Dead in Faith – Persuaded Faith – The “I AM” Trail (Lesson 3)

By Kathy L McFarland

So how did the generations of Abraham become persuaded in their faith toward the LORD God? It started with simple teachings by Him, that were built upon step-by-step. One of the first lessons that the LORD God gave to the early generations of Abraham was to identify Himself as God above all other Gods, with a distinct Name above all other names. The LORD God’s name gave meaning to His entire existence! The great I AM is the meaning behind the most formal, the most Holy of the LORD God’s Hebrew names which is YAHWEH.

(It is very important that you treat this name with the utmost of respect. Orthodox Jews will not even write or pronounce this name. When it occurs in their Hebrew Bibles, they replace this name with LORD G-d. Even then, they pause with quiet respect, then pronounce LORD God with a breath of reverence, each time they are confronted with His most Holy name. We honor the LORD God in the same manner, and seldom use His Holy name, except to teach others. Thus, we use the Hebrew example of saying LORD God, and ensure that we take a breath of awe each time we use it. I hope our students copy our example, and give the same reverence to the most holy name of God.)

Exodus 3:14

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:14)

The literal name of the most holy name of God is usually translated as I AM. It is easy to see the development of the faith of Abraham’s generations by examining the places in the Bible where the LORD God introduces deeper and deeper concepts. You simply have to follow the “I AM” Trail! By looking for each instance that the LORD God identifies Himself to His people, and discovering the new information He reveals each time, one can sense the development of new ideas in an ordered sense. Give it a try! Search your Bibles for the times the LORD God speaks with folks, and note the Word that follows “I AM”. For instance:

Genesis 17:1-2

“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.” (Genesis 17:1–2)

Thus, Abram is introduced to the LORD God “I AM the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

Note how the LORD God identifies Himself first, and then adds expectations next. Right after He names His Will, He gives the receiver a promise or a warning. In the case of Genesis 17:1-2, the LORD God gives His Identity and His Will then makes a promise with Abram. It is highly profitable to study the LORD God’s revelations of Himself by searching for the “I AM” Trail. The “I AM” Trail gives us the ability to see Faith develop throughout the Old Testament, and into the New Testament of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Take the same concept, and search the “I AM” Trail for the Lord Jesus Christ. Every time He uses the words “I AM” He is delivering a new teaching of faith, and building, step-upon-step the faith of Believers! That “I AM” Trail is one of the most powerful journeys you can take to know your LORD God and the Lord Jesus Christ perfectly.

One day, we will develop a class that walks that Trail with deep revelations, awe, and mystery. Until then, I encourage each of you to pull out a notebook and make three columns. The first should be the location of verse, the second should be the teaching of new faith, and the third the result of application. Do this, and you will be fully prepared when our “I AM” Trail class begins!

Hopefully, each of you have peeked into your Bible, and found parts of the “I AM” Trail. Note the events that happen right after the new concepts are taught. In almost every case within the Word of God, there is a supernatural event or standstill moment or mystery expression or parable or miracle that happens that reinforces the new teaching of faith. So maybe it would be fruitful to add a fourth column to your journey, and list that supernatural event that hones the teaching of faith perfectly!

You have now received teaching that has increased your walk with the LORD God dramatically. But, the “I AM” Trail is not the only way that faith is persuaded.

(Important Reminder: We are talking about the increase of faith, not the giving of faith. Faith is given in proportions to individuals by the LORD God through His Grace. He expects the Believer to add to that faith through His Teachings. Those teachings are reflected on the great “I AM” Trail and increase the faith of Believers.)

There are other means that the LORD God uses to persuade an increase of faith, or even to persuade lies within the enemy of Him. The LORD God sends His Spirits to increase the faith of the believer, or persuade the opposite of His Truth within His enemies! Check out the example of one of God’s Spirits subverting the enemy by causing their mouths to speak the lies their false faith is based upon!

1 Kings 22:15-23

“So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the LORD shall deliver it into the hand of the king. 16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the LORD? 17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the LORD said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace. 18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil? 19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. 20 And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. 21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. 22 And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. 23 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.” (1 Kings 22:15–23)

Now let’s look at the example for the Faithful that shows the connection of faith and the Holy Spirit sent to Believers to indwell and seal them as children of the LORD God.

Jude 1:20-21

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 1:20–21)

Building up of holy faith is persuasion. When your faith builds, you are persuaded that the newest addition to your belief is sure. Praying in the Holy Ghost brings certain persuasion to your holy faith, and increases your surety in its Truth!

We have learned that the “I AM” Trail, supported by new teachings, signs and wonders, and the Holy Spirit lead to increased persuasion of faith. But there are other avenues that bring added persuasion to bear upon believers! The learning of Scripture and your study of the Word of God is “profitable for doctrine, which instructs into righteousness, and thoroughly prepares you to do good works!

Now stay with me here for just one more point:

What is the beginning of good works? FAITH! What must you be persuaded, convinced, sure of before you start a work of God? FAITH! What leads to this surety of Faith? STUDY OF THE WORD OF GOD!

2 Timothy 3:10-17

“But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:10–17)

And finally, doing the works of God persuades us and increases our faith!

James 2:18-26

“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2:18–26)

Faith cannot be persuaded in those that cannot hear the Word of God. But it goes deeper than that, if one desires to travel the “I AM” Trail. If one cannot connect the Old Testament with the New Testament, if Abraham, Moses and the Prophets are not able to be seen as a progressive development of faith through Jesus Christ, then faith is not securely held.

Luke 16-19-31

“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” (Luke 16:19–31)

Full persuasion of faith begins with Abraham and the first generations and follows through the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ with the nature of man, to live amongst us, be crucified and buried, and resurrected into eternal life forevermore. Without the fullness of all Scripture, total persuasion of faith is impossible!

Acts 18:1-6

Another often overlooked action to persuade faith is the ability to reason the things you have learned from the Word of God, and express them in ways that they can be understood.

“After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; 2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. 3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. 4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. 5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. 6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.” (Acts 18:1–6)

Apologetics are the defense of Christian doctrine with evidence supported by Scripture. They define the word “reason” perfectly. Reason means to logically support a claim with proof; thus, just as Paul tried to reason with the Jews, the Faithful are encouraged to do the same. When reason is rejected, we move on to those who have ears to hear because God has moved them toward Him in Grace.

It often takes more than just gentle reason to persuade faith! Sometimes we must speak boldly! Bold is the opposite of gentle. Usually, when strong Christians speak BOLDLY, they are chastised for going against the humble and gentle nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, and are often shunned by the polite, perfumed believers.

Their error in misunderstanding this BOLD instruction in faith is not having an intimate familiarity of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. Paul found the hardening of hearts common among those he boldly spoke; yet, for those who heard, their faith was persuaded with supernatural miracles to confirm his reasoned and BOLD presentation!

Acts 19:8-12

“And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. 11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19:8–12)

Abraham was fully persuaded of the Promises of the LORD God and knew he could perform the things that He instructed, because he believed fully. That persuaded faith made him righteous.

Romans 4:17-22

“(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. 19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:17–22)

What an interesting comparison Abraham’s faith of the surety of the LORD God’s promises developed into the perfect Christian faith as expressed by Paul!

Romans 8:38-39

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38–39)

Persuaded faith is individual. Each believer must be persuaded on his own. Faith is individual. The LORD God, Lord Jesus Christ and their Holy Spirit lead each to the spiritual path that persuades faith perfectly for that person. While the spiritual path of each Believer is different, all have one sure thing in common. Faith through the Lord Jesus Christ persuades all of the entire surety of their God, King, Savior, and Lord.

Romans 14:5-9

“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. 7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” (Romans 14:5–9)

Faithful Christians are instructed to persuade men of the terror of the LORD God. This instruction holds ample evidence that before persuasion of faith can begin, one must fear the LORD God; thus, instruction of His terror may well be the first step an unbeliever must have in order to receive God’s graced gift of faith!

2 Corinthians 5:9-11

“Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” (2 Corinthians 5:9–11)

Note how unbelievers should have terror of the LORD God, while Faithful Christians are shown to the same most powerful LORD God and our consciences without fear because of the persuaded of faith that has developed within us.

The persuasion of faith does not come from man, but from the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the Word of God. It is the LORD God who calls us from the wombs of our mothers to receive His grace, and be able to receive persuasion in the full faith of His Word.

Galatians 1:10-17

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.” (Galatians 1:10–17)

Sound spiritual words, faith and love through the Lord Jesus Christ, that is kept by the Holy Spirit within us persuades our Faith even more!

2 Timothy 1:6-14

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” (2 Timothy 1:6–14)

The Doctrine of Jesus Christ lays the first foundation for a believer. It covers sin, baptism, resurrection and judgment; after this, Christians are encouraged to move deeper into His Word and find better and better things, to persuade faith deeply and perfectly!

Hebrews 6:1-20

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit. 4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. 7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: 8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

9 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. 10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. 11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Hebrews 6:1–20)

The generations of Abraham died with faith in the promises made to them by the LORD God. The generations following the Lord Jesus Christ’s resurrection are persuaded in perfected faith, as their paths are guided by Him to the better country within the Kingdom of God.

Hebrews 11:13-16

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13–16)