He does see ... if he came amongst us ... and then for those four men who let their friend down through the roof, he saw their faith.
 Well is that what he would see with you or would he just see what you're wearing and, what would he see?
 Would there be any faith to see?
 He saw their faith.
 And then last week again, we considered another question regarding er er, er regarding faith.
 I'd like us to ask another question this week, it's ... slightly different, perhaps a strange on the surface ... and it's ... how much faith does God have in you?
 How much faith does God have in you?
 Now you might say perhaps, without really thinking about it, well ... if he's got any sense [laugh] he won't have a lot of fe , faith in me because I am, I am a great failure, I've let him down.
 He shouldn't have faith in me.
 But it's a serious question.
 How much faith does God have in you?
 How much does he have in me?
 Well, let's keep that to the back of our mind for the moment, cos we're gonna, er see some answers to that along the way, this morning, I trust.
 Right at the outset, perhaps we can read a verse from one Timo , er two Timothy, chapter one and verse twelve ... and Paul says there, he's ... come almost to the end of his life, he's, he will shortly be, taken out and will be executed ... and he says, [reading] for this reason I also suffer these things  .
 Because er, he he he had given them of of how he had become a Christian, he had become a minister of Jesus Christ and so on, he says, [reading] for this reason I suffer these things, but I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed.
 I'm convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him ... until that day.
 I know whom I have believed  .
 And it's very important to notice what the apostle Paul says there.
 He does not say I know what I have believed ... but he says, I know whom I have believed.
 And our faith is not in our creed, vital though that is, important though it is, it does matter what we believe, but even more important than that, and foundational to that, it matters who we believe!
 And Paul says, I know whom I have believed.
 Whom I've trusted in.
 In whom I have put my faith.
 Now, God never asks us to do something that he doesn't do himself.
 He doesn't ask us en , to give anything that he himself hasn't given.
 And so when God comes to me and asks me to do something ... he's already walked that path before me.
 When God comes and he asks me to give something, whether it's my finance, whether it's my time, whether it's my, my abilities, whether it's, even my life itself ... for him, he only asks because he has already done it.
 He is not the sort of person who sits on the sidelines giving instructions.
 He is not a coach or a trainer who sits the game out, never plays it, but just as a theoretical tactician.
 But he's already done it.
 He's already known all the knocks and all the hardships, he's been there before us.
 That's why the apostle could say, we don't have a high priest, who's not touched with the feelings of our infirmities, he's been there before it, he was tempting in all points like as we are, yet he was without sin.
 And the same is true of faith, and so for Paul to say, I know whom I have believed, I know the one in whom I have put my trust, then the other side of th the other direction is true also, God had put his trust, had put his faith in Paul.
 God had deposited his faith and his confidence in Paul.
 You see, faith's always a two way traffic, it's not just me believing God, but it's God believing me.
 It's not just me trusting in God, but it's God trusting in me.
 After all, what have you and I committed to him?
 But, to take it in it's totality, like Paul we can say, we've committed our life to him.
 Our eternal future we've committed to him.
 Now for you and for me, that's a lot, in fact it's [laugh] everything we've got, but what has God committed to you and to me?
 He has committed himself.
 Now, as a simple equation, me committing myself to God, is incomparable to God committing himself to me!
 It's way out of balance, but that's how God has done it.
 He has committed himself to us.
 Well let's think for just a moment, you know, we've been talking over these last three or four weeks about faith and that, erm, let's just think, perhaps and we should have done this sooner, but I dunno, it it fits in th this morning, er perhaps just what, what faith is.
 And like a lot of things, it's often easier not what it is, but first of all what it isn't.
 I have to confess, for what it's worth, I do not really like Lewis Carroll, Alice through the Looking Glass, and Alice in Wonderland, they bore me stiff!
 But the man wasn't stupid, who wrote it.
 And he can tell yo ,i within the book there's some tremendous illustrations, and some tremendous truths.
 And, you may remember the incident where, in er ... th the story, Through the Looking Glass, and Alice is talking to the Queen ... and er, the Queen says to Alice ... I am one hundred and one!
 I find that impossible to believe, says Alice.
 You only need practice says the Queen.
 I can believe six impossible things before breakfast!
 And you know, the sad thing is there are an awful lot of Chri [tape goes off] [...] faith, that mu that that comes under the realm, to my way of thinking, of mind over matter, that's the power of positive thinking, that is not biblical faith.
 I can believe God will do this, therefore, because I believe it, then God has got to do it!
 You can't bribe God like that!
 You can't blackmail God like that!
 That is not faith.
 And yet, there's an awful lot of Christians who go around thinking along those lines.
 That if I believe hard enough, and long enough then God will do it.
 Don't you believe it!
 He doesn't do it because you believe it.
 That's not the reason for God doing anything.
 And we've got to believe, but that is not the reason for him doing it.
 Faith is not believing six impossible things before [laugh] breakfast.
 It's not an easy believism.
 It's not because I believe therefore, it's going to happen.
 You see, basically, biblical faith is not in things, it's in the person.
 It's in Christ.
 ... Let me turn you to a er a little incident that happened with the erm, in the life of Jesus, it's in Matthew chapter nine ... and, just gonna read I think it's three verses there ... Now let's pick it up at verse twenty seven, this is in [reading] and Jesus passed on from there.
 Two blind men followed him crying out and saying ... have mercy on us son of David!
 And as th Jesus come into the house, the blind men came up to him and said ... and Jesus said to him, do you believe that I am able to do this?
 They said to him, yes Lord.
 Then he touched their eyes saying, be it done unto you according to your faith.
 And their eyes were opened  !
 Now then, what is it that Jesus really teaching here?
 You see, he's not just asking them a question for the sake of it, he is actually trying to teach these, these blind folks, er er, these, these blind men, er er er some spiritual truth.
 He asked them this question, do you believe that I am able to do this?
 Now what Jesus is doing here, he is not asking them ... you know, do you have faith that you're gonna see again?
 Do you have faith that a miracle is going to happen?
 He is taking their eyes, if you'll excuse the pun, off their situation and condition, off their blindness, off their need, off the miracle even, and he's directing it to themself.
 He didn't say to them, do you believe you're gonna get better?
 He says, do you believe that, I am able to do this?
 So he was focusing their attention on him, and that was the important thing.
 Because what they had to believe for was not a miracle!
 It's not a case of believing for a miracle every day, but it's a case of having faith and trust in the Christ of the miracle.
 So often, we have faith in a miracle, in the supernatural, rather than having faith in the Christ of the supernatural.
 And so Jesus is taking their attention off the miraculous, in a sense, and directing it towards him.
 Do you believe that I am able to do it?
 Because that was the important thing.
 Yes Lord.
 They believed him.
 He then, he performs it, be it done to you according to your faith.
 Now, within each one of us, God has deposited faith.
 And that's, that's good to know that anyway.
 Don't say, I haven't got faith!
 You've got faith or you're calling God a liar!
 Because he has given you faith.
 Now,ha , what sort of faith has God given us?
 Now ... when God gives faith, when he gives anything ... he is giving of himself.
 There is not a great depository in heaven, there's not a huge warehouse, and you come to God and say oh Father!
 I, increase my faith, give me faith.
 But in a sense you don't actually have to ask to have faith because God's already given it to you.
 But ... in giving us this faith, he doesn't go with a, a picking order into the warehouse of heaven,a and look there up all the great pallets and boxes of faith, or boxes of love, or boxes and cartons of peace, and say right, there's one, I'll give that to you.
 And he pulls out another container of peace and he gives it to somebody else, that isn't how it happens.
 What, how does he give us faith?
 How does he give us love?
 How does he give us joy?
 How does he give us er er er, peace?
 By giving of himself.
 There's no vast warehouse in heaven.
 The treasures are in him!
 My God shall supply you all your needs according to his riches, in Christ Jesus.
 And so when you get peace, when God gives his gift of peace, it's not something he has given from heaven down to you ... but he says, my peace, I give unto you.
 That your, that my joy may be in you and remain.
 We have his love.
 Let the love of God ... fill you, garrison you!
 And so when he gives us faith, he gives of himself.
 It is his faith.
 He has deposited faith, his faith.
 Have the faith of God, or have faith in God, the literal translation of that is, have the faith of God.
 And that is something that God gives of himself.
 Now, let's look at this verse, Ephesians two eight.
 There is a statement, you have been saved!
 We've come to Jesus Christ, he's forgiven us our sins, we've been made new creatures, we are saved according to Athesians two eight.
 But, how are we saved?
 Well, there's, first of all, there's God's side to it all.
 There it is there, God.
 By grace you're saved.
 Now, we've no real question or quibble about that.
 We know that we couldn't earn our salvation, we know that we don't deserve, that we know that we couldn't merit it.
 We are saved by God's grace.
 But there is our responsibility to it.
 Because God's grace has provided salvation for the world!
 God so loved the world!
 That whosoever believeth in him, should not perish but have everlasting life.
 So God's grace is sufficient for the world.
 His gift of salvation is for the whole world, it's available, God willeth not the death of the sinner, but that all should come to repent.
 And there is i , God's grace and his gift, and his er, his provision of salvation has reached out to everybody!
 But you know as well as I do that not everybody responds to it.
 There is our responsibility ... and there is our side ... through faith.
 There it is, that that's, you are saved.
 God's grace has provided it!
 There it is, God in his mercy and his love, in his graciousness he has provided ... a gift, a free package gift for you and for me ... forgiveness, salvation ... but there is our responsibility ... of receiving it ... or taking hold of it, of experiencing it.
 Then, there's the other bit of the verse ... and that, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.
 Now, what is the gift of God?
 Well ... the salvation is a statement, we could not save ourselves, that of course, is God is given up, there's no question about that.
 The graces of God, you didn't need [laugh] any grace to get saved yourself.
 You didn't need grace to be forgiven yourself.
 You see, if I do you a wrong ... and you forgive me, it's not because I've [laugh] exercised grace, it's because you've exercised the grace.
 So that is a, that is a perfectly obviously statement there, and that's not what Paul is saying.
 The gift is the faith that God gives to us to receive ... his forgiveness and his salvation, and his grace as provided.
 You see, God's grace is provided in Jesus Christ all that I need for salvation.
 Now ... God loves the world, he sent Jesus to die for the world, Jesus came, he lived a sinless life, he gave his life on the cross of Calvary, he died there for my sins they were put on him, the whole story of salvation ... but, salvation in it's totality is God's gift, I do not have to merit it.
 I can't merit it.
 I can't work for it.
 And I can't, of myself, even produce the faith for it, otherwise, you might have an advantage over me.
 I perhaps, of myself, haven't got that faith.
 Nor you, we know, but still, somehow, by some quirk, you may get faith, you may produce it yourself, that gives you an advantage over anybody else.
 You see, the very faith that we have to receive God's gift, is God's gift to us.
 That is provided by God as well.
 It's not a works, so that none of us can boast on any account.
 It's not because I had Christian parents, it's not because I'd some advantage over you, or you had some advantage over me, it is all of God's graciousness, it is all of God's giving!
 So God's grace is provided in Jesus Christ, all that I need for salvation and for a life that will please God.
 But you see it only becomes my experience ... as I exercise the faith that God has given to me.
 Faith then, is the complement of grace.
 All the grace of heaven!
 All the, the unlimitable supply of God's grace could not save you or me by itself ... it had to have the other side, it had to have faith, I have to receive it.
 The gift is there, but until I make it mine, it doesn't do me any good.
 And there is without any exception, everything in the Christian life is a gift.
 You and I, do not deserve any of it, not a bit of it!
 It doesn't matter if you live as a Christian for a hundred years, if you live the most sacrificial life, if you live a life of prayer and fasting, if you lead thousands of people to the Lord, if you are the epitome of Christian piety, you still don't deserve anything!
 Because at the very end of the day we are unprofitable servants.
 We do not deserve anything from God, because we, of what we were to start with.
 We were sinners.
 But it is all of God's giving.
 It's his grace, it's his giving.
 And so, everything in your life and my life as a Christian, is the gift of God.
 Our salvation is a gift.
 The gifts of the spirit.
 Th the er the anointing of the Holy Spirit, they're the,th every single thing, every area, our growth, our maturity, whilst we might have input into it, it is still God's gift to us.
 Eternity, in heaven with him.
 You don't deserve!
 I don't deserve it!
 But it's God's gift to us.
 And the thing is faith, er grace gives, and faith receives.
 The two have got to go together.
 Now you remember the account of the children of Israel in the wilderness?
 We just touched on this on Tuesday night.
 They wander around for forty years in the wilderness!
 Why should they do that?
 Well, it was very simply because of unbelief.
 You see,th the provision was there!
 The promise was there.
 There's the land it's yours, I have promised it ... to your, to to your seed and to your, to you and to your seed, it's yours, it's there!
 Go ahead and take it!
 God did everything except push them into the land.
 Because they had to exercise a bit of faith.
 They had to go and possess it.
 But because of unbelief, in erm Hebrews chapter three ... you got the er, you got the account of it there in verses seventeen ... to the end of the chapter, seventeen to nineteen, he says [reading] and with whom was God angry for forty years?
 Was it not with those who sinned?
 Whose bodies fell in the wilderness?
 And to whom did he swear that they should not enter his rest?
 But to those who were disobedient, to those who had no faith  !
 And so we see they were not able to enter ... because of unbelief.
 They had the most fantastic gift awaiting them!
 Here they were, a nomadic people ... they had fled from Egypt from the, from the bondage and tyranny of oppression, and God had provided a land which was flowing with milk and honey, it was theirs!
 What fools they, you say they were not to go in and possess it!
 That's all they had to do.
 Well they'd see there were problems, you see, faith doesn't mean that everything just happens, because faith has gotta do something, faith without works is dead.
 And they had to go in a do some fighting.
 They had to defeat the enemy.
 And only Joshua and Kaleb had any gumption.
 They were the only ones who realized they could do it because God was with them.
 The fact the enemies were like giants didn't mean a thing.
 And they cou , they could say we well over to possess this land ... because God was with them.
 It had been promised to them.
 In Joshua chapter one, in verses two and three, [reading] Moses my servant is dead now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all his people to the land that I'm giving to them, to the sons of Israel.
 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads I have given it to you  .
 It's not something that we , God's not really given it to you, it's yours!
 It's all gift wrapped ready!
 Your name's on it!
 Just go and take it and it's yours!
 Just as I spoke to Moses.
 And then ri , down a bit further in verse eleven, [reading] pass through the midst of the camp and command the people say,preva , prepare provisions for yourself, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan to go in and possess the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you to possess it  .
 It was there's all for the taking.
 But they felt they couldn't do it.
 And so for forty long weary years they wander around as nomads in a wilderness!
 Forty years, going nowhere!
 Doing nothing!
 Until every single one of them who had not gone in, apart from Joshua and Caleb died.
 And they were buried.
 God said right, now it's somebody else's chance.
 ... Back in Ephesians in the first chapter in in verse three, see it's easy for us to say, well what a lot of stupid people they were!
 Why on earth didn't they go in and possess the land?
 Well ... they're not quite, well, they were stupid, but the thing is, we can't always point the finger at silly people, [laugh] because we're silly people as well.
 There in Ephesians one three [reading] Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ  .
 And then, like the children of Israel, if only, we go around saying, if only God would do this!
 If only this could happen!
 The point is, he has already done it!
 There is posa , there is, for you, he has blessed you!
 He had, not is going, God's got no other future blessings for you.
 If you are waiting for God to suddenly send some new blessings, you'll wait for eternity!
 He has already blessed you with every spiritual blessing.
 God hasn't got any more spiritual blessings lined up for you, nor for me.
 They're there!
 He has already given them to us.
 The trouble is, just like the children of Israel, we [laugh] spend our time wandering around in the wilderness.
 Wondering, why we can't get it, why we can't go in.
 And it's there all the time!
 You see our faith must make experiential, what God's grace has made possible.
 He's done the providing.
 He's got the gift there.
 We've just got to take it, by faith.
 Now, there's no time to to go through them all this morning.
 Let me just give you a list of some of the things that, that God has provided for us in, by, and we receive it by faith.
 Ah, I I think this is impo , is so important that ... actually, whether you like it or not you're gonna get it, er written down with the scriptures to go with th ,o on the next monthly thing.
 But these are some of the things, faith opens to us the door to every blessing that is ours in Christ.
 You don't get it without faith.
 But God's already given you the faith, so don't worry!
 You've just gotta exercise what he's given you.
 We have access to him, by faith.
 We have sonship, we have righteousness, forgiveness of sins, sanctification, cleansing, Christ indwelling, how do you know that Christ indwells you?
 You know it by faith.
 We receive the Holy Spirit.
 By faith.
 We inherit the promises by faith.
 We have victory over the world, victory over the evil one, victory over circumstances and difficulties, not because we're good, not because we're pious, not because we read our bibles or pray, we have it by faith!
 We are kept.
 How are we kept as Christians?
 Cos we work hard?
 Cos we do the right things?
 We are kept by faith.
 And we have power by faith.
 He started the working by faith, and he's not gonna change horses half way through.
 How he starts, he continues, and will bring it to it's conclusion, by faith.
 Do you remember the er ... incident when Jesus was, with the disciples in the boat?
 Now this is one of those interesting incidents because it was one of the times when he tells the disciples off.
 ... I don't know, if you're like me but, I must confess, I I get er, I wouldn't say pleasure, but I rather like those incidents where he tells the disciples off, not because he's telling them off, but because ... I can fit in wi with what [laugh] they've been up to!
 I can see mirrored in it, me!
 And so, they weren't super-saints.
 They weren't wonderful characters, they were just like me.
 And so when he tells them off, I think ha!
 That's what I'd have been doing if I had been there so you're not so different from me Peter, so you might have, you might be different in other ways John, but I've got that [laugh] weakness as well.
 And th , so i in Matthew, it's in Matthew chapter eight, the incident,th the the, of the er ... the the storm, and, listen to what Jesus says when he, when he's, when he's telling them off.
 Remember the the boat's been filling with water, they've been bailing out ... in desperation, after they'd done everything that they can do ... they then turn round and said, Lord, don't you care we're gonna drown?
 Well they said that a little bit, you know, more vehemently than that I'm sure, but that was, that was the thing, Lord help us!
 We sa , we're perishing!
 And he said to them, why are you timid?
 You men of little faith!
 Now, why on earth did Jesus rebuke them?
 Now let's be honest here ... put yourself in their situation, the obvious thing in the storm and th the water comes crashing over, well you don't really want to fill the boat with water so you start bailing the water out, when you realize you're not gonna be successful cos more is coming in than you can get out and the storm is not abating, you would naturally get agitated and ... if for nothing else, at least you can come and help us to bail out!
 Even if we're not gonna succeed ... it must have stuck in their throat that there was Jesus lying asleep.
 Why should he be lying asleep when I'm working to try and save us?
 And Jesus rebukes them.
 Now why should he rebuke them?
 Why is it that they should have had more faith?
 After all ... they had never seen a storm being still before.
 They had never witnessed a man get up and say to the wind and to the wave ... be muzzled!
 And the wind stopped and seas stopped tossing.
 They had never ever seen that in all their lives before.
 Now, if they seen a miracle, if they had been there before and had seen Jesus do something like this, then it would appear that they would have ev , that Jesus would have every reason for saying, oh you faithless people!
 Why are you so frightened?
 Don't you remember what I did last week?
 Don't you remember how I stilled that storm?
 Don't you remember how I rebuked the winds on that occasion?
 They had never ever seen it!
 They'd never even heard of it before.
 I mean, at the end, after Jesus does it ... they,th the the they're frightened by what they had now seen Jesus do!
 And they say, never have we seen anything like this before!
 So why should Jesus rebuke them?
 Surely the reason for the rebuke, why he said that they were timid and they'd no faith ... was because they had lost sight of the fact, or the, the importance of the fact that he was there with them.
 You see, that was the important issue.
 Not what he could do, but that he was there with them.
 And that is the reason why they were rebuked.
 If you turn over a few chapters ... in Matthew, into chapter fourteen, you've got another er watery illustration there, it's, Jesus is coming towards the disciples, he walking on the water!
 And Peter