Summary: Jesus says in Matthew 9:29 “Because of your faith, it will happen.” It is important for all of to learn how to really live by faith.
We are continuing in our theme of Moving Forward in Faith.
As usual I am going to start with a question:
What are you expecting God to do in your life?
The fact is, we tend to get what we expect out of life.
We tend to see what we expect to see.
We tend to hear what we expect to hear.
We tend to feel the way we expect to feel.
We usually accomplish what we expect we can accomplish.
But Jesus says in Matthew 9:29 “Because of your faith, it will happen.” (NLT)
or as the New King James translates it
“According to your faith let it be to you.” (NKJV)
So perhaps instead of asking What are you expecting God to do in your life?
maybe the question I should ask you this morning is What do you have faith that God will do in your life?
It is important for all of to learn how to really live by faith.
Would you like to have more faith?
Have you ever asked God for more faith?
Your not alone, even the apostles asked Jesus to show them how to increase their faith.
The truth is it is God builds our faith by testing it.
Faith is like a muscle and when it’s stretched and pulled it will develop.
James 1:3 reminds us “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”
You can’t develop your faith just by sitting in church, singing a few songs and listening to someone preach for a few minutes on a Sunday.
Your faith develops as it is tested by the circumstances, situations, issues and problems of everyday life.
James 1:12 reminds us that “God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.”
Do you feel like your faith is being tested?
If we are honest, we know it was tested last week and we know it will be tested this week too.
Any and every moment of the day our faith can be tested.
Our reactions to the circumstances, the situations, the issues - the problems of everyday life - that all of us face highlight where we really place our faith and our trust.
We can try to rely on our own strength and wisdom or by faith we can trust Father God.
Every day we have opportunities to build our faith. To walk by faith and not by sight.
To trust God in the detail.
The thing is, we want more faith, we want to grow, we want to move forward in faith
- but we want the easy route to it...
we want the faith - but we don’t want the trials, we don’t want the testing.
There are many ways that God can test our faith but I want us to consider only three of them this morning - all starting with the letter P.
The first is this: Our faith is tested by life’s problems.
Problems, pressures, difficulties, tough circumstances. The stresses of everyday life in a broken world.
In Psalm 25:16-18,21 King David prayed
“Turn to me and have mercy,
for I am alone and in deep distress.
17My problems go from bad to worse.
Oh, save me from them all!
18Feel my pain and see my trouble.
Forgive all my sins.
21May integrity and honesty protect me,
for I put my faith in you.”
Do you ever feel like that?
Your problems seem to go from bad to worse.
Let me remind you of the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 5:3-5
“We can rejoice, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
Problems and trials help our endurance. Nothing ever happens by accident in the life of a follower of Jesus.
Some problems we bring on ourselves.
Some problems are the result of other peoples actions or decisions,
we can be both the perpetrator and the innocent victim.
Your past may have shaped you, but it does not define you. In Christ, by faith you have the victory.
If you’re a child of God this morning, nothing can come into your life without Father God’s permission.
Things don’t creep up on God.
God will never say, “Well, I didn’t expect that to happen”
There are no mistakes in God’s plan for the life of a believer.
Problems help us to have a deep rooted faith in a God who is bigger than we are.