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Do I Really Believe pt 2?

What does it mean to really believe? What does it mean to you to be a believer? Webster says that a believer is a person who professes absolute belief in something or a zealous supporter of a particular cause. Does that describe your walk with Jesus? Do the people around you see you that way? Could someone who only know you casually say that there is something different about you? Can you honestly say that you profess absolute belief in Jesus? To be zealous is to be marked by fervent partisanship for a person, a cause, or an ideal. Is that how someone looking in from the outside would describe you and your relationship to Christ?

Do we really believe that God has the power to produce the effect that He says He can produce? Do I really have a conviction that He is good and that He has the ability to do what He says He can do? That is what this all boils down to. Do I believe, do you believe, that God has the ability and the goodness to produce the effect that He says He can produce?

Last week we looked at a very familiar verse...

 Gen 15:6 (NLT)

6 And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.

We discovered that the Hebrew word translated as believe or believed was aman which means to trust or believe, to be true, to be certain, to be faithful of long continuance, to be steadfast, to be sure. And we know that the verb tense in the Hebrew is that of a completed action. It was not that Abram was in the process of believing or that he was about to believe, it is that he had already believed. His believing was a completed action.

The word believe or believed is used 259 times in the NIV version of the Bible. 239 of those times in the New Testament.

I want us to look at the first time that the word believe is used in the New Testament because I think it is an amazing picture of who Christ is if we only believe.

 Matt 8:5-13 (NLT)

5 When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him,6 “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.”7 Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”8 But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.9 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven.12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.

The word in the Greek translated as believed is...

Pisteuo (pist-you-oh) to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to place confidence in the thing being believed, to entrust one's well being to Jesus.

The root of pisteuo is...

Pistis (pis-tis) conviction or religious truth or in the truthfulness of God and to be constant in such profession.

That is what this Roman centurion did. He simply believed that Jesus was who He said He was and that everything was possible for Him. He entrusted not only his well being but the well being of his servant to Jesus. Have you done that? Is your believing a completed action in regard of your well being entrusted to Jesus or are you still trying to do it on your own?

This man is not a Jew, he is a Roman centurion. He is a gentile. He is unclean in the eyes of any Jew. Every Jew standing in the crowd that day would have had nothing but hatred for this man because of who he was, but Jesus did not see him that way. Jesus saw a man that was pleading for his servant to be healed. He didn't come asking for a single thing for himself. He came asking for Jesus to heal his servant which was a very shocking thing for those that were witnessing the event that day. The Romans had been given the right to simply kill a servant if he became to sick to serve. Servants were not regarded as human, they were property.

This man had complete faith, completed belief in the fact that there is enough power in the words of Jesus to heal. The officer knew that Jesus didn't need to be in the room with the servant for him to be healed, he believed that Jesus could do it with His words. I've heard it preached and taught over and over again that this man was not saved, that he was not a believer. That assumption is made because we know that as a "good" Roman, he would have been an idol worshiper. He would have had to accept that Caesar was God just to be a Roman and it would have been much deeper than that to be a soldier and still more so to be an officer.

But I ask you what is required to be a follower of Jesus? What is the criteria for being saved? Look at the text. He believed that Jesus was who He said He was. He trusted that He could do what only He could do. What else could there be for him to do? What else did Abram do that this man hasn't done? Remember Jesus has not been to the cross yet. He has not laid Himself down for our sins yet. This man sees something in Jesus that he has not seen in any of the religious leaders of the day. He sees something that he has not seen in Caesar's magicians. He realizes that this Man has power to do whatever needs to be done and he believes that He can do it. Jesus Himself says this... "I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!" followed by this....“Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.”

I ask you again, what else is there for him to do? He has faith and he has believed.

So what happens after we believe? What happens after our believing becomes a completed action? Let's look in depth at the writings of John...

John uses the word believe 75 times in his Gospel.

 John 1:11-13 (NIV)

11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

 1John 3:1-3 (MSG)

 1 What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we're called children of God! That's who we really are. But that's also why the world doesn't recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he's up to.

 2-3But friends, that's exactly who we are: children of God. And that's only the beginning. Who knows how we'll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we'll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus' life as a model for our own.

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! All of us who look forward to His coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus' life as a model for our own. Is that you? Do you believe in a way that describes you today? Is Jesus truly your model? Is His purity being modeled in your daily life?

 1John 3:10 (NIV)

10This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

Are you doing right today? Are you doing right in God's eyes, not what the world calls right but what God calls right? Is there love for your brother in your heart today or is there something that could be described as less?

 1John 4:4 (NLT)

 4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

Is that you? Have you won or are you still trying to decide if you believe or not? Is the One in you greater? Is the world winning or are you winning?

 1John 5:18-20 (NLT)

18 We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. 19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God. And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.

Is that how you live your life? Are you in true fellowship with God and with His Son?

Let's look at what Jesus says about those that have believed..... 

 John 3:14-16 (NIV)

 14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 John 5:24 (NIV)

24"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

 John 6:35 (NIV)

35Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

 John 7:38 (NIV)

38Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.

John 11:25-26 (NIV)

25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" 27"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

John 12:45-46 (NIV)

45When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. 46I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.

John 20:29-31 (NIV)

29Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

It is easy to see how the meaning of the Greek word pisteuo is so relevant here. Jesus Himself tells us that if our believing is complete, if I have truly believed, then I have the right to be a child of God. That I will have eternal life. That I have truly passed from death to life. That I will never be hungry or thirsty and I believe that He means Spiritually and physically in this passage. That I will have streams of Living Water flow from within me. That is the Holy Spirit. If I have completed believing then the Holy Spirit WILL flow from within me. That I will walk and live in the light and never be in darkness again. And that if my believing is completed, even though I have not seen Jesus with my physical eyes that I will be blessed because I have believed in who I can not see. Is that what people see when they see you?

Let's look at.....

Mark 16:15-18 (KJ)

15And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

 17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

 18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

And these signs shall flow those that are Pentecostal? No. These signs shall follow those that are Assembly of God? No. These signs shall follow those that are pastors? No. These signs shall follow those that are employed by the church? No. These signs shall follow those that are teachers? No. These signs shall follow those who are leaders? No. These signs shall follow those who are deacons? No. These signs shall follow those that are prayer warriors? NO!!! These sign shall follow them that believe. Do you believe this morning? Is your believing complete? If you answered yes, then where are the signs? Where is the evidence that you are guilty of what you are confessing to. Think about it, even if a criminal confesses to the crime, there should be some evidence that he really did it. Where is your evidence? You don't have to possess every one of these signs, but the people around you should recognize the signs. Where are your signs?

Lets look at one final passage.....

Mark 9:17-24 (NLT)

17 One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. 18 And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.” 19 Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”  20 So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.  21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father. He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” 23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”  24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!” 26 Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up. 28 Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” 29 Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.

This man comes to Jesus asking for his son to be healed and his believing is obviously not a completed action because he says "if" you can. What does Jesus say back to him?

23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

Are you sure today or are you still saying, "If you can Jesus?" He can. There is no if with Jesus. In this passage Jesus is showing us that not only this kind of demon is cast out only by prayer but that this kind of unbelief is cast out only by prayer. If you are sitting there this morning thinking, "I don't believe they way I should. My believing is not a completed action", then do what this man did.

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

Instantly!!! He instantly realized that the power of Jesus was manifest in his situation through his total belief, through his completed belief. He cries out instantly, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” 

Pray and don't stop praying. Ask God to help you. He will do it. Wake up every morning and ask Him to increase your faith. He will do it. Get up every morning and believe that He is able to do anything because He is able but you must believe. Your believing must be a completed action.

I can not put it any better than it is put in this old hymn....

I know whom I have Believed

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

Refrain

But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day.

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

Refrain

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing us of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

Refrain

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

Refrain

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.

But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day.

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

Do you know who you have believed in today? There is but One that is worthy. There is but One that is able. I'll finish where I began...

Webster says to believe is to have a firm religious faith, to accept as true, genuine or real, to have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something, to hold an opinion, to consider to be true or honest, to accept the word or evidence of. Do we really believe that God has the power to produce the effect that He says He can produce? If we do, then there is no reason for us to be on the path that some of us are on. If He is able to do what He says He is able to do, then simply believe and watch Him do the impossible in your life.

 

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