Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Monday, September 29, 2014
Let's look at Knowledge's components.....................
1. Something that actually exists; reality; truth: Your fears have no basis in fact.
2. Something known to exist or to have happened: Space travel is now a fact.
3. A truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true: Scientists gather facts about plant growth.
4. Something said to be true or supposed to have happened: The facts given by the witness are highly questionable.
1. Knowledge communicated or received concerning a particular fact or circumstance; news: information concerning a crime.
2. Knowledge gained through study, communication, research, instruction, etc.; factual data: His wealth of general information is amazing.
3. The act or fact of informing.
4. An office, station, service, or employee whose function is to provide information to the public: The ticket seller said to ask information for a timetable.
1. The mental capacity or faculty of retaining and reviving facts, events, impressions, etc., or of recalling or recognizing previous experiences.
2. This faculty as possessed by a particular individual: to have a good memory.
3. The act or fact of retaining and recalling impressions, facts, etc.; remembrance; recollection: to draw from memory.
4. The length of time over which recollection extends: a time within the memory of living persons.
5. A mental impression retained; a recollection: one's earliest memories.
6. The reputation of a person or thing, especially after death; fame: a ruler of beloved memory.
7. The state or fact of being remembered.
1. A learned or erudite person, especially one who has profound knowledge of a particular subject.
2. A student; pupil.
3. A student who has been awarded a scholarship.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Friday, September 26, 2014
Bible Study: (Book of Proverbs; Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom)
Study: Week # 1
Father God, today we will lift up Your Might Name in praises; glory be to God, thank You Jesus, Hallelujah, we worship You in the beauty of holiness, because You are holy. Thank You, Father, for Your Holy Spirit, Your Comforter, Your peace too. Today we ask that You guide us into truth and knowledge, so we can make right decisions. Let us learn from Your stories of old so we may grow in You, and in Your grace forever. We ask for knowledge to know You and Your Word. Lord, God, You are omniscience, and we need Your knowledge, wisdom, and understanding each to live in this world. Thank You, Lord. Amen.
Title: Knowledge Part 1
The word "knowledge" is translated from the Hebrew word "daath," meaning "cunning knowledge" (Strong's); "to perceive, to be sensible of, by sight, by touch, but chiefly in the mind; hence, to understand, observe; to consider; to mark and observe with a purpose . . ." (Wilson's). With each of these three words there is a "cross-over" of meanings; they tend to blend into one another. They all have to do with perceiving and discerning in order to act wisely, with understanding and in genuine knowledge that glorifies God. It is about learning to know what to do with what we know through wisdom, understanding and knowledge.
There are many definitions of knowledge. A dictionary definition is "the facts, feelings or experiences known by a person or group of people" (Collins English Dictionary). Knowledge is derived from information but it is richer and more meaningful than information. It includes familiarity, awareness and understanding gained through experience or study, and results from making comparisons, identifying consequences, and making connections. Some experts include wisdom and insight in their definitions of knowledge. In organizational terms, knowledge is generally thought of as being "know how", "applied information", "information with judgment" or "the capacity for effective action".
Let's start this study with an explanation on each one (knowledge, understanding, and wisdom) as our introduction for week number one. I truly believe that we need all three to grow spiritually in the Lord, and in the things He desires us to accomplish in this life.
I Those with knowledge are able to collect, remember, and access information. They "know" the Scriptures. God's word is literally "in them". They are scholars. But, it is possible to have knowledge and lack understanding and wisdom; to have the facts, but have no clue as to the meaning or what to do next.
II Those with understanding are able to abstract the meaning out of information. They "see through" the facts to the dynamics of what, how, and why. They are teachers. Understanding is a lens which brings the facts into crisp focus. Understanding produces "rules of thumb" or principles.
III Those with wisdom know which principle to apply now. Understanding without wisdom can appear contradictory (Proverbs 26:4-5). For example, "He who hesitates is lost", is a valid principle as well as: "Haste makes waste". We see the truth of both. But which should we apply next? Those with wisdom know what to do next; they know which way to go. They do the right thing. In contrast, there are many who have great knowledge and understanding, but consistently do the wrong thing. Wisdom, in this sense, is the goal, and knowledge and understanding only have eternal value as they result in wisdom, or what we end up doing.
James 1:5 (NIV) If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
God promises wisdom to those who ask. Knowledge and understanding may be beyond us. Most often, when we pray for wisdom, God calls us into fellowship with believers who can provide an answer, but whom we may not like. God has given generously, but we will not submit ourselves to the Body of Christ to receive it!
The above definitions give the words a "special meaning". More often than not, the words are used in English as synonyms; and so it is with Scripture. By attaching "special meaning" to the words, it is hoped that real differences in function can be made clear. We will attempt to do this in our study.
What to do next
Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom
1 Corinthians 12:8 (NIV) To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit.
Scripture often uses the words knowledge, understanding, and wisdom interchangeably, but occasionally they are spoken of as separate and distinct. Thus, it may be useful to attempt to define the differences of meaning.
Knowledge is the facts. Understanding is the ability to lift the meaning out of the facts, and Wisdom is knowing what to do next. Since God rarely gives all three gifts to any person, we need to cooperate and assist each other with our particular gift in every area. We will use the book of Proverbs later to get an ideal more on knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.
How can I gain spiritual knowledge and wisdom?
Instruction is very important for those who desire to live a long and fruitful life and gain wisdom and knowledge. Those who instruct others must first have knowledge. As one is instructed he learns knowledge and is therefore able to instruct others.
"Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge" (Proverbs 23.12).
All Christians should have a deep hunger and thirst for knowledge of the God (Psalm 42.1-2; 63.1; 143.6; Proverbs 9.10; 30.3), the Father, Son and HOLY SPIRIT. The way to gain that knowledge is through the study of the Scriptures. The more we study the Bible the more we learn of our Father, our Savior Jesus and the HOLY SPIRIT who dwells within all true born-again believers.
Fools hate spiritual knowledge and seldom seek it out. Professing Christians who ignore the greatest storehouse of spiritual knowledge in the universe are the most foolish. That storehouse is the Bible, the Word of Godâ"€the Holy Scriptures.
"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction" (Proverbs 1.7).
Every believer should spend most time reading and studying (Deuteronomy 4.9-10; Proverbs 8.34; 23.12; Luke 8.15, 21; 11.28; James 1.22; Revelation 1.3, Deuteronomy 17.19; Psalm 42.1-2; 63.1; 143.6; Revelation 1.3), (Deuteronomy 8.3; Matthew 4.4; Proverbs 2.1-5; 8.34; 22.17; John 5.39; Acts 17.11; Romans 15.4; 2 Timothy 2.15; 3.15).
Memorizing the following passages will equip a believer to gain strength in the faith: (Deuteronomy 6.6; Psalm 37.31; 40.8; 119.11; Proverbs 2.1; 3.1, 3; 4.1, 21; 6.21; 22.18; Isaiah 51.7; Ezekiel 3.10) and contemplating on (Joshua 1.8; Job 22.22; 23.12; Psalm 1.2; 4.4; 19.14; 63.6; 77.12; 104.34; 119.15, 23, 27, 48, 78, 97, 99, 148; 143.5; 1 Timothy 4.15).
Instruction is something that everyone needs in order to gain knowledge. One should get as much as possible and no one can do without it. Every child needs instruction from his or her parents and that is why children are commanded to listen to what their parents teach them (Proverbs 1.8; 3.1; 4.1; 6.20; 23.22). Students need to listen to the instruction of their teachers if they want to learn something. On the job the new employee needs to listen to the instruction of the one training him.
The same is true in the spiritual realm. Parents should instruct their children in the ways of the Lord and in His Word. Fathers should be the head of the house and do most of the teaching (Deuteronomy 4.9; 6.6-7; 11.18; 32.46; Psalm 78.5). In the church the pastors and Bible teachers are to instruct the congregation and show them how to study the Bible on their own. They are to make disciples of everyone in the church (2 Timothy 2.2).
Christians who can study the Bible on their own have the special privilege of being taught by God the Father (James 1.5), by the Lord Himself (1 Corinthians 2.16; 2 Timothy 2.7), and by HOLY SPIRIT (1 John 2.27). Do not waste that great privilege. Sit at the feet of the Savior, God the Father and the HOLY SPIRIT.
"To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion--A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel" (Proverbs 1:2-5).
Listening is a very effective way of gaining knowledge and wisdom and it is a very rare attribute. Most people want to talk and talk and only a miniscule fraction of people want to listen. A person who listens to others is a wise person (1.5; 8.33; 12.15; 13.1; 19.20). Everyone needs to listen and learn from others. Christians should listen to their heavenly Father. The way we listen to Him is by hearing, reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on Scripture. If you want to grow spiritually listen to the Lord as often as possible through prayer and reading the Scriptures.
"Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days" (Proverbs 19.20).
"Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge" (Proverbs 22.17).
When a Christian stops listening to the Lord, his or her life goes downhill. The traits of a person who is out of true fellowship with the Lord becomes evident with chronic manifestations of sinful behavior such as bringing division into Christian ministries or unfairly condemning others. Scripture tells us that even prayers from such a person are an abomination to God (Proverbs 28.9).
He or she will stray from the Word--stop obeying it (Proverbs 19.27) and slip into a backslidden condition and will eventually walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the path of sinners and sit in the seat of scoffers (Psalm 1.1). This person's life will no longer be like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in due season, whose leaf does not wither. Instead of prospering, eventually this type of person will come to ruin (Psalm 1.3). "He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace" (Proverbs 11:12).
Wisdom is a precious treasure that everyone should seek after with greater zeal, more than worldly riches or anything else (Proverbs 2.1-5). Wisdom is more valuable than gold, silver, precious jewels or anything one can lust after (Proverbs 3.13-14; 8.10-11; 16.16). Everyone who seeks after wisdom on a daily basis loves his own soul (Proverbs 19.8).
Wisdom is found in the Bible. If you want wisdom directly from the Creator of the universe, study the Bible. Study Scripture daily (Acts 17.11) and study it diligently (2 Timothy 2.15). When you think you have studied the Bible enough start all over and study it more than before. Never stop studying Scripture because no one can grasp all the depths of the holy, infallible Word of God in this lifetime.
knowl·edge noun \ˈnä-lij\
Information, understanding, or skill that you get from experience or education
Proverbs 2:1, 3, 5
Proverbs 8:8-9, 12
1). Name the component to knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.
2). Explain those with knowledge.
3). Explain those with understanding.
4). Explain those with wisdom.
5). What is the differences of meaning of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom?
6). How can we gain spiritual knowledge and wisdom?
7). Who despise knowledge and wisdom?
8). Instruction is something that everyone needs in order to gain what?
9). Christian should listen to their heavenly Father in what ways?
Weekly Reading: (optional)
God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; courage to change the things we can, and the WISDOM to know the different, amen…..
God bless this study (II Timothy 2:15)
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Date: 9/25/14………This will be a new Bible Study time. (Fridays)
Father God, we come to asking You to help us gain knowledge of Your Word by reading and studying it, understanding of that knowledge, and the wisdom to use the understanding of that knowledge of Your Word. Bless us with wisdom. Your Word says, ask and it shall be given, seek and you will find, and knock and the door will be open to us. We ask for wisdom now in Jesus' name. As we study Your Word, bless us to always keep Your Word before us. Holy Spirit we ask that You bring all we study back to our memory when we need it. Thank You, Lord, for Your Word. We praise You and honor You for all You do for us. We cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalt itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; In our last study "In the School of Faith" we learned about having faith in You. We walk in that faith right now that You will give us wisdom to understand the knowledge we are about to receive in this study. Thank You, Jesus. In Jesus' Mighty Name, Amen.
Title: IntroductionIn this study we will start off by looking at understanding, knowledge, wisdom, and then we will walk through the book of Proverbs. Two of its most often used synonyms are "knowledge" and "understanding" (also translated "discernment"). So one might say that the wisdom referred to is the "expertise" that results from having "knowledge" with "understanding" (8:12). "Knowledge" in Hebrew refers to data derived from the bodily senses: eyes, ears, nose, and touch. "Understanding" has to do with the way knowledge is assessed and applied. When we have factual "knowledge" and know how to understand or use it, this in general is the "wisdom" this book is talking about [Words for Wisdom and Folly]. At the time it was believed that thoughtful learning of this kind occurred in the "heart," not the head, and that the wisdom thus acquired was manifest in different ways ["Heart"]. Those with expertise in a trade are called wise (Exodus 31:2-4). A king whose heart is skilled in interpreting laws and discerning good and evil is also thought to be wise (1 Kings 3:9). Solomon is eulogized as one of the wisest kings of the time because of his knowledge of plants, animals, birds, reptiles, and fish (4:33); for his giftedness in composing thousands of songs and proverbs (4:32); and because of his insight (3:28) and breadth of understanding (4:29). Every year thousands of books published have titles with the same first two words—"How to . . ." By reading these books you can learn how to paint like the old masters, how to get a job, how to get federal grants, a divorce, free publicity, a mortgage or even a nightclub gig. You can read about how to buy a car, a house, a small business or a personal computer. You can become a balloon artist, an astrologer, an athlete, a golfer, a fashion designer, a good dancer, a pilot, a master manipulator, a mechanic or a vampire. Experts out there will make you expert at petting a cat, picking lottery numbers, losing five pounds fast, building fences or bearing children.
All these books are offering us wisdom—skill in one area or another. Books like these proliferate because we all need wisdom to live successfully. Wisdom brings success and prosperity in our work, in dealings with family and friends, and in our relationship with God. One book of the Bible—the Proverbs of Solomon—specializes in wisdom. It gives us direction and guidance that is practical, concrete, reasonable, wholesome, understandable, shrewd and fruitful. By reading it we gain skill in all areas of life. By reading God's Word we gain knowledge. By reading God's Word we gain understanding. By reading God's Word we can have wisdom when we ask for it, then we can live a godly life. May this study be a blessing to anyone who look upon it, in search for a greater understanding of God's Word. In this bible study I hope to find a life changing experience. I hope to understand what it mean to know God in the fullest, to say what Proverbs is saying to me, and most of all, to walk in wisdom as God would have me to do. I believe the Book of Proverbs will enable a person to "know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity; to give prudence to the simple to the young person knowledge and discretion." Let get started!
God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; courage to change the things we can, and the WISDOM to know the different, amen…..
The table of content . . .
Week # 1 Knowledge Part I
Week # 2 Knowledge Part II
Week # 3 Understanding Part I
Week # 4 Understanding Part II
Week # 5 Wisdom Part I
Week # 6 Wisdom Part II
Week # 7 Book of Proverbs I
Week # 8 Book of Proverbs II/Conclusion
In this study there will be a prayer, questions, and quizzes at the end of the study, so there will be time to read all scriptures. Each will teach us more on the Book of Proverbs, and as we read the scriptures, it will teach us how to live a godly life unto God according to the book of Proverbs. I've changed the date on the Bible Study from Tuesdays to Fridays.
This is not according to the layout of the book itself, just covering the study week with chapters to finish reading before the bible study is over.
Weekly Reading (optional):
Week #1 Proverbs 1–4
Week #2 Proverbs 5-8
Week #3 Proverbs 9-12
Week #4 Proverbs 13-16
Week #5 Proverbs 17-20
Week #6 Proverbs 21-24
Week #7 Proverbs 25-28
Week #8 Proverbs 29–31
God bless this study (II Timothy 2:15)
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
In the School of Faith
From a study of Charles Stanley
It takes a personal relationship with the Lord in our faith walk. Intellectual faith isn't the same as saving faith. It's not enough to know the facts about Jesus or to believe He died and rose again. Even demons believe that (James 2:19). Salvation involves more than knowing; it requires trusting that Jesus paid the penalty for your sin, receiving His forgiveness, turning away from old sinful ways, and entering into a relationship with Him. What matters is not what we say with our mouths, but what we mean in our hearts. Why do intellectuals have a hard time with faith? Having faith is reasonable. It's not only reasonable but it's necessary. Intellectuals have a hard time with faith however because they want everything to be proven. I would have a very hard time with the concept of faith if it weren't for the fact that I have it. This isn't as obvious as it seems. "For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith17." In other words, faith is either belief through self-delusion or is a gift of knowledge given to us by God. Therefore, if you have the slightest inkling to believe in a God you have not proven scientifically, take it seriously because God is trying to talk to you. Faith to an intellectual seems more like self-delusion than it does knowledge of something real. After all, there is so much around us that we can explain, and we understand more every day. In fact, our level of knowledge grew so fast in the 20th century that it actually seems possible that we could understand the universe within the next century. Because of this perception, faith seems unnecessary in understanding the universe. In other words, God seems unnecessary as an explanation of the universe. Therefore, either God doesn't exist or He's not personal. Suppose God didn't exist and yet here we are. What then must have been the motivation in creating the concept of God? One theory is that before the age of science, God was necessary for us to try explaining the universe. This is the intellectual view of our faith in God. It doesn't even let you get far enough to discuss the gospel, because it gets no further than the fact that you have faith. Your faith as a Christian gets lumped together with other religions. From an intellectual point of view, there is no difference perceived. God calls every believer to a godly life/faith. That means Christians should obey, love, and serve the Lord on a consistent basis. A godly life isn't necessarily sinless. But eternal priorities should capture our hearts more than temporal, earthly pleasures. Our culture places a tremendous amount of pressure on those who want to pursue a godly life. The doctrines of our faith are mocked and ridiculed in the public arena. Believers are tempted to compromise spiritually and morally to fit in. If we aren't careful, the world's standards become our own. How can we resist the influence of this godless age? We must surrender our lives to God and renew our minds daily with His Word.
One of the greatest things God has given us can't be bought with money. It is the gift of faith.
We use this gift from Him continually, and the more we exercise it, the better we do with it. What is this great, precious, and powerful fruit of the Spirit? It is faith—and God provides it to every person who is rightly related to Him through Jesus Christ. There is so much to learn about trusting our heavenly Father. We are not born knowing how to rely upon Him or understanding the importance of depending on His wisdom and strength. Therefore, we must discover how to do so as we mature spiritually. Often, God's answer to our prayers about challenging circumstances is "Trust Me." This is because the first step in overcoming our difficulties is to focus on the Father and have faith in His direction. We express our absolute confidence that even though the solution may be far beyond us, He knows what to do. And we can be assured that the Lord will lead us in the best way possible because He loves us unconditionally. When we have faith in God, it glorifies Him. Unfortunately, when we fail to trust the Father, it dishonors Him. He shows us how to proceed. How to have victory in our circumstances—but we refuse to obey Him. It may be because we believe we know better than the Lord does about our situations. Or maybe we are simply fearful of what may happen if we submit to His commands. Either way, we allow our unbelief to rule us and miss His best for our lives. Faith is the key to everything in the life of a believer. Whatever we become and achieve in life is determined by our ability to trust God. Every person, even a non- believer, demonstrates a degree of faith. It is only when we believe in Jesus Christ and are confident that God will do as He promised that our lives can be transformed. This wholehearted reliance upon the Lord becomes especially important as we walk through difficulties and trials. When we are certain of the Father's presence, power, and provision, we can face any situation with hope and assurance. As Paul wrote in Philippians 4:7, "The peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Walking with the Lord Jesus is the most exciting life a person can live.
Your eternal home in heaven is assured; the opportunities ahead are full of hope; and you have the very best Companion on the path of life anyone could desire—the living God. Although being saved is a one-time experience, you have entered into a relationship with the Lord that is continuous. But what can you expect on this daily walk with Him? First, you are assured that you will get to know God in an intimate and personal way. Second, you will discover His will and purpose for your life. Third, you will learn to listen to and obey Him. Fourth, you will experience His unfailing presence, power, and wisdom in your life. And fifth, you will learn to walk by faith. The Christian life is a walk of faith. From the moment you become a believer, you enter the school of faith because, from that point on, the Father's goal is to teach you to trust in Him. Therefore, in order to live effectively and grow in your relationship with Him, you must have confidence that God—the Sovereign Lord of the universe—will do exactly what He says and fulfill every single promise He's made to you. This is why Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you" (Matt. 7:7). The Father has awesome blessings for you, but you must know that He cares for you enough to provide them. Unfortunately, believers will sometimes miss God's best in life simply because they do not trust Him. We get caught up in our circumstances and wonder why difficulties occur. However, when we realize that ups and downs are a natural part of maturing as Christians, we will continue to grow and progress in our faith. Throughout Scripture, it has been made evident that God honors faith. Our wholehearted belief in the Lord is important because, when we truly place our trust in Him, the Savior is glorified. Our Father wants us to always have confidence that He will fulfill His promises to us. He also wants us to completely rely upon Him, regardless of the situation or circumstance. This is because every aspect of our lives is affected by the strength and vitality of our faith.
There is a difference between "little faith" versus "great faith" and "strong faith" versus "weak faith" All these terms are used in the NT. You can read them in Matthew 6:30; 8:10; Luke 17:6; Romans 14:1-2; 15:1
Christians are trapped in their misunderstanding of what little faith is. We have learned that there is only one kind of faith but this faith can operate either in a "little" or "great" way, and it can be weak or strong.
First of all we need to realize that the faith we have is a gift from God. This is made clear in Ephesians 2:8-9. Where Paul says "it is a gift of God and not of works" the Greek specifically refers back to faith! Faith is a gift of God! Second we need to see that faith comes to everyone the same way: it only comes by hearing the Gospel. Read Romans 10:15, 17. Third we need to understand that all Christians receive the exact same amount of faith when we put trust in Jesus. Paul makes this very point in Romans 12:3 where he says that "God has given us all the measure of faith". The words "the measure" comes from the Greek work "metron" where we get our word "metre"! We have all received the same amount of faith "the metron"! So there is no faith shortage – quantitatively or qualitatively. The fact is that Paul says that every believer has within them the very faith of Jesus! That's right! Jesus has given us his own faith. See Galatians 2:16,20 in the King James Version. If this is so, then how are we to understand the NT phrases "little faith" versus "great faith" and "weak faith" versus "strengthened in faith"? As we examine these phrases we will see that all Christians have the exact same faith: in some conditions we demonstrate it in a weak, little fashion and in other conditions a strong, great fashion. Let's examine these phrases.
In the Gospels we find that Jesus speaks of great faith and mustard seed faith – in fact he commends them both! When he speaks of "little faith" he speaks in a gentle rebuking fashion! For example Jesus said that mustard seed faith will move trees and even mountains. See Matthew 17:20 and Luke 17:6. It is clear then that bigger does not mean stronger! This means that the reference to size must mean something other than what we think. However, Jesus did refer to the mustard seed because of its size but not for the reasons we think. Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. He also said that faith is like a mustard seed! Compare Luke 13:19 with Luke 17:6. The Kingdom of God is the reign of God in the spiritual realm. So when Jesus described both faith and the Kingdom in similar terms by referring to them as "mustard seed" he is talking about a faith that belongs to the Kingdom of God – to the spiritual realm! Mustard seed faith is a special demonstration of faith! Jesus did refer to the mustard seed because it is the smallest of seeds – see Matthew 13:32. But the reason he did I believe is because it is a seed that is so small that it can hardly BE SEEN! The near-invisibility of the mustard seed is the point that Jesus is making. He refers to its size to emphasize that it so small that it can hardly been seen! The "visibility" aspect of mustard seed is what Jesus emphasizes. Paul said that when we walk by faith we do not walk by "sight"! 2 Corinthians 5:7. Faith is the substance of things "not seen". Hebrews 11:1. By faith Noah built an ark because rain was coming that he "had not seen". Hebrews 11:7. By faith Abraham travelled to a land that he had not seen or known. Hebrews 11:8. By faith Moses obeyed God who was invisible – not seen! Hebrews 11:27. I believe it is this aspect of the mustard seed that Jesus is emphasizing.
The NT recognizes that there are two ways that faith can be demonstrated. It can be demonstrated in a little or weak way – or it can be demonstrated strong or great way. When the five senses dominate our faith and we make decisions by what we see we operate in little, weak faith. When we walk and make decisions not based on what we can see we operate by mustard seed faith – which is strong and great! Faith can be used dominated by what is seen or not seen. The latter is great, strong, mustard seed and the latter little and weak. Let me illustrate.
Jesus differentiates between two usages of faith – and although he commends only one he does affirm the legitimacy of the other. Soon after the resurrection of Jesus we read: "So the other disciples told him, 'We have seen the Lord!' But he said to them, 'Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.'" John 20:25. We would think that this was not faith whatsoever. But this is not so. Look at Jesus' response. "Then Jesus told him, 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'" John 20:29. Here faith is attached to seeing and not seeing! God's best faith is clearly the latter! Jesus tells us that the greater blessing comes when we believe without seeing! Although a sensed-operated faith is legitimate it is not God's best. Note again the statements of Jesus to Thomas and others who followed him: "Unless I see I will not believe … blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed … if you believe you will see." (John 20:25, 29, cf. John 11:40). So there are two possible operations of faith. Faith by seeing and faith without seeing! Faith can either be dominated by sight or not! I believe that the latter is "great/strong/mustard faith" and the former is "weak/little faith". Little faith is a faith that is impacted by the five senses; great faith, that is, mustard seed faith is not. Generally speaking, faith for miracles is a faith that is not based on the senses! In John 11, in reference to raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus said that people would see miraculous power manifest only if they believed first! I will return to this point when we examine what Jesus said about mountain-moving faith in Mark 11.
Every time "little faith" is mentioned in the NT the context reveals that the person is being affected more by what their five senses are telling them rather than trusting in God. For example the disciples demonstrated little faith when they focused more on the externals of their life like clothing or their circumstances rather than trusting God to provide or protect. "Matthew 6:30-31; Luke 12-27-28; Matthew 8:25; 14:30-31." They showed little faith when they tried to work out a spiritual truth on the basis of earthly logic – again relying more on what the natural realm told them instead of simply trusting in God. Matthew 16:7-8. This little faith is based more on what they can see and so is akin to the faith of Thomas! Faith is demonstrated in a little way when it is swayed by the five senses.
Faith that is not based on seeing is called "great faith". The centurion demonstrated great faith when he said to Jesus that he did not need him to come to his house to heal his servant – Jesus' word was enough. This was faith that relied solely on God's word and required no physical evidence. Matthew 8:5-10,13. This demonstration of faith is called "faith of God" by Jesus in Mark 11:22. This is exactly what the Greek text says. Unfortunately this has been lost in English translations. Yet the Greek says "Have the faith of God." Why did Jesus use this phrase? This phrase is part of the story where Jesus cursed the fig tree. Mark 11:14 recounts that Jesus had just commanded the fig tree to never bear fruit again and then we read that "His disciples heard it." The disciples saw that nothing happened to the tree as far as they could SEE. This was the point that Jesus was to challenge. The story continues and tells us that the next day "they SAW the fig tree dried up from the roots." Mark 11:20. Shocked to see the fig tree now dead, Peter exclaimed: "Rabbi LOOK! The fig tree which you cursed has withered away!" Mark 11:21. Peter was focusing on what he could SEE. He heard the day before but it is only now as he SEES that he is shocked and believes. In response to this Jesus said: "Have the faith of God!" Mark 11:22. Peter believed because he could see but Jesus called him to have God's kind of faith that believes that power is released when the word is spoken without and before SEEING! Jesus modeled "great faith" to his disciples by cursing the fig tree.
In Romans 14:1-2 and 15:1 Paul refers to two demonstrations of the same faith. He speaks about "weak in faith" and "strong in faith". Paul discusses this in greater detail in reference to Abraham. In Romans 4:17-21 Paul distinguishes between being "weakened in faith" and being "strengthened in faith". These are synonymous with "little faith" and "strong/mustard seed faith" in the Gospels since the results of both is the same. God had promised Abraham that he would have father a great multitude at a time that logic told him that it was too late – he was too old and his wife was now barren. And Paul tells us that Abraham did not "waver" between weak and strong faith simply because he chose not to focus on what he could SEE. This is clear in verse 19 where we are told that Abraham was not weak in faith because he did not focus on what his eyes and logic told him about his body and his wife's womb. He did not waver from strong to weak faith simply because he chose to believe the promise of God – something that he could not see – more than what his eyes and logic told him. See verses 20-21.
So even Paul recognizes two ways that can faith be used. Abraham would have demonstrated a weak faith (little faith) if he had chosen to focus more on what his eyes and logic were telling him rather than focusing on the promise of God. It is important to note that Abraham did not have 2 different kinds of faith: one weak and one strong. It was the same faith manifesting sometimes in a weakened state and other times in a strengthened state – and yet it was the same faith. Verse 20 is explicit. It says that Abraham was "strengthened in faith" – it was this same faith but strengthening! This shows that the same faith can operate in a weak or strong way. In Abraham's case, he chose to remain strengthened in faith by "being fully convinced"! This involves a process on Abraham's part. "Being fully convinced" is in the present tense - "being"! It was something he had to do on a continuous basis. Abraham continued to remain "strengthened in faith" by choosing to continue - "being fully convinced"- to focus more on the promise of God, God's word – something that he could not see - over against and in spite of what the natural realm was telling him.
This kind of faith is the faith of God, mustard faith, great faith which manifests itself in release of power for miracles. The point is this. All believers receive the exact same faith as they hear the Gospel: "Faith comes by hearing". Romans 10:15,17. Faith however, can operate in a weak or strong fashion – believers can either walk in little or great faith depending on where they focus their sight and thoughts.
When we live more by God's word, trusting what we can't see or touch more than what we can – we will experience a supernatural life like did Abraham. Great faith believes without seeing, natural realm "little faith" believes more what is seen – but nonetheless still believes! It is all a matter of focus. Will we choose to focus more on God's Word or our senses? The choice and the consequences are ours. So remember we all have the very faith of Jesus living within us. We do not have a faith shortage! What we may have is an ignorance problem. We don't know how to use what we have in the most effective way! What releases the power of faith is choosing to focus more on what the unseen God says than what our eyes and logic are telling us. Worry and fear manifest in little faith; but miracles in great faith. God's remedy is clear, first we must seek the Kingdom of God, trust completely in God to provide, do not even think about the situation of food, drink, or clothing, take no thought for tomorrow, and get rid of fear. Our faith will be tested with fiery trials, but we must continue to hold on and believe when we pray. God is faithful. There are numerous scriptures pointing to God's faithfulness to us and to His promises. He is our protector "But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one." (2Thes 3:3) He chose us "Because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you." (Is 49:7b) He always provides a way out of temptation "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (1Cor 10:13) He loves us "Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him." (Deuteronomy 7:9).
A recount of this study: There is three types of faith, intellectual faith, godly faith, and saving faith. The grades of faith are no faith, little faith, great faith, failing faith, and weaving faith. The stages of our faith are little or restless faith, great or maturing faith, and perfect or resting faith.
I want resting faith in my Lord Jesus Christ!
I encourage you to dive into your Bible and look for more. One thing is certain. Faith is mandatory for our salvation. If you have not accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, please do not wait. Tomorrow may never come and then it will be too late. God is faithful to His promise of life eternal with Christ in heaven, but you have to choose.
Scriptures to remember: Hebrews 11:1; Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 5:1; Galatians 3:6-7; Philippians 3:9; Hebrews 10:38; Romans 1:17, 10:17.
My next study is on "The Book of Proverbs" concerning Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom. Then I will study the book of Romans. This is how I study to stay focus and strong in the Lord; and to study to show myself approval unto God, not man (II Timothy 2:15); but a