Summary: This sermon is a part of "A Faith that Works" sermon series and deals with how we can receive God's promise through faith that mainly revolves around our obedience.
A Faith That Works
“Receiving God’s Promises”
Who in the Bible had the greatest faith? Was I Noah who built the Ark? Was it Abraham, the father of the Jewish race? Was it the prophet Isaiah, Jeremiah, or Elijah? Each of these and many more whose stories are found in the Bible displayed great faith. But the person with the greatest faith was the most unlikely of them all, a Roman Centurion.
The story is found in the eight chapter of Matthew’s gospel.
Jesus had just entered the city of Capernaum, near the Sea of Galilee. The centurion came and pleaded for Jesus to heal his servant. Jesus then shocked the Jewish crowd saying that He would go with the centurion to his house and heal him.
But the centurion told Jesus that such a trip wasn’t necessary. He probably knew his house was unclean according to Jewish law, but more importantly he understood obedience and authority.
He said, “All you have to do is speak the word, and it’ll be done, because not only am I am man under authority, but I have men under my authority, and if I tell them to do something, they’ll do it.” And the implication is that they’ll do it no questions asked.
After hearing what the centurion said, Jesus marveled saying, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel.” And then He said to the centurion, “Go you way, as you have believed, so let it be done for you.”
At that very hour the servant was healed.
The key then to great faith is linking God’s authority with our obedience. This understanding is what made the centurion’s faith so great. Faith and obedience go hand in hand. When you trust someone, you’ll do what they say. If you don’t, then the trust really isn’t there.
God has linked trust in him, i.e. faith, with obedience. All of God’s promises are conditioned upon our following His directions. And when we do then God says we’ll have success and a life lived to its fullest.
“Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.” (Deuteronomy 5:33 NIV)
God has made incredible promises and has linked them to our obedience, it’s the “if,” and “then,” promises of the Bible. If we obey what He says, then He promises that He’ll save us, watch over us, take care of us, and give to us our needs.
If we follow God’s directions then we’ll be happy, live longer, lack nothing that is good, live in perfect freedom, have greater wisdom, dwell in peace and security, have success and prosper, and be great in the kingdom of heaven.
Behind God’s promises is the premise of our obedience to His word.
God gives us His commandments, which by the way aren’t suggestions. They’re found in His word so we can live our lives to the fullest. And while God’s commandments may sound unfair and unreasonable, God always knows what’s best. God’s not out to cramp our style or limit our lives. Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and that more abundantly.” (John 10:10 NKJV)
From our perspective these commands don’t make a lot of sense. Like giving God the first ten percent of what we make. It’s called the tithe. Or if someone hurts us we’re suppose to forgive them, not return their evil with our own.
But no matter how unreasonable these commandments may sound, God tells us to obey anyway. It’s a matter of trust, it’s a matter of faith, and since God created us, he knows what’s best for our lives.
Obedience to God’s word is then our statement of faith, and it’s the key that unlocks all the promises of God. Tonight I’d like to look at how we can receive God’s promises through our obedience.
1. Obey God Immediately
Don’t delay, wait, procrastinate, put off, or make excuses. Instead we to just do it.
“I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.” (Psalm 119:60 NIV)
If there’s ever a time to be in a hurry, this is it. When God tells us to do something we should do it immediately, whether we feel like it or not. Further, we don’t have to understand something to benefit from it.
• I don’t understand how something as heavy as a commercial airplane can get off the ground, or how it can fly at such altitudes, but I still benefit by flying on one.
• I don’t understand how computers work or the Internet, but I benefit from the time I save.
• I also don’t understand engines, but I benefit from driving a car.