Summary: Discusses the importance of our obedience versus our faith.
Faith And Obedience: What Moves God
I started out in life as a child. I did not come into this world as an adult, as some people think they did, I actually started off as a small baby and grew into what I am today. I came into this world with some things already within me, things that may have given my parents many headaches. For example, when I was a baby, no one taught me to cry when I was hungry or when I needed to be changed. None of us had to teach our children when they were babies to cry when they were hungry – it is already within them. When I did it I learned without understanding it, that I would receive something when I screamed at the top of my lungs (some adults still think this way.) Life was good back then. I went places without having to walk or drive because there were always people willing to carry me if I smiled and drooled enough. I was fed whenever I cried, so I learned to cry a lot. My grandmother once told me that she hated to feed me as a baby because it seemed like I would never get enough to eat…things that make you go ummmm.
But one of the main things that I did not have to learn and seemed to have a natural gift for was being disobedient. I think I came into the world with that being a part of my makeup. There were things that I did that I knew I was not supposed to do but I felt compelled to do them anyway. I find it interesting that I (as many of you did also) had to learn how to be obedient. For me, this came through the form of lectures, switches, and belts. I do not believe that my parents understood much about “time out.” Time out came after the other lesson was taught. As I grew older and became a Christian, I learned two key doctrines about my relationship with God. The first was about faith and the second was about being obedient. I was taught that my faith is what moved God into action. This morning we will examine the question: “Is our faith the only thing that moves God?”
I. The Importance Of Faith
There are several foundational Scriptures that we have all learned about faith. They include the following:
“And He said to them, ‘Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you. But this kind of faith does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Jesus’ disciples were trying to cast a demon out of a man’s son but the disciples could not do it. When the man brought his son to Jesus, Jesus cast the demon out. Later His disciples asked Him why they could not do it. Jesus told them that they did not have enough faith and He used the comparison to a mustard seed. If you consider a mustard seed, it is a very small seed. Yet when it is planted it grows into a very large shrub. Jesus said if the disciples had just a little faith, the size of a mustard seed, nothing would be impossible to them. Our faith makes the impossible possible, the unbelievable, believable and the insurmountable surmountable. Another Scripture we often hear is found in Hebrews 11:1 which says:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Your bible could read this way, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.” What this verse says is that our faith brings those things that we are hoping for into reality. Because we know what we are hoping for will come, we begin to make plans to receive it. (Remember the story of the two farmers that I shared with you last week?) Our faith is our evidence that we have received what we have asked for, even though we may not have it in our hands. There is one more Scripture on faith that I want to share with you and it is found in Hebrews 11:6.
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
If you believe in God then you have a measure of faith. God has placed within everyone some faith, but it is up to us to exercise it so that it would grow. I lift weights as part of my exercise routine and when I exercise those muscles, they grow. Sometime that growth comes with a level of pain, but the exercised muscle does grow. Our faith is the same way. It needs to be exercised in order for it to grow. We cannot please God without faith because it takes faith for us to accept that He is. Atheist do not believe God exists therefore they cannot accept Him. In order to accept God, you must first believe that He is which requires faith on a very basic level. I read something recently that was based on the principle set forth by atheists. It said, “God does not believe in atheists therefore they do not exist.” It takes faith to believe that God exists and more faith to accept Him as our God.