Study 13: Faith that pleases God
“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”. Hebrews 11:6
Hebrews 11 is the great faith chapter of the Bible, sometimes known as the “gallery of faith”, it tells us how great people of faith in the Old Testament overcame difficulties and persecution. The Bible makes it very plain that faith is essential for the Christian life. Several times we read in scripture that “the righteous will live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38.) When we accept Jesus, we are seen by God as righteous – sanctified, pure and holy, joint heirs with Him and seated at the right hand of God. God sees our spirit man as the real “us”, not our body, mind, will or emotions. So, we can just believe God, and know we are His righteous ones.
* Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we don’t see. Hebrews 11:1.
* Faith by itself if it is not accompanied by action is dead. James 2:17.
* Faith is quite simply just believing God.
* Faith sees the battle won never lost.
* Faith is taking what God has said and putting our trust in Him and His promises rather than our feelings, circumstances, desires or our natural senses. 2 Corinthians 4:18-5:7.
God’s Word tells us that those things which cannot be seen with the natural eye are really the things that matter eternally.
Why Have Faith?
We cannot please God without faith. Hebrews 10:22 explains a little more: that we need faith to draw near to God… with true hearts… engendered by faith (that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness). In Romans 14:23 it says:
“…and everything that does not come from faith is sin.”
Sin is the barrier to our coming to God. He had told us that if we put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, our sin problem is dealt with. We are “justified”, (just-as-if-I-had never sinned) which means that we are made to be righteous before God, “through faith”, Romans 5:1. If God has told us we are righteous in His sight through Christ and we don’t believe it, we are telling Him that He is lying! How can we draw near to God in such a way? Faith is essential to our whole Christian way of life.
- Faith assures success. 2 Chronicles 20:20.
- Faith is our basic duty. John 6:28-29.
- Faith is a defensive weapon. Ephesians 6:16.
- Faith pleases God. Hebrews 11:6.
- Faith is essential in prayer. John 1:5-6; Matthew 21:22; 1 John 5:14.
- Faith is powerful with love. 1 John 3:23; John 14:12.
- Faith gives peace with God. Romans 5:1; Philippians 3:9.
How to have Faith
Faith is a decision. It is accepting God’s word as true, and acting upon it. True faith always results in action – even if it is only the action of will determining to trust God and do nothing ourselves. (James 2:17-24.)
- God plants the seed of faith in our hearts in order to accept salvation, Ephesians 2:8.
- Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God, Romans 10:17.
- Hold onto the power of your confession, always speaking the Word, Proverbs 18:21.
- Surround yourself with faith-filled believers, 1 Timothy 4:6.
- Surround yourself with the Word of God as Jesus is the author and developer of our faith, Hebrews 12:2.
- Use patience waiting for God’s answer, it is always perfect timing. Hebrews 6:12.
- Don’t look at the problem, look at God’s answer in His Word. 2 Corinthians 5:7.
- Find your title deed – verse in Bible that gives God’s perspective and answer, and hold onto it.
Categories of Faith
- No Faith. Mark 6:5; Mark 4:40. Sign – full of fear (no belief in God).
- Little Faith. Matthew 14:31. Sign – doubt (more unbelief than belief).
- Great Faith. Matthew 15:28; Matthew 8:10; Mark 5:34. Sign – great miracles (no unbelief).
Rather than “running away from reality”, since God’s Word is the only thing that will endure for ever, we are, by putting our trust in Him, “running into reality”, the objective reality of eternity, 1 Peter 1:23-25; Matthew 24:35; Psalm 119:152.
From where does faith come?
Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by the message of God’s word. So, then, it is necessary to read and study His word to know what He is saying to us. In Romans 1:17 we find that our righteousness (being right in God’s sight) is by faith “FROM FIRST TO LAST” – a thought made more plain by Hebrews 12:2: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith”.
Jesus Christ (the centre of God’s word) is the source of faith. These verses together make plain that the first key in understanding how faith comes is hearing and accepting God’s word. Then we just believe it; that is, trust in, cling to and rely on the word.
Look at the example of Abraham in Romans 4:16-25. Abraham never doubted that God would do all He had said He would do. He made so many mistakes, but he consistently trusted God. His faith was strengthened by each problem he faced and his life is an example to us of walking in the faith of God. (Mark 11:22) Another example of how faith works is found in Hebrews 11:7, where we can see that Noah was warned by God, which gave him roots for his faith. He moved with holy fear and prepared an “ark” as a response to his faith. This faith was rewarded by the saving of his whole household.
So we see that faith is essential for the Christian life and that faith comes from Christ, through God’s word. Then, like Noah, we move in obedience to what God has told us to do and we will be rewarded as we wait upon Him to see the fulfilment of ALL He has promised. Let us together grow in faith and in love as did the early church believers. “We ought and indeed are obligated, to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, as is fitting, because your faith is growing exceedingly and the love of every one of you each toward the others is increasing and abounds.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3. Then we will know the power of knowing God, seeing many being added to our number, and miracles on a daily basis. As we walk by faith, we will allow God to be God and we will be pleasing Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
In the words of Jesus, “ONLY BELIEVE”. (Mark 5:36)
13: Living with Jesus – Challenge Questions
1. What challenged you most from the previous study?
2. Read the notes “What is Faith?” and “Why have Faith?” From the points on what faith is, which point do you find most challenging and which do you find easy?
3. Hebrews 11:1 tells us something of what faith is, write down in your own words what it says.
4. The evidence that we are accepting God’s word is clearly explained in John 8:30-32. Complete the following: “If you hold to my ……………..you are really my ………………Then you will know the ……………. and the ……………… will set you …………..”
5. Why do you think God says that it is impossible to please Him without faith?
6. Name several things that block faith.
7. Read “How to have faith“. From the eight points made which two did you find most challenging? Why?
8. Name one situation that you are in, consider what you need faith for in this situation, find your title deed (point 5) from the Word of God, and then hold on until you see every word fulfilled.
9. From your knowledge of the Bible, name a person who had faith and the situation turned out well for them?
10. From all the verses on faith in this module choose one to memorise. Write it out here.
11. Sum up the teaching in this module in one short sentence.
Answer “True” or “False” to the following questions. If you can give verses from the Bible to back up your answer, that will help you.