"BUILDING BLOCKS OF CHARACTER: FAITH!"
Written and preached by David P. Nolte



2 PETER 1:5-11




There are certain things which are composites of other things. Take water for instance; it is a composite of hydrogen in two parts combined with oxygen in one part. If you remove the hydrogen or the oxygen you no longer have water. Take salt for another example; it is sodium in combination with chlorine. If you remove the sodium or the chlorine you don't have salt anymore. We might consider fire also; for fire to exist there must be 3 elements: heat, oxygen, and fuel. If you remove any one of them, you no longer have fire either! So it is with faith! Bible faith consists of 3 indispensable elements; remove any one of them and you no longer have saving, Bible faith! Well, we know it already; we've heard it a hundred times; but let's make a hundred and one: faith consists in 3 elements.
  1. FAITH IS, IN PART, BELIEF:
    1. Belief, according to Webster, is: "the conviction that something is true." This is the "head part." Here is where we grapple with data and come to grips with facts and make some mental disposition of them: if we believe them, we accept them as true! We store them in our "this is true" file even if they are not proven through tactile experience or empirical demonstration. We believe that of which we have become persuaded or convinced.
    2. The world associates sight with belief: "Seeing is believing" they say. Jesus relates belief with sight: "Believing is seeing" He says.
      1. "Didn't I tell you that you will see God's glory if you believe?" John 11:40 (NLT).
      2. We see in Hebrews 11:1(NIV) "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
      3. And 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) tells us that "we live by faith, not by sight."
    3. Today I am emphasizing belief centered on God and his work in Jesus Christ:
      1. 1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV): "though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
      2. We believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross, was buried and rose again!
        1. Romans 10:9 (NIV) says, "that if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
        2. Jesus said to Thomas in John 20:29 (NIV) "because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
    4. Two boys were out playing. It was getting to be dusk and the younger said to the older, "We better go home. See how far the sun has moved! It was over that tree and now it's behind it!" The older boy said, "The sun didn't really move. Remember, Dad told us it only looks like it does." The younger said, "I don't believe that! The sun did move. I saw it and I believe what I see." The older boy said, "Well, I believe dad!"

Faith is one part belief, and

  1. FAITH IS, IN PART, TRUST:
    1. We might be mentally persuaded of facts, but until we rely on or put confidence in or trust what, and whom, we believe, faith is void! This is the "heart part" where we lean ourselves and cast ourselves upon the credibility and reliability of God, His Word and His Son!
    2. Note how important trust is:
      1. Romans 4:5 (NIV) "however, to the man who does not work but trusts God Who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness."
      2. Romans 15:13 (NIV) "may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
      3. Romans 10:11(NIV) "anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame."
      4. Hebrews 11:11 (NIV) "by faith Abraham, even though he was past age - and Sarah herself was barren - was enabled to become a father because he considered Him faithful Who had made the promise."
    3. Everybody has the capacity to trust and everybody does in fact exercise trust
      1. Marketers trust that the food they sell is not contaminated and the purchasers who buy that food trust that, too.
      2. We trust people who make promises to us and people trust us when we make promises.
      3. Doctors trust that they know how to diagnose and the patients who rely on them for a correct diagnosis hope so, too.
      4. Other drivers trust that we won't cross center line and we trust that they won't cross over either.
      5. Would that we, like Paul: 2 Timothy 1:12 (NIV) "I know Whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day."
    4. In 1891 George overheard people talking about the World's Fair. They wanted something wonderful like the Eiffel Tower to be the main attraction. George's was inspired to submit his idea to the fair organizers. He worked out his plan and took it to the fair directors. They only laughed at him! George didn't give up. He found people who thought his idea would work and they offered to help pay for it. He went back to the fair directors, this time convincing them it could be done. The finished product towered over the other rides. In July, 110 mph winds struck Chicago. George was so sure his invention wouldn't fail that he took his wife and a reporter up for a ride. They were battered by the storm, but George Ferris had faith in his invention and the Ferris Wheel held steady.

Faith is belief and trust and

  1. FAITH IS, IN PART, OBEDIENCE:
    1. This is the "will part" where we choose to act in accord with what we believe and in whom we trust!
    2. Notice one who obeyed and some who did not obey:
      1. Hebrews 11:8 (NLT) "It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going."
      2. Romans 10:21 (NLT) "But regarding Israel, God said, 'All day long I opened my arms to them, but they kept disobeying me and arguing with me.'"
    3. Listen to the Bible on obedience:
      1. John 14:23-24 (NIV) "Jesus replied, 'If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me will not obey My teaching. These words you hear are not My own; they belong to the Father Who sent Me.'"
      2. Philippians 2:12 (NIV) "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling."
      3. 2 Thessalonians 1:8 (NIV) "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus."
      4. 2 Thessalonians 3:14 (NIV) "If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed."
      5. Hebrews 5:8-9 (NLT) "So even though Jesus was God's Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered. In this way, God qualified Him as a perfect High Priest, and He became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey Him."
    4. King Henry III of Bavaria needed to learn obedience. He grew tired of court life and the pressures of being a king. He decided to go into a monastery to live a quiet and contemplative life. He went to Prior Richard asking to be accepted. "Your Majesty," said Prior Richard, "do you understand that the pledge here is one of obedience? That will be hard because you have been a king." "I understand," said Henry. "The rest of my life I will be obedient to you, as Christ leads you." "Then I will tell you what to do," said Prior Richard. "Go back to your throne and serve faithfully in the place where God has put you." When King Henry died, a statement was written: "The King learned to rule by being obedient."

Faith is more than academic; faith is more than accepting a few facts as true; faith is more than credence. Faith is the response of the whole person to God: mind, heart and will all in concert: believing, trusting, obeying. We will never know what faith is if we never put it to practice. Paul Harvey said, "You don't believe it if you don't live it!" We all want a happy, fulfilled, life but seek it in wrong ways. We all want to have a godly character, but many don't attain it. There is one way to real life, one way to godly character: personal: faith in Jesus Christ. Place your faith in Him - do it today - make a faith commitment as we sing.

"I believe Dad" from Knight; Ferris from internet reference sources; King Henry from Christianglobe.com illustration service




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