Keep The Faith
By Ken Raggio
Do you have the kind of faith today that the early Church had?Faith starts with believing in God, and taking Him at His Word.
"Keeping the Faith," or "earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the saints," requires us to know what their original faith was. We cannot REPEAT something that we know nothing about. So, here, in this article, we will take a quick look at the faith of Old Testament Jews and the faith of the New Testament Christians. THEIRS is the faith we must keep.
Abraham believed that God would do what He promised He would do. We must likewise believe anything and everything God says, regardless of the prevailing opinions of the day.
Pharaoh saw the miracles of God, but doubted them. Israel saw the miracles and believed. We must break from the unbelief of our generation and see the power of God working in our midst."And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness," Genesis 15:6.
God manifested Himself upon the mountain so the people would believe. God still manifests himself in signs, wonders and miracles. Do we have the eyes to see and recognize that He is working for us RIGHT NOW?"And the people believed: and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped," Exodus 4:31.
Daniel was a shining example of a man that believed God. Do we have the "Daniel-in-the-lions'-den" faith that will serve God, even if there is NO ONE ELSE around who believes God, and if it costs us everything?"And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the Lord," Exodus 19:9.
Even though God showed His miraculous works, men invariably began to doubt God. Are we angering God with our doubts, fears and unbelief?"Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God," Daniel 6:23.
There were some who truly believed God, (i.e., Jehoshaphat)."And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?" Numbers 14:11.
Our natural mind is the culprit! It really is impossible for the natural mind to comprehend the things of God. The Queen of Sheba could not believe the stories she had heard about the glory of Solomon's kingdom:"And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper," 2 Chronicles 20:20.
We cannot afford to be of a doubtful mind. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. Let not that man think that he shall receive anything from God."Howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest the fame that I heard," 2 Chronicles 9:6.
When you doubt God, you forfeit your very strength. When Jacobs son's returned from Egypt,"And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind," Luke 12:29.
David admitted that he could not stand without faith in God."And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob's heart fainted, for he believed them not," Genesis 45:26.
Satan's highest goal is to destroy our faith in God. Sennacherib tried to discredit the power of God to protect Hezekiah's people from the Assyrians:"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living," Psalm 27:13.
Jesus taught that faith in God is essential. We must believe that God will take care of us."Now therefore let not Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade you on this manner, neither yet believe him: for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of mine hand, and out of the hand of my fathers: how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand?" 2 Chronicles 32:15.
Paul taught that faith in God is absolutely essential. You cannot please God without faith."Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?" Matthew 6:30.
Jesus required faith in those He blessed."But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him," Hebrews 11:6.
Jesus rebuked His disciples for not believing in the midst of the storms."And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you," Matthew 9:28-29.
Jesus rebuked Peter as he sank into the sea of Galilee."And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm," Matthew 8:26.
Many people believe God for a while, but begin to doubt."And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Matthew 14:31.
Those who continue to believe will be saved. Unbelievers WILL have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. The penalty for unbelief is eternal death."They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away," Luke 8:13.
Some only believe after they have see the power of God. But we should believe, based upon His Word alone, if necessary."He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned," Mark 16:16.
Jesus rebuked the unbelief in people who act like that. God is insulted when we do not take Him at His Word. he wants us to embrace His promises."When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did," John 2:22-23.
Thomas refused to believe that Jesus was resurrected unless he could see and feel the scars in Jesus' body. Jesus rebuked him for that."Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe," John 4:48.
Jesus taught that what we receive from God is directly proportional to what we believe. That tells us that we need to stretch the envelope of our faith."Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
We must not lose the balance of our priorities. While we are striving for perfection in the will of God, we should never forget that works alone cannot produce miracles. Faith AND good works is the scriptural formula."And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour," Matthew 8:13.
If we have doubted, we must repent. Our unbelief is just as offensive to God as adultery and murder. It has to be confessed and repented of."Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone," Matthew 23:23.
If we can believe, all things are possible. Faith is the key to every miracle we will receive, but more importantly, it is essential for entrance into the Kingdom of God.
"Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth," Mark 9:23.
Keep the faith!
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