Radical Faith

Radical Faith

Going Deeper

By Pastor Gary

We are living in a day when believers are going to have to live by faith more than ever.  As we look around, we see shifts that are taking place in our culture and how people are more open to evil and spiritual wickedness then they have been in recent history. As the enemy’s Kingdom becomes more radical, the Kingdom People of God must also become more radical in the Kingdom principles they live by. Really, we should be the ones who are willing to be radical first. This is not the first time in history that Christians needed to live lives of radical faith though. As a matter of fact, scripture gives many examples of radical faith that we often look at and admire. Let’s take the time to look at one of those examples. This story took place during Jesus’ ministry here on earth. We read about it in Mark 2.

Mark 2:1-12 ESV

And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. [2] And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. [3] And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. [4] And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. [5] And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” [6] Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, [7] “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” [8] And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? [9] Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? [10] But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— [11] “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” [12] And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

We read here about a man who is supernaturally healed by the power of God and is instantly raised up from a bed of sickness. How awesome would it have been to be there in that room, to see this man get up from his bed and then take it in his arms and walk out with it. It’s one of those really cool stories where I think, “oh man I wish I was there.” Just imagine being there in the house and listening to Jesus minister when all of a sudden you begin to see stuff falling from the roof. Perhaps Jesus had to move from side to side in the room as small pieces of the ceiling are dropping all around him.  I think He was one of those dynamic and engaging preachers that held the attention of the listeners, but I can only imagine, as the ceiling begins to fall, how much of a distraction it would be. Until all of a sudden there is a face that drops down through the hole and then there is a smile as the head disappears and you hear him say, “Yep! I see him, we got it right, Jesus is just underneath us.” Ok I’m a pretty focused guy, and I don’t know about you, but at this point, even I’m distracted. Suddenly you’re looking up and you see larger pieces of the ceiling being dismantled as Jesus is ministering. Then when the hole in the ceiling is big enough, you notice a bed! I expect we would likely use the word cot nowadays, but either way it’s being lowered into the room right beside Jesus. As it gets lower you suddenly realize that there is someone in the bed. I wonder if this is where they got the idea for the first Mission Impossible movie. 

Your mission if you choose to accept it is to get your sick friend in the overcrowded meeting with Jesus, the Healer. This message will not self-destruct because we don’t have that technology yet and it wouldn’t be very secretive anyway.  

Anyway, I’m always impressed with the faith involved here. There is the faith of the lame man and also the faith of his four, over the top, radical friends who opened the hole and lowered him in. These guys had to overcome quite a bit to get their friend in that room.  Can you imagine? I want to know how you come up with this plan. You arrive at the meeting and after trying and trying you realize that there is no way to get your friend in. Then one of the guys says, “If we could just get him up to the roof…” and you all look at each other and say, “I’m in.”  First, you have to make your way up there and find the spot you think Jesus is standing under, and then you have to start to make a hole and check your accuracy to make sure Jesus is really there. How big of a hole do you make before you start lowering the guy down on his cot? You know that sooner or later someone is going to come up and tell you that you can’t be doing this, but you just keep moving forward.  It must have taken a real radical faith to do this.  

These guys had to have something in them that said no matter what it takes, if we can just get our friend in front of Jesus, we know that He will heal him. That something was faith. They believed that Jesus was The Healer and if you can get the sick in the presence of the Healer, He will heal them. All throughout scripture we can find people who acted on a radical faith in God and saw their needs met. From Moses, who held up his staff to part the Red Sea, to Joshua, who told the sun and moon to stand still so they could finish winning a battle against an enemy of God’s people. Daniel was thrown into a Lion’s den for praying to God when it was illegal and the three, young, Hebrew, men; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were thrown into the fiery furnace for not bowing to the king’s idol. All of these stories show us an important element of faith; it’s that side of faith that steps out because of what it believes.  

All too often there are those who have heard about God and the things of His Word and have said with their mouths that they believe, and then done nothing about it. However, real faith, Bible faith, is a faith that acts on what it believes. This is radical faith.  Anytime you are willing to step out, when the only proof you have that the answer is yours is the word of the one who spoke the answer, that is radical faith. So if you are Moses and God tells you to lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the Red Sea and divide it, it takes radical faith to go ahead and do it. It’s not like Moses could go find a story where God had split a sea before. Nor did God take the time to explain to Moses the dynamic workings of the water flow of the Red Sea and how God was going to manipulate and suspend laws of science in order to create two walls of water with dry land in between for the Israelites to cross on. Moses found himself in that awkward but wonderful spot that we all do when God asks us to step out and do something that makes no sense to the natural mind. In the natural, it is impossible to split the sea by holding your hand over it, but this is where faith comes in. Faith says, “I’m going to step out and do this thing because of one reason, I believe God!” 

Often times in the Christian faith, we think about this kind of faith when it comes to doing great acts like Moses and Joshua, but it doesn’t start with huge things, it starts with small things. Well really, they seem small later on in our walk with the Lord, but at the time they are massive in our relative experiences with God. Moses didn’t start with parting the Red Sea. He had years of walking with the Lord and learning to trust in the small things first. Then, when that faith was developed to the point that he could part the sea, he parted the sea.

It’s this same kind of faith that is used today when someone hears a message on overcoming addiction or sin in their lives. The next time they are faced with the temptation of that addiction, they can take the step of faith and say no, and find that God, and His grace, are there to help them in their moment of need. It’s this understanding that caused the psalmist to write…

Psalm 119:9-11 ESV

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. [10] With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! [11] I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

And…

Psalm 37:31 ESV

The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.

You don’t step away from the addiction and sin because there is some special trick that happens when you memorize some special words. The power comes when you believe that the words are true and your faith takes hold of that truth, which is full of power. Those faith filled words bring that power to bare on the very bondage that is trying to keep you under it’s finger. Notice that it is not just the law of God, but the law of God in a person’s heart, that keeps them from sin. That word, that law, found in the heart is what we step out in faith with. This is what the walk of faith is all about, it’s when you get the word planted in your heart so deep that you begin to hear it coming out in your own words, and then you begin to move according to that word, as you walk out your life. Overcoming addiction happens by this power of the Word of God as you place it in your heart and when it becomes such a big part of you that you begin to speak and act on it.  This is what it’s speaking of in Romans 10:8-10…

Romans 10:8-10 ESV

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); [9] because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. [10] For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

You see, we will begin to speak the Word of God that gets down in our hearts, because out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). You will know the moment when the planted Word of God becomes the abundance of your heart, because it will begin to come out of your mouth in abundance. God’s Word over your situation will become your response to all the issues that this life tries to bring your way. Then when you really believe those things, they will become the beliefs that you begin to act on, and you will be operating in radical faith.

It’s that kind of faith that recognizes the Word that says we are no longer slaves to sin and that we are dead to sin and alive to Christ. It recognizes the fact that we are free from sin’s power and able to live lives that are free from sin.

Romans 6:6 ESV

We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 

Romans 6:11 ESV

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Standing on and acting on that Word, when we have nothing but that Word to believe, is radical faith.  When we do that, we actually gain the victory over sin that it speaks of. Then, as an act of radical faith, we step out and stop sinning or falling prey to the addiction that has previously bound us.

Many times as believers we forget that all the promises of God are received by faith, and so we start looking to the natural to see if we really have what the Word says. That would be ok if we were called to simply live natural lives, however, God has made us supernatural people, so we should live supernaturally.  

I want to encourage you, whenever you see a promise in the Word of God, to speak it and declare it until it becomes such a big part of who you are that you begin to act on it, or perhaps we should say you begin to live it out in your life. You are a supernatural child of God, so go ahead and live in the supernatural realm of radical faith.