The Purpose of Faith

I am continuing my Sermon Series on Faith today as we look together at what I am calling, “The Purpose of Faith”

This is part FOUR of a FIVE part Series, so be sure to write me for your free copy of today’s message.

Most of us live by feelings. We don’t feel well, we don’t feel we belong, we feel neglected, or we feel unloved, we feel like something new, or we feel tired of the same old routines. Even in the Church we regularly refer to our feelings. We did not feel like singing, or we did not feel like going to Church, or we did not feel Gods presence, or we did not feel stirred by the Sermon, or we do not feel like giving to the special appeal. We may not feel useful, or that our work is appreciated, we may feel used, or we may feel weary in well doing, or we may feel we could do more. Do you see what I mean, we are living by feelings,

when God wants us to learn to live by FAITH.

My Sermon today entitled “The Purpose of Faith” is an attempt to help you understand why God wants us to walk and live by Faith and not by feeling. I am going to be bold enough to say that if you can grasp the truths of these FIVE messages on Faith, and start to appropriate them in your life, then – your life, your church, your home, your marriage and your future will all become better. I guarantee it!

Furthermore, it is my purpose to underline some very basic Biblical Truths in today’s sermon, which if the Churches can grasp as a whole, the work and witness of the Church will be revolutionized. You wont want to miss any of this, so stay tuned, and be sure to write for your FREE copy of all 5 sermons.

My First Point is this

“The Purpose of Faith” is to bring us to God.

Whether or not we admit it, we all need God. Most don’t yet see their need of him, but that will become increasingly obvious in the days ahead, as God continues to shake up our world. If we think we can get by without God, he is gracious and long-suffering enough to let us try. Sooner or later we will mess up and left to ourselves we will destroy everything that is good around us. Put a toddler into an Antique shop and leave him to his own devises amongst thousands of pounds worth of valuable paintings, porcelain, and collectables and in a very short while, there will be nothing of any value left. We need supervision, we need parental control, we need guidance and we need God.

At the beginning, in the Garden of Eden, Sin entered into our world, but it had entered into heaven before that. The consequences of sin was separation from God. Pride was the Devils downfall. Satan fell and he took a third of all the “angels” with him. When he came into the garden, he took Adam and Eve, and with them, took our humanity in the fall, and separated us from God our Creator. God had made us for himself, and was having none of it, and had already planned our return and our reunion with Himself. He wrapped himself up in human flesh and came down to a manger in a stable in Bethlehem, lived and loved amongst us, and then died for us on a Cross. His Blood, covered, cleansed and cured us from the fall, and opened up the DOOR for all of our humanity to come back to God. The key to that door is the key of FAITH. Man may see that Jesus is the door, with the intellect, but intelligence will not open the door. Man may Believe that the door is the only way, but Belief alone cannot open the door. The Devil Believes that Jesus is the door and Jesus is the way.

Good Churchgoing folks are shown this door Sunday by Sunday, and while some have the FAITH to go through, many still remain on the wrong side. Everything they do, they do on the wrong side of the door, they pray, they tithe, they work, they sing, they labour, they love, they hope for heaven, but remain on the wrong side of the door. Faith alone can take them through, yet they are not prepared to make that confession that Jesus is their Lord, and heaven is their home. Until they do, they remain on the wrong side. They may feel safe and saved, but feelings cannot do it, FAITH does it. As we read a moment ago …”He who has the Son has life, he who does not have the Son, of God has not life” 1 John 5:12

If you have, then tell it, confess it, and when you do,

then you’ll know it. That’s Faith.

My Second point is that

“The Purpose of Faith” is to prompt us to Pray

Prayer is our most Christ-like activity. Jesus spent much of his time in Prayer, – in conversation with His Father. He also taught His Disciples how to pray and gave them (and us) a “pattern” for Prayer in what we commonly call “The Lords Prayer”. But Prayer without Faith is like a Seed without Soil, like a Balloon without Air or like a Book without Words?

Faith and Prayer go hand in hand, and the more we pray by Faith, the more we will want to Pray. Prayer develops our Faith and Faith develops our Prayers. I am convinced that many Christians, even those who have been in the way a long time, still don’t know how to pray, and babble with God like an infant unable to form words.

Let me take a moment to show you how Faith and Prayer Go hand in hand. Turn in your Bible if you will to the first epistle of John and Chapter 5. and at verse 14.

here John is speaking about the “certainties” of Faith. He says:

“And this is the confidence which we have in Him, (that is God)

…that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us”

Stop there for a moment. Does John say that if we ask for “certain things” according to His will? No. Does John say that if we ask for “necessary things” according to his will? No

Does John say that if we ask for “spiritual things” according to his will? No. John says “if we ask for any thing” I didn’t write this I’m just reading it. So lock that word ANYTHING, into your mind, an don’t allow the Devil to change it. Now read the verse again, and leave the anything locked away in your mind. The verse now reads “if we ask … according to His will, He hears us.” That means surely that if we ask other than according to his will, he will not hear us. John is telling us that in Prayer we must ask according to his will, according to his will for asking. How does God will that we ask? How does God want us to Pray? The answer is in the Book, it is always in the Book.

Read the Book, don’t follow your Granny’s way of praying, or your Dads way of praying, or your Priests way of praying, follow Gods way of Praying. So where in the book can we find Gods will regarding Prayer? We will come back to 1 John 5 in a moment so, put a marker in that place and turn to Matthews Gospel and the 21st Chapter and at verse 21…

(Jesus had cursed the fig tree and it had withered away, and he speaks again about Faith)… v21

21 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. 22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer,

believing, ye shall receive”.

Here we see that Gods will for us when we pray is that we

believe and doubt not. Most of us never receive from God, because we doubt, … we do not believe it will happen!

Again look carefully at the words Jesus uses. “All things whatsoever you ask” Does he say, “all necessary things, only certain things, all spiritual things or anything of the like” NO

All things whatsoever, (All except what) except nothing!

And when are we to believe that we receive? Well, Mark 11:24 gives us the answer to that: lets read it ..

“Therefore I say unto you, Whatsoever things ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

So we are to believe when we pray, not after we pray, not a week later, or six months down the road, but when we pray. And incidentally did you see that he adds the word desires, we can pray for our needs and our desires. Hallelujah.

Now lets return to 1 John 5 and verses 14 & 15

v 14 “… this is the confidence which we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us, …

God only hears when we are asking according to his way of asking, his will for asking. look at verse 15 “and if we know that he hears us in whatsoever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.” My point is this…

Faith asks, and Faith receives and Faith gives thanks all at the same time: and Faith motivates and moves us to Pray.

My next point is that

“The Purpose of Faith” is to enable us to Win

1 John 5 verse 4, reminds us that Faith is the Victory that overcomes the World, and that in order for Faith to enable us to win, its focus must be on Jesus. We read earlier in the Service from Hebrews Chapter 11 that great “catalogue” of the Biblical Heroes of Faith who understood that “without Faith it is

impossible to please God” verse 6. For those Old Testament saints, their focus was on Jehovah, but as New Testament Christians, our focus now, should be on Jesus.

Let me step aside for a moment to teach you something.

{Some of my listeners have challenged me on my regular use of that phrase “New Testament Christians” and informed me that they are “Whole Bible Christians”. One may call oneself by any choice of name, Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Baptist, or whatever; but you may not be what you call yourself? I prefer to be known simply as Christian. There are most certainly Old Testament believers, but there is no such thing as an “Old Testament” Christian, since Christ did not come, nor was our Salvation purchased until the Gospels, in the New Testament. Search the Scriptures from cover to cover and you will not find a Christian in the Old Testament. You cannot belong to one yet unborn, I belong to Jesus; like it or not, that makes me a New Testament Christian}

Now lets return to the purpose of faith, and the Victory that Faith achieves in our lives.

“The Purpose of Faith” is to make us like Jesus, and Jesus was never defeated, even on the cross which looked like defeat, it was his greatest victory. He appeared to be the Victim, but was instead the Victor! It was Satan, the Devil that was defeated at the Cross, and Paul says “… none of the princes (demons) of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory”. 1 Cor 2:8

This is why inside the front cover of my Bible I have written the words “I shall not be defeated by one who is already defeated”.

We are already on the winning side, the victory is ours, the triumph is ours the spoils are ours. This is why Faith must be focused on our hero, the Lord Jesus Christ. You can only ever win, if you are focused on Him.

Sometimes your circumstances and experiences may not look like you’re winning, in fact you may feel defeated. But remember, Christians are not expected to live by their feelings, we are called to live by Faith. Let me tell you a Story.

Some of you will have heard the name Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom who was a Dutch Christian and a Holocaust survivor who helped many Jews escape the Nazis during World War II.

In 1970, she co-wrote her autobiography, The Hiding Place

which was released in 1971. (you can still buy it today)

Because of the number of people using their house as a safe place from the Nazis, the Ten Booms were encouraged to build a secret room in case a raid took place. After inspection, it was decided that the room would be built in Corrie’s bedroom, as it was in the highest part of the house, which gave people who were trying to hide the most time to avoid detection;

On February 28, 1944 on the betrayal of a Dutch informant, a raid came and only a few managed to get to the secret room to hide. The Nazis arrested the entire Ten Boom family. They were sent first to Scheveningen prison (where her father died ten days after his capture). Corrie’s brother Willem, and nephew Peter were eventually released and later Corrie and Betsie were sent to the Vught political concentration camp and finally to the notorious Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany, when on December 16, 1944, Corrie’s sister Betsie died. Before she died she told Corrie, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.” Betsie had focused on Jesus not on her Prison walls.

Corrie was released on New Year’s Eve of December 1944. apparently her release had been a clerical error. The remaining

women prisoners of her age in the camp were killed the week following her release. Corrie said about this; “God does not

have problems: Only plans.”

After the war, Corrie ten Boom returned to the Netherlands to set up a rehabilitation centre. This refuge house consisted of concentration camp survivors and sheltered the jobless Dutch who previously collaborated with Germans during the occupation. She returned to Germany in 1946, and travelled the world as a public speaker, appearing in over sixty countries, during which time she wrote many books. She went home to the Lord in 1983 on her 91st Birthday.

Her teaching focused on the Christian Gospel, with emphasis on faith and forgiveness. In her book Tramp for the Lord (1974), she tells the story of how, after she had been teaching in Germany in 1947, she was approached by one of the cruellest former Ravensbrück camp guards. She was reluctant to forgive him, but prayed to God that she would be able to. She writes:

For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then“.

She also wrote (in the same passage) that in her post-war experience with other victims of Nazi brutality, it was those who were able to forgive who were best able to rebuild their lives.

God has granted to us all “the measure of faith” so that we might win, even when it looks like we will not. Did not our Lord himself cry “Father Forgive them” as he hung dying on a cruel blood stained cross? Only Faith in Jesus and allowing His Passion in us, enables such a forgiving attitude. “This is the Victory that overcomes the world, even our Faith” 1 John 5:4


I want to quote Ugandan Bishop Festo Kivengere’s account of the 1973 execution by firing squad of three men from his diocese: He says …”February 10th began as a sad day for us in Kabale. People were commanded to come to the stadium and witness the execution. Death permeated the atmosphere. A silent crowd of about three thousand was there to watch. I had permission from the authorities to speak to the men before they died, and two of my fellow ministers were with me. They brought the men in a truck and unloaded them. They were handcuffed and their feet were chained. The firing squad stood at attention.

As we walked into the centre of the stadium, I was wondering what to say. How do you give the Gospel to doomed men who are probably seething with rage? We approached them from behind, and as they turned to look at us, what a sight! Their faces were all alight with an unmistakable glow and radiance.

Before we could say anything, one of them burst out: “Bishop, thank you for coming! I wanted to tell you. The day I was arrested, in my prison cell, I asked the Lord Jesus to come into my heart. He came in and forgave me all my sins! Heaven is now open, and there is nothing between me and my God!

Please tell my wife and children that I am going to be with Jesus. Ask them to accept him into their lives as I have done.”

The other two men told similar stories, excitedly raising their hands, which rattled their handcuffs. I felt that what I needed to do was to talk to the soldiers, not to the condemned. So I translated what the men had said into a language the soldiers understood. The military men were standing there with guns cocked and bewilderment on their faces. They were so dumbfounded that they forgot to put the hoods over the men’s faces! The three faced the firing squad standing close together. They looked toward the people and began to wave, handcuffs and all. The people waved back. Then shots were fired, and the three men were with Jesus.

We stood in front of them, our own hearts throbbing with joy, mingled with tears. It was a day never to be forgotten. Though dead, the men spoke loudly to all of Kigezi District and beyond, so that there was an upsurge of life in Christ, which challenges death and defeats it. The next Sunday, I was preaching to a huge crowd in the home town of one of the executed men. Again, the feel of death was over the congregation. But when I gave them the testimony of their men, and how they died, there erupted a great song of praise to Jesus! Many turned to the Lord there and then”.

My dear Friends …

Life is not about Feelings. We do not want to Feel better and Stronger, we want to Be better and Stronger. Only by Faith can we BE what God wants us to be, LIVE as God intends we should live, and DIE as God wants us to die, with Faith in Him.

Hallelujah, Sing to Jesus. Amen