John 11:1-16 Repairing A Damaged Faith What kind of faith to you have? Everyone’s faith falls into one of four categories: No faith Small faith Strong faith Damaged faith It is that last category that I wish to speak on this evening. It is strange how we do not apply the concepts of life to our spiritual world. Most of us understand what it is to have a hurt or damaged body part. We have all had an appliance that became damaged and would not work properly. Our automobiles, our bicycles, our computers, televisions and so forth, all have been damaged. Most e very tool and possession we have ever owned either has or will become damaged to the place that it will not function properly. How is it that we have never considered that our faith might be damaged? I believe both Mary and Martha had a damaged faith in this chapter. What’s more, I think our Lord was there with the intent of repairing and strengthening their faith. Consider with me: I. \\#John 11:1-16\\ God had deliberately put a load onto Mary and Martha’s faith. A. God did this by placing—or allowing to be placed upon them— a heavy need and burden. 1. The need was first a sick brother and then a dead brother. 2. The scoffers are quick to point out that if God is all- powerful, He is ultimately the One responsible for the problems we endure. 3. I believe that they are correct in that ascertain. 1Cor 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. a. God controls the suffering valve. He opens it. He closes it. He allows more. He allows less. b. In fact, I think sometimes God does with us what He did with Job! Job 1:8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 4. God either allowed or placed this illness and death upon Lazarus. B. I see some things about this need: 1. The need God placed upon these ladies was larger than they could fix. a. That is what makes a need a burden. b. This need was not larger than they could handle, but it was larger than they could FIX.) 2. This need was a heart-felt need, an emotional one. a. Most all needs and burdens are. b. If it is not a heart-felt need, it will not challenge us. 3. God left this need on them purposely. a. \\#3-6\\ Jesus knew about the need. b. It is obvious that Jesus could have fixed this need. c. \\#14-15\\ Jesus said as much. C. \\#15\\ This need was placed on them for a purpose. John 11:15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe…. 1. It was going to do something to their faith. 2. Not just those on whom the burden rested, but on all. D. When there is a heavy burden placed on you, your faith will respond in one of three ways: 1. It will hold. My Anchor Holds by William C. Martin Though the angry surges roll On my tempest-driven soul, I am peaceful, for I know, Wildly though the winds may blow, I’ve an anchor safe and sure, That can evermore endure. Chorus: And it holds, my anchor holds: Blow your wildest, then, O gale, On my bark so small and frail; By His grace I shall not fail, For my anchor holds, my anchor holds. Troubles almost ’whelm the soul; Griefs like billows o’er me roll; Tempters seek to lure astray; Storms obscure the light of day: But in Christ I can be bold, I’ve an anchor that shall hold. 2. It can fail. a. That is, you can walk away from Christ and your walk with Him altogether. b. Some have. 1Tim 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. 3. It can crack or become damaged. a. I think this is what happened to these ladies. (1) They still believed in Jesus. (2) They still believed that Jesus loved them. (3) They still believed that Jesus was able to heal Lazarus. (4) However, things were still not right. Something was amiss. b. Perhaps their faith would have repaired itself in time, but our Lord seemed concerned about it. c. What are the indications that a faith has become damaged? I will explain these in a moment. (1) They could not rejoice. Should a Christian be able to rejoice when another Christian dies? Yes. There will be grief but there should also be rejoicing. (2) They seemed to have no peace. (3) They could not believe anything new. E. Let us look at these cracks in their faith and show how our Lord sought to repair them. II. The sisters could not believe any thing new. A. Be careful that you get what I am saying. 1. The Lord was not asking them to maintain what they had previously believed. 2. He was pressing them, especially Martha, to believe some- thing new in the midst of their heaviest burden. B. Notice the verses: 1. \\#23-27\\ 2. \\#39-40\\ 3. Jesus is making it clear that He wants Martha to believe that He can still raise Lazarus even now. 4. What a challenge this must have been! a. She had believed and still did that Jesus could have healed Lazarus. b. That is why she had sent for Jesus and she testified that she still believed it. c. But our Lord wanted her to believe something even more. d. Her faith was damaged and yet, He pressed upon her to have even a greater faith. e. She was mourning the loss of her brother and yet He pressed her. C. How do you repair a damaged faith? From this text, I would say that trust God for even greater things. 1. Faith is a choice. It is for everyone. Some have simply chosen to trust God for more. 2. When you faith is tested and tried, do not settle for hanging on. Trust God for more. 3. Do not take this example and begin to tell God what to do. a. I will trust you to give a million dollars, to raise my dead from the grave, etc. b. Typically, when you are in this crisis situations, there will automatically be some ways to trust God for more. (1) You can choose to rejoice in public instead of mourn. (a) You say, "I can’t." (b) Believe God for the strength. (c) I believe is what Davey Blackburn has done. Wife killed on 11-10-15. I saw some posts on FB where he had chosen to thank God for his wife’s life instead of rail at her death. http://wgntv.com/2015/11/12/pastors-pregnant-wife-killed-in-home- invasion/ (2) In that same situation, he will have to choose to have faith in God that God will help him raise their son, make a home, continue his ministry and so many other things. (3) We do not have to search for new ways to trust God. In most trials, there will BE new ways to trust Him. (4) Find them and trust God! III. Peter seemed to lack peace and joy. John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. 3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. A. This is not Peter. 1. Someone today would suggest he had been abducted by aliens. 2. This man could not keep his mouth shut. He always had an opinion or a comment. 3. But he came to the empty tomb after having been told by Mary that she had seen Jesus alive and did not say a thing! B. Something is wrong. 1. He has a damaged faith. 2. It was Peter who had promised to fight and even die for Jesus. a. It was bad enough that he did not get that change. b. But when accused of being a disciple, Peter denied Jesus and cursed. 3. I do think his faith failed. a. He had not left the Lord. b. He was burdened and broken over what he had done. c. But He could not bring himself to believe that Jesus had risen—that was new. d. And he certainly had no peace and joy. C. The lack of peace and joy continued even after Peter had seen the Lord. 1. \\#John 20:19-25\\ Jesus appeared in the Upper Room with all of the disciples except Thomas. Still, there are no comments from Peter. 2. Eight days later, Jesus appeared again. John 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. a. Still no comments! b. Thomas spoke that night but nothing is recorded from Peter. 3. Even after they had traveled to Galilee to met the Lord, the Bible records… John 21:3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing…. D. Something is wrong. Peter’s faith is damaged. It has cracked. 1. Someone says, "Well what do you expect? Look at what he went through. Peter has every right to down and discouraged!" 2. Let me ask you something. a. What did Peter do to remove what he had done? b. What did Peter do to remove his denial and failure? 3. The answer is nothing. There is nothing he could do. 4. So was he condemned to spend the remainder of his life with no joy or peace? 5. No. It seems that Peter eventually got his peace and joy back. a. We see him in Acts preaching on the day of Pentecost, winning souls and helping to establish a church. b. He traveled spreading the gospels. c. He wrote letters to churches and we have them in our Bible. E. So when did Peter’s faith get repaired? 1. It was repaired when Peter chose to take peace and joy to himself. 2. Nothing was done TO Peter to repair his faith. It is what was done BY Peter that repaired. 3. He quit letting the symptom be the damage and when he did that, he fixed his damaged faith. 4. Just as we must chose to believe more, so we must choose to have peace and joy. 5. They are both already provided for us! Joh 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Joh 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. Things can happen in life that damage our faith but nothing can keep our faith from being repaired but us. 1. We can believe God for as much as we chose to believe. 2. We can have as much of God’s peace as we want. 3. We can have as much of God’s joy as we want.
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