Summary: Perhaps the greatest test of faith you will face may be in loving people who are closest to you. Our God is able to overcome the most difficult of problem, person or predicament if we believe in His power!
Everyone struggles with problems that seem overwhelming and tend to stress us out. Jesus once told His disciples,
"If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matt. 17:20,21)
The Lord wanted His disciples to realize that God was greater than any problem. No wonder that even John, the apostle wrote,
"Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." (I John 4:4)
Theme: Let us discover what are the ways that Jesus taught that faith in God is greater than any problem we will ever face – from within our own mind or in our circumstances.
1. Jesus knew that faith would help people focus their attention on God’s power rather than their limited resources. Without an active means of expressing our faith, we are unable to grow in faith. Jesus said,
"O you of little faith. Do not worry about what you shall eat or drink or what you shall wear. For the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matt. 6:30-33)
The Lord wants all of us to continue to put our time, energies and resources into the building of His church through evangelism, disciple-making, and teaching ministries.
Application: Through the exercise of our faith the church will be enriched and in return God will supply us with whatever is needed.
2. Jesus healed the paralytic man lying on a mat by saying,
"Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." Whatever might be the root cause of our problem, God is able to solve it if we will offer up ourselves to His care. Jesus wanted to publicly demonstrate that He has all authority on earth to forgive and heal any root cause that is limiting us from being all that we can be.
Even though Jesus received harsh criticism for declaring His power to forgive sins, the Lord did not allow the cynicism of Pharisees to discourage Him from exemplifying great faith to thousands. Do not let other people’s doubts deter you from accomplishing great things through Jesus Christ. (Matt. 9:2-7)
3. Jesus taught the disciples that they could accomplish things according to the quality and quantity of their faith. One day two blind men call out to Jesus, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" The Lord asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" ‘Yes, Lord’, they replied. Then He touched their eyes and said; "According to your faith will it be done to you." And their sight was restored. (Matt. 9:27-30)
Application: The more you mature in your faith the more you will be able to muster up the courage to approach the throne of grace boldly to find grace to help you for increasingly difficult challenges.
4. Jesus did not perform great miracles in his hometown because of the people’s limited faith. Jesus said, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor." And He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith." (Matt. 13:57,58)
Many scoffed at Jesus in Nazareth as being nothing more than a common and ordinary carpenter’s son. They were so interested in finding reasons why Jesus could not work wonders or exhibit great wisdom they missed out on the greatest opportunity in history.
Application: Do not spend much time with people who are generally looking for glitches rather than looking to the Lord for His power, purposes and processes.
5. Jesus rebuked Peter for lacking the great faith to believe that he would be given power to walk on water. Jesus said to Peter, "Come." Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" (Matt. 14:29-31)
When you are sure that God has given you directives be sure to obey. Be confident that God will never lead you where the grace of God will sustain you.
6. Jesus promised the disciples an ability to perform supernatural ministries if they had enough faith. One day the disciples were amazed at the Lord’s ability to curse the fig tree and watch it wither at once. They said,
"How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" Jesus said, "If you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." (Matt. 21:20-22)