Summer 2005 Newsletter: Where is Your Faith?
Author: Victor Gill
Publish date:
 
 

Where is your faith? Is it in Jesus or is it in self? In Luke 18:8, Jesus He asked the question, “when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

To make it more personal, we could put it this way: when Jesus comes will He find me faithful?
We are living in a world today where the faith of so many is being visibly shaken. Our foundations are being attacked, and it was David who asked in Psalm 11:3, “If the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
 
Oh how much we need faith today. Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of heaven as a grain of mustard seed (see Matthew 13:31, 32; 17:20 and Mark 11:23). From these passages we can easily see the value and the importance of faith. Our prayer should be that of the hymn writer who said, “O for a faith that will not shrink though pressed by many a foe.”

There is an enemy at large today who is attempting to destroy the foundation of our faith. And let us not think for a moment that our faith is so strong that nothing could shake us! Remember the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:12: “ let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2:22).


You remember that the disciples thought their faith was strong enough, and it was their lack of it, that caused Jesus to ask in Luke 8:25, “ Where is your faith?”

Please notice, Jesus didn’t ask them,
“Where is your job?"
“Where is your bank account?”
“Where are your investments?”

But more importantly, He asked, “Where is your faith?”

He also didn’t ask them where their friends were, or what insurance they had. He was not asking them some deep theological question, but rather something practical: not something denominational, but something personal. In His name I ask that same question to you as to myself today, “Where is your faith? Where is my faith?”

We hear a lot about faith at times, we know its definition, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). We know that men are justified by faith. We know that “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). We know that, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).

But I wonder how much we know about the kind of faith Jesus was really talking about. Let's look again at Luke 8:25 and consider the setting. Here we find Jesus and His disciples crossing the lake. It’s a calm evening—quiet, peaceful, such a pleasant experience. Jesus was so tired and weary after a busy day. He lies down in the stern of the boat and soon fell asleep.

Suddenly darkness overspreads the sky. The wind sweeps wildly down the mountain gorges along the eastern shore, and a fierce tempest bursts upon the lake. Their boat is filling with water; every timber is being tested by the angry waves. The disciples are scared for their lives (read Desire of Ages, 333-335). Then He turns to those pale-faced disciples and asks the question more effective than any sermon could ever be:

Where is your faith?

While on the land, their faith was in Jesus. He was a landsman, not a sailor. On the water, their faith was in themselves. They were the rough and rugged seamen. That sturdy craft had weathered many a gale and had brought them safely through to port. What did Jesus know about a storm like this? Yes, their faith was in themselves–until the storm came. Suddenly their faith evaporated. Life is like a sea, dear friends. You and I are crossing it. Perhaps today its surface is calm and unruffled. The sunlight sparkles on the ripples, the south wind may blow softly.
   
But to all of us some misfortune will come. Adversity will strike. The hour when it seems that the Lord is not with us, or has forgotten us, or has closed His ears to our prayers, or has gone to sleep. When we least expect it, it will strike with devastating force–perhaps not in one blow, but in blow after blow, in a series of tragedies, as with Job. Then, “Where is your faith?”

Some of us will discover then that it has really been not so much in Christ as in our own selves: our own works, self-reliant ability, and resourcefulness. Maybe our faith has been in our boat–our material support, our social and financial securities, the steady job, the regular paycheck, and the money so carefully laid aside for a rainy day. Maybe it’s been in our relatives, our friends, and our connections or in the laws that guarantee our liberties. But when the boat begins to sink, what then?
   
When you lose your job, when your nest egg evaporates, when financially you are wiped out, when your friends turn against you, when even the children you sacrificed for desert you–then where is your faith?
   
My friends, I have painted for you a picture of grim reality, "For the great day of his wrath is come" (Revelation 6:17). Thank God, it is possible to stand today and in that day, if your anchor is grounded in the Rock of Ages. As a young man growing up on the coast of Newfoundland, I know what it is to be drifting at sea, headed for the rocks of disaster until my anchor holds.

What a relief to know you’ve hit bottom and your Anchor holds. Spiritually speaking, it is important to know, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 3:11). Our hope must be in Jesus today. “While we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things that are seen are temporal; but the things that are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

I think of the children of Israel there in the desert wilderness for 40 years. Not because it was God’s will, but because they feared giants. God did not design them to be there, but it was because they failed to follow the councils of the Lord. God had ordered their course so that entrance into the promise land might be accomplished.

But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries. For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off. Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil. I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee. And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land (Exodus 23:22-30).


Read the whole story in Numbers 13:14-33, and see what happened because of their lack of faith. Verse 30 reads, “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” God knew there were giants in the land, and He had already lined up His defenses.

God knew what to do about the giants, but the people feared! It is wrong for God’s people to fear to do right. It is wrong for God’s people not to trust in God.

This was an insult to the God of heaven. These who had witnessed His mighty miracles in the desert and at the Red Sea couldn’t even match faith with a streetwalking harlot who lived in Jericho’s ghettos. Rahab believed, but the people who had seen the work of God could not.

The Church of the wilderness, like that of today, was dazzled by the exploits of God’s great yesterday. They gloried about telling about the God that was, and were willing to take a chance on the God that shall be, but they had a problem with the God that is.

I declare unto you today, that from heaven God thunders, “I AM,” and the faith of God’s people must echo, “He is!”

He is God!
He is a present help in trouble!
He is the Light of our salvation.
He is the Sustainer of all life.
He is the Salvation of His people.
He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
He is the mighty Deliverer, Saviour.
He is the abiding Presence.
He is the Defender of the Church.
He is the Bread of life.
He is the strength of His people.
He is the risen Lord.
He is able to keep us from falling.

One of the most difficult messages for us to understand and accept is James 1:2-3:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

Count it all, joy my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness (RSV).

God never would send you the darkness
If He knew you could bear the light,
And you would not trust to His guiding hand
If the way were always bright,
And you never would learn to walk by faith
If you always walked by sight.


Yes, no matter how dark the future is, or the present seems, “yet behind the dim unknown standeth God within the shadows, keeping watch above His own.”

Put your trust in God, friends. He knows all about you. He even knows how many hairs you have on your head. Let's not be like the Israelites any longer. There they were—2 million of them with not as much faith as an old man with a stick who came along and led them on to victory.

We serve a living God today. He is able!

O, my friends, if your trust is anchored not in the seen but in the Unseen, you may be sure that in the darkness your Father is there with you and His face is turned your way. God bless you all.

 

 

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