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108 The Fruits of God’s Spirit: Faith

The presence of the Holy Spirit will manifest itself in certain ways often called the fruits [or indicators] of the presence of the Holy Spirit, which will develop more and more over time, as we overcome more and more and grow in godliness.  

The scriptures contain a list of the Fruits of God’s Spirit and also a list of the Gifts of God’s Spirit.  Fruits means the evidence of God’s Spirit and nature in a person.  The Gifts of love, wisdom, knowledge and faith  are the same as the fruits, but the gifts of healing, prophecy and tongues are additional special gifts for the edifying of the whole assembly.  This series will present identical Fruits and Gifts together in the same articles, and will place those specific Gifts [healing, tongues and prophecy] not included in the list of Fruits in their own articles. 

We call the end results of anything, its consequences or fruits;  the Holy Spirit in us produces these fruits in us.  

The Holy Spirit is the essence and nature of God, therefore GOD IS:  Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love [agape], joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 523 Meekness, temperance: and we are to grow to become like God.

The fruits of God’s Spirit are the evidences or proofs of God’s Spirit and nature in us.  When we plant a seed that seed will germinate and grow to become a plant.  When God plants his Holy Spirit in us, it will grow [if nurtured by much study,  putting away sin and internalizing godliness, and obedience to every Word of God] and fill us with the nature of God [the nature of God being the nature of God’s Spirit [the fruits of the Spirit].  

The nature of God and of the Spirit of God in us, grows in us through the unresisted presence and growth of God’s Spirit in us.   If we are diligent to learn and to live by every Word of God, to diligently seek all truth – for God is truth, and to reject every false thing, the very nature of God will grow in us, which nature is:  Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Spiritually faith is belief and trust in the Word of God

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Neither Abraham nor we, are saved by our own works, but we are saved by believing and trusting God, having enough faith to do what GOD says!

Romans 4:1 What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? 4:2 For if Abraham were justified by [his own] works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Can we be justified by our own works?  No!

We are justified by faith; which is believing and trusting the Word of God; however when we trust God we must add to that trust the actions of obedience to God.

James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Paul tells the Romans that faith in God is the foundation, but the foundation alone is not enough; for the hearers who believe God, must add to their hearing and trust ,the actions of repentance and obedience to the whole Word of God.

Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

Therefore the faith of Abraham resulted in his works of OBEDIENCE to God!

Abraham ACTED on his faith and obeyed God; and if we act on our faith to obey God we are the spiritual children of Abraham.

Hebrews 11:7 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. 11:9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. 11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. 11:12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 11:16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Brethren, if we believe and trust God and his Word, and if we add to our faith obedience; then we shall have the sacrifice of Christ applied to us, justifying us and atoning for past sin.

Faith [belief and trust], plus obedience to God; defines sincere repentance and a commitment to: Go and sin no more!  John 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Jesus asks a very poignant question: Luke 18:8 “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

What does it mean to have faith? And how important is it to have faith and to be faithful ourselves?

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The definition of faith is a very important fundamental subject and is a deep spiritual concept.

The Greek word for “faith” used in this verse is pistis (Strong’s 4102) and means; assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity, loyalty. From peitho; persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth and conduct itself — assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.)

William Barclay writes about faith in this way: “This word (pistis) is common in secular Greek for trustworthiness. It is the characteristic of the man [or woman] who is reliable.” (William Barclay Commentary, p. 51)

The Hebrew word for faith is emuwn (Strong”s #530) and means: faithful set office, stability, steady, truly, truth, verily); or  >emunah {em-oo-naw’} feminine of ’emuwn; literally firmness; figuratively security; morally fidelity, faith(-ful, -ly, -ness, (man)), set office, stability, steady, truly, truth, verily. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

The definition according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary: faith is :allegiance to duty or a person, loyalty, fidelity to one’s promises, sincerity of intentions, belief and trust in and loyalty to God, belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion, firm belief in something for which there is no proof, complete trust, something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially, a system of religious beliefs ( http://www.merriam-webster.com)

This also from the Merriam Webster Dictionary comparing “faithful: with synonyms making its meaning even clearer.

“Synonym Discussion of FAITHFUL: faithful, loyal, constant, staunch, steadfast, resolute mean firm in adherence to whatever one owes allegiance.

Faithful implies unswerving adherence to a person or thing or to the oath or promise by which a tie was contracted (faithful to her promise).

“Loyal” implies a firm resistance to any temptation to desert or betray (remained loyal to the czar).

“Constant” stresses continuing firmness of emotional attachment without necessarily implying strict obedience to promises or vows (constant friends).

“Staunch” suggests fortitude and resolution in adherence and imperviousness to influences that would weaken it (a staunch defender of free speech).

“Steadfast” implies a steady and unwavering course in love, allegiance, or conviction  (steadfast in their support).

“Resolute” implies firm determination to adhere to a cause or purpose (a resolute ally).

Other synonyms include dedicated, steadfast, devoted, dependable, accurate, true, conscientious, dutiful, careful, scrupulous and thorough.”  (http://www.merriam-webster.com)

The opposite of faith and faithfulness is: irresponsible, undependable, unreliable, untrustworthy; faltering, hesitant, vacillating, wavering; dubious, irresolute, shaky, uncertain; apathetic, dispassionate, uninterested, unbelieving, dishonest, disloyal, doubting, treacherous, unscrupulous, lukewarm in commitment. “not keeping faith.”

In the Bible we are given a very straightforward definition of faith in Hebrews 11, the “Faith Chapter.”

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

The rest of the chapter gives us many examples of faith as exemplified in the lives of God’s faithful men and women whose lives are recorded in Scripture for our instruction. Their lives are written to encourage us to follow in their footsteps faithfulness towards God and living by faith. Please take time to read the whole chapter as it is so relevant to the whole study on faith and what it means to be faithful.  Reading this chpater again will refresh our memories of the many instances where the Bible tells about each of these peoples lives in a much broader context and how they responded to their life’s challenges with godly faith.

All of these definitions give us a more precise understanding of what faith means and how it is applied in every situation.

Not only the persons listed in the Faith Chapter, but the whole Bible is full of what it means to have faith. In fact, the main theme of the Bible is having faith in God because we must first of all believe in His existence, having faith that what He says is true, that His whole Word is the truth and that we need to heed everything that the Word of God teaches us.

Jesus Christ is called Faithful and True

Jesus Christ is the very essence of FAITH, the very epitome of faithfulness to God the Father and He is our perfect example of faith.

We are told in Revelation that Jesus is CALLED Faithful and True, this quality is in His name and it’s what He IS.

Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

He is not only called Faithful and True, He also says of Himself that He is a Faithful Witness.

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

He gave us His testimony of everything that God the Father gave Him to give to His followers.

At the last Passover service Jesus wanted to impart His final statements to the men that He had taught over the past 3 ½ years; He told them that He had made known to them all the things that He had heard of His Father.

John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Jesus was faithful to reveal the will of His Father to His disciples and had it recorded for us as well; and we know that everything that He tells us is true, for He is a faithful witness, who cannot be deceived nor does He deceive us.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

If we put our trust in God that He is a faithful God and tells us the truth, we have strong consolation [solace, comfort] and we can lay hold [sieze upon] that truth with all our might, internalizing it into our hearts and beings. By doing so, we then have the hope of the whole purpose of God and His plan of redemption set before us and it becomes our focus and goal.

Hebrews 6:18 That by two immutable [unchangeable] things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 6:20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Jesus Christ is faithful because He never changes: He will keep all His Word and His promises will not fail.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Malachi 3:6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

Psalm 102:26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: 102:27 But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. 102:28 The children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee.

The total reliability and faithfulness of Jesus Christ is shown in His personal character, and made known by His words and works. He is the one by whom everything we see was made; whether it be the physical creation or the spiritual realm, and He is head over it all (under God the Father).

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

It is only by having faith through the Holy Spirit of God the Father and Jesus Christ that we can know the way to eternal life, receive His truth, and then have access to God the Father. We must believe that God is the embodiment of all truth, that He created all things and that He is the Head of His Ekklesia before we can even begin to trust Him enough to follow Him.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 8:24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

1 John 5:9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

This Faith Does Not Come from Within Ourselves

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

We must have a personal calling from God the Father first which begins the process and then go forward to do the other things necessary to be reconciled to God.  Only then will the Holy Spirit which convinces us and generates faith in us be given to us.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

When we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit we receive all the fruits of the presence of God’s Spirit, which includes a measure of faith. It can only come as a gift from our Father initially, and it enables us to start living by every Word of God and we begin to grow in faith and to internalize the nature of God the Father and His Son; and as we grow in obedience and knowledge we will grow in faith as well.

Also, like the other fruits, we can ask for more of His Spirit and ask to have more faith on a daily (Luke 11:9-13).

What Faith is Not

There are many in the world that profess faith in God but know nothing of God and what He really is about, or what He really teaches. To simply believe in God or to accept the beliefs of our peers or our parents handed down to us is not godly faith!

James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Just like Jesus said to the woman at the well who thought that she had the true religion:  “Ye worship ye know not what….”

Many people think that just because they believe in God (or a god) that they have faith, but this is not so. We must not only believe that He exists (the One who is the true Creator of the Universe); but we must also believe in the truth of His Word and have strong convictions that it is of utmost importance to internalize and live by every Word of God.

Someone may believe that it is wrong to commit fornication but then go ahead and do it anyway, or they may believe it is wrong to lie but lie whenever it suits them. They may even believe that God exists but reason that they don’t really need to fear and obey Him. A true belief in God means that we not only believe in Him, but believe what He says, including what He tells us we must do to enter into eternal life ,and then believe it enough to do it.

John 6:28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Mark 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some [of the called out, Paul is talking to the true disciples of Christ.] shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

We show what we truly believe in, by what we do (unless we are hypocrites). Faith is the motivator that displays to ourselves and to others what we really are committed to believing in. Faith is not just an intellectual agreement with an ideal or set of rules but is a living faith; in that if we have true godly faith we will put that faith into action and do the works of faith.

James 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 2:24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 2:25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

But there is still hope eventually for those who do not have true faith at this time. For those of us who do know God’s truth we can set examples for them at this time. And someday they will remember that there were those in their midst that did have true faith. Then when it is their turn to be called, they may recall memories of when they saw and heard the truth in others but rejected it for themselves.

Romans 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 11:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

Finding the Real Faith of God

Once we have been called by God our Father, how do we know the true faith from the false faith?

We must go directly to God’s Word, for that is the Source of God’s truth and that is where we will find the true faith of God.

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Faith is a fruit of the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit which faith then increases by hearing [and reading] the Word of the God, and the more we fill ourselves up with God’s Spirit through living by every Word of God; the more Faith we will have!

Romans 10:14 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? 10:15 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! 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 10:18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.

We build God’s Spirit in us by studying God’s Word,  mediating on it, praying and seeking understanding, and living by every Word of God. and by seeking out godly teachers that can expound God’s Word more fully to us (Acts 8:27-38).

Good teachers will preach the Word and back up whatever they teach with God’s Word. They point their students to God the Father and to Jesus as Lord and Saviour and to all their Word and they continually  exhort all persons to keep all of God’s commandments, ordinances, statutes, precepts and judgments. If an elder or minister or anyone that is teaching directs us away from God’s Word and His commandments, or is not living God’s way himself, then we need to run from that person.

Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Once you have God’s true faith; guard it and don’t let anyone take it away from you. Turn away from those who do not embrace the whole Word of God or who are trying to promote traditions of men which are not found in the Bible [an example is the Rabbinic Calendar and other such non-biblical teachings]; and turn away from them if they are not living good examples of godly faithfulness themselves.

Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 1:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

If we let anyone or anything take our faith, we let them take our crown!

Revelation 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

Seek God with All Your Heart!

Jeremiah 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

And as we seek God’s Word and His truth and continually live by every Word of God, the Holy Spirit will increase our understanding; and married to practical application, that knowledge and experience will bring wisdom, which in turn will increase our faith. The more we know and understand of God, the more faith we will have in Him.

Proverbs 4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 4:6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

How Are We to Exhibit Faithfulness?

We are living in a very faithless society. Is there anyone out there in a position of responsibility or in a leadership role that is loyal to the Word of God or even to any kind of integrity and moral standard anymore?

The apostle Paul forecasts the mind and behavior of the people that would be living in the end times.

2 Timothy 3:1 Speaking to the Called Out ones: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Here we see a number of negative of qualities describing what the end times will be like. This description begins with “lovers of themselves” [selfish] and ends with “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”

These are people who love themselves more than God or anyone else and love the pleasures of this world more than God. This list of self-gratifying characteristics are the very opposite of what it means to be faithful. And yet we see this type of behavior in all levels of our society and this mindset permeates our culture, beginning with school children all the way up to the highest leaders in the land.

How can anyone be faithful to God when the most important thing in his life is himself and his own selfish wants and aspirations using any means available to obtain his own pleasure and coveted positions in this world; regardless of any consideration or respect for anyone else, including his own parents?

We must put living by every Word of God above even our family members, closest of friends, employers, elders, church organizations, teachers, sports, hobbies, and even before ourselves.

Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Jesus wanted to know Peter’s heart when He appeared to him and the other disciples after His death and resurrection. (John 21:3-14)

John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Jesus purposely asks Peter three times if he loved Him. The first time Jesus asked if his love for Him was more than these; possibly referring to his fishing companions or it could have been his occupation.

Jesus wanted to impress on Peter’s mind that He, Jesus, must be the most important thing in his life, more than companions, more than fishing, more than anything on earth and drive home the fact that he had been given an important job to do and needed to be committed to God first in order to fulfill all his responsibility of “feeding God’s sheep.” Peter and all of God’s people need to be faithful and loyal to our Lord.

Jesus made His point to Peter as an example to all that would become His loyal followers after Peter, that we must esteem God more highly than anything else and obey Hm above all others and be faithful to Him.

Is this beyond our reach to do? Does not marriage require a similar fidelity and steadfast love, and the forsaking all others? Without faithfulness, a marriage cannot endure.

Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

This is not to say that it is easy! We all know how difficult it can be sometimes. Jesus warns all who take up the burden that the gate is strait and the way is narrow and we must reject the wide and easy road that is so inviting to us. The life of a true servant of God requires a great deal of focus, vision and discipline to be faithful to His way of life.  Is that not what Paul was referring to when he talk about running in a race?

1 Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Paul writes that if athletes can train and subject themselves to the most grueling practice and restrict their lifestyles in order to obtain a frail wreath, a paper certificate or a ribbon; then we should be even more motivated because we are striving to obtain a more enduring and permanent crown and a position with Christ in God’s kingdom forever.

With God All Things are Possible

God the Father and Jesus Christ are our models and we must look to them as our examples of faithfulness. All of God’s great men and women had the fruit of faith in abundance and in the end they will not be disappointed. They came to see that God never failed them and that even though many suffered and died for their faith, they will be exceedingly rewarded in the very next moment of consciousness when they rise up in the resurrection.

Even though we are weak flesh and blood humans, the following verses give us much assurance and they help to build our faith by telling us that we can do it; we can be faithful until the end if we are trusting in God to help us to do so. It is His will that we remain faithful, and if He has called us, He desires to help us until He gives us the Kingdom.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 5:24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

Luke 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Peter in his second epistle tells us that if we do certain things we cannot fail, and admonishes us to give all diligence to make our calling and election sure.

2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1:9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

Jesus’ Question to His People

“Do you love me more than these?” [“Am I more important than all else in your life and can I trust you to do my work of feeding my sheep?”]

At the beginning of this study we read that Jesus asked a similar important question after He related the story of the persistent widow; “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”  [Will He find His Ekklesia busy with the task of doing His work and remaining faithful to every Word of God?]

Matthew 24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 24:46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 24:47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

The Holy Spirit of God is the very nature of God and when we are filled with the Spirit and nature of God, we will put our trust in God.: We will believe, trust, obey  and rely on God our Father to give us life and to teach us the way to eternal life; just as a small toddler relies on its own parents to provide all things.

True living faith is always married to the works of faith, trusting God enough to believe and to do what God says, to live by every Word of God, instead of relying on our own thoughts

Our faith in God results in obedience to God, which is a fruit or evidence of the presence of the Spirit of God dwelling in us.  Faith and trust in God is also a Gift of God’s Spirit and will be studied further in the “Gifts” section.

Each and every true Christian has received the gift of the Holy Spirit.   No believer can say that they have no gift of the Spirit from God. God has given all believers the gift of the spirit itself and at least one gift and some have received several gifts.

These gifts of the Spirit are given to the believer for building up the body of Christ. The gifts are to help make the body function as a complete body. These gifts are intended for the Ekklesia, to edify it, to strengthen it, to feed it, to exhort it, to encourage it and to have the whole Body empowered to do the work of Christ. These gifts are always to exalt God the Father and Christ, to witness of God’s power, to build up the spiritual temple of God, and to do the work of warning and proclaiming the Gospel to all nations, and then teaching them to observe all things that are written in God’s Word.

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

In 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14 Paul teaches about specific spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit and lists them. They are not things that Christians can generate through their own human efforts, but are gifts bestowed upon us freely by God; therefore as believers we have no cause to brag o9r be proud about the gifts we have been given. If we take human pride in our spiritual gift, we are taking credit for something that was given to us and for something we did not earn. It is a gift that was freely given to us that we are to share with others by exercising it for the good of all.

1 Corinthians 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

Now that we have studied into the purpose for spiritual gifts these past couple of weeks, we will begin to address each of the gifts that are given to God’s children and how each gift benefits the Ekklesia. There are nine gifts of the Spirit listed in 1 Corinthian 12 and seven gifts listed in Romans 12.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit (1) the word of wisdom; to another the (2) word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another (3) faith by the same Spirit; to another (4) the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another (5) the working of miracles; to another (6) prophecy; to another (7) discerning of spirits; to another (8) divers kinds of tongues; to another (9) the interpretation of tongues:  But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

Romans 12 lists seven more gifts of the Spirit and they too are to be used in building up [edifying] the Body of Christ.

Romans 12:6-8 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether (1) prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;  Or (2) ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or (3) he that teacheth, on teaching;  Or (4) he that exhorteth, on exhortation: (5) he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; (7) he that ruleth, [manages, administers] with diligence; (8) he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

 A measure of faith is the very first prerequisite to having the other gifts for we must first believe and have faith in the very existence of God, believe what He says in His Word, believe in His promises and then have faith that God is all powerful and is able to perform his will in miraculous ways. We must also believe that He can work through weak human beings who are His called-out faithful children and who are striving to live in all of God’s ways. He is able to use them to do good works that bring Him glory, just as He used the first century apostles and brethren in the early church. 

Faith is the key that enables us to believe in God and to know that His Word is true and then marrying that belief with OBEDIENCE. If we seek to grow in faith, we must walk as Jesus walked in all obedience to His Father’s commandments; and as we do so we will have more and more opportunities to be used by God in doing good works and furthering His purpose here on earth through the power of God’s spiritual gifts.  Without faith in God to trust in God’s Word, it is impossible to even come to the knowledge of the truth wherewith we may be saved, let alone do the works of God.

The “Gift of faith” is found in 1 Corinthians 12 and verse 9 and refers to the fact that God’s people are given the “gift of a deeper faith” in addition to the initial faith that all believers receive when they first come to know God.

Faith is absolutely necessary for believing the Gospel, repenting of our past sins and believing that Jesus atoned for our sins by His sacrifice. It takes faith to believe that Chr9ist rose from the dead and to live a godly  Christian life. So a measure of faith is necessary to even begin the process of becoming a converted child of God. Faith is defined as believing in God and also to believe that what He says in His Word is true and right. We are convinced from the heart that it is imperative to obey Him in all things and to use our life to live for Him. Faith is also believing that God keeps all of His promises, and that all that He says, will happen exactly as it is written in His Word.

Faith is always a gift from God, and never something that can be conjured up by men and women. For the believer, faith is God’s “divine persuasion” and therefore is distinct from our own human belief; godly faith is a spiritual Gift of God. When a believer continually yields himself to the will of God, his faith will grow and God will provide even more faith. It is the JUST who walk by faith (Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38,)

The Greek word for “faith” that is used in 1 Corinthians 12 is pistis (Strong’s #4102) it means: faith, belief, trust, confidence; fidelity, faithfulness. (Strong’s Concordance)

4102 pístis (from 3982/peithô, “persuade, be persuaded”) -properly,  persuasion (be persuaded, come to trust); faith. Faith (4102/pistis) is always a gift from God, and never something that can be produced by people. In short, 4102/pistis (“faith”) for the believer is “God’s divine persuasion” (HELPS Word-studies)

1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Paul describes saving faith in Ephesians and this faith too is very much a gift from God. God begins the process by calling us, He opens our eyes to see that what He says in His Word is true, and helps those who respond to His call understand His Word, something that they could not do before they were called.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

When we respond positively to God’s call and we embark on our journey through life, dedicated to serving Him; Paul tells us that the righteousness we attain is by the faith of Jesus Christ.  That is, the faith of Christ in God the Father, is given to us as a part of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and nature of Christ.

Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Faith involves belief but it goes beyond human believing because it involves the personal revelation of God to the inner most being of a person. Godly faith is always God’s work in us. Our believing has eternal worth when it becomes “faith-believing” by the Gift of the transforming Spirit of God.

There is very little true faith in the world and even though many people say that they are true Christians and that they follow the Bible; they refuse to believe what God says and refuse to obey the words of Jesus; because of so little faith there are not that many mighty works of God among them.

In 1 Corinthians 12 “faith” is placed in the category of  extra “spiritual gifts,” gifts that are given to individuals for the purpose of benefiting the body of believers. The Gift of faith allows us to obey God, but as we grow in faith and our faith is increased it become the foundation for other gifts of the Spirit.

Paul says that the gifts are varied and different believers are given different gifts according to how God distributes them. Later in the chapter Paul says that not all have all the same gifts but to each one a gift or gifts are given so that whole Ekklesia benefits from the gift.

1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 12:5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 12:6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every [each] man to profit [for the good] withal.

There are different kinds of gifts, but each gift is a reflection of the same God who distributes them. No two gifts are the same and generally no two believers have exactly the same gifts; but always these gifts are given for personal growth and the common good of the Ekklesia.

The Greek word for “every” is hekastos (Strong’s #1538) and means “each”.

1 Corinthians 12:11 But all these [gifts, achievements, abilities] worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every [each] man severally as he will [exactly as God chooses].

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:27 Now ye [collectively] are the body of Christ, and members in particular. [each part is individual and distinct and each with his own place and function].

1 Corinthians 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 12:29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 12:30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

Since the spiritual gift of deep faith is included in the gifts that are dispersed on an individual basis; and not all members have all the gifts, but each person receives according to what God has ordained for each, not all will have the special Gift of extra Faith if that is not the specific gift that God gives them.

Faith is a foundational gift which enables all other gifts; the other gifts do require special faith as well, such as the gift of healing and the working of miracles.  In addition a person’s gift of faith may be manifested in different kinds of administrations of that faith; So this gift works in conjunction with some of the other gifts as the empowerment for these other gifts. 

It may be that God grants more than one gift to certain individuals and the gifts work in tandem with each other especially the gift of faith with the gift of healing, working of miracles, etc. The parable of the talents shows that individuals are given more or less of the talents [gifts] according to what God determines. God knows each of us even better than we know ourselves and God decides what He would have us to do. It is how well we do with what we are given, that brings commendation or correction to each servant. (Matthew 25:21,23)

From this list in 1 Corinthian 12 and in the examples in the Bible of the men and women that exemplified this kind of faith, we see it is somewhat different than the saving faith that all believers are given. It is an extraordinary faith that God gives to certain individuals as a gift that enables them to edify the Body of Christ, meaning to build up the Ekklesia by their extra measure of faith in God’s promises, power and presence. This extra measure of faith equips them to powerfully take a stand to defend the things of God, to fight for the sound doctrines of Scripture versus false doctrine, and to do extraordinary feats because they have faith that God is with them helping them and that it is really God that is doing the works. 

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, [human philosophy], but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 

They believe from the depths of their hearts that obeying God and His commandments are more important than pleasing men, material gain, prestigious positions or even losing one’s life. 

We see this kind of faith in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who when threaten to be thrown into the fiery furnace because they would not bow to Nebuchadnezzar’s image of gold, told the king: “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up”. (Daniel 3:17-18)

Even if God were not to deliver them out alive from the fiery flames, they had the extraordinarily faith to know that they would still be saved in the resurrection of the just and ultimately be saved out of King Nebuchadnezzar’s desire to have them killed; for they believed the promise that they would be saved eternally if they were to die physically.

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

They did what they knew that they had to do to stay right with God and left the outcome totally up to Him. That is extraordinarily faith!

If we are serving and obeying God with all our hearts and we were to be put in a similar position, we would need to trust that God would supply us with the gift of faith to sustain us through such a trial.

Can we ask God to have this kind of faith? There is an example given in Mark of a man that had some faith but recognized his need to overcome His doubt and he asked Jesus to help him to have more faith.

Mark 9:22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

In Luke 11:10-13 Jesus taught His disciples that we should ask for the gifts of the Father that pertain to the Holy Spirit.

Luke 11:10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.11:11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 11:12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Luke 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

The Bible gives us a very clear definition of faith and it is found in Hebrews 11:1.

Hebrews 11 is the chapter that is often called the “heroes of faith chapter” for it gives many examples of people who had tremendous faith in the face of impossible odds. These men and women who lived during the time of the Old Testament are described as those who had the extraordinary faith that enabled them to do great and superhuman things for God. Please read this chapter carefully noting the extraordinarily faith displayed by plain ordinary men and women who were able to do what they did because they believed God and look to His promises and not at their own weaknesses. This whole chapter begins with the Biblical definition of faith and then in the rest of the chapter gives us a synopsis of some of the Bible heroes that had this kind of faith and gives a short description of how their faith was played out in their lives.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report. 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 11:6 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. (Please see the rest of chapter Hebrews 11)

In this chapter Paul gives examples of certain ones like Noah who spent 120 years building a huge ark when, up to that time, Noah had never seen rain as it had not fallen yet the earth b eing watered by mist and dew. But he believed God and obeyed as God told him to do having faith that God was faithful and what He had revealed to him was going to happen. His actions of building the ark served to prove that he did indeed believe God and had extraordinary faith.

Look at the faith of Abraham who left his own country to go to a distant land that he know nothing about because God told him to go. He had faith enough in God to obey Him. Afterward Abraham and Sarah had faith that they would have a child when their natural ability to do so had passed. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his beloved son Issac because he had faith that God was able to raise him up again even from the dead.

Romans 4:19 And being not weak in faith, he [Abraham] considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 4:21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

Moses had this kind of faith to do what he was called to do, performing mighty miracles to demonstrate the power of the One True God to Pharaoh and to the people of Egypt. Moses had faith that God would deliver the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt and faith that God would supply for their needs as they wandered through the wilderness.

Rahab had great faith in the God of the Israelites even though she was a foreigner living in the very land that was to be possessed by them. Her faith enabled her to provide the spies a way of escape even at great risk to her own life. God honored her faith in Him by sparing her and her family when the city was later taken.

The list goes on and on of so many that we have all read about and studied whose examples are there for us to be encouraged and inspired to do similar exploits when we face obstacles or when God wants us to do something that looks too hard. Without this special kind of extraordinary faith given as a gift from God, such heroic achievements would have been impossible.

Those members of the Ekklesia with the “gift of faith” are meant to be an inspiration to their fellow brethren, exhibiting an absolute faith in God and His Word that is demonstrated in all they say and do; thereby edifying Christ’s body which is the spiritual temple. The gift of faith not only benefits the possessor of it but more importantly is meant to help others to have faith by their courageous examples of exhibiting unshakeable faith in God, His Word and His promises even when things look impossible.

Like all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual gift of extra  faith is apportioned to certain individuals as God sees fit and that person is to use it for the “common good,” which means the edifying of the body of Christ. “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal”. (1 Corinthians 12:7)

Christians that possess this gift of extraordinary faith show a humble godliness and reliance on all of God’s promises, and are not afraid to take a stand for the truth, when called upon to do so; therefore they are often known by others in the Ekklesia to be fearless and unflinching, zealous and passionate because of their faith: that with God all things are possible even though those things may seem impossible in the natural order of things.

Those who have the spiritual gift of faith are so certain that all obstacles to doing the work of God and the furthering of God’s purposes on earth will be defeated that God can then use them as His instruments.  “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” Mark 9:23).  Because of their faith they are more apt to be willing to faithfully carry out the works of God because of their belief that it is really God that is doing the works within them. Therefore they are able to achieve more than those who may be more talented and skilled, but who do not have this kind of deep held faith.

Why does God give some this extraordinary kind of faith that goes even beyond the faith to believe the Gospel, repent and be saved? Because God sets some as godly leaders as examples for others in the Ekklesia; true leaders of God need to have extraordinary faith to direct God’s people in the right direction. That is why Jesus taught and trained the disciples for 3 ½ years, why He called Paul, Barnabas and Silas, Apollos and some of the women who were leaders in their own sphere of influence like Phoebe and Priscilla and many others.

Godly leaders must have unshakeable faith to be examples for those who are new in the faith; and examples for younger people who lack experience, and for others that may be weak in faith for any number of reasons. As those under their care and guidance witness their faith and zeal to do whatever it takes to proclaim the Gospel, to defend the truth and to teach the brethren, they are encouraged and inspired to do likewise and they too will grow in the spiritual gift of faith as God sees fit.

The gift of extraordinarily faith has a ripple effect just as the waves circle out from a stone thrown in a pond of water. It starts with one wave in the center and the effects of the stone-throw branch out until the whole pond has waves of motion moving right up to the shoreline. This is the precept behind gifting certain men and women in different ways to give them opportunities to learn to be godly leaders and then train and be an inspiration to others so that some day they too will become godly leaders following in their footsteps. We think of how Paul mentored and taught young Timothy and then Timothy went on to become a godly leader in the early church.

God wants righteous leaders that will lead His people in the way of salvation; people who will promote God’s standards of teaching sound doctrine no matter what, and people who refuse to budge from what God teaches in His Word. God has called us to train in this life to be future leaders and priests in His Kingdom; therefore to be the right kind of leader  in whatever capacity God has placed us in today is extremely important. 

It is when men seek positions of leadership for themselves to seem important and to exalt themselves over the brethren that they have gone astray. There are those who lead their followers to compromise with God’s commandments and ordinances in order to hold fast to the traditions of men whom they themselves have exalted as being in authority in lieu of God and His Word. (Matthew 20:25-26) We need to run from these kinds of leaders for they will lead us astray and influence us to compromise as well. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

That is why it is so very crucial to look to the Bible to see all these men and women of faith and to study what true servant leadership looks like. (Please see Revelation 2:2, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, Acts 17:11) It is to these kinds of leaders that God showers the gifts of the Spirit upon.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

We mentioned earlier a few of the many in the Old Testament who had faith to believe God and to act on that faith, even when their circumstances seemed so contrary to what they were told to do by God. Another example is the example of Joshua and Caleb. Joshua and Caleb were outnumbered ten to two but stood their ground and tried to encourage the people to move forward to take the Promised Land as God had commanded them to do. They showed by their actions that they had the gift of extraordinary faith. 

They truly are our examples for we too are living in perilous times and it is going to get even more dangerous as we approach the prophesied events that happen just before the tribulation and then during the tribulation. These men were fearless and we are going to need fearless leaders in the Ekklesia that point us to God and what He tells us to do rather than looking to false teachers and their organizations led by corrupt men. We can all be fearless leaders if we set our hearts and minds on God and put Him first in all things and draw close to Him in our day to day life.

1 Corinthians 10 :11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Numbers 13:1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 13:2 Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them. 13:3 And Moses by the commandment of the Lord sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel.

13:17 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain:

13:18 And see the land, what it is, and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many;

13:19 And what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad; and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents, or in strong holds;

13:20 And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes.

13:21 So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath.

13:22 And they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)

13:23 And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs.

13:24 The place was called the brook Eshcol, because of the cluster of grapes which the children of Israel cut down from thence.

13:25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.

13:26 And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land.

13:27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

13:28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

13:29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

13:30 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.

13:31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.

13:32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.

13:33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.

The ten spies could only see the walled cities and the great statures of the men and how strong they were. They had forgotten about the all-powerful God who had miraculously protected them from Pharaoh’s army, had divided the Red Sea and had supplied for all their needs in the wilderness. This was the Great God that was telling them to go forth and possess the land; yet because of their lack of faith they cried “we are not able to overcome it”. 

But look at the faith that Joshua and Caleb had compared to those who lacked faith. The ten saw themselves as grasshoppers that could be crushed in a moment. On the other hand Caleb believed God and said “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it”. In the next chapter the ten spies spread their fear to the rest of the Israelites and persuaded them to want to turn back to Egypt. 

Numbers 14:1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.

14:2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron: and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had died in this wilderness! 14:3 And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? were it not better for us to return into Egypt? 14:4 And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.

14:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. 14:6 And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:

14:7 And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. 14:8 If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey.

14:9 Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not.

These are the kind of faith-filled leaders that we desperately need in the modern day Ekklesia in these end times; men and women who look at the surrounding circumstances but refuse to swerve from what God says to do in spite of what their peers may think. We need more leaders like Joshua and Caleb who are willing to step up to the plate and be proper examples of faith for others. We need people who are not afraid of what superiors, friends and family will do to them or say about them when they refuse to join them in their compromise of God’s commandments; and refuse to allow themselves to put church leaders before God as others do.

We need strong leaders and brethren that have the faith to acknowledge sin in the Ekklesia when they see it, repent of it themselves, and then are willing to tell the people their sins; who will encourage them to turn back to God and keep His laws and ordinances instead of listening to false teachers or following after corrupt leaders. 

How do we become godly leaders that are strong in faith and good works? We draw close to God in prayer, study of His Word, meditating on Gods Word and applying the principles we learn to our daily walk with God, keeping all of His commandments and refusing to compromise when we are tested to do so. Faith grows as we do these things and the more we set our mind on the things of God rather than being a part of this Babylonian world the more our faith will grow.

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

It is a tried and proven fact that the more one believes and lives by every Word of God the more understanding of the Bible he will attain and the more he will grow in faith.

Paul admonished Timothy and also this is instruction for all God’s children to “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing [or explaining] the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Psalm 37:3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 37:5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

If our desire is to be more like our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, and to walk as they walk in our Christian life, God will grant us the gifts we need to accomplish those desires.

In summary, our heavenly Father gives all true Christians saving faith at the time of conversion and they are to grow in that faith. The spiritual “gift of extra faith” is given to some, and they then exhibit extraordinary confidence in God and in His promises by their Christian walk and their actions. They are therefore, by their gift of faith, an example, an inspiration and an encouragement to others in the body of Christ. 

Constance Belanger and James Malm

 

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