Summary: “Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’” (Matthew 14:31)
Theme: O you of little faith
Text: Gen. 37:12-28; Rom. 10:5-15; Matt. 14:22-33
The gospel has within it the faith we need to believe. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” Rom. 10:17. The Word of God imparts faith to the hearers so that they can believe the gospel and be saved by His grace “For by grace we have been saved through faith” (Eph. 2:8). We cannot boast of our salvation because we did not do anything to deserve it. We receive it by faith. Faith is a gift that can be likened to a very precious diamond in a beautiful box. Many people open the box to see its content and then close the box and keep it closed. God gives us faith to lead us to salvation and to a successful Christian life. Unfortunately many people close the box after salvation and end up admiring the box rather than making use of the diamond to take care of their needs.
Faith is one of the foundations of the Christian life as our salvation is by faith “For by grace we have been saved through faith” (Eph. 2:8). Faith is so important that the Bible itself defines it. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. (Hebrews 11:1) Faith gives us access to the righteousness of Christ. Faith believes the Word of God that “if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses unto salvation”. (Rom. 10:9-10) Salvation results from believing that “whoever shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved”. (Rom 10:13) Faith does not only believe in salvation but in every promise of God. Why is it so easy to believe that Christ has saved us and so difficult to believe that Christ can take care of us?
Every unbeliever is given the gift of faith that leads to salvation. However, they stop to exercise faith after salvation because of the wrong understanding that salvation is the end of the journey. Salvation is rather the beginning of the journey of faith. Salvation assures us of a new life as children of God who have been made righteous through the death of Jesus Christ. As God’s children we have a heavenly Father who has promised to take care of all our needs and we access His grace by faith. Faith believes the promises of God. Faith believes God is with us in the storms of life and that His presence is our victory.
Faith believes and it is established. Unbelief hinders faith and in the words of Christ little faith is the result of doubt. Little faith must be little indeed “Because if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you”. (Matt. 17:20) Little faith is so little that it can only believe what it sees. You do not need faith to believe what you can see. For a person of faith ‘believing is seeing’ and for a person of little faith ‘seeing is believing’. You see your condition in the midst of the storms and you end up drowning. Little faith is selective and decides which one of God’s promises to believe. Selective faith in the promises of God is to doubt that God who made the promises is not capable of fulfilling what He has promised.
The Christian experience is from start to finish is a journey of faith. Through faith we come into possession of a new life and through it we walk in this new life. But today many Christians would rather believe the advertisements they see or hear about than believe what the Word of God declares. It really appears that we are prepared to believe anything but the Word of God. If, for example, your boss were to promise you a raise in salary, you would believe him and not question it and go home rejoicing. So why do we question what God says? God promised Joseph that he would someday be great and that his brothers would bow down to him. Sixteen years later he finds himself in a prison and no closer to the dream. Did Joseph ever doubt God’s Word? No. He trusted God and the suffering he went through served to build up his character and patience. When God delays it is because He is working in our lives to reveal who we are or to reveal who He is. Jesus waited for His disciples to encounter the storm and be in it before going to them. Through it they were reminded that they too had needs and that they too had fears and doubts, and that they too needed to live by faith. Where do you find yourself today? What are you doing sitting in the boat when the storms of life are threatening to destroy you? Believe in Christ and have the God kind of faith.