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Of Faith and Duty

(2)

Sermon shared by Greg Nance

April 2008
Summary: How does Jesus help us to increase our faith? Is it through comforts or challenges? When we love our master we find fulfillment in keeping his commandments without an applause.
Audience: General adults
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Sermon:
Of Christian Faith and Duty

We give thee but thine own,
whate’er the gift may be;
all that we have is thine alone,
a trust, O Lord, from thee.

May we thy bounties thus
as stewards true receive,
and gladly, as thou blessest us,
to thee our firstfruits give.

The captive to release,
to God the lost to bring,
to teach the way of life and peace
it is a Christ-like thing.

And we believe thy Word,
though dim our faith may be;
whate’er for thine we do, O Lord,
we do it unto thee.

Words: William Walsham How (1823-1897), 1858

Jesus said in Luke 17: 7 "And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ’Come at once and sit down to eat’?
8 "But will he not rather say to him, ’Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’?
9 "Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.
10 "So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ’We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’"

This story lesson from Jesus follows on the heels of the disciples asking for Jesus to increase their faith. I take it that this is probably a faith building story. How many of us here would like to have greater faith? Raise your hands.

Why do you want more faith? Would it be to benefit yourself or others or perhaps both?

Most of us know the verse in Romans 10:17 that talks about faith, don’t we? Faith comes by… hearing and… hearing by the word of Christ. Right? That may be how faith comes, but how does it increase and grow? What does the Bible tell us helps our faith to grow?

Of all the things the Bible tells us that will increase our faith, the lesson within these verses may be the most difficult, or at least perhaps the most needed.

How many of you have seen or read Charlottes Web? Remember the rat? He was a very resourceful fellow, but do you remember what he always wanted to know whenever he was asked to contribute to saving the pig? “What’s in it for me?” He didn’t care about others so much as he cared about himself. He was only interested in helping if he could get something out of it that made it worth while for himself. Christian faith grows us into a different direction than that.

Many Christians begin their walk with Christ because of the benefits. In Christ we have freedom from sin, we are given a new name and adopted into God’s family, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and the hope of eternal life in glory with all who are saved. We are added to the church family and receive the love and encouragement of the fellowship of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are empowered by God for living new life in Christ and enjoy the immeasurable grace that Jesus pours out for us in abundance from the cross. On and on the spiritual benefits and blessings go, because
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