Pew 2 Pulpit
What about our faith pleases God?
Part 3

We now enter the third component of God pleasing Faith: belief. This probably should have been first because without this, you wouldn’t and couldn’t effectively, if at all, do the other components. That is why it is followed by, “for he who cometh to God must believe that he is…” Now, to be clear, faith and belief are not the same thing. Some people would say that it is, but its not. We know that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Belief is a confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible (accessible) to rigorous proof or evidence. In other words, to believe is to have confidence in the truth of, existence of, or value of something. Faith is tangible, belief if internal. Faith will cause action, belief will cause faith. Lack of faith will cause inaction; lack of belief will hinder the power of faith. Look in the gospels and notice how often Jesus was disappointed in the world’s lack of faith and non-belief in his ministry and who Jesus was. So much, that he even asked his disciples if they believed in whom he said he is. Mat 16:13-17
In this portion of scripture, Jesus has just finished another debate with the Pharisees and Sadducees and was warning his disciples about their teachings by way of a parable. Then before he explains the teaching, he rebukes them by saying, “Oh ye of little faith….”. Then when they are off by themselves, he asks them whom do men say that I am? What Jesus is asking is, who do men believe that I am? This is a vital question. Just a few chapters earlier, in chapter 13, we see what men believe in Jesus: Mat 13:54-58
The world tries to reason out Jesus. They try to find flaws in his perfectness. It wants to deny the very the truth so that they will no longer feel condemned in what they do. But, that is another lesson. (Smiling) So the world says that he is another prophet, just another man of God. Just another man; not willing to accept or believe in the deity of Christ. So after Jesus hears these answers, He then comes to the main question. “But, whom say ye that I am?” In other words, ok, forget what the world believes, who do you, my disciple, the one who walks with the Word, believe that I am? Who is this Jesus Christ? Has God asked you that? What was your answer?

Peter, the beloved Peter, the first church apostle and preacher, says, “Thou art the Christ, Son of the living God.” What an answer! Such boldness and confidence. Jesus looked at him and said blessed art thou. Jesus felt that God pleasing aspect of faith in Peter’s words. He felt the confidence in a truth that was revealed to Peter by God. Peter believed. Jesus felt his belief.

Now, I have been dealing with something that falls along the lines of belief. Belief in God and belief in His Word. There is more to belief than saying “it’s in the bible.” I’m not saying that we should question everything that is written. In fact, there is nothing to question. However, we should study, research, and seek God for the truth in his word. We should seek to rightly divide the Word of Truth. Seek God for the truth yourself. I used to believe that if I just confessed and believed that I was saved. I thought this for over ten years. I read, prayed, studied; did all the things Christians should do. Now, when I was asked if I was baptized in Jesus’ name and that true salvation comes with the baptism and in-filling of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues, I questioned it. Yes it is written. (Acts 2:38) However, like millions of other people, I did not know it was necessary. I was taught differently and now I was being told that if I would have died, I might not have made it. So I researched and studied for the truth. Now, if I’m asked, I can positively say, without a doubt, with boldness and confidence in that truth. The Lord led me to another scripture that confirms my thought. John 11:21-27, 39-40.

In this passage of scripture, Jesus again asks another “belief” question in regards to who he is and of his power. Martha, sister of Lazarus who is dead, hears that Jesus is coming and goes out to meet him. She says to Jesus that he is a little late and that Lazarus has past. Jesus tells her that Lazarus would live again. Now, note the biblical answer Martha gives in response to Jesus, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Praise God that we shall all live again if we pass from this world. However, Jesus was referring to here and now. He meant that Lazarus would live again on this earth not many moments from now. Jesus, perceiving that she lacks the God pleasing belief that leads to great faith, gives a glimpse of who he is. “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” Here is the Word. Jesus is telling Martha that I have the power to resurrect Lazarus. He also is giving her the word of salvation saying that even if she or he were not dead, they should not die (spiritually speaking). Then the important question, “Believest thou this?” Do we believe the word? When God says we shall cast out devils in his name, do we believe it? When God says he will never leave us nor forsake us, do we believe it? When God says all things are possible, do we believe it? Believest thou this? Notice, again, Martha’s biblical answer. “I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” Good answer, but not what God was looking for. He just doesn’t want the bible verse memorization answer. Jesus is looking for that I know it because I know you and have sought you for the truth answer.

Go to verses 39-40 in this same chapter. Jesus has talked with Mary, seen the mourners, groaned in the spirit twice, wept, and arrived at the tomb of Lazarus. He tells them to roll away the stone and then it happened. Martha, bible scholar and verse memory expert, the one who knew the biblical answers, says wait, is that a good idea? I mean, my brother has been dead four days, I know it must reek in there. What happened to that thou art the Christ who should come into the world? Jesus looks at Martha and says, “blessed art thou Martha…”, oops, sorry. He says, “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” Wow, what a rebuke! It’s not enough just to be able to quote and memorize the word. Belief is a confidence; a without a doubt belief. I would not say that because it is written, it is enough. If it were, then many people are not as lost as we think. “easy beliefism”
With what God has shown me, I could write the first part of Hebrew 11:6 as “But without belief, obedience and sacrifice, it is impossible to please him: for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
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