Hearing the Gospel, we believed, believing, we received the evidence of things not seen– the Holy Spirit and the gift of Faith. Faith, is one of the most important God given grace’s in a Christian’s life and is of the kind and nature that it must be nourished to remain healthy, faith is nourish by the words of God speaking into our most inner man where resides faith at its heart, i.e. faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Faith is a linchpin in our lives in that we live by faith, we are justified by faith, purified by faith, strengthened in the faith, sanctified by faith, obtain Gods righteousness by faith, propitiation (appeasement) by His blood, through faith, and as an imperative, God is the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is a unique spiritual element working in our inward parts, it resides at the seat of our hearts, and if well nourished, results in a strong and healthy posture toward God and rests in all that He has promised in His Son. Faith is the heartbeat that is recognized and heard in the heavens.
You can see that if faith is feeble and weak all is feeble and weak and in danger of loss. How do we maintain a healthy faith? Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. God’s living words is the means to a healthy and lively faith, the Holy Spirit speaking in us, His living words, in accordance with the text, will nourish your faith, because life begets life. Jesus confirms this when He explains that the words that He speaks are Spirit and Life. In other words, the sources of His words are from the Holy Spirit and are living, and in the ears of the hearer impart life, thus nourishing ones faith.
Have you ever wondered about all those who approached Jesus asking Him for healing, all were healed. Well, it was as simple as approaching Him, whose words were Spirit and Life in the hearer. His words were alive with faith, and in the ears and heart of those who approached and heard Him; at the coming and receiving of His words, their belief was strengthened; His words contained the substance of things hoped for and thus at its entrance they received the evidence of things not seen- their healing (Hebrews 11). I said belief and not faith because many did not receive Jesus as their savior, unto receiving the Holy Spirit and the gift of faith through grace. Many who were healed continued living as before without embracing Jesus as their redeemer.
The Parable of the Talents, from Matthews’s gospel, clearly illustrates the importance of faith, and our personal responsibility in maintaining our given faith. Jesus explains, in the parable, that there are consequences for neglecting our God given faith. We need to understand the significance God ascribes to faith in terms of its cost to Him, that is His Son. We received them based upon His love and mercy and especially in His work through His Son, His intentions in and through the extraordinary sacrifice of Jesus Christ, His Son. In this light, you can see that faith and His word are of the utmost value and worth, both to God and to a Christian….God so loved the world He gave….
Jesus, in the Parable of the Talents uses the passive verb invest, and the word talent to illustrate the role that we play (invest) in nourishing our faith (the talent), and what is our personal responsibility to God (the landowner) in maintaining our God given faith while away. God gave His living words to Jesus and now Jesus entrusts us with these same words he entrust us with (“…and delivered his goods to them), words that Jesus placed great value upon, those words His Father personally entrusted to Him, and He in turn, gave to us. We must invest in His words, invest in a manner, while He is away (…and immediately he went on a journey) that at His return, we might have increase (a healthy, living, sincere faith, whose object is God, His Son, and the Kingdom). We invest, in a manner as to nurture faith via the words Jesus has entrusted us with and via the Holy Spirit that He has sent into our hearts. Our faith is only strengthened by living words. If we are to walk in faith in a manner that will sustain us in good times and bad, all of our lives, it has to be maintained through investment into Jesus words
Faith can stagnate in us, and if stagnant, it begins to ebb, ebb until anyone and anything can overthrow it, to include ourselves. Faith has to be continuously nourished, by the living Spirit, through living Words, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are Spirit, and they are life”. Life begets life. Memorizing the text on the page, reading the latest popular Christian self-help book, hearing or reading weekly stories regarding Jesus life, listening to Christian music does not necessarily grow ones faith and is no substitute for a personal relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Life and Spirit can only nourish faith; anything apart from this is just building arguments for a belief system that vacillates with the arguments presented it, and will eventually fall, because there is always someone waiting in the wings to overthrow our belief system, someone smarter than all our well thought out arguments. However, a strong faith cannot be overthrown, the flesh profits nothing the Spirit gives life, and faith sustenance is Life.
Learning does not necessarily equate to possessing a healthy faith
One dynamic that characterizes this current information age is that it affords us with the ability to transfer information freely, to have instant access to others knowledge, opinions, arguments, exegesis, or commentary, where in previous generations would have been difficult, if not impossible to know prior to owning our current digital technologies.
Consequently, in contemporary America, the church has access to a myriad of biblical content produced by TV and radio personalities, or local and global pastors and teachers. In addition, television, theater, magazines, newspapers, tapes, CD’s, DVD’s, and radio, all serve as a conduit and delivery system for all this content. We can spend hours, in front of our personal computers researching various biblical topics; including watching streaming video, or listening to audio from any church that uploads their service or content to the internet. There are hundreds of local libraries, or Christian bookstores, where you can check out or purchase books containing numerous religious titles to include downloading eBooks to our iPad or Kindle.
Therefore, you might be tempted to think that with all the availability and exposure to this information the contemporary church in America would be one of the most influential, mature, and faithful in all history. However, the opposite seems to be true, the Church in America is immature, lacks faith, and crippled by disunity and sin. Rather than possessing a faith characterized by a steadfast adherence to Christ, the Church is losing ground, where three to four thousand churches close their doors each year, half of all churches last year did not add one new member, and in general, Churches lose an estimated 2,765,000 people each year to secularism.
In addition, there is an increase in cults, false teachers, false teachings, foolish interpretations, and those who miss-use scriptures, not to mention the rise in Church members struggles with personal sin. Consequently, the Church seems to be turning more to secular disciplines in psychology, philosophy, and secularism in a futile attempt to pull its members out of their feebleness.
Our level of exposure to all this information and our free access to all the biblical content has not necessarily been helpful to the church, but has possibly impaired it. If what some seem to imply, that more education will grow your faith and the church, has been minimal help to the Church, especially in knowing God. Living in a culture, where many reside and sacrifice at an information and educational alter, to include the church. Self or formal education, apart from God’s personal intervention, enlightenment, or voice working through His Spirit, in our inward man is futile; intellectual pursuits are a secondary means when it comes to nourishing ones faith, or in knowing the living, God- God is Spirit. Our primary resource must be in a pursuit of the administrative activity of the Holy Spirit sent into our hearts, for God through the Holy Spirit provides the knowledge of His resurrected Son. In all, that God does it is through His Son, for He has placed all things that we need (cradle to grave) in Him. We do not need more insight into the world, self, or our sin, or some manmade principles to “Christ likeness”. We need more insight into the resurrected living Christ, His place in our life, and our provision in Him at the right hand of the Father where God has now placed us, in Him, and blessed us with every spiritual blessing. The wisdom of well-meaning preachers derived from the world in an attempt to mature the Church will always end up falling short, because God in His love, and in His provisional grace, has provided to us His only begotten Son, consequently we must not slip from the simplicity of the Gospel found in Christ. The need of the Church, and its wanting for a healthy faith, are in knowing the resurrected Christ- the knowledge of Him as revealed by God. Paul writes to the Ephesians assembly,
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him…”
Notice, that Paul explained that the primary means to this wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, in Christ, is through prayer. If one could independently obtain this God given knowledge by attending seminary, or through much bible study, or through self or formal education, apart from God, why would Paul pray and ask God for it? Paul’s letter is to believers, and not unbelievers. In addition, notice that the word “spirit” is not “Spirit”, meaning this God given knowledge is known in our “spirit” through the activities of the Holy “Spirit” is based upon Gods sovereignty, in other words under His control, and is not according to our will, perspiration, or in demanding it. A.W Tozer explains,
“Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. However, exposition may be carried on in such way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience, they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste, and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts”
One of the main reasons that Jesus expects us to invest is that He understands how vulnerable faith can be is in this world if we do not pay attention to or maintain it. There are many forces at work in this world that all converge upon us in an attempt to incapacitate our faith; these forces are both internal, within us, and external, in the world and in the Church. The act of investment is based upon our understanding of the necessity of Gods personal input into our lives, in other words, the realization of our dependency upon Him in terms of His working in us to both will and to work for His good pleasure, unto possessing a well-nourished and healthy personal faith. We patiently, expectantly, with humility, wait upon the omniscient God; speaking in us His living word is the key to a well-nourished and healthy personal faith. Reading text on a page does not grow our faith. God intervention during the reading of the text on a page grows our faith; faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
God resists those who arrogantly pursue Him out from their personal agenda, self-sufficiency, or ambitions, rooted in self-centered motives or intellectual prowess. Jesus recognizing that one receives as one maintains the intellectual prowess of a “babe”, in other words, when it comes to spiritual endeavors, one who is empty, one who possesses an impoverished spirit, before God, who is all-knowing, is the one we must depend upon to reveal His Son. Jesus looks into heaven and speaks to His Father,
“At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
We cannot know God through our intellect; much reasoning is no substitute for the Holy Spirits activity in us. God reveals His Son in our spirit, speaking in our spirit, through His Spirit. This is the way of faith, having great potential for nourishment. This is why there is so much faithlessness in the Church. If a preacher uses worldly methods to grow, the faith of their assemblies’ faith remains dormant. Yes, some preachers have many good ideas regarding improving one’s personal life to be like Christ, but at what expense; the assembly might have grown in their marriages, finance management, or social skills but has faith been nourished? A well-nourished faith has one focus, God, and will always exalt Him for all that He has done and promised in His Son. We do not possess faith if we believe that we are pleasing God because we possess and are exercising man’s principles to make one better and more Christ-like through the wisdom of men based in scriptures. God is pleased only as we place our faith in His Son, where this faith will abide and rest in Him, unto a partaking of His life and result in its manifestation, in union with our life. The foolish of it all is profoundly disheartening. A preacher has to be taught of God and given the words of life if they are going to stand in front of you each week and affect your faith, where its increase eventually leads you to know Him. A well-nourished faith is not an end in itself but it has a destination, its destination is He who is at Gods right hand. The written text on a page absent of the voice of God is lifeless. A.W. Tozer explains in his book The Pursuit of God,
“The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The life is in the speaking words. God’s word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God’s word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all-powerful. Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a book.”
Faith, resides at the seat of our heart, it is “organic”, and can only be nourished and sustained by that which is spiritual and living. Everyone has access to the written text; however, God provides a living word to those who patiently knock, ask, and seek.
Through His Holy Spirit, the author, inspiration and interpreter of the word, each believer, from generation to generation, has access to those things that increases, nourishes, and sustains faith. John, explains in his first letter,
“But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things…” “These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you. But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”
First Century Church had Faith
The first century churches had little access to biblical content. Each assembly had little to no exposure to the Old Testament and occasionally they received a letter, or a personal visit from one of the Apostles. Consequently, the question we must ask ourselves, was the first century church deficient in faith? If, as some suggest, studying the bible at great lengths guarantees insight into the things of God and an active vibrant faith, if this is the case, where does that leave those who cannot, or could not, avail themselves of biblical materials that we have available to us. Has the Holy Spirits hands been tied because someone cannot read, or does not have the reading material to study? Many first century believers could not read or write yet they grew in faith.
Therefore, how is it that the first century Christian grew in faith? They did not have a new testament, nor did they have access to a lot of biblical content as we have today. However, God, in His infinite wisdom, has provided a new and living way to increase and maintain faith. God provides His voice, hearing by the word of God wisdom, revelation, and insight, which upon their entrance, nourishes ones faith. The eyes of our heart flooded with His light, so that we might know and understand those things previously hidden.
John William Fletcher, a contemporary of John Wesley, explains it this way,
The things of the Spirit of God can be discovered only by spiritual internal senses, which are, with regard to the spiritual world, what our external senses are with regard to the material world. They are the only means by which a fellowship between Christ and our souls can be opened and maintained.
“The exercise of these senses is peculiar to those who are born of God. They belong to what the apostles call the new man, the inward man, the new creature, the hidden man of the heart. In believers, this hidden man is awakened and raised from the dead, by the power of Christ’s resurrection. Christ is his life, the Spirit of God is his spirit, prayer (or praise) his breath, holiness his health, and love his element. We read of his hunger and thirst, food and drink, garment and habitation, armour and conflicts, pain and pleasure, fainting and reviving, growing, walking, and working. All this supposes senses, and the more these senses are quickened by God, and exercised by the new-born soul, the clearer and stronger is his perception of divine things.”
Peter was probably one of the first individuals, other than Jesus, (at least recorded in the New Testament) that God had personally communicated to in a new and living way. For Peter, this is where it all began, God working in him, as described by Jesus:
“but who do you say that I am? Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven”
Hidden from the rest of the world, something extraordinary took place that day, an historical event; the Omnipotent, Omnipresent God touched Peter’s life with His Words; that which is priceless, and of immense value and treasure. The God of heaven, our Creator, personally communicated to men. Peter experienced what Jesus had only experienced, a relational communication with God; more valuable than any treasure on earth, immeasurable worth, a mystery in its coming to men. The Sovereign God has communicated His Words, full of light and insight, the same God who by His word created heaven and earth, has come to men.
Notice that Peter was not studying his bible at the time. Look at Peter’s assertion, confidence, and faith at the entrance of Gods living and eternal words. Peter received a level of understanding and insight into Christ where speaking with boldness, proclaims who Jesus is. God’s word working in us brings insight, insight into Jesus, thus increasing Faith in us; and in the same way that Peter testified; we will do the same, at the entrance of Gods words. Gods words coming to us is the substance of God Kingdom and is the evidence of those things unseen in that Kingdom, Gods Kingdom touches the earth.
Nature of Faith
In his book, Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer differentiates between this world and Gods Kingdom when he says,
“The world of sense intrudes upon our attention day and night for the whole of our lifetime. It is clamorous, insistent and self-demonstrating. It does not appeal to our faith; it is here, assaulting our five senses, demanding to be accepted as real and final. But sin has so clouded the lenses of our hearts that we cannot see that other reality, the City of God, shining around us. The world of sense triumphs. The visible becomes the enemy of the invisible; the temporal, of the eternal. That is the curse inherited by every member of Adam’s tragic race. At the root of the Christian life lies belief in the invisible. The object of the Christian’s faith is unseen reality”
Because the world, and all that is in it, daily intrudes upon our senses, demanding that it is the only true reality that we should put our faith in, assaults and diminishes our faith in the invisible God and His unseen Kingdom. However, through the entrance of the Holy Spirit and the light of the word of God begins to shine in us, spiritual senses begin to awaken and become alive to God.
I believe that faith has been that one thing in the church that has been grossly misunderstood, severely perverted, trampled under the feet of those who use it for their own gain. Faith, in Hebrews 11, has been miss-used as a means to manipulate God, as if someone could possibly think, or believe, that God could be manipulated, or always responds to ignorant demands by some. Paul writes in Hebrews explaining what faith is:
“Faith is the substance of things hope for and the evidence of things not seen.”
As explained previously, God spoke to Peter. Jesus recognizing God speaking in Peter explained: that flesh and blood did not reveal this but my Father in heaven, thus blessing Peter. It is this same blessing that we are after, God speaking His word in us through the Holy Spirit. God’s words contains substance, the substance of Heaven, those things that are the attributes of His life, grace, light and truth, the things of His Kingdom.
God in this same manner, speaking and communicating the life of Christ in us is also evidence; evidence of God working in us, evidence of kingdom things and manifestation and more importantly, the evidence of the living Christ. It is this substance and the evidence that increases our faith and hope, now we have the substance of heaven and the evidence of these things through the Holy Spirit.
One day, my wife and I were having a conversation about the character of faith; she explained that faith had been so established within her, that it was like one of her organs that would have to be cut from her, to remove it. It was not based upon intellect nor would it need the five senses to maintain it, but it is a product of the Holy Spirit working in her based upon words of life. Words, she had received, words that nourished her faith to the point it was established.
My wife is not one who has given herself to a lot of bible reading or study, however, she is one who listened and received. A.W. Tozer, The dwelling place of God, explains faith in this manner,
“True faith rests upon the character of God and asks no further proof than the moral perfections of the One who cannot lie. It is enough that God said it, and if the statement should contradict every one of the five senses and all the conclusions of logic as well, still the believer continues to believe. “Let God be true, but every man a liar,” is the language of true faith. Heaven approves such faith because it rises above mere proofs and rests in the bosom of God.”
“Faith as the Bible knows it is confidence in God and His Son Jesus Christ; it is the response of the soul to the divine character as revealed in the Scriptures; and even this response is impossible apart from the prior inworking of the Holy Spirit. Faith is a gift of God to a penitent soul and has nothing whatsoever to do with the senses or the data they afford. Faith is a miracle; it is the ability God gives to trust His Son, and anything that does not result in action in accord with the will of God is not faith but something else short of it.”
It is important that we listen to words that have Life, taught by those who know life, those who have spent their time with Him who is from above. Life begets life, those who have who spend time with Him receive- they know the difference between knowledge that originates in this world and know who source is heaven. The nature and characteristics of heavenly knowledge is that it is additive, little yields more. Please note this “heavenly knowledge will always agree with the text, one does not override the other.
Word and faith work together for increase to the believer, working in such a manner that as you invest you receive a return on your investment. Its product is receiving a return. Jesus explained that,
“For whoever has [spiritual knowledge], to him will more be given and he will be furnished richly so that he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (amplified version)
In addition, the reception of heavenly knowledge is dependent upon how one listens and not how one studies,
“Be careful therefore how you listen. For to him who has [spiritual knowledge] will more be given; and from him who does not have [spiritual knowledge], even what he thinks andguesses andsupposes that he has will be taken away” (amplified version)
We need more Communication, not Information
Jesus said, “No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him”. Unfortunately, we see this verse as a onetime event, at our new birth. However, a word that continues to speak throughout our life and remains current in our heart providing God given sustenance to pursue His Son. We will continue to pursue God only as much as it is in our hearts to do so if faith is kept alive in our heart by the activity of Holy Spirit in us. The Holy Spirit administers those things of Christ life that upon their entrance in us will cause us to continue to pursue God. Simply look into your own heart and see how many times there had been no desire after God, but it is in Christ that these desires exist and are always kept alive, administered by the Holy Spirit.
We do not need more lifeless information; we need personal Communications from God, through the Holy Spirit. Communication is different from information. God’s method of giving understanding and increasing your Faith is through His personal communications, communication is interpersonal, information is impersonal and formal. God is Sovereign over His words and kingdom; He reveals His word to whom He wishes and He communicates His word as it pleases Him; thus setting in the body various ministries and maintaining control as Head, in Christ.
We need God to communicate with us, what does the bible say, “draw near to God, and He will draw near to you”. A prerequisite, for drawing near iswe must first possess a heart that is willing to listen; we must possess an impoverished spirit, one emptied of our ambitions, plans, ideas, opinions, and motives. God reveals His kingdom to the poor in spirit. God can remain silent; He looks at our heart, to see what we really want. God knows whether we want Him or something else.
Correct interpretation is an important element in nourishing Faith
Why is correct interpretation of scripture important? I had to pick up my daughter at the airport one week; my wife told me she would be flying into an airport that was over an hour away. I complained some, and so my wife changed the flight to a local airport, only twenty minutes away. Unfortunately, when she told me that she had changed the flight, I miss-interpreted what she told me, not paying attention, I went to the wrong airport. When I got to the airport and looked for my daughter, I could not find her, so I called her, and she explained she was in the lobby, at that second, I remembered my wife had changed the flight to the local airport. Well, I do not have to tell you how upset everyone was. What I am saying, in all of this; how we can end up in the right place if we miss-interpret Gods word? If we are all going in a different direction we miss Gods way. We must receive, from the Holy Spirit, who is the author and true interpreter, who gives understanding of what God initially intended in His word.
I am certain you are asking this question, if all Christians have the Holy Spirit, how then is there a plethora of differing opinions and miss-interpretations that have sorely divided the Church for centuries, even in some cases damaging the faith of some.
The Holy Spirits interpretation has not changed, from century to century; there is one God, one Jesus, and one Spirit. There is only one correct interpretation, the Holy Spirits, this is why it is very important that those whom teach us have a genuine calling, as well as approval; an approval given by the Lord based upon rightly dividing the word of truth, taught to them by God.
Parable of the Talents
Remember, in the parable of the talents, in the Gospel of Matthew, the man traveling to a far country called his servants to deliver his goods to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one. After a length of time, the lord of the servants came and wanted to settle accounts with them. However, he who had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed and I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours. However, his lord answered and said to him, you wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. Therefore, you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming, I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents and cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The primary issue with this parable is how we should treat and relate to Gods words in a manner that nourishes ones faith, first given to Jesus, and in return, Jesus has given to us. It takes the Holy of Spirit of God to impress upon us the inexplicable importance of Gods words, spoken in and through Jesus Christ. God’s words are of the greatest worth, and cannot be understated. One of the most valuable things Jesus gave to us is God’s word. God’s grace came through Jesus cross, but His life comes through the words Jesus gave to us. Each culture places value upon things, but money seems to be of primary importance. Jesus uses money/talents to attempt to communicate to us what value He places upon what was entrusted to Him, His Fathers words. Consequently, Jesus wants to communicate the significance of the value He places upon His Fathers words. Jesus sets what is of value in Gods Kingdom alongside what is of value in this world. Money pales in comparison to the value of God’s word, but God in His mercy, uses worldly things to communicate higher things. It is these same words, of greatest value, because they are, at their entrance, nourishment to our faith. Initially, at their entrance, these same words saved our souls and by hearing and believing, we received the Spirit, Paul admonishes the Galatians church, “This only would I learn from you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? “
We are cautioned by Paul, concerning neglecting what we have heard, Therefore we ought to be exceedingly cautious, in regard to what we have heard, lest we fall away.” If we set aside, or neglect His word we will find our faith ebbing in us, and eventually, we start to drift, and potentially could fall away. In addition, manmade wisdom based upon scripture voids the word and its impact upon our faith, in other words is lifeless and in the likeness of a diet of Marshmallows and Jell-O.
Jesus testified that the Words that He spoke were Spirit and Life and were the works of the Holy Spirit in Him. Jesus explained:
“My teaching is not my own. It comes from Him who sent me.” Also, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works”.
Example of Neglecting or setting aside your faith
A nationally recognized minister, during a TV interview was asked if he believed that God would send those to hell that did not believe that Jesus was the only way to God. The minister replied that he did not believe that, and there were many ways to God, many within the Christian community are adopting the same belief. Why had he rejected Jesus words? After all, this was a minister in the church, studied the scriptures most of his life, and ordained into a major denomination. He was one that allowed his faith to morph into something that had rejected the truth of the deity of Jesus. Rejecting Gods salvation in His only begotten Son is an insult to His Love and sets aside what Jesus said. This kind of belief is an affront to the sacrificial Love and will of God. As Jesus explains:
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.”
This “minister” allowed his faith to erode, though many years of neglect; drifted away from the truth, concluding, and teaching others, that God had many ways, other than His Son Jesus as the only way. However, Jesus filled with His Fathers word says:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me“.
This is an example of someone who has buried his faith. Buried it under all of those things he chose to occupy his life with, personal pursuits in education, intellectual prowess, religious activities rooted in a denomination, self-reliance etc., other than seeing His poverty to know Gods things and casting himself upon His God relying upon and listening to His Holy Spirit.
What is of interest is that the parable puts minimal demands on the one talent servant, as Jesus explains:
“So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest”
Rather than quietly, expectantly, faithfully listening to the Holy Spirit this minister sought after all those other things that had little to do with nourishing ones faith and everything to do with religion and personal interpretations of Gods written word. Paul cautioned the Hebrew Church that they should watch out for an evil unbelieving heart.
The minister will have to do some fast-talking, explaining why he strayed from the truth, and like the one talent servant, try to justify why he neglected that which Jesus put great value on and entrusted him with, His Fathers faith producing word. But regrettable he will be completely surprised, at the judgment, when only one Person shows up (not many Sons), he will be as the one talent evil servant blaming the landowner for what he allowed into his life that which erodes and corrupt God’s gift of faith; he will be as one who buried the masters talent.
There are many examples regarding those who can be categorized as burying their faith. Whole denominations, which had at one time been a vessel of God’s word, and a movement of God, have drifted into something unrecognizable regarding true faith; who now preach another Gospel, other than the one Paul preached.
At Christ judgment seat He will again say to those who stand before Him, “according to your Faith let it be done to you“. There will be those, who had been given a measure of faith who have ignored and neglected it, giving little attention to it, to the point that it was barely recognizable. They were too busy, attending to things that had nothing to do with faith, even entertaining and flirting with those things that were contrary to the Gospel.
These will have to stand, on that day, recognizing their grave mistake, as they stand before Him whom they were to have Faith. The only recourse will be, as the one talent servant, to make up every kind of excuse, that one can mustard, as did the servant whose excuse was:
“Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed and I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours”
Consequently, excusing what you have done in your life, what was of great importance you neglected; drifting from it; but to no avail? You have taken for granted the one thing that Jesus considered of the greatest value, His Fathers Words, Words that He has given and entrusted to us to grow our faith and consequently save our souls.
Now as Jesus explains, the outcome:
“So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents and cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”
Why the gnashing and gnashing of teeth, because, in light of what you failed to do, and recognize, at the realization of your grave mistake, from dire disappointment, will cause such an action.
As a new Christian, I met a young married couple who both were practicing Buddhist, and were not shy about telling others of their beliefs; their ill and dying Grandmother would have a firsthand encounter of their enthusiasm. During their many hospital visits to see the Grandmother, the Buddhist tried to convert her before she passed on. During one of the many visits, at their passionate provocation, the Grandmother finally converted to Buddhism. The irony of this event is that the Grandmother grew up in the Baptist Church, attended Church regularly, and confessed a belief in Jesus Christ.
As I mentioned previously that, a neglected and ebbing faith is a target for every predator that might come your way. Recognize there are many forces in your life that work against what Jesus has entrusted to you. Allow the Holy Spirit, in you, to communicate Gods Words in such a manner that will nourish your own God given faith.
Our personal responsibility: “in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight- if indeed you continue in the Faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
There are teachings that come right out of the pit of Hell: “…some will depart from the Faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons”
There are teachings from within that try to overthrow our Faith: “And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the Faith of some.”
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our Faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Finally, faith is important in that it is our key to enter into life eternal. Our active vibrant faith remains viable as it remains steadfast and confidence in Christ, in other words, we continue to remain confident in what Jesus accomplished on the cross and confident in His abiding presence unto a walk that is worthy of His life in us. True faith always produces the fruit of exaltation- it will always exalt in God based upon what He accomplished and promised in His Son for us. In all Jesus accomplishments we will glory, now and later, as John saw in revelations 5,
“And I looked, and behold,in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
And have made uskingsand priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “ Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
“ Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”