The Power of Faith
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Matthew 21: 18-22, Luke 18:1-8
Sunday 21st June 2015
As we conclude the series ‘The Power of Fasting and Prayer’ today, I would like to share with you a message titled ‘The Power of Faith’.
Fasting and prayer coupled with faith is guaranteed to move mountains that stand in our way. It is vital to know that fasting cannot be effective without faith, while engaging in prayer without involving faith is also futile. As Christians, we cannot live without faith. Hebrews 10:38 put it this way: ‘Now the just shall live by faith but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him’. In order to live successfully as God intends for us here on earth, we must live by faith. The imperative to fully understand what faith means in these scriptures and to demonstrate it in our daily lives lies with us.
The natural realm is the reality presented to us when we live without faith. These are the things we can see, feel, hear and touch. However as Christians, our lives are meaningful and valuable than what our natural senses can fathom. The realm of the Spirit (or the realm of faith) is the territory within which our victory is already assured. Hence, we cannot afford to be moved by the things we see in the natural. It is what we can see within the spiritual realm that we are guaranteed to receive from God. Now, it is faith that gives us access to the spiritual realm. Romans 5:1-2 explains this further: ‘Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God’. As spirit beings mastering the human experience, our habitat is within the realm of the spirit, not in the natural realm. If we limit ourselves to the natural realm, then we short-change ourselves of what God has provided for us.
In Genesis 13:14-15, the text reads: ‘And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever’. The same command God gave to Abraham also applies to us as Christians. We must constantly lift our eyes to the spiritual realm; otherwise we reduce our lives to what we can attain with our physical senses. Faith is the bedrock of our lives. Here is how Hebrews 11:6 put it: ‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him’. God is Spirit and we must approach Him from our spiritual viewpoint.
The parable in our foundation scriptures, Luke 18:1-8 ends with these words: “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” These words are worth pondering on. As we live in a world full of alternatives to faith, it is necessary that we take these words into account, more so that Christians are beginning to embrace this sad reality. Isn’t it important that we live by faith, without which it is impossible to please God? God desires that we live by faith, as it is the prerequisite to receiving all that grace has provided for us.
We must realize that the so called ‘alternatives’ are devices of the enemy to take our focus from God and lose our eternal perspective. Even a negative experience with regards to our faith is not a strong enough reason to jettison faith. Faith still works. The bible records that the disciples were castigated and persecuted for their faith, and yet their faith in God did not waver.
When Apostle Peter was held in prison in Acts 12, the church arose and prayed for him. When Apostle Paul and Silas were arrested and held in prison in Acts 16 in order to stop them from spreading the gospel, the scriptures records their deliverance as a result of their praying and singing. 1 Peter 1:6-7 reads: ‘So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world’ (NLT). Every trial we face as Christians is meant to build up our ‘spiritual muscles’ and purify us like fire purifies gold. May the Lord uphold you through many trials and I declare that your faith will not fail in Jesus name!
From our foundation scriptures in Matthew 21, we read an account of Jesus’ pronouncement against the fig tree. The disciples were astonished at the immediacy of that pronouncement by Jesus, and wondered aloud, to which Jesus replied: “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it” (NLT). With faith and an absence of doubt, you can move any mountain. In exercising faith, it is imperative that we protect our hearts from doubt. Doubt often disconnects a Christian from the realisation of God’s promise. Doubt hinders the potency of faith. I reiterate this fact that I mentioned last week: ‘Whenever you see faith, be rest assured that doubt is lurking in the corner’. It is vital to shield ourselves from doubt by holding on to God’s word, irrespective of what the situation is saying.
In order to live a doubt-free life of faith, we must examine some answers in the book of Hebrews 11, which reads: ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. (Verse 1-2 NLT). From this scripture, we can deduce that hope is vital to faith. Without hope, faith is of no consequence, as hope is the platform upon which faith thrives. So, can I ask you ‘What are you hoping for in this season?’ Faith is the raw material today of a hopeful future tomorrow. Psalm 119:114 reads: ‘You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope’. Like the psalmist did during his challenging days, when he wrote these words: ‘Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, for the help of His countenance’ (Psalm 42:5), we must be resilient in our belief in God.
God’s word, full of His promises should be the source of our hope, regardless of the circumstances we may be facing. A hopeful person is full of strength from within. Romans 5:5 reads: ‘Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us’. Proverbs 23:18 also reads; ‘Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off’ (NASB). These verses should act as a constant reminder for us not to give up on hoping in God. The converse is also true: Where there is no hope in the future, there can be no power in the present.
The story of Jesus and in disciples in Matthew 14:22-30 is a good reminder of the importance of holding on to God’s word. The disciples were instructed by Jesus to travel to the other side by Jesus. Here is the story in the New Living Translation: ‘Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” The story illustrates the significance of knowing and staying strong on what God has spoken to us.
When Peter stepped out to walk on water, like Jesus did (He had come to rescue his disciples against the contrary wind) he stepped out based on the word that Jesus told him – “Yes, come”. The moment Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to see in the natural and the magnitude of the wind, he began to sink. At that point when he began to see in the natural, his hope and faith began to dip and consequently began to sink. As you focus on God during the season of fasting and prayer, you will obtain your victory and breakthrough over that difficult situation.
In rounding up, let’s examine the story of Abraham in Romans 4: 17-20, which reads: ‘That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises’ (NLT). Abraham was convinced beyond doubt that God was going to fulfill the promise He had made, and this fueled his hope and as a result strengthened his faith. Here is a lesson for us all: As long as we do not give up hoping, our faith will continue to grow strong.
As we approach God during the concluding days of Deeper and Higher for this year, I want to encourage you not to give up on hoping and trusting in God concerning every situation you’ve placed in His hands. Your hope will sustain your faith. 1 Peter 1:3 assures us of our hope as God’s children. ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’ (NIV). As Christians, we have the capacity to hope because of the new birth we have in Christ. So as you substantiate your prayer and fasting with faith, nothing can stand in your way of absolute victory and deliverance as God has promised.
Now Apply the Word HERE
Download the PDF of this message HERE
Weekly Uplift Archives HERE