Summary: People who suffer because of inadequate faith should begin to grow in their initimate knowledge of Jesus Christ
Insufficient Faith Comes From an Inadequate Knowledge of the Truth
Illustration:Sir Alexander Mackenzie is a Canadian hero. An early fur trader and explorer, he accomplished a magnificent feat when he led an expedition across Canada from Fort Chippewyan on Lake Athabasca to the Pacific Ocean. His incredible journey was completed in 1793, 11 years before Lewis and Clark began their famous expedition to the west. Mackenzie’s earlier attempt in 1789, however, had been a major disappointment. His explorers had set out in an effort to find a water route to the Pacific. The valiant group followed a mighty river (now named the Mackenzie) with high hopes, paddling furiously amid great danger. Unfortunately, it didn’t empty into the Pacific, but into the Arctic Ocean. In his diary, Mackenzie called it the "River of Disappointment."
Daily Bread, July 1, 1990.
1. Why are some people experiencing uncertainties, doubts and fears even when they are faithful church attenders? Some people’s faith is insufficient because they have an inadequate knowledge of the truth.
When Paul met with these twelve men in Ephesus he discovered that they had wrongly assumed that their belief in John’s preaching was all they needed. They failed to even hear of the Holy Spirit. Today many churches are filled with people who have mistakenly assumed that they are on their way to heaven. Without saving faith in the Christ, who provides forgiveness of all sins and the gift of the resident Holy Spirit, no one will enter heaven.
Ask the Lord to help you educate people about the perils of insufficient faith and its remedies through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
2. Paul’s instruction was comprehensive and wise. It is sad to say, but many teachers give good information, but they lack a comprehensive knowledge of the Bible or fail to deliver it with spiritual wisdom.
Ask the Lord to help you follow Paul’s exemplary instruction in not leaving out any essential teaching.
3. Paul’s instruction was not based on the teaching of any man, just on Christ. The men of Ephesus were trusting in the teachings of John. Too many people become disciples of a man rather than a true follower of Jesus Christ. Paul said, “For to me to live is Christ.” (Phil. 1:21) Paul did not say, “It all depends on the definition of what is – is!” It should be plain truth that you speak to people.
There is no equivocation about truth when you speak of the life, teaching and ministry of Jesus Christ. Follow the footsteps of Jesus wherever you go.
4. The disciples of John stood on the lower steps of maturity in their faith. As we grow in Christ we move on from
1). Basic trust – a firm belief in the reliability of God and the truth of His word. Just as a child learns to implicitly trust his mother, so a young Christian relies on the Lord for spiritual leading, feeding and protection.
2). Confidence – One develops a firm reliance on the certainty of God’s grace, counsel and enabling
3). Innovation – When a person knows one’s value before God they are free to initiate ideas, services and love
4). Productivity - The deeper one’s faith, the greater capacity an individual has to generate the spiritual fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control
5). Integration – When a person grows in faith they are able to integrate beliefs with truth in all the realities of life
6). Friendly intimacy with others – When a person grows closer to the Lord they are free to get closer to people. There is no fear in love as it casts out the fear of being misunderstood or hurt.
7). Creativity – The person who grows in faith is one who brings to birth original ideas. Inventing new programs, services or activities keeps this person from becoming stale.
8). Christ Likeness – A fully mature person increasingly becomes more like the Lord in thought, speech and actions. Great faith allows one to see things from God’s point of view.
Ask the Lord to help you to be more like Abraham who grew strong in faith being fully persuaded that what God had promised, He would also perform. (Rom. 4:20,21)
Conclusion:In 1858 the Illinois legislature--using an obscure statute--sent Stephen A. Douglas to the U.S. Senate instead of Abraham Lincoln, although Lincoln had won the popular vote. When a sympathetic friend asked Lincoln how he felt, he said, "Like the boy who stubbed his toe: I am too big to cry and too badly hurt to laugh."