Summary: Subject: Refocusing on the basics. Proposition: "Faith is the Foundation of our relationship with God."
Suggested Reading: Heb 11:1-6
Sermon Text: Romans 5:1
This morning I am wrestling with the concept of building our faith! One thing I do know - our family, our friends, our world needs us to have as much faith as we can possibly attain!
Let me pose a situation for you... If someone, a friend, a family member, a coworker, were to ask you this week: "What is faith?" How would you respond?
Our eternity is based upon this very concept... So, what is it that you believe?
Some things we do take faith and we never give it a thought. Think about it....
*Illustration - Consider - You go to a doctor, whose name you cannot pronounce and whose degrees you have never verified - and probably couldn’t if you wanted to. They many not even be able to speak your language fluently. She or he gives you a prescription you cannot read - no one can... You take it to a pharmacist you have never met, who you now hope can read what you can’t. They then give you a chemical compound you do not understand, with side affects you can find listed/ Then you go home and take the pill(s) according to the instructions on the bottle. All in trusting and sincere faith that someone along the way understood what you couldn’t!!!
Sometimes life forces faith upon us....
Hebrews 11:6 warns us that: ...without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Quite a promise for seekers after God!
James deals with the issue of "faith and deeds." James was tired of talk and wanted to see faith in action. Faith without actions is dead...
We see right from the early beginnings of the Bible where Abraham gives up everything to follow God. Scripture says that Abraham "grew" in faith as he trusted and followed God.... There seems to be a relationship between trust, obedience, and believing to growing of faith.
I’m sure we all know the phrase Jesus uses with His own disciples, "O you of ’little’ faith." In fact, Five times in Matthew, Jesus makes this statement. We also know that the Apostles, were "known" for their faith, in the end! Somewhere, between walking with Jesus and finally leaving this earth for their eternal home in glory, their faith grew!
Faith is mentioned 239 times in the NT! Faith is mentioned 43 times in the Gospels alone... (this excludes the word faithful!) Sounds rather important to our Christian walk! We’ve read about the "Faith of the Centurion", the men carrying their paralytic friend to Jesus on the mat where Jesus saw "their faith", the woman who "touched Jesus", the woman who asked Jesus to heal her daughter, or the man who asked Jesus to heal his son "If you can?" Jesus says "All things are possible for him who believes." Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Over come his lack of faith???
Do you believe today? Do you have faith today?
In this idea of faith, we recognize that nonbelievers have no faith, since faith is base in a belief that God exists and is able to handle our situation and our needs, which nonbelievers would have no basis for. There is one caveat, a nonbeliever, perhaps through their grandparents, a coworker, a friend, or some family member, may cry out to God in a desperate moment and be heard by God. God is so loving that even our weakest moments of faith are heard by Him!
Would you agree with me on the premise that faith does not exist in the nonbeliever? And, since we were all once nonbelievers, each and every one of us came from a place of no faith to the place where we are today.
Each of us, who are Believers, have moved from no faith to some faith.
Faith that is found in the new believer, then, is small or little (as it was in the Disciples). Somehow, that faith, though starting small, is able to grow! And yet, since this faith is dynamic in nature, it stands to reason that it is also able to remain small. Faith does not have to grow! This is rather shocking!
I know this is probably frustrating you somewhat as it is forcing you to consider what it is YOU believe about faith!
Let me break it down a little more by asking a simple question. Can we assume that someone who reads the Bible, walks the walk, talks the talk, and is faithful in their attendance - Can we assume they have great faith? I submit to you, that we cannot make that assumption, even of ourselves. All of these things are good and we should do them, but they are not the measurement for faith!