What is unfeigned faith?
1.) It is Real. There is no pretense, no act, no hypocrisy. It is not enough to simply believe in God (even the demons believe and tremble.) you must have faith in Him, you must believe on Him. Unfeigned faith means you trust God in everything, it is not simply an act you play at church or around Christian people in order to impress them or fool them. We see plenty of examples of feigned faith in scripture – think of Matthew 23 when Jesus rebuked people for being pharisees.
2.) It is Resident. This faith dwells in you, it lives in you. It should be permanent, unwavering, strong and steady. This faith comes from God Himself, and God is most certainly unwavering. We never know when the next trial will come, when we will have to endure a storm worse than any storm we’ve ever faced before, so we need this unwavering faith to get us through. Our faith must be a permanent part of us, just like our hearts are permanently placed in our body and necessary for us to live, so is this unfeigned faith.
3.) It is Repeated. We see in verse 3 that Paul’s forefathers served God also with a clear conscience, then later on we hear about Timothy’s grandmother and mother, who had this unfeigned faith. (verse 5) This faith will be repeated, because the owners of this faith will do anything to see it repeated. If we have this unfeigned faith, it should be impacting those closest to us. It should be impacting our families, our close friends, our church family. Every strong Christian should have this unwavering, steady, strong, real, resident and unfeigned faith.
We live in a world full of people who claim to be Christians yet they have feigned faith. They are pharisees, false prophets. They are the type of people we see in Matthew 23, Luke 18, Luke 20, Matthew 7 and so on. These people are hypocrites – they claim to believe in the Bible and God’s laws, yet they do not follow Him. Or, perhaps they cherry pick parts of the Gospel and remove the things they don’t like, yet still claim to be bought by Christ. Their faith is feigned, it is false. It wavers the minute a storm brews, or someone questions them. We as Christians, especially during this time when people “call evil good, and good evil” and persecute Christians so much, have to have this unwavering, unfeigned faith. Without it, we are nothing. Without it, we will have no chance fighting against Satan. Without it, we will have no hope in bringing lost souls to Jesus Christ. Why would people want to come to Jesus if the people who claim to be His don’t have faith? If we question Him nonstop and have wavering faith? If we are weak?
Later in 2nd Timothy we read about two things that I’d like to bring to your attention. First, we are reminded that in this life, we will face trials. This is why this unfeigned faith is SO important. If your faith is fake and your relationship with Jesus is simply an act, you will not be able to stand strong in the midst of these storms. If you see someone who backslides and changes and goes against God every time a storm passes by, every time a trial comes, then we must wonder…are they faking their faith? Are they truly saved? There are many people who think that they are saved but aren’t truly God’s children. We know this from scripture, for “many will call to Him, Lord, Lord” and He will tell them to depart, for He never knew them. We have to examine ourselves to make sure we are in the faith! In 2nd Timothy chapter 3 verses 11-12, Paul tells Timothy that he personally faced persecution, as we know, but God delivered Him. He tells us that these trials will only get worse. And why was God able to deliver him from these trials? We find out about this in chapter 4, verse 7. He fought the good fight and finished the race. His faith was real, he did not waver. His faith was unfeigned, and he was able to fulfill his ministry.
Just as it is important for us to know that we are in the faith and for us to see what unfeigned faith is, and make sure that it dwells in us, we will note that it is extremely important to see this faith repeated in our homes, with our family, friends and church family. If we are following God, and are born again, we should have this unfeigned faith, and it should inspire other people to seek it as well. We should be making a difference in other people’s lives, whether they be lost or backslidden. Remember, God calls us to be the light in the midst of darkness. He calls us to be examples!
In 1st Timothy 4:12, Paul tells Timothy to be an example, even to his elders. Even though Timothy was a “youth” he was still expected to be a good example, to be the light. If you have unfeigned faith, is it being a light? Are you being an example? What kind of impact do you have on people around you? Remember, if we claim to be Christians yet we can’t stand strong during storms, yet we waver when people question our faith and persecute us, we look like jokes to the world. Are you giving God a bad name? Are you making Him seem weak? We should be Christ-like in all that we do, and that is impossible to do without faith.
Sermon was preached by Clarence Sexton at Temple Baptist Church, these are my sermon notes and my thoughts afterwards. If you wish to hear his sermon, I encourage you to check out the church’s website and wait for them to upload the sermon titled “Unfeigned Faith” You can find the website here.