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WHAT I NEED IN MY CHRISTIAN LIFE (2)

Deeper Faith

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.     One of the themes of the New Testament is:  “The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38).

 

B.      As God’s children, all of us acknowledge that we must live by faith.

1.       We do not trust in self (Prov. 3:5; Jer. 10:23).

2.       We do not put confidence in men (Ps. 118:8).

3.       We do not walk by sight (II Cor. 5:7).

 

C.     Sometimes, we feel as though our lives are full of faith.  But, there are times when we stand in need of deeper faith.

 

D.     This is the second lesson in a series entitled:  “What I Need in My Christian Life:  Deeper Faith.”

 

I.                    THE POWER OF FAITH

 

A.     We should all seek a deeper faith because faith is extremely powerful.

 

B.      Three statements of Jesus emphasize the power of faith.

1.       Faith to remove mountains (Matt. 7:20).

 

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief:  for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.

 

2.       Faith to uproot a sycamore tree (Luke 17:6)

 

And the Lord said, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamore tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea, and it should obey you.

 

3.       All things are possible (Mark 9:33)

 

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

 

II.                 THE PURPOSE OF FAITH

 

A.     Faith serves a multitude of purposes in our lives.  When it is strong, our lives are fulfilling, rewarding, and content.

 

B.      What faith helps us to do.

1.       Faith enables us to be responsive to God’s will.

a.       Faith trusts God at all times.

b.      Whatever God asks of us, strong faith will comply therewith.

1)      Abraham left his home (Heb. 11:8).

2)      Abraham believed he would receive a son (Gen. 17:19).

3)      Abraham offered his son on a mountain (Gen. 22:1-4; Heb. 11:17).

 

2.       Faith provides courage to do battle.

a.       “And what more shall I say?  For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon… (Heb. 11:32).

b.      In Judges 7, Gideon fights against the Midianites. 

1)      He began with 32,000 troops (Judg. 7:3).

2)      His numbers were reduced to 300 men (Judg. 7:6).

3)      Judges 7:7

 

And the Lord said unto Gideon, By three hundred me that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand…

 

3.       Faith to resist the temptation to sin (Ex., Joseph, Gen. 37:8-9)

 

But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; there is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife:  how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

 

4.       Faith gives us a longing for lost souls (Rom. 1:13)

 

Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

 

5.       Faith gives strength to our service.

6.       Faith gives meaning to our worship.

7.       Faith gives power to our prayer lives.

8.       Faith gives endurance to our suffering.

 

III.              THE PROBLEM OF FAITH

 

A.     It is possible for us not to have enough faith.

 

B.      Scripture:

1.       The apostles came to Jesus and asked Him to increase their faith (Luke 17:5).

 

And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

 

2.       Three times Jesus used the words:  “O ye of little faith.”

a.       Once was in the Sermon on the Mount when discussing God’s ability to take care of our basic needs (Matt. 6:30).

 

Wherefore, if God so clothed the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

 

 

b.      Another time He used these words was during a storm on the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 8:26).

 

And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?

 

c.       The third time was when He warned the disciples about the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees (Matt. 16:7-8).

 

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.  Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?

 

C.     Facts about not having enough faith.

1.       Little faith is usually displayed when great faith is needed.

2.       Little faith often disables us.

3.       Little faith is often replaced with great doubt.

4.       Little faith enables our enemies to overcome us.

5.       Little faith can put our souls in harm’s way.

 

D.     Examples of little faith.

1.       The children of Israel, especially Aaron, at the foot of Mount Sinai, when they build the golden calf.

2.       The children of Israel when the spies brought back their evil report of the Promised Land.

3.       Saul when he waited for Samuel just prior to doing battle with the Philistines.

4.       Peter when he denied the Lord three times.

5.       The Hebrew Christians to whom the book of Hebrews was written.

 

IV.              THE PRODUCERS OF FAITH

 

A.     An examination of God’s Word.

1.       Romans 10:17

 

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

 

2.       It was such a faith that enabled Jesus to overcome Satan in the wilderness.  Three times He quoted the Word of God in order to win the victory over temptation (Matt. 4:1-11).

3.       We can do the same thing according to I Peter 5:9.

 

Whom resist stedfast in the faith…

 

B.      Embracing the power of God.

1.       God is the Almighty God (Gen. 17:1).  With Him, all things are possible (Matt 19:26).

2.       Example:  The disciples had been concerned about their having brought no bread.  Jesus rebuked them for such reasoning.  Why?  They forgot His power displayed in the past (Matt. 16:9-10).

 

Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?  Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

 

3.       When we are convinced that we serve an Almighty God who will work on our behalf, our faith will be strong in the face of our enemies and all obstacles.

 

C.     Examples of the past

1.       In Hebrews 11, the inspired writer gives us a list of people who demonstrated great faith in the past.  If they demonstrated faith, so can we.

 

 

2.       Hebrews 12:1

 

Wherefore, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

 

a.       This great cloud of witnesses is composed of those he previously listed in “The Hall of Fame of the Faithful.”

b.      They encourage us to lay aside our weights and sin and run the Christian race with patience.

3.       The greatest example that we have is that of Jesus (Heb. 12:2-3)

 

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down on the right hand of God.  For consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

 

D.     Experiences of the past

1.       If we have been Christians long enough, we have experienced God’s faithfulness toward us in times past.

2.       When we struggle and get down, we can draw on those experiences.  God was there in the past.  He will be there for us in the future.

3.       Deuteronomy 7:9; I Cor. 1:9

 

Know ye therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God…

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.     The just shall live by faith.

 

B.      Sometimes, however, our faith is not as strong as it needs to be.  On those occasions, we must work to increase our faith.

 

C.     Mark 9:23

 

Jesus saith unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.