Series: Doers of the Word
Message – Inclined to Believe IV
Inclined to believe
Last week we asked the question, if faith comes by hearing…how do we hear ?
Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then,
“If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us…if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling.”
It is entirely possible that there are times faith will not come for the specific because we refuse to be persuaded by the general.
Last week we saw how Israel had no eyes to see or ears to hear though they saw His works… They would not believe.
“18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: “THEIR SOUND HAS GONE OUT TO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD.”
19 But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: “I WILL PROVOKE YOU TO JEALOUSY BY THOSE WHO ARE NOT A NATION, I WILL MOVE YOU TO ANGER BY A FOOLISH NATION.”
20 But Isaiah is very bold and says: “I WAS FOUND BY THOSE WHO DID NOT SEEK ME; I WAS MADE MANIFEST TO THOSE WHO DID NOT ASK FOR ME.”
21 But to Israel he says: “ALL DAY LONG I HAVE STRETCHED OUT MY HANDS TO A DISOBEDIENT AND CONTRARY PEOPLE.”
We will begin to see today the silver cord that connects knowing – love – faith & obedience.
Obedience and faith are held so closely in scripture that at times they are used as substitutionary words for each other.
Knowing and believing are held closely together.
But none of these work without love. We are told that love is the energy behind it all.
- Without knowing there can be no love.
- 1 Cor. 13 tells us without love nothing really matters.
- Without love there can be no real obedience.
- Without love genuine faith is replaced by mental ascent or outright bought.
The Speaking Voice – Tozer
“The facts are that God is not silent, has never been silent. It is the nature of God to speak. The second Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Word. The Bible is the inevitable outcome of God’s continuous speech. It is the infallible declaration of His mind for us put into our familiar human words.
I think a new world will arise out of the religious mists when we approach our Bible with the idea that it is not only a book which was once spoken, but a book which is now speaking. The prophets habitually said, “Thus saith the Lord.” They meant their hearers to understand that God’s speaking is in the continuous present. We may use the past tense properly to indicate that at a certain time a certain word of God was spoken, but a word of God once spoken continues to be spoken, as a child once born continues to be alive, or a world once created continues to exist. And those are but imperfect illustrations, for children die and worlds burn out, but the Word of our God endureth forever.
If you would follow on to know the Lord, come at once to the open Bible expecting it to speak to you. Do not come with the notion that it is a thing which you may push around at your convenience. It is more than a thing; it is a voice, a word, the very Word of the living God.”
1 Cor. 2:9-14,
“9 But as it is written: “EYE HAS NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NOR HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN THE THINGS WHICH GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Let’s look as some more examples of BEING INCLINED TO BELIEVE….
“22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.
23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.
24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.
26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
30 I and My Father are one.”
…. 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me;
38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know(1097) and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.”
That is Thomas faith… but it Is faith!
know = 1097 Ginosko [WordStudy by Spiros Zodhiates]
In the Gospel of John, ginṓskō denotes personal fellowship with God or Christ. To know (ginṓskō) the Father and the Son, since They have life, is to have Their life which is eternal life (John 17:3). To know God is to be directed by love (1Jn. 4:7-8) and is, therefore, followed by a life of love and the execution of Christ’s commandments (1Jn. 2:3 ff.). Thus, it could be said that ginṓskō means to believe, for it is through faith that we come to love the Lord. Knowing God is certainly more than just knowing about Him. Without faith one cannot know either initially or progressively (John 17:7-8) “(7) Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. (8) For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.”
“(1) My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (2) And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (3) Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. (4) He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (5) But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. (6) He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”
How do we come to know Him?
Well we saw last week in Romans 1 it begins with the obvious external things of life which speak to God as Creator…
“16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools…”
What are some things we can infer about God and His character from what He has made? PS. 19
- He is eternal
- He is timeless
- He is omnipresent
- He is all powerful
- He is all knowing
- He is uncreated
…but all of this is only “known” because even though we can look and observe these things, according to this passage we can only come to really know them because “God has shown it to us”.
These are handshakes with God… mere introductions.
Invitations to a conversation.
Samaritan woman at the well…
“(39) And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” (40) So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. (41) And many more believed because of His own word. (42) Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”
Jesus addressing the inability of the Pharisees to understand and believe…
“(23) And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. (24) Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (25) Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. (26) I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.” (27) They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father. (28) Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. (29) And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” (30) As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. (31) Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. (32) And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (33) They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” (34) Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. (35) And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. (36) Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (37) “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. (38) I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” (39) They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. (40) But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. (41) You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.” (42) Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. (43) Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. (44) You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (45) But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. (46) Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? (47) He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
Trust is relational and therefore very intuitive… Gal. tells us faith works by love.
“ 1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.
3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.
4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.
9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.”
If we are not convinced of and surrender too His love for us we will not be able to love in return and our faith will be merely intellectual and not effectual.
Clark on Galatians 5:6
Verse 6. By the dispensation of the Gospel, all legal observances, as essential to salvation, are done away; and uncircumcision, or the Gentile state, contributes as much to salvation as circumcision or the Jewish state; they are both equally ineffectual; and nothing now avails in the sight of God but that faith διαγαπηςενεργουμενη, which is made active, or energetic, by love.
God acknowledges no faith, as of the operation of his Spirit, that is not active or obedient; but the principle of all obedience to God, and beneficence to man, is love; therefore faith cannot work unless it be associated with love.
Love to God produces obedience to his will: love to man worketh no ill; but, on the contrary, every act of kindness. Faith which does not work by love is either circumcision or uncircumcision, or whatever its possessor may please to call it; it is, however, nothing that will stand him in stead when God comes to take away his soul. It availeth nothing. This humble, holy, operative, obedient LOVE, is the grand touchstone of all human creeds and confessions of faith. Faith without this has neither soul nor operation; in the language of the Apostle James, it is dead, and can perform no function of the spiritual life, no more than a dead man can perform the duties of animal or civil life.
We will pick up here next week…Blessings!
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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