Summary: In this sermon you will see one man’s journey that resulted in finding a "real faith" experience.
Have you ever been given or bought something only to find out it was not real? It was a fake. For an illustration, I go back a few years. Do you remember the television series, Bonanza? On one episode of Bonanza, Little Joe purchased a large diamond. He was so proud of that stone. His brothers and a couple of ranch hands began to tease him that the diamond was a fake. If you remember, Little Joe had a temper. It made him mad that they would imply that his diamond was a fake. More importantly, it made him mad at the thought that someone might have sold him a fake diamond. Someone suggested a solution to the debate. They suggested that Little Joe could hit the diamond with the butt end of a pistol. A fake would shatter. A real diamond would not shatter. They conducted the test. Guess what happened! The stone shattered into a million pieces and Little Joe took some ribbing.
What if we apply this story to our faith? Some faith is fake! Some faith is real! Some faith will not stand the tests. I want you to examine a man who discovered real faith. His story is found in Mark 10. His name is Bartimaeus. Notice verse 47. “He heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth.” Up until this point Bartimaeus faith consisted of hearing about Jesus. Notice what happens? In verse 52 we find these words “Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.” Jesus touched Bartimaeus and his faith became real. His faith became more than hearing from others. He experienced it for himself. Notice the development of "real faith."
I. Notice the conditions in which faith becomes real.
Several things should be noticed concerning Bartimaeus:
(1)He was blind; (2)He was a beggar; (3)He was desperate. These qualities contributed to the conditions that cultivated his heart for receiving the seed.
A. The heart must be broken in order for faith to become real.
- See Ps. 34:18
- See James 4:6
Illustration: Saul (who became the apostle Paul) was striken with blindness in the process of his conversion. He was broken.
B. There must be receptivity before faith can become real.
Illustration: Week before last Judy and I went on a trip to the Smoky Mountains. While traveling between Asheville and Cherokee North Carolina we came across two ladies who needed a helping hand. These days you have to be careful, if you are a lady/ladies traveling alone. As we were driving down the parkway we noticed a red Mustang sitting in the grass on the side of the parkway. This car was sitting at the edge of the right of way just before the mountain dropped off. Their car’s front left tire was sitting at the edge of the drop off. Had they gone three feet further they would have received a free down hill roller coaster ride. Those ladies were open to receiving my help. They were receptive.
C. There must be an urgency if faith is to become real.
Illustration: In May of 1984, my only brother Gary and his family were in a serious car wreck near Natchez, Ms. I was the closest of all family members to the wreck site. Gary was seriously injured and there was a possibility he would not live. When I got word of the wreck I jumped in my car and headed for the trauma hospital in Jackson, Ms. I normally am a law abiding citizen. However, that day a state trooper caught me going 88 miles per hour. When he stopped me he rebuked me for going so fast. I explained the situation. He questioned me to make sure I was not telling him a lie. I invited him to follow me to the hospital. He declined. He instructed me to be careful. Going 88 in a 55 zone is not wise driving. However, when times are urgent you throw caution into the wind.
II. When faith becomes real Jesus will be involved.
A. Jesus activates faith.
Illustrates: Several years ago Judy and I applied for a new Mastercard. When the card came we had to call and activate it. The activation made the card good. There is a point that faith must be activated. It must move from our head to our heart.
B. Jesus will call your name.Bartimaeus knew that it was Jesus calling him. Do you remember the E.F. Hutton commercials? Their commercial states “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen.”
III. When faith becomes real there will be evidence of its reality. When Bartimaeus responded to Jesus he gave evidence of true faith.
A. The first evidence is obedience. Bartimaeus was instructed to “rise, He is calling you.” The first evidence of faith is a desire to be obedient. Obedience is reflected in many different ways.