Apostles are known to be people with great faith resulting in great exploits for the Kingdom of God on earth. There are two aspects to the faith taught by Jesus and the first apostles which can be understood as faith as the sum total of our beliefs and faith as the means of appropriating from God.
Faith as the sum total of our beliefs is referred to in 1 Thessalonians 3:10 by the Apostle Paul.
“Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face and perfect (fill up) that which is lacking in your faith.”
Paul taught the Church what to believe while Jesus taught people how to believe. In this verse, Paul refers to what is “lacking in their understanding” concerning the finished work of Christ in redemption and the New Creation. His desire was to “present every man perfect (complete) in Christ” (Col.1:27-29) by completing their understanding of the Word of God.
Diagnostic testing by the Spirit of God. A good illustration of how Holy Spirit locates where the gaps in our understanding are, can be seen in a program used by a certain Christian School curriculum. When new students were brought into the school, a diagnostic test was given to locate where the child had stopped learning in any particular subject. Some students at the chronological level of tenth grade, may not have understood math beyond a seventh grade level. When the gap was discovered, coursework was used to fill up what was lacking in their knowledge of math. God uses a diagnostic test as well to help us in gaining a complete understanding of God’s work in Christ. Every believer may not have drank from every stream of truth revealed in the Restoration of the Church.
“There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High” Psalm 46:4.
Each stream represents another revelation of truth to the Church which believers must understand in order to have the fullness of the River of God (the operation of the Spirit). Restoration of the Church involves all the truth of scripture and all the gifts and ministries of the Spirit back in the Body of Christ as Acts 3:21 indicates,
“Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
We can complete our understanding of truth by going back and studying the revelations that came to us through the Evangelical, Pentecostal, Charismatic, and the present Kingdom move of God. Each of these restoration moves of God contained truths that all believers who would be “complete in Christ” must understand and walk in.
While Paul taught what to believe, Jesus taught how to believe, as we can plainly see in the Gospels. Jesus was an expert in faith and majored on teaching people how to receive from God. He measured the faith of individuals and sought to bring their faith to the greatest level in order to receive the greatest miracles from God.
Measuring faith is an apostolic function because apostles want to help people receive all they need from the Lord. Jesus remarked about Peter’s faith, “Oh you of little faith.” He said of Thomas, “How is it that you have no faith.” When he met the Centurion, he was amazed at the level of the man’s faith and said, “I have not found so great faith in all Israel.” Jesus affirmed faith in operation when the woman with the issue of blood was healed saying, “Daughter, your faith has made you whole.” He was always looking for faith in people as stated in the story of the man being let down through a roof, “…and Jesus, seeing their faith…”
Teaching people how to believe requires being able to locate the level (measure) of their faith, it also involves defining doubt and unbelief as hindrances to receiving from God. Jesus dealt with both of these subjects in Mark 11:23-24 and Matthew 17:20-21. Jesus made it plain that “according to your faith, so be it done unto you.” Jesus taught the mechanics of faith by teaching people how to speak and act upon the Word of God for results. He taught that faith was believing with the heart independently of the the five senses when he instructed the Ten Lepers to “go show yourself to the priest” even before there was any physical evidence of healing in their bodies.
Apostles today must also major on the subject of faith in both of these aspects. There are what I call “Big Bible Words” like Faith, Grace, Love, Righteousness, Peace, etc. By Big Bible Words I refer to subjects that are major topics of scripture. The Bible is called the “Word of Faith,” therefore, the subject of faith should be a major theme in our apostolic teaching. Jesus emphasized the need of faith teaching in the End Time in Luke 18:8,
“Shall the Son of Man find FAITH on the earth when he comes.”