Welcome to this edition of PowerPoint with Jack Graham. A t and the evidence of things not seen. Three things about faith that leap from this page in this one sentence. Faith is substance. Faith is evidence. And faith is hope. Now what is substance?
Could be translated reality. Faith is something real. God has given every one of us a capacity to believe.
A sixth sense. God has given to everyone the measure, a measure of faith. And faith is not simply closing your eyes and believing things down deep in your heart you don't think are really true. But rather faith is strong. Faith is substantive. The kind of faith that we're talking about here is not faith in faith.
Or faith in a better day or a better life. It's not mere optimism. Faith is not wishful thinking.
In fact it's the substance of things hoped for. What is hope? Hope is not just well I hope I hope I hope.
This happens. Hope in the Bible is a sure thing. Hope is assurance. Hope is anticipation. That's why the second coming of Christ is called the blessed hope. Because we know that Christ is coming again. And that is our blessed hope. Our faith is built upon evidence given to us in the Word of God.
It is not mindless. But rather it is faith in God. Sometimes people say well what you need to do is just believe. Just believe.
Well believe what? Because faith is only as valid as its object. And misplaced faith can be dangerous.
It can be deadly when it is faith in the wrong thing. We need bona fide genuine faith. Faith that is built upon solid truth.
Jesus said oh you generation of unbelievers. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen. Of course there are many things about our faith that we cannot see. In fact if we could see it, it wouldn't be faith. Sometimes you can't see the promises of God. And you just have to rest and trust and see not with the eyes of your head but the eyes of your heart. By faith we see and believe.
And we trust in God. Everything can be falling apart in your life. It doesn't seem that you're advancing spiritually or maybe your marriage is in trouble or maybe your family is in trouble.
Maybe your finances are at rock bottom. And you've been praying and you've been putting your trust and your faith in God. And you can't see it happening. And you're wondering God are you really working in my life? God are these prayers really getting through? I'm here to tell you that you can trust God that he is working even when you can't see it. You keep on watching. You keep on praying and God will keep on working in your life. And one day you will see it because all things are possible to those who believe. Trust in God.
And remember that delays are not denials. With God timing is always perfect. God can do what we can't do rather than running ahead and taking matters into our own hands and trying to figure things out ourselves. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean into your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will bring it to pass.
Put God first in your life and in your heart trust him. Dare to believe and not to doubt. God does not want you to live in doubt and defeat and discouragement. He wants you to live in faith.
So this is the dynamic of faith. Now Jesus illustrated with a seed. A mustard seed.
For he said in back in our text chapter 17 of Matthew's gospel he said look at verse 20. I say to you if you have faith as a mustard seed you will say to this mountain move from here to there and it will move and nothing will be impossible for you. A seed. And not just a seed but a mustard seed. Now if you were to place a mustard seed in your hand you could scarcely see it.
A mustard seed is the size of say a fleck of pepper. And so Christ said if you just had the faith the size of a mustard seed you could move mountains. Now is Jesus contradicting himself here? You have to say Jesus what do you mean by this? Because he has just reprimanded his disciples for unbelief for their little faith. Their lack of faith. And now he's saying if you just have a faith as small as a little mustard seed you can move mountains. Is Jesus now commending little faith?
Not at all. Because you see the seed it is powerful. There's something powerful in a seed.
And that something powerful is the dynamic of life. You could take a grain of sand which is about the size of a mustard seed, plant it in the ground and leave it there for a billion years and nothing will happen. But you take a mustard seed that is alive, planted in the ground and it will grow a huge bush. In the parable of the mustard seed in chapter 13 of Matthew Jesus spoke of this great bush that rises out of the seed, the mustard seed.
These bushes can grow from 6 to 12 feet high. Look at all the birds representing the kingdom of God coming and resting, the expansion of the kingdom of God, all these expansive thrusts of the kingdom of God into the world. You see the mustard seed is powerful. The emphasis is not here on the size of the seed but the quality of the seed.
Not the quantity but the quality. Littleness produces largeness when the seed is planted. As faith develops it moves mountains.
That's how powerful it can be. Now obviously Jesus is not speaking here of moving physically mountains. Now he could do that.
He's opened the Red Sea. He made the mountains. He could certainly move the mountains. But mountains here refer to obstacles and difficulties and huge problems that we face. Mountains of pain or mountains of suffering or mountains of sin, whatever the mountain may be. Jesus said by faith, plant the seed, let it grow and watch God move mountains. You're listening to PowerPoint with Jack Graham and his message, The Truth About Faith, Part 2. Pastor, this month we have a special gift for our listeners who give a gift to PowerPoint. It's your book, Heaven.
What can you tell us about this powerful resource? One of my favorite Christian thinkers, C.S. Lewis, once wrote about heaven. He said if you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were those who thought most about the next world. He goes on to describe believers throughout history who had a huge impact for Christ to this world because their minds, their hearts were fixed, focused on Christ and the hope of heaven. For example, Christians like William Wilberforce and John Newton led the fight to abolish the slave trade in England.
Newton is best known for pinning the lyrics to the hymn, Amazing Grace, when we've been there 10,000 years. These were men who longed for heaven and it made them powerful forces for Christ on earth. That's something we desperately need right now, isn't it? We need believers whose hope is set firmly, anchored in the promises of God for the life that is to come because that will strengthen us boldly to witness and to live for Christ right now. That was one of the prayers in my heart when I wrote my book called, Heaven. I'm excited that we're offering it as our special thank you when you give to help promote the message of Christ and the gospel through PowerPoint. Call today and get Dr. Graham's book, Heaven, as our thank you for your gift. Call 1-800-795-4627. That's 1-800-795-4627.
Or text the word PowerPoint to 59789. Now let's get back to today's message, the truth about faith, part two. Something else about the seed, not only is it powerful, it is persistent. A little seed grows and grows. It grows up. It doesn't give up.
And a seed performs until the task is done. What did Jesus say about prayer and faith? Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened unto you.
And most literally when Jesus said it, here's what he said. Keep on asking. Keep on seeking.
Keep on knocking. Don't stop praying. He said men ought always to pray and not to give up. And faith perseveres in prayer. And like this seed we keep trusting God and relying upon him and that faith begins to move. And then this seed, like faith, is productive because ultimately that faith grows and Jesus says when you face these mountainous mammoth problems in your life, these impossible situations in your life, when you come up against them you shall say to the mountain move and it will move because nothing is impossible with God. Now I know there are those who take verses like these and abuse them and misuse them. I know that there are some who take the message of faith and it's not a message of faith but really a message that you don't find in the Bible because the fact is when we trust God, God does what he chooses to do and faith in God is to trust God to do not only what he is able to do but what God chooses to do. God sometimes performs differently than we ask, often more than we ask.
When you believe what you're doing is opening the channels of God's blessing in your life. Unbelief cuts God's power off in your life. God can do anything and God will do anything in his own time, in his own way. But there was a village, his hometown of Nazareth, the Bible says Jesus could do no great miracle in that town because of their unbelief, imagine that. Tying the hands of omnipotence, cutting off the power of God because of their unbelief. So what does God do? Jesus went to another town and performed miracles. And if I am not accessible and available by faith to God, God will just move and use somebody else.
You see what I'm saying? I just wonder how many miracles we miss in our lives because we don't believe. How many great things does God want to do in our lives and yet we're filled with doubt. Why don't we experience more miracles in our lives?
I believe we don't experience miracles in our lives because we don't expect miracles in our lives. Jesus said if your faith is like a seed, don't put it in your pocket, plant it, invest it, put it in the ground, watch it grow. And Jesus said this kind comes only by prayer and fasting, that is prayer and seeking God. It is prayer that puts power into our faith. Someone said prayer is the slender nerve that moves the omnipotence of God.
Prayer links our nothingness to His almightiness. Don't ever underestimate what God can do with a developing growing faith in your life because God can take something small and make it big. Remember this, there is nothing, absolutely nothing too big for God. This is the story of David, the mustard seed in the mouth and it's the same story that we read in the story of David and the giant. David went out just a little shepherd boy with a sling shot and he faced the great giant, not in his own strength, not in his own power but in the power of faith.
He said the battle is the Lord's and that giant came down because David knew that giant was bigger than he was but he was not bigger than his God. That's faith. When Jesus spoke these words to his disciples about moving mountains and nothing's impossible to God, remember these men were just fishermen and tax collectors and really the off scouring of the day in many ways of the culture but Jesus looked at these men and said you're going to change the world.
You're going to change the course of history. He gave them a great commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel. This same faithless band of believers, he's now speaking of their promise and their potential and what God's going to do with their lives and guess what? It happened.
They finally got it. What God could do with men and women who believed and trusted him and did what he told them to do. Listen, that is the dynamic of faith and it may be that your faith is small and struggling today and it may be that you look around and you think, my goodness, is faith failing? Look at our world. Is the gospel really having an impact? Is the world changing?
Are we losing the battle? Let me remind you the words of the hymn writer. Have faith in God. He's on his throne. Have faith in God.
He watches o'er his own. He will not fail. He must prevail. Have faith in God. Have faith in God.
Now, the final thing in the final few moments is the development of faith and this is where we take our faith from the mountain and the mustard seed to life. And I want to give you briefly four ways to exercise and develop your faith. If you're looking to increase your faith, if you want to strengthen your faith and grow your faith, watch your faith like a mustard seed develop, be productive, then listen to this. Number one, cultivate your relationship with God. Cultivate your relationship with God.
Go deeper with God. Daniel 11 32 says the people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits. The people who know their God shall be strong.
Your marriage can be strong. Your kids can respond to you in your faith. You can walk in this world in the will of God. You can influence lives for Christ. The people who know their God will be strong and do exploits.
Why? Because they know God. Romans 10 verse 11 says he who believes on him will not be ashamed. That is, you can count on God to come through.
If you put your faith in God, if you know a God like that, you don't have to be ashamed of your God and what God will do in your life. And then Psalm 9 10 says, and those who know your name will put their trust in you. So if you want great faith, spend time worshiping him, getting to know him, studying his character, his nature, and you can trust God. Next, not only cultivate your relationship with God, but saturate your heart and your mind with the Word of God. Romans 10 17 says, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. This is why I love this book. This is why I want to learn and study this book, because this book is filled with faith-building precepts and promises and principles for my life.
And this book, again I say, is not a book just to be learned. It's a book to be lived, and you can count on the Word of God that every promise of God will be fulfilled in his time and in his own way. And when you know the God of the Word and the Word of God, you will have strong faith because we put on the Word of God and we yield the sword of the Spirit. That builds faith in our lives. Make sure that the Word of God is thoroughly saturated into your life.
And then dedicate your life to knowing and obeying God's will. Faith is to be practiced. If you want your faith to grow just like a muscle, take the faith that you have, exercise it.
Use it in some way. What does James say about faith? Faith without works is dead. So if you want your faith to be alive and growing, then believe. The old Anglo-Saxon word for believe is by live.
Be-live, by live. What we believe, we live. And if God says do something, even when it is difficult, we are to obey his Word. And remember this, God will not take us one step farther than the measure of our obedience to him.
If you want to grow in your faith, then obey him at the point of what he's already told you to do. He spoke of a rebellious generation of unbelief. They knew what to do, these disciples. They just didn't do it. They didn't believe. They didn't pray.
They didn't seek God with all their hearts in prayer and with fasting. So dedicate your life to knowing and obeying, knowing and doing the will of God. Faith and obedience. And rebellion and faith cannot coexist. So if there's a problem of disobedience in your life, confess that to God and ask him to forgive you and then move forward in faith in your life. And then finally, congregate with the people of God.
Congregate with the people of God. Because people of faith will spark faith in you. Just as iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another. And it is in the church that we grow and build our faith with one another. Because you know, faith is not only taught, faith is caught. Faith is infectious. When I get around people filled with faith, my faith is exercised and increased. Same is true concerning unbelief.
If you hang out with unbelievers, it won't be long you'll be acting like unbelievers. But you hang with the people of God, you get involved in your church and you watch your faith grow as it is encouraged by others as you follow Christ. So do you want your faith to develop? You want your faith to grow into a mountain moving kind of faith? Then contemplate and cultivate the greatness of God, the goodness of God in your life.
God is good and wants the best for you. Saturate your soul, your heart, your mind, your spirit with the word of God. Dedicate your life to knowing and doing and obeying the will of God, His purpose, His plan for you.
Congregate the people of faith and watch your life grow by faith. You're listening to PowerPoint with Jack Graham and his message, The Truth About Faith, Part 2. No matter what struggles you're facing today, you have hope in the promises awaiting you in heaven and God calls you to share that hope with others today. That's why we want to encourage and inspire you today by sending you Pastor Graham's book, Heaven. This exciting book takes you straight to Scripture to help you see all that awaits you in the life to come and how it impacts your life today.
You'll find hope for today and courage to share that hope with others. So don't wait to request your copy. Heaven is our special thanks for your gift to help boldly proclaim God's word through PowerPoint. So request your copy when you call today. Call 1-800-795-4627. That's 1-800-795-4627. You can also text the word PowerPoint to 59789. And don't forget to visit JackGraham.org where you can shop our e-store, give a gift online, or sign up for Dr. Graham's free daily email devotional.
Our website again is JackGraham.org. Pastor, what is your PowerPoint for today? It's so important that you live out your faith. So often people go to church, listen to the message, and walk out the same way as when they walked in.
It's in one ear and out the other. We must learn to carry our faith from church to our homes, our schools, our jobs, everywhere we go. Every follower of Christ needs to be reminded that a strong faith depends on how well you're cultivating your relationship with Christ. Are you communicating with him through prayer on a daily basis? Are you saturating your mind and heart with his word every day? Can you honestly say that you are dedicating your life to knowing and doing his will, fulfilling his purpose for your life? Maybe you've never put your faith in Christ for the first time.
That is, you've never really given your life to follow him by faith. If you would like to do that today, what you need to do is pray a prayer of faith, believing in your heart that Christ will save you if you will ask him. The Bible says, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. So if you're ready to believe and to receive Christ, then pray this prayer. Lord Jesus, I invite you to come into my life.
I believe you died for me and rose again. And I receive you as my Lord, my Savior, my Master and my friend. Come into my life, Lord Jesus. Thank you for hearing my prayer, for loving me and giving me eternal life. Now, if you have just prayed that prayer, you are a child of God, not because I said so, but because God's word says that if we believe and if we receive Christ, we will be saved. Listen to John 1 12, For as many as received him, that is Jesus, to them gave you the right to be called the children of God, even to them who believe on his name.
So if you have believed and you have received Christ, welcome to the family of God. Today, if you prayed that prayer with Dr. Graham and accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, we'd love to hear from you so we can help you begin your new life with Christ. Please call us at 1-800-795-4627.
That's 1-800-795-4627. And join us again next time as Dr. Graham brings a message about how your failure doesn't have to be final. That's next time on PowerPoint with Jack Graham. PowerPoint with Jack Graham is sponsored by PowerPoint Ministries.
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