Summary: How do you know if you believe? How do you know if you’ve got faith for something? What if faith isn’t something you can just systematically build? What if it doesn’t fit a system?
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ILLUS: Tell about a time I did believe God. Tell about a time I didn’t believe God.
Luke 17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
OK, what are they asking him to do? What is it they want him to tell them?
How to have more faith, right? Like, give me a faith increasing step-by-step plan. Give me a formula, give me a
At least that’s what it looks like they’re asking, to me.
And that seems like a great question to me, because I’ve asked the Lord many times, even just recently, for more faith. And I know Romans 10:17, “faith comes by hearing the word of God” but as I meditated over this issue, I realized that Romans 10 is talking specifically about SAVING faith, the faith in Jesus as the Christ, that comes by preaching of the Gospel.
So, I am excited coming to this verse – I’m with the disciples:
Teach me, Jesus, teach me to have more faith. And, this is what Jesus says.
6 He replied, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it will obey you.”
Now, is it just me, or did he totally NOT ANSWER the question?
He didn’t tell them how to have more faith, he just told them what would happen IF THEY DID have it, what they could do IF THEY DID get more faith.
Jesus had this way of sometimes dodging questions that is pleasantly disconcerting.
But it made me wonder: Why did he not answer it?
And honestly, I’m not sure of the answer to that.
Is it because…
• Faith isn’t something you can just systematically build? It doesn’t fit a system?
What if faith is something you either have or do not have. It’s not on a graduated system.
Either you believe God, or you do not.
You don’t believe him 60% or 20% or 90%.
You might believe him for small things, but maybe that just means that you don’t believe him for big things.
So how do you know if you believe? How do you know if you’ve got faith for something? (Something that you believe God wants done, of course – it’s always in His will, not ours. Surrender to God’s will is just a ticket to the game, tho.)
I think what Jesus is teaching us here is this: Faith isn’t something you get by degrees. (“I think I’m 60% of the way to faith for God to heal through me.”)
ILLUS: If you decide to go skydiving, you will need faith in your parachute. What can you do to build your faith in your parachute?
Well, I suppose there are some things you can do before faith.
You could take a class on parachutes. You could visit a parachute factory, and meet the people who make them. You could interview people who have skydived and lived through it. But you know in your heart that your stomach will probably still churn while you strap on your chute. You know that in your mind will go thoughts…
I have said for years that I want to go skydiving. But it’s relatively easy to talk about it standing here. I can say I want to, but that doesn’t mean I have faith.
How do I know when I’ve got faith to skydive?
I think its WHEN I JUMP.
There comes a time where your feet have to leave the plane.
Until you have leaped and placed yourself in a position that says “If this doesn’t work, I’m toast…” you don’t have faith.
Think about it.
Big faith means the possibility of big failure.
You have to be willing to look entirely stupid if it doesn’t work out.
The guy who has faith in a chair that breaks, risks looking a little stupid.
The guy who has faith that God will part the Red Sea in front of a whole nation risks looking a lot stupid.
• SUN, STAND STILL” (Joshua 10:12)
• “WATERS, PART!” (Exodus 14)
• “This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll cut off your head…” (1 Samuel 17)
• “In the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk.” (Acts 3)
• “You will be blind for a season.” (Acts 13:11)
• “Stand upright on your feet!” (Acts 14:9-10)
Imagine with me for a moment how awkward it would be if you said one of these and it didn’t happen.
So we don’t. Because we don’t have faith for it.