Leon Fontaine - Doubt Vs Faith
I want to teach you today how to deal with doubt. I want to show you that the miraculous is your birthright as a Christian. That from the cross onward there is no example of a person who followed Christ, who did not see miracles in their lives. And as I looked back it the years that we have seen God. I mean, there's so many areas but it's just a church. You know in 1994 we came over and took over Springs Church and just like a couple 300 people, just believing together that we could touch a city and then touch a nation, and then touch the world. What became a few hundred became a few thousand. And what became thousands became millions as we went in nine languages around the world.
And I look at the faith journey and anytime that things weren't going good, it wasn't because the devil was all powerful. It wasn't because God was withholding anything. It was because of a word. And I want to teach you how to handle this word. It's the word "doubt". According to Mark 11:22 and on, that we have God's faith. We have the faith of God. And it says you can speak to mountains. Because only one thing that will stop it, says do not doubt in your heart. Doubt is not an evil spirit. Doubt is not a force. Doubt is a way of thinking that the Bible gives us the three steps to shut it down. But many people don't know how.
Let's go to this story of Matthew chapter 14, "Immediately Jesus told, compelled made His followers, His disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of Him across the lake. He stayed there to send the people home and to dismiss the crowds. After He had sent them away, He went by Himself up into the hills to pray. It was late, and when evening came, Jesus was there alone. By this time, the boat was already far away many stadia. Now?a stadion was about six hundred feet from the land. It was being hit, buffeted, beaten by waves, because the wind was blowing against it".
Just stop there for a minute. Ever had something in life blow against you? Something in your health comes against you? Relationships that begin to become so hard, they come against you. Maybe finances, you're believing you raise up a business, a career, and it's all crumbling. And the storms of life, Jesus said, listen, don't be concerned when you've got storms. Everybody's gonna get storms. Everybody is gonna know what pain is. Now, listen to me. Pain is for sure. Suffering is optional. Oh, what I want pain. I'm not talking about where you're gonna be harassed by pain all your life. But hey, when your little kindergarten kid, went to kindergarten there was some pain there when the teacher's smarter than you now. When the kid's left home and you've got an empty nest.
There's a little pain. When your great grandpa dies or your great grandma, and then your grandma, and your parents. There's pain. Life's got pain. So you need to know, there's gonna be stuff. But Jesus says I've overcome them all and I'll never leave you and I'll show you how to navigate these seasons. So don't think it's strange. What did I do wrong? Why is everything attacking me right now? Don't think it's strange. It happened to Jesus. It happened to Paul. It happened to Peter. It happened to Barnabas. It happened to everybody. So He's gonna see you through. If you learn just walk in faith and look out for this stupid little word called doubt. Which is what has basically, anytime I've not received, and I've gone back, and I've realized why I'd let that in.
Listen to this, "Between three and six o'clock in the morning. Which is about the?fourth watch of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the water. When His followers, His disciples saw Him walking on the water, they were afraid, terrified. And they said, 'It's a ghost!' And they cried out in fear. Jesus quickly, immediately spoke to them, 'Have courage! Don't be afraid'". Jesus will say this in almost every story where something happens that makes people afraid. Because you cannot let fear in your life. He'll always say, "Do not be afraid. Don't be worried. Don't be afraid". He'll say, "Be of good cheer". Which means be courageous. He does not want fear in.
So Peter said, "Lord, if it is really You, then command me to come to You on the water". Everybody knocks Peter because he failed. But when Jesus said, "Be of good courage to the whole boat". One-man Peter took Him at His word. You know, when you get out of a boat on the lake of Galilee on a storm like that, you die. Okay? These fishermen were already scared. And Peter goes, "If it's You Jesus tell me to come". Jesus says, "Come". And he gets out of the boat. Courage, this dude got a mile of it. He walks on the water towards Jesus. Well, let's read it the way the Bible puts it. "So Peter left the boat and walked on the water and came towards Jesus. But when Peter saw the wind, he became afraid, terrified and he began to sink. He shouted, 'Lord, save me!' Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught and took a hold of Peter. Jesus said, 'Your faith is small. What little faith you have'".
Why did you? What's the word? Doubt. This is a crucial, crucial key to this teaching. After they got into the boat, Jesus didn't throw Peter and dragged him out of the water, wet and dripping like a drown dog and threw him over his shoulder and tossed him into the boat. He pulled him back on his feet and they walked to the boat. And when they got to the boat, the wind became calm. It stopped to died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped Jesus and said, "Truly You are the Son of God". How do you walk over your circumstances? How do you in the middle of a storm somewhere in your life whatever it is, financial, relational, physical, mental. What storm are you dealing with? How do you walk on top? We do it by the faith of the Son of God.
The Bible says this is the victory, in 1 John 5:4, that overcomes the world. It's your faith. But it's not yours. It's the faith of Jesus that is in you. The Bible's very clear that to worry is sin. Yeah, it is. The Bible says whatever is not of faith is sin. Now, anytime you are in any of the fear words, anxiety, worries, stress, anxiousness. You are in fear. And when you are worried, when you are fearful, when you are anxious, your faith does not work. Let me say it again. It doesn't work.
So for all these Christians who have never dealt with doubt but confess the Word, say they're in faith, and then nothing happens. And they're mad at God because I tried it and it didn't work. No, no. Faith must also deal with the word called doubt. Because Jesus said, if you don't doubt in your heart, mountains move. He said, and He was always amazed at people's unbelief like in His hometown. He was amazed at their doubt. And He says to Peter. I mean, Peter walked on the water. Give him a break. Because that wasn't the best for Peter. When Jesus said come, it wasn't for Peter to fail on the middle and have to holler out. There was something better.
And did you know that when you don't deal with doubt, you'll find that you'll get partial miracles. Things will kind of go okay. You'll suffer losses. You'll start blaming God. You'll start, because it's not my fault. And you'll start blaming the devil or you just don't know. And people back off with faith and they stop believing for miraculous things in their life. But you've got to where you are and it's gonna be, I mean, you gonna get to where you want to go by faith, by miracles. And there isn't fifty things that will hurt your faith. One, just the word doubt. Now, we're talking the other day around the house, at our house about the question. How do you get closed to Jesus? You can know the Word. But how do you get to know Jesus? One person told one of us, "You know, I know the Word. I just want to get to know Jesus". And I said, "You can't separate the two. They are so inseparable that you can't".
Now, I know that the Pharisees came to Him and said, you know, they didn't even believe that He was the Messiah. He said, "The Old Testament talks about Me and here I am. You know the Old Testament, and you don't even know Me"? Okay, that's going to the Word for legalism reasons. You know, if you and me were friends and you were quite famous. And so you had written an autobiography about you. And so as we're hanging out and our kids go to school together. We volunteered at church together. I get to read this autobiography about you. I could learn about what drives you, the failures, the things you've learned to conquer, the things that have been hard. And as read this autobiography about you, I can get to know you.
So that's why the Bible is special. You get to learn about Jesus. But it takes another step further. The Word of God is alive. It is not a dead Word that just gives you an image. Jesus said the words that I speak to you are spiritual and they are life. They are spiritual life. So I have discovered this. I haven't got the time to teach on this part. But listen to this and maybe it will help you. The more I begin to just study the Word, just read it, just listen to teachers of the Word who knew how to teach, the more the Word begin to come in. The more I begin to sense a person. I didn't just know knowledge.
You know, when I was a paramedic and we had to take all of this, you know, first line drugs and intensive care courses and cardiac rhythms and basic trauma and jaws of life. There was so much knowledge we had to cram in there. But here this is easy. I just kind of read the Word and Holy Spirit begins to teach it to us. And then as you begin to stay in the Word each day, you begin to sense Him, His presence. His way of dealing with things. His way of doing things. The words will rise up within you from the Bible. So John 1 says in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. So before this earth was created Jesus was the Word. What does that mean? Maybe this will help you. He was the revelation of God. Jesus came to earth as to reveal to us what God thought, what He looked like, and what He would do on this planet. That's who Jesus is. He's the Word.
So as you learn the Word. So now, listen to this, compare this with Peter walking on the water, before he walked on the water, he wanted a word. If it's You tell me to come. Jesus says one word. "Come"! And that one word is what Peter went on. Well, where does faith come from? Romans 10:17, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. He heard one word from Jesus, come. And that man walked on the water. Got out of that boat and walked on the water. When you begin to see the Word and hear the Word and the Word begins to speak to you. You will walk in a level of miraculous as a born-again believer the world cannot touch. Oh, they can be faith filled with an earthly faith and make the company work and hang in there through the tough times. But the God kind of faith is what heals bodies. It's what moves mountains. It would cause you to walk on water, to stand or cross your circumstance, to change.
And so let's look at this. So then Peter's walking on the water. Okay? And his attention is caught by the wind. I don't know if a spray hit his face as these big waves were rolling by him. But all of a sudden, his attention went from Jesus to the wind and the storm and doubt came. As soon as doubt comes, it opens a door. If you don't shut doubt down, bam! Just like that. That door will open, and fear will slide its ugly little butt into your head and into your life. It will get into your heart. And so doubt is always that precursor. But there's a precursor to doubt. It's your focus. Peter was locked on to Jesus. Jesus said, "Come"!
He could hear that word resonating in his heart and his mind. And he's coming to Jesus because He said to. Then he begins to focus off and his focus was on the, Romans chapter 8, for those who were taking notes. It says that you can be fleshly minded, and you can be spiritually minded. To be fleshly minded will bring death into your life. That's what Peter was doing. He was spiritually minded, focused on Jesus, the Word, the revelation of the Word. And this Word brings faith. And he's walking in a miraculous moment. And then he switches, over to his fleshly thinking.
Now, fleshly thinking is always self-centered. In this case, it's preservation. I don't want to die. So boom! He moves off Jesus. Doubt begins to rise up. Fear slams it. And he goes, he starts going down. Now, it's interesting what Peter did, because I've watched over the years pastoring where many Christians began to get a miracle and then it doesn't finish. You know, it was kind of like, so can you imagine Peter starting to sink and he looks at Jesus. And he goes, "Oh, great! Some friend you are. You tell me to come. Now, you let me die"! What if he got angry. What if he kind of just ticked off. "Oh, great. Here I am. I'm sinking. You told me to come"! But he didn't do any of those things. He simply looked at Jesus and went, "Jesus"!
What he's doing? He was on the Word. He was off the Word. And he went back on to God's Word. Jesus is the Word. And I want to encourage you. That doubt is gonna mess with you all the time because you're a human being. And doubt once it nails you, be like... Here's what Peter were going. Jesus says, "Come"! He's looking at Jesus, He's the author and the finisher of his faith. He gets out of the boat. He walks on the water. Then he begins to focus on to self-preservation himself and he goes, "What in the world am I doing? You can't walk on the water. I'm gonna drown. Am I crazy? What is wrong with me"? Which is what happened to all miracles you're believing God for. Really, God's gonna do this?
Okay, listen to me. People have a problem. I talked to pastors around the world who do not believe in miracles. It's called a cessation teaching. Where they believe the day of miracle is done. And so I looked at them and I say, "Okay, let me help. Let me figure this out. You believe in a God you can't see, who had a Son you've never met, who doesn't even have a wife to have the Son. So you believe that a little sixteen year old girl named Mary, who's a virgin and never knew a man had a baby. You don't think that's a little reaching for it already? You don't think that takes faith? You can believe all that. You will believe that God said light be and then He... You believe He spoke the planets into creation. And today, there are galaxies that are exploding. You can believe. You can't believe He can heal you. Are you kidding me"?
You see, when you get into the flesh all the reasoning takes over. And I know Christians that no miracles had begun, had happened in their lives. Because they have moved over to fleshly thinking. They're reasoning everything through and they lived there. I've watched them lived there for years. I know I've been their pastor. We need to make a decision. What does doubt do? Doubt is simply you not under the control of your mind, moving your mind into reasoning. And miracles can't be reasoned. Can you tell me how Jesus walked on the water?
You tell me. "Oh, you know, he's skinned out a couple of sheep bladders and He made water shoes. He froze the water just as a foot went there". I have no idea. But it doesn't matter because everything Jesus was walking on, the stuff he's spoken to existence. Every molecule. Every subatomic particle is being held together by the spoken Word of God.
So you've got to make a decision. Am I gonna continue to believe God for the miraculous, in my relationships, my family, the generations of my kids? Am I gonna continue to believe that my life will grow better, the lights gonna grow brighter and brighter? Or am I gonna allow the enemy to get me into doubt? Nah, I doubt that's gonna happen. I doubt my marriage getting better. I doubt my kids will make it. I'm hoping and praying that they'll even serve Jesus. Like when you begin to live in this doubt, sabotages every miraculous thing in our lives. In the presence of God and in God's Word is a peace that passes understanding, a joy.
And there's a faith that you know nothing's gonna be the same. My life will only get better. God will see me through. God will heal me when I need healing. He'll bless me when I need prospering. He will work with me on my family and my friendships and all that is ahead of me. And I will keep my eyes set on Jesus. I will keep myself in the Word because the Word never fails and that's Jesus. Some of you who are here today, and you think I had one person tell me just one or other, "You know. I have some emotional issues". I said: No, you don't. Nobody has emotional issues. Psychology, sorry to the doctor. We've got doctors of Psychology and counselors that come to our church and they're wonderful people.
So I'm not taking a potshot at them. But when you understand, anyway it works in the area of counseling, psychology, psychiatry. You'll know that we can organize people's emotional problems and mental issues into categories. That's all we can do. We can give it a name, okay. But where do we find any kind of a cure? Most of the men and women I talked to admit that, you know, it's something we probably that aren't gonna change. So let's simply lower your stress with this drug. Let's change it with that. And most of them will honestly say we don't see real cures. Most of them would say this, how they think is also a part.
Here's what the Bible says, if you want a quick Bible thought. The Bible teaches us that feelings are perfect. Feelings are not the initiators. Feelings are responders. This is important. So when you think a certain way, you will feel a certain way. You can never change your feelings until you change your believings. You can never change your feelings and your emotions until you change what you believe. And why this is important? Because doubt comes in through our emotions.
Peter looked at the wind doubted and all of a sudden fear slammed in. You can look at your job. You can look at your son, your daughter, your spouse and doubt rises up, fear comes in. And we begin to react wrong, things begin to go wrong. You must go back to the Word of God and believe. And do not trust your feelings as they are correct. All your feelings are is an indicator of your beliefs. So when you change beliefs, feelings change. That's like me saying, "Oh, gravity is kind of optional. It's just, you know, I'm kinda, I have a gravity issue".
Can you imagine? I have a gravity issue. You don't have a gra... Yeah, you know, gravity kind of affects me differently than everybody else. Gravity is unchangeable to every person on the planet, okay? You throw it in the air, is a coming back down. All right. Jump off the stage, it's always gonna go straight down. Same with your feelings. Same with your emotions. They are simply responders to how you think. They are simply responders to what you believe. So in Romans 12 it says, don't be conformed to this world's way of feelings and emotions and thinking and heartache and hurt and the junk they gotta put up with. You'd be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Why? Because as you feed on God's Word, as you look to Jesus in every seasons of life and everything that goes on look to Jesus. The Word comes in and it changes how you think. It changes you. It changes everything around you. This is so crucial, because as you change how you think, emotions have no choice but to change. Where am I going with this?
Now this is helping somebody with. Doubt no longer has an ability to stay because as God's Word rises up, what comes to you is a sense of faith. Doubt will always win if you don't change your thinking. That's why we have Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and the New Testament and Paul's revelation as to who you are and what you can do, and why God made you. Don't listen to anybody. I don't care how you were raised, how bad your parents taught you, trained you. If you have low self-worth and all the junk that's going on. Because all of that stuff controls how we react and what we believe. Go back to the Word. Let the Word tell you who you are, what you can do, and what God will see you through.