Summary: Examines the difference between powerless, defeated Christians, and those who make a difference. Expanded outline.
PEOPLE THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE 7/12
I believe this is one of the saddest accounts we find anywhere in the Bible. Oh, there are plenty of times in the Bible when we can be saddened, to be sure. We can be sad when Adam and Eve choose to believe the Devil’s lies instead of God and because of their unbelief bring a curse on us all. It’s a sad day when Cain kills Abel because Abel’s closer to God. It’s a sad day when God looks down and decides that only one man and his family, on all of the earth, are worth saving.
It’s sad when a preacher decides to run from God because he doesn’t want his enemies, the Ninovites saved. It’s a sad day when the wisest man in the world, turns his back on God because of his wives; when men sell their brother into slavery out of jealousy; and when a whole nation turns it’s back on the living God Who had just rescued them and begins to worship a golden calf. Yes, there are many sad incidences recorded in the Bible, but I say again, there are few sadder than the one we find recorded here.
Why, you ask; Because a man in need, brings his son to a group of Christ-followers, to people who should be able to help, and they are unable to do anything. Instead, we find them arguing with a bunch of lawyers.
I am grateful, therefore, that these days of ours’ and these days in our country are not recorded in the Bible for I believe I would have to say that they would make a sad story as well.
- 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. we read …
We would not be having near as many arguments about whether or not homo-sexual marriage is acceptable, if we had the example of more people who had come out of those lifestyles and were saved and cleansed. We would have evidence of the power of God. We would not have as much debate over a stinking economy and booming budgets and looming budget shortfalls, if we had a populace that coveted the things of God instead of the things of the world; a people and government that worshipped at the throne of the Master instead of altar of MasterCard.
But, sadly; far too frequently and for far too long, we Christians have been wringing our hands wondering why we have been unable to change our lives, help our neighbors, and impact our nation. We, like these disciples, stand around powerless, arguing with the lawyers instead of helping people and changing lives. Why is that?
I believe we find the root of the problem right here in this passage.
In verse 19, Jesus describes the people there as an unbelieving generation. In verse 29 He tells the disciples they are weak in prayer. In the parallel account in Matthew He tells His disciples that they have no, or very little, faith. I believe that is one of the leading problems in our nation today as well.
My friends, the problem today is not homosexual marriage. It is not violence. It is not dishonest politicians. It is not broken homes or failing marriages. Those are simply symptoms. The problem is a lack of faith among God’s children, and that faithlessness, or weak faith, being displayed in a lack of prayer.
Now, how can you tell if your faith and thus your effectiveness is lagging?
I. SIGNS THAT YOUR FAITH IS WEAK
1. You face trouble with fear instead of faith – Matthew 8:23-27
2. You face tomorrow with worry instead of faith – Matthew 6:28 –31
3. You focus on your provision instead of God’s power – Matthew 16:7-9
4. You forget God’s calling and look at your ability – Matthew 14:30-31
5. You fail to do what God has equipped you to do – Mark 9:18; According to Luke, Jesus had already equipped the disciples to cast out demons, and the 70 had returned, rejoicing that they had been able to heal folks and cast out demons; but here they were unable to do so.
My friends, you don’t to live like that. Our nation does not have to suffer with doubting, weak Christians, without enough faith to blow the fuzz off a peanut.
Those who are full of faith …
II. FOLKS TRUSTING JESUS
1. See Him work in miraculous ways – Matthew 8:5-13
3. Accomplish the impossible – Matthew 17:20 “For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
My Uncle, Ed Gregory, was the son of a Presbyterian circuit-riding preacher. When he grew up he decided that he was going to go into the dairy business. He did, ran it his way and went bankrupt.