A Faith That Is Anchored in the Unseen
Rev. Lily Lim | On 03, Nov 2016
Hebrew 11:1 – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
There is the seen and the unseen world around us.
The seen world is the visible world that we are living now called earth. The unseen world is the kingdom of God as well as the kingdom of Satan.
As believers of Christ, we are already translated from the visible world to the invisible world when we accept Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross for us. We are not just earthlings but we are kingdom people. Jesus has changed our identity from a sinner to God’s people; God’s children; Kingdom people and our destiny is the Kingdom of God. There are so many privileges and blessing in this unseen realm – the kingdom of God. How to be a kingdom people? How to rule and overcome like a kingdom people? How to enjoy the blessings of a kingdom people? The answer is FAITH. Only Faith can release all these kingdom blessings to our lives.
This morning, I would like to share a topic entitled, ‘A FAITH THAT IS ANCHORED IN THE UNSEEN.’
There are 10 characteristics about this faith that is anchored in the unseen. Let’s examine them one by one:
1. FAITH HAS EYES TO SEE INTO THE UNSEEN REALM
Faith lives from the invisible TOWARD the visible. Faith actualizes what it realizes. The Scriptures contrast the life of faith with the limitations of natural sight. Faith provides EYES for the heart.
We are born again by grace through faith. The born-again experience enables us to see from the heart (John 3:3). A heart that doesn’t see is a hard heart (Mark 8:17-18). The case in point are the Pharisees- they could discern the weather but couldn’t discern the times (spiritual climate and seasons) over natural weather conditions and therefore Jesus called them HYPOCRITES. The Pharisees became blind to God’s dominion because of their own corrupted hearts and were judged for their unfulfilled potential.
Faith was never intended only to get us INTO THE FAMILY. Rather, it is the NATURE OF LIFE in this family. FAITH SEES. It brings God’s Kingdom into focus. All of the Father’s resources, all of His benefits, are accessible through faith.
To encourage us in our capacity to see, Jesus gave specific instruction: “Seek first the kingdom of God…”(Mat 6:33). Paul taught us, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col 3:2). He also stated, “For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor 4:18).
The Bible instructs us to turn our attention toward the invisible. This theme is repeated enough in Scripture to make those of us bound by the logic of this world quite nervous.
Herein lies the secret to the supernatural realm that we want restored to the Church. Jesus told us that He only did what He SAW His Father do. Jesus did what He saw His Father do in the unseen world. Such an insight is vital for those who want more. The power of His actions, for instance, the mud in the eye of the blind, is rooted in His ability to see into the unseen realm.
Application: How are the eyes of your heart today? Do you see only the seen world and live ignorantly of the existence of the unseen world? How do I know if the eyes of your heart are enlightened? How do I know if your heart sees the unseen? By looking at the priorities of your life. Are you seeking God and His kingdom first or are you seeking your career, children’s education, wealth first? Some of you spend so much of your time and resources on the VISIBLE world. Once you give birth to a baby, the kingdom of God’s agenda is put on hold for 20 years. All you could see now is your baby and nothing else. No matter how good or noble the agenda of this visible world is, they will all pass away but what you have invested in the unseen world – your giving, your service, your ministry is eternal. Faith sees beyond this physical world to the unseen world as more important. Faith has eternity in view and thus will set the eyes on things above and not on things below.
2. FAITH IS DEVELOPED IN THE SCHOOL OF WORSHIP
God is very committed to teaching us HOW TO SEE. To make this possible He gave us the Holy Spirit as a tutor. The curriculum that He uses is quite varied. But the one class we all qualify for is the greatest of all Christian privilege – WORSHIP. Learning HOW TO SEE is not the purpose for our worship but is a wonderful BY-PRODUCT.
Those who worship God in spirit and truth as mentioned in John 4:23-24, learn to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead. His realm is called the kingdom of God. The throne of God, which becomes established upon the PRAISES OF HIS PEOPLE (Psalm 22:3) is the center of that kingdom. It is in the environment of worship that we learn things that go beyond what our intellect can grasp – and the greatest of these lessons is the value of His Presence.
David was so affected by this that all his other exploits pale in comparison to his abandoned heart for God. We know that he learned to see into God’s realm because of statements like “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved” (Psa 16:8). The Presence of God affected his SEEING. He would constantly practice recognizing the Presence of God. He saw God daily, not with the natural eyes, but with the eyes of faith. That priceless revelation was given to a worshipper.
The privilege of worship is a good beginning place for those who want to learn to pay attention to this God-given gift: the ability to see with the heart. As we learn to worship with purity of heart, our eyes will continue to open. And we can expect to see what He wants us to see. We will see the goodness, the holiness, the majesty and the power of the Lord.
Never minimize the importance of worship, especially corporate worship. Corporate worship causes the corporate faith level to grow and it will produce a CLUSTER BOMB EFFECT where innocent bystanders get touched by the Presence of God.
E.g. Francis is a woman who had esophagus cancer. One Sunday morning during worship, she leaned over to her husband and said, “I was just healed!” She felt the FIRE of God touch her hands and concluded that it represented God’s healing touch. When she went to the doctor she told him of her experience. His response was, “This kind does not go away.” After examining her, he stated, “Not only do you not have cancer, you have a new esophagus!”
Corporate faith pulls on heaven in marvelous ways. His world becomes manifest all around us. Power is not in the number of people in attendance. It is the number of people in agreement. Exponential power is the product of the UNITY OF FAITH.
3. FAITH HONORS THE UNSEEN REALM AS MORE SUPERIOR
The invisible realm is superior to the natural. The reality of that invisible world dominates the natural world we live in….both positively and negatively. “By faith we understand that the worlds were set in order at God’s command so that the VISIBLE has its origin in the INVISIBLE” (Hebrews 11:3 NET). Because the invisible is superior to the natural, faith is anchored in the unseen.
Faith lives within the revealed will of God. When we have misconception of who God is and what He is like, our faith will be restricted by those misconceptions.
E.g. # 1- If I believe that God allows sickness in order to build character, I will not have confidence praying in most situations where healing is needed. But if I believe that sickness is to the body what sin is to the soul, then no disease will intimidate me.
E.g. # 2 – A woman who needed a miracle once told her pastor that she felt God had allowed her sickness for a purpose. The pastor told her that if he treated his children that way, he’d be arrested for child abuse. She agreed and eventually allowed her pastor to pray for her. After much truth came into her heart, her healing came minutes later.
Faith is much more free to develop when we truly see that the heart of God is GOOD.
Unbelief is anchored in what is visible or reasonable apart from God. IT HONORS THE NATURAL REALM AS SUPERIOR TO THE INVISIBLE. Paul states that what we can see is temporal and what we can’t see is eternal. UNBELIEF IS FAITH IN THE INFERIOR.
The NATURAL REALM is the anchor of UNBELIEF. But that realm is not to be considered as evil. Rather the humble of heart recognize the hand of God through what is seen. God has created all things to speak of Him – whether its rivers and trees or angels and heavens. The natural realm carries the WITNESS of His greatness…for those with eyes to see and ears to hear.
People who are filled with unbelief have called themselves REALISTS. This is an honest evaluation but not one to be proud of. Those kinds of realists believe more in what is visible than they do in what they can’t see. Put another way, they believe the material world rules over the spiritual world.
Materialism has been thought simply to be the accumulation of goods. Although it includes that, it is much more. I can own nothing and still be materialistic. I can want nothing and be materialistic because materialism is faith in the natural as the superior reality.
We are a sensual society with a culture shaped by what is picked up through the senses. We are trained to believe only in what we see. Real faith is not living in denial of the natural realm. If the doctor says you have a tumor, it is silly to pretend that it is not there. That is not faith. However, faith is founded on a reality that is superior to that tumor. I can acknowledge the existence of a tumor and still have faith in the provision of His stripes for my healing. I was provisionally healed 2000 years ago. It is the product of the kingdom of heaven – a superior reality. There are no tumors in heaven and faith brings that reality into this one.
Would Satan like to inflict heaven with cancer? Of course he would. But he has no dominion there. He only has dominion here when and where man has come into agreement.
People of faith are also realist. They just have their foundation in a superior reality.
Application: Is your faith anchored on the superior or the inferior reality? If you have unbelief, then your faith is in the inferior. You are honoring the natural realm as more superior to the invisible. You are believing the material world rules over the spiritual world. Ask God to help you to change that mindset. Honor the unseen realm as more superior.
4. FAITH IS FROM A RELATIONSHIP
The Holy Spirit lives in our spirit. That is the PLACE of communion with God. As we learn from our spirits, we learn how to be Spirit led.
“By faith, we understand” (Heb 11:3). Faith is the foundation for all true intellectualism. When we LEARN that way, we open ourselves up to grow in true faith because faith does not require understanding to function.
E.g. You have been reading the Bible and a verse JUMPS OUT AT YOU. There’s a great excitement over this verse that seems to give so much life and encouragement to you. Yet, initially you couldn’t teach or explain that verse. What happened is this: Your spirit received the life-giving power of the word from the Holy Spirit. When we learn to receive from our spirit, our mind becomes the STUDENT and is therefore subject to the Holy Spirit. Through the process of revelation and experience our mind eventually obtains UNDERSTANDING. That is biblical learning – the spirit giving influence to the mind.
5. FAITH HAS EARS TO HEAR CURRENTLY
Romans 10:17- So then faith comes by HEARING, and hearing by the world of God.
Notice it does not say, FAITH COMES FROM HAVING HEARD. The whole nature of faith implies a relationship that is CURRENT. The emphasis is on hearing….IN THE NOW!
In Genesis God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. As Abraham raised the knife to slay his son God spoke again. This time He told him not to slay his son, as he had passed the test of being willing to do anything for God. It’s a good thing that Abraham’s only connection with God was not just over what WAS SAID, but was based upon what HE WAS SAYING!
Application: Even though we may know the will of God from Scripture, we still need the Holy Spirit to help us with the interpretation, application and empowerment to perform His will. “Faith comes by hearing…” (Rom 10:17). It does not say that it comes from HAVING HEARD. Faith has ears to hear. It has a listening heart in the present tense that is ready for heaven’s deposit of faith.
Application: Is your hearing from the Lord current?
6. FAITH IS SUBSTANCE AND EVIDENCE
Heb 11:1 –Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith is the mirror of the heart that reflects the realities of God’s world into ours. IT IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THE UNSEEN REALM. This wonderful gift from God is the initial earthly manifestation of what exists in His kingdom. It is a testimony of an invisible realm called the Kingdom of God. Through prayer we are able to pull that reality into this one – that is how faith functions.
E.g. If I go to Pizza Hut to order a pizza. Pizza Hut will give me a number and a receipt. I am to place that number in a conspicuous place on the table. Someone may walk in and come to my table to announce that Pizza Hut won’t give me any pizza. I will just point to the number and tell him, “When pizza number 52 is done, it is mine!” That number is the SUBSTANCE of the pizza hoped for. If that guy tells me that my number isn’t any good, I’ll point to my receipt. The receipt verified the VALUE of my number. When my pizza is done, the waiter will walk around looking for my number.
Application: How does the product of heaven know where to land? God looks for the substance…the number (your faith). If a question comes up over the validity of your number, YOUR RECEIPT, which is contained in the Bible (the rhema), verifies your right to both the number and the pizza.
Heaven is not moved simply by the needs of man. It is not that God doesn’t care. It was out of His great compassion that He sent Jesus. When God is moved by human need He seldom fixes the problem outright. Instead He provides Kingdom principles that when embraced, correct the problems. If God was moved solely by human needs then countries like India and Haiti would become the wealthiest nations in the world. It doesn’t work like that. Heaven is moved by FAITH. FAITH IS THE CURRENCY OF HEAVEN.
7. FAITH IS THE OPPOSITE OF FEAR
The biblical command repeated most often is: DO NOT FEAR. Why? Fear attacks the foundation of our relationship with God…our faith. FEAR IS FAITH IN THE DEVIL. It is also called UNBELIEF. Jesus would ask His fearful disciples, “Why are you so faithless?” because fearfulness is the same as faithlessness. Fear and faith cannot coexist – they work against each other.
The devil is called BEELZEBUB, which means LORD OF THE FLIES. He and his hosts are attracted to DECAY.
E.g. A man used to own a freezer in a bodega (store house) attached to his house. One Sunday he arrived home from the church only to be hit with a wall of smell that is unfortunately hard to forget. He realized in an instant what had happened. His freezer had died. He thought the stench he had smelled for days were because his sons forgot to take all of the trash to the dump. Instead it was the ever-rotting meat and bear hide in the freezer. From the front seat of his car, he looked at the window of the store about 40 feet away. It was black with flies…..a number that is still hard to imagine these many years later. The freezer was filled with all sorts of meat. Flies found a happy breeding ground in spoiled flesh and were multiplying in unbelievable numbers. Both the meat and the freezer were taken to the dump.
Issues such as bitterness, jealousy and hatred qualify as the DECAY OF THE HEART that invites the devil to come and give influence – yes, even to Christians. Remember Paul’s admonition to the church of Ephesus, “Neither give place to the devil” (Eph 4:27). Fear is also a decay of the heart. It attracts the demonic in the same way as bitterness and hatred. How did the flies know where the freezer was? Through the SCENT OF DECAYING MEAT. Fear gives off a similar scent. Like faith, FEAR IS THE SUBSTANCE IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM. Satan has no power except through our agreement. Fear becomes our heart’s response when we come into agreement with his intimidating suggestions.
Application: Do you have fear and unbelief? Fear is the decay of the heart. Is there any decay in your heart? What are the decays that are attracting BEELZEBUB – the lord of the flies to flock to your life? Are you agreeing to all the intimidating suggestions of the devil in your mind? Do not give place to the devil.
8. FAITH IS NOT LOUDNESS BUT REST
Just as fear is a tangible element in the spirit world, so faith is tangible there. In the natural, a loud voice may intimidate another man. But devil knows the difference between the one who is truly bold and aggressive because of their faith, and the one who is simply covering his fears with aggressive behavior. Christians often use this tactic when casting out devils. Many of us have yelled threats, called on angels for help, promised to make it harder on the demons on Judgment Day, and other foolish things only to try and cover immaturity and fear. Real faith is anchored in the invisible realm and is connected to the authority given in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The authority to cast out demons is found in REST. Rest is the climate that faith grows in. It comes from the peace of God. And it is the Prince of Peace who will soon crush Satan underneath our feet. What is restful for us is violent to the powers of hell.
9. FAITH HAS A VIOLENT IMPACT IN THE SPIRIT WORLD
Matthew 11:12 –Until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
Two blind men who sat by the road called out to Jesus (Matthew 9:27). People told them to be quiet. That only hardened their determination. They became more desperate and cried out all the louder. Jesus called them forth and healed them. He attributed their miracle to their faith.
A woman who had hemorrhaged for 12 years pressed through a crowd. When she was finally able to touch the garment of Jesus, she was healed. Jesus attributed it to her faith.
The stories of this kind are many, all with similar endings – they were healed or delivered because of their faith. Faith may quietly press in or it may cry out very loudly but it is always violent in the spirit world. It grabs hold of an invisible reality and won’t let it go. Taking the kingdom by faith is the violent act that is necessary to come into what God has made available.
Our faith is not just an abiding faith; it is active. It is aggressive by nature. It has focus and purpose. Faith grabs hold of the reality of the kingdom and forcefully and violently brings it into a COLLISION with this natural one. An inferior kingdom cannot stand.
E.g. Sheri came forward for prayer after a wonderful meeting, just outside Nashville, Tennessee. She had suffered with lupus for 24 years, the last four of which had gone into Pulmonary Hypertension. It had gotten so bad that she had to have aluminum shunt placed into her heart. To this a pump was attached, which supplied the needed medication to keep her alive. Her doctor told her that without this medication she could live for only 3 months. When she walked up to the altar for prayer, the pastor actually felt a presence of something he had never felt in that measure before. It was faith. The pastor actually stood back and stared at her for a few moments realizing that he was seeing something completely new for him. As she received prayer, she fell to the ground under the power of God. When she got up, the pastor asked her how she was doing. She described the heat that was on her chest. (Heat often accompanies God’s healing touch). As she left, the pastor told her, your faith got you this one!!! That was Saturday night. At 7 am that following morning the Lord spoke to her saying she didn’t need the medication any more. So she removed it. She showed up 14 hours later giving testimony of God’s wonderful healing power. She has since had the aluminum shunt removed – she doesn’t need it anymore.
One of the most common things people always say when they go out to be prayed for healing is I know God can heal me. So does the devil. At best that is hope….not faith. FAITH KNOWS GOD WILL. For one who has faith, there is nothing impossible. There are no impossibilities when there is faith and there are no exceptions.
10. FAITH IS ANSWERS TO LIFE’S IMPOSSIBILITIES
What the world needs is for the Church to return to a SHOW AND TELL message on the kingdom of God. They need an anchor that is greater than everything they can see. The world system has no answers to the world’s increasing problems – every solution is only temporary.
What can you do through faith? Hebrews 11:32-35 says, “And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson and the prophets WHO THROUGH FAITH……..”
“Who through faith” in the amplified version means “with an enduring trust in God and His Promises.” What can those who through faith, those with an enduring trust in God and His Promises do?
• Conquer kingdoms (Subdue kingdoms)
• Enforce justice (make justice work)
• Receive promises
• Stop the mouths of lions
• Quench the raging fire
• Escape the edge of the sword
• Win strength out of weakness (Message – turned disadvantage to advantage)
• Become mighty in war (become unbeatable)
• Put enemy forces to flight
• Resurrection from the dead
These were the rhemas God gave me last night when I was praying up for the service today. Look at all the feats faith can do. They are impossible feats and yet they were made possible because of faith. God showed me that He has helped me gone through all the impossible feats listed above. The last four years were filled with so much impossible challenges and yet through faith in Christ, through enduring trust in God and His promises, He helped me to overcome all these challenges one by one. Four years have passed and all those impossibilities that confronted me have become history. Glory be to God and the Holy Spirit for helping me to hold on to God by faith.
Faith is really answers to life’s impossibilities.
An automobile may have several hundred horsepower. But the car will go nowhere until the clutch is released, connecting the power contained in the running motor and transferring that power to the wheels. So it is with our faith.
We have all the power of heaven behind us. But it is our faith that connects what is available to the circumstances at hand. Faith takes what is available and makes it actual.
What is available? Jesus Christ our forerunner! He is our sure and steadfast anchor of our soul. He has entered into the inner shrine behind the curtain (in the unseen realm) and become our high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 6:19). Jesus is actually our faith that is anchored in the unseen.
Therefore keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. “Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed (unseen world) – that exhilarating faith in and up with God – he could put with anything along the way: cross, shame whatever. And now he’s there (in the unseen realm), in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls. In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through – all that bloodshed. So don’t feel sorry for yourselves” (Hebrews 121:3-4- message)
Have a faith that is anchored in the unseen.
PREACHED AT ETAB ON 30 OCT 2016 1ST ENG SV