Lesson Six

The wise man declared: "Every word of God is pure:  he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him" (Proverbs 30:5).  God's wisdom is infinite and his promises are solid.  Our trust in Him will not be misplaced; we will not be disappointed.  In fact, trust in Him is absolutely essential.  This stems from the fact that we cannot guide ourselves (Jeremiah 10:23), trust ourselves (Jeremiah 17:9), nor entrust our souls to others (Psalms 118:8-9; Matthew 15:14).  We must trust someone!  And God is the only one we can trust to accomplish the salvation of our souls.  This is not to say that we are to be suspicious of all men, but it is to say that we are to put our absolute faith in God, and not in men.

The apostle Paul wrote:  "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"

This is the source of faith, the word of God.  At the meeting in Jerusalem to discuss the fate of the Gentiles, the apostle Peter said; "Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe" (Acts 15:7).  This reference is to the household of Cornelius, the first Gentile converts, to whom Peter had been sent to preach the word of God (Acts 10:6).  Every instance of faith (believing) in the book of Acts, which is the history of the establishment of the church, is preceded by preaching or teaching the word of God.

In the case of the Bereans, who "received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11), it is said, "Therefore many of them believed" (Acts 17:12).  Why did they believe?  They heard the word of God!  This was the source of their faith!  Not all preaching of the word results in faith (Acts 19:8-9), but there is no faith where the word of God has not gone.

Paul wrote in 1Corinthians 1:21-24; "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God".  Paul was determined not to know anything among the people in Corinth, "save Jesus Christ, and him crucified," so their "faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (1 Corinthians 2,5).

To the Christians in Rome, Paul wrote, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:  for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith:  as it is written, The just shall live by faith".  Paul had boldness in preaching the gospel of Christ because he knew it was the only thing that would generate faiththe faith by which the just shall live!

Folks talk about faith in God coming in many ways: dreams, inner voices, etcetera.  The Bible talks about faith coming as a result of hearing the word of God.  This latter is objective faith which we can live by, the former is subjective faith which cannot be relied upon.

The book of John records for us seven signs, or miracles, which Jesus did (2:1-11; 4:46-54; 5:1-18; 6:1-14; 6:16-21; 9:1-12; 11:1-46).  John then writes:  "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:30-31).  Why were the signs written?  That ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God!  This is written confirmation of the miracles that were performed to confirm the spoken word and the credibility of the speaker (Hebrews 2:3-4).  Miracles are not performed today because the word, once confirmed, needs never to be confirmed again.  And it has been confirmed. This makes it credible as a source of faith.

Having faith in God means believing that his word is true and can be relied upon.  I believe Jesus is the Son of God.  Why?  Because the Bible gives credible evidence to that fact.  I believe the world was created by that infinite being we call the "Heavenly Father" through his Son, Jesus Christ.  Why?  Because the Bible gives credible evidence of it.  I believe men are sinners in need of salvation, and that salvation is available and obtainable.  Why?  Because the Bible gives credible evidence that it is
true.  I believe Jesus is coming again to judge the world.  Why?  Because the Bible gives credible evidence that it is going to happen.  I believe when Jesus does come again this world is going to be destroyed.  Why do I believe that?  Because the Bible gives credible evidence of it.

What we know concerning the will of God for us must come form the word of God, which is the only source of "all things which pertain unto life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3).  It is wrong for men to speak and say "God said it" when it is not found written in the Bible (Jeremiah 23:16-22).  It is wrong for men to assume something is true just because, to them, it sounds religious, or it is something they wish to be true.  The scriptures are our source of information concerning the will of God for us, the promises of God toward us, and the warnings of God to us.

Where does faith come from?  It comes from hearing the word of God.  Is faith necessary?  Yes!  It is!  "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).  "Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.  I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:23-24).

Does God care?  Yes, he does!  And he demonstrates that care by seeking to generate faith in our hearts, that will be lived in our lives, by which he might save our souls eternally.

 Questions for Lesson Six

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