Sermon Follow Up - Week 12, 2021
While we must certainly consider the strong call of Jesus to a life of obedience, we are led to become more aware of the infinitely stronger reality of the mercy of God that informs and strengthens our obedience. This mercy of God saves and keeps the life of all those who place their faith not in themselves, nor their obedience, nor this world, nor in any other thing, but in the power and majesty and glory of the One True God who is entirely incomparable and worthy of our everything.
The Sermon Text
“The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:5–6 ESV)
The Main Point of the Sermon
A Disciple’s life of faith is ceaselessly dependent on the mercy of our incomparable God.
Faith is not a form of magic that enables us to control nature or to get God to do our bidding. Faith is a response to God's initiative that trusts that we are empowered to do what God requires.
There is only one true and living God, who is infinite in being, power, and perfections. God is eternal, independent, and self-sufficient, having life in himself with no need for anyone or anything. He is spirit, transcendent and invisible, with no limitations or imperfections, immutable, and everywhere present with the fullness of his being. His knowledge is exhaustive, including all things actual and possible, so that nothing—past, present, or future—is hidden from his sight. God is not divided into parts, but his whole being includes all of his attributes: he is entirely holy, loving, wise, just, good, merciful, gracious, and truthful. Our God is the infinite fountain of being who created all things, and all things exist by him and for him. He is supremely powerful to perform all his holy and perfect will, ruling over his creation with total dominion, righteousness, wisdom, and love. In his transcendence, God is incomprehensible in his being and actions, yet he reveals himself such that we can know him truly and personally.
"The Nature of God," Sovereign Grace Churches Statement of Faith
“For Jesus, faith is not merely a private affair, but something the community pursues together. The community of believers is a family in the sense that the best interests of each member is the concern of each other member. Thus, the call to rebuke is the exercise of a familial responsibility…The assumption in all of this is that disciples have a certain quality in their relationships that allows this type of positive, honest, loving, confronting behavior to occur without destroying their relationships.”
If you are like me, you may have strong longings from time to time for the mighty working of the Holy Spirit in your life. Perhaps you cry out to God for the outpouring of the Spirit in your life or in your family or church or city. Such cries are right and good. Jesus said, “How much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13). But what I have found most often in my own life is the failure to open myself to the full measure of the Spirit’s work by believing the specific promises of God. I don’t mean merely the promise that the Spirit will come when we ask. I mean all the other precious promises that are not directly about the Spirit but, perhaps, about God’s provision for my future — for example, “My God will supply every need of yours” (Philippians 4:19). God’s Spirit is supplied in an ongoing and powerful way precisely through specific acts of faith in specific promises for specific situations. Do I trust him right now to do what he has promised to do? This is what is missing in the experience of so many Christians as they seek the power of the Spirit in their lives. The Spirit is supplied to us “by hearing with faith” (Galatians 3:5) — not just faith in one or two promises about the Spirit himself, but about all the soul-satisfying presence of God in our future to do for us, and be for us, whatever we need.
- Consider your current parenting struggles. Or the recurring struggles in your marriage.
- Perhaps you’re having a significantly difficult time forgiving your dad, or your mom, or some siblings for their past actions towards you – or even their present actions.
- Perhaps you don’t feel that you have faith, or confidence, to forgive those who hurt you so badly in the past.
- Perhaps you just regularly don’t feel faith for where God has placed you and what he has called you to in your workplace or home so you find yourself regularly responding with complaining, discouragement, anxiety and depression.
- Consider your struggle to overcome lust or anger or greed or unforgiveness or bitterness.
How are we to move forward in faith in any of these situations (or the myriad of others we encounter)?
We all would join the Apostles in asking for God to increase our faith amid all of our sense of overwhelm in this life. And in every single situation, Jesus would have us not look inside ourselves to muster up some sort of self-empowered forgiveness or an uber disciplined life. He doesn’t tell us to entrust the situations we regularly struggle with to some vague sense of emotional positivity that hints at what we might think is faith. Rather, he compels us to look to Him, believe on Him, to…
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5–6 ESV)
This prayer we have for our faith to be increased is met with a call to know God, to truly trust Him to be the One whom He has revealed Himself to be in this book.
How are you growing to know God? What is one thing you can do with regularity this week to know him more?
Remember, Jesus said:
“… “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”” (John 8:31–32 ESV)
There is faith that is strengthened and built up in us as we hear and read the word of our incomparable God and then walk in obedience to him.
How will you grow in the hearing and reading of the word of God this week?
How might you help other grow to know God better this week?
RESOURCES FOR THIS WEEK
SONGS TO CONSIDER
Song - "Behold Him"
Song - "By Faith"
Song - "My Faith Has Found a Resting Place"