Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bishop’s Note: November 5, 2015 Gifts of the Spirit – Faith

Bishop Eric Menees

As we continue our discussion on the Spiritual Gifts we come to the Gift of Faith mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:9: “ another faith by the same Spirit….”

We are so dependent upon God, that even our faith comes as a gift. When we think about the Spiritual Gift of Faith, it goes beyond our desire simply to believe in God and involves our willingly giving over to God. The gift of faith is described in Hebrews like this: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:1-3)

This does not mean that faith is contrary to reason - faith takes into account and goes beyond reason. Think of Moses and the people of Israel as they finally left Egypt and were on the banks of the Red Sea. God commanded them to move forward, telling them that He would part the waters. Because they had seen God’s faithfulness in delivering the plagues against the Egyptians, but sparing the Israelites; and because Moses had seen God in the burning bush and experienced the faithfulness of God; when the Lord commanded them to move forward, they could do so with assurance of the hoped for promise of God. They moved forward, and the seas were parted!

The Spiritual Gift of Faith comes as a result of our submission to God. Not to say that we earn this gift through submission, but rather that we open ourselves up to the Holy Spirit’s gifting when we submit.

Ultimately the Spiritual Gift of Faith is the supernatural belief that God is God, and that He will continue to act according to His magnificent character. When given the gift of faith, we are able to quite literally trust our whole selves to God’s grace and mercy; so that when we ask the Lord to heal a brother or sister, we are not surprised when He fulfills that request. When we call upon the Lord to cast out a demon, we are not surprised when that demon is cast away. And when we ask God to use us as His instruments, we are not surprised to be His hands, His eyes, and His heart in a broken world.

I would bid each of you to ask God the Holy Spirit for the Gift of Faith, and to trust that He will fulfill that request!

I pray you all a truly blessed Lord’s Day!

Bishop Menees

Catechism Questions 176 - 180

176.    What is the Second Petition?
The Second Petition is: “Thy Kingdom come.”

177.    What is the Kingdom?
The Kingdom of God is his reign over all the world and in the hearts of his people through the powerful and effective operation of his Holy Spirit. (Matthew 12:28; Romans 8:12-17; Galatians 4:6-7)

178.    When you pray for God’s Kingdom to come, what do you desire?
I pray that the whole creation may enjoy full restoration to its rightful Lord. (Romans 8:22-25; Philippians 2:9-11)

179.    How does God’s Kingdom come?
God’s Kingdom, which was foreshadowed in the Old Testament, was founded in Christ’s incarnation, established with his ascension, advances with the fulfilling of the Great Commission, and will be completed when Christ delivers it to God the Father at the end of time. (2 Chronicles 7:1-4; Matthew 10:5-8; 28:18-20; Luke 24:1-12; Acts 1:6-11; 1 Corinthians 15:19-28)

180.    How do you live in God’s Kingdom?

My Kingdom life as a Christian consists of living with joy, hope, and peace as a child of God, a citizen of heaven, and a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. (Romans 14:17; Ephesians 4-6; Colossians 1:13-14; 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:11)

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