Summary: Looking at the example of Levi, this message examines the type of faith necessary to be contagious in our example.
A. Sermon: “A Contagious Faith”
Series: “Becoming Contagious”
Part 1: “The Stockpile Factor”
Part 2: “A Contagious Heart” – A desire to be used
Part 3: “A Contagious Faith” – How do you have a contagious faith?
I heard the story of three guys that were hiking in the woods. They came to a raging river. Not sure what to do next the first guy looked to the heavens and said, “God please make me strong enough to get across this river.” Poof he had big strong arms and legs and he jumped in and began swimming. Two hours later after a fierce struggle he made it to the other shore.
The second guy seeing that looked to the heavens and said, “Dear God give me enough tools to cross this river.” Poof he was given a rowboat. An hour later after nearly capsizing he made it to the other shore.
The third guy said, “Dear God please make me smart enough to cross this river.” Poof God made him a woman…..and then he looked at the map, walked five minutes upstream and crossed the bridge.”
B. A Working Definition
1. What is FAITH?
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
a. “the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen”.
b. begins with our faith in God through Christ
c. As it grows and matures it becomes a belief in a way of life; One that enables us to be used of God and able to stand up to the deceiver!
2. FAITH IS OUR SHIELD
a. In Eph 6:10-15, Paul describes the full armor for the Christian.
b. Purpose (vs.13) so that we are able to stand at the end of the day!
c. He adds in vs. 16 our “SHIELD OF FAITH”
Ephesians 6:16 (NIV)
16 In addition to all this, take up the “shield of faith”, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
ILLUSTRATION: YOUTH DRAMA TEAM! – THE SHIELD
(Have one in middle- rest around blocking, picking on, pushing, - she’s unhappy) Then the Bible is held up (she places on each person’s chest) and they fall down)
When the enemy, the ruler of this world sends his fiery arrows of temptation, doubt, wrath, lust, despair, vengeance, problems, and trials into our lives, we can hold up our shields and stop him. Faith gives us the strength to stand against Satan with the full armor of God – and at the end of the day, we will still be standing! FAITH IS THE LINK TO BRING ALL OF OUR ARMOR TOGETHER!
C. Looking At Understandings Surrounding Faith
Faith is a subject so large, so deep, so awesome, that it is almost impossible to really grab all of its attributes! So today, from the life of another NT character, I want us to look at …
3 UNDERSTANDINGS SURROUNDING FAITH
1. FAITH helps us “Understand the Call”
What does it mean to you to be called of the master, to be chosen?
2. FAITH helps us “Understand the Need to Mature”
What is required of your faith? Are you ready for God’s assignment?
3. FAITH helps us “Understand the Need to Practice Hospitality”
How does God use you?
D. TEXT: LUKE 5:27-32 – LEVI, A TAX COLLECTOR
1. LIFE OF A TAX COLLECTOR
a. Sent out tax bills for whatever base amount Rome wanted
b. But he would add 10, 20, 30, up to 100 percent to that base for his own use
c. He could also dispatch Roman Soldiers to assist in his collections.
d. A license for Extortion
2. LEVI MEETS JESUS AND THROWS A PARTY
a. Announces his closing up shop to follow a teacher named Jesus
b. His guests are fellow ‘sinners’
c. To draw some highlights surrounding the story
READ FULL TEXT
I. FAITH HELPS US TO UNDERSTAND THE CALL
WHY DID LEVI ACCEPT Jesus’ call? When Jesus called out to Levi, it’s interesting that Levi didn’t ask any questions: Who are you? Go where? What do you mean, ‘follow me’?
A. God Prepared the Way
1. Assume that Matthew (Levi) knew about Jesus.
2. H.S. had obviously already been active preparing his heart.
3. Simply got up and left all – He didn’t simply say ‘yes’ – he responded!
4. Other Disciples in Mark 1:16-20 – Same Method
5. Through FAITH, they understood the call! They gave their lives!
Upon receiving the call, they got up and left everything. They didn’t just sit still as many do who misunderstand the call!
C. Do You Understand The Call?
1. Levi immediately left his tax business and followed Jesus
2. They immediately left their nets and followed Him