August 2, 2020
FEAR VS. FAITH
It seems like Faith can be a funny and fickle thing. When you have plenty of it you think it will never leave. When you don’t have enough of it you think it will never return. Then you turn a corner and there it is again. Where do we get it? Where does it come from? How do we get more of it? We are not the only ones asking these questions, nor will the questions always cease in our hearts. Some of the most Faithful people I know have doubted their Faith.
Probably, everyone reading this has heard the Word of God speaking of Faith in Jesus Christ. But not everyone believes.
But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:16-17) (NIV) (802)
Today we are going to be in the Letter to the Hebrews, predominately. But, in Romans 10:17 we see Paul telling us one of the basics of Faith. Faith comes from hearing the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ through the Word of God.
Now, just because you hear the Word of God doesn’t necessarily mean you, or anyone else, will automatically be Saved or have Faith. Nor does it mean that you will have enough when you think you need it. But when you feel like you have come up short it’s ok, God knows and understands. That’s one great thing about our Savior, We Have A Savior Who Understands.
The Apostle Mark tells us the story of a man who came up just a little short of Faith one day, and he knew exactly how to handle it.
A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
19 “O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:17-24 (NIV) (714)
The man believed, but he was not sure his belief was where it needed to be. He was not sure how strong his Faith was, nor how strong it needed to be. Seems like there is always a shadow of that unbelief hanging around, in the shadows doesn’t it?
I know Christ Heals, but will He Heal me. I know Christ Loves, but will He Love me? I know Christ Saves, but will He Save me?
To overcome any deficit or short-coming, the first step is to acknowledge the short-coming. You believe, but in there, somewhere, there is that shadow of unbelief. You believe, but you need help with your unbelief.
Notice how the man approaching Jesus stated it: help me overcome my unbelief. He acknowledged it. He knew he was falling short somewhere. He knew he needed help and Jesus, the Man standing in front of him was the one who could help him.
He acknowledged the problem, unbelief, or lack of Faith. He found the solution, Jesus, the Healer, the Great Physician, the Author and Finisher of our Faith.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV) (852)
All he needed was to be fixed himself, so his Faith could help lead to his son’s healing.
We all have Faith. It varies between people. And it varies within each of us from time-to-time. Sometimes it rises and falls like the stock market or changes with the wind. However, we all have Faith.
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. Hebrews 11:3 (NIV) (851)
The earth, the solar system, the Universe, and all it holds was created by God out of nothingness. Do you believe that? If you answered yes then you have Faith, at least on a certain level. You are on this great journey of Faith with Christ, or at least you are ready to begin.
Hebrews chapter is sometimes called the Hall of Fame of Faith. In there you will find people who acted on Faith such as: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and other people and events of Faith.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:8-10 (NIV) (851)
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. Hebrews 11:17-19 (NIV) (852)
Do you have the Faith of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob? Maybe, maybe not. What you need is the amount of Faith YOU need, not what someone else has. God relates to all of us individually. He works with us and through us individually. Just remember… We Always Have a Savior Who Understands.
Bostwick UMC 8/2/20