How much faith is enough? How depends upon how small we want satan to be and how big you want Jesus to be in the bisected rectangle of our lives (see 160627 “Growing Faith” at www.sozoclass.com; either two equal right triangles or one right triangle, with one short side, and a quadrilateral, with one short side, representing not fully our of ‘darkness’ into ‘light’ (John 1:4-5). Ideally, we want to experience what the disciples reported to Jesus in Luke 10.17 and to hear His response in verse 19. Theirs was the reality of what Apostle Paul writes, later, in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6. By the way, these express the reality the Apostle John presents in Revelation 12.11; “Jesus” is the only word needed (Philippians 2.9-11)! Remember, also, that the list of our Spiritual equippers in Ephesians 4.11-12 are there to produce verse 13 in us. Continually adding knowledge and understanding that knowledge will develop a stronger faith (Romans 10.17; Jeremiah 9. 23-24; 1 John 5.4). Consider the following examples of great faith and based upon an important principle.
A. The Fundamental Principle.
- Since our faith is to grow into the size of Jesus’ (Ephesians 4.13), how should we measure Jesus’ faith?
- Mark 11.22-26 (Matthew 21.20-22) is Jesus’ answer: ask according to God’s will (1 John 5.14; expressed in His names, Jehovah+__; illustrated by Jesus’ life and work on Earth; see John 5.19-20 and 12.49; Jeremiah 7.23).
1. Notice, too, in Mark 11.23-24 that believing faith speaks and that it does not doubt.
3. Paul discusses this with Timothy in 1 Timothy 2.8. [Many versions use ‘wrath and quarreling/dissension’ and differentiate a view external (inter-personal) and internal (intra-personal; a troubled mind or uncertainty), respectively. However, the New King James Version uses ‘wrath and doubt’. Doubt is the better word to express internal incomplete certainty.] Paul was repeating Jesus’ emphasis of ‘forgiveness/no wrath’ and ‘complete certainty/no doubt’ (i.e., faith resulting from understanding of the knowledge of God’s will from history and/or personal experience). Certainty is gained from remembering experiences of God showing up and showing off for self and/or other people! Doubt flees; James 4.7!
4. James 1:5-8 discusses the importance of not doubting: i.e., being certain about ‘grace’; defined: God’s word of promise and His unwillingness to use His mighty power to bring it to my reality.
3. In Romans 10.9-10, Paul emphasizes the desired connection between our minds and our lips: speak only what we believe with certainty! Does this principle only regard believing Jesus for eternal life? Or, does the principle include believing for Jehovah+tsidkenu, jireh, rapha, rohi, nissi, shalom, and shammah? Thus, the importance of growing from ‘faith to faith’ (Romans 1.17) is for understanding God more fully (Jeremiah 9.24) and for developing capacity for spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10.6; James 4.7; 1 John 5:4-5; Hebrews 5.14; 1 John 4.4).
B. Frantic Pleas.
- As you review the following examples, identity 1) the satanic attack, 2) what salvation was needed, 3) any prior experience of the requestor with that salvation, 4) what did the requestor say, 5) any doubt by the requestor, 6) any barriers in the way, 7) the results for the requestor and for the beneficiary, 8) you ‘why’ understanding of the ‘who, what, when, and where’ knowledge of the incidents, and 9) your ‘how’ you will personally use this review to increase your faith.
- Matthew 9.18-26 records the frantic plea of a father for his daughter, who has just died. “My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live” (my emphasis). And, she did; verse 25! How great was his faith in “the Name above all names” (Philippians 2.9-11) that took on flesh (John 1.14)? What was God’s will, which the father reasoned (Genesis 6.3; Jeremiah 29.11)? Remember the definition of grace is God’s word of promise and His willingness to use His mighty power to bring it to your reality.
- John 4.46-53 records the frantic plea of another father, whose son was almost dead. What circumstantial differences are there with the other father? It is important to note that the father’s faith in Jesus’ words did not waiver, even when Jesus did not continue the journey with him. How great was his faith? What do you think the father muttered to himself all the way home? He had no doubt! How strong was the father’s faith after the events of verses 51-53?
- [How do these two examples above help you to understand Abraham’s faith, as is discussed in Hebrews 11.17-19 and Romans 4.16-25? Remember that Abraham grew from faith to faith over 25 years to the fulfillment of God’s promised birth plus, probably, another 25 years until the sacrifice! “Faith comes…” by acting from God’s promises (knowledge + understanding)!]
- Luke 5.17-26 (Matthew 9.1-8; Mark 2.1-12) relates the story of friends lowering a paralytic through the roof to position him before Jesus for the purpose of receiving healing (John 1.12; Mark 11.23-24). Jesus “saw their faith” in action, especially the faith of the paralytic, who probably had called his friends to take him to Jesus (James 5.14-15). He, too, said with his mouth what he believed in his heart!
- Mark 10.46-52 tells the story of ‘Blind Bartimaeus’. What barriers did he overcome to get to Jesus? How did Jesus help him to become specific about his request? Why did Jesus include the caveat in verse 52? What do you learn from this example?
- Luke 8:43-47 (Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34) tells a similar story. Answer the questions in B. 6. for her. What is your takeaway from both stories? Was there any doubt?
- Acts 3.1-10 tells the story of another paralytic who received healing. How did Peter know his desire? How did Peter know the words to say? (Consider Luke 10.7) How did Peter describe this in Acts 3.16 and 4.12 and to whom? What is the importance of these declarations?
- So far, our considerations have been personal and family and related to health. Isaiah 37.1-35 discusses a threat to the survival of Israel when Hezekiah was king. What did he do? What was the result? What quality of God do you read in verse 32, that may be new to you? (Consider Isaiah 9.7, 42.13; John 2.17.) How were King Jehoshaphat’s actions similar in 2 Chronicles 20.1-30? How were God’s actions similar? Genesis 12.1-3 and Isaiah 7.14 and 9.6-7 explain God’s defense of Israel, in addition to King J’s reference to Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8.22-61, especially verses 33-34. What were His reasons? Remember Psalm 127.1.
- What important perspective do you learn from Psalm 138.2? Numbers 23.19! Isaiah 45.22!
C. Great Faith!
- Jesus recognized “great faith” on only two occasions, as follows. What made faith great?
- Matthew 8.5-13 is the story of a Roman Centurion (i.e., responsible for 100 troops) who asked Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant, who was “dreadfully tormented”. Even though the Centurion was a Gentile, Jesus offered to come to his house to heal the servant. Why did the Centurion object? What made his faith ‘great’? What is your takeaway?
- Matthew 15.21-28 records the story of a Syrophoenician mother who persistently implored until Jesus “cast the demon out of her daughter” (Mark 7.26). What made her faith ‘great’? How was her faith like that of the Centurion? What is your takeaway?
- Notice that neither Gentile doubted that what they spoke in faith would be what they found when they returned to their sick loved one. How does this illustrate Mark 11.22-24?
- Notice, too, that what both asked was according to God’s will: Matthew 10.7-8 and Acts 10.38.
So, against what attack from satan are you believing for God’s promised salvation? Where do you find His promise in the Bible? How and how often do you meditate thereupon for faith? Habakkuk 2.4b!
Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com.