Summary: Great faith is shown by: Acknowledging Him as Lord; Humble acceptance of our need of His mercy; Trusting in His power to help.
Elements of Great Faith
Text: Luke 8:6-8
Faith is something pivotal to we who call ourselves Christian. The very fact that we identify ourselves as followers of Jesus implies faith. By trusting in the person of Jesus (that He lived), the truth of His teaching (that He is the prophesied Son of God and the fulfillment of the Law), and His redemptive work on the cross (He died as sacrifice for our sins and was resurrected as the first fruit of the promise of God), we proclaim our faith.
To believe in Jesus is to have faith. Not blind faith, our faith comes from the word of God (Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.)
Our faith “is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” and like the men of old we seek to gain approval by our faith for we know that it is not possible to please God without faith. (Hebrews 11:1, 2, 6)
Faith is a given for a Christian, faith is a requirement for a Christian. By faith comes our salvation, our justification, our assurance of the promises of God. We are going to examine faith in our lesson today; more specifically we are going to see in the Word of God the elements necessary to not just have faith but to have great faith.
But before we see the elements of great faith, let us examine what may prevent us from having great faith:
I. You of Little Faith
A. Not depending on the power of God.
1. Read Matthew 17:14-21
2. Jesus himself told His followers the power of faith.
3. The disciples were limited by the “littleness” of their faith. When they could not drive out the demon they failed to fall back on God.
4. v 21 “by prayer and fasting.”
B. Putting Limitations on God
1. Lazarus of Bethany John 11:1-45.
a. John 11:21 Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
1) This statement is followed by a wonderful statement of faith v24-27
2) Despite this faith Martha put limitations on the power of God.
b. John 11:32 Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
1) Mary suffered from the same limited thinking.
c. John 11:37 But some of them said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind man, have kept this man also from dying?”
1) The crowd also failed to see His full power and authority.
d. Read v38-44
1) What seemed like a tragedy was actually a triumph to the Glory of God.
2. Calming the sea Matthew 8:23-26
a. Lack of accepting God’s sovereign power.
b. We are always safe in the presence of Jesus.
3. Peter walking on water Matthew 14:22-33
a. Taking our eyes off of Jesus, being distracted or overcome by the world.
b. Colossians 3:1 - 2 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
II. Examples of Great Faith
A. The Centurion at Capernaum Matthew 8:5-13
1. He knew of Jesus and recognized His authority.
a. He knew that help lay with Jesus.
b. He humbled Himself and was mindful of Jesus’ status acknowledging Him as “Lord.”
c. He acknowledges His power, likening it to his own (essentially saying “as You will, it is done.”
2. Jesus marvels at the profession of faith.
a. The word “faith,” here refers to the “confidence” or belief that Christ had power to heal his servant.
3. Matthew 8:13 And Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed that very moment.
a. The faith of the centurion gained more for him than the inheritance of the Jews did for them.
B. The Canaanite Mother.
1. She does not make a demand, she pleads for mercy.
a. Mercy is sought by the subordinate from the superior. (She calls Him “Lord.”)
b. She comes in humility and respect.
2. She identifies Jesus by a Messianic title: Son of David
a. We don’t know how she knew of Jesus.
b. She may have heard the stories, how Jesus healed the servant of the Centurion at Capernaum.
c. She acknowledges Jesus in a way that many of His own people did not. (Pharisees, Matthew 14)
3. Jesus does not answer her direct entreaty.
a. That can happen whenever we petition our Lord; sometimes He knows it best not to answer right away.