One of our most popular and often requested resources, is our study on How to Have Faith in God. There have been testimonies of how this study has changed the minds and outlooks of people who now have a clear understanding of what faith is and how to grow in faith.
Today we will continue with part two of this study, examining what the Bible calls our “Good Fight of Faith”, what this fight is and how we can be victorious through Jesus Christ.
If you have not yet heard or read part one, I would suggest that you do so as the principles which we learned in that study will be mentioned and referred back to in our study today.
So in part one, we learned that faith and belief are two different things. Faith is defined in the Bible as information of God, and belief is defined in the Bible as the action we take based on that information.
The entire Bible, when seen in the light of Christ Jesus is a book of faith. And as you read, you are receiving faith, spirit and life (John 6:63). When the Holy Spirit illuminates something to you in the Scriptures, you are given faith (information) and the action you take based on that faith determines your belief. There are people who receive information, and choose to ignore it and go their own way…. that’s called denying the faith and having it shipwrecked, which the Apostle Paul defines for us in 1st Timothy 1:19.
Everything that we receive from God, we receive by faith. We can not receive anything from God without faith. The greatest gift of all Salvation, is received by faith, as the information of what Jesus Christ has done for us is learned and accepted and the salvation for our soul is received, all by faith. So also is every other gift and blessing from God likewise received by faith. Jesus tells us this in Acts 26:18.
If you receive something and it is not by faith, you will not be able to keep it; it will not stay. I have personally seen where people have been prayed for to receive healing, and the healing came on them, but they did not receive it by faith, so they could not keep it… and after a short amount of time the healing was lost. The healing was there, but because they had no solid foundation upon which to stand, it was taken from them – stolen by the enemy.
The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please God. Let’s read the verse now:
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
In this verse we see that both faith and belief are mentioned. To fully understand what this verse is saying, we must examine the original Greek text:
But without[koris]faith it is impossible[adunatos]to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and is a rewarder of them that diligently seek [ekzeteo]him.
Let’s take a look at each of these words more closely. The word koris means “apart from, detached” it signifies a separation.
The word adunatos is a compound word. The Greek A which is a negative, and dunamis which means “power”. So together the word means “no power; without power”.
The word ekzeteo means “to seek after, long for, search for and crave” as one searches for lost treasure, with fervency and intensity, passion and drive.
Put all of this together and we see the true meaning of Hebrews 11:6:
Apart from the information of God we have no power to please Him; because those who come to God must act upon the truth that He exists and is a rewarder of those who search for, long for and crave Him.
Does your personal relationship with God fit this description? Do you long for Him, crave Him, search for Him? Or are you craving this world and the things of this world?
The Bible says we are saved by faith, we are healed by faith, and all that we have from God is by faith.
We are also encouraged in the scriptures to “fight the good fight of faith” in 1st Timothy 6:12:
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto you are also called, and have professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
We see from this verse that we do have a fight, we do have a battle, but it is not what many believers think that it is. Most believers think that they need to fight the devil, but that’s not what this verse says. Our fight is the good fight of faith, to lay hold on and maintain our grip on the truth of eternal life and blessings in Christ. The devil is nothing more than a demon spirit that tries to lie to you and trick you into believing that you do not have what Jesus ha paid for you to have. Don’t focus on fighting the devil, focus on the faith (information of God) in the scriptures. When you remain in faith, you remain victorious over the enemy and all evil forces. Conversely, when you are not in faith, you can fight the devil and yell at him all day, but he has won. Your fight is to fight the good fight of faith. This means to fight to remain in the faith of God. Every attack, plan, trap and temptation of the enemy is designed to move you out of the realm of faith and into the realm of the flesh and natural impulses.
Now we know that Jesus is the author and finisher of faith. Apart from Him there can be no faith. Turn now to Hebrews 12:2:
“Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
In the Greek text, the word “our” is not there. Jesus is the author and finisher of faith, period. He starts it, and He brings it all the way to completion. This tells us that apart from Him, faith can not even exist, and this makes sense when we remember that Jesus is the Word of God. Without Jesus, without the eternal Word of God, there would be no information for us to remain in or stand on. The more you see Him, the more you look to Jesus and spend quality time with Him, that is how your faith grows. So many people leave Jesus the moment they leave their church building, and their lives are in shambles and they blame God.
So faith is what we want, everything comes by faith an it is by remaining in faith that we obtain victory over the enemy. How then do we receive faith? How does it come? Let’s read Romans 10:13-17 for the answer:
“For whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias said, Lord, who has believed our report?
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Most people read verse 17 only, and taken out of context it makes little sense. The principle is this, and we have done several other studies on this principle so we will not spend much time on it today, but it is impossible to correctly hear God’s voice apart from the scriptures, empowered by His Spirit.
There are people today who think they can hear God directly apart from the scriptures and the Spirit, and this produces pride within them where they say “I hear God, so I don’t need to fellowship with other believers. I don’t need to sit under a teacher, I don’t need counsel.”, but God is saying in verse 14 “How can you hear without a preacher?” Did you know that Jesus was considered a Rabbi – a teacher – when He walked on the earth, and He did not rebuke or correct anyone for calling Him that. The Holy Spirit is also our Teacher, charged with teaching us all things and bringing to our remembrance all things which Jesus has said to us (John 14:26). And if you are ever in doubt, just read Ecclesiastes 1:1.
So we need Pastors, we need Preachers, we need Teachers, because God speaks to us through them as they are extolling Gospel via the scriptures! We see this in verse 15. Now there is a right way and a wrong way to read the Bible and a right and wrong way to teach the Bible as well. We have done several studies in the past on that as well… including how to tell if a leader is really from God or not. Verse 15 gives a really quick synopsis, are they preaching the Gospel of peace and bringing glad tidings of good things or not? Is the preacher expounding scripture in the Light of Jesus? This is how faith comes.
Faith does not come when a preacher preaches the law or Ten Commandments. You know, the fire and brimstone messages, where by the time the sermon is done people are smelling like burning charcoal. Those do not produce faith because they have the effect of separating people from God, and they do not promote Jesus. The Bible says that “the law is not of faith” in Galatians 3:12.
Now I am not saying that God never corrects people, because He does. Grace does not give people a license to sin – but there is a right and wrong way to go about it. And there is a right and wrong mindset to have. Let’s take the example of the Corinthian church and Paul; and you can read this during your own study time in 1st Corinthians 6. The Corinthian church had a lot of bad things going on, strife, pride and sexual immorality. The Corinthians had temple prostitutes. They believed that when they entered the temple and met a prostitute and had sex with her, that they were actually being united with the gods and goddesses there, the idols. And Paul addressed this in his letter to the Corinthian church. Now this would’ve been a fine time to bring up the 1st, 2nd and 7th commandments, but Paul did not do that… instead he corrected the Corinthians by showing them who they are in Christ. He said: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” In regards to strife, he said “Do you not know that we will judge angels?” Paul corrected them, but he did so by showing them who they are in Christ.
This is the new covenant, yes we are to live holy, but we do so not because of rules or commandments, but because God has made us new creations in Christ now we can walk in it. Because He has cleaned us and lifted us up, now we honor Him for it.
Now go back to Romans chapter 10 and let’s continue with verse 16: It’s very simple, not everyone who hears the faith information from God, believes. Not everyone acts upon what God says. And in verse 17 we see that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (again, that is Jesus).
That word “hearing” used twice is both times in the present-tense, a continual action. You can not just hear once and be done with it, but you must continually hear to grow faith. And what is it that you should be hearing? The Greek word for “God” in this verse is actually Cristos for “Christ”. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the Word of Christ – the scriptures taught in the light of Christ Jesus.
It’s easy to just quote the law and say “thou shalt not”, but it takes real revelation by the Holy Spirit to expound on Jesus Christ.
This is the good fight of faith, to always stay focused on Jesus, and who we are in Him. This is what gives victory over temptation and every evil power. If you see someone who is in bondage to sin, show them who they are in Christ because that’s what they need to get out of it. Don’t just tell them to stop, but introduce them to the Deliverer.
In closing I want to give you an illustration to help you remember what we’ve learned about faith today. I enjoy playing Chess. I like figuring out lines and combinations, and studying positions to find the best moves. Typically when preparing for a match, a player will learn sets of predetermined moves which is called a “book”. Now when you are playing against someone of equal or greater skill, one of the first things that you want to accomplish during the game is to play unrecognized or unexpected moves to get your opponent “out of their book” and force them to really start thinking.
This is what the enemy tries to do to us spiritually, to get us out of our Book – which is the Bible. When we get out of our Book, we become vulnerable and weak, to be trampled over by the enemy instead of effortlessly defeating Him by staying in the realm of faith.
So I encourage you today, Stay in the Book, fight the good fight of faith, and do not get distracted by the trappings of this world. Don’t let the enemy shift your focus onto anything or anyone other than Jesus and the faith of Christ.