Summary: We pay good money to go to the gym and work out. The purpose is to get stronger and be healthier. We have SPIRITUAL MUSCLES too – FAITH! Here notice the subject, the desire, and the means of the apostles.
INCREASING SPIRITUAL MUSCLE
A. HUMOR: Dog Applicant
1. A police dog responded to an ad for work with the FBI. "Well," says the personnel director, "you'll have to meet some strict requirements.
2. First, you must type at least 60 words per minute."
Sitting down at the typewriter, the dog types out 80 words per minute.
3. "Also," says the director, "you must pass a physical and complete the obstacle course." This perfect dog specimen finishes the course in record time.
4. "There's one last requirement," the director continues; "you must be bilingual." With confidence, the dog looks up at him and says, "Meow!"
“And the Apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith’”
1. If the Apostles were convinced THEY needed their faith strengthened, then ALL of us need to make this request! Let your prayer be, “Lord, Increase our faith!”
2. We see 3 things here: a). The subject of their request; b). their desire to “Increase their faith;” and c). the means they depended on to strengthen their faith—Jesus.
3. The title of this message is “Increasing Spiritual Muscle.”
I. THE SUBJECT OF THEIR REQUEST WAS THEIR FAITH
All of us ought to be deeply anxious as to whether we have a real vital faith that the first believers possessed. WHY? BECAUSE…
A. BECAUSE OUR SALVATION DEPENDS ON IT
1. We are not saved by love, nor by courage, nor by patience. We are saved by faith. It is nowhere written—he that loves shall be saved, but “he that believes…shall be saved.”
2. Faith is the vital part of salvation. If a man lacks faith, he lacks everything. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” If a man has true faith—that man is safe.
3. But suppose a person possesses every virtue in the world, but not faith; would that help him/her at all? No!
4. You can be sincere, diligent, etc., but “without faith, it is impossible to please God.”
5. There are a thousand shams in the world—a thousand imitations of faith. Faith must be in the correct object – the Person of Jesus Christ.
a. Matt Emmons was the gold medal finalist in the 2004 Olympic 50-meter three-position rifle event. He didn't even need a bull's-eye to win.
b. His final shot would have received a score of 8.1, more than enough for a gold medal, except for one thing: Emmons fired at the wrong target.
c. Standing in lane two, he fired at the target in lane three. Instead of a medal, Emmons ended up in eighth place. (David Mordkoff, American Emmons Misses Out on Gold by Firing at Wrong Target, www.Sports.Yahoo.com, 8-22-04). Same w/ faith in Christ!
7. Are you in vital, living contact with the Man from Galilee? Do you know the Son of God, whose eyes are as blazing fire, and His feet as burnished bronze?
8. Have you heard His voice? Have you seen the dim outline of His face in prayer? Have you felt the rumble of His power? Is He a living Being to you, who directs your life and to whom you give account regularly?
B. ALL GRACES PROCEED FROM FAITH
1. Faith is the root of Grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no
one can boast” Eph. 2:8-9.
2. This means that all the “fruit” of the Spirit (mentioned in Gal. 5:22-23, “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”) are outgrowths of the life of Christ flowing in the believer through faith.
3. Likewise the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:8-10) also are exercised by faith. Truth: “the Just shall live by faith.”
C. BECAUSE GOD CALLS IT “PRECIOUS”
1. There are 3 things in the N. T. which are called “precious:” a). the precious blood of Christ; b). the exceedingly great and precious promises; and c). “like precious faith.”
2. LOOK AT THE POWER OF FAITH:
a. Jesus says, “your faith has saved you.” Now we know that it’s not faith that saves—it’s Christ that saves.
b. He said, “Your faith has healed you.” Now faith didn’t heal; it was Christ that healed, but Christ gives it a special recognition.
c. “We are justified by faith.” Justification is the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. We are justified by Christ, but Christ arrays faith in His own royal robes and speaks of its primacy.
D. CONTINUOUS MAINTENANCE OBTAINS BLESSINGS
1. Since Faith is the ladder on which my soul must climb to ascend to Heaven, that ladder must be kept in good repair.
2. Faith is the cell tower or the satellite that relays my prayer to God. We call, He answers. We’re in trouble, He sends help. If we’re being attacked, God sends supernatural aid.