LESSON 5: FAITH REQUIRED
MAIN IDEA: Faith is foundational to worship
We have seen that encountering God’s presence requires faith. Faith fills us with expectation and prompts us to take action, being confident that God will respond. This was true in the days of the Old and New Testaments, and it is true today. As we’ve seen, we can come before God with faith-filled expectation because God has promised to reward those who believe that He exists and who diligently pursue Him:
Without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
Before the fall, Adam and Eve had every reason to expect good things from God. They were qualified to dwell in His presence. There was no barrier between them and God because sin had not entered the world. Then, because of their disobedience, Adam and Eve, and all their offspring to come, were disqualified from God’s presence. As we have underscored throughout our study, a righteous God can never dwell in the presence of unrighteousness.
But the good news is that we have been re-qualified because of Jesus’ sacrifice. The only way we can come into God’s presence is through Jesus.
Receiving salvation through Jesus by faith fulfills the requirement of the law. We have been redeemed and justified (made right with God) by the blood of the Lamb. Our “right standing” with God gives us every right and every reason to worship God with the faith-filled expectation that He will respond.
So, by faith we come before God to worship Him for who He is and what He has done. Our worship makes a place for us to encounter God’s manifest presence. And when God is present, our lives are changed!
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
Faith — The Sure Foundation
Faith, then, is foundational to worship — and to all of Christian life. Just consider the role of faith in the process of the Christian journey …
1. It is by faith that we surrender our lives to the saving grace and lordship of Jesus Christ and choose to remain or abide in Him.
By grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5, NKJV
2. It is by faith that we choose to be different from the world and to receive God’s truth so that we may be transformed.
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
3. It is by faith that we believe and act upon God’s promises.
In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself. James 2:17
4. And as we act upon God’s promises by faith, we receive the promises of God in our lives!
Ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts — this person will be blessed in what he does. James 1:21,25
This is the Christian life — receiving and believing the Word of God and allowing that Word to transform us more and more into His likeness.
The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him. 1 John 2:27
What Faith Is and What Faith Does
The Bible gives us an excellent definition of faith:
Faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. Hebrews 11:1
Faith is essential, but faith is possible only where there is hope — hope that comes from relationship with God. As you read and meditate on God’s written Word, hope will abound in you. God is the God of hope, and you can abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. If you are struggling with your faith today, these verses from the Book of Romans are just waiting for you:
Whatever was written before was written for our instruction, so that through our endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we may have hope. Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:4,13
Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:5, NIV
The Bible also tells us what faith does:
By grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift. Ephesians 2:8
The law, then, was our guardian until Christ, so that we could be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24
Faith allows us access to God and all that He desires for us. As we have seen, flesh and blood cannot reveal the truth of God; only the Spirit of God leads us into all truth. God has given us the ability to live by faith, but it is up to us to put our God-given faith into action.
How We Obtain Faith
Again, we can look to the Bible for instruction regarding how we obtain faith:
Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ. Romans 10:17
Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you had not heard about Jesus and your need for faith in Him? The Bible is very clear: faith comes by hearing. That’s why preaching and teaching the Word of God, and then proclaiming His love for and to every person on the earth, are so important. As we worship God, even unbelievers can be drawn to know more about this wonderful Savior we serve.
The Results of Faith
According to the Word of God, faith provides salvation, peace, hope, power, grace, and so much more. And faith is the foundation to which we add those things that are necessary to make us fruitful throughout our lives on earth:
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 2 Peter 1:5-7
Through no decision of our own, we were born into a life of sin. We were born with a sin nature. No matter how good we are, we all fall short of perfection:
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
But through our faith in Jesus Christ, we have been made completely new:
If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
As a result, we are worthy of God’s presence, now and for eternity. Faith allows us to know God, fellowship in His presence, and receive the blessings He has promised. God truly is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him!
The Requirements of Faith
We cannot experience the results of faith unless we meet the requirements of faith. The Bible tells us,
We walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
We are saved by faith and faith alone, but faith without corresponding action is like being able to breathe and choosing not to take a breath! It is in the implementation of our faith — the actions we take by faith in our daily lives — that we discover who we are in Christ. This is a core message of Blackaby and King’s Experiencing God: we experience God in our lives as we respond to Him with faith and action.
Worship — Our Faith in Action
Our freedom in worship is totally dependent on faith. As we put action to our faith, God has promised to reward us. In worship, we put action to our faith by lifting our voices in praise, and God rewards us with His presence.
Have you ever written a personal declaration of faith? Here’s an example to help you get started:
I thank You, Lord Jesus, that Your sacrifice makes it possible for me to worship. I am worthy to enter God’s presence completely by the grace that I receive by faith in You. I am righteous because You are righteous, and I can freely enter the holy place and worship Holy God. By faith, I worship You!
As you worship, remember that your worth is not an issue if you have surrendered your life to God. He is worthy of your praise, and you are able to worship Him because His righteousness has been placed in you — by faith! God simply wants your full attention and your complete surrender. You don’t need to be perfect to enter the King’s presence. All you need is to have faith that God is who He says He is and to make a place for Him to come and meet with you. God desires to inhabit your worship! He is the One who is high and lifted up.
He is the One who is worthy of all praise. There is nothing like the awesome, abiding, and amazing presence of the Lord. In His presence, all things are possible!
Points to Ponder
• God has promised to be present when we worship.
• God revealed His presence in Old Testament times in many different ways.
• God revealed Himself in New Testament times through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
• We can encounter God’s presence today when we worship.
• Faith is foundational to worship.
LESSON 3 REVIEW
• What statement or Scripture you read in this lesson was most meaningful?
• Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response.
• What does God want you to do in response to this lesson?
Resources used for this class:
• “presence.” Dictionary.com [online]. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1), Random House, Inc [accessed 28 August 2008]. Available from the Internet: www.dictionary.com.
• “manifest.” Dictionary.com [online]. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1), Random House, Inc [accessed 28 August 2008]. Available from the Internet: www.dictionary.com.
• Jack W. Hayford, Manifest Presence: Expecting a Visitation of God’s Grace Through Worship (Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books, 2005), 28.