We will spend most of our time in the Gospel of Matthew, but first go to Romans chapter one.
Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
The just shall live by faith comes from Habakkuk 2. We will go back to that at the very end of this message. I like to check the Greek at times, and I did so here. Where it says, from faith to faith, the Greek reads “out of faith into faith.” It is out of and into: out of faith and into faith, and again out of faith and into faith. There are different levels of faith. So we move out of one level of faith into another level, and the cycle continues as long as we continue to walk with God.
We are going to look at some scriptures in the Gospel of Matthew about faith and see some of the various levels of faith. I just took my concordance and listed them as they are listed in the concordance. They are not arranged in any way to show the steps. To do that, we would have to flip-flop some of them. The first one is in Matthew 8. It has to do with the centurion who came to Jesus and asked Him to heal his servant.
Matthew 8:10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Jesus calls the centurion’s faith a great faith and He had not seen that kind of faith anywhere in Israel. Jesus said, “I will come and heal him,” and the centurion said, “No, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof but speak the Word only. I know authority. I am a man under authority and I know You have authority.” He showed his faith by his submission to the authority of Christ. Israel did not have that kind of faith; they did not recognize the authority of Jesus. Being a Roman he was not in the realm of God’s people yet he believed in the authority of Jesus. He recognized the authority of Jesus even when the scribes and Pharisees did not. That was his great faith. A person that really recognizes the authority of Jesus Christ will submit to that authority.
Again, in verse 26 the disciples are in the boat and the waves are rough. A storm comes up and they are crying out to the Lord to save them.
Matthew 8:26 And He saith unto them, Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
The disciples were fearful and Jesus said, “O ye of little faith.” These disciples did not have much faith at this time, but they would become men of faith. They would be the ones to spread the gospel after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. So if we happen to be like them with little faith, don’t worry about it too much. Just keep walking with the Lord. The centurion of great faith had that great faith outside the camp of the disciples. The disciples were facing things that those outside the camp do not face. If you move the one on the outside of discipleship into the camp where the disciples are tested and tried, his faith may not be so great either.
9:20, 22 And behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve
years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment.
22 But Jesus turned Him about, and when He saw her, He said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
What I would like to point out here is the fact that Jesus said, “By your faith you are made whole.” People will read that and make great efforts to have that kind of faith, thinking their faith is going to do it. But as you tune in to this situation you realize it wasn’t just her faith. Her faith only worked after Jesus said, “Thy faith has made thee whole.” Until He said that, it probably would not have happened. When He says, “It shall be done according to your faith,” in that Word is the ability for it to be done according to your faith. Your faith will always contain a mixture; it will be contaminated with your human nature. Therefore, the woman’s faith worked because the Lord said it would. His Word created the kind of faith that was necessary.
Next, the blind men.
Matthew 9:29 Then touched He their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
Again, those who were blind received their sight because Jesus said, “According to your faith be it unto you.” It would be a mistake to say, “Because of my faith it is going to happen.” It happens when Jesus says, “According to your faith.” I think it is important for us to understand that. It is according to what He says. When He says, “It is according to your faith,” then it is according to your faith, but it is His Word that makes it according to your faith.
Next, Peter is trying to walk on the water and he becomes fearful and begins to sink.
Matthew 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
James talks about the danger of doubting in his Epistle: But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:6. Do not doubt! Doubt mixed with faith is the reason we cannot always say, “According to my faith, it is going to be,” because our faith is mixed with our old nature. There are doubts in our fleshly nature. Your faith is going to have that mixture and that is what keeps it from working well. Faith with doubt just does not work!
The next person is the Syro-Phoenician woman.
Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Her faith worked because the Lord said it worked. Do you follow what I am saying? O woman, great is thy faith. What made her faith great? Her faith was not made great by what she did or said. Her faith was made great by the Lord saying, “Great is thy faith.” That is what made it great. Be it unto thee even as thou wilt – According to the way you want it, so be it. Now it happened the way she wanted because the Lord said, “According to what you want, that is the way it’s going to be.” What He says is what makes it work.
The disciples could not cast out the demon in a man’s son, so they asked Jesus, “Why couldn’t we cast him out?”
Matthew 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
We have talked about faith mixed with doubt. What about this faith? This faith is “as a grain of mustard seed.” The mustard seed is one of the smallest of seeds. It is very, very small, but the significant thing about the mustard seed is that it is pure mustard. It is not mixed with something else. It is pure mustard! So when your faith is as pure as the mustard seed, then you will be able to say these things and see what you say come to pass. You shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. We have not yet come to the place where nothing shall be impossible, where all things are possible. All things are possible to him that believes (Mark 9:23). You say, “Well, I believe but it is not happening. What’s the matter?” It is not pure faith yet. It has to be the faith as the grain of mustard seed – pure faith. In other words, we are talking about a realm where your flesh nature has been dealt with by God and dealt with by God and emptied out until all the doubt is gone because it is the doubt inherit within your flesh nature that causes the mixture.
Matthew 21:21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If you have faith, and doubt not ...
Is Jesus saying, “Alright, discipline yourself to not doubt”? No, you cannot discipline yourself not to doubt. You can accept the work of the cross. You can accept the dealings of God that come to purge out the doubt that is in the flesh nature. It has to be emptied out. We cannot make any advancement in God without a corresponding emptying out of our self nature where the doubt lives. If you have faith, and doubt not ... It does not say, “If you have faith, then it happens,” but if you have faith and you do not doubt. I’ve had lots of doubts. I wish I didn’t and I repent for it. We want that pure faith.
Matthew 21:21-22 ...you shall not only do this which is done to
the fig tree, but also if you shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and
be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
22 And all things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.
“But I’ve been asking in prayer and I’m not getting it.” Well, you must ask in prayer without the doubting. We are talking about another realm, a realm where the doubt has been emptied out.
Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
This is religious efforts of trying to earn something from God because of what you do in rules and regulations. Jesus said, “What is the most important thing?” Judgment and this is talking about being just. Mercy, have mercy toward others and there will be mercy toward you. Judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Now let’s wrap this up with Galatians and then Habakkuk. “It is difficult to get real faith that is really effective studying.” Of course, it is difficult. Walking with God is not easy. Why is it not easy? It is not easy because you cannot walk with God and maintain your flesh nature. It is sinful; it is corrupt. It has to be brought down. “I want to ascend in the things of the Lord, to understand them.” “Okay,” God says, “I’ll bring a lot of circumstances that will be crowding in on you so they will push you up.” There will be no answer on the human level. You will have to reach up for more faith. Reach up for more believing. That is how you get out of the old human level, because no one will seek to ascend in the Lord unless things get pretty rough down here. When things get hard down here that is when you are ready. “Oh, I believe I’ll advance in God some and get out of this muck!”
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ ...
Now, the only way you can be crucified with Christ is that you die with Him. You experience the same crucifixion that He experienced. That doesn’t mean that you hang on a wooden cross, but it does mean that the work of the cross crucifies and brings to death your flesh nature.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live…
You won’t live until you become crucified with Christ because the living is beyond the crucifixion.
Galatians 2:20 ...yet not I, but Christ lives in me ... The life I live is not my life; it is Christ’s life. He is living in me. ... and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.
The Scriptures also say that He gives every man a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). A measure always speaks of partial. God gives us all a measure of faith and the measure of faith that He gives us is never enough to help in the time of need. So when the pressure is on and you try to operate your faith, you find it is not enough. I’ve heard my pastor talk about the time he was working on the church when everyone else had left. He remained there working by himself. Wham! went the hammer; he hit the wrong nail. He sat down on the bottom step of the ladder and just put his head down and said, “God, your boy has run out of faith.” And the Lord spoke to him and said, “Alright, now start using Mine.” You see, that is the way we are. We’re not going to use God’s faith as long as we can get by using our own faith. That mixed faith you have doesn’t work very well but it makes you feel religious.
Do you know what I am saying? It has to be God’s faith and that is what Paul is saying: The life which I now live – I died. I was crucified with Him and now I am living, but the life that I am living is not me. It is Him! He lives in me and I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. Christ loved me enough to help me get crucified and He gave His life for me that He might live in me.
Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.
To understand that correctly, you have to capitalize the H is “his faith” because it is His faith, not ours. The just shall live by His faith, the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ. As long as we are trying to live by our faith, we’re not just and we are not really living. The just shall live by His faith. So it is from faith to faith, like a ladder that you climb up. Your bottom rung is one of those, “O ye of little faith.” Then you step up to the next rung and you keep moving up. It is like Noah’s ark. That is a good example of what our life is really like. God turns the floods of tribulation and awful circumstances and things and the flooding water just lifts up the ark. So the key is to get in the ark. Get in the ark of His faith. Amen.
Copyright © 2009 by Henry DuBose