Summary: An eye opening look at faith as it was meant to be, not what the church has made it today... FAITH is not about you.
The Search for Faith
This morning I want to talk about faith. The subject of faith has been preached on, written about, study guides offered, instructional series presented and on and on… the topic has an exhaustive amount of research and teaching on it…why? Because we as Christians understand the importance of faith in our walk. The Bible clearly tells us in Hebrews 11:6:
6 So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. Hebrews 11:6
It is impossible to please God unless we live a life of faith. Every Christian wants more faith. They will sit through hours of teaching on it. They are looking for that piece of information that magically awakens the faith within them so that they can have their prayers answered. They are looking to improve in this area. I believe though that this search is creating the problem or furthering the struggle. Now I know that doesn’t make sense, that a search for faith would be detrimental to the process of growing faith, but let me explain.
The desire to walk in greater faith is fine, the search for what the Word of God says regarding this the proper way to go. The problem with it lies in what we focus on. The search for great faith focuses on us more than on God. We look for what we can do to improve, what we can change about us to have more faith, what are we doing wrong in this area. The focus is on improving us. Do you understand what I am saying here? We are trying to have more FAITH in our ability to have faith, than to actually increase our faith. You see, Christians struggle with the belief that they can have real faith, they believe the problem lies within them and if that is their focus they will never achieve the kind of faith that God would desire for them to have. They are trying to get to a place that they can finally believe that they have positioned themselves to be a person of great faith. That they have lined everything up in their life and now they are in a proper position of being able to have faith. I want us to look at a passage of scripture that I believe will open our eyes up to what I am saying. Let’s look at this story in Luke 7.
1When Jesus had finished saying all this, he went back to Capernaum. 2Now the highly valued slave of a Roman officer was sick and near death. 3When the officer heard about Jesus, he sent some respected Jewish leaders to ask him to come and heal his slave. 4So they earnestly begged Jesus to come with them and help the man. "If anyone deserves your help, it is he," they said, 5"for he loves the Jews and even built a synagogue for us." 6So Jesus went with them. But just before they arrived at the house, the officer sent some friends to say, "Lord, don’t trouble yourself by coming to my home, for I am not worthy of such an honor. 7I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 8I know because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, `Go,’ and they go, or `Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, `Do this or that,’ they do it."
9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd, he said, "I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all the land of Israel!" 10And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed.
I want us to look at some key points in this story and I think we will do this by looking backwards. Let’s look at verse 9 again.
9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd, he said, "I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all the land of Israel!" Luke 7:9
Jesus responds in an incredible fashion when He hears this centurion’s request. First of all Jesus is amazed. Can you imagine living such a life that your faith amazed the Son of God? You would think that He would be pretty hard to amaze, yet here we see that He was amazed. Then look at what He says. I mean how incredible would it be to have Jesus standing by the Father and look down and say to God, “I am amazed at the level of faith that guy has”. I do not know about you, but for me, that would be a dream come true. That would be the ultimate compliment. So I believe we could agree that this centurion has reached the level of faith that we all desire to be at, a level of faith that amazes Jesus.