Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Virtue of Faith Continued

I hope you are well today; I myself am a bit under the weather. Seems I have caught the bug my son had. Sick children need their Mommy for comfort, so needless to say I always catch what he comes down with. Anyway, I am not ill enough to for go writing. I am loving this series! I don't know about you but I am learning so much!

So back to the virtue of Faith. Let’s look at what’s left about faith. We still need to explore what our faith produces and the consequences of it.

We have lots of scripture on this subject so by the time we get done we will have swam through a whole lot of living water. Let’s soak it in and let it change us.

The four gospel recordings show us the life of Jesus here on earth. Throughout His ministry He spoke many times of the great faith of individuals. Some are recorded in multiple places but the ones I would like to look at are in the gospel of Matthew.

First in Matthew 8:5-13 we see the story of the centurion who had great faith. When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented." Jesus tells him he will come and heal him. The centurion replies "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, do this, and he does it." Jesus heard it and marveled. He said to those that followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!" Jesus says to the centurion, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you." And the servant was healed that same hour.

In Matthew 9:21-22 A woman who had a flow of blood for 12 years says to herself, "If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well." But Jesus turned around and when He saw her He said, "Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well." And the woman was made well from that hour.

In Matthew 14:22-33 we find the story of Peter walking on the water. Jesus comes walking on the water to the disciples who are in a boat. Peter says "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." So He says "Come" And Peter comes out of the boat and begins to walk to Jesus on the water. But the wind kicks up and Peter begins to doubt and sink. He cries out "Lord, save me." Immediately Jesus stretches His hand out, catches Peter and asks "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"

Matthew 15:21-28 shows us the gentile woman who shows faith by worshipping Jesus even though she was not an Israelite. Jesus tells her he has come for the lost sheep of Israel. She cries "Lord help me!" But He answers "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." She replies "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters table." Jesus then says to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." and her daughter was heal from that very hour.

In all these stories, we see a common theme. For producing the outcome they desired they went to Jesus full of faith. We see that they each sought out Jesus for a miracle of healing and were rewarded because of their faith. This is not to say that each time we approach Christ with something we desire, He will give it to us if we have enough faith. There are many preaching this type of gospel today and it is not biblical. Yes, we are to approach Jesus full of faith when we go to Him with our concerns and requests. But He is not a gumball machine, put in your quarter and out comes a gumball. We are not to serve Christ for what we can get from Him but because of who He is. All things we request must be according to His will, not ours.

Sometimes, when we desire a certain outcome and go to Him in faith, He will grant our desire. If it be within His will, He will grant us the desires of our hearts. We are not in control of the outcome, He is. We approach in faith, accepting that He has the last say, not us. God is more concerned in changing our character than making us comfortable. Sometimes if a trial will improve our character, He will say no and let us go through the discomfort.

James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

Some would stand on the above scripture to say that it is lack of faith that causes us not to reap blessings from God. If you read the verse right before this one it is speaking about wisdom. We are told that if we ask for Godly wisdom we are to ask in faith with no doubting.

So what else are we told about faith from the scriptures?

Hebrews 11: 6 - But without faith it is impossible to please God.

Hebrews 12:2 - looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith...

James 1:3 - Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

I Corinthians 16:13 - Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.

II Corinthians 5:7 - For we walk by faith, not by sight.

I Corinthians 2:5 - that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Colossians 2:7 - rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Without faith it is impossible to please God. We can work hard on our own but it is only faith in Jesus that truly pleases God. It is Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. It is not by our own power that our faith increases but by keeping our eyes on Jesus. Just like when Peter was walking on the water, when he looked away from Jesus, he began to fall. We are to stand fast in our faith, stay strong and brave. Walk by faith not by sight. Keeping our focus always on Christ. Our faith should be rooted and built on Jesus, established to be mature after a time. We are to build our wisdom not in what the world says but in the power of God. Knowing that the testing we endure will provide us with the kind of faith that is patient, strong and ever looking up to Christ.

If we do these things, when we are finished and our time here on this earth is done, we can then state as Paul did in II Timothy 4:7....

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Stand firm in faith my friends.... Come back tomorrow to hear about The Virtue of Hope.

1 comment:

TawanaB said...

Awesome blog. You have inspired me. When I started blogging I blogged on several topics but like you I'm now trying to edify the Lord. Thanks for sharing your faith and your talent. God bless