Sunday, July 27, 2008

Measure of Faith

What measure of faith do you have?

By Abraham Israel





Introduction:

Calling -> Chosen and separated even before we were born, even when we were in our mother’s womb. God’s knowledge about us and our future [how he wanted us to be like].

Grace -> Anointing, empowerment given to operate in the gifts. Grace is God’s response to our hunger and thirst for Him.

Faith -> Faith is our response to what God spoke to us personally and it is also our response to His call. When we believe or accept His word, He responds by His grace. First He sends His word and with that word comes faith. The Spirit of Faith carries that faith and deposits in us. As we operate with that faith, we will be able to connect to Gods grace.

Gift or Gifts -> Salvation is the first and the greatest of all the gifts. Because when we are saved, not only we are delivered and forgiven, but the ‘Giver of all Gifts’ comes and dwells with us forever. So only salvation is a gift, not gifts, because the gift is the person of the Holy Spirit. It is a tangible gift. And a believer can covet or desire for still more spiritual gifts to live and work effectively and God responds or gives to us according to the type of calling He has called us. Gifts vary according to our calling.

Ex:
Called to be a leader. If that person seeks for a gift of giving with liberality and tries his best to develop in that area, that will not work. Why? Because naturally God Gifts the leaders to lead others with diligence and with wisdom to direct His people.



Various Measures of Faith

There are various measures of faith in which people operated in the OT and N Testament books. And we too can operate in such faith in our days,

(i) Salvation measure of faith. It is mustard seed size that we receive in this measure of faith. When this faith is nurtured, it will become very big in size and strength and many will be benefited by it
(Matt 17:19-21; 13:31-32).


(ii) Healing measure of faith will receive healing from God (Matt 9:22).

(iii) Mountain moving measure of faith will remove mountains of obstacles and problems in a matter of split seconds (1 Cor 13:2).

(iv) When you have only little measure of faith, you will very soon become doubtful when problems come to you like a storm (Matt 14:31).

(v) Impartational measure of faith is an overflowing measure of faith (Rom 1:11-12; 2 Tim 1:6-7).

All these measures of faith are imparted through the channel of the Spirit of God, who is called as the Spirit of faith (1 Cor 12:9; 2 Cor 4:13).The righteous will live by growing from one measure of faith to another higher level of the measure of faith (Rom 1:17).

Through out the three and half years of the ministry of Jesus, the disciples closely watched the signs, miracles and wonders of Jesus, where Jesus challenged them again and again training them to flow in such faith and even rebuked them for not having it enough. Finally they got so excited and hungry spiritually and asked Jesus to increase their faith (Luke 17:5-10). Jesus taught the apostles that implicit obedience and humility are the key ingredients to flow in an ever increasing faith.


Understanding Grace, Faith and Gifts


  1. “For by grace [unconditional gift of Christ’s love for you on the cross], you have been saved [already in the past] through faith [appropriated by you now in the present time by the substance that is always active in the now realm], and that [what? Faith is] not of yourself; it is the gift of God.” (Eph 2:8).
  2. “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29).
    God never withdraws His calling and Gifts that He has given to a person. If the person is not humble and loyal to God, the Gifts will not work because grace [i.e. the anointing to operate in the gifts] will not be given. The calling and Gifts will be in that person, but it will not work with out the anointing. The anointing is the fuel that drives these gifts. If that kind of person who has landed in error, turns back to God and humbles himself, again God will use Him in the calling and Gifts that is in him by giving him Grace (1Peter 5:5-6; 4:10-11).
  3. “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles…”(Galatians 1:15, 16).
  4. Comparing both these scriptures shown above, we can clearly understand that God separates us from our mother’s womb with a plan and purpose. But when Paul was resisting and was acting against that plan, then God revealed Himself to Paul and asked “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” He was zealously or was ignorantly doing it (1Tim 1:13).
  5. Calling came through His grace [i.e. the unconditional gift of Jesus Christ].
  6. When Paul recognized his calling he started to work with faith and the gifts which were given according to Christ’s measure got activated in him and he preached the gospel with mighty signs and wonders (Galatians 1:17; Eph 4:7; Rom 15:18-19).
  7. Instead of working to fulfill God’s plan in his life, Satan was using his ignorance to work against the very plan God had for his life. So only Jesus asked him, “…It is hard for you to kick against the goads [sharp stick- chastisements of God].”(Acts 9:5).In other words Jesus was saying, it is very hard for you to work against the plans and purposes of God, Don’t you realize it. Immediately he realized his foolish ignorance and replied “…Lord, what do you want me to do?” In fact Paul was kicking against the chastisement of God and he was resisting the plans of God [Kicking against the goads].Goad – A sharp stick for making cattle move forward.
  8. Once Paul acknowledged the Lordship of Jesus, immediately He gave him guidance and direction to understand that plan (Acts 9:6).
  9. Walk of Faith will activate the Gifts that Jesus has invested in you.
  10. Faith is a Gift of God the Father, because the Bible says, “…Faith comes…” (Rom 10:17). From which place it comes from? “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights...” (James 1:17).Father is the source of our faith.
  11. It is a matter of receiving by the hearing of faith. Faith does not come by your good works so that you can boast, you are not the source (Galatians 3:5), but it comes hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17).

The gift that Jesus gives is the same [i.e. the Holy Spirit], but in different measure [different and certain amount]. Here Gifts are calling [Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers] based. A person can have more than one gift, so it is called gifts. The greater the gifts, greater will be the measure of the Holy Spirit working and deposit in that person’s life (Eph 4:7-“Christ’s gift”; 4:8, 11). "To each one of us grace was given.” As a person recognizes the calling and pursues the plans and purpose of God, this grace can be seen or recognized by others because God will be working in power in that person (Galatians 2:8,9).




Faith that is in believers

In Romans 12:3, Paul is speaking to every believer. So from this above verse we understand that God has already dealt or given a measure of faith to every believer. Here Paul does not speak about the value of the faith, but the amount of faith. Peter the apostle writing to the believers in 2 Peter, says in verse 1, “To those [believer’s] who have received faith of the same value [i.e. like precious faith] by the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The value of every one’s faith is the same but the amount of faith differs according to how much you are hearing God in the now realm or present circumstance.


Recognize your real faith level.

In
Romans 12:3, Paul is saying faith is not thinking of yourself highly in your mind about yourself, but how much you can hear God’s direction in your spirit for your gifts to be activated by it plainly in the present time.


Gifts and calling are irrevocable

  1. Calling can only be realized, because grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift (Eph 4:1, 7 --> 2 Corinthians 12:9).
  2. You must desire or can desire for the gifts of the Spirit, no matter what your calling is because the Holy Spirit gives you the gifts as He wills, but not the calling. Gifts are supernatural abilities (1 Corinthians 14:1-“Desire spiritual gifts.”).

Start operating in your faith

  1. God gives grace [in the present time] to the humble person differing according to the gifts and callings of God.
  2. Grace is God’s strength, power, and ability to perform a functional role as a member of the body. If we can only find the grace God has given to us, then Gifts and Calling can be made sure as you keep operating in it by faith.
  3. The moment you recognize something in you is flowing freely without your own effort or striving, but with your action or desire, start using it (1 Pet 4:10-11).

    [Romans 12:6; 11:29; 1 Peter 5:5]

Live by faith

  1. The members in the body don’t strive to do a functional role. All it needs is its connection to the head and command from the head.
  2. Faith connects the members of the body to the head which is Christ (Rom 1:17).
Grow in faith and stay active by being connected to each other

  1. All the members or believers do not have the same function. Even though we are many we are in one body which is all connected to the head Christ, we need each other for the body to work perfectly and naturally as God has placed and composed it (Rom 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12 :24,28; Eph 4:11).

  2. When all the members function well, the body will grow. This is the place where each member can grow from “faith to faith” (Romans 1:17). Paul also speaks about rejoicing to see the “…steadfastness of your [the believer’s] faith in Christ” (Col 2:5) and to be “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith…” (Col 2:7).

  3. Here Paul uses the same analogy as in 1 Corinthians 12th Chapter. There he speaks mainly about the ministry gifts which is empowered or qualified by the gifts of the Spirit.

  4. But here in the Romans 12th chapter, he speaks to the believers to find their place [functional roles] in the body of Christ and he asks them to activate it by faith.

  5. When Paul says “let us use them”, he includes himself in it. So there is no separate category for the people with ministry gifts. From among the believers will come out member’s individually who are graced with those various functional gifts who will function in the body as a whole, who will get equipped as a saint and will function according to their measure of faith (Romans 12:4-6).

Different measures of faith

  1. To prophesy needs an unique amount of faith to tap God’s plan or point of view for each believer from the throne room and to bring it to believer’s in the now realm (Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 2:10 – “deep things of God”).

  2. [If you feel that God is releasing in your spirit a word of prophecy, release the word to the right person, don’t be afraid. This is faith in action.]

  3. Ministering is supplying the various needs of the people by using your gifts such as working of miracles, gifts of healing, and faith that remove mountains [i.e. big problems that people can’t crossover or overcome (1 Cor 12:9,10)] needs a special amount of faith to operate in it, so use it.

  4. If God has given you the gift of teaching and preaching [exhorting] use it in proportion to your faith. Preaching and teaching needs God’s wisdom to be effective. It requires an amount of faith to flow in it or tap it. Only God’s wisdom can edify people and give solutions to people’s problems. Ezra is a great example who exercised this kind of gift (Ezra 7:10; Nehemiah 8:6-12).

  5. Those who give liberally are those who are gifted with grace to do business using God’s wisdom, who will bring their money with a heart desire to extend God’s kingdom. For God will pour out into their life, money for the extension of God’s kingdom. They will pour out their money liberally in to His kingdom and God will release a special anointing in this area as they give liberally. King David and Solomon are a great example of this kind (1 Chronicles 29:16-17; 2 Chronicles 8:1-2, 6-8, 22-23, and 26-27).

  6. God has also set leaders who have that God connection and faith, who have extraordinary ability to lead people without effort or striving and guide them like Nehemiah in the Bible to fulfill any project from God within a short and efficient period of time (Nehemiah 2:12, 12-20; 6:15-16).
  7. Those people who show mercy are those who are given a compassionate heart to look after widows and orphans and other needy people who are in need. They will have words of mercy as they themselves would have experienced those kinds of things in their life from which God would have delivered, lifted and comforted them (James 1:27; 2 Cor 1:3, 4; Galatians 2:10; Acts 9:36-42 ).

These are all various kinds of gifts that have been given to the church by God and as the ability or the power of God is released by each person’s individual faith, the whole body will be equipped to fulfill all that God has for our generation!


When every member of the body operates in a given measure of faith, that is when we all will come into the unity of “The Faith” which is the stature of the fullness of Christ (Romans 12:3; Eph 4:13).









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