The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Faith

Posted by on Mar 25, 2007

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

March 25, 2007

Sunday Morning

“The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Faith”

Scripture Reading: Galatians 5:22-23

Scripture Text: Galatians 5:22

Introduction:

 

A.   For several weeks now we have been focusing our attention on “the fruit of the Spirit.”

1. In other words, we have been looking at different evidences or outward manifestations that the Holy Spirit is present and working in a person’s life.

2. In our text, Gal. 5:22-23, Paul lists nine different manifestations of the Spirit.

3. Thus far, we have looked at six of the nine, those six being “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness.”

4. This morning, we come to the seventh manifestation of the Spirit in Paul’s list, and that is “faith.”

 

B.   Now I must admit that when I first began to study the subject of faith, I was overwhelmed by the subject.

1. Why? Because it is such a vast and such a broad subject.

2. Do you realize how much the Bible has to say about faith?

3. In the New Testament alone, you find the word “faith” (or some other form of the word) over 500 times.

4. That’s a lot of references.

5. A believer could very easily devote his entire life to a study of the study of faith, alone. (Perhaps every believer should do this!)

6. Anyway, faith is an overwhelming subject.

 

 

C.   However, even though that is true, it is also a very important subject.

1. Why? Because without faith, you…

-cannot be saved,

-cannot live for God,

-cannot please God with your life.

2. Faith is absolutely necessary if we are to have and maintain a right relationship with God.

3. And so, for the next few minutes, let us consider this outward manifestation of the Spirit that the Bible calls faith.

 

D.   First of all, we need to…

 

I.       Define Our Subject.

 

A.   What is faith?

1. Here’s how our English dictionary defines the word “faith,” it defines it as “a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.”

2. It is also defined as “something that is believed with a strong conviction.”

3. According to both definitions, faith is believing.

4. It is “believing something that cannot be proven by normal means, yet believing it firmly with a strong conviction.”

 

B.   While the dictionary definition is helpful, the Bible itself gives us the best definition for the word “faith.”

1. Turn with me to Heb. 11:1, it says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

2. There are two key words in this Biblical definition for “faith.”

3. The first key word is the word “substance.”

4. Now what is “substance”?

5. Substance can be defined as matter.

6. It is something tangible.

7. It is something that you can…

-see,

-touch,

-grasp with your hands.

8. Now with that in mind, let’s look again at the Biblical definition for “faith,” it says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for.”

9. In other words, “faith provides substance for something for which there is no substance.”

 

C.   Let me illustrate.

1. How many of you believe in a Creator God?

2. Okay, now how do we know that there is a Creator God?

3. We certainly cannot see Him.

4. We certainly cannot touch Him.

5. We certainly cannot grasp Him with our hands.

6. After all, God is a Spirit, and because He is a Spirit, there is no tangible (physical) proof that He exists.

7. How do we know that there is a God in heaven Who created this universe, as well as everything that is in it?

8. We know by faith!

9. In other words, our faith provides substance for which there is no substance.

 

D.   The other key word in this Biblical definition for “faith” is the word “evidence.”

1. Now what is “evidence”?

2. Evidence can be defined as “proof.”

3. (Illus.- Let me illustrate. Suppose you were a prosecuting attorney. You would not charge a person with a crime and put him on trial, unless you had some evidence. In other words, unless you felt like you could prove to a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he had actually committed the crime. Evidence is proof.)

4. And so, when the Bible says that “faith is…the evidence of things not seen,” it simply means that faith provides the proof for something for which there is no proof.

E.   Let me ask you another question, “How many of you believe there is a heaven?”

1. Okay, now how do we know that there is a heaven?

2. Have we ever seen any tangible evidence or proof that there is a heaven?

3. The answer, of course, is, “No.”

4. How then do we know that there is really a heaven?

5. I’ll tell you how we know, we know by “faith.”

6. In other words, our faith becomes the proof for that for which there is no proof.

 

F.    Faith then can be defined as believing something that we cannot see, something that we cannot touch, something that we cannot grasp on to, something for which there is no tangible substance, no tangible evidence, no tangible proof.

 

G.   As I said a moment ago, it is only by faith that we know there is a God in heaven.

1. Oh, I realize that we can see God’s handiwork all around us. (Amen?)

2. Psa. 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”

3. Listen also to Rom. 1:20, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;”

4. I realize that anyone with eyes can see God’s handiwork in the world. (How can one not see it?)

5. Yet, ultimately, the existence of God is something that is either accepted or rejected by faith.

6. This is why we read in Heb. 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe (have faith) that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

 

H.   I’ll tell you something else.

 

1. It is only by faith that we can know that this Book (the Bible) is the Word of God.

2. (Illus.- During the course of my ministry, I have had many people challenge me to prove to them that the Bible is, in fact, the Word of God.)

3. Of course, I cannot do this.

4. No one can prove (with tangible evidence) that the Bible is the Word of God.

5. You either accept it or reject it by faith.

 

I.    Now that we have defined faith, I should point out that…

 

II.      There Are At Least Two Kinds Of Faith.

 

A.   First of all, there is what I call “saving faith.”

1. What is “saving faith”?

2. It is the faith by which we are saved.

3. It is the faith that we exercise when we call upon the Lord to save us, when we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.

4. John 1:12 speaks of “saving faith.” It says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on (have faith in) his name:”

 

B.   Did you realize that most people today believe, not in salvation by faith, but rather salvation by works?

1. (Illus.- When I have the opportunity to share the gospel with someone, I usually ask them at least two questions. First of all, I ask them, “If you were to die this very moment, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven?” If they answer, “Yes,” I then ask them the following question, “How do you know that?” Do you know how almost all people answer that second question? They answer it with what I call a “good works” answer. In other words, they say, “Because I am basically a good person, I’ve never hurt anyone, etc.)

2. Do you know what they tells me?

3. It tells me that the most people believe in salvation by works.

4. In other words, they believe that whether or not they go to heaven when they die depends, at least in part, on what kind of life they live.

 

C.   The Bible, however, teaches us something very different.

1. The Bible teaches us that a sinner is saved, not by works, but rather by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

2. In Rom. 4 the apostle Paul uses Abraham as an example of this, turn there with me and let’s read the first five verses, “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?…For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God….For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it (his faith) was counted unto him for righteousness….Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt….But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

3. Listen also to Rom. 5:1, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”

4. Finally, listen to Eph. 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:…Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

5. And so, the Bible teaches us that one is saved, not by works, but rather by faith.

6. This is what I call “saving faith.”

 

D.   However, there is another kind of faith.

1. It is what I call “living faith.”

2. What is “living faith”?

3. Living faith is the faith by which we live our Christian lives after we are saved.

4. Since you are already in Romans, turn to Rom. 1:17, the Bible says, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

5. Did you notice the latter part of that verse?

6. Paul said, “The just shall live by faith.”

7. In other words, those who have already been justified before God by faith in Christ as Savior, shall live their Christian lives by faith.

 

E.   I have detected a fallacy in the thinking of some believers today.

1. Some believers look at faith merely as a means of being saved (something by which we are saved) and nothing more.

2. They look at faith as something that is necessary to get us to the point of salvation, but which is not necessary beyond that point.

3. (Illus.- For example, to them faith is sort of like the rocket boosters that are attached to the space shuttle when it takes off for outer space. The purpose of those boosters is to get the shuttle to a certain point, and once it reaches that point, they are no longer necessary and are jettisoned away and fall back to earth.)

4. Some believers look at faith in the same way.

5. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

 

F.    Faith is just as important after we are saved as it was before.

1. Trusting the Lord is just important after we are saved as it was before.

2. Believing the promises of God is just important after we are saved as it was before.

3. Do you know why?

4. Because salvation is not the end!

5. Salvation is the beginning, the beginning of a whole new life, a life that should be lived by faith!

 

 

G.   Let me ask you a question.

1. Is it your desire to please God with your life?

2. I hope that every single one of us would say, “Yes!”

3. But listen again to what God’s Word tells us in the first part of Heb. 11:6, “…without faith it is impossible to please him:”

4. Notice that the Bible does not say that “…without faith it is…

-hard to please God,”

-difficult to please God,”

-a challenge to please God,

but rather, “impossible to please God.”“

5. And so, faith is very important when it comes to living the Christian life.

 

H.   Now that we have defined faith and pointed out that there are two kinds of faith, saving faith and living faith, I want us to…

 

III.    Notice Three Things About Living Faith.

 

A.   First of all, living faith, as we see in our text, is faith that evidences (manifests) itself in the believer’s life.

1. Again, our text says, “the fruit of the Spirit is…faith.”

2. How does faith manifest itself?

3. According to God’s Word, it manifests itself in our works.

4. In other words, if a believer is truly living by faith, he will produce good works in his life, and these works will be evident.

5. It is as simple as that.

 

B.   In fact, the Bible tells us that if our faith does not produce good works in our lives, then it is not living faith at all.

1. Turn with me to Jam. 2:15-18, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,…And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?…Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone….Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

2. Notice again what James said in Vrs. 18, “I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

3. And so, living faith is faith that evidences (manifests) itself in the believer’s life (in our good works).

 

C.   The second thing I want us to notice about living faith is that it is faith that produces faithfulness.

1. Think about it for a minute.

2. What does the word “faithful” mean?

3. It literally means “full of faith.”

4. Living faith, therefore, is faith that produces faithfulness.

5. First of all, it produces faithfulness to God.

6. Secondly, it produces faithfulness to our families.

7. Finally, it produces faithfulness to our church.

8. Don’t try to convince me that you are living by faith, if at the same time you are neglecting your responsibilities to God, to your family, and to your church.

9. Living faith is faith that produces faithfulness.

 

D.   There is one more thing that I want us to notice about living faith.

1. Not only is it faith that manifests itself, not only is it faith that produces faithfulness, it is also faith that is constantly growing.

2. How do you know if something is alive?

3. If it is growing, it is alive! (Amen?)

4. Living faith is faith that is constantly growing.

5. On one occasion our Lord’s disciples made the following request of Him, they said, “Lord, Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:5)

6. Do you know what that tells us?

 

7. It tells us that we should never be satisfied with our level of faith, that we should constantly striving to grow (increase) our faith.

8. How do we grow our faith?

9. By simply exercising the faith that we already have.

10.   As we step out in faith and see God keep the promises that He has made to us, our faith will increase, and we will be able to trust God for greater things.

11.   And so, living faith is faith that is constantly growing.

Conclusion:

 

A.   What have we learned about faith, this morning?

1. First of all, we learned the meaning of faith.

2. We learned that faith is the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)

3. We learned that faith is believing something for which we have no tangible proof.

4. Secondly, we learned that there are two kinds of faith, saving faith and living faith.

5. Finally, we learned that three things can be said about living faith, that it is faith that…

-evidences (manifests) itself in our good works,

-produces faithfulness to God, to our families, and to our church,

-is constantly growing.

 

B.   In closing, may I ask you a personal question?

1. Do you possess faith?

2. First of all, do you possess saving faith (have you trusted Christ as your Savior)?

3. Secondly, do you possess living faith (are you trusting God on a daily basis as you claim His promises and serve Him with your life)?

4. Thirdly, does your faith manifest itself in your works?

5. Finally, is your faith growing (is it stronger today than it was the day that you came to Christ)?

6. Let us not forget that “the fruit of the Spirit…is faith.”