How Great Is Your Faith?

William J. Stewart

Throughout the Scriptures, we find many great people of faith. We must be mindful of the importance of a solid faith, as John reminds us, “…this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.” (1 John 5:4) The Hebrew writer firmly affirms that “…without faith, it is impossible to please Him…” (Hebrews 11:6). With these things in mind, it behooves us to increase daily in our faith toward Christ Jesus. Thus, let us some examples of the faithful, and pattern ourselves after them.

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ENOCH
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“By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5)

How pleasing Enoch must have been before the Lord! His faith was so great, that the Lord took him from this life of corruption and provided him a home of eternal rest. In a world where many are concerned with hearing and telling testimonies, may our testimony be that we pleased the Lord by keeping His commandments.

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NOAH
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“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)

Faith toward the Lord motivated Noah to construct the ark according to the pattern God had supplied. He found grace in the sight of the Lord, for he was concerned with the will of God. Thus, he obeyed the voice of the Lord in all things, resulting in the saving of he and his family.

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ABRAHAM
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“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. . . . . By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promise offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called.’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” (Hebrews 11:8-10, 17-19)

Abraham became a wanderer for no other reason than that God told him to do so. He knew not where he was going, just that the Lord wanted him to go. When asked to sacrifice the son of promise, Isaac, he willingly prepared as commanded, not questioning the Lord, but was satisfied that the Lord could raise him up.

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MOSES
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“By faith Moses when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command. By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.” (Hebrews 11:23-28)

A life of physical pleasures and riches awaited Moses in Egypt as the grandson of Pharaoh, but he forsook these things that he might live as a servant before the Almighty God. Moses was focused, recognizing that the things of this life are passing, but that by faith we can look unto the eternal reward.

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THE NATION ISRAEL
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“By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.” (Hebrews 11:29-30)

As stubborn and rebellious as the nation Israel show themselves through Scripture, when they placed their faith in the Lord, wonderful things took place. They passed through the Red Sea to safety from the pursuing Egyptians. They marched about the walls of Jericho, according to the Lord’s commandment, and the city crumbled before their eyes. O, that we as God’s people today would have such a faith in Him!

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SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABED-NEGO
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“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.'” (Daniel 3:16-18)

Faced with death, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego found strength in the God of heaven. They refused to bow before the images and gods of the pagans, but stood firm as servants of the Lord. Even a fiery furnace could not sway their determination to honour the one true God.

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DANIEL
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“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his window open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” (Daniel 6:10)

Daniel was a faithful man of prayer. It was “…his custom since early days…” to pray three times daily in the open window of his upper room. Though a decree had been signed by the king prohibiting any worship but that which was directed to the King, Daniel continued his custom. He trusted that his God would provide the way of escape, even when placed in a den of lions. Daniel’s faith produced faith in king Darius, who spoke to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually. He will deliver you.” (6:16) After Daniel’s deliverance, Darius decreed that “…men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God.” (6:26)

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JOB
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“Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.’ . . . . But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” (Job 1:20-22, 2:10)

At the loss of all he had, save a miserable wife and friends, Job’s faith in God and His goodness upon His people prompted him to declare, “…blessed be the name of the Lord.” He willingly accepted good from the Lord, and was also willing to now accept adversity.

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STEPHEN
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“And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:59-60)

Surrounded by an angry mob, Stephen boldly stood for the truth. Though they took up stones against him, he continued in his stand for truth. Stephen’s would not be broken, though his life lay upon the line. May we be of such a mind to uphold the word of God and oppose error.

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PAUL AND SILAS
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“Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them in to prison, commanding the jailor to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison, and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” (Acts 16:22-25)

Having been brutally beaten, Paul and Silas, locked in a dreary prison, fastened in stocks, sang forth praises to God at midnight. At a time when most might grumble and complain, they became an example to those who were about them, and expressed their faith in the One for whom they suffered. They counted it an honour to suffer for the name of the One who suffered for them.

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HOW ABOUT YOUR FAITH?
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  • Is our faith as that of Enoch, such that God will delight in taking you to enjoy eternity with Him?
  • Do we have the faith of Noah, bringing forth obedience to the will of God, even when it may not make sense to us?
  • Would we become a Nomad for the cause of Christ, even as Abraham did?
  • Are we willing to make a sacrifice for the Lord (note, some of the things we call ‘sacrifice’ are nothing more than a mere inconvenience)? Consider Abraham’s willingness!
  • Will we pass up the pleasures this life would offer us in exchange for persecutions in serving the Lord? Moses did!
  • Do we believe as Israel did, that God is able to win the battle, His way?
  • Will we stand firm and strong for the faith, even if we are threatened with death, as Shadrach, Meshach, Abed-Nego, and Daniel were?
  • Is our stand for the faith so evident and strong that others might be influenced by our trust in the Lord. Darius came to glorify the Lord in his kingdom on account of Daniel’s unwavering faith.
  • If we lost all we owned, would we praise the Lord for His greatness as Job did?
  • Will we stand for truth as Stephen, Paul and Silas did, regardless of the consequences?

HOW GREAT IS YOUR FAITH?

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