TEXT: Mark 2:1-12; Hebrews 11:6
The students will be able to explain what faith is, and will recognize that faith is essential in order for one to receive anything from God.
Jesus came from Heaven and is familiar with forces and powers that we know nothing about. We should not be so determined to bring everything Jesus said within range of our finite understanding. Through faith, we can attain that which we would not ordinarily dream possible.
The rooftops of Bible-time homes were usually flat, not peaked like many homes today. Archaeologists who have excavated some of the houses of Capernaum, found that these homes were simple. The walls were made of stone and the flat roofs probably made of mud mixed with straw. With this sun-baked mud and straw mixture, it would not have been difficult to pull apart a section of the roof and let the lame friend down through the opening. Many houses in Capernaum had courtyards with outside stairways leading to the roof. This made it easy for the four men to carry their paralyzed friend to the rooftop and avoid the crowd.
It happened in real life! Friends of a paralyzed man heard about Christ, believed in His power to heal, and took action to bring the paralytic to Jesus. Undaunted by impenetrable crowds, and with sheer determination sparked by faith, they opened a passageway in the roof and let the man down, bed and all, at the very feet of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, He first forgave the man’s sins. Then, to the amazement of the crowd, He told the man to take up his bed and go to his house—and he did!
- The formula for obtaining the desired answer from the Lord involves the sum of two essential elements. Read James 2:14-26 and write what you think the two elements are.
Response: Faith and works. Help your students understand that faith without works is not enough. Ask them to define what is meant by works. They should conclude that it means “to take actions.” Discuss how faith and action go hand in hand to bring results.
- In the key verse, stated below, underline with a single line those words which deal with faith. Then go back and underline with a double line those which relate to action. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Response: In this verse, the words faith and believe should have a single underline. The words cometh and seek should have a double underline. Students should see that faith and action are required as a starting point of their Christian experience. Discuss how each underlined word relates to receiving salvation.
- The paralyzed man was unable to come by himself to Christ. Others helped him. What action does this fact suggest to us who believe in Jesus as the Christ?
Response: Help your students realize that they should be active in their service for God by bringing to Christ those who are “paralyzed” by sin. In addition, they should bear one another’s burdens and encourage each other by their own faith. Ask the students for responses as to how they can do this.
- In your own words, paraphrase the definition of faith given in Hebrews 11:1.
Response: The point of this is to encourage the students to write down their understanding of the definition of faith. The students’ responses should confirm that faith bridges the gap between what we seek and what we receive. It is the demonstration of what cannot be seen. Ask students to cite examples from their own knowledge or experience when faith brought results.
- If Christ were coming to your city, consider several urgent needs concerning yourself or friends that would prompt you to visit Him. List some of the needs that are important to you now.
Response: Encourage students to cite specific needs and encourage each of them to pray in faith for each other. This will put their need before others and inspire them to put faith into action by persevering in prayer.
- We have established that faith is a vital factor in receiving something from God. How can one’s faith be increased? See Romans 10:17.
Response: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Have the class mention some of the places or occasions when they have opportunities to hear the Word of God. They may include: church, Sunday school, personal devotions, Gospel literature, and fellowship with Christian friends. Ask them to give personal examples of faith-building experiences.
- Look up the following Scriptures, and next to each reference write what that Scripture says should be done to receive an answer.
1 John 1:9
1 John 3:20-24
Response: Allow students time to give their answers. They may include:
Matthew 6:6 — Make your petition or request privately before the Throne of Grace.
Matthew 21:21-22 — Have faith [believe], don’t doubt.
John 20:26-29 — Believe even though you can’t “see,” or understand.
1 John 1:9 — Confess your sins.
1 John 3:20-24 — Keep His commandments.
Through these Scriptures, help your students to become aware of certain steps or actions to be taken before the results of their prayers can be realized. Your students should come to the realization that to receive results, they must take action.
- How much faith does one need to get results from God? See Matthew 17:20.
Response: Conclude your study of faith by bringing out that a great measure of faith is not required. Do you want to “move a mountain”? Exercise a bit of faith no larger than a grain of mustard seed!
Ask for a volunteer. Blindfold the student and ask if he can trust you as you lead him around the room. This shows the class that they need to have faith in you as they would need to have faith in God who will lead them through life.
Divide the class into two groups and have a contest to see who can name other characters in the Old or New Testament who had faith in God and had received gifts from Him. If necessary, have the students read the rest of the 11th chapter of Hebrews.
Bring a strongbox (or a cardboard box covered to look like a treasure box), a padlock with a key that is labeled FAITH, and some odd keys labeled DOUBT, DISTRUST, UNBELIEF, etc. Fill the box with little giftwrapped packages or prize ribbons labeled HEALING, FORGIVENESS, PEACE, STRENGTH, HEALTH, etc. Show that faith is the only key to these gifts from God.
Materials: Candle and Match Do you believe a match will ignite? You don’t see it burning, yet you believe. Compare this to faith. It could also be compared to turning on a faucet that works and knowing there will be water, or reaching for a flashlight and knowing a light will appear when turned on. Faith is believing in things you haven’t seen yet, but expect to see.
Explain to your class that you have a candy bar in your hand. Ask who believes you. Then give it to the one who comes after it. Faith is believing before you receive.
Material: Peanut in shell
Announce that you have something in your hand that no one has ever seen before. Break open the shell of the peanut and show the nut inside. Even though no one had ever seen this nut before, they probably believed it was there before they saw it. Faith is believing even what we haven’t seen.
Bring a coin to class (nickel, dime, etc.). Without showing the coin, tell your students, “The first person up here will get this coin.” Ask the first student there, “If you really believe I have a coin do you believe I will give it to you?” His answer will probably be “Yes.” If so, give him the coin. This illustrates faith, and faith works the same way with Jesus.