November 30, 2016
“Faith in God”
Dcn. Ben Abalajen
Faith is one of the most powerful and most important components of our Christian walk with God. Faith is one of the preparations before the great event would come. Could you imagine the power in what Jesus said, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Be moved into the sea,’ and if you will not doubt that what you say is going to happen, it will happen.” Can you imagine yourself speaking to the mountain and see it slowly move into the sea?
This is how powerful the faith that God has given us if we would believe in what He says! This is why the enemy would do his best to take away faith from us. The opposite of faith is doubt, and if we have doubt, if we lose our faith, and if we will not believe in God’s Word, we won’t be able to worship Him.
God has given us faith so that we can preach the power of God in our lives to other people. Can you imagine God looking at us, His people, worshipping Him, praising Him, singing songs to Him, and glorifying Him? This pleases God! If we lose our faith, we can’t worship God, and we can’t be His witness. We must see to it that this faith that God has given us would remain in us.
What is faith? As an example, one of our sisters in attendance tonight lives in Sto. Tomas, Batangas. How far is her place? I believe she has a Bible and she can read the Word on her own. She doesn’t have to go here in Bicutan, but her faith is that she wants to hear the Word of God and hear the sharing of the brethren. For us who live nearby, attending tonight is just a normal thing for us to do; but our sister doesn’t count the distance as long as she hears the Word of God and be with her brethren. This is faith! I know that as she continues her faith walk with God, God will honor her faith.
Hebrews says that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen. If we live far from this place and our desire is to hear the Word of God, we know in our hearts that we will be able to reach our destination even if we aren’t there yet. We won’t know what we will encounter as we go to this place, but we have set in our hearts that we want to reach this place. This is faith! If we entertain the thoughts and the doubts that the enemy would put in our minds, then, we won’t be able to do anything. We won’t hear the Word of God; we won’t be able to praise God and it will not help in changing our lives.
God told Adam and Eve, “Among the trees in the Garden you can eat except for the fruit of the tree of life.” What did Satan say, “That is not true because if you eat of the fruit of the tree of life, you will be like God.” The command of God to them was not to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree. It was a simple statement that Satan said to Eve, and she listened to that voice and this led to losing God’s presence in Adam and Eve’s lives.
Our whole being should always be attuned to the voice of God. Faith is simply believing God. When Abraham was childless, God promised him that he will have a son. God called him one day, and He told Abraham, “Look up to the sky and count the stars; and that is how many your descendants will be.” Abraham believed and it was counted to him as righteousness.
Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life.” Believing in what God says makes our faith alive. God will be the One who will give us the power to hear His Word and make it alive in our hearts that we may be a blessing to others.
John 1:1-13 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
There was the true Light, which coming to the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Believe God! If we believe God, it will be counted to us as righteousness. If we believe God and not entertain doubt, we will have faith in our hearts. If we are in doubt, where do we put our faith in? It is only in God! It is not in a bishop, a priest, a deacon, a pastor, or a friend, but only in God! In marriage, a husband or wife does not put their trust in each other’s ability, but only in God. If we put our faith in a man and what he can do, and then he errs, it weakens or destroys our faith. If we put our faith in God only, God Himself will give us the peace and the fulfilment in life.
In marriage, God is the center of a couple’s lives. For students, their faith should not be on their parents’ ability, but on God only. In the world, many people put their faith on temporary things. As Christians, our faith should be on God and this faith in God will be tested. When Jesus was baptized by the Holy Spirit, He was brought to the wilderness to be tempted and tested by Satan. Jesus was filled with the Word of God which is why when He was tempted by Satan, He countered him with the Word of God.
When Abraham was 100 years old and he had Isaac for a son, God asked him to offer Isaac. If I was Abraham, being a simple man, I would say, “Lord, I am already old and You gave me a son. Now, You are asking me to offer him?” In our reasoning, we would think that God was unfair. What did Abraham do? He said, “Yes, Lord, if that is what You want, I will follow. I will offer up my son whom I have longed for.” He had full trust and faith in God.
In the gospel, a rich man asked Jesus, “How can I inherit eternal life? I have done all of your commandments.” Jesus said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done: sell all of your possessions and give it to the poor.” The rich man attitude was the opposite of Abraham’s. He felt very sad with Jesus’ reply, which means that his heart was in bondage with his riches. With Abraham, he readily answered God, “Whatever You say, Lord, I will do it.”
Bringing an offering to God was already done during the time of Abraham. When Cain and Abel gave their offering, why was Abel’s offering the only one accepted by God? God saw his heart attitude; he gave his best to God. When we bring our offerings during the Liturgy, do we give our best? Don’t we know that God knows what is in our heart?
In our faith walk, when we see our brethren falling into temptation, help them be restored. Give them a covering up to the time that they are strong again in their faith in God. There should be no condemnation in the life of a Christian.
Our Church had many members before, but we have become less and less in number because our faith is being tested. We should not listen to the voice of the enemy. There will be tests in our faith, but God promises that He would not fail us. He would not forsake us. Let us put our faith in God’s promises. We have tribulations in life so that our faith in God would rise up so that our relationship with God would be precious in His sight.
If Christ, while He was on earth, experienced many tests in life, so we will be in our lives. Christ was the Son of God and His faith was tested, so we will be tested too. However, the good news is that God is with us. Listen and follow His Word because God’s promises to His people will be fulfilled. If Jesus says that He is coming back, He will come back. God is a God who will not lie. What He promised, He will fulfil. This is the beauty of the God that we serve, and it is impossible for Him to lie.
Students are given examinations or tests in their school subjects to determine if they are learning something. The same thing with God – we also have tests to see how deep our knowledge of who God is in our lives. As a Church staff, we also encounter tests. We overcome all our tests by putting our whole faith and trust in God. God wants to know how steadfast we are in our faith in Him.
St. Paul said to Timothy, “Fight the good fight of faith.” The enemy wants to destroy the faith that we have in God, but we have to press on and fight the good fight of faith to be victorious and be overcomers. 1Thessalonians 5:8-11 says, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Our destination is to obtain salvation, not wrath. If we trust God, if we believe God and put our faith and confidence in Him, then our faith becomes alive. Even if our faith is being tested, we will survive because we put our whole trust in God.