The Highest Calling of the Church "Faith" - Part 1
Dr. Allen M. Barber
January 20, 2008

Faith  is the most important concept in the Church of Jesus Christ. Without it, there is no true Church. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the revelation knowledge that is the bedrock of the Church. Everything that is pure Christianity begins with faith in the head of the body - Christ.  Jesus told Peter as recored in Matthew's gospel, Chapter 16:13-20, that the revelation of who He was (Jesus) would  be the building blocks of His Church:

Matthew 16:13-20 NASB

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He began asking His disciples, saying, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"  14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets." 15 He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"  16 And Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 "And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. 19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."  20 Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ.

This passage has nothing to do with Peter being the first Pope; besides the New Testament does not recognize the office of a Pope, only simple shepherds or pastors who feed the flock of God with the meat of the Word. The emphasis is on the "confession" of Peter in stating that Jesus was the Son of God. Peter made a statement of faith based upon "revelation knowledge" for Jesus said Peter's bold and truthful statement was given to Him by the Father in heaven. Therefore, it was not due to Peter's observation of Jesus or his experience of being with Jesus for 3 1/2 years, but by the revelation given to him by the Father in heaven. Of course revelation knowledge is imparted by the Holy Spirit, for God is Spirit and they who worship Him must do so in Spirit and truth. (John 4:23). The basis of faith is revelation knowledge. Without revelation knowledge there is no real faith and without real faith there is no genuine authentic Church only man-made institutions, which today are many.

Why do you think our salvation is based upon the ministry and power of the Holy Spirit from start to finish? Had He not convicted us of our inherent sin and led us in repentance, giving us the gift of faith to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and savior of the world, we could not be saved:

Ephesians 2:7-9 NASB

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.

In addition, why did God give us the Holy Spirit to indwell us or live permanently within our reborn spirits in our time on this earth?  Simply because this is the Age of the Holy Spirit (Pentecostal Age) when God is building new temples not made with mortar and brick, but by the Holy Spirit. The Church is a spiritual temple made up of living stones ( you and me) and the medium by which the Holy Spirit is able to make us into the image of Christ is  "faith." Paul asked the carnal legalistic Galatians why they were going back to Judaism (works of the law) when they had received the Holy Spirit by faith? (Galatians 3:2). The same question could be asked the modern Church, which is focused upon men and their movements and not the simple gospel of Jesus Christ (this is not to imply the gospel is trivial, but its purest form). The Church is to live and breathe faith in the pure gospel of Jesus and all that implies.  Another word for salvation is deliverance. The gospel that delivers the saint is more than being saved as great as that is, but encompasses everything the Christian experiences in the spirit, the soul, and the body. Much of the Church is focused upon getting people saved, which is only part of the gospel. The Baptists are big on evangelism (Some of it is not even true evangelism for it does not teach the necessity of Holy Spirit repentance) and weak on discipleship. Therefore, they have churches full of adult Christian babies. They do not know how to live by faith for they never hear any teaching on revelation knowledge. If believers are not daily learning at the feet of the Holy Spirit, the manna of God (spiritual understanding of the Word), all they know is "mind knowledge," which can be very dangerous, for the mind can learn many things and end puffed up with false knowledge or knowledge that is true yet carnal - of this world. The kind of knowledge believers must have is the revelation kind - imparted by God the Holy Spirit - this is the basis for faith and how Christ is building His Church.

The irony for the Church is that we begin by receiving the Holy Spirit by faith, then we proceed to live the Christian life by our own effort; some of great intellect live solely by what they perceive in their minds via reasoning and logic; others through emotions or feeling, neither which have anything to do with faith.  Jesus said He would build His Church upon the confession of faith of who He was, and everything that encompasses. Simply put, we do nothing that has any spiritual or eternal value without faith, even unbelievers have a carnal type of faith when they believe in their own words, However, it is a faith only for this world and has no merit beyond the grave. This is illustrated by a famous American General, George Patton. During WWII, Patton was sidelined due to his big mouth - he kept saying things that angered the general staff, particularly General Eisenhower who was head of the Army and the European theater. When it appeared Patton would be sent home, according to General Omar Bradley who had replaced him, Patton exclaimed that he was destined to lead brave men in a major battle and he would not be denied his destiny. Then he ended his remarks by saying, "God's will be done!"  Not long after that, he was promoted to head of the 3rd Army, which killed more Germans and conquered more cities and towns for the Allies than any other American army. What he confessed came to pass.

I have already written in other articles about speaking faith or getting a "rhema" from God as essential for "living active faith." Rhema comes from revelation knowledge of the Word of God. The medium or source of that of course is the Holy Spirit who inspired the Word to be written and who gives us the understanding (knowledge).  Paul said this very thing in I Corinthians 2:10-16:

1 Corinthians 2:14 NASB

14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

Faith is spiritual for it comes by the Word of God  - Romans 10:17 (by the way the Greek word for "word" is rhema). Faith is not carnal or of the flesh if it is real Bible faith - the kind that God honors. In Hebrews 11:6, it is written that without faith it is impossible to please God for they who come to Him (or seek Him) must believe (the Greek word is pisteus or faith) that God is who He says He is and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Why would any believer approach God seeking anything from Him if he or she did not believe God existed and that He was capable of meeting their needs?  Watchman Nee, in one of his books on prayer said, that faithless prayers are a waste of time - God's time and the believers for God is not going to answer any prayer without faith. Read that verse again and let the truth of it seek deep within your spirit - God is not pleased with faithlessness and such dishonors Him. Many saints and many who profess faith in Christ attend Church every Sunday, but are dishonoring Him because they do not live by faith - seldom confess the Word out their mouth because they lack rhema faith or any revelation of the Holy Spirit. I heard the pastor of a large Baptist Church here in Dallas (over 20,000 members) say it is not until we are doing "our thing" that the Holy Spirit comes to help us. In other words, as we are attempting to live the Christian life and run into brick walls, then and only then do we cry out for the Holy Spirit's assistance. I cringed at those words for they were unscriptural.  Our entire Christian life is one of complete dependence upon the Holy Spirit for without Him we cannot live by faith. This does not mean being passive and doing nothing until we are "moved by the Spirit."  Dependence upon the Holy Spirit is recognizing His personal presence in our lives and letting Him be the "resident boss," - calling the shots so to speak.  It means we check in with Him each day making sure we are being led by Him before we trot off and act outside the will of God:

Romans 8:14 NASB

14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Who are you being led by - the  Holy Spirit or your own carnal mind and the teachings of men who have no revelation of God?

In the book of James, he writes about being "double-minded," that is trying to have your cake and eat it too - having what I call "doubt faith," an oxymoron for sure:

James 1:5-8 NASB

5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

This verse is the parallel to Hebrews 11:6 - do not approach God in doubt or He will not recognize you. James implies that some believers try to approach God with a doubtful heart and mind hoping that God will somehow response to their needs. Hope is not faith. Hope is the result of faith. You can hope all day and night and in the morning all you have is more hope, but not any faith:

Hebrews 11:1-2 NASB

1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval.

Faith is what gives us hope not vice-versa.  Without faith, there is no real hope. An old hymn (we don't sing the hymns anymore to our loss) says, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ and righteousness."  Hope that is real is based upon faith in Jesus and His righteousness for our own righteousness is as filthy rags!  We have no righteousness of our own, even after being saved - it is imputed to us by faith (II Corinthians 5::21).

I close this message with a quote from a man who lived every minute of every day by faith (he had to because he had seven terminal illnesses in his body at the same time):

If faith is all the Bible says it is, then it has got to be one of the basic issues of Christianity. In John 6:28 the multitude asked Jesus, "What shall we do that we might work the works of God?"  He said, "This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent." Can you see it?  The basic issue of life is to believe or not believe. To believe is to work the works of God. The amazing thing about it is that a believer, rightly related to God by faith, will have a spontaneous lifestyle of works that needs no pumping, pushing, or coercing."  (Manley Beasley, Faith Workbook, No. 2. page 1).

May God bless you with true faith that comes by believing Gods' Word given by the revelation of the Holy Spirit.