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                          "REFLECTIONS"

                             On Faith

INTRODUCTION

1. We continue our "Reflections" on things that are...
   a. True, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report  - Php 4:8
   b. Virtuous and worthy of praise - ibid.

2. Three such things are faith, hope, and love...
   a. Virtues joined together in several passages - 1Co 13:13; 1Th 1:3
   b. Virtues worthy of praise and careful reflection

[In this study, let us reflect on the first of these three:  faith.
Beginning with...]

I. FAITH DEFINED

   A. FAITH IN GENERAL...
      1. According to Easton's Bible Dictionary
         a. "Faith is in general the persuasion of the mind that a
            certain statement is true"
         b. "Its primary idea is trust"
      2. According to He 11:1
         a. "...the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of
            things not seen." (ESV)
         b. "...being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do
            not see." (NIV)
      -- Faith is therefore conviction and trust in someone or some
         thing

   B. FAITH IN GOD...
      1. Involves conviction and trust that He exists - He 11:6
      2. Requires that we believe He rewards those who diligently seek
         Him - ibid.
      -- Without such faith in God, we cannot please Him!

   C. FAITH IN JESUS...
      1. Involves conviction and trust in who Jesus is - Jn 8:24; 11:27
      2. Involves conviction and trust in what Jesus did - Jn 10:10,11;
         cf. Jn 1:29
      3. Involves conviction and trust in what Jesus said - e.g., Jn
         8:12; 14:6
      -- Without such faith in Jesus, we will die in our sins!

[Faith in God and Jesus is therefore essential.  But how is such faith
developed...?]

II. FAITH DEVELOPED

   A. THROUGH THE WORD...
      1. The Word of God is designed to create faith - Ro 10:17
      2. It was written to produce faith, such as faith in Jesus - Jn
         20:30-31; 1Jn 5:13
      -- The Word of God is filled with evidences intended to produce
         faith

   B. THROUGH OBEDIENCE...
      1. Jesus said of those who do God's will, they will know its truth
         - Jn 7:17
      2. To use a phrase, "the proof of the pudding is in the eating"
      -- As one obeys God and Jesus, the stronger their conviction and
         trust grows

   C. THROUGH FELLOWSHIP...
      1. Faith is strengthened by exhorting one another - He 3:12-14
      2. Which we do by frequent assembling - He 10:24-25
      --	The more we have fellowship with one another, the stronger our
         faith grows!

[We have defined faith and considered how it develops.  What is the
evidence of faith...?]

III. FAITH DEMONSTRATED

   A. BY OBEDIENCE...
      1. Paul writes of the "obedience of faith" - Ro 1:5; 16:26
      2. He also refers to "obeying from the heart" - Ro 6:17
      3. For example, baptism is an act of obedient faith - Col 2:12
      -- Thus obedience from the heart demonstrates the nature of our
         faith!

   B. BY GOOD WORKS...
      1. James writes about a dead faith - Jm 2:17,20,26
      2. He offers to show his faith by his works - Jm 2:18
      -- Thus a living, vibrant faith will manifest itself by good
         works!

[Sadly, some once strong in faith become weak, even to the point of no
faith.  How does that happen...?]

IV. FAITH DESTROYED

   A. BY LACK OF KNOWLEDGE...
      1. Remember that faith comes through the Word of God - Ro 10:17
      2. But like Israel, lack of knowledge of God's word leads to their
         destruction - Hos 4:6
      -- As people stop growing in the Word of God, their faith falters

   B. BY LACK OF WORKS...
      1. Remember that faith without works is dead - Jm 2:17,26
      2. As with demons, faith without works results only in a trembling
         faith - Jm 2:19
      -- When people stop doing the works of God, their faith wanes

   C. BY LACK OF FELLOWSHIP...
      1. Remember that mutual edification prevents an evil heart of
         unbelief - He 3:12-14
      2. But like glowing coals in a fire, an ember soon dies when
         separated from the rest
      -- When people stop assembling with other Christians, their faith
         soon dies

CONCLUSION

1. Faith is a crucial element in our relationship with God and Jesus, in
   regards to eternal life

2. But with the aid of God's Word, our own obedience, and the
   encouragement of others, there is no reason we cannot have the faith
   that leads to eternal life! - cf. 1Ti 6:12
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