Faith Factor 6 – Reward in the Storehouse

People of faith expect a reward. Now, that probably sounds irreligious to you. There is a religious notion in Christianity which celebrates self-sacrifice and despises expectation of reward. In most people’s religious thinking it is noble to give things up and evil to ask for things.

Yet the Bible is rich with instructions and examples of asking. Jesus Christ taught us to “Ask and you will receive”. Jabez asked and was given what he asked for. Gideon asked for proof and God gave it. Jesus said that God will give us what we ask for, just like a loving father does to his children.

And the Bible goes even further, explaining that there is a positive result from some spiritual actions, including the receiving of a benefit or reward. What we sow produces the crop you should expect from the seed. That means we get a result directly commensurate with our actions. “Give and it will be given to you”, said Jesus.

If you have a problem with the idea that Christians get a benefit from obeying God’s commands, then “Get Over It!” Our faith produces positive results, including our forgiveness and salvation. If you don’t believe that then you don’t have faith at all!

Faith Produces Results

The great “faith” chapter of Hebrews 11 speaks about many who were ‘faithful’ to God in the face of challenges. But it also talks of those who produced results by their faith. That’s because faith does produce results. Those results could be called benefits or rewards, but they are results none-the-less.

The “elders obtained”, “Sara received strength to conceive seed” and others “through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.”

Now, these are all Old Testament examples quoted in the New Testament. So, what about some New Testament examples? There is the lady who pressed through the crowd to touch Jesus, to whom Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole” (Matthew 9:22). There was a blind man to whom Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole” (Mark 10:52). There was a leper to whom Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole” (Luke 17:19). And there were two blind men to whom Jesus said, “According to your faith be it unto you”, and then He healed them (Matthew 9:29).

Faith Expects Reward

Not only is it wrong theology to shun a positive result from our faith, it is also a total destruction of faith itself. Those who think you should not expect a result from your believing actually have no faith.

How can I assert such a religiously abhorrent thing? I do so because of what the Bible teaches about faith. Let me take you to the basic definitional verse about faith which I have used throughout this series of lessons, Hebrews 11:6.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

The very definition of faith includes the idea that God is a rewarder by His own character and nature, and the idea that God will reward those who press in to Him. Faith, by definition, includes the belief that God responds to man’s dependence on Him. It involves expectation of a divine reward in the human experience, when man puts his trust in God.

So faith expects a reward. If it does not expect a reward it is not faith!

Blab It and Grab It!

Now, I fully understand that the faith message has been abused. I have met people who teach and others who believe that we can use faith as a power tool to manipulate God and get for ourselves things that we covetously desire.

I know that all such thinking is an abuse of the truth. I know that whole churches have succumbed to such wrong thinking. I know that “faith churches” and “faith preaching” have been way out of line at times. I know all of that. But the errors do not destroy the truth.

The error of Jehovah’s Witness teaching does not negate the reality of God as Jehovah. Mary worship among some Catholics does not remove Mary from her place in history. Extreme holiness does not remove our obligation to live holy lives. And so too, abuses of the faith message do not negate what the Bible teaches about faith and how we are to live by it.

So, don’t turn off to the Bible just because it awakens your fears or offences about what some others have done. Grow up! Get past determining your spiritual journey as a reaction to other people’s mistakes. Walk with God. Cling to His Word. Live by His truth. Navigate by the Holy Spirit’s guidance. And if “faith” preaching has offended you, then let me suggest what I mentioned earlier: “Get over it!”

Faith Geography

Let me describe for you the geography of your blessing and rewards.

Everything we can expect from God comes to us by the sacrifice of Jesus. Everything He gave up for us is now put in a storehouse of grace, for us to receive. He became poor that we might become rich, 2Corinthians 8:9. He left heaven, and we get to go there. He became human so we could become divine. His body was beaten and damaged so our bodies could be healed, 1Peter 2:24.

Everything you need from now to the end of eternity has already been purchased for us in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Therefore it is stored up for us in a storehouse, which is geographically situated at God’s right hand.

“You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11

Interestingly, Jesus is situated at God’s right hand too.

“For David himself said by the Holy Spirit, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand, till I make your enemies your footstool.” Mark 12:36

“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” Hebrews 10:12

The Storehouse of Grace

That place at God’s right hand where all our “pleasures” are, which will suffice us “for evermore”, is what I call the “Storehouse of Grace”. Everything that is in there is “grace”. It is undeserved by us and only comes to us through faith.

So, there is a Storehouse, called the Storehouse of Grace. And the key to the door of that storehouse is the key of “faith”.

“For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8

Salvation is the supply of all the things we need until the end of eternity. It is “grace”. And it is accessed “through faith”. We gain grace, which is the stuff in God’s storehouse of grace, at God’s right hand, only by using “faith” as the key to open the door.

That storehouse contains all the salvation, miracles and healings needed for everyone in all of human history. But most people will not use faith to open the door and release to themselves the blessings which have already been paid for and put in the storehouse, through the sacrifice of Jesus.

The Sheer Abundance

God’s storehouse of grace is jam packed with far more blessings than you will ever comprehend. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on your behalf bought for you far more than you could ever access in one lifetime. God did not skimp on His provisions for you. He is a God of abundance and He provided absolutely abundantly for you, when He sent Jesus to die for you.

Have a look at a couple of scriptures which give a sense for this abundance.

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

“But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.” 1Corinthians 2:9

There is so much in God’s storehouse with your name on it, waiting for you to claim it, that it is going to take God the whole of eternity to show you what you missed out on claiming during your short stay on planet earth.

“That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:7

Faith Gets the Reward

Faith opens the door to that awesome storehouse. Faith in God does it. Your confident trust in God allows you to be led by Him to do the exploits He has created you to do. In the process of stepping into the miraculous dimension He has planned for you there will be some awesome challenges. But God has already prepared the miracles for you and put your name on the package, waiting for you to claim it.

If you do not step out in faith, then you will never need the package and it will be there for you at the end of your life. During eternity God will make a grand display of all those amazing presents waiting to be claimed by His children, but which they failed to reach out for.

If you are crazy enough to believe God and to do the asking, seeking and knocking which Jesus spoke about, then you will get the rewards. If you can bring yourself to “live by faith”, rather than just camp on the memory of a past moment of faith, then you too will get some of those amazing rewards.

That’s why the life of faith is so amazing and so exhilarating. It opens up to us the miracle dimension in which Jesus lived and which the Apostle Paul followed him in. So, let’s be followers of Christ and Paul and step into the faith dimension where the power of God has already been prepared for us to enjoy.

Feed Your Faith

Do you struggle to trust God at times? Do you find that you are sometimes full of faith and other times you seem empty? It is not wrong to run low on faith, but the Bible does teach us to boost our faith. So this article is about how to Feed Your Faith, helping you keep a strong faith level for the challenges that might come your way.

Levels of Faith

The Bible talks about faith as something that comes in different sizes and different levels. James points out that some people are “rich in faith“.

“Has not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to them that love him?” James 2:5

Jesus met a Centurion who had “great faith“.

“When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Truly I say to you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Matthew 8:10

Jude tells us to “build up our faith“.

“But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” Jude 1:20

We are shown how that “faith comes by hearing“.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17

How to Build Up Your Faith

In the verses just quoted you will find two keys to building up your faith. The Apostle Jude tells us that “praying in the Holy Spirit” is part of the process. That involves praying in the heavenly prayer language that we receive when we are Baptised in the Holy Spirit.

Jackie Pullinger shares in her testimony about how her regular, daily praying in tongues, for 20 minutes each day, built her up in spirit and transformed her ministry in Hong Kong’s Forbidden City (See her testimony book: Chasing the Dragon). She was continually building up her faith by praying in the Holy Spirit.

The other way to build up our faith is to hear the word of God. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. Hearing the preaching of God’s Word, and reading God’s Word are powerful ways to build up our faith. However, this is not to be the dry and empty sounding out of God’s Word, but the Spirit-anointed quickening of God’s Word to our hearts and minds.

Using Bible Verses

Years ago I was encouraged to make a list of faith-building verses and to quote them out loud multiple times each day. This was like a regular therapy, such as a sick person might do three times a day, or a fitness enthusiast might use as a daily exercise program.

When I came across verses that built up and fed my faith I noted them and then wrote them out on a page which I pinned at my desk. Multiple times each day I would read the list out loud to myself; encouraging myself to trust God and expect His blessing and favour.

A Starter List

Someone recently asked me to give them a list of faith-building verses. I would actually prefer that people dug out their own list, as that is a spiritual exercise in itself. But I did pull a list of verses together. I am sharing that list with you here, to encourage you to print it off and pin it somewhere where you will read it multiple times each day. I want you to build up your faith and have you become confident in God.

I also encourage you to add other verses to this list, as you find texts which encourage your faith. These verses are based on the King James Version, which is my usual text. You might want to copy them out in a more modern version. I have updated these verses to make them more reader-friendly.

Faith Building Bible Verses

“Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which has pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.” Psalm 35:27

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

“Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, will men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you measure out it will be measured back to you again.” Luke 6:38

The blessing of the LORD, makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” Proverbs 10:22

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Luke 12:32

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you will be a blessing” Genesis 12:2

“Saying, Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” Hebrews 6:14

“Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.” Jeremiah 32:41

“But my God will supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

“Commit your way to the LORD; trust also in him; and he will bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:5

You will not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” 2Chronicles 20:17

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5,6

“Jesus said to him, If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes.” Mark 9:23

Blessed is the man that trusts in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he will be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreads out her roots by the river, and will not see when heat comes, but her leaf will be green; and will not be careful in the year of drought, neither cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7,8

Building Faith or Sharing Doubts

Do your friends build your faith or pull you down with doubts? Since you desperately need ‘faith’ in your life, in order to please God, you are wise to protect yourself from those who will pull it down.

Let me remind you that faith is the thing the Bible says will “please” God. If you want to please God you must be a person of faith. Faith is not something reserved for the religious. It is vital for everyone who ever hopes to have God’s help or any kind of relationship with Him.

“Without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Sharing Doubts

Many years ago I heard a preacher tell of a conversation he had with a minister who was heading to a conference. The conference brought together theological people from many places, so they could “share their doubts” about the Bible with one another.

Such a gathering is preposterous. It celebrates the very antithesis of faith. And since Christianity is ‘faith’ based, there is no prize for promoting and propagating doubts. If the people around you pull down your faith then you need to shield yourself against that, not dive into it with gusto. It is no wonder that many men of the cloth (priests, ministers and theologians) have empty hearts and a vain religion. They do not value and protect their faith in God.

Building Faith

Faith is found in people in different measures. It is possible to have “great faith” (Matthew 8:10). We can be “weak in faith” (Romans 4:19). We can build up our faith (Jude 1:20). We can have “little faith” (Luke 12:28).

Faith can be built up as noted above in Jude 1:20. We are even told how to build up our faith. The two main instruments we have for encouraging our faith are the Word of God and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Jude tells us to build up our faith by the gift of the Holy Spirit which we know as praying in tongues. Jude calls this “praying in the Holy Spirit”.

“But you, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” Jude 1:20

The other way to build up our faith is through hearing the preaching of the Word of God. The Apostle Paul points us to this means in his letter to the Romans, explaining that faith is produced by hearing the preaching of God’s Word.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17

Build Up Your Faith

To encourage your faith make sure you listen to someone preaching a faith building message each week. You can do this much more easily than in previous generations, thanks to audio-recording. Listen to people who believe what the Bible teaches and who press in to see God’s power in their lives. Those people are seeking to live in faith, so they are likely to boost your faith in God.

Also make sure you associate with people who are moving in the power of God’s Holy Spirit and operating the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Your faith will be encouraged and your life impacted by the fresh experience of God in your life and among your friends.

Oh, and if someone invites you to a conference where everyone is going to share their doubts, don’t go!

Building Up Your Faith

One of the personal issues I am pressing through at present is that of encouraging my faith so I can press in for some particular blessings I believe God has for me at this time. So the idea of ‘building up our faith’ is in my thinking. Since I know that you need to have your faith encouraged I am sharing some of my thinking with you, as a fillip to your own spiritual condition.

The Bible speaks of differing levels of faith. Jesus told His disciples they were of “little faith” (Matthew 8:26). He commended another person’s faith, calling it “great faith” (Matthew 8:10).

We have each experienced times when our faith has been encouraged and we have been much more ready to act in faith. While at other times our faith seems to be at low ebb and we have hesitated. My personal aim is to encourage my faith in God, so that I am emboldened to do the things He wants me to do for Him.

So, how do I build up my faith? The main mechanism for increasing faith is to hear the word of God. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Listening to the faithful and faith-filled preaching of God’s Word is a positive way to boost your faith in God. Get into God’s Word, the Bible, and believe what God speaks to you from its pages.

Now, to be more thorough in my explanation let me pull some key thoughts out of the Apostle Paul’s sermon on faith, in Romans 10:6-17. Paul declares that Faith produces Righteousness which cannot be gained by serving the Mosaic Law. Faith involves a heart conviction which is expressed in our words. The heart conviction is that Jesus came from heaven, died for our sins and then God raised Him from the dead. The verbal declaration is that Jesus is Lord of your life. The act of believing in Jesus rescues you from shame and brings deliverance in your situation.

So faith involves a conviction of heart that is then expressed in your life.

As we hear God’s Word our heart conviction that God is able to do more than we could ask or think is built up. Our faith is increased. That faith needs to be put into action, by our confession of Christ as saviour, and by other appropriate expressions of our confidence in God.

Let me now take you to Hebrews 11, the great Faith Chapter in the Bible, to find another simple way to understand what you have to believe to have effective faith. I call this the Faith Two-Step. It’s found in Hebrews 11:6.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that comes to God must believe that he is (exists), and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Firstly that verse declares the absolute centrality of faith in our life and experience. It is absolutely vital in our relationship with God, since only by faith can we please God.

Faith is then described as two compatible beliefs. The first is a belief in God, Himself. We must believe in His existence, as He reveals Himself in the Bible. We “believe that he is” – which means we believe Him to be all that He says He is. He is all powerful, holy, loving, gracious, eternal, and so on.

Next we must believe that God responds to human initiative. While God is able to do whatever He wants to do, He has somehow connected His actions to ours. While He can do far more for us than we can imagine, He limits what He will do, waiting on us to prompt Him to action. He is a “rewarder of those who diligently seek him”. This means He does not give His grace equally to all. He measures out more of His blessing to those who take initiative and action to draw upon His grace.

In this verse we have the convergence of Calvinist and Arminian concepts of God. God is indeed supreme, yet God has also limited Himself, at least to some degree, to the actions of mankind.

I have two simplistic questions, the Faith Two-Step, which I use to get to the grist of faith in this key verse. First question is: “Can God Do It?” This question challenges our heart with, “Do we believe God to be who He says He is?” It speaks to the “believe that he is” portion of Hebrews 11:6.

The Second question is: “Will God Do It For Me?” This question challenges our heart with, “Do we believe that God will use His eternal power for your benefit?” It speaks to the “he is a rewarder” portion of Hebrews 11:6.

Many people believe God is able to do miraculous things, but they don’t believe that God will do anything for them. Thus they only have one part of the Faith Two-Step. God’s sovereignty is real, but it won’t impact your life if you don’t activate personal faith in God.

Allow me to encourage you to build up your most holy faith (Jude 1:20). Make it your intention to boost your confidence that God can do anything. Nothing is impossible to God. Then build up your confidence that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.