Mary Roper - Faith - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Convention - 2016

It is a real pleasant privilege to be with you people here and you all feel like brothers and sisters. Hebrews 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” I have been thinking about faith and having a strong faith. This present world seeks to undermine our faith and it would cause us to question our faith and wonder about our personal faith. There is so much in God’s presence to feed our faith. We should be strong in faith that we can stand and withstand the enemy of our soul.

Satan would like to weaken our faith little by little so we could not stand anymore. If he would come and remove all our faith at once, we would recognise his tactics. Little by little and one thing and another and he gets great inroads into our lives before we recognise it. We must be strong in faith. There was a man in our field, they had some little bugs, he knew they were in and round his house and he did not pay much attention. Usually our winters are so severe and the winter kills most of the bugs off. For about three years, those bugs kept appearing and reappearing. And one day, he decided, "I must really find out what the problem is." And he found out the little bugs were carpenter ants and they had eaten a beam almost away and the wall was not going to hold very much longer. That is what Satan wants to do to our faith, he worked quietly and he is silently and little by little he just eats it away. And how are we going to keep it strong? How are we going to that?

A few years ago, I picked up a magazine, it was a Time magazine and it seemed pretty harmless. There was an article in it about God or Jesus and I felt I would like to read that article and you know what it did, it did nothing for my faith. And for days after that, I found questions arising and I began to wonder about things and I began to question things and my peace was gone and I was so upset with that article. And I knew that was not good for my faith, and I personally will never read them again because of what it did and I returned to the doctrine of Christ and read Jesus words and it restored my faith and it bought a wonderful settled feeling. We do not want to feed on things that will destroy our faith, we want to feed on things that will build our faith up. There is so much that could destroy our faith, but let’s build it up. Let’s feed on the bread of Christ, let us feed on the Lamb of Christ, let us feed on the wholesome healthy food to build up our faith.

Luke 22 was a time that Jesus was speaking to Peter, “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” That is what Satan wants to do to our faith. Sifting is just a process whereby the good and profitable thing is removed from the unprofitable thing. When Satan sifts, all he is looking for is chaff and it has no eternal value. He wants to take away the thing that is weighty and leave us with something that had no eternal future. When God does the sifting, He wants to sift out the thing that doesn’t have any eternal future and the chaff has no value and God wants to leave us with something of great value, and that is the thing He has placed in our hearts. I hope we will be very aware that Satan wants to sift out our faith and he wants to leave us with fear, and he wants to leave us with all things with no eternal value or future. We need to be strong in the faith, we need to have strong faith so we can stand and withstand him.

A blind man came to Jesus, Matthew 9. Jesus said, “Believe ye that I am able to do this?” And they said, "Yes, Lord." Then Jesus touched their eyes saying, “According to your faith, be it unto you.” I began looking into my own heart and began wondering, if something happened according to my faith and what would happen and just ask yourself that question? Be it according to your faith, and would anything happen? I want to have a strong faith, I want to understand my faith, and walk by faith, and I want to live by faith and I want to die with faith in my heart, so I need a strong faith today so I can stand and withstand.

In the book of Jude, there is a good verse and it is good counsel. Verses 20-21, “But ye beloved building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. Keep yourselves in the love of God looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” If your faith is going to be strong, you need to do some work, you need to start building. Faith is like a foundation building block, and if we are going to be like Peter said, add to our faith, we need a solid foundation to build on and that only comes from God. There was a young couple that thought about adding on to their house and they drew some plans and the builder came and looked at the house. He looked at the outside and then he looked at the inside. And in Canada, we have basements in our homes and he went to the basement and had a look at the foundation. He came back and told the young couple we have to start with the foundation, the foundation is not strong enough to build on. Is your faith strong enough to build on? We need a strong faith. There is not a time in life when we can say our faith is too strong. We need a strong connection with the God of heaven, so we can have a strong faith.

There was an old man that had problems in his family, some of his family were questioning the faith. This old man sat with his Bible hour after hour and he poured over it and you know he could answer their questions from the Bible and his faith was strengthened and he could strengthen the faith of others. We need a strong foundation so God can build on it and we can build on it. Jude said to pray in the Holy Ghost to keep yourself in the will of God. If we do that we are building up our most holy faith, we need a strong faith because we have a strong enemy, and we want to stand and we want to withstand.

I like what it says in Romans about Abraham and that he was not weak in faith. He did not stagger at the promises of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. Abraham had an old body and Sarah had an old body, but that did not weaken their faith. The test of time should not weaken our faith, experiences in our life should not weaken our faith, but strengthen our faith. Sometimes God allows unpleasant experiences to pass through our lives. I hope we understand through those experiences God is not wanting us to fail, He is wanting to make our faith stronger. Sometimes we can trace God’s hand through experiences, and we give thanks in the experiences because we see God’s hand and this strengthens our faith. When we pass through the experience and we look back on the experience and then we see the hand of God.

It was after the flood that the rainbow appeared, and Noah gave thanks. I believe then his faith would have been stronger than it had ever been, because he could trace the hand of God. Every one of us can look back on our lives and we can trace the hand of God and it should increase our faith, we need a strong faith. We have to stand by faith, and live by faith, and we have to feed our faith.

Psalm 73 begins at a very low time and the Psalmist saw what was happening and his eyes were on the wrong thing, he was not feeding his faith. Have you ever been there and you just know you are in trouble. What did he do? He did not stay there he went into the sanctuary. You could have questions in your heart, "What to do?" We may have a lot of answers, but no answers are for the soul. The only one that has an answer for the soul is God. He went into the sanctuary and he got answers. “But it is good for me to draw near to God I have put my trust in the Lord God that I may declare all work.” That happens when we are alone with God, and there is no substitute, God has the answers and God will build up our faith.

We hear about reading, and praying and meditating, they are all faith builders, only if it is a meaningful time. We can get into the habit of reading our Bible a little bit and going on, meditating is really spending time on the word of God, and finding something to apply to our faith. We need to spend meaningful time with God. Prayer can be just as empty if we don’t connect with the God of heaven. To really pray is a faith builder, and it affects my faith and the faith of those that I touch all come in contact with.

Many years ago, I got up early one morning for my coffee, and I went out to the kitchen, and the kitchen opened onto the living room. And here was a young father kneeling beside the lounge and a little baby was sleeping beside him and he was praying. And I thought, "I do not need my coffee that bad." I remember thanking God for praying people that strengthen their faith, in fact it would affect that baby and the following generations. If we keep our faith strong, it will have a great affect and do not feed off one another’s fears. Feed off one another’s faith and we will bring joy to God and we will stand strong. Amen.