Volume. XXVIII, No. 3
Sunday, 21 July 2013


Three Types of Faith - Part 2


Introduction

We began our series on “Three Types of Faith” last week from chapter 2 of the book of James. We mentioned that faith is an essential element in the Christian life, for without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). And we also mentioned that true, genuine faith involves knowledge, conviction and commitment. Thus, faith that is exclusively intellectual is dead. And a person who has this kind of faith doesn’t produce fruit because their walk doesn’t match their talk. This week, we shall conclude this series by mentioning two more types of faith: demonic and dynamic.

Demonic Faith (James 2:19)

What is demonic faith? James explains in verse 19 of chapter 2 when he says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James is trying to say that it’s one thing to believe in the Bible. It is another thing to practice the truth in the Bible. One can believe the Bible and have no problem whatsoever with the truth of God, but refuse to or not have the will to carry it out (i.e. commitment). Satan believes in the Bible and all the truth contained in the Bible: He definitely has no problem with the Truth of God. His demons also believed in God; they believed in the deity of Christ; they even bore witness to His Sonship (Mark 3:11-12); they believed in the existence of a place of punishment (Luke 8:31) and recognized Jesus as the Judge (Mark 5:1-13)! Mark chapter five even tells of the man with the legion of evil spirits who Jesus took out of the man and allowed them to go into the herd of pigs. The demons in the man pleaded with Jesus to not torture them. They knew who they were dealing with—the demons definitely had some kind of “faith” in God!

What is the difference between dead faith and demonic faith then? The difference is this. The man with * dead faith can be touched * intellectually: but everything rests in his head. He knows in his mind that God is real. He thinks it through, reasons it out, and knows in his head what he has to do, but he is not convinced. His heart is still empty of the Truth. On the other hand, the demons knew in their minds who Jesus was and had knowledge of God and of Scriptures—they were “emotionally” opened to the truth and convinced of the Truth. The demons were afraid of Jesus when He walked by. They knew that Jesus is the Creator, the eternal Jehovah God. But it takes more than that for a person to be saved. A man can be enlightened in the mind and the heart by God’s truth, but if his faith doesn’t involve a life changing experience (i.e. commitment), it’s not a saving faith—it is merely a demonic kind of faith and it does not save a person.

Dynamic Faith

And that’s where we come to the last type of faith, called the dynamic faith. It is the type of faith that involves knowledge (i.e. intellectual), conviction (i.e. emotional) and commitment (i.e. practicing the truth), all three in one! This is a saving faith that is not merely intellectual. It is also not only knowing the Truth and letting it touch your emotions, but it’s letting it dictate your will. A man with dynamic faith has a mind that not only understands and acknowledges the truth, his heart also desires the truth and will love to act upon it! In other words, he is not just a hearer but a doer—that’s a dynamic faith! Such faith is centred around the Word of God and the evidence of that faith is his work. That is why James gives us an illustration in chapter two of how this type of faith can play out in our lives—work! He uses two well known Biblical figures to illustrate his point: Abraham and Rahab. However, there is a sharp contrast between Abraham and Rahab. Abraham was a godly man chosen by God, a friend of God who was counted as righteous. Rahab, on the other hand, was a gentile, sinful woman, a prostitute, who lived in Canaan and was part of the people who God considered enemies of Israel, and did not walk with God. But despite all the differences, James puts them together because they both exercised a real saving faith in God that is dynamic, which is not just intellectual or emotional. So, let us briefly look at the two examples James has given.

Abraham was a man of great faith. But he did not become a spiritual giant overnight. When God called Abram (or later Abraham) out of Ur of the Chaldees, he had to leave his country and head towards Canaan, and he did so without questioning God (Hebrew 11:8). But the real test came when God asked Abraham to offer his son Isaac who God had given him. The writer of Hebrews wrote a beautiful commentary of his faith, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.” Both acts show that Abraham had real faith in God. For that he was counted as righteous or justified by God (Galatians 3:6).

How about Rahab? The Bible tells us that after Joshua, who had just taken leadership over the Israelites after Moses died, is getting ready to enter Canaan (Joshua 2). So he secretly sends two spies into the land to explore it. They are discovered and are hidden by Rahab in her inn, at the border. She knew of the Israelites, knew what the Lord did for them, and how her land was going to be taken over. We read about her speaking to the spies: “And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you.” (Joshua 2:9) We see her knowledge (i.e. intellectual) of the LORD (i.e. Yahweh). Notice she doesn’t say “your LORD”, but “the LORD” her emotions (i.e. emotion) melting in fear, and her willingness to betray her country (i.e. commitment) and her king to help them.

As a result, we read that Joshua spared Rahab and her family from destruction (Joshua 6:25). Because of Rahab’s faith, she was engrafted into the commonwealth of Israel. As a result, we see in Matthew 1:5, in the genealogy of Jesus, that Rahab is listed as the mother of Obed, who was the father of Jesse who was the father of David. God placed her in the royal line as the great-grandmother of David, a descendant of Jesus. What an honor! All because of her real faith in God!                        

Pastor Weng


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Today’s Team Leader: Dn Colin Gan. Next Lord’s Day: Dn Edwin D’Mello.

*Farewell: Today is Sis Felicia Tan’s last Sunday in Adelaide.

*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm

*Those who have completed their BBK & seek Baptism, Confirmation or Church Membership, please see Pastor Weng or Elder Lee ASAP.

*New Basic Bible Knowledge Class to start on 25 August. Please see Ps Weng or Elder Lee if interested.

*ACM Reports: please submit your reports to Dn Colin Gan by 31 July (latest).

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Bro Simon & Sis Demelza Ting & family (Melb); Bros Houston Li (Barossa/Adl/S’pore) & Raphael Ng (Barossa/Adl); Sisters Megan Lim (Adl) & Felicia Tan (Melb/Adl); & others who are travelling.  

2. Church Activities, in the past week.

3. Filadelfia B-P Church (Batam) 9th Anniversary Thanksgiving today.

4. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

5. Visitors & new worshippers.

 Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Rev & Mrs James White; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bros Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law & Kang Fun Tan (S’pore); Sisters Margaret Hooper, Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe, Margaret Pearson, Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi (Nursing Home) & Audrey Yeo; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello; Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.

2. Special Prayer: Rev Edward Paauwe; Bro Len Pearson (Lobethal); Sisters Sooi Chin Gong’s mother (serious illness) & Margaret Hooper (post-surgery)

3. Salvation: Mrs Chuilin Yap & family (Malacca).

4. Children’s Ministry: Bro Kevin Currell (Melb).

5. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry & preparation for Ordination: Ps Hai Seng Lim.

6. Cambodia Missions - Bro Sun Sokha (Phnom Penh)

7. Laos Missions: Bro Surish Dharmalingam (Vientiane)

8. Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions & Presbyterian Missionary Union: Board & Missionaries serving the Lord round the world.

9. Ministry in New Life BPC (London) & God’s guidance for the future: Ps & Sis Ki.

10. Ministry in Hope BPC - God’s guidance for future - Ps & Sis Weng. 

11. Journey mercies: Dn Wai Kin & Sis Mavis Wong & family; Bro Simon & Sis Demelza Ting & family (Adl); Bros Houston Li (Adl/Barossa/Adl), Raphael Ng (Barossa/Adl), Pirun Pech (Adl), Lucas Yiew (Newcastle); Sis Felicia Tan (S’pore); &  others who are travelling. 

12. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

13. Full-time Job - Bros Timothy Ngoma & Jonathan Liao (Syd); Sisters Corinne Teng & Sharon Ying (Per); & others looking for  stable jobs.

14. Australian Visas - Sisters Clara Sim & Sharon Ying (Perth - for PR).

15. God’s guidance & provision - Pastor for Hope BPC.

16. God’s guidance & direction in S’pore: Sis Felicia Tan

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063