FAITH - BRANCHES OF THE TREE

(SECOND OF TWO PARTS)

Reading: John 4:31-37 also Matthew 12:46-50

"If ye love Me, keep my commandments!" (John 14:15)

INTRODUCTION

[a]This morning, we looked at FAITH AS A KIND OF TREE IN OUR LIVES, and said there were FIVE BRANCHES.
[b] We looked at two of them in our Holiness meeting, and will look at the other three this evening.
[c] The two we have already looked at are BELIEVING FAITH, and TRUSTING FAITH!
[d] Those that remain are SUBMISSIVE FAITH, OBEDIENT FAITH, and LASTING FAITH!
[e] To some people, faith suggests the eternal optimist! Or someone who doesn't face up to reality! You know, the man who falls out of the top of a twenty story building, And shouts at someone as he passes the tenth floor, "I'm all right so far!" 
[f] I'm sure we have all heard the cliché, "Faith laughs at impossibilities, and cries, 'IT SHALL BE DONE'."

SUBMISSIVE FAITH

[a] Faith is not putting on some sort of pretence, or closing our eyes to the facts! At the time when a relative was dying, a couple of years ago, no matter how much I tried to prepare his wife for the inevitable, she just closed her eyes to the facts, and said, " There are so many people praying for him, he must get better! "
If I suggested the possibility of it not being so, I was faithless and unbelieving!
Even when I arrived back from the hospital in the middle of the night, it never struck her for a moment, that perhaps I carried the inevitable news, that he had died!
[b] Like so many others, she found difficulty in uttering the words of Jesus, after He had prayed, in Luke 22:42,
"NEVERTHELESS, NOT MY WILL BUT THINE BE DONE."

[c] The prayer of faith, must never be seen as an effort to manipulate the will of God, and change it to our own.
Whatever it is we pray for, and no matter how much faith we have, we must always come before the Lord in the spirit of submission as did Jesus on that occasion!
"Lord You know what I want, but ONLY if it is YOUR WILL!"
[d] The man or woman of faith, does not close their eyes to the problems or difficulties involved in bringing about an answer to their prayer, rather they VIEW THE PROBLEM THROUGH THE EYES OF FAITH with the knowledge that we HAVE A MIRACLE
WORKING GOD "WITH WHOM," said Jesus, "ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!"
[e] To many people, faith is a very static thing, which is divorced from their daily living.
[f] William Booth realised this danger, which is why in the ninth of our Army doctrines, it says, "Continuance in a state of Salvation, depends upon......
CONTINUED OBEDIENT FAITH IN CHRIST!

OBEDIENT FAITH

[a] OBEDIENT FAITH shows what we are really made of!
[b] Anyone can make a decision exercising BELIEVING FAITH!
[c] Almost anyone can put a on good face in the time of difficulty, seemingly exercising TRUSTING FAITH! and perhaps not really showing what is in their hearts!
[d] BUT LET ME SEE THE ONE WHO EXERCISES OBEDIENT FAITH!!!
One of the reasons that Abraham was such a renowned man of faith was that he exercised OBEDIENT FAITH in his willingness to offer up Isaac in Genesis 22.
[e] I have never been able to understand, or make excuses for the one who, ALTHOUGH PROFESSING CHRISTIANITY, INSULTS THE LORD WITH DOWNRIGHT DISOBEDIENCE TO HIS COMMANDS IN THE SCRIPTURE!
[f] There is no sincerity in that sort of Christianity!
"If ye love Me," said Jesus, "keep My commandments!"
GOD WANTS DOERS RATHER THAN JUST HEARERS !
[g] Well do our doctrines lay it out very clearly for these children of disobedience, that they cannot expect to continue in the manifold blessings of Salvation, if they walk a pathway of disobedience to the will and way of God!
[h] Someone said to me once that they felt, that as a Christian, they couldn't accept the ruling of God in all their dealings!
There is no such thing as a HALF CHRISTIAN! IT'S ALL OR NOTHING!
THE BIBLE IS THE HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN LIVING AND MUST BE FOLLOWED COMPLETELY!
[i] I remember when our first child Stephen was born, reading the "Baby Book" given to us. It gave us some sensible instructions on what a new parent should and shouldn't do!I think by the time our other two children Phillip and Joy came along, we were more practiced - we had Stephen to practice on!
Before our granddaughter Hope was born, the same thing was happening with our daughter Joy - I don't know if she felt able to put it all into practice or not!
[j] When we were born again as new born babes in Christ, the Bible is our instruction book with all of the 'dos' and 'don'ts', and we disobey it at our peril!

LASTING FAITH

[a] If there is anything worse than a lack of OBEDIENT FAITH, then I suppose it must be the one who wishes only for a TEMPORARY FAITH that suits them for the time being! Something that perhaps helps them over a rough spot.
You sometimes found this amongst some of the prisoners in Peterhead prison. There was one man, who was even on our recruits roll. As soon as he was released, raped his ex-wife, and  hijacked a taxi at knifepoint.
[b] There is a very real sense in which that faith is a mockery of God, and of His Word!
[c] I am speaking of the person who solumnly vows to God that they are going to obey and then retracts!
Such people cheapen the alter in a Church or the Mercy Seat in a Salvation Army Hall. Instead of being a sacred and holy place of prayer, it becomes a place of reproach and hypocrisy.
[d] The seed in the shallow ground type of faith is useless to God, or the individual concerned!
[e] There is no need for any true Christian to have a faith that evaporates!
If we are real with God - He will be real with us, and give us a faith that will be durable and WILL LAST FOR EVER!!
[f] As God is eternal, so too can be the faith which He gives to each of His faithful Children!

CONCLUSION

[a] "The Just shall live by FAITH!" (Romans 1:17)
[b] That faith has got to take in everything we've been speaking about today!
[c] "Without FAITH (in all it's forms and completeness) it is impossible to please God."
[d] In the Phillip's Translation of this mornings reading from Mark 4, Jesus asks the disciples after the storm, "WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOUR FAITH?"
[e] Maybe the Lord is asking YOU this same question just NOW!
[f] As we've looked at the different types of faith has the Holy Spirit of God brought home to you that perhaps you are in some way lacking, in ONE of the FIVE BRANCHES OF FAITH WHICH WE'VE LOOKED AT!
BELIEVING FAITH, TRUSTING FAITH, SUBMISSIVE FAITH, OBEDIENT FAITH, LASTING FAITH.
[g] If so, then the Lord waits to put things right in your life just now! WILL YOU ALLOW HIM TO?

SALVATION ARMY SONG BOOK

SONG [TUNE]
858 [597]
755 [202]
605 [193]