Faith

 

SERMON (Faith)

Hebrews 11:1-3

The 11th. Chapter of the book of Hebrews is full of insights into what God expects of us. 

Let me read the first three verses of this incredible book along with a mention from the Gospel of Luke 17:5-6. Both of these passages deal with an ingredient that is fundamental to the understanding and practicing of what we call “Christian faith.”

HEB 11:1-3 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Would you like to have greater faith in God? The Disciples did. They were honest 

LUKE 17:5-6

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

As Paul writes in the eleventh chapter, he also felt led by God to explain very concisely to the Christian followers in that time exactly what faith was. 

I think we can correctly assume that there must have been many questions and

yearnings on exactly what faith was and how they could be more faithful. 

I believe Paul sets the stage for us today when he states in verse 6 that, “without faith it is impossible to please God.”

If we are honest, how many here today would whisper secretly in the ear of Jesus, Lord, please increase my faith. 

Are we not here today because we also desire to please God and to grow in the faith and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ? 

Or perhaps some of us are here today because we want to die to sin and to live by faith in Christ; we want to begin our journey.

I recently read a story about a man who owned a small restaurant It was a fine place to eat but the owner was

always more interested in profit rather than a good product. 

One day he was taken ill at the cafe with severe chest pains, and the rescue squad was called to take him to the hospital. There was deep concern he might have had a heart attack. As he was being taken out of the cafe he motioned for his son to

come closer to him so he could whisper a message to him. He said to his son,

“MAKE SURE THEY CUT THE ROAST BEEF REAL THIN.” 

Here the man was maybe dying and he was worried about cutting the roast thin! That portrays us at times? With some folks, when it comes to their faithfulness to God and the church, they try to cut it real thin.

There is a hymn with a first line that says “O, For a Faith that Will Not Shrink,” 

How about you and I ? Is our faith shrinking or is it growing? Is it producing fruit such as 

  • joy, 
  • service, 
  • sacrifice, 

or is it fruitless, producing

  • despair, 
  • disappointment and 
  • depression? 
  • Did you know that faith can actually be a shield to protect you from discouragement, 
  • despair, and 
  • disappointments in life?

The Christian faith is based on one thing and one thing alone, which is what God has done in Jesus Christ and how that affects the totality of our Christian walk and witness. 

  • It is always faith in God’’s salvation in Christ
  • Not faith in ourselves. 

It is so easy for a Christian organisation such as the church to get so caught up in its own administrative structure and machinery that it overlooks something as fundamental to our operation as faith. 

It is so easy to fail to take in account

why we are in existence in the first place.

The good news that I want to share with all of us is that this is not a new problem as we can see from the scriptures we have looked today. 

Every generation must be careful not to replace 

  • Faith in God with faith in ourselves.

How do we know if our faith is growing? 

I want to share four examples for your consideration today to determine if

your faith is 

  • fulfilling and freeing rather than 
  • frustrating and fatal.

1.Our faith is fulfilling if we are able to forgive those who have trespassed against you

To not forgive is to actually ridicule God.

The story is told of a new young Christian pastor who was placed in a church in the rough end of a town. He walked into a local cafe for lunch and ordered the delicious chicken pie. 

A few of the local yokels started harassing him and yelling indignities at him. They said, “Listen here Mr. Do-Gooder, we don”t serve christians here.” 

The

young preacher said, “That”s all right, I don”t eat christians

When the waitress delivered the chicken pie, she gave him a sharp knife and fork to eat the pie. 

One of the local yokels watching him said, Mr. Do-Gooder, what ever you do to that pie, we are going to do to you.” 

The preacher paused for a moment of prayer, and said, “Okay fellows, all line up.” He then picked up the pie and gave it a kiss.

You know your faith is growing when you can forgive those who want to harm or hurt you. 

Forgiveness is never easy–but it is always the will of God.

At Calvary”s Cross when Jesus said, forgive them father for they know not what they are doing Forgiveness demonstrates faith in God rather than faith in ourselves.

2. You know our faith is growing if we have perseverance for the whole journey, not just one or two laps

When we read the Bible it pulsates with the message,

Go the distance, for the Lord shall be your confidence.

Deuteronomy 20:4, it declares, “For the Lord your God is He that goes with

you, to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.”

Our attention spans have been conditioned by thirty-second commercials. Millions of people in our culture make decisions for Christ, but there is a dreadful drop out rate…

In our kind of culture anything, even news about God can be sold if it is packaged freshly; but when it loses its novelty, it goes on the garbage heap. 

There is a great market for

religious experience in our world; 

  • But there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, 
  • little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship

It will be extremely difficult for any of us to have a faith that is true & and holistic if all we do is complain about the preparation

and diligence needed to reach the goal of a winning faith.

You know your faith is growing and is fruitful when you can say no to adversity and yes to the present moment and to the future that God is always opening up to us.

The entire Christian life is a journey of faith. 

We cannot always see the way. 

The end is not always clear, but this we know—

That all things work for the good of those who are called by God and His purposes.

Nothing can defeat or frustrate God”s plans for any part of our journey if our

eye’s are on Him. 

We know the certainty which faith in Christ can achieve.

But we need to know that faith is derived, not from anything in itself, but from its object. 

This is a source of great confusion among many Christians. 

People are always saying to me, “If I only had enough faith, I could do so and so, and such and such,” as though faith were a commodity sold by the kg, as though all you have to do is buy another kg, of faith

and add it to the store you have now, and you could do great things for God.

3. You know your faith in Christ is fruitful and growing when you begin to trust Him for the small things in life

We need to remember to continually give thanks to God for the small things in life. Remember! When you receive His grace, we can never use it up. 

Instead, we can “reinvest” it by giving it away, and the more we give, the more we

receive.

If receive God”s grace and respond with a life of discipleship, we will be the richest person in the world! 

The rewards are out of this world, they will be for all eternity! 

There is no gamble involved. God doesn’t deal with numbers–only names. He has already written our names down as a winner in His Son, Jesus Christ, if we simply respond to Him in Faith. 

The road to a growing faith is to trust Christ each day for both the small and big decisions of life. 

As we learn to express our faith in

His love He will grant wisdom and provisions for life”s daily responsibilities.

Often it is not more faith we need but to use what faith we already have.

4. We know our faith is growing and fruitful when we are more interested in commitment than comfort.

During world war 11 The Japanese trained some pilots that they called Kamikaze pilots, a Kamikaze pilot was trained to fly only one mission in which they would

dive-bomb their own plane into some target, therefore, sacrificing their life.

However, one particular pilot had flown 54 missions without ever having done what he was trained to do. 

He was involved–but not committed. Perhaps this is a good portrait of Christians and their faithfulness to Christ and His Church, many are involved but few are committed. 

We need to be saying to our Lord,

“Lord, we do not care about the cost. We need to be always faithful–right to the very

end!

Friends we know our faith is growing and fruitful when we put our hand to the plough and don”t look back.

Where are we in this Biblical drama today? Is our faith winning or whining? 

Is there someone you need to forgive today? 

What is the source or your power that enables you to be faithful for the full journey? 

If you were to give yourself to Christ in a deeper and fuller way, would it diminish you or elevate you?