Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
What does it mean to “Believe” or to have faith? Faith is the believer’s ability to see what cannot be seen with the natural eye, to hear that which cannot be heard with the natural ear, and to taste what cannot be tasted with the tongue. Faith is a supernatural manifestation of God’s power that is birthed in the human heart when Gods Word is heard, received, accepted, and acted on – Faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit that is only available to those who have received the gift of the Holy Spirit through baptism and repentance. (see Acts 2:38 & I Corinthians 12:7-11)
It was faith that enabled Elijah to hear the sound of an abundance of rain when no rain had fallen from the sky in over three years, and it was faith that sustained a widow woman through the famine, her meal barrel wasted not and the cruse of oil did not fail until the Lord sent rain according to the word of the Lord by Elijah.
Faith is not a generic mental assent to the truthfulness of the word of God, anyone can say, “I believe in the strength of that bridge to support the weight of my car,” but it’s not faith until you are driving across it.
Mark 16:15-18 (NKJV)
15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they[b] will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
We had an incredible move of the Holy Spirit in my home church services last Sunday, it is not really that unusual at our church, but it got me questioning why we don’t see more of God’s power manifested in the lives of those who claim to be believers in many of the churches that I visit?
I believe that the answer lies in a misinterpretation of what Jesus meant when he said, “Those who believe.” In other words, many churches today have a distorted definition of “those who believe.”
The Church in America has raised a generation of “Christians” who attend church on Sunday, when it’s convenient, but are not “Believers.” They are intellectually in agreement with the Bible, but they do not have the power, and subsequently the faith, that comes from the indwelling presence of the Holy Ghost. They have become those that Paul warned Timothy to avoid, people who would arise in the Body of Christ having a form of godliness, but denying its power.
But from Jesus perspective believers are more than a financial base of supporters that mentally assent to the principles of the Church, they are “doers of the Word,”and that is why He said. “17 And these signs will follow those who believe:”
He didn’t say that these signs would accompany some believers and not others. Jesus’ statement was emphatic, “These signs will follow…”
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
The Apostle James tells us that even the demons believe that there is one God, they know in their minds that God is a reality and it makes them tremble with fear, but devils don’t do any righteous works of faith. The plague that has infected and weakened the Church of Jesus Christ is that of calling the agreement of the mind “faith,” and it is not!
According to the Word of God, faith has corresponding works, and without works it is dead. That means that a true believer is not just someone who listens to the preaching of the Word and agrees that it is good, they change their life to conform to what they hear, they are a “doer.”
To agree that tithing is a biblical principle, that transcends both Old and New Covenants, does not make you a believer, it just makes you an assenter, and you can agree and not be a doer, but the minute you act in faith and trust God by giving, even when giving seems impossible – like when the widow used all she had left to make a cake for the prophet, you have become a biblical believer. The same is true with praying, to agree to the great need of prayer in your life does not make you a praying person, but when you make the time to get into the presence of God on your knees, when you commune with God by faith in prayer, your life will see a change and “these signs” will begin to be manifested in your life.
To agree to Jesus words does not give you power over demons. To agree to liberty of the Spirit to worship the Lord by praising, clapping the hands, shouting, dancing, does not make you a liberated worshipper. To agree to Jesus words concerning self-denial and taking up the cross brings us no closer to resurrection power, we must be doers. Believers are Doers. And Doers are Seers.
The reason so many churches don’t see more of the power and the glory of God, is because we have mistakenly accepted mental assent, an agreement of the mind for believing. Many people say they believe God’s Word, but if they are not living by its principles, then they don’t really believe, they just agree. When we really believe the Word of God, and the resulting faith leads us to repentance and obedience, we will begin to see the power of God manifested in our lives, not just on Sunday, but every day.