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Hope and Faith

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Faith is built on the foundation of hope and trust.

Trust – God’s character

Hope – expectancy

Faith believing God’s word

How to build faith?

Hope

To hope does not mean to wish.

Biblical hope is a strong expectation that God will act to help and bless us.

It is based on our knowledge of who he is.

 

At first it may be general and unspecific, a general confidence and expectation that God will do good things, but it will become specific, focused on things that are needful or that the Lord has promised. Here it overlaps with faith, but it precedes faith.

  • General expectancy that God will bless
  • Specific hope for a need
  • God responds to that focused expectation and speaks his word.
  • Faith is rewarded.

 

Hebrews 6:11-20

11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute. 17 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

A paraphrase:

“We strongly desire that each one of you demonstrate this same diligence (of which we’ve been speaking, which is focused) towards the full confidence of hope, until the goal (of your hope) is reached. (In this way) you will not become slothful, but you will imitate those who by faith and patience inherit the promises.” 

  • The assurance of hope means that the expectation is so strong that it is quite confident that the Lord will act.

 

  • We have to be diligent in exercising hope and faith. Faith and patience go hand in hand. So also with hope and patience. We must keep the focus on the promises.

  • Next we see that Abraham is an example of patient faith, an example that we must imitate.

Isaiah 51:1-3

     “Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness,

     You who seek the Lord:

     Look to the rock from which you were hewn,

     And to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.

2     Look to Abraham your father,

     And to Sarah who bore you;

     For I called him alone,

     And blessed him and increased him.”

3     For the Lord will comfort Zion,

     He will comfort all her waste places;

     He will make her wilderness like Eden,

     And her desert like the garden of the Lord;

     Joy and gladness will be found in it,

     Thanksgiving and the voice of melody.

It is clear that the promises given to Abraham were also given to us.    

“Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.”….

Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath…. we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

  • “Strong consolation” is ἰσχυρὰν παράκλησιν,  paraklesis means “encouragement”.

In other words, the promise to Abraham and his example are strong incentives to us to hold on to the hope.

  • The hope is the blessing given to Abraham.

Here is the anchor of our soul, the promise that “blessing I will bless you”…

This is an unshakeable promise. God is committed to blessing us.

  • The picture of the anchor is of a boat on the wild seas of life, held fast by the rope that goes into the holy place, that eternal, unshakeable throne room where Jesus sits. This is the firmest place in the universe!

  • Hope, or that anticipation or expectancy that you will receive blessing from God, is an anchor of the soul. It will provide stability to your life and stop you being shaken into frustration, depression, self-pity, anger and so on.

·                    The example of Ray Lockett.

·                    My own testimony of how God has been turning me from negativity to expectancy.

Faith

Two foundations: 

·        Hope

·        Trust

Both are anchored in the character of God.

Isaiah 50:10-12

“Who among you fears the Lord?

Who obeys the voice of His Servant?

Who walks in darkness

And has no light?

Let him trust in the name of the Lord

And rely upon his God.

11     Look, all you who kindle a fire,

     Who encircle yourselves with sparks:

     Walk in the light of your fire and in the sparks you have kindled—

     This you shall have from My hand:

     You shall lie down in torment.

Luke 7:6-10

6 Then Jesus went with them. And when He was already not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to Him, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. 7 Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8 For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.

9 When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, “I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” 10 And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick.

Developing Faith

The apostles prayed that the Lord would develop faith.

·        Pray for it!

Luke 17:5-6

5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”

6 So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

Faith is based on God’s word.

Luke 8:11-15

11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

  • Listen to what God is telling you through his word the Bible and learn to hear his voice through the Holy Spirit.

 

John 10:27  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

·        Learn by obeying what he has already told you to do

·        Truthfulness; no self deception

·        Check with others

Faith is a choice

Note the contrast in the response of Zacharias and Mary

Luke 1:18-20

18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

19 And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. 20 But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”

Luke 1:38

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

  • When you hear, choose to believe it, don’t allow your emotions to shake you, or the unbelief of others.

Faith expresses itself in action

Luke 5:16-25

16 So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.

17 Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. 18 Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. 19 And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.

20 When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.”

21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? 23 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

25 Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

·        When the Lord indicates to you to do something, do it.

·        Also live in obedience to known commandments of the Scripture

God expects us to have faith

Matthew 8:23-27

23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”

26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

Faith and faithful

In English ‘faithful’ is taken as ‘trustworthy’, but in Greek ho pistos means the faithful person (trustworthy, reliable) and also the believing one. Consider how this influences our understanding of the following:

Luke 16:10-11

10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

Stewardship requires faith.

  • This associates faith with diligence, commitment, hard work patience and endurance.

Luke 19:17

17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’

 

Faith persists

Luke 18:1-8

     Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”

6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

What is my adversary? It is simply anything that robs me of my inheritance in God.

Prayer and faith

Luke 18:35-43

35 Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. 36 And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. 37 So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39 Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, 41 saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”

42 Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” 43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

  • Here is the question that the Lord puts to us; “What do you want me to do for you?”

Notice the responsiveness.

We must not waver in lack of confidence, fearful that we might ask amiss. Be bold and ask!

The man of faith will not accept less than the best and highest good.

Take David and Goliath.

1 Samuel 17:31-51

31 Now when the words which David spoke were heard, they reported them to Saul; and he sent for him. 32 Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine[PM1]   .”

33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth[PM2] .”

34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock[PM3]  , 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 [PM4] Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine[PM5]   .”

And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you[PM6] !”

38 So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off[PM7] .

40 Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand[PM8] . And he drew near to the Philistine[PM9] . 41 So the Philistine came, and began drawing near to David, and the man who bore the shield went before him. 42 And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking. 43 So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”

45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”

48 So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. 49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. 50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it.

And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

Steps

·        Identify what you want

Luke 18:40-41

40 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, 41 saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”

·        Is this in the will of God?  

·        Is there a general principle that God desires this? (Prosperity, health, relational harmony, salvation)

1 Timothy 2:4

4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

1 Peter 2:24

24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness— by whose stripes you were healed.

2 Peter 1:2-4

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

·        Find the promise of God

·        Ask and keep on asking

Matthew 7:7-11

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

·        At the same time listen, for God may want to say some things to you – to use the need to teach other things. He may say no to your request

·        Understand that it may take a battle to get what you want

James 1:2-8

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

I think that we may misunderstand doubting here. We usually think of doubting as having questioning thoughts. It is very hard to block out such thoughts and I don’t think that it really makes sense to make answers conditional on not having such a though go through our minds. What is better is to understand doubt as related to the choice. What thought will I hold on to?

An encouragment

1 Corinthians 10:13

13 No temptation (testing) has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted (tested) beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.


 [PM1] See here the association of fear and unbelief.

Compare with Mth 8:26 above

 [PM2]Faith will be tested by the unbelief of others … “Did God really say?”

 [PM3]David learned faith in the context of being faithful over mundane things.

 [PM4] It was in the ordinary circumstances of life that God trained David to do battle.

 [PM5] Here is the confession of faith, the declaration with his mouth

 [PM6] May be the best we can get from older brethren is permission to proceed!

 [PM7]They will try to get you to use their methods and techniques; but this may not be God’s way – discern!

 [PM8] What are the 5 stones that God gives me personally?

 [PM9]This is the act of courage, to actively approach the giant that opposes you.

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