Today’s passage was a record after Peter and John healed the crippled man from birth. However, they were arrested and suffered by the Priest and the Sadducees although they did the good work. The offices tried for them to make a guilty due to Jesus Christ. The officers threatened the Apostles not to teach and spread the name of Jesus any more. This story shows a life of the believer. The life of the believers sometimes seems to miss all cylinders. Although the Apostles did the good work, they would be blamed. For us, if we heard this kind of blame after the good work, we might raise a question, ‘what was this?” We may deeply think about the meaning of ‘to live by faith’.
Lauren Cunningham, who was the founder of YWCA, defined ‘faith’ in his book called by ‘courage to stand out at the edge of the cliff.’
“Faith is to believe that it will happen before it happens. Faith is to believe that you will obtain what you don’t have right now.”
His definition is quite similar to Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”
In addition, Lauren explained ‘what faith is’. “Faith is the strong confidence to the characters of God who will solve any problem that you can’t solve by yourself.”
This description is also similar to Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Again faith is to believe that He exists and that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
Based on the definition by Lauren and by the bible, Faith is to know God. To live by faith is to know God in our daily life. Let’s take a look at people who live by faith in today’s passage.
In ver. 23, you may see the response after people heard the missionary report from Peter and John. They cited the beginning part of Psalm 2. If you compare it with today’s passage, there were some modifications. Let’s read Psalm 2:1-3.
“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. "Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters."
The believers confessed the concerns what they had honestly, which showed that they had the strong confidence of God’s characters. Prayers contain our confessions and concerns because of our confidence to God. They remembered the Words of God. Thus, to live by faith is to listen to God’s words.
Ver. 29. “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.”
To live by faith in the world, boldness in God is essential. To live in a dangerous world we need courage from our Lord against the world. In addition, we need also power from the Lord to live by faith in the world.
Let’s read ver. 30. “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus."
In other word, to live by faith is to live by God’s power, but not by mine. And the prayers of the believers were answered immediately here.
Let read ver. 31, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”
From these scriptures, we can learn that to live by faith in the world we need God’s helps absolutely. To do this, we should confess our weakness to the Lord; ask for His help because we trust God; we trust His faithfulness. We need to learn that we can’t do anything without his power. We can do everything with his power.
Who is God? Though today’s passage, he was not to remove all possible obstacles for the believers. Instead, the Lord allows the believers to pass difficult situations. He may ask us to pass through the difficult situation. We can find the similar trend or principal in the Old Testament.
As you know, when the people of Israel tried to enter the Promised Land, Canaan, there were so many enemies. Although God promised this land, the people of Israel had to conquer against them. However, the countries that the Israelites had to fight were so strong. Worst things the enemies had also strong forts. It was not easy to win against them. Nonetheless, God asked them to fight against the strongest enemies although they were not trained as soldiers. God kept training them as worshippers. This reflects the reason that God trained the Israelites to live by faith.
What did the Lord want from them? What does the Lord want from the believers? Why does the Lord allow difficult situations in our lives? These are the concerns we have.
One of reasons is for the believers to pray for them. They recognize their weakness and fear in this world. They may recognize that they need the power from the Lord. The difficult situation is good for us sometimes. This is the way how the believers should live by faith in this world. What we should learn from all of these is the characters of God. What we should learn is to know God. To know God means to have a deep relationship with God. Like a married couple, they have a deep relationship as a couple.
Do you know that we are very precious to God? God values ourselves rather than what we have in knowledge or in wealth. His interest is a close relationship with us. God wants to have a deep relationship with us whether we have a strong or weak belief. Although they had courage and power from God, the most important thing in today’s passage is to have a strong relationship with God. What the Israelites learned was to keep the intimacy with God. What God wants us also is to have a close relationship with God. That is to live by faith.
The oppression of the world to the church makes people have intimate relationships with the Lord. And the result was the Spiritual Revival. This reflects that although the church may have many worries or concerns, there will not problems. If you are a person who listens to God; if you are a person who prays to God; if you are a person who receives the power from God, we shall be okay. Through this time, if we live by faith, we will experience a deep relationship with God. This is true for our home. Although our home is in difficult situations, we can keep the strong relationship with family members if we lean on each other. We would be happy whatever the situation was.
God wants us to live by faith. To have a strong confidence in God, to believe in God, the believers will see what God does for them and their faith will grow.
Through the people who restore or have a close relationship with God, the relationship between people will be restored. Let’s read ver. 32. “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.”
People themselves gave up the normal life. They didn’t insist on their desires. They shared what they have with other believers because they now understand who God is. They had a faith that God would provide everything that was necessary for their life. Do you have such a faith? It is not for the faith of the pastor in a small church only, but you all.
All people who react with the God’s calling should live by faith. The reason that they could share with others because of the confidence, “the Lord feeds me.” Although we share what we have, we will experience the abundant from God.
And also people did like ver. 32 we can find another reason why people started to sharing with others.
Ver. 34 ‘there were no needy persons among them’
This means that there were many poor people in their meeting. The believers recognized them. Thus, they shared voluntarily to help others. To give is to be blessed.
To live by faith is to give up my possessions and desires to follow what the Lord wants us. The believers in
ver. 32 reduced the concerns of their brothers and sisters in Him. To live by faith is to restore or to have a close relationship with God and also with neighbors, especially brothers and sisters in the Lord.
We have strong outreach programs. We support the vision tree and also to assist the missionaries. As we know, we don’t have a power to help them, we don’t have enough money to support them. In spite of this deficiency, we did the ministries for more than 10 years.
I hope that we need to learn something from this. First, we have to learn who God is and to have a good relationship with God. He is our provider! He is our Lord. Second we have to have a good relationship with others. We are brothers and sisters in Christ.
People who don’t believe in God may analyze the cause when they encounter the difficult situation; and try to solve the situation. However the believers are different. The believer should focus on the words of God and confess our situation clearly and pray for His help. The believer will receive the power of God to overcome the situation they have. Overall the believer will have a close relationship with God through the situation. In addition, the believers will have a strong relationship with the neighbors.
This is what happened in today’s passage. This story should become ours. They were one in heart and mind. We should be one in heart and mind.
To live by faith is to love God and to love our neighbor. To live by faith is to experience what God did for us in a close relationship. I pray that we can show the love of the neighbor.
The good relationship with neighbor and also is Peace! I hope that we live by faith. “a righteousness that is by faith from first to last!”