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Rainbow Divider

WHERE IS YOUR FAITH?

by C. Parker Thomas

Rainbow Divider

Photo of  Bro. Thomas

Though the Lord grants signs and wonders to confirm his word when it is preached among the heathen or in unevangelized areas, he expects his people who have the word to believe without the sign.

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(Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the July-August 1969 issue of the “Midnight Cry Messenger.”)

“Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm. And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! For he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.” Luke 8:22-25.

It is significant that on this occasion Jesus asked the disciples, where is YOUR FAITH? The boisterous waves and howling wind had so possessed their minds until they had completely forgotten the words of Jesus when he said, “Let us go over unto the other side of the lake.” Had they remembered and believed, they could have rested in the knowledge of the fact that his word had to be fulfilled. The same word (God) that spoke the universe into existence and said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3) had spoken, if only they had believed. Jesus didn’t say that they were without faith, but simply, “Where is your faith.” Please note our emphasis upon “your faith.” Time and again Jesus emphasizes the fact that it is “OUR FAITH” we must use. In Mark 9:23, he said to the man with the demon-possessed son, “If THOU canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

To the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head he said, “THY FAITH hath saved thee; go in peace.” Luke 7:50.

In Mark 10:52, Jesus said to blind Bartimaeus, “Go thy way; THY FAITH hath made thee whole.” To the woman with the issue of blood he said, “Daughter, be of good comfort: THY FAITH hath made thee whole; go in peace.” Luke 8:48.

In Matthew 9:29 he said to the two blind men as he touched their eyes, “According to YOUR FAITH be it unto you.”

In all these references, Jesus put the responsibility of believing or having faith upon the individual who came for help. In fact, the Bible plainly teaches that unbelief is the great hindrance to mighty works. Matthew 13:58. In Hebrews 11:6, the word declares, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM.

WHAT IS FAITH?

Faith is simply trust in God through what he has revealed, his word. It must be based upon his word. All other ground is sinking sand. It is a trust that holds on in spite of peril, sword and flame. It does not go by what it sees, feels or hears. Its hope is in God upon the basis of the promise. Faith is knowing that God will keep his promise because he cannot lie. Numbers 23:19.

Recently I received a letter from a lady who expressed bewilderment because of a cancer case that had been prayed for who did not get well. This is quite a common reaction by many who go away disappointed from the healing campaigns. And, of course, the scoffers delight in pointing to those who attend such meetings and do not receive healing. I see two things that must be done to help remove the confusion and reproach. First of all, the big glowing claims used in the high-pressure advertising of some is absolutely dishonest. The great boasting claims are all out of proportion to actual results. By such claims, poor suffering humanity are made to believe that if only this great one will lay hands on them, they shall surely be healed. A frank appraisal of facts according to the word of God would be far better. If God condescends to save and heal a few people under our ministry, well and good. But let’s be humble about it and very careful of claims that sometimes lead to monstrous exaggerations and exaltation of the evangelist. There is enough worshipping of human personalities in other areas. Besides, all of this big buildup is deceptive and actually hinders people from having faith.

Wrong emphasis and failure to preach the word of God in such a way as to make the individual responsible to believe for themselves is causing confusion and great disappointment. Many go away from the healing lines disappointed because they were trusting in the human instrument rather than God. Others were looking to their feeling or some kind of phenomenon which failed to measure up to their anticipated expectation. Still others go away and later lose hope when their symptoms do not clear up. As long as our faith is resting upon anything other than the rock of revelation (word of God) we are doomed to disappointment and failure. Matthew 16:13-18; Luke 6:47-49. This is the faith the gates of hell shall not prevail against nor the storms of life be able to shake.

Only this kind of faith invokes the covenant of Almighty God. Psalms 111:7-9; Judges 2:1; Psalms 89:34. This is the kind of faith the centurion had when he said, “...speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.” Jesus commended him very highly by saying, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Matt. 8:5-10.

Only faith in the word can stand the storms that are sure to come and buffet the soul of one who dares to claim his inheritance in Christ. Already it is ours, but faith is the means we must use to appropriate our inheritance. As long as our faith can be influenced by what we see, feel or hear, it is like the waves of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. James 1:6. This and this alone is the reason we so often fail to receive from God.

The great ministry that is sure to come will, above all things, magnify the word of God. The surprising and astounding characteristic of this ministry will be its simplicity. With childlike faith, it will simply speak the word and the Lord will confirm it.

There has been so much fanfare, advertising of human personalities and emphasis upon experience (feelings, ecstasy, shouting, phenomena such as surges of power, tongues, prophecy, visions, dreams, etc.) until even God’s people are looking to these things rather than the word. Instead of having signs follow believers, we have believers following signs. The ministry that is adept at producing these things has a huge following, especially from among those who think it is all in a shout. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” Mark 13:31.

“WHERE IS YOUR FAITH?”

Though the Lord grants signs and wonders to confirm his word when it is preached among the heathen or in unevangelized areas, he expects his people who have the word to believe without the sign. John 4:48. Sign seeking is actually a manifestation of unbelief. Matt. 12:38-39; John 2:18; 6:30.

I had an unusual experience in connection with the ministry of Brother William Branham which illustrates the truth I am here trying to convey. Four years ago I had developed an ulcer due to a period of hypertension caused by lack of rest in the Lord. By faith I had claimed my healing, resting upon the promise that with his stripes I was healed. I Peter 2:24. Day in and day out I quoted this promise as the pain in my stomach continued. After two or three months without any manifest results, I attended one of Bro. Branham’s meetings in Virginia. While sitting in the service one night, I told the Lord that I was believing in him for my deliverance but I would so much appreciate having him confirm it through his servant, Bro. Branham. Very clearly the Holy Spirit spoke in my soul and said that Bro. Branham’s ministry was to help those who were not acquainted with his word as I was.

He further said if I was truly trusting him I didn’t need to have Bro. Branham call me out. I then surrendered my request and said, “All right, Lord, I’ll trust you without a sign through your servant.”

The very first night after reaching home, I had a vivid dream in which I was attending a meeting where Bro. Branham was ministering. In the dream I was sitting to the right of the platform and Bro. Branham walked over to the end of the platform and pointed to me and said, “You have faith yourself.” Upon awakening from this dream, I knew it was the Lord confirming his dealings with me while attending the Branham meeting in Virginia. Without any doubt, I knew it was the Lord simply confirming the fact that it was him who spoke to my heart that night and let me know that I had faith myself which he expected me to exercise. Needless to say, after this experience, the symptoms all left including the pain in my stomach and with his stripes I was healed.

Though believing in the promise, to a degree my faith was beclouded by the desire for a sign. Only when I surrendered all hope for some additional sign or witness and fully trusted in his word did the manifestation come.

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