking on water, raising the dead and doing the things that we can only read about today? Sometimes people think that if I had just lived back then, it would have been easy to get healed and I would not have to put up with this disease anymore. I wouldn’t have to put up with this sickness or this disease if I only lived when Jesus was here. If, I could have just gone to see Him and bam I would have been healed like everyone else. However, when you study the Bible you actually come to a much different understanding of reality and that is what I will discuss today. If you have not been reading this series of lesson from the beginning I would suggest that you go back and start with “Part 1”.
I want to start today by turning to the book of Mark chapter 6 and reading a story of Jesus that is often ignored. In this story of Jesus, He is visiting some old friends and relatives and we see a very different reality of how difficult it was back then to get healed even from the Son of God walking among you.
Mar 6:5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
Mar 6:6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
People like to think that Jesus was God in His omnipotent power and that He could do anything that He wanted to on the earth when He was here. However, that is not what the Bible actually teaches us. According to these verses in Mark 6, it says that Jesus wanted to heal them, but He could not. Wow, that is very earth shattering to the theology of many confused Christians. This verse does not say that “He would not heal them”, it says very clearly that “He could not heal them”. That clearly tells us this is not God in His omnipotent power. What would cause God not to be able to do anything? What would limit God’s ability on the earth? You should really think about that before you try to answer. If you have been reading this series of lessons on Bible faith you have learned that Jesus rebuked people for having no faith and praised others for having great faith. Jesus would always emphasize a person’s faith and no other factors were given for anyone getting healed. So if no one gets healed here in this story in Mark 6, why didn’t they? Verse 5 says Jesus tried to do His mighty works there, but was not able to and then in verse 6 it reveals to us why He could not do anything there. In verse 6, it says Jesus marveled at their unbelief. The term “marveled” comes from a Greek root word to “to see” or “to perceive”. Jesus saw that they had no faith and was astonished. If you learned what I taught in the last lesson, you saw that believing was a key factor for having faith that grows and works. You first had to hear, you then had to understand what you heard and next you had to believe what you heard. This was the people’s problem in this chapter of Mark 6. These people heard that He was anointed, understood what it meant, but refused to believe it by a purposeful act of their own freewill. Pay attention to what I just said, it was not Jesus’ choice to not give them faith; it was there choice not to believe that caused them their problems. That is the first thing that you need to know about that I did not cover in the last lesson. You see I could not cover everything in one lesson or I would have overwhelmed you with too much information all at once. What you need to realize is that faith is more complicated than just four simple steps and miraculously you are healed, saved and delivered from every problem. Your “will” is a determining factor to whether or not you believe what you hear. What I am trying to show you is that faith is an internal choice that you make after you hear and understand. You can choose to believe or you can choose not to believe, it is always your choice. You can read in John chapter 5 about a story where Jesus teaches us this lesson about faith and you will see this point being emphasized. In John 5:6 Jesus approaches a lame man at the Pool of Bethesda and says this to him “Will you be made whole”? Why is Jesus asking this man, this question? Apparently it is not all up to God’s will but it was up to this man’s will to whether or not he was to be made whole again. That was a very direct question that reveals the man’s will played a major part in the man getting healed. What we must realize is that Jesus is not diminishing the man’s faith to be a factor; He was only emphasizing the man’s will needed to be adjusted. The man when asked this by Jesus said “I don’t have anyone who will help me”. In other words the man was making an excuse why he was not healed by blaming others that did not help him and this was what Jesus was trying to correct. Jesus was in effect saying to him it is not their fault that you are not healed, it is your own fault and that does not go over well with people who like to blame everyone else and not take any responsibility upon themselves.
Let’s discuss briefly what is your will? Your will is a key part of your internal unseen soul realm. Your soul is made up of your mind (ability to think, reason and your memory), your will (ability to choose and make choices) and your emotions (love, hate, happiness, sadness, etc.). Your will determines what you do today. If you get up in the morning instead of lying in bed all day, then you exercised your will to get out of bed. If you ate breakfast, you exercised your will to determine what to eat and then to eat. Your will is a conscious decision to do something. Jesus is basically informing us that if you are going to get healed then it is up to your will and not God’s will that makes it happen. In other words if you are waiting on God to heal you, you are not going to get healed. Let’s examine the woman with the issue of blood again and see what she did that fits this reality. She heard about Jesus, understood what she heard and believed it and then she did what? She made a decision to go get healed. If she had done nothing or waited for Jesus to come to her she would not be mentioned in the Bible. It was only because of a conscious act of her will that she is found in the Bible at all. So a decision that she made with her will played a huge role in the fact that she got her healing. I wish that was all of the factors, but that is not all of the factors and it gets more complex than this. So hang in there as we learn some more about faith’s prerequisites and partners to get answers using your faith.
Let’s get back to Mark 6 and see why these people did not let Jesus do any mighty works there. These people failed in step 3 of God’s faith building Bible class. Unbelief is a diametrically opposed force to faith. You cannot have faith and unbelief at the same time and get healed; they in effect cancel each other out. There is one story in the Bible that seems to show you can have both, but I believe that faith and doubt can occur in two different realms of reality. Real Faith is of the heart, and doubts can occur in your mind. What you are supposed to learn today is that Bible faith is of the heart or the spirit and it does not occur in your mind. However, to get faith into your heart takes a trip through your mind and I’ll talk more about that soon.
Luk 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
Where does Jesus say you need to believe? You can actually see that Jesus is associating true faith to the spirit of man. To believe with your heart is the goal that you are after. That also implies that you can believe with your head as a mental choice and not with your heart. The mental realm is a doorway to your spirit, but it is not your spirit. In order for God’s word to work you are going to have to get it into your spirit. How do you do this? In elementary school as children, you would say the multiplication tables over and over out loud until you knew them by heart. Guess what that is how you get God’s word into your heart also. When you get something in your heart abundantly you do not have to figure out the answer, it will just automatically come out. In other words when asked what is 6 times 9 you would just say 54 and you do not have to do a calculation to figure out the correct answer. This is what you are after with the word of God also. You should be able to say exactly what the Bible says about your situation without looking it up. You do this by speaking and mediating on it day and night as God told Joshua in Joshua 1:8:
Jos 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
This is God speaking to you today. If you think that this is a private message to Joshua, you do not understand God very much. God is saying that you must keep His words in your mouth all the time. The Hebrew word translated as “meditate” means to “murmur”. To murmur is a term that means to speak under your breath as in to mutter to oneself. God is telling Joshua how to be successful in life and this applies to you also. The net effect of this action is God builds faith in the heart of Joshua and he is able to lead his people into the Promised Land. It is very difficult to explain the difference between head faith and heart faith. If you learn God’s word and say it over and over until you get it inside your spirit, you will know when you have it and I won’t have to explain it to you. There will come a time when it will be obvious to you also. I will talk more about this soon.
What caused these people Mark 6 not to believe? You can obviously learn that believing with your heart is a key component to whether you will get healed or remain the same from this lesson. The people in Mark 6 were the people of Jesus’ hometown where He grew up as a child to become a man. All of these people knew Him intimately and personally, they saw Him physically for many years and yet after being baptized by John and anointed by God, they refused to believe that Jesus was anointed by an act of their will. You see the problem they had was that they could not overcome the mental conflict that was occurring in their minds when they recalled all of the years that He was with them and never did anything extraordinary. They had put Jesus into a box of familiarity and it caused them to miss the great works that He wanted to do. Apparently living back in the days of Jesus is not that much of an advantage to getting healed as I thought originally. It would seem that the more you knew about Jesus the less likely you were to believe that He was anointed and chosen of God. Did you ever think about this? Why did Jesus choose a bunch of strangers to be His disciples? It was simply because they did not know who He was that allowed them to follow Him blindly. It would appear from this information that knowing Jesus would have been a major stumbling block to you getting healed rather than the other way around. So after I read this story, I was glad I did not live back then and see Jesus personally.
In the last lesson on Bible Faith that I did, I gave you one of the greatest faith lessons found in the Bible about the woman with the issue of blood who was sick for 12 years and when she had heard of Jesus she risked public stoning and pressed through the crowd to touch His garment and she was healed. I have been using this story repeatedly because it holds valuable lessons on how faith works that we need to understand. In this lesson I further described that Jesus said it was her faith that had caused her to be made whole. In studying this story you should become aware that it was only this woman who got healed and no one else present was healed who was in the crowd. When Jesus asked “Who touched me”, the disciples told Jesus that everyone is touching you. Why were all of these people touching Jesus? They must have needed something. I do not think that Jesus was seen to be a rock star personality in those days. Jesus did not get up and sing love songs and the women would faint and scream. The crowds of people were there because Jesus had claimed to be anointed by God, but yet none of these people knew that it required more than just a physical touch to get their answer. What we learn from this information is that Jesus does not place any priority on people, but He does place a huge priority on faith. I want to go over another scripture in this story that I intentionally left out of the last lesson to teach you some additional factors about this woman’s faith. I want to show you why this woman had faith and no one else in the crowd did and we will begin reading in verse 27 of Mark 5:
Mar 5:27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment.
We can clearly assume that everyone that was there to touch Jesus that day was there because they had heard the same thing that this woman had heard and that was He was anointed by God. So hearing was not the issue for anyone present, everyone present must have heard about Him the same way. They all must have understood what an anointed one meant. They all must have believed that He was anointed. They all came to touch Him, but only one woman got healed. It must have been another factor that caused this woman to get healed while others did not and that is why I want to show you what is found in verse 28:
Mar 5:28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
We understand from reading this verse that it is out of sequence in time. In other words these are words spoken by the woman before she got to Jesus. Do you understand that? I want to describe the Greek word translated as “for” first in the verse. You see this word in the Strong’s means “to assign a reason”. In other words God is giving us the reason for this woman’s faith. That means it is important to understand. I alluded to this factor in my last lesson and I talked a little bit about it earlier when I mentioned Joshua, but today I want to emphasize it with some extra teaching on the subject of “speaking your faith”. If you have read my other Bible lessons, you know that I teach a lot about the power of words spoken. Here is another example, of this reality using this lesson in Mark 5. We already saw in verse 31 that Jesus said, “Daughter, thy faith has made you whole”. Therefore, we know that the woman had faith before she got to Jesus. Here is how I know that the woman possessed faith before she ever physically saw Jesus:
Luk 17:6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
Here is God speaking to you right here and right now. God says “if you had faith, you would say”. The opposite truth to this statement is “if you had no faith you would be silent”. Wow, that is really good stuff. Does God say that speaking is doing faith? Remember what step four of my last faith lesson was? God said you must 1) hear, 2) understand, 3) believe and 4) do. Step four is always doing your faith. We can clearly see that based upon God’s word here in Luke 17:6 that this woman had faith and was doing her faith because she has said something positive. Remember earlier I tried to teach you that real faith was of the heart and you get this faith by speaking to yourself over and over. This is what this woman must have done. Jesus taught us that “from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Mat 12:34). So whatever comes out of your mouth is what you have abundantly put into your heart. We can clearly understand that this woman had faith from her heart that God says resulted in her healing and that she possessed this before she arrived to where Jesus was because she was saying something.
However, it was not just saying something that was important; it was really more what she believed and then what said. She said “If I touch His clothes, I will be made whole”. Was this prophetic? Was this an amazing coincidence? You have to understand the power of words to see that she got exactly what she said. We should all learn to watch what we say after reading stories like this in the Bible. The woman is never focused on her sickness; her words are only directed at her being whole. If you walk around talking about how bad you feel and how sick you are, you are probably going to stay that way. God is teaching you a concept found in the Bible that is radically different than any concept you get from your doctor. Thinking positively, believing positively and speaking positively will result in good things happening to you. Do you remember what God says in Joel 3:10 “Let the weak say I am strong”. Why would God almighty teach weak people to say what they are not? Wow that is very strange isn’t it? However, God’s ways are not our ways and if you want the God kind of results you are going to have to change to do it His way. This is the major difference between this woman who got healed and the others who touched Jesus but did not get healed. It is obvious to me that none of the others believed or said that they would be made whole. They were just there to try it out and see if anything happened.
It is virtually impossible to teach about faith and not talk about spoken words. These two subjects are intimately connected to each other. The woman with the issue of blood was in effect calling herself whole before she was whole. This is a Bible faith concept revealed to us in Romans 4:17. In this verse God tells us that He called Abraham a father of many nations before He became the father of many nations. In this story of Abraham God changes the name of Abram to Abraham and this causes him to start saying what God said. Abraham was an old man now, but as soon as he starts saying “I am Abraham” which means “father of nations”, He becomes a father that year. God uses your words to produce the results in your life whether you want to believe it or not that is how it works. This faith concept of calling things that are not as though they are, will also work for you today. If you are sick and you want to get healed, be like this woman and start calling yourself whole before you are whole and don’t stop doing this just because it looks worse tomorrow than it does today. This woman could have given up and said there are just too many people for me to get through to Jesus. It is just too hard and it looks impossible. But, she went and made her way through the crowds of people pushing to get to Jesus and when she made it and touched His clothes and she was healed. Would it have mattered if she said “I might be healed”. I think it would have mattered a lot. You see might is a word that implies “might not”, or “depends upon something” I don’t know or some other factor that demonstrates a lack of confidence. If you have no confidence in the Word of God or the anointing you would say “might” or “maybe”. But, if you have great confidence and expect to get healed when you touch Him, then you would say “I will be made whole”. Because the woman had faith in God’s word and His anointing she could say this the way that she did. So I just introduced you to two new determining factors or faith partners that contribute to you having faith. Your confidence level determines your expectation level and these two factors are essential to receiving anything from God. I further showed you that “saying” is a part of doing and some tines it can be all you need to do.
As you can begin to see, Bible faith is a complex subject that is related to many other subjects. We have seen that being willing to hear something new is the introductory level of obtaining faith. Then we learned that you must hear the Word to get faith started. I then showed you how understanding what you heard is a determining factor to having correct Bible faith. I then showed you how believing is an essential factor to having Bible faith. Today I introduced you to your will playing a role in what you decide to believe. Then I taught you that doing is a part of having your faith work for you. Today I introduced you to “speaking” as being a part of doing and getting faith abundantly in your heart. I also showed you that what you say will be dependent upon your level of confidence in what you believe. Finally, the woman with the issue of blood expected to be healed when she touched Jesus, so expectation is another essential piece of having faith that receives. If you don’t expect to get healed you will not get healed. Bible Faith is complex, like a transmission in a car is complex. If you do not think so, you should go unbolt your transmission off of your car and take it apart and see if you are smart enough to put it back together correctly. It takes a lot of training and experience to be a great transmission mechanic and to rebuild a transmission. This is the same way with faith. There are many cross related subjects that you must study to fully understand this complex Bible subject. I wish I could simplify it more, but I did not write the Bible and I did not invent faith so I must learn to work with God’s definitions and the information given to us in the Bible, just like you must do the same.
When you begin to understand how faith works, you will better understand the examples of faith given to us in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. Take for example, the famous story of David and Goliath. Did faith have anything to do with what happens in this story? You should go back and read it again and see what you see that is different now. David heard there was a giant and asks what will be done for the man who kills this giant. It would appear that hearing was a factor in the story. When you read this story notice what David says very carefully and see if he is not speaking words of faith. It is a very powerful faith filled story with words that come from the mouth of David. David said “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine?” In other words who is this one that is not in covenant with the almighty God of Israel? Then David says to Goliath “this day will I take your head from your shoulders and feed your carcass to the birds of the air”. Before David did anything, he always said what he would do. Then David did it acting out his faith in His God. This story exhibits David’s high confidence level in his God’s ability and thus David expected to win the battle and not to be defeated. There were no doubts in the heart of the future King of Israel. But, also realize that before David killed the giant Goliath, David had faith experiences with a lion and a bear. In other words, faith is a progressive undertaking of experiences and previous victories that causes your confidence level to increase. If you start small, your faith can grow to the giant killing level, but if you start with the giant level, you might be easily defeated. Here is a modified list of faith factors that has increased significantly since the last lesson, but hopefully you can see and understand them better now.
- Bible Faith is based upon truth in the Bible.
- Being open to the truth allows truth the opportunity to come to you.
- Hearing the truth is the beginning of obtaining Bible faith.
- Understanding God’s Word spiritually will open the door to allow it into your heart.
- Believing and speaking the Truth will plant it firmly in your heart in abundance.
- Choosing to decide to believe it and do it are both conscious acts of your will.
- Your confidence in the truth determines your level of effort, your commitment and your expectation level for it coming to pass in your life.
- Expect the answer to occur even when it looks impossible. Expecting is like ordering a package from the internet and knowing it will arrive any day very soon.
- Do what you said and receive the answer.
These are the basic steps and factors to having Bible faith in the modern world. It just so happens to be the same as we found in the days when Jesus was walking the face of the earth that we learned about from the woman with the issue of blood. These faith steps also apply to other Old Testament saints like David and Joshua. Faith has not really changed at all, and Jesus has certainly not changed. So whatever He did back then is what is available to you today. I know you cannot touch His physical garment, but you can do everything else that the woman with the issue of blood did and get healed the same way by touching His Spirit. God still sees your faith today and it will still work the same. The Spirit of God is everywhere all at once and His power is available to you right now, but it is only accessed by your faith. In closing I want to emphasize one point that I have seen in the past. There are some people who believe if they throw away their medicine they will be healed. They look at this as an act of their faith. However, that is usually presumptive foolishness that gets you killed. Taking medicine does not heal you and not taking medicine certainly does not heal you. There are no examples in the Bible of people throwing away medicine and getting healed anywhere, so you cannot base your faith on this. Go to the doctor, take your medicine and believe and say that God has healed you and made you whole anyway. When you are healed you will know when not to take any medicine. Your words are much more important to your healing than you not taking any medicine. You begin to say that you are healed and whole and still take your medicine. “Let the sick say I am whole”, that is what Joel 3:10 could say if you want to see it that way. I also want to say that I write these lessons speaking about sickness because many people need to be healed and that is why I have focused in on only one part of receiving from God. But, I want to emphasize that every part of the steps that I just listed will work for whatever you need from God. Maybe it is a job? Maybe it is some money to help pay your bills? The only things that is going to change on my list is what scriptures you need to hear in order to get faith for your need. The Bible contains God’s promises and the New Covenant is built upon better promises than the Old Covenant. So go find the promises of God written about your need and use those to build your faith for what you need today. The rest of the steps are still the same. I hope that clarified a question that someone might have had about faith and how to make it work for a different need other than healing. Thanks for taking the time to study the Bible with me and to see God’s truth.
If you would like to continue reading in this series of Bible lessons on Faith you can go to “Part 6“.
Posted on February 3, 2011, in Bible Study, Faith, Understanding and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Interpretation, Jesus, Knowledge, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, Truth, understanding, Words. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.