Living Stream Ministry Podcast ::
What is faith? Is it just to believe? Why do some have it and some do not? Does the Bible give us any direction on how to obtain more faith? Well, the questions concerning faith are virtually endless. Of course the Bible does have much to say about faith. Yet, in many ways it remains mysterious. One of the most mysterious references to faith is found in Philippians 2 where Paul talks about “the sacrifice and service of your faith.”
We want to get into this extraordinary expression today concerning the faith of the believers on this Life-Study from the book of Philippians. In the book of Philippians, the apostle Paul uses several remarkable or extraordinary expressions, and they’re not found any place else in the New Testament…not even in his other writings…in his epistles.
We spent quite a bit of time on at least two of them in previous programs…and those are “the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” and the second one would be “holding forth the word of life.” This whole portion of the Bible…especially here in Philippians…really gives you more and more basic reasons for enjoying Christ in so many ways.
Philippians 2:17…”But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice, and I rejoice together with you all.” If you would pay some attention, you will see…in this one short book…three extraordinary expressions were used by Paul. In chapter 1, he used…”the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Then in chapter 2 he used, “holding forth of the word of life.” You could never find such expressions in the Bible…even in other books by the apostle.
“The sacrifice of your faith.” Hard for us to get into this expression. The secret to experience Christ in such a book is just relying on these 3 things. The bountiful supply of the Spirit, the word of life, and the sacrifice of your faith. Now…what is faith that can constitute a sacrifice to God. As long as you are a believer, you have faith. But the question is this: could you consider your faith a sacrifice good for some other one to offer to God?
Paul was a New Testament priest. In Romans 15:16, Paul says I offered you gentile believers as a priest…all of you I offered to God. Paul was a gospel priest. He offered his converts all to God as a kind of sacrifice. Not only the persons…Romans 15 refers to the persons as sacrifice, but Philippians 2:17 refers to the believers faith as sacrifice. This is much deeper.
Three extraordinary expressions used by the apostle in this book…(1) the bountiful supply, (2) holding forth the word of life, and now (3) the sacrifice of your faith. This is not an easy passage to understand, but surely it’s worth our while to get into it to try to see the kind of faith that Paul was considering to be an offering…a sacrifice.
We have to spend some time to get the right understanding of the matter of faith. The faith here is a little different at least from the faith even in the Bible in other places. What is faith? Ephesians 1:13 gives us a very clear definition. You have heard the word of truth. Then you believed in Christ. The result was that you were sealed with the Spirit. The Word came and the Spirit was there. When you heard the Word and believed, you got the Spirit. The Word, faith and the Spirit…these three are one. The first function of the Word is to infuse you.
The Word infuses you with faith. Faith is the issue of the word and the function of the Spirit. Why? Because when the Word comes to you…when you touch it…the Spirit is there. Rather, I would say…the Word comes and you touch it…this Word becomes the Spirit. I must tell you…from my youth, I loved to have faith. So I tried my best. By that time I loved two things…faith and regeneration. I spent dollars to buy books…I couldn’t get any book to tell me what is faith. As it should be. Some books tell you what is faith…but not actually as faith should be.
Until in the recent years…mostly by my experiences…I realized what is faith. Faith is just the Word infusing the very element of the Word into you. And this very element is just the function of the Spirit. So faith is the issue of the Word and the function of the Spirit. So when you have faith, spontaneously you have the Word and the Spirit. And actually…dear saints…eventually when you have faith you have the three things. When you have faith, you have the Word. When you have faith, you have the Spirit.
You can pick up any portion of the Word and dwell on it for a while. Then something burning…something boiling…something rising up with power. What is that? This is the mingling of the Word and the Spirit with your faith. And this always issues in the full enjoyment of Christ.