Summary: Faith requires Action on the part of the faithful.
I. In the past, I have spoken from time to time of my friend and former church member, Alex Pfeiffer.
II. Alex was an older gentleman that often gave me much needed support and encouragement in my first pastorate experience.
III. That first church was not very large, and at various times, I would become discouraged, at the seeming lack of growth that was taking place there.
A. As with most small churches, the pastor was responsible for many activities outside of the preaching.
1. One of the activities that I did was to prepare the weekly bulletin.
2. In an attempt not to waste the churches money, I would often try to conserve on the number of bulletins I would prepare.
IV. One of the jobs that Alex enjoyed was greeting people as they came in the church, and handing them a bulletin.
A. One more than one occasion, Alex would ask me how many bulletins I had made for the morning service.
1. “O, I made…” 35, or 50 or whatever the number was I would respond.
2. His next question was often, “How many did you make last week?”
B. About the same number was the typical reply, to which Alex would respond, “Well make more next week. I know God is going to bring some new people to the church.”
1. Sometimes I would protest, But, and I would be lying if I said every week, BUT, sometimes even often Alex would prove right, and if I made more bulletins, we would experience visitors that week.
2. I don’t remember ever running out of bulletins, but I do remember that Alex almost always encouraged me to make more for the following week.
C. “Have faith” he would say; “God wants to do something good here.”
D. I soon learned that faith requires action on the part of the faithful.
V. How do I know that true, biblical faith requires action, well consider that the word “faith” is found in our bibles some 250 times.
A. Allow me to give you a few examples of what Jesus referred to as faith.
1. Matthew chapter 8 reports of a centurion or soldier that approached Jesus concerning a servant of his that was ill.
a. Jesus’ response was, “I will come to your home and heal him, to which the centurion essentially replied
b. “I am not worthy for you to come to my home; just speak the word and my servant will be fine.”
c. Jesus response, in verse 10 – “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.”
d. The faith of the centurion resulted in an action of belief in Christ’ word.
2. Mark reports in Chapter 2 of Jesus coming to a home and teaching.
a. A great crowd gathered, so many that when a sick man was brought to Jesus for healing, they couldn’t get near, yet they knew that Jesus could heal.
b. Their response,
(1) Climb on the roof,
(2) Tear away the thatch, and
(3) Lower their sick friend down to Jesus.
c. Verse 5 says, “Jesus, seeing THEIR faith said, ‘son they sins are forgiven, …and the sick man arose.”
VI. True, biblical faith is demonstrated by action of the part of the faithful,
A. Either action before the event, or
B. Action based on the word of Christ.
VII. But it appears to me that faith is not initiated by inaction, nor does it result in inaction.
VIII. My friend Alex was correct, “Pastor you have to exercise faith, and be prepared for what God wants to do here.”
IX. In Hebrews 11, verse one, God says that faith is “…the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
X. Conviction, most typically results in action.
A. God told Israel, “send 12 spies into the land which I have given you.”
1. Moses sent the twelve spies, of which 10 returned and said “it can’t be done.
B. There are giants in the land.
1. Two said, “Come on. God has given us the land. Let’s go.”
2. The acceptance of the popular vote of the 10 resulted in
a. Inaction on the part of Israel,
b. 40 years of wandering in the desert, and
c. The death of that generation, without every seeing the promised land.
C. But for the two who had been willing to act on God’s word, entrance became theirs.
D. I was wondering this week, “What might have happened had Joshua and Caleb said, ‘We are going to take God as His word. If you want to obey with us, we leave at dawn.”
XI. This morning, we are looking at the gospel of John, chapter 4, beginning with verse 43.
XII. This is the story of an unlikely man that exercised faith in God, and reaped a great reward.