Summary: PENTECOST 2, YEAR A - Faith is not about Us. Faith is about the One in whom we have placed our faith. Faith is about The Christ who has redeemed us by our faith in Him.
Story about man in flood. Flood comes - man climbs on roof. Row Boat - get in & I take you to safety. “No! I am a man of faith. God’s word says that he will rescue those who have faith in His word so I will wait for God to rescue me.” Row Boat goes on. Water rises to center of house. Motor Boat - get in & I take you to safety. “No! I am a man of faith. God’s word says that he will rescue those who have faith in His word so I will wait for God to rescue me.” Motor Boat goes on. Water rises to top of house. Helicopter - get in & I take you to safety. “No! I am a man of faith. God’s word says that he will rescue those who have faith in His word so I will wait for God to rescue me.” Helicopter goes on. Water rises and man drowns. In Heaven the man asks God, “what happened?” God answers, “don’t know, I sent two boats and a helicopter.” We laugh at this story and yet each of us gather here this morning because we are people of faith. We are people who long to live by that faith. To live by a faith that can move mountains. We long for a faith as described in the following poem
Doubt sees the obstacles
Faith sees the way,
Doubt sees the blackest night
Faith sees the day;
Doubt dreads to take a step
Faith soars on high;
Doubt questions, “Who believes?”
Faith answers, “I”
Yet for most of us, faith is something we may talk about but is something we know very little about. Hebrews chapter 11 reminds us that, “without faith it is impossible to please God,” and so we want to have faith. A deep and abiding faith. A faith that is not shaken by the trials of life. But where do we start? Where do we look. How do we develop such a faith. Perhaps you have asked yourself, “how do I deepen my faith. How do I strengthen my faith. How do I even obtain faith. How do I, I, I.” Let me tell you a shocking truth about faith. Faith has little to do with you or me, me, me. The faith that God longs for you and I to possess is not about you and me. It’s about Jesus Christ, the one in whom we place our faith. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.
Faith has never been about you and me. But what about all those great men and women of faith? Abraham, Moses, mother Teresa...? Perhaps you have even known some people with great faith. People who hold such a deep faith that in comparison your faith seems weak and shallow. It’s like the story of the young man who was gardening one day with his father-in-law, who he saw as a man of deep faith. Intrigued by this older man’s depth of faith the young son-in-law asked him, “what is your favorite verse in the Bible?” The older man answered immediately, “my favorite passage? Why its ‘and it came to pass.’” The young man appeared puzzled by this reply, so his father-in-law replied, “Always remember my son that with God all things come to pass, they don’t come to stay.” How does one come to such a faith-filled insight. How does one come to trust in God with such a reassurance? None of us are born with great faith, for we are all sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God. Great faith grows within the person who abides with the Christ.
“I am the vine, you are the branches.
He who abides in me with bear much fruit,
for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Or as the apostle Paul puts it,
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”
It is not an issue of you and I having great faith, but of placing the faith that we have into the greatness of Jesus Christ. You are looking to open a new bank account. You visit several banks and compare their fees and services. Perhaps you have decided to remove your money from one bank to another. You are not making this move simple to find better rates, though they wouldn’t hurt. You are looking for a bank that you can trust. A bank you would be willing to entrust you life savings to. So is it with Jesus Christ. The world is filled with jobs, sports, activities and even worthwhile causes, that ask you to commit your life to. To dedicate you energy, time, and skills to. but Jesus says, “where your treasure is there your heart will be.” And he also says, “you can serve but one master.”