Summary: What is spiritual muscle? Our faith. This message answers some important questions regarding our faith.
Many today are involved in some sort of regular, routine exercise program. They might go to the gym to lift weights. Maybe it’s Tae-bo in front of the TV at home. Some go for a run each day while others take the dog for a walk. Exercise is a big thing in America and for good reason. We know of the benefits of exercise in reducing stress, keeping a healthy heart and in weight management.
But have you ever considered spiritual exercise? If so, what would you try to strengthen? I believe it would be FAITH. Faith is the spiritual muscle of the soul. Faith is an incredible thing. But what is it? How important is it? How do you know if you have it? What should you use it for if you’ve got it? If you don’t have it, how can you get it? Is it real or is it plastic? These are all important questions that we will answer today.
There are two stories of faith in today’s passage of scripture that we will first read. They are in Luke 8:40 – 56. The first story is the story of Jairus and his daughter who lay dying back at his house. His story is interrupted by a woman who comes with an issue of blood and touches Jesus’ garment. She is immediately healed. Jesus tells her THY FAITH HATH MADE THEE WHOLE, GO IN PEACE. And then we find Jairus’ story picked back up as a man comes from his house to tell him not to bother any more, his daughter is dead. Jesus says FEAR NOT, ONLY BELIEVE AND SHE SHALL BE MADE WHOLE. Jesus is mocked. He is scorned by the non-believers who have gathered to mourn this little girl’s death. Jesus puts them all out of the house and says MAID, ARISE and the girl is restored whole.
So we see in these stories, FAITH. We see faith mentioned in many other stories. Last week we saw the woman who came to Jesus with the alabaster box of ointment to worship Him, by FAITH believing He could forgive her of her sins. So what is this faith? How much faith must they have had to have seen these miracles done in their lives? Was it because of their faith or did these things only happen because Jesus was there on the scene? So many questions, lets see if we can answer some of them.
First lets answer the question as to the importance of FAITH. A verse we all know is Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through FAITH… Is faith important? It must be, we are saved through it. Is it important once you are saved? Hebrews 11:6 tells us For without FAITH it is impossible to please Him, to please God. Faith is not just important, faith is essential, it is necessary. Without it it is impossible to be saved or to please God as a Christian.
Can we define FAITH? Hebrews 11:1 gives us a pretty good definition. Now FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Does that definition cover the faith that Jairus had and the faith that this woman had who came and touched Jesus and was healed? I believe it does. They were not followers of Jesus. Jairus was a Jew. He was the ruler of the synagogue. Perhaps he had heard Jesus teach there on some Sabbath. He may or may not have seen Jesus heal before. But he had enough faith to come to Jesus for his daughter’s healing. And then what of this woman? She was not a disciple. Had she heard Him speak someplace? Had she heard about Him by word of mouth? We don’t know. But her faith was so strong that all she had to do was touch His garment. She didn’t even have to ask. She just reached out and touched Him in FAITH. So FAITH is the substance of hope. Faith turns what is otherwise intangible into what is tangible.
How then do you get this faith? Romans 10:17 says So then FAITH cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. FAITH comes by hearing the Word of God. How important is this book then that I am holding? How important then is the man or the woman who brings that Word whether it be with a Gospel tract, a Sunday school lesson, a personal witness or through preaching? Verse 15 tells us How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things! But how does hearing this Word bring about FAITH? I would now take you to Isaiah 1:18 Come now and let us reason together saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like Crimson, they shall be as wool. How does FAITH come by hearing? Because when the Word of God shared, the Holy Spirit of God moves on a person’s heart. Convicting them of sin and telling them of their need for a Savior.