Summary: Some Christians never grow up in their faith. And yet, Galatians 5 tells me that God’s Spirit can help me have more faith in my life. How does He do that?
OPEN: When I listen to Christian radio in the evenings, I’ve often tuned in to a call-in program featuring a wise, grandfatherly gentleman who has that calm reassuring voice capable of melting fear. One night a lady, who was obviously crying, called in and related the following: “I was born blind, and I’ve been blind all my life. I don’t mind being blind but I have some well meaning friends who tell me that if I had more faith I could be healed.”
The preacher asked her, “Tell me, do you carry one of those white canes?”
“Yes I do,” she replied.
“Then the next time someone says that hit them over the head with the cane,” He said. “Then tell them, ‘If you had more faith that wouldn’t hurt!’”
APPLY: If we only had more faith. As foolish as that particular phrase was to say to a blind woman we all know that we could ALL use more faith in our lives. Because we know Faith is important to us as Christians
The Bible tells us that “… the righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17)
Philippians 3:9 says that our “…righteousness … is through faith in Christ….
Ephesians 6:16 says we have a “… shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
And Hebrews 11:6 declares “…without faith it is impossible to please God…”
So it would seem we can never have enough faith in our lives.
Even the smallest amount of faith is so powerful that it can change our lives/circumstances/world
Jesus said: “…if you have faith and do not doubt… you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.” Matthew 21:21
Faith has power… and I want as much of that power - and as much of that faith - as I can get in my life.
I. So… how do I get more of this FAITH?
Galatians 5 tells me that “faith” is the fruit of the Spirit in my life. The NIV translates Galatians 5:22 to say that the fruit of the Spirit is “Faithfulness”, but the word (in the Greek “pistis”) is actually “FAITH” not faithfulness… and there is a difference between those two words
Faith means I believe in something, I trust in something, I depend on something.
Faithfulness is the way I live because I believe in that “something.”
So Galatians is telling me that the kind of faith I want is something God’s Spirit develops in me. Romans 12:3 hints at this when it says “… think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”
When you and I became Christians WE believed in Jesus.
It was our faith that led us to
…repent of our sins
… confess Jesus as our Lord and Master
… and be baptized into Christ.
We believed. We had faith. We trusted God enough to want to belong to Him.
It was a simple, elementary faith
It was an acceptance of the fact that Jesus loved us and wanted us to belong to Him.
But the problem for many Christians is that this is as much faith as many ever get in their lives. Many never seem to develop beyond being infants and “babes” in Christ. And that’s not healthy.
The writer of Hebrews criticizes some of the Christians of his day saying:
“… by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!…. Hebrews 5:12-13
II. You know what he’s saying to these folks??? GROW UP
He’s saying they need to mature in their level of faith to the point where they just naturally teach about God all the time… even when they’re not thinking about it.
They should be bringing people to Jesus. They should be teaching those people about Jesus. Their faith should be so strong that people around them can’t help but see and hear about what God has done in their lives.
Too many Christians rob themselves of this experience because they never grow up in their faith.
ILLUS: Imagine if you will a person who has just inherited a grand mansion. It’s elegant and it’s luxurious - and it’s filled with large beautifully decorated rooms. So the day comes for this person to take possession of this beautiful home… and he walks in the front door.
He’s so impressed by the foyer to this grand mansion that he plops down his luggage, unrolls a sleeping bag, and that’s where he lives for the rest of his life - right there in the entrance to his home. He never uses the dining room. He never lives in the living room. And he never sleeps in any of the bedrooms. He lives and he dies just inside the front door.