Summary: How does Jesus help us to increase our faith? Is it through comforts or challenges? When we love our master we find fulfillment in keeping his commandments without an applause.

Of Christian Faith and Duty

We give thee but thine own,

whate’er the gift may be;

all that we have is thine alone,

a trust, O Lord, from thee.

May we thy bounties thus

as stewards true receive,

and gladly, as thou blessest us,

to thee our firstfruits give.

The captive to release,

to God the lost to bring,

to teach the way of life and peace

it is a Christ-like thing.

And we believe thy Word,

though dim our faith may be;

whate’er for thine we do, O Lord,

we do it unto thee.

Words: William Walsham How (1823-1897), 1858

Jesus said in Luke 17: 7 "And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ’Come at once and sit down to eat’?

8 "But will he not rather say to him, ’Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’?

9 "Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not.

10 "So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ’We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’"

This story lesson from Jesus follows on the heels of the disciples asking for Jesus to increase their faith. I take it that this is probably a faith building story. How many of us here would like to have greater faith? Raise your hands.

Why do you want more faith? Would it be to benefit yourself or others or perhaps both?

Most of us know the verse in Romans 10:17 that talks about faith, don’t we? Faith comes by… hearing and… hearing by the word of Christ. Right? That may be how faith comes, but how does it increase and grow? What does the Bible tell us helps our faith to grow?

Of all the things the Bible tells us that will increase our faith, the lesson within these verses may be the most difficult, or at least perhaps the most needed.

How many of you have seen or read Charlottes Web? Remember the rat? He was a very resourceful fellow, but do you remember what he always wanted to know whenever he was asked to contribute to saving the pig? “What’s in it for me?” He didn’t care about others so much as he cared about himself. He was only interested in helping if he could get something out of it that made it worth while for himself. Christian faith grows us into a different direction than that.

Many Christians begin their walk with Christ because of the benefits. In Christ we have freedom from sin, we are given a new name and adopted into God’s family, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and the hope of eternal life in glory with all who are saved. We are added to the church family and receive the love and encouragement of the fellowship of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are empowered by God for living new life in Christ and enjoy the immeasurable grace that Jesus pours out for us in abundance from the cross. On and on the spiritual benefits and blessings go, because as a Christian I walk in this world as a son of God, the king of the universe, who holds all things in his hands.

Is that true? Are we actually that blessed as Christians? Absolutely! Who wouldn’t want to be in Christ? How can anyone even think of resisting the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control that the Holy Spirit bears as fruit in the life of God’s children? What’s the catch?

While we are indeed children of God, we are also servants of God with work and responsibilities here in this fallen world. Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, our Savior and mentor came here. What did he come for? Look at Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them to Himself, and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.

26 "It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,

27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;

28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

We are to imitate Him. We are not saved in Christ so that we can have access to the Father’s unspeakable power and treasure and kick back on spiritual easy street. That’s not what Jesus did and as long as we live in this world we are the body of Jesus Christ called and commanded to do what Jesus would do. We are to represent Jesus and our Father in this world. This requires faith and endurance of struggle, sometimes without seeing or hearing anyone cheer for us. This is faith increasing. Following the will of our Father without expecting to be cheered for or entertained along the way with cushy perks. We may get some, but increasing faith does not expect it and is not disappointed if they don’t come as a right.

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