Yesterday, in both services, the subject of the sermons were focused on faith.  I preached from Mark 9:14-29 in the morning service and the emphasis was upon a lack of faith.  I started a new preaching series through Hebrews 11 in the evening service that defined faith and provided some exhortations regarding genuine faith.  As I reflect on our time of worship and the Word of God – I’m reminded of the importance of faith.  What is faith?  How does genuine faith look as it’s put into action?

The word translated faith in English comes from the Greek word πίστις which means conviction of the truth, belief, assurance.  In the pulpit yesterday, I tried to summarize the definition.  According to Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Therefore, faith is confidence in God whom we can’t see, to bring about results that have yet to occur, to effect glory that will endure for eternity.  George Muller is quoted as saying, “Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.” [1]  Do we really believe God?

Is your faith real?

Examine yourself and see if you’re in the faith.  James said, “faith without works is dead” (James 1:27).  Does your faith work?  Does your faith have feet?  Does your faith have action behind it?  If not, according to God’s Word, it’s not real.  You can call it anything you like, but genuine faith will always produce works.  Faith is more than a theological word defined in a manual for our study.  Faith is real, hard, challenging, imperfect, and visible.

Is your faith weak?

The father in Mark 9:14-29 brought his son to be healed by Jesus, but Jesus was on the mountain with Peter, James, and John.  He found the disciples and explained to them that his son had a demon from childhood and requested that they cast it out.  The disciples tried.  Perhaps multiple times.  Although they had seen Jesus do this and had been given the power to do it by Jesus, and although they had performed such miracles in the past – they were unable to perform the miracle.  The demon would not listen to them.

After Jesus entered the scene and gained control of the great crowd that was engrossed in an argument – He talked directly with the father.  After going back and forth, Jesus said, “All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23).  The father then replied with transparency and said, “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24)!  The father possessed real faith, but his faith was weak and paralyzed by the fear he had for his son’s life.  He needed answers.  He needed a healing for his boy.  His transparent answer is refreshing.  Often we veil and conceal our weak faith.

Jesus performed the miracle and delivered the boy from the demon.  However, the entire focus of the passage is upon faith.  The crowd lacked it.  The scribes lacked it.  The father lacked it.  The disciples lacked it.  In private, after the whole scene ended, the disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to deliver the boy?  Jesus connected faith and prayer.  In essence, He was pointing out the reality that they lacked strong faith.  They were relying on themselves rather than on Jesus who had given them the power.

What about you today?  Do you lack faith altogether?  Is your faith merely theological, but not real?  Do you have genuine faith, but if you’re honest, it’s really weak?  If so, why should you respond to a weak faith any differently than you would to other sins in your life?  A struggle with pornography is a real issue that must be faced and we must put to death such fleshly struggles.  But, why would we allow a weak faith to stick around?  Why would we do battle with other sins while allowing a weak faith to camp out in our hearts indefinitely?

We often sing great songs about how we have faith and confidence in God on Sunday, but by Monday we’re locked in the dungeon of doubting castle.  The world has heard our songs and our sermons, but they are waiting to see our faith.

Cast off weak faith.  Trust in our Lord for strength.

Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

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Author What is Faith?

Josh Buice

Pastor Pray's Mill Baptist Church

Josh Buice is the founder and president of G3 Ministries and serves as the pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church on the westside of Atlanta. He is married to Kari and they have four children, Karis, John Mark, Kalli, and Judson. Additionally, he serves as Assistant Professor of Preaching at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He enjoys theology, preaching, church history, and has a firm commitment to the local church. He also enjoys many sports and the outdoors, including long distance running and high country hunting. He has been writing on Delivered by Grace since he was in seminary and it has expanded with a large readership through the years.