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Summary: AS WE CONTINUE OUR SERIES ON FACING YOUR FAITH – A CHALLENGE TO AUTHENTIC FAITH AS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST, WE WANT TO SEE WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE “GREAT FAITH”. THIS WAS A PHRASE THE LORD USED TO DESCRIBE TWO INDIVIDUALS, BOTH NOT JEWS,

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FACING OUR FAITH IN 2015

GREAT FAITH

MATTHEW 8:5-13 AND WHEN JESUS ENTERED CAPERNAUM, A CENTURION CAME TO HIM, IMPLORING HIM, 6 AND SAYING, "LORD, MY SERVANT IS LYING PARALYZED AT HOME, FEARFULLY TORMENTED." 7 JESUS *SAID TO HIM, "I WILL COME AND HEAL HIM." 8 BUT THE CENTURION SAID, "LORD, I AM NOT WORTHY FOR YOU TO COME UNDER MY ROOF, BUT JUST SAY THE WORD, AND MY SERVANT WILL BE HEALED. 9 "FOR I ALSO AM A MAN UNDER AUTHORITY, WITH SOLDIERS UNDER ME; AND I SAY TO THIS ONE, 'GO!' AND HE GOES, AND TO ANOTHER, 'COME!' AND HE COMES, AND TO MY SLAVE, 'DO THIS!' AND HE DOES IT."

10 NOW WHEN JESUS HEARD THIS, HE MARVELED AND SAID TO THOSE WHO WERE FOLLOWING, "TRULY I SAY TO YOU, I HAVE NOT FOUND SUCH GREAT FAITH WITH ANYONE IN ISRAEL.

11 "I SAY TO YOU THAT MANY WILL COME FROM EAST AND WEST, AND RECLINE AT THE TABLE WITH ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN; 12 BUT THE SONS OF THE KINGDOM WILL BE CAST OUT INTO THE OUTER DARKNESS; IN THAT PLACE THERE WILL BE WEEPING AND GNASHING OF TEETH." 13 AND JESUS SAID TO THE CENTURION, "GO; IT SHALL BE DONE FOR YOU AS YOU HAVE BELIEVED." AND THE SERVANT WAS HEALED THAT VERY MOMENT.

MATTHEW 15:21-28 JESUS WENT AWAY FROM THERE, AND WITHDREW INTO THE DISTRICT OF TYRE AND SIDON. 22 AND A CANAANITE WOMAN FROM THAT REGION CAME OUT AND BEGAN TO CRY OUT, SAYING, "HAVE MERCY ON ME, LORD, SON OF DAVID; MY DAUGHTER IS CRUELLY DEMON-POSSESSED." 23 BUT HE DID NOT ANSWER HER A WORD. AND HIS DISCIPLES CAME AND IMPLORED HIM, SAYING, "SEND HER AWAY, BECAUSE SHE KEEPS SHOUTING AT US." 24 BUT HE ANSWERED AND SAID, "I WAS SENT ONLY TO THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL."

25 BUT SHE CAME AND BEGAN TO BOW DOWN BEFORE HIM, SAYING, "LORD, HELP ME!" 26 AND HE ANSWERED AND SAID, "IT IS NOT GOOD TO TAKE THE CHILDREN'S BREAD AND THROW IT TO THE DOGS." 27 BUT SHE SAID, "YES, LORD; BUT EVEN THE DOGS FEED ON THE CRUMBS WHICH FALL FROM THEIR MASTERS' TABLE." 28 THEN JESUS SAID TO HER, "O WOMAN, YOUR FAITH IS GREAT; IT SHALL BE DONE FOR YOU AS YOU WISH." AND HER DAUGHTER WAS HEALED AT ONCE.

INTRODUCTION: AS WE CONTINUE OUR SERIES ON FACING YOUR FAITH – A CHALLENGE TO AUTHENTIC FAITH AS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST, WE WANT TO SEE WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE “GREAT FAITH”. THIS WAS A PHRASE THE LORD USED TO DESCRIBE TWO INDIVIDUALS, BOTH NOT JEWS, WHO CAME TO JESUS WITH ISSUES. JESUS DEALS WITH EACH OF THEM GRACIOUSLY AND WITH MERCY, YET, ALSO TAKES TIME TO MENTION THEIR “GREAT FAITH”. SO, IN OUR TIME TOGETHER TODAY, I WOULD LIKE TO LOOK AT WHAT MADE THEIR FAITH GREAT, AND IN SO DOING, ALLOW US TO SEE WHAT WE NEED TO BE DOING TO HAVE GREAT FAITH.

I. A LOOK BACK AT “LITTLE FAITH”

a. LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN GOD

b. A FORM OF IDOLATRY – FOCUSES ON TEMPORAL NEEDS, NOT GOD

c. A SINFUL FAITH – DENIES GOD’S LOVE AND INTEGRITY

d. A WORRY FAITH – ADOPTS A WORLDLY LIFE VIEW

e. A FAITH WITHOUT GOD – SPIRITUAL VACUUM

II. LESSON FROM THE CENTURION – GREAT FAITH AND AUTHORITY

INTERESTING TO NOTE THAT BOTH THE CENTURION AND THE CANAANITE WOMAN ARE GENTILES, NOT JEWS. GREAT FAITH CAN BE FOUND IN PLACES WE WOULD NOT IMAGINE!

a. THE DRIVING FORCE

i. THE ILLNESS OF A YOUNG SERVANT BOY

1. WE FIND THIS OUT FROM COMPARING THE ACCOUNT IN MATTHEW AND IN LUKE

2. MATTHEW USES SERVANT

3. LUKE USES THE TERM FOR A YOUNG OR SMALL BOY

ii. IT IS A SITUATION BEYOND THE ABILITY OF THE CENTURION

1. HE CANNOT CONTROL WHAT IS HAPPENING

2. HE CANNOT EFFECT WHAT IS HAPPENING

3. HE HAS NO AUTHORITY OVER WHAT IS HAPPENING

4. ONE OF THE REASONS THERE IS SO LITTLE GREAT FAITH IN THE WORLD TODAY IS THE BELIEF THAT WE ACTUALLY HAVE OR ARE IN CONTROL. THE REALITY IS THAT WE ARE NOT!

b. THE DRIVING PRINCIPLE – AUTHORITY

i. MILITARY MAN WHO UNDERSTANDS AUTHORITY

ii. UNDERSTOOD HE WAS POWERLESS TO DEAL WITH SITUATION

iii. UNDERSTOOD HE WAS UNWORTHY TO ASK

iv. UNDERSTOOD JESUS HAD THE AUTHORITY AND ABILITY TO DEAL WITH THE SITUATION

1. UNTIL WE UNDERSTAND THIS WE CAN NEVER HAVE FAITH, WE CAN ONLY HAVE BELIEF

2. BELIEF IS NOT FAITH – WE WILL TALK MORE ABOUT THIS LATER

v. THE PRINCIPLE OF AUTHORITY – YOU DO NEED TO BE THERE FOR THE TASK TO GET ACCOMPLISHED

1. SINCE JESUS HAD THE ABILITY AND THE AUTHORITY, HE COULD WILL IT DONE

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