Transcript based on a Sermon given 13 June 2009

Fruit of the Spirit - Faith

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

Imagine yourselves as a butcher, you've got a piece of beef, and it's worth exactly ten pounds. That's ten UK pounds, you can substitute dollars if you like, but let's talk about it as ten pounds. Imagine I came up to you, and I offered you a ten pound note. Would you give me the beef? You'd say; "Okay, yes fine, no problem at all." Because that's what you're in business to do, you are in the business of selling beef. I'd go ahead and give that ten pounds and I'd then have the beef.

Now imagine that there is a child of about six months, or less and it's sitting in it's high chair and has got a rusk - one of these hard, bready like things that children eat. Most of the rusk is in its mouth and the rest of the rusk is running down the front of its jumper and it's drooling at the mouth as it's eating the rusk. You go to the child and you say; "Look you give me your rusk, and I'll give you a ten pound note." Do you think you will get the rusk for a ten pound note? There is no chance in this world that you will get a rusk out of a six month old child for a ten pound note.

Now what's the difference? What's the difference between you going into a butcher shop and offering him a ten pound note for his beef, and offering that same individual - at six months old - a ten pound note for a rusk, which is worth what, a penny or half a penny or something like that? What's the difference? The difference basically is use. It is the fact that the butcher has learned over time the value of a ten pound note. The child has no understanding about the value of a ten pound note, but he does understand about the value of rusk. That is the difference and that is the discrepancy that is there between those two things.

Turn over to Galatians chapter 5, which is where we have been for the last few sermons, because it is a very important section which goes into the very fruit of the Spirit.

In the introductory sermon, I talked about how it is singular, so it is that we group these fruits together, they are qualities of the fruit. It is what the Spirit actually produces. It is not the same as a gift, because quite frankly you can be given something, you don't have to do anything for it. Here, it is something that grows, it is fruit that is actually growing.

It comes from the Spirit of God that actually flows in and flows out of us. As it mentions, it is love, joy, peace, all of these qualities are things that God has, and God has to give. They come from God, through His Spirit, through His mindset. And as they flow into us through prayer, study, fasting, Bible Study and meditation, they then have to flow out in these qualities. The actual action of the very Law of God produces these qualities. It gives us the kind of life that is full of love, joy, peace, longsuffering and so on.

I talked about joy, how there is human joy and that the everlasting joy of God is different.

I talked about peace and how it is different from the Hebrew word of 'Shalom', which means an abundance. It's the word 'eirene' which means joined together. It's actually plaited together, it's joined together as one. It causes unity.

I talked about longsuffering, how it is not quite the patience of a fisherman, but rather the long passion of a mountain climber.

Then last week we talked about gentleness and goodness, the two qualities there. I showed how the word 'gentleness' is better translated as 'providing what's needed', giving what is required. The goodness is really more about obeying God's laws and having the same kind of mindset that is described within scripture.

So we now come to probably one of the most difficult ones for us in our present generation to really understand, and that subject is faith. But it is not just faith, but faith as a fruit of the Spirit. And therefore, it is different from the various other times where you will find faith mentioned in scripture. It is faith specifically as a fruit of the very Spirit of God. It's interesting that even here in Galatians 5:1 it talks about:

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing [if you try to put righteousness in a purely physical sense, then what is the purpose of the understanding you have of Jesus Christ and the fact that He died for you]. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law [you're going to have to make sure that you keep every single law, you're trying to do it yourselves, under your own strength]. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith." (Galatians 5:1-5)

We are waiting for the hope of righteousness by faith. It is faith in what God has to say, that will lead us to the type of righteousness that God says that He wants. As we are going to see, we will find that this is very, very true as far as this quality of the fruit of the Spirit of faith. It is the kind of faith that God really wants. It's the kind of faith that God really has, and His children are going to have to have. Galatians 5:6:

"For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love." (Galatians 5:6)

It goes down to Galatians 5:16:

"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh [Vvrse 18]. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." (Galatians 5:16,18)

In other words, you don't have to be worrying about having to go back and be circumcised, going back and pay every tithe that you've not paid. Because if you have accepted the sacrifice of Christ, and you then follow the Spirit of God that He has then given to you, you will keep God's law. You will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. That is how, and the only way how, that you will be able to keep God's law in the way that God requires.

So we can have faith, we can have trust, but it has got to be faith as a fruit of the Spirit. That is something that is going to be actually growing. It is not something that is static. It is something that has to grow because fruit has got to grow. And so what I would like to do today is to examine the subject of faith as this fruit of the Spirit:

The Two Distinct Types Of Faith (PLAY FROM 09:02)

So let's have a look at the two distinct types of faith. We're in Galatians at the moment, there is a section here, that if you have a King James you will understand, and you can read it as it actually is. If you have got one of the more modern translations, you will not be able to understand this because it totally obliterates this. This is why I use a King James. I will try and modernise it as I try and quote verses, I'll use various meanings in, instead of 'thee' and 'thou', I'll use 'you' and 'your'. I would rather use the King James because it actually does pick up certain subtleties that are lost on people outside. Here in Galatians 2:16 it says:

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but [normally translated 'if not'] by the faith of Jesus Christ [notice, the faith OF Jesus Christ], even we have believed in Jesus Christ [so there's the faith IN Christ], that we might be justified by the faith OF Christ..." (Galatians 2:16)

That's the difference. There's the two, one is a belief in Christ, that's our faith. The other is a belief of Christ, that is Christ's faith flowing from the Spirit that was in Him, the Spirit of God, that has to to be in us, and the Spirit that will produce the fruit of the faith that is necessary. So here we see just in that one verse, as it says; "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, [if not] by the faith of Jesus Christ..." (Galatians 2:16) . In other words, you are keeping the law, but you are keeping it with the faith of Christ. We are letting God work in us to develop His character within us. It is done through the indwelling of the very Spirit of God. As Galatians 2:16 says:

"...by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ..." (Galatians 2:16)

We believed that sacrifice. We trust Him to do what He needs to do as a faithful High Priest, and we do that ourselves, we have that faith in Christ. But we believe "...in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ..." (Galatians 2:16). The faith of Christ actually changes us and converts us and allows us to become as Jesus Christ was. It is Christ's faith, it is His faith.

We can see it also over in Hebrews chapter 6. We can see these two types of faith that are being mentioned. Only one of them is to do with the fruit of the Spirit. Only one of them grows and develops and will start at a certain point and then develop through our entire life, being ready for harvest by the time we finally become a born son or daughter of God. So I want you to notice here in Hebrews 6:1:

"Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation [so here's the starting point, here is where you begin the journey, this is where you start] of repentance from dead works [we turn from dead works and then we have], ...faith toward God," (Hebrews 6:1)

We turn to God, and it is faith in the sacrifice of Christ, and then the doctrine of baptism comes afterwards. So it is with the faith that we have in Christ before we are baptized. It is human faith. It is faith in that sacrifice. It is faith in the fact that giving ourselves to Christ allows Him to then start working on us, and putting His faith in. This foundational faith is not His faith, but is a faith which is something that we have ourselves, that we trust God. That we go to God and look towards Jesus Christ to do the work for us, as far as actually working in our lives. Not doing it for us so that we don't have to do it, that we don't have to obey God! Not that at all. But through the indwelling of the very Spirit of God, we are being transformed, being changed. I want you to notice in the preceding chapter here how this maturity is being talked about. It says in Hebrews 5:12:

"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers [he is talking now to the Hebrews, most of them probably Jews, but the sons of Eber, that's who the Hebrews are, Israel being the eighth generation from Eber {1}], ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God [the very oracles of God being the Word of God that we received]; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness [just interested in milk, not even on rusks yet, let alone meat in that sense! Notice what is being talked about here - it is the word of righteousness]: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use [notice, of use] have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." (Hebrews 5:12-14)

They have gone beyond the first principles, which it then goes into in Hebrews 6:1 - talking about the faith towards God - and gone beyond that, moved further down the road; "...by reason of use..." (Hebrews 5:14). One of the things that is being used here, is not just the Word of God, it is also the faith in that Word as well; "...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17).

I was talking to my wife earlier on, and she mentioned to me about a time when we had been married a couple of years, we had just had a baby, the baby was eleven days old. I was going across to Northern Ireland with the campaigns that were going on over there I was travelling from Southern Ireland into Northern Ireland and at that time, there were bombs going off all the time. There were people getting killed over there every single day, virtually. She thought to herself, "I could be a widow with this young baby" at that time.

What she did, was she sat down and she took the Word of God, and she read the examples of faith of Abraham, Joseph, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and the various things going through Hebrews 11. One by one she went through them, and that basically gave her the faith. "...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).. So when you are looking here at somebody who uses milk, is unskilled in the Word of righteousness. Part of that righteousness and a great deal of that righteousness is the faith, is understanding and having the faith in that Word. If we go on a little bit further here, notice in Hebrews 6:11:

"And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope [of hope, of faith] unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises." (Hebrews 6:11-12)

So you go back and you read this Word of God and then you apply it to yourselves in the same way. Through that faith you can see people that are going to inherit the promises; Jacob, Joseph, Abraham. You see those examples that are there. You see examples of faith, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Are they going to actually be there in the future? We're not sure of certain cases like that, but we can see those that are going to inherit the promises and how they are examples of faith from that Word, and allow our own faith to grow and to expand and to become ripe, to come to fruition. To become a ripe fruit which is ready to be used by God, as His born son and daughter into the future. In Peter it mentions son and daughter, so it refers to both male and female. There is not going to be male and female in the future, so we are all born sons if you put it that way.

So there we see very clearly two distinct types of faith. Faith that we have IN Christ, and the faith OF Christ. The kind of faith Christ had that flowed from the very Spirit of God. That faith that Christ had flowing from the very Spirit of God is something that will grow in our lives. It is flowing from God's Spirit and therefore it is part of the collective fruit of the Spirit. It is one of the attributes of that Spirit.

Faith As A Gift (PLAY FROM 18:53)

What about faith as a gift? I Corinthians 12:9, mentions the faith specifically as a gift. A specific gift given to profit everybody within the Church. Therefore that is something given which is special, given by God, used by the individuals that have been given it to help and benefit the Church in some way. Faith can be given in that way. Some people naturally have more faith than others. Some people are actually given more faith than others. Let's turn over to Ephesians 2:1 because it goes a little bit further than that:

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience [so they are people who are disobeying God]: Among whom also we [Jews] all had our [conduct] in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath [made us alive] together with Christ, (by [Christ's] grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in [heavenlies, as the original says] in Christ Jesus:" (Ephesians 2:1-6)

It's a Godly perspective, a different perspective of life. That is a crucial aspect that we look at later on. It is a totally different perspective of life that is then given to us. We are no longer walking according to the course of this world. We are still subject to the spirit of disobedience that broadcasts, and are still in tune to some degree unfortunately, but we have a different perspective. It is a different Spirit, it is a different mindset, and from that, something has got to grow. It goes on in Ephesians 2:7:

"That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:7-10)

So the way in which we keep God's Law, is that we are given the faith of God. We are given this down payment, this beginning amount at baptism. That then has to grow and it is a gift. It is actually given to us, every single one of us as that gift. This has got to grow. How does it actually grow? Well it grows by reason of use. It's like the ten pound note. A child with a rusk will not go ahead and give you that rusk for a ten pound note. If I had a rusk and you offered me a ten pound note, I would give you the rusk, in fact I would give you several rusks for that note! Why do I do that? Because of the use, and I understand the value of that, and it is similar in that way. Notice II Corinthians 1:21:

"Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us [notice, has anointed us with that Spirit], is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." (II Corinthians 1:21-22)

So that is what actually happens. He establishes us in Christ and has anointed us and has given us that earnest of the Spirit. It is the beginning part of the Spirit. It is the earnest in the sense that it is given to us during this life, because we are eventually to have the inherited possession which will be the very Spirit body which we will be given in the future.

But it is also something that is given initially at baptism. It is the impregnation of that Spirit at baptism and that then grows. It is improving, it is increasing all the time. This faith also is an impregnation - it is part of that impregnation that is given to us, and the fruit of the Spirit is given as an earnest. But by reason of use it has got to grow, and that's the difference. It is something that comes from God. We'll see as well in II Corinthians 5:4:

"For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but [further clothed, is a better translation], that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God..." (II Corinthians 5:4-5)

In other words; Why did He make us? Why did He create us? What has He done it for? Well He has created us for the time that we will finally have immortality. We will be given a spirit body, we will be spirit beings, we will be born sons of God. Now the angels are sons of God, but they are created sons of God. But we are to become born sons of God in the future. II Corinthians 5:5:

"Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit." (II Corinthians 5:5)

An earnest is a down payment, it is the first part that is actually given. I have given this analogy before in this series. Suppose you inherited a piece of land, and with the land came some seed, some sun, and some rain, some growth, and necessary tools to plough with, and the harrow, and the tractor, and the combine harvester to go ahead and combine it afterwards. You have all these things given to you. Would that therefore mean you could just sit back and do nothing? Of course not. You have got to work with these tools you have been given and produce a result. You have got to work within the parameters of the seasons. All of these things have got to be taken into account. The result is the harvest that would actually be produced. It doesn't mean to say that you aren't given these things. Of course they are given.

In the same way, faith is given to us as a gift at baptism by the indwelling of the Spirit, by the earnest of the Spirit. But that has got to be worked with. We have got to allow God to use His power as the faithful Creator to create in us, the same kind of faith that He has as that faithful Creator. Turn over to Hebrews 12:1, coming straight after the faith chapter in Hebrews 11, it says:

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us [let's walk, let's by reason of use live the life that is necessary, that is set in front of us, and live the life in God's Way], Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

The author, in the sense that we look to Him as the sacrifice that paid the sin. And also in the sense that through that sacrifice we have access to the Father and have this down payment, this earnest of the Spirit, this earnest of the faith that we need. It is also not just that, He is also the finisher of our faith.

"...who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2)

He has gone through the process. We can see somebody who has made it all the way through. He then as a faithful High Priest works with us. Remember where this is coming, this is talking about faith predominately. Where it says the finisher, it is the faith that is found in Galatians 5, this fruit of the Spirit.

So it is a gift given at baptism. It is part of the very earnest of the Spirit given at baptism. It is one of the qualities that will naturally be there. It is given at baptism as an impregnation. Just as an egg, an ovum that is impregnated compared to an ovum that is not impregnated. It is almost identical. So we at baptism are very, very little different from what we were before, but that impregnation has got to grow and allow us to exercise that faith, and by reason of use we then will grow, and become the kind of child that God wants us to. As the faithful Creator of that child, the same as a child in the womb.

It's interesting, a child in the womb, what is it breathing? Well, amniotic fluid. All that time it has hands. What will it do with its hands? Play with the umbilical cord perhaps, what else? Suck it's thumb probably. But what else would it do with its hands? What good are hands? What good are lungs? Here we are in the womb, Jerusalem above, the mother of us all. Looking forward into the future where we are actually born into the family of God.

What good is faith? Well we'll have a look at some of these things. Faith has got to grow, faith has got to develop, because we are going to use it. Every indication is that it is part of a creator's armoury or arsenal of creativity, or however it's used. It's vital that we have it.

Faith As A Fruit (PLAY FROM 30:49)

So let's have a look at the next point; that faith must indeed grow as a fruit. Now we can see this over in II Thessalonians, we see the Church at Thessalonica, and how Paul actually addresses them, and it talks about how their faith has grown exceedingly. In II Thessalonians 1:1 it says:

"Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is [fitting], because that your faith groweth exceedingly [it wasn't just the case that they had the faith and that was it, it grew, their faith grew exceedingly], and the charity [agape] of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth [it wasn't just faith that was growing, it was also Godly love, it was the love, joy, peace, longsuffering, all of the qualities that were there, they all need to grow together]; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and [trials] that ye endure:" (II Thessalonians 1:1-4)

So they were going through problems, they were going through trials. They were facing them in the right way. They were using the faith, in these trials, and situations that God was actually allowing them to go through. He wasn't way off somewhere, Jesus Christ hadn't deserted them. And Paul said I Thessalonians 1:3:

"We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is [fitting], because that your faith groweth exceedingly and the [love] of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and [trials] that ye endure:" (II Thessalonians 1:3-4)

All the things that you have gone through -- by reason of use. By using the Word of God and by trusting that Word over what situation they found themselves in, that initial down payment, that earnest they had at baptism was then growing and developing.

It's just like a farmer planting a seed in the right conditions. The seed grows and develops for harvest, but you have to work with the conditions. You can't just go and plant your oranges in the middle of winter up in Alaska and see what happens. It just doesn't work that way. It's not going to develop. You will get no harvest at all. You have to work within the conditions that are there. The farmer needs to plant the seed and work within the right conditions.

In these cases here that we see in Thessalonica, it was in trials, it was in persecutions, it was in difficulties that their faith was growing. What was given to them as an earnest, as a down payment, as the initial conversion took place -- they were using that. And therefore the actual fruit was growing, the faith itself was growing.

What The Holy Spirit Does (PLAY FROM 34:16)

But you see, the question is how? How does this faith grow? What in fact does the Holy Spirit do? What is the Holy Spirit doing to make this faith grow?

The subject of faith is huge. You can carry on talking about faith from now until midnight quite easily, but I want to concentrate on faith as a fruit of the Spirit, as part of the fruit of the Spirit that is growing. And needs to grow within our life, and develop through the trials, through the difficulties, all the way through until it is finally harvested. The harvest time is when we will actually become the born sons and daughters of God. That particular type of faith is essential.

So what does this Holy Spirit do? Turn back to John 14:23, here Christ is talking about the 'parakletos', (Strong's 3875,) the Comforter, the one called to the side, the helper. It is using words that give a personification of the Spirit, although it is not a person. It is a spirit, a power, that is given to us, that is called to the side of us. Here in John 14:23 it says:

"Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him [notice what He is saying; "...keep my words..." (John 14:23). What did we read in Hebrews 5? "...who by reason of use have their senses exercised [thereby] to discern both good and evil." (Hebrews 5:14). It is the use of the Word of God, rightly discerning the word of truth], and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (John 14:23)

So the Father and Christ are then making their abode with this individual. How? Through the very Spirit of God, through this 'parakletos' that is actually working in the life. But it is the Father and Christ working in the life of this individual, it is not a personification of a trinity. John 14:24:

"He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me [He is the One who apostolized Christ, that sent Him with that word]. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the [parakletos], which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, [it] shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:24-26)

How do we receive the Word of God? It's through this Book. It is also through individuals who are converted that have the Spirit of God working in them, ministers, predominately, and particularly Mr Herbert Armstrong himself, that God had worked with, and is working through. It says; "...[it] shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:26). Again; "...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17). We can go to the Word of God, we can remember what was actually said, and what happens therefore as far as the Holy Spirit, is that it brings the words to remembrance. It works in our life, and it allows us to remember what God says; it allows us to see, it allows us to understand.

The Bigger Picture (PLAY FROM 38:16)

The result of that is to allow us to see the bigger picture. Turn over to Romans 5:1, here we find:

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ [so we made peace with God, by access to the Father, and we have that faith in the sacrifice of Christ]: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in [trials] also: [why?] knowing that [trials] worketh patience [we see trials in a bigger perspective, in a bigger picture, not from an earthly perspective, but from a heavenly perspective; "...made us sit together in [the heavenlies] in Christ Jesus:" (Ephesians 2:6) ]; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us." (Romans 5:1-5)

The faith then grows. We are developing all of the time. We are glorying in trials because of that bigger picture. Turn over to James chapter 1, this is the traditional one that we would turn to, the one that we read and wonder about. But again in this context, it is having this bigger picture through the very Spirit of God, working with that Spirit in our mind that brings to mind the things that God has told us. Be it through the actual mouth of Mr Herbert Armstrong, or a minister who is actually explaining something, all going back to the actual Word itself. That is the foundation of the prophets and the apostles of old. We can then see and understand this Word. We understand this Word because we have the Spirit of God. Without that Spirit you wouldn't understand this Word. It says in James 1:1:

"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [different types of trials]; Knowing this [and this is why], that the trying of your faith worketh patience." (James 1:1-3)

Knowing this, that by reason of use, again; "...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17). You have read something in the Word of God, you are going through a trial, and you then hold onto that Word of God. James 1:4:

"But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom [if you find you are struggling], let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith [make sure that we are asking, holding onto the faith still, holding onto that Word that we have been given, the faith that we have been given at baptism, that then needs to be developed], nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:4-8)

You can't go in two different directions at once. You can't go and look in a worldly way and expect to be following the Spirit of God. We have got to be following the Spirit of God even in a trial, even when we ask for wisdom and understanding about that specific trial, we are still following in the Way of God. We are still following that Word. We are still faithful to that Word and having that bigger picture. We glory in trials because of that bigger picture. Turn over to I Peter 1:3:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you [waiting in heaven, waiting until Christ actually returns, He will bring that gift with Him], Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time [we are looking for the rescue, salvation when Christ comes back, He will bring that with Him and we will be born sons of God]. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" (I Peter 1:3-7)

So this fruit of the Spirit, this faith that is produced by the indwelling of the Spirit, the gift that is given at baptism, the growth that happens throughout our entire life eventually reaches a maturity. That maturity comes when Christ returns, when we are resurrected, when we become part of the very family of God. That's what it's saying and therefore, the testing of our faith is more precious than gold. It is by reason of use that the faith grows. It is by reason of use that the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit actually will grow. The earnest that we are given as a gift has got to grow. It has got to be worked with by God and allowing God to be the faithful Creator that He is, to produce this result that is necessary.

What does that Holy Spirit do? Well, it brings the Words to mind. It allows us to remember what is really going on. This is the problem, when we are in trials, we forget. All that we have in our mind is the trial. All that we have in our mind, if we are looking at it in a human perspective, is what the problems are. But, what does the Holy Spirit do? If we are close to God, then what is in our mind, and what is in our heart are the Words of God, the promises of God. We can hold onto those.

What happened with Abraham? He was told that God was going to make a great nation out of him, and he was in a culture where inheritance was a big thing. It was vital to have progeny. Today it is not looked on in the same way, but at that time it was absolutely vital that you had children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and so on, and you passed whatever worth you had onto the children. God promised to make of him a great nation. He believed God, he hung onto that. He hung onto it all the way through until he was about a hundred years old. His wife was in her nineties, and yet he hung on right the way through, believing and trusting God even when it was totally impossible.

Here we find ourselves today, a little tiny group meeting here, believing the Word of God that came to us, and was preached to us those many years ago about the fact that this world, this society is not going to continue on the way it is. It's going to come to an end. You can see it written and found here in scripture. You can actually find the passages that are necessary.

What does the Holy Spirit do to us as we go through our trials and difficulties? It brings back to mind. It allows us to see what is really going on, not just what appears on the surface to be going on; because what appears on the surface, and what everybody else in the world looks at, is merely the physical. But what we have, through the Spirit of God, through that indwelling of the Spirit are these Words. It is the understanding and comprehension. We can see; "...Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:" (Luke 10:23) . That's what Christ said.

It's interesting, when you think about it; the Holy Spirit is likened to breath, it's likened to air. "And when [Christ] had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit:" (John 20:22). It's likened to air, air gives us our oxygen, it gives us our life. But it does an awful lot more than that, a great deal more than just give us our life. What does air do? Well as I am talking to you right now, my words are going through the air, into the speaker, and if you are somewhere else, down the wires and it finally comes to you, out of the microphone here, out of your speaker at the other end. The ones that are in the room with me right now, are hearing my word through the air. It is conveying that word. What does that Spirit do? It brings to mind the very Word of God.

What else is it doing? Well those in this room are looking at me right now. How are you seeing me? What are you seeing me through? Air, breath, the same thing. So, not only is it the word of the mouth, and the hearing, that is transmitted through the air, it is the sight and the vision that is transmitted through the air, as well. And we breathe it for life as well - which is why it is used as an analogy of the very Spirit of God.

When we are looking at what the Holy Spirit does, it allows the mind to have the Word of God given to it. It allows the mind to see in a way that the human mind carnally, cannot see, has no perception of. It goes through problems and difficulties, but through that Spirit of God we can actually see something that nobody else can see, nobody else can understand. Seeing that bigger picture is a vital, vital quality. So when we are looking at the fruit of the Spirit and faith from that Spirit, the faith which is a product, which is the fruit that comes out of that Spirit is being given to us, because you see, and because you hear, and because you understand. Because you can see situations in a way that the rest of the world has no idea. Christ said in Matthew 13:16:

"But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them." (Matthew 13:16-17)

The same is today. We can see things as we are living at the close of the age. We can see things and understand things and we bring back to mind the things we have heard. We look at these problems and difficulties, and the problems and difficulties that we are going into, from this point forward. We have got to do so through the very Spirit of God. It is the Spirit of God that gives us that bigger picture.

Turn back to Hebrews 11, which is the faith chapter. We need to understand something because as I said; our latest little granddaughter, three weeks ago was breathing amniotic fluid. She had hands, she played with presumably the umbilical cord, scratched her ear and sucked her thumb. But what were hands for? What is the purpose of that? She has no concept, none at all. Yet, now that she is actually born, now she has the same kind of life that her parents have. She is going to grow into the same kind of being that her parents are. If we look here in Hebrews 11:1 we find here:

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for..." (Hebrews 11:1)

That word substance is an interesting one. It it the one that was used to attempt to trash us in days gone by. It's this word 'hupostasis' (Strong's 5287). It literally means 'under-stand'. When you think of the word understand, it means you get underneath, you stand under something mentally so that you comprehend the thing that you are understanding. This means understanding in the sense of standing under, it is what lies underneath, it is the basis, the foundation. It is what is standing underneath:

"Now faith is the [standing underneath] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)

It's what you have of what you are looking forward to. It's the basis that you can put your faith into. What's the basis? The Word of God; "...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).. It is the Word of God that is actually standing under. We know that Christ is going to return. Why do we know that? Because standing under the return of Christ is the Word of God that predicts His return. That's what is standing under. We can have faith in that. That faith is based on that Word. Hebrews 11:1:

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen [you can't see the result]. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel..." (Hebrews 11:1-4)

He goes through one after another and gives examples throughout this entire chapter. I mentioned before when I was giving the sermon, go back and listen to the sermon that I gave on 'The Armour of God - The Shield of Faith' 1 December 2007. In that sermon I talked about this subject and talked about this particular chapter.

Quite frankly, this particular verse used to bother me. This was years and years, and years ago, because it appears if you go through the entire chapter, you find that there is a time order. It goes in chronological order, with example after example, after example, after example of when the faith, actually manifested, was used. But in Hebrews 11:3 it says:

"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed..." (Hebrews 11:3)

In other words, the faith is now. I thought, that doesn't make sense. So I actually phoned up the Greek Orthodox Church in London and I got in contact with a student there. I asked to talk with somebody who actually can read New Testament Greek and really understand it. So, they put me through to somebody. I said, "Can you please get your Greek Bible, and turn to Hebrews 11 and read verse 3 and tell me when is that faith actually exhibited? In other words, can it be translated that we understand that it is through faith that the worlds were created, or framed by the Word of God, so the things that are seen are not made of things that do appear?" He looked at it and he read and said; "Yes you can take it both ways. Either the faith is now, or you can also take it just as readily that we understand, that it's through faith that the world's were framed."

If you look at the context of this section here, and the way in which it sequentially goes through the examples of faith, it makes much, much more sense to make that verse three; is that we understand, that it is through faith the worlds were framed by the Word of God. God used faith to do the creating. This world that we are looking out at. All of us that are listening to my words right now, we are living in a world, we are looking out of eyes. We are handling books. We are listening to a computer. What is this world that we live in? What is this reality that we find ourselves in? Sometimes you might have a brief glimpse of it and then you are back to reality. You are back to the normal mundane things of this world.

But what we are looking at and what we are looking at as far as this bigger picture is concerned, all things are created by the Word of God. It's what stands under everything. You see, we have faith in the Word of God. It is the Word of God that we put our faith in, and it is what stands under. It says; "...faith is the substance [the standing under] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1). Then the first example that is given is the fact that the worlds, everything, is created by the Word of God. It doesn't disappear off somewhere. It stays there, as it says in Isaiah. It actually keeps what it is here.

Again, computers are ideal examples. When you look at a screen, you move your mouse and you grab an icon and you click it somewhere else and you think you are moving the icon. You think you are moving a window, but you're not. All you are doing is moving a piece of plastic with a wire attached to it. That's all you're doing. What is actually happening is that your movements are then being interpreted by the programmer that wrote Windows, that wrote the software that you are using. Then programmer is defining where the mouse moves, where the windows move, where the icon moves. You are interfacing with this. That is the only thing you are doing. Right now on the machine, as it is taking my voice on the microphone down into the machine and recording it. In the machine there are words, noughts and ones. All the words are translated into noughts and ones working at fantastically high speeds. It is converting it into a certain reality.

How much more the very Word of God that stays within its Creation, and creates the reality. Now that same Word has said other things, and it's the other things that we have faith in, but it is the same Word. It is the same Word that makes tomorrow's sun rise. It's the same Word that caused these flies that are in the room flying around to fly. It's the same Word that makes the sun shine, and the blue sky, and the green grass, and the creation we find ourselves within. It is the same Word that is understanding, that is standing under everything that exists. It stands under what we believe, what we have faith in, what we trust in. Yet, every so often we get brief glimpses of that. Turn back a few pages to Hebrews 1:3 where 'hupostasis' is actually used here in this particular passage:

"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person..." (Hebrews 1:3)

This word 'hupostasis' is actually used here. It is what is actually standing under. Moffatt actually translates that as His character, because that's what stands under the Godhead. Put in your notes Exodus 33:18 and Exodus 34:6-7. What happened when Moses said; "...shew me thy glory." (Exodus 33:18) to the One who became Christ? When He did; He declared His goodness, He declared what He was like, He declared His righteousness, that was His glory. That was what was under-standing, standing under what He is. What does I John 4:8 say? It says; "...God is [agape]." (I John 4:8). That is His character. So here Hebrews 1:3 it says:

"Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of [what is actually behind Him - His very character], and upholding all things by the word of his power..." (Hebrews 1:3)

So Christ is that Word - that goes out into all the created things. Christ issued the Word, the Word goes out, and the Spirit - the creative power - is actually used in this process. He created everything that exists.

So when we go through life and what comes back to our minds by the very Spirit of God as a fruit of that Spirit of God that is in us, is the fact that the situation, whatever situation we happen to be in, it rests on the understanding of it. The standing under of everything is the Word of God. Everything that's real is the Word of God. It doesn't matter whether that Word is a prophecy, a promise within scripture, or a fly flying around the room. Or is a tumour, or is some other sickness, or if it's a lack of employment; "...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5). Or whatever problems we have, any of these things. So you see here in Hebrews 1:3 it says:

"...upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels..." (Hebrew 1:3-4)

So He is now in that position of power. That Word, that Living Word, we can trust, we can hold onto. We can allow it, by reason of use, to grow. Turn back to Titus 1:1:

"Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness [looking forward into the future, looking forward into the fact that truth, the fact of the righteousness in God's people, waiting for the future]; In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;" (Titus 1:1)

God cannot lie. Why cannot God lie? Is it just because of character, or is it when He says something that is what is real? That is what is. What He says, is. Notice in Psalm 33:6 it says:

"By the word of the [Eternal] were the heavens made [He spoke basically]; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." (Psalm 33:6)

Remember what I said about breath. It's the breath, the very Spirit in His mouth. It's what forms His Word. Those Words come down to us today. We experience them. It's like our breath, our air that we have around us, that we can hear words through the air, we can see things through the air. We also breathe that air. The life is made with the Spirit of God. Psalm 33:7:

"He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the [Eternal]: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was [there is no 'done' there, the word done doesn't exist; "...he spake, and it was...", that's it. It's impossible for Him to lie. Why? Because when He speaks, it is]; he commanded, and it stood fast." (Psalm 33:7-9)

Because that's what a God being does. We, in the Jerusalem above, the mother of us all right now, looking forward into the future, we wonder what's this faith stuff for? It's something along these lines. It's the standing under all that exists. It is vital that we are developing this. The fruit of the Spirit being faith, one of these characteristics is a vital, vital part of the characteristics that are necessary.

It grows. We are given it as a gift initially, but that gift has got to be used. It is by reason of use that, that grows. So when we go through trials, we don't look at them the way the world looks at trials. Why? Because we have a perspective. It comes from where? It comes from the very Spirit of God, and it allows us to look at things in a totally different way.

Put in your notes, Jeremiah 23:24. He fills heaven and earth. He totally fills heaven and earth and that Spirit is all around us. The product of the Spirit, the product of the Word of God in which we have the faith, it is everywhere. It is all around us. It is the reality that we find ourselves in.

Our World Today (PLAY FROM 1:05:58)

So what's the big deal - believing that same Word that gives us the promise? You see the problem is - the big deal - in our world today is that it says here in Daniel 12:

"But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end..." (Daniel 12:4)

That's where we are, we are in this time of the end. We can understand that, we open the Book, it's unsealed. We read about the days of Daniel, we know what it means. We can see it through Matthew 24's eyes. We can see it through Revelation. We can see it tied into Revelation 13. We can see how the true Church fits in with Revelation 12, and throughout Revelation, as it reveals to us. And again, the Word has come to us, it has come to us through the very Spirit of God.

"...seal the book, even to the time of the end [and at that time]: many shall run to and fro..." (Daniel 12:4)

You know, we get on an airplane and fly across the Atlantic. It's like taking a bus these days - totally unheard of. Two hundred years ago, there weren't even train services. The Stockton to Darlington passenger train service didn't start until 1825. So there wasn't even passenger train services. Now we just jump on a plane and fly here, there, and everywhere.

"...many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased." (Daniel 12:4)

But the kind of knowledge that has increased in this world is materialistic knowledge. That's the problem. We know so much about so much, but everything we have we can handle, we can touch, we can feel. It's tangible. It's not real, but faith is real. It is what stands under everything that exists. It is what is standing under in the sense that it is the Word of God that is there. It is the Breath of God that is there that stands under all reality. You try explaining that to somebody out in the world, and they immediately shut it off because their knowledge is based on physical things.

Therefore, because of this, Christ, looking down through the annals of time, could see the problems that you and I now face with the subject of faith, and why faith is not growing as it should for us. We have problems with it, and we better get back on track in this area, because quite frankly we are going into a time when we are going to need it. We have got to allow God to develop this in us, and allow this faith to grow through the trials, through the difficulties we find ourselves in. Because here in Luke 18:1:

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end..." (Luke 18:1)

This is coming right after the time of the fleeing; "Remember Lot's wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it. [Where are they going to be taken? Verse 37] ...Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." (Luke 17:32-33,37) . Luke 18:1:

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;" (Luke 18:1)

So we need to be praying. We need to be in contact with God. Again, this is a vital part. This contact with God is where the Spirit of God comes from. For faith as a fruit of that Spirit within our trials, we have got to have that contact. Luke 18:1:

"...that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary [we've got an adversary! Believe you me, we've got an adversary!]. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?" (Luke 18:1-7)

We keep on our knees, we keep in contact. The elect are the holy ones. The anointed ones. It is the same word, the same root word is being used in elect that is used for Holy Spirit. Clean ones is what it means. It is the clean spirit. Why are they clean, why are they holy? Because of the Holy Spirit. Because of the clean spirit that is in them. Why do they have that? Because they are in contact with God. That's why fasting is important. That's why fasting is needed, to keep that contact in there. Luke 18:8:

"I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)

That rhetorical question is there, because Christ knew that the end time is going to be structured in such a way that unless Christ returns, all human existence is going to be wiped off the face of the earth. That is prophesied in Matthew 24. He has got to return. It has got to go to that particular point. For that to happen, knowledge has got to be increased, but it's human beings that are creating this knowledge. Read Romans 1. Where is that knowledge coming from? Read Romans 8. It is the antithesis of God's Way, the antithesis of God's Law. It is away from the very Spirit of God. It is a human form led by Satan which is going to be materialism.

You can see the materialism we find ourselves in today. We find ourselves in a society that is materialistic - that if you can't handle it, if you can't touch it, or see it, it doesn't exist. You don't recognize that undergirding it, standing under it all is the Word and the Breath of God. That's what stands under everything. That same Word, that same breath says here; "Two...shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two...shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord?..." (Luke 17:35-37). All the prophecies that are here, and all the promises that are in this Book, that same Word issued those promises, and issued all the things there. Note Revelation 21:7:

"He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." (Revelation 21:7)

So let's turn over to II Corinthians 4. We read about; "Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit." (II Corinthians 5:5). That earnest of the Spirit has been given there to actually allow us to grow. Notice the context of this particular passage where it says in II Corinthians 4:1:

"Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God [it's the Word of God he's talking about]. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost [those who can't see, that have no concept of what actually is going on, have no concept of this faith, this undergirding, this standing under]: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ [not about Christ, the gospel OF Christ, the gospel Christ brought, the gospel of the Kingdom of God, the Family of God, the Way of God, the Mind of God, the Power of God which will be there in the future], who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." (II Corinthians 4:1-5)

We can see the example that is there, that He has proceeded, gone through before us. He is; "...declared to be the Son of God...by the resurrection from the dead:" (Romans 1:4).

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair [here is the evidence, here is the testimony as it says in Hebrews 11, it uses this word testimony, this is what we need to be doing, we need to be walking in a certain way]; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus [we realize that we have to accept that death, that sacrifice for sin, so that we can then gain access to the Father], that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." (II Corinthians 4:7-10)

Therefore we can see that we are brothers and sisters of that individual. II Cor 4:13 says:

"We having the same spirit of faith, [as he who wrote, RSV], I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you." (II Corinthians 4:13-14)

Why? Because the same Word of God is there. The same Word of God that raised Christ from the dead will raise us up from the dead. There's our faith and so many other promises as well. II Corinthians 4:15:

"For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God [it's so that God's purpose and plan can actually take full flow and allow us to be ready to be the teachers in the world tomorrow]. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day [that inward man you don't see, but we know that it's there and it's being renewed and it's growing for a purpose]. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporary [the total reverse of what we find in society today]; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (II Corinthians 4:15-18)


Footnotes:

{1} https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_of_Eber