"By Faith" - 3 Keys to Answered Prayers
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
- Summary: It is not difficult to receive from God. The Bible spells out three simple keys to faith that works and gets results.
Hebrews 11:1-6 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must  BELIEVE that he EXISTS and that  he REWARDS those who  EARNESTLY SEEK HIM.
In verse 6 we see three keys to receiving anything from God:
- 1. We must genuinely, sincerely believe in God.
2. We must believe that God responds to His people and rewards them.
3. To receive God’s rewards, we must diligently seek Him.
#1 — Anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists.
- •• Think of the patriarch Abraham originally living in polytheism and idolatry in Mesopotamia. But God revealed Himself to Abraham, and “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:3).
•• Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
•• The ultimate assurance and certainty we need in our hearts is faith in the very existence of Almighty God. And how do we come to that faith in God?
- • We see God in the created universe — “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).
• We see God in His miraculous intervention in the lives of men and women throughout history.
• Most of all, we see God revealed in the Scriptures.
- •• As we by faith begin to understand this God in whom we have believed, we begin to get a clearer picture of what an awesome God we serve.
- • It is God who said, “Let there be...” (Genesis 1:3ff) and the universe came into existence out of nothing.
• It is God who parted the Red Sea so that Israel could cross over and escape the Egyptian army (Exodus 14:21-22).
• It is God who knocked down the walls of the fortified city Jericho, so that His people could conquer it (Joshua 6:20). He will do the same for the enemies in your life!
- •• But just believing in God is not enough — James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder.”
#2 — Anyone who comes to God must believe that He rewards His people.
James 1:5-7 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.
- •• You must believe and not doubt. Why? — Because God is pleased to reward the faithful.
Matthew 7:7-11 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!
- •• God is a giver; He is a rewarder. It pleases Him.
#3 — Anyone who comes to God must believe that he rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
- •• This speaks of active faith, like the man persistently knocking at midnight (Luke 11:5-10), or like the woman insistently pleading her case before the judge (Luke 18:1-8).
•• Seeking Him — Not just for answers to prayers, but also seeking Him to know Him, to be in His presence.
•• Psalm 105:3-4 “...let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”
•• Jeremiah 29:12-13 “You will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
So receiving by faith from God is not difficult. Rather, it is a delight and a privilege. What we must do is threefold:
- 1. We must simply and sincerely believe in God — in the full New Testament sense: John 14:1, KJV “Ye believe in God; believe also in me [Jesus].”
2. Believe that it is the desire of God’s heart to reward the faithful.
3. Earnestly seek Him ... Follow after Him ... desire to know Him better ... spend time in prayer and worship and His Word with Him.
IN SUM: To receive by faith, we must believe that God is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
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©1992, 2006, 2015, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.