The final sermon in our series under the general heading of “Going for Growth” looking at the things that need to be in place for the church to go “beyond 200.”
The service will also include communion and reception into membership
Some requests bring us great joy; well here’s a request that must have delighted Jesus when his disciples said to him – “Increase our faith.” It came in response to some of Jesus’ teaching about not leading people into sin, forgiving the persistent offender and serving without recognition, all of which would be difficult to implement without faith (Luke 17 v 1 – 5 & 7 – 10); as well as in response to a catastrophic failure of faith when the disciples failed to cast out a demon from a tormented boy (Matthew 17 v 14 – 21.)
But what actually is Biblical faith? It is not presumption, or wishful thinking; it is not selfish desire or positive thinking. Rather authentic Biblical faith is believing in, then trusting and relying upon God.
While the most important thing about faith is its object, hence the injunction to – “have faith in God” (Mark 11 v 22); it also needs to be acknowledged that “size matters!” Jesus often rebuked people using the phrase – “You of little faith” (Matthew 6 v 30; 8 v 26 & 14 v 31); while on the other hand he commended others using the phrase – “you have great faith” (Matthew 8 v 10; 15 v 28); while the Apostle Paul praised the growing faith of some of the NT churches (2 Corinthians 10 v 15 & 2 Thessalonians 1 v 3.)
So how does our faith increase? Through:-
A – Knowledge.
Our faith will grow as we know more of the character and purposes of God as represented by his name (Psalm 9 v 10.)
It will grow as we become more and more familiar with the teachings of the Bible allowing God to speak to us (Romans 10 v 17.)
And it will grow as we discover more of God’s work in the lives of others as they share their testimony, both ancient (Hebrews 11) and modern (biographies and fellow believers.)
B – Experience.
Our faith will grow as we learn to trust God and discover that he is faithful to his promises (1 Samuel 17 v 37.) This will encourage us to exercise faith, which in turn becomes stronger.
Our faith may not have to increase massively because even “faith as small as a mustard seed” can make the seemingly impossible, possible as it removes obstacles (a mulberry tree here and mountains in – Matthew 17 v 20 & Mark 11 v 23) in response to the word of faith.
Challenge – Will you do what the disciples did and petition the Lord to increase your faith?
Theme: “Faith that pulls up trees!”
Reading: Luke 17 v 1 – 10
Preacher: Chris Hughes
Led by: Bev Sills