RSS feed

Download the pdf file

 

In the Gospels, Jesus questioned the disciples and even rebuked them for their lack of faith, saying, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” and “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?” and to Peter as he fell into the water, He said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” but Luke recorded for us this question of Jesus, “Where is your faith?”

Enough has been said and preached on what faith is and what it does and the quantity required, so it will not be dealt with again.  No amount of analysis of what faith is or what amount of faith you have counts at this point in time.  The question now is not whether you have faith or a lot of faith or a little faith, for without faith you would not be here now to be introduced to absolute faith.

Having believed enough of the words of Jesus to have put them into practice so that you have the testimony in your life that His words are true, the question then is… not whether you believe Him, but whether you have faith in Him.  When you believe a person, it is based on hearing what he has said and is saying, and seeing what he has done and is doing

It is written:  And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in Him and in Moses His servant.  However, it is translated in the KJV and NASB as:  and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and His servant Moses.  Whilst the AMP opened up the word ‘trust’ as being ‘relied on, remained steadfast to.’  They had escaped from the Egyptians and watched as their enemies were drowned in the very channel they had just walked across in the sea.  It is little wonder that they had put their ‘faith’ in God and Moses.  However, the translations tell us that this faith is fickle… because in reality, they had only begun to believe in God. 

Faith is not faith until it has been tested by the very essence of what makes faith the substance it is… as it is written:  Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  In all translations of the KJV, AMP and NASB, these two words remain… ‘hope’ and ‘see’ or ‘seen’.  Thus, faith that is professed is tested when that which caused you to profess your faith is taken away so that you can no longer see it, and/or the hope that was born from the faith is destroyed.  The removal of hope or that which you can see is what will test faith to see if it is steadfast… and when faith is so steadfast, then it is unchallengeable, unchangeable, unquestionable… it is absolute.

The faith of Israel that was mentioned in Exodus 14.31 failed the test at Exodus 32.1-2 when Moses had not been seen for 40 days.  They said, Come, make us gods who will go before us.  As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”  They may have had the hope of going somewhere, for they asked Aaron to make them gods to go before them, but they had lost the faith they professed.  All because they could no longer see Moses, even though it was evident that God was in their midst with the fire on the mountain.  The loss of one part of what they could see, the man, Moses, who constituted part of the reason of their faith earlier, was enough for them to break faith with God and worship an idol.  Hence, the use of the word ‘believed’ in KJV and NASB correctly tells us that the quality of their faith was not the steadfast faith that was beyond belief, but rather, it retained a fickleness in its quality.

When Jesus asked the question, “Where is your faith?” the Holy Spirit kept that question unchanged in all four translations of KJV, AMP, NASB and NIV.  Thus showing us that Jesus was asking for a type of faith that did not have belief… the faith that was above belief… the more mature, steadfast faith, and hopefully the faith that was based on a certainty that did not depend on sight.

So then, absolute faith is determined by its quality and also by its placement.  The best of faith misplaced is not absolute faith.  It is the best of faith placed where it belongs that makes the faith absolute.  So, the question about your faith now is not how much faith you have, nor the quality of your faith only, but where you have placed that faith.  The quantity is almost irrelevant as the Lord has told us… it only takes a mustard seed of faith to move a mountain.  The quality must be of the type that is not reliant on that which we can see or hear, although faith does come by hearing and it is being certain of what is not seen.  However, its test comes when there is no message or sign, yet there is no change of the assurance of the hope.

As Jesus was spending His last week before His crucifixion, there was one morning when the apostles were amazed, particularly Peter, that a fig tree He had cursed the day before had withered, saying, “Rabbi, look!  The fig tree You cursed has withered!” to which Jesus said, “Have faith in God,” or “If you have faith in God.”  That was Jesus answering for them His own question, “Where is your faith?” by showing them where they should put their faith, and more importantly, in whom they should put their faith – “…in God.” 

As an interesting aside, I have heard those who call themselves ‘word of faith’ teachers claim that this line, “Have faith in God,” really is meant to be translated as, “Have the faith of God,” or “the God kind of faith.”  Now you are of sufficient maturity to know and understand that having a type or quality of faith is very different from the person you should have faith in.  You can have the ‘faith of God’ or the ‘God type of faith’, and certainly having that would probably guarantee that you will have whatever you say… but it is not the same as having your faith in God. 

The false prophet is one such person who has the ‘God type of faith’ so that he is able to do his signs and wonders, but he has no faith in God.  Indeed, he has broken faith with God.  So then, absolute faith has nothing to do with the ‘word of faith’ teachers and teachings… for absolute faith is from the Word of Truth and His teachings.

To have faith in God, that faith must be tested, lest you have the fickleness of the faith of the Israelites who came out of Egypt.  They saw the signs and wonders, and they heard the voice of God, but that did not stop them from creating their own gods.  That testing of faith involves, at one time or another, a place where you hear nothing from God and see no sign from God, and everything you have done seems a failure, yet at that moment you start to say, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the Name of the Lord be praised,” or complain as Habakkuk complained but still say, “…yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior,” and finally, as Jesus cried out, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit” – you have faith.

When Jesus first called the disciples, they followed Him because they saw Him and heard His voice… and at Cana, when He first displayed His glory, it is written:  …and His disciples put their faith in Him.  Just like Israel who put their faith in Moses… so likewise, they put their faith in Him because water had turned to good wine.  But a little later in Matthew 8.23, as they were crossing the lake, a squall came up without warning and they woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us!  We’re going to drown!”  The Lord replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” and He calmed the storm for them.

However, at a later crossing mentioned in Mark 4.35, on a different day, another squall came up and again they woke Jesus up, saying, “Teacher, don’t You care if we drown?”  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet!  Be still!”  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?” this second time.  Again you should realise… Jesus crossed that lake many times, and they were caught in squalls at least two times with Him in the boat, and another time without Him in the boat.  It is this second time when He said, “Do you still have no faith?” that He then asked this question, “Where is your faith?”

For, by the time they were crossing over to Gerasenes again in Mark 4 and Luke 8, where they had been earlier in Matthew 8, Jesus had done enough miracles to have increased their faith from little to at least some.  So when Jesus asked, “Do you still have no faith?” it is as if He knew they had faith, for He gave them faith by His words and the miracles He had been doing, but it is obvious that they had misplaced it, hence the question, “Where is your faith?” was His next question. 

Jesus was asleep twice, and twice they woke Him.  The first time was understandable.  The second time was questionable.  Jesus continued with more teachings, more signs and wonders, until they came to the feeding of the 5000 and its aftermath.  When they did not heed His instruction to go immediately to Bethsaida, but went to Capernaum, they demonstrated that they did not have the faith that is required for obedience and trust.  Peter may have had the faith to call out to Jesus, saying, “Lord, if it’s You, tell me to come to You on the water,” which is really no faith at all… for the Lord had already said, “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”  The Lord complied with his request and he walked on the water, yet still Peter sank, prompting the Lord to say, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”  You see… it was not the amount of faith that made Peter sink, it was the doubt, which should not have been there, for he had already received what he asked for and yet he still doubted.

Israel received what they asked for, deliverance from Egypt, and they were going back to Canaan from whence Jacob came.  Walking on dry ground all the way to Canaan was like Peter walking on water.  They had received what they prayed for… yet they still doubted when they got out of Egypt.  Peter got out of the boat, walking to Jesus as he had asked for… yet he still doubted.  Peter had a little faith, enough faith to believe the Lord’s word, “Come,” and that little faith was enough for him to walk on the water.  But that mustard seed of faith, that little faith he had, was not enough to keep him above the water because when he saw the wind, he was afraid…  Perhaps he should have seen the Lord and been afraid… that might have been better for him.  For after all, he and the others knew they were where they should not be.  So that night… it did not matter whether they had any faith… whatever faith they had was not where it should have been.  They doubted, Peter doubted, the Lord’s wisdom and word that they should go immediately to Bethsaida.  It did not matter how much faith Peter had or what quality of faith he had… the faith was in the wrong place.  He could not help but sink.  Absolute faith would have ensured that Peter led the others to Bethsaida immediately, so that when Jesus came to them… He would have a very different greeting for them… perhaps one like… “Well done!”

For Jesus was developing their faith, adding to their faith and improving their faith, so that they had some faith of some quality… which was why when He performed His second last recorded sign, the withering of the fig tree, He told them where to place the faith He had been fostering in them… “Have faith in God.”  For He knew that in the ensuing days He would be doing things they did not understand, and things would be happening that they could not understand.  So that at the supper He would have to tell them, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”  He had led them from the early days and taught them, and confirmed His words with signs and wonders so that they would learn to believe in His words, and as they practised His words when He sent them out pair by pair, doing the things He had been doing, driving out demons, healing the lepers, raising the dead, preaching the Gospel, they would come to the place where they would believe in Him.  So that at the temple, probably on the last day, Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in Me, he does not believe in Me only, but in the One who sent Me.  When he looks at Me, he sees the One who sent Me,” which was for their benefit more than for the benefit of the crowd.

For by now, it must be the hope of Christ that the faith the disciples had in Jesus would allow them to not only believe in His words and believe in Him, but that they would already have faith in Him, and from that faith in Him… they would have trust in Him.  However, when He later told them, “Trust in God; trust also in Me,” He was to be told that they really still had not realised who He is.

Absolute faith had not established itself to give rise to trust, and it is impossible to trust someone when you do not fully realise who he is.  Moses’ one mistake that cost him the promised land was this, according to God, “Because you did not trust in Me enough to honor Me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”  Moses believed God, Moses had faith in God… but not enough trust in God. 

Jesus had just asked them to “Trust in God; trust also in Me,” only to discover they still did not realise He and the Father are One.  Their faith in Him had not come to the place where it was so absolute that whatever He said they would not only believe, but they would accept as true, even though they did not understand it.  They would hold onto His words as being unchallengeable, unchangeable, as the absolute truth… because He said it, that was enough… that is absolute faith in the person and his word.  So when He had said, “When a man believes in Me, he does not believe in Me only, but in the One who sent Me,” that is absolute belief… but “When he looks at Me, he sees the One who sent Me,” that is absolute faith… for that is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see, for no one can see God and live.

They had not been able to grab hold of John 12.44, so that when He said, “Trust in God; trust also in Me,” to realise that when they trusted in Jesus, they were also trusting in God.  For by John 14.11, they had participated in the eating of His flesh and drinking of His blood in that strange supper where He took the cup, blessed it, broke the bread and told them to eat and drink of them, for they were by His word… His flesh and blood.  A ritual that convinced Judas there and then that Jesus had taken what He taught in John 6.54 and had done it, and so effectively by His ‘witchcraft’ had caused all of them to be cut off from God according to the law.  At that moment, Satan entered Judas as Judas became convinced Jesus, in giving him the bread He dipped in the plate, had cursed him and made him as one now cut off from God by the law.  It was one thing to teach your disciples your strange teachings… it is another to do things in such a way they are cut off from God as well!  So by John 14.1 really, the disciples had gone all the way with Jesus, as far as being cut off from God according to the law was concerned.  They had better “Trust in God; trust also in Me.”

But they were not ready, they were not there yet… so in John 14.9, in answer to Phillip’s question… He still had to reason with them and teach them, saying, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me?”  And He had to adamantly state to them… at the eleventh hour… “Believe Me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”  Jesus did not say this to unbelievers or believers, but He had to say this to those He had personally discipled for three years!  Can you see the irony and the tragedy?  Then He took them back to the time He sent them out in Matthew 10 to preach and to “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons,” saying, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also…”  For when He sent them out it was after the two crossings of the lake when He had shown them they had little or no faith, and at best… misplaced faith.  At that time some of them only believed Him, some may have had a little faith in Him, but nevertheless, they were witnesses to this truth:  “…he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also…” and “…anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing.”  Having reminded them of this truth that they were witnesses of, He then said, “He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”  And by going to the Father, later He said, “…in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see Me no longer…”

Now would come for them the testing of their faith when they would not see Him, like Moses was not seen by Israel, maybe for 40 days… would they turn like Israel did?  You see… He was going to be with the Father where they would not see Him any longer… now that is the faith that accredits to them and to us the righteousness of the New Covenant… which the Holy Spirit will convict us of… “…in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see Me no longer…” 

The faith that is accredited with righteousness is that which not only believes, but holds firmly to the hope, the certainty, the assurance, that Jesus is alive and well at the right hand of God, making intercessions for us even as He awaits for the day that the Father would send Him back on a day known only to the Father.  That is the fully accredited faith… which the Holy Spirit convicts us of.  In quantity, at least a mustard seed’s worth, in quality, it is beyond belief and holds onto the hope, certainty, assurance of what we do not see, have not seen, in that place… in the Person of Jesus Christ at the right hand of God.  It is not in the Person of Jesus Christ on the cross… wrong place.  It is not in the Person of Jesus Christ in the womb of Mary, or walking the Earth, or in the tomb… all the wrong places.  It is faith, yes… but not absolute faith.

Since absolute faith is defined by where you have placed the faith, by the person and the location, then the least you can do if you claim to be a faithful servant is to be where He tells you to be, and if you do want to be better than a person of absolute faith… then be where He promises to be before He gets there to wait for Him.  That is the beginning of trust, which can only come from faith after you have believed.

It is a pity they did not have enough faith to go to Galilee that morning, because they could not even believe what the women said, nor after they had seen the empty tomb.  Now, do we have enough faith to bring forth the trust that is needed in the days of distress that lay ahead?  Test yourselves as Paul said… to see whether you are in the faith.

How?  If you cannot believe what is written as it is written… how can you begin to believe in what you will hear?  And if you do not have enough faith to trust that God would ensure His written word would always be absolutely perfect in every detail… then absolute faith and trust will elude you always.  You have already been tested… can you see that, and are you found wanting?

Question:  If a mustard seed of faith can move a mountain, what can a mustard seed of trust move?  Consider what you hear carefully, for in the same way you use it, so it will be measured to you.

|


Notice: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' in /home/holyspiritsworks/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Notice: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' in /home/holyspiritsworks/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/ultimate_ga.php on line 524