Andrew Fountain - What Does "Faith" Mean


Full sermon notes - What Does “Faith” Mean

  • What does it mean to be a believer? to have faith?
    • Does anyone know where this quote comes from?


“I find your lack of faith disturbing?”

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  • Here is another quote for you:

Tapping into Power

  • “Faith” is a way of tapping into some impersonal power

“I don’t believe it!”

“That is why you fail”

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Who said this?

“Faith is believing what you know ain’t so”

  • Mark Twain in Huckleberry Finn
  • But you can’t live your life without any kind of beliefs
    • Every time I drive a car or ride the subway I am trusting the mechanical systems
    • Every time I go to the doctor or the bank I am putting faith somewhere

Another quote:

“I’m writing a letter to the Great Pumpkin because the Great Pumpkin comes every year and he gives toys to all the children.”

“When are you going to stop believing something that isn’t true?”

  • He persuades Sally to wait most of the evening in the pumpkin patch with him
    • when the Great Pumpkin never arrives, Sally is very angry because she has lot a whole evening’s candy from trick-or-treating.
  • Does it matter that the Great Pumpkin doesn’t really exist?
  • Apparently not, according to one person:

Just have faith?

pumpkin at:

  • Is it really true that the important thing is to have beliefs
  • even if they are not based on anything real?
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  • But do people seriously believe that?

Faiths Act

  • About Faiths Act: Why is faith important?

“At the heart of Faiths Act is the belief that faith can be a Force 4 Good.
When people of faith act together they achieve more than they can alone.”

  • So it doesn’t really matter if what you believe is true, because faith itself is a “Force 4 Good”?
  • Would we try and apply this logic to medical beliefs?
    • Some people believe that if you get a wound, you should keep it as clean as possible
    • Others say you should rub cow-dung into it
    • It doesn’t really matter as long as you really believe it!
    • If you truly believe it, your Faith is a power that will heal you



Image source: Meng Chwen

  • George Washington had a sore throat and told his doctor.
    • The doctors applied leeches and when he was no better, more leeches
    • and more until he had lost 5 pints of blood, and died.
    • Was his problem that he didn’t believe in leeches?
    • No, his problem was that he did!
  • So the only really important questions are:

Important Questions

  1. “What do I need ........ to do for me?”
  2. “Is ........ capable of doing this?”
  3. “Can I trust ........ to do it for me?”
  • These are questions we ask of:
  • The doctor, dentist, lawyer, teacher, banker, insurance agent, taxi driver
  • Jesus came teaching that there is another life after this one
    • In fact, we can begin this new life right away, even before we die
    • He called this new kind of life, his kingdom
  • But he didn’t just say this, he demonstrated the power of this new life
    • For example, when his friend Lazarus died:

John 11:21-27

  1. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”
  2. Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
  3. Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”
  4. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
  5. She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
  • But that’s ok if you were there!
    • You may say “If I saw someone physically rise from the dead, then I would believe”
    • Actually that’s not totally true: If we are determined not to believe something, then we will deny any evidence
  • In fact, there is abounding evidence that Jesus was telling the truth
    • One of the best is the way he continues to “raise from the dead” people who are living lost lives
    • He takes them from a dead life to a living one

Jesus says John 10:10,11

  1. …I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
  2. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
  • So what does it take to have this life that Jesus offers?

Mark 8:34,35

  1. And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
  2. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
  • Now that requires faith
    • If I said I had a way of giving you more strength physically
    • But it required you to die, and allow me to bring you back to life
    • that would require faith
  • So Jesus says, give me everything
    • and I will give you back 10 times as much
    • but you must be willing to surrender your whole life to me
  • What he offers is not just this life, but life in the age to come
    • How can I believe in that?
    • As you begin to experience his new life now, you will grow in your trust for the age to come

Updated on 2012-03-14 by Andrew Fountain