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   Have Faith In God


Mark 11:22-26


Sunday Morning Sermon

January 17, 1999

Fair Avenue Baptist Church



The disciples had seen Jesus perform a miracle.  Something out of the ordinary had just happened.


Jesus had approached a fig tree looking for fruit for His breakfast, but had found none.  He had pronounced a curse upon the tree, saying, “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.” (V. 14)


In a short period of time the fig tree, once green and vigorous, died and dried up from the roots.


The disciples were amazed at this strange miracle and indicated their amazement to Jesus.  He challenged their hearts with this statement: HAVE FAITH IN GOD!


Do you want to see things miraculous and extraordinary happen at Fair Avenue Baptist Church?  HAVE FAITH IN GOD!


Do you want to see actual miracles?  HAVE FAITH IN GOD!


Do you wish to be lifted out of the routine, the usual, the commonplace?  HAVE FAITH IN GOD


The importance of faith is seen in a conversation Jesus had with Simon Peter, one of the twelve.


One day Jesus said to him, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:31-32.


Now, converted in the Bible does not always mean to be saved.


Jesus was saying, “When thou art turned again, when once more your faith is again strong, you shall strengthen your brethren and be a blessing to others.”


I am so glad that Jesus said to Peter, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.”


Faith of the people of God is so important in God’s sight that, in the heavenlies, Jesus is faithfully praying at God’s throne that our faith might not fail.


I say unto you this morning - HAVE FAITH IN GOD.


May God give us an unusual and extraordinary faith.


Faith is so hard to define.  There is only one attempt made in all the 66 books of the Bible to define faith and that is Hebrews 11 where we read, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”


But we really know little about faith.


Faith means believing God against all odds.


Faith means seeing the unseen.


A Christian can see by faith what no one else has ever seen except another Christian.


In so many instances in the Bible,

men saw the unseen,

saw the evidence,

saw the substance of things not seen.


In fact, Paul said in II Cor. 4:18, “We look not at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”


Everything you can see,

including this body in which the soul and spirit abide,

everything you can see,

every object,

animate or inanimate,

everything you can see with a physical eye,


meaning it is only temporary.


But God tells us that with the eye of faith we can see the unseen, which is related to eternal things, things which will live as long as God lives.


I think of Elisha and his servant when he had fled to Dothan, pursued by the wicked armies of the Syrian king.


We read this story in II Kings 6:15-17.


Elisha looked out across the mountain side and saw an army of some 800,000 soldiers.


Elisha’s servant trembled with fear, but as Elisha looked out, he saw something which the servant did not immediately see.


Thank God, faith pulls aside the curtain of obscurity, and faith sees the unseen.


The greatest tragedy that could happen to a Christian is to lose faith and have confidence in the flesh.


When Jesus said, “HAVE FAITH IN GOD,” He meant have faith in God,

not in preachers,

not in deacons,

not in churches,

not in church members,

not in Christians,

not in things you can see,

not in circumstances,

not in the brilliance and talents of men.


Dr. Joe Henry Hankins tells of a boat crossing the English Channel one stormy night. 


As the boat crossed the choppy waters and stormy channel,

the winds blew,

the waves rolled high like mountains,

the thunder roared,

the lightning flashed.


It looked like God was angry at the world.


While the boat plowed its way across the English Channel, the people screamed with fear.  Some dropped on their knees and prayed.


But a little girl on that boat sat as calm, quiet and serene as if she were in the rocking chair in the living room of her home.


Someone said to her, “Little one, when it looks as if at any moment this boat will go down beneath the waves, why are you so calm?”


The little girl looked at the one who had inquired and answered, “Because the captain of this boat is my father.  And he has crossed this channel many times, through every kind of wind and storm.  I know he will reach the other side tonight.”




There are several places in the New Testament where tremendous emphasis is placed upon the faith of God’s children.




Mark 11:24, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, BELIEVE [faith] that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”


Believe means faith.


The prayer of faith raises up the sick, as we see from James 5:15, “And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”


The prayer of faith removes mountains of difficulty and solves problems and relieves heavy burdens.


Matthew 21:21-22, “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.  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, BELIEVING, ye shall receive.”




In no realm of Christian living does the Devil put up a greater battle than in the realm of faith.


He fights hard to shake the faith of the people of God.


But we make it easy for him.


God never meant for prayer to be the last resort measure for the believer.


Prayer is not what we do when everything else has failed.


Prayer is our spiritual breath,

our constant contact with divine omnipotence.


Jesus said, “Men ought always to pray.”


Paul said, “Pray with ceasing.”


James declares, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”


David tells us, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud; and he shall hear my voice.”


When we come to God in prayer, we must come believing His wonderful promises.


Faith is the great essential if we expect to get things from God.


It should go without saying that a clean and holy life and a constant study and meditation in the Word of God are also necessary.


Sin and a strong, unwavering faith can never dwell in the same heart.


Apart from the promises of the Word of God, there is no basis, no foundation for such a faith.


1.       Faith is essential to getting prayers      answered




In Galatians 5 we read about the fruits of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit.


As we read there, we find seventeen wicked fruits of the flesh.  The flesh is so very strong.


Then there is the ninefold fruit of the Spirit, and one of these is faith.


Every Christian has the Holy Spirit in him, but not every Christian has the evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.


If you are saved, your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost.


But so much depends on whether or not the Holy Spirit has full control of you.


When we are surrendered to the wonderful Person of the Holy Spirit,


When there is nothing within to grieve or displease Him,


Then, and only then, is the Holy Spirit able to produce this ninefold wonderful fruit of the Spirit, one of which is faith.


Do you want to be strong in faith and mighty in prayer?


Then surrender absolutely and completely to the Holy Spirit.


A great and dynamic faith is the result or fruit of a Spirit-filled and Spirit-directed life.


Being filled with the Spirit and having a strong faith are joined together in the Word of God.


This is illustrated in the life of Stephen, one of the leaders in the early church, “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.” (Acts 6:8)


This “faith and power” in the life of Stephen was the result of being a Spirit-filled man.


A strong faith is the result of being filled with and yielded to the Holy Spirit so that He might produce His fruit in us.


Sin, unconfessed and unrepented of, weakens the faith of the child of God and grieves the Holy Spirit, whose presence in us and control over us produces faith.




1.       Faith is essential in getting prayers      answered

2.       Faith is a fruit of the Spirit




Turn to Eph. 6:11-18 and we find seven distinct parts of the Christian’s armor which we must have at all times if we are to stand against the wiles of the devil.


·        loins girt about with truth

·        breastplate of righteousness

·        feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace

·        shield of faith

·        helmet of salvation

·        sword of the Spirit

·        prayer


Notice that God says, “ABOVE ALL, taking the shield of FAITH.”


Nothing is more necessary,

or more essential,

than the shield of faith.


Are we dressed in the armor which God has provided for us?


Check that list again and see if there is anyone of them missing in our equipment.


And notice also that “faith” is definitely a part of our armor.


Faith is tremendously important in our battle against Satan.


The purpose of the “shield of faith” is to quench the fiery darts of the Devil.


Notice carefully here that in the description of the Christian’s armor, God shows the Christian as “HAVING” the loincloth of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace.


But the Christian is to “TAKE” the shield of faith.


It is available to the child of God in his battle against Satan, but he must “TAKE” it up and use it.


Faith is also important in overcoming the world.


“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

(I John 5:4)


The Bible does not state it in such terms, but evidently David took the shield of faith when he slew the giant Goliath.


David believed in the cause of the Lord.


He remembered past victories over the bear and the lion.


He believed that God gave him those victories and would give him this one also.


David believed God.


His faith was not in the armor of brass and steel but in the invisible armor of the Lord.


He took the shield of faith and God protected him from Goliath.


The only shield,

I repeat, the only shield that will turn back the fiery arrows of Satan is the shield of faith.


In the smoke and fire of spiritual conflict, we must have faith in God.


1.       Faith is essential in getting prayers      answered

2.       Faith is a fruit of the spirit

3.       Faith is part of our armor




Hebrews 11 is the great “Faith Chapter” of the Word of God. 


The word “faith” is used 24 times in that chapter.


Faith is defined as being “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”


By faith,

Abel was saved,

Enoch was translated,

Noah saved his family,

Abraham did the will of God,

Isaac and Jacob,

Joseph and Moses,

Joshua and Rahab,

under various circumstances,

and at different times,

had a great faith in God,

lived by faith,


and they were all rewarded by being placed on God’s Honor Roll of Faith.


But notice the challenge given to us in VERSE 6, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”


Don’t miss it.

There is no way to please God without faith.


Do you wish to live a life that pleases the Lord?


Then it must be a life of faith because God said without faith it is impossible to please Him.


And Hebrews Chapter 11 proves that God keeps a record of those who have faith in Him.


We’re not talking about saving faith.


We’re talking about faith in the life of a Christian that overcomes all enemies,

all circumstances,

all trials,

all tests.


We’re talking about a faith that sees victory when our eyes see all the symptoms and characteristics of utter defeat.


The faith that pleases God is one that sees Him as a living God who delights to honor and reward that faith.


Faith is confidence in God.


1.       Faith is essential in getting prayers      answered

2.       Faith is a fruit of the spirit

3.       Faith is part of our armor

4.       Faith will put you on God’s honor roll




It is so very important that we overcome the world!


Worldliness robs the believer of power with God and with men.


It brings certain defeat into the life of a Christian.


Worldliness made a weakling out of the mighty Samson,


it stripped Lot of his possessions and cheated him out of his own family.


The world,

the flesh,

and the devil,

they are our three greatest enemies.


And they can only be overcome by faith, our faith in God.


1.       Faith is essential in getting prayers      answered

2.       Faith is a fruit of the spirit

3.       Faith is part of our armor

4.       Faith will put you on God’s honor roll

5.       Through faith we overcome the storms         of life




We need to concentrate our efforts here.


Telling people about Jesus is the biggest job the world has ever known.


I read about Jesus and when He spoke to the dead, they lived again.


I read about Jesus and when He spoke to the blind, they were able to see.


I read about Jesus and when He touched the lame and crippled, they were made whole again.


I read about all the great miracles that our Lord performed.


So, when I read John 14:12, it shakes my faith and convicts me of how little faith I have.


“Greater works than these shall ye do; because I go unto my Father.”


God is His Word and through His Son has challenged the church of the 20th century to do greater works than Jesus did when He walked the shores of Galilee some 2,000 years ago.


I read about everything that Jesus did and yet He said to me that I am to do greater works than He did.


How is that?


We have a job to do that is greater than raising the dead,

or opening the eyes of the blind,

or straightening out the limbs of the crippled.


“Greater works than these shall ye do.”


What work is that?


The work of preaching the blessed Gospel of God’s infinite, wonderful grace and mercy, and winning men and women from the jaws of Hell and judgment to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.


When you and I are used to win a soul, we are doing a greater work than creating a world or hanging a star in space.


Four men brought their paralyzed friend to see Jesus.  Only, because of the crowd, they couldn’t get to see Jesus.  The house was full, the crowd was overwhelming.


But these four men wouldn’t quit,

They wouldn’t be defeated,

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