Summary: Without faith our foundation will be too shallow and we will eventually begin to lean off center… and even fall over. This sermon was adapted from a sermon by Jeff Strite
A man named Gregory P. Elder told of growing up on the Atlantic Coast. And what he loved to do as a child was to spend his time down at the beach. For hours each day, he’d sit on the sand and build castles and intricate cities. But one year his joy in these creations was threatened by bullies who decided it would be fun to smash everything he made.
What was he to do? They were bigger than he was. And there were too many of them for him to fight. What was he to do?
Well, he decided to change his approach to how he built things.
He built the same kinds of castles and cities…but now he placed a new foundation underneath them: cinder blocks, rocks and chunks of concrete.
When his tormentors appeared - he disappeared. And eventually, they found their entertainment… elsewhere.
The moral of this story: If you lay the right foundation, the enemy will break his toes kicking at you.
Hebrews 11:6 says that “WITHOUT FAITH it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
The foundation of our relationship with Jesus is built on is faith.
Without faith our foundation will be too shallow and we will eventually begin to lean off center… and even fall over.
Before we look at our text for this morning, I want to show you something.
Jesus has been fairly busy…Before we get to our passage in Matthew 13, look at what He‘s been up to.
In Matthew chapter 8 we find that He:
• healed a Leper – Mat 8:1
• healed the servant of a Roman centurion– Mat 8:5
• healed Peter’s mother in law – Mat 8:14
• and at Capernaum, He healed numerous people with evil spirits and various diseases – Mat 8:16
And Matthew chapter 9 tells us that Jesus
• raised a girl from the dead – Mat 9:25
• and He made the blind to see – Mat 9:29
• and He made the mute to speak – Mat 9:32
This all took place before He made it to Nazareth. But something changed when He go to Nazareth.
It’s like the miracle switch had been turned off…nothing happened.
What could possibly stop Jesus from doing miracles? He is God right?
Only one thing will ever stop Jesus/God from performing His wonderful works and that is a lack of faith.
Without faith it’s impossible to please God.
Without faith it’s impossible to receive the power and the blessings of Jesus.
Without faith, your Christianity (and mine) lacks a sturdy foundation.
And when that happens, our Christianity has little to build on except lifeless doctrine and empty ritual.
1. Why didn’t the people of Nazareth believe in Jesus?
Why didn’t they have the faith necessary for Him to work in Nazareth?
We can find the answer to that question in their own words. Look with me at Matthew 13:54:
“Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked.”
Intellectually, they KNEW that He could do mighty works…
Intellectually they REALIZED that His preaching held wisdom and power…
Now… look at the next few verses BUT…then they said
“’Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us?
Where then did this man get all these things?’
And they took offense at him.” (Matthew 13:55-57a)
Now here’s the crazy part of this statement.
They start by acknowledging Jesus’ power and wisdom
Then they backtrack to tracing his parentage…
And then they get offended with the whole idea that He could do and say what He did.
Some would ask are they crazy? Surely they heard about all the great miracles that Jesus has done everywhere else!!
The problem was it would mean moving out of their “comfort zone”
You see like many today they’ve got Jesus in a box… They knew everything they [wanted] to know about Him
The sad reality is that many Christians fall into the same trap.
Jesus becomes nothing more than a theological trinket for us. Something we can show off to our friends.
We read our Bible, go to church, when we feel like it and even toss out a few prayers… but then it‘s life as usual.
We tell Jesus to stay over there - and we’ll stay over here - and that’s just the way some Christians like it.
These are the “Christians” who will be quick to remind us:
Why it can’t be done
Why it won’t work
Why it’ll cost too much