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Summary: SO FAR IN OUR SERIES ON FAITH, WE HAVE LOOKED AT LITTLE FAITH, GREAT FAITH, AND THEIR FAITH. NOW, AS WE CONTINUE, WE WANT TO TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO LOOK AT “YOUR FAITH”. JESUS, AS HE SPEAKS TO HIS DISCIPLES, IS CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR FAITH, ESPECIALLY AFT

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YOUR FAITH

MATTHEW 17:14-21 WHEN THEY CAME TO THE CROWD, A MAN CAME UP TO JESUS, FALLING ON HIS KNEES BEFORE HIM AND SAYING, 15 "LORD, HAVE MERCY ON MY SON, FOR HE IS A LUNATIC AND IS VERY ILL; FOR HE OFTEN FALLS INTO THE FIRE AND OFTEN INTO THE WATER. 16 "I BROUGHT HIM TO YOUR DISCIPLES, AND THEY COULD NOT CURE HIM." 17 AND JESUS ANSWERED AND SAID, "YOU UNBELIEVING AND PERVERTED GENERATION, HOW LONG SHALL I BE WITH YOU? HOW LONG SHALL I PUT UP WITH YOU? BRING HIM HERE TO ME." 18 AND JESUS REBUKED HIM, AND THE DEMON CAME OUT OF HIM, AND THE BOY WAS CURED AT ONCE. 19 THEN THE DISCIPLES CAME TO JESUS PRIVATELY AND SAID, "WHY COULD WE NOT DRIVE IT OUT?" 20 AND HE *SAID TO THEM, "BECAUSE OF THE LITTLENESS OF YOUR FAITH; FOR TRULY I SAY TO YOU, IF YOU HAVE FAITH THE SIZE OF A MUSTARD SEED, YOU WILL SAY TO THIS MOUNTAIN, 'MOVE FROM HERE TO THERE,' AND IT WILL MOVE; AND NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO YOU. 21 ["BUT THIS KIND DOES NOT GO OUT EXCEPT BY PRAYER AND FASTING."]

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND BY MARY STEVENSON

ONE NIGHT I HAD A DREAM--

I DREAMED I WAS WALKING ALONG THE BEACH WITH THE LORD

AND ACROSS THE SKY FLASHED SCENES FROM MY LIFE.

FOR EACH SCENE I NOTICED TWO SETS OF FOOTPRINTS,

ONE BELONGED TO ME AND THE OTHER TO THE LORD.

WHEN THE LAST SCENE OF MY LIFE FLASHED BEFORE ME,

I LOOKED BACK AT THE FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND.

I NOTICED THAT MANY TIMES ALONG THE PATH OF MY LIFE,

THERE WAS ONLY ONE SET OF FOOTPRINTS.

I ALSO NOTICED THAT IT HAPPENED AT THE VERY LOWEST

AND SADDEST TIMES IN MY LIFE.

THIS REALLY BOTHERED ME AND I QUESTIONED THE LORD ABOUT IT.

"LORD, YOU SAID THAT ONCE I DECIDED TO FOLLOW YOU,

YOU WOULD WALK WITH ME ALL THE WAY,

BUT I HAVE NOTICED THAT DURING THE MOST TROUBLESOME TIMES IN MY LIFE

THERE IS ONLY ONE SET OF FOOTPRINTS.

"I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY IN TIMES WHEN I NEEDED YOU MOST,

YOU SHOULD LEAVE ME."

THE LORD REPLIED, "MY PRECIOUS, PRECIOUS CHILD,

I LOVE YOU AND I WOULD NEVER, NEVER LEAVE YOU

DURING YOUR TIMES OF TRIAL AND SUFFERING.

"WHEN YOU SAW ONLY ONE SET OF FOOTPRINTS,

IT WAS THEN THAT I CARRIED YOU."

INTRODUCTION: SO FAR IN OUR SERIES ON FAITH, WE HAVE LOOKED AT LITTLE FAITH, GREAT FAITH, AND THEIR FAITH. NOW, AS WE CONTINUE, WE WANT TO TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO LOOK AT “YOUR FAITH”. JESUS, AS HE SPEAKS TO HIS DISCIPLES, IS CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR FAITH, ESPECIALLY AFTER HE HAS LEFT. WHAT IS IMPORTANT FOR US, IS TO DEVELOP A FAITH THAT CARRIES US THROUGH THIS LIFE UNTIL WE SEE CHRIST.

TRANSITION: THERE ARE FOUR POINTS ABOUT “YOUR FAITH” THAT I WANT YOU TO KNOW.

I. FAITH IS OURS TO POSSESS

a. JESUS SPEAKS OF FAITH IN TERMS OF “IF”

b. “IF” IN REALITY IS “SINCE”

c. THE REALITY IS WE POSSESS FAITH AS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST.

d. THE QUESTION TO ANSWER IS WHAT TYPE OF FAITH DO WE POSSESS?

i. DO WE POSSESS THAT “LITTLE FAITH” WE SPOKE ABOUT A FEW WEEKS AGO

1. LITTLE FAITH IS THE FAITH I HAVE WHEN I HAVE SOMETHING “IN HAND”.

2. SALVATION IS A FORM OF “LITTLE FAITH”.

3. WHEN I CAME TO KNOW CHRIST AS MY SAVIOR, I EXERCISED FAITH.

4. THIS EXERCISED FAITH CANNOT BE TAKEN BACK, NOR THE RESULT OF THAT FAITH LOST.

ii. DO WE POSSESS THE “GREAT FAITH” OR THE “THEIR FAITH” WE SPOKE ABOUT IN THE PREVIOUS WEEKS?

1. BOTH OF THESE ARE FAITHS OF “EMPTY HANDS”.

2. BOTH OF THESE ARE FAITHS OF TRUST.

a. CENTURION IS TRUSTING IN THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST

b. WOMAN IS TRUSTING IN THE MERCY OF CHRIST

c. FRIENDS ARE TRUSTING IN THE POWER OF CHRIST

SAVING FAITH IS NOT A SUFFICIENT FAITH TO USE THE POWER GOD HAS GIVEN TO US AS HIS CHILDREN.

e. NOTICE THAT OUR TEXT INVOLVES THOSE WHO FOLLOWED CHRIST AS HIS DISCIPLES.

i. THESE WERE THE ONES WHO HAD BEEN GIVEN AUTHORITY TO DO THE THINGS THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO DO.

ii. THEY HAD ALSO BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL UP TO THIS POINT (HAD RECEIVED THE AUTHORITY FROM CHRIST ABOUT A YEAR EARLIER)

MATTHEW 10:6-8 BUT RATHER GO TO THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL. 7 "AND AS YOU GO, PREACH, SAYING, 'THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.' 8 "HEAL THE SICK, RAISE THE DEAD, CLEANSE THE LEPERS, CAST OUT DEMONS. FREELY YOU RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE.

MARK 6:13 AND THEY WERE CASTING OUT MANY DEMONS AND WERE ANOINTING WITH OIL MANY SICK PEOPLE AND HEALING THEM.

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