"THE POTENTIALS OF FAITH"
I. WHAT IS FAITH?
A. It is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
1. It is trusting in God.
2. It is the confidence that comes from knowing that God is in control, and is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that you could ask or think.
3. It is thus resting in the love and ability of God.
4. The psalmist tells us to rest in the Lord, and fret not.
5. Worry, fear, anxiety, fretting are all indications of lack of faith.
B. Faith is a quality that God has built into each of us. "God has dealt to us a measure of faith."
1. Trusting is natural. We learn not to trust.
a. How difficult it is for us when someone proves to us that they cannot be trusted.
b. Once trust has been destroyed, it is almost impossible to rebuild.
2. Relationships are built on trust. Relationships are destroyed when one proves that they cannot be trusted.
3. Our relationship with God is built on trust, or faith in Him.
a. He that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.
b. God has certainly proved Himself to be trustworthy yet many seem to have difficulty trusting in Him.
4. The things that are promised to those who trust in Him.
a. He will be their buckler.
b. He will be entreated by those who put their trust in Him.
c. Blessed are they that put their trust in Him.
d. None that trust in Him shall be desolate.
e. He will deliver those who trust in Him.
f. He is a shield to them that put their trust in Him.
g. They shall be as Mount Zion that cannot be removed.
f. They shall be safe.
C. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
1. In the story here we see how disappointed Jesus was with their lack of faith.
a. As He came down from the mountain of transfiguration with Peter, James and John, a man came from the crowd kneeling at His feet and begging for mercy for his demon possessed son.
b. He had brought his son to the disciples and they were unable to help him.
c. Jesus then sort of groaned in His spirit, and said, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, how long shall I suffer you?"
d. Jesus then commanded the demon to depart and the child was cured from the very hour.
e. It was the disciples lack of faith that troubled Jesus.
2. I wonder how many times we must trouble Him by our lack of faith that is manifested by our worry and anxiety over our situations.
3. At this point the disciples did a wise thing, they came to Jesus and inquired why they were unable to cast the demon out.
a. The answer was, "Because of your unbelief."
b. Then Jesus spoke to them of the potential of faith.
II. JUST A LITTLE FAITH CAN ACCOMPLISH GREAT FEATS.
A. If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed you could say to this mountain, remove from this place and be settled over there and it would move. And nothing shall be impossible unto you.
B. It is important first of all to note who Jesus was talking to. His disciples had take Him apart for their question. So He is talking to His disciples.
1. What constituted being a disciple.
a. If any man come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.
b. He is talking to those who have denied themselves, they are not looking for things for themselves.
C. What does He say to them? Faith as a grain of mustard seed can move mountains.
1. I never read this but what I am troubled.
a. The mustard seed is very small, and if that much faith could move a mountain, how little my faith must be. It would take an electron microscope to find it.
b. It makes me feel like I don't have any faith at all.
2. I also wonder what could be done if I have faith as a coconut seed.
C. Let's look at what has been done by men of faith.
1. By faith Enoch was translated into heaven without dying.
2. By faith Noah escaped the judgment of God that destroyed the earth.
3. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down.
4. Kingdoms were subdued.
5. The mouths of lions were stopped.
6. The three Hebrew children survived the fiery furnace.
7. Out of weakness they were made strong.
8. The armies of the aliens were put to flight.
9. Women received their dead to life.
D. Look what has happened to men of faith.
1. They have been tortured.
2. They have had trials of cruel mockings.
3. They have been scourged.
4. They have been imprisoned.
5. They were stoned.
6. They were sawed in two.
7. They were slain with the sword.
8. They wandered about in sheepskins, destitute, afflicted, and tormented.
E. What does this tell us concerning faith?
1. Faith does not always deliver us from adverse circumstances.
a. Faith did not keep Daniel from the den of lions, but it did sustain him in the den that they did not harm him.
b. Faith did not keep Daniel's friends from the fiery furnace, but it preserved them in the furnace.
c. I will not escape the walk in the valley of the shadow of death, but He will be with me when I must take that journey.
When thou passest through the waters, I [will be] with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
2. I think that we make a great mistake when we think that if we just had enough faith we would not have any problems.
3. A great mistake is also being made by the faith teachers who declare that faith is a way to gain personal riches and power.
a. There is not a single case in the scriptures where faith was used for personal gain.
b. Faith is not an instrument to get my will done, but to get God's will done.
4. It may be that it is God's will that I should suffer.
a. It was surely His will that His Son should suffer.
b. Peter speaks of us suffering according to the will of God.
5. The greatest faith is not manifested in my escaping all suffering, but to trust the keeping of myself to the will and purpose of God if it should call for suffering.
6. Faith may not always provide an escape, but it will provide acceptance.