This week we took a break from our Image is Everything series to look at the subject of faith. Pastor Tommy preached this week challenging the Rock to increase their faith.
Before Pastor Tommy begun we looked at a video of many kids trying to define the word faith. Many humorously had trouble grasping and explaining the concept of faith, while other children articulated many meaningful definitions. One child stated that faith is when, "you have the courage to do something because you believe you can." Other children explained faith as believing in something you cannot see.
Pastor Tommy opened Sunday's message prompting us to ask ourselves "Why should we believe?" Or "Why should we have faith?" Is this a question we can answer? Is this a question we often ask ourselves to see if we continually have an answer?
For this weekend's sermon we looked at many different passages within Scripture, specifically in the Gospels, to see what the Bible has to show us about faith and belief. Much of what we see in the Gospels centers upon the life of Jesus. Throughout Jesus' three-year ministry we always witness Him being followed by crowds. However, when Jesus was crucified on the cross, He died alone. What does this show of the faith of His followers?
Have a little Faith in Him
God wants us to step out in faith. However, here we use the term step out figuratively. In Matthew 14 we see Peter the disciple of Jesus literally step out in faith on the water to meet Jesus.Matthew 14:25-33 states, During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God.
Do you believe Jesus really walked on the water? If we were in Peter's place would we have reacted the same way?
The Big Question
What do you want Jesus to do? All of us have a different desire when we ponder asking this question. Some may ask for a million dollars, while others may ask for world peace. What do you want Jesus to do? When everything in life is stripped away, when we come to the end of our days, what is it we would really want?Matthew 20:29-34 states, As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!" Jesus stopped and called them. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. "Lord," they answered, "we want our sight." Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.
Jesus saw the faith of these two blind men, and He granted them what they asked of Him.
Is it possible to have faith and not doubt? When we ask ourselves the question of what we want Jesus to do, do we want Jesus to prove Himself?
Even those who saw Jesus doubted. John 20:24-25 states, Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it."
Do you have trouble believing in Jesus because you have not seen Him? Let us look at what else Jesus says here in the Gospel of John.
Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
The Bible was written so that we would believe. We have our proof in the Word of God. The Word of God is a lamp unto our feet. (Psalm 119:105) When we see the whole counsel of God revealed in His Word, we have a better understanding, a greater basis for our faith.
When Thomas saw the scars on Jesus' hands, and the piercing in His side, he saw the whole picture and believed again. We have the Word of God; therefore we ought to have faith.
Decrease the Unbelief and Increase the Faith
Sometimes the key to faith is to remember God's faithfulness in the past. This can be recalling experiences from our own lives in which we experienced God's faithfulness. We also see His faithfulness throughout all of Scripture.
Pastor Tommy gave us a homework assignment and that is to increase our faith. Perhaps it is easier said than done. However, there are practical things we can do. Pastor Tommy asked us why it is we come to church. Is it a habit? Or do we come to church to encounter God, and because we walk by faith in Him?
Everyday we need to ask God to show us how we can step out in faith. We need to write it down and do it. This can increase our faith. We will remember God's faithfulness to us as we write down, what He does, and what He asks us to do. Such action will cause us to be proactive in our faith daily, therefore increasing our faith!
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