Summary: We have defined faith in many different ways, but it is really quite clear. Here is an example of faith that comes from God, and faith that comes from ourself.
Passage: Matthew 17:14-23
Intro: Something has been going on for years on the Arizona-Nevada border.
PP early bridge picture.
1. bridge to replace having to drive on 2 lane road over Hoover Dam at like 15 mph.
2. they are connecting two sides of the Colorado River by a bridge.
3. use this example to understand what is going on in this passage; this event.
4. because here, the focus is not the healing of this boy, but the failure of the disciples to heal him.
5. great principles taught here, absolutely foundational to our life of faith.
I. Faith Bridges the Spiritual/Physical Gap
1. the 9 guys left behind from the mountain experience had run into a problem.
2. pretty typical request, a parent with a sick child, apparently caused by demon possession.
3. word=”to be moonstruck, have seizures, often attributed to demons.
4. disciples had failed to heal him, so now dad is “falling on his knees and begging” Jesus to do something.
5. “could not do it” means they were willing, but unable to do it.
6. Jesus understands this failure at a deeper level than “bad execution”
7. response so strong that at least one commentator said he was aiming his anger at the crowd and not the disciples!!
8. but clearly Jesus thought that by this time they should have been able to heal this boy.
PP Bridge far along “he thought they should be here in the bridge-building process
9. they had been given this authority
PP Matthew 10:1
10. but they had not learned to apply spiritual principles to the physical world.
11. and this is what the problem was, when they asked in v19
12. little faith=stuck on the physical side of the river, cannot apply the spiritual power and truth our eyes have been opened to our physical world.
13. little faith=removing God from the equation. Focus on the physical
Il) disciples were “freaked out” by the demons display
PP bridge building early stage. “so the disciples were here, were not keeping up their end of the bargain.
13. because God is building faith, and He expects progress toward Christ- likeness.
PP “Sanctification is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives.” Wayne G., p. 746
14. So let’s see how it’s done.
II. Faith Exhibits Quiet Confidence
1. have you ever been on the scene of an emergency like a car wreck? Pro’s come and are very calm, very businesslike. Why?
2. because they have been trained, know what they are dealing with, what to expect, what to do.
3. Jesus confronts a desperate father and a seizuring child.
PP Mark 9:20
4. I love how Matthew describes this event.
5. Jesus rebuked the demon, it came out, and never returned.
6. don’t you just love to watch a professional? They are so calm, so confident.
7. and what we see here in Jesus is the quiet and powerful confidence of a man who believes that God is sovereign over this demon, and acts on that knowledge.
Il) we are going to have a wonderful pianist at our church on September 5th, Sam Rotman. He believes he can play!!
8. the faithful man is not afraid, does not make decision by fear.
9. the man and woman of faith has bridged the gap between the spiritual and the physical, and makes every decision by applying spiritual truth to physical reality.
9. are you worried? Pray. Are you sick, ask others to pray for you.
10. and whatever our state, look for God’s hand in it and embrace His plan and purpose.
Il) we have some very sick people in our church who are walking with God by faith thru very deep waters.
11. faith exhibits this quiet confidence that God’s power is supremely sovereign, and acts on it.
III. Faith Sees the Complete Picture and Rejoices.
1. and this even includes the worst kind of suffering.
2. Jesus reminds the disciples once again that he is going to die.
3. they are upset, but He is not. Why?
PP Bridge pretty close to being done
4. they were still short, could not see the big picture, did not know the purpose of His death.
5. but Jesus resolutely marched toward that terrible week with perfect faith.
6. by faith in His Father, He understood the perfect plan that required Him to die.
PP Bridge complete (artists conception)
7. He realized what had to be done, and by faith in God He embraced that plan.
8. the disciples eventually would, but it took time for their bridge to be built.
9. when a believer can accept suffering, especially unjust suffering, as part of God’s plan, then his bridge is built.