February 8, 2019 Brethren Letter
Tonight, will be the final part of my series on the subject of “FAITH”. In the book of Hebrews, we find the Biblical definition of faith — the kind of faith true Christians MUST have! “Now faith is the substance [assurance] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). That’s not a quote from the mind of a man, that’s a quote inspired by the GREAT God. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17).
The faith of Christ is the assurance of God’s promises (even when not seen), believing that He will do everything He says He will do. There are examples of faith listed in Hebrews, men and women who were commended by name.
One example we see is the faith of Noah. The people of that time had never seen a catastrophic, worldwide flood. The near total destruction of mankind had never occurred. The world’s commerce continued as usual. The sun set each day. Still, Noah BELIEVED God and followed His instructions.
Genesis 6:5-8 (RSV)  The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.  So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground, man and beast and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”  But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
Verses 13-15  And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth.  Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch.  This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.
 For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall die.
 But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.
Genesis 7:1, 5  Then the LORD said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation.
 And Noah did all that the LORD had commanded him.
Even before the first raindrop fell, Noah, by his trust in God had assurance that the flood would occur just as God said it would.
Abraham was another man who displayed marvelous faith time and again. He too BELIEVED God’s promises. In the book of Romans, we read: “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “reckoned to him as righteousness.” But the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also…” (Romans 4:20-24, RSV).
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:6-8, NKJV).
When a Church member comes to me asking me to pray for them, and to anoint them with oil for physical illnesses or afflictions, I mention during my prayer three spiritual ingredients that must be present as we go before God. Those ingredients are: FAITH, OBEDIENCE, and PATIENCE.
To summarize the points previously in my series about FAITH, we must KNOW what God’s overall WILL is. In order to know God’s will, we must study the scriptures to understand (II Timothy 2:15; Acts 17:11).
Next, we must OBEY GOD (I John 3:22). Then, just like Noah and Abraham, we must BELIEVE GOD’S PROMISES (Matthew 9:29). The faith we have today (the faith of Christ), is the same faith Noah and Abraham had in their day. Nothing has changed at all in these thousands of years. “For I am the LORD, I change not…” (Malachi 3:6). “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith…” (Galatians 5:22).
The last point is to remember our need to BE PATIENT!
“And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but
followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:11-12).
Again, Hebrews 11 gives names of men and women of faith who still haven’t received eternal life. Yet, they WAITED PATIENTLY, believing God would keep His WORD, right to the end of their lives. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13).
Sometimes, we can be very impatient. I know I can! But, think of this — not one of us has waited the length of time God has, when considering His eternal promises. He sees a BIGGER picture than we do. Be patient! God always keeps His promises!
Finally, I’ll end tonight’s letter with a quote from the article “You Can Have Living Faith” as written in the Good News magazine of April, 1980, by Mr. Armstrong.
God often tries our patience But He has never failed me, and He never will fail YOU – if you will obey, and can BELIEVE, unwavering!
If the answer seems delayed in coming, remember, “the trying of your faith worketh PATIENCE!” (Jas. 1:3). And the development of PATIENCE is one of the purposes of your existence! So if God puts you to the test and TRIES your faith, rejoice and praise Him for using this experience to create in you more enduring faith, greater PATIENCE – two high points of holy CHARACTER! Instead of grumbling, see the loving hand of God in it and be thankful!
If God has PROMISED, that’s all you need! If God delays, HE HAS A REASON! It’s only a delay, not a refusal. SO TRUST Him! Keep on trusting Him. Be PATIENT! The answer is SURE! Arise! from your bed of doubt and WALK the walk of FAITH!
Please have a wonderful Sabbath everyone!
Your Brother in Christ,