A Greater Measure of Faith
May 23, 2020

A Greater Measure of Faith

{Watch today’s message at:https://youtu.be/sfH934QEMbI
{Listen to today’s message at:https://mega.nz/file/fNcFhYbA#S8ugZb6OiKM3TqrVafwuIn7MKkrSLJkf4Aq0N1gxNUg}

As we move into this new season, after the COVID -19 pandemic, and coming back from a general shut down of churches, where we are once again meeting in our new facility that God has do gracious given, and one that is changing every week as we ready ourselves for a move of God. It has also been a time that has seen many stepping up into various ministries, as well as new ministries, within the church.

And as I see it, it is our faith in God and His calling upon our lives and upon the church that has been at the heart of this new move God is doing.

As we look at this, we see much the same move happening on the part of the disciples as they were growing in their faith under the guidance and tutelage of Jesus.

What the disciples wanted was to do great things for God, and then seeing the faith Jesus possessed and the miracles He performed, they asked Jesus to increase their faith so that these great things could be accomplished in and through them as well.

“And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith’” (Luke 17:5 NKJV)

When I read this, I think back to about how I had once prayed this prayer, and then how God went about increasing my faith, and that was through trials and tribulations.

I remember one of my seminary professors asking the class what they thought it meant when the disciples requested greater faith. And there were all these answers from the class, and I just sat back and started to chuckle to myself. When the professor saw my response, he said, “Okay Lee, what do you think it means?” And I said, “It means that God is going to put you through hell and back,” which was exactly what happened to me, from the loss of my businesses, finances, and family. Basically, you name it, I lost it.

But, like Peter during that critical time in His life when he followed Jesus at a distance, my faith never failed as well. It got challenged, but from it grew, to where faith has been recorded as my number one gift, which prior to this time never reached above fifth.

Well, the professor kind of chuckled, as most of the class let out a collective gasp, but he said that it was a correct assessment. (That’s something seminary professors say!)

And I believe this is at the heart of God, that is, He wants our faith to increase so that we can do those great works He has called for us to do. I don’t think that Hebrews chapter 11, God’s Hall of Faith, was written by chance.

Look at just a portion of this with me.

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” (Hebrews 11:33-34 NKJV)

We can also see this same faith in men like Hudson Taylor who brought the gospel message to China, or George Muller who built orphanages throughout England through prayer alone.

We can to do the same great things for God as well, but it begins with our faithfulness to what God has given, which is what Jesus said.

“He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much.” (Luke 16:10a NKJV)

Like the disciples we want to move directly to the big stuff of faith, because it gratifies our flesh. You see, in our fleshly pride we want to have the biggest and the best. We want to move those mountains for God.

We see the disciple’s frustration over this when they tried to cast out a demon from a young boy who was possessed, but were unable to do so. They asked Jesus why, and Jesus responded it was due to their lack of faith.

“Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.’” (Matthew 17:20 NKJV)

A mustard seed is a very small seed, but it grows into a very large plant. And what Jesus is saying is that with this small amount of faith, they could, and we can, do great exploits for God. A little faith can have incredible results. Or to say it like this, “A little faith can go a long way.”

But, here is where the rubber meets the road. “Faith in what, or in who?” The faith we need, and the faith the disciples needed wasn’t to be found within themselves, and it isn’t to be found in their or in our abilities or capabilities, but rather it should be in the Lord God and in Him alone.

We don’t need a lot of faith in our ability, we just need a little faith in God and in His ability, and when we have such faith, then the results will be great. It was this faith that those within God’s Hall of Faith possessed.

Now, this has nothing to do with what some have mistakenly concluded, that God somehow is a respecter of persons, in that He gave some a whole lot of faith, while others He gave only a minuscule amount, which is what most of us believe about ourselves.

What I believe is that God gives us the exact amount of faith that we need, and then it is up to us to both increase and then release our faith, and then we will see within the church and within our lives the miracles and wonders that is talked about when Jesus said that greater things we will do, and that signs and wonders follow those who believe (John 14:12-14; Mark 16: 17-18).

And it is this measured faith that is needed for the work of the ministry to be accomplished, which is exactly what the Apostle Paul was referring to when he wrote to the Roman church about our becoming those living sacrifices (Romans 12:1).

In verse 3 Paul said, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3 NKJV)

Now, how do I come up with this connection of this referring to the faith needed for ministry? Well, it is from what follows as Paul tells them that we all have differing gifts to be used within the body of Christ, that is, the church (Romans 12:4-8).

Now, this one phrase, “a measure of faith,” has been interpreted in a variety of ways, the more prominent is that God has distributed or given this faith to each of us. And because of this, it prevents us from thinking too highly of ourselves, that is, that somehow we had a hand in the ministries we’ve been given.

And so, if I were to surmise a conclusion from what we have read and looked at so far, God has given to each of us a measure of faith to use for Him and in His service, and that this faith is a gift that has been given from which all the other gifts flow.

And therefore, we are to exercise these gifts by faith, and even if it isn’t a lot of faith, it is more than enough to see the ministry excel into the stratosphere of heaven, because as we have seen, if we have the faith the size of a mustard seed, we can do the impossible.

Therefore, it is in and through the grace of God that He gives us the faith we need to accomplish what He has called for us to do.

Faith then is what brings God’s gifts and ministries from the spiritual realm into the physical realm. We see this in the writer of Hebrew’s description of faith.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV)

In essence, everything the Lord does for us and through us is accessed through faith.

But where do we find such faith? It is through God’s word distributed by the Holy Sprit.

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17 NKJV)

When we hear God’s Word, the Holy Spirit empowers it, and when we receive the truth of God’s word through the Holy Spirit, that is when God’s faith enters.

In our remaining time together, I’d like to look at how this looks within our lives.

First it starts with a dream.

1. Believe God’s Dream

It all starts with a dream, or a vision if you would.

The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18a KJV)

This more literally translates, “Where there is no prophetic revelation of God, when there is no divine revelation, then people cast away from them all restraint going here and there without any clear meaning or purpose in life.”

It starts with a dream or vision, and it takes faith to see it. So nothing happens until we believe in God’s dream and vision for our lives and for the church.

God is the one who puts these dreams and visions within us. They are His desires, His plans, and His purposes for our lives and for His kingdom.

And so, here is the question: “What would we attempt for God if we knew we couldn’t fail?”

That’s dreaming big. That’s dreaming God’s dream. And when asked in faith, I believe the Lord says to us the same thing He said to the prophet Jeremiah.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me.” (Jeremiah 32:27 NKJV)

Nothing is impossible with God. Someone said, “Today’s impossibilities are tomorrow’s possibilities.” Just because our dreams seem “impossible” it doesn’t mean that they are impossible. God is the God of the impossible making the impossible possible.

So we need to believe in God’s dream and His promises, and then ask God by faith believing that He will accomplish His plan and purpose for our lives.

Next, we have to be willing to risk it all for God’s faith to be activated.

2. Be Willing to Risk

Faith is being willing to risk. We cannot go after a dream without taking some sort of risk along the way. If there is no risk, then there is no real faith.

We need to risk for the kingdom of God.

Consider the turtle. It only makes progress when its neck is out. So let’s not be afraid to stick our neck out for the Lord.

Of the early church the Bible says they were “Men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 15:26 NKJV)

We see the same example in the Old Testament in the lives of three young Jewish lads, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

King Nebuchadnezzar had a large statue made of himself and ordered everyone to bow down to it, but these three refused, and when given another chance by Nebuchadnezzar saying there wasn’t a god alive that could save them, they responded by faith, in probably one of the greatest statements of faith ever recorded.

“If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18 NKJV)

Notice their words, “But if not.” Faith doesn’t demand a guarantee, instead it believes in God and His word, and no matter where it may lead.

Faith is willing to fail. It’s our complete trust in God that He’ll work it all out to His good (Romans 8:28). Therefore, we need to let go of any fear of failure we might have, because anything we’re attempting for God by faith is pleasing to God.

Next we need to live with great expectations.

3. Live With Great Expectations

The Apostle Paul lived with great expectation.

“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:20 NIV)

God uses those who expect to be used. Expecting is then an act of faith. We expect God to use us not because of who we are, but rather because of who Jesus is and what He’s done for us. So, when we put our faith in God’s great grace then God will do great things in us and through us.

Jesus said, “According to your faith let it be to you.” (Matthew 9:29 NKJV)

Therefore, what are we believing God for? What are we expecting God to do in our lives? We need to be people of great expectations.

Along with these great expectations we must be then willing to preserve through the times of difficulty that will most likely come when we stand up by faith.

4. We Need To Persevere

Faith keeps on believing! Faith is persistent. Faith is diligent. Faith just keeps going.

The Bible says, “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” (Psalm 31:24 NKJV)

Expect God to do great things and don’t give up. Those the Bible identifies as heroes of faith were no different than any of us. They were ordinary people who had an extraordinary amount of determination.

Some of us feel like our lives are dangerously close to the edge, and that we’re hanging on by a thread. Our finances are in the toilet. Our jobs are hanging in the balance. Our marriages may be unraveling, or we’re dealing with one illness after another. But the person of faith says, “Even though my life is falling apart, I will not stop believing in God and in His word.”

Solomon said, “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” (Proverbs 24:16 NIV)

The Apostle Paul said, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9 NKJV)

Conclusion

As we wonder how we can grow our faith, there is one last thing, and that is, we have to ask the Lord to help us with our lack of faith.

Going back to our story about the disciple’s inability to cast out the demon from the young boy, when Jesus finally arrived at the scene, the father came to Him asking for a miracle. And Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

The father replied, “Yes, Lord, I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). And Jesus was so pleased with his response he healed the child.

This father knew Jesus could heal and had probably heard and seen Jesus heal others. So he believed, but a spark of doubt still lingered. And so when asked whether or not he believed, he answered truthfully saying yes, but he needed a greater measure of faith to do so.

This then is the heart of today’s message, and that is, we need a greater measure of faith to believe.

That’s what we all need; we need to ask God for that greater measure of faith to believe in God’s dream and vision for our lives and for the church. We need that greater measure of faith to believe so that we are willing to risk for that dream and vision to be fulfilled and to live in expectation of that ending, willing then to preserve through whatever trials come as a result.

And so by faith we need to ask God for that greater measure of faith to believe. So, will you bow your heads and say this prayer so that God’s greater faith can be yours.

“O Lord, thank you for my faith. Sustain it. Strengthen it. Deepen it. Don’t let it fail. Make it the power of my life, so that in everything You get the glory. Amen”









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