Faith in the Kingdom
If ‘the kingdom of God is within you’, as Jesus said in Luke 17.21, how much faith does it take to get it out of you? That is, when does faith in God’s promise become reality you can see? This challenge for you was also a challenge for Jesus’ disciples. He scolds them for their lack of faith in Mark 9.19. How long does it take to develop faith that can be seen? How should faith be taught and learned? Remember that the measure of your faith and knowledge is Jesus’ faith and knowledge; Ephesians 4.11-13. This is the purpose of this and each of my Bible studies.
You hold the key.
- This is literally true when you hold the Bible in hand. Consider Apostle Paul’s statement in Romans 10.17. Read it slowly: faith comes…from hearing…God’s word. Find a promise that is not part of your ‘treasure’ (Matthew 13.52) and ask God to explain it to you through the history and prophets of the Old Testament and the dynamic experience of Jesus and the New Testament writers. ‘Hear’ it again and again. Later, follow the instructions of the Holy Spirit for implementing it in your life. Give it time and ‘expectant’ listening!
- Paul illustrates this in 2 Corinthians 12.1-10, which is his recounting of Jewish resistance encountered in his first missionary journey, recorded in Acts 13.1-14.28. He reminded Timothy of the resistance in 2 Timothy 3.10-11. Paul learned faith each of the three times Jesus answered his prayers for deliverance from the Jews; ‘My promise is all you need’ (my paraphrase). His confidence became great to overcome ‘infirmities, reproaches, persecutions, distresses’ (2 Corinthians 12.10). Apostle John would later summarize this in Revelation 12.11a.
- Jesus repeated His protocol twice when feeding the 5,000 (Mark6.30-44) and 4,000 (Mark 8.1-10). Yet, the disciples were dull for learning this, as Jesus remarks in Matthew 16.8-11. What should they have learned? What did Jesus pray about the bread and fish (Mark 6.41)?
- How does Isaiah 45.22 summarize what you have learned so far? Does this conform to Hebrews 11.6?
- For emphasis, consider what God said to Ezekiel (20.14) about the importance of His name. Now, consider what King David came to understand about the relationship of God’s name and His promises, in Psalm 138.2. What is your conclusion?
- God is zealous! Consider Isaiah 37.32b.
- You hold the key! What will you do with it?
Jesus’ exercise for applying faith.
- Jesus made His disciples curious about faith by drying up a fig tree (Mark 11.12-14). He used that occasion to teach them how to exercise faith, in Mark 11.20-26.
- ‘Say what you mean, and mean what you say.’ This paraphrase includes the two requirements for releasing faith: speaking what you want and believing wholeheartedly that it is yours (verse 24). Is there any limitation to Jesus declaration?
- Why not allow a little bit of uncertainty about the results? James 1.5-8 answers this question about doubt. Pray without doubt, like Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2.8. When should you pray ‘if it be Your will, God’?
- What is the implication, regarding exercising faith, of Jesus’ caution in Mark 11.25-26? Pray without wrath, like Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2.8.
Live by faith!
- How does Proverbs 4.18 illustrate how faith increases? Why does light increase in intensity? How does turning toward God increase the intensity of faith? Consider, also, Isaiah 60.19-20.
- How do Psalm 32.8 and John 14.26 assure the right result of your faith?
- In Romans 1.16-17, Paul stated the importance of the truth of the Bible and the acceptance of Christ Jesus in the life of believers. What does his quotation of God’s words to Habakkuk (2.4) mean to you?
God intended for you to look to and have faith in His salvation…in everyday circumstances. Remember Revelation 12.11a!
Praise God!!! Copyright © Maurice Painter, 2011.