Matthew 8:5-10
The Power of Faith

Notice the great power of faith in the Scripture:
 \\##Matt 8:10\\ -  The centurionís son was healed.
 \\#Matt 9:2\\ - A man who was paralyzed was healed.
 \\#Matt 9:22\\ - A motherís daughter was freed from demons.

In each of these instances, faith is presented as THE KEY that made
receiving from God possible.  Faith is still the key that makes
receiving from God possible.  Nothing will ever be received from God
without faithónot salvation, not answers to prayer, not victory over
sin, not healing, not anything.

That makes faith one of the most powerful weapons in the Christian
arsenal.  There are others: PRAYER, WORD OF GOD, KINDNESS,
LOVE and more, but one of the greatest must be faith.

Yet a great weapon is of little use to us if we do not know how to
use it. David was given the armor of Saul when he went to fight the
giant but he refused to use it, taking his more familiar sling. Why?
For "HE HAD NOT PROVED THEM." He was unfamiliar and unused to that
weapon.

This morning, let me give you some instructions on how to use this
powerful weapons of faith.1

I. Step One - Faith must be sighted on God.
    A. Whenever a new weapon is purchased, it must be sighted.
        1. To use faith, we must put our sights on God.
        2. Specifically, for faith to work, we must see what God
            wants.
    B. This is an ignored truth of faith.
        1. Almost every Christian supposes that God gives us faith so
            that we might have what WE want to have.
        2. No.  That is wrong.
            (1) God gives us faith so that we might have what He
                 wants us to have.
            (2) However, there is another truth that goes with that
                 one and it is, what God wants us to have is always
                 better than what we would want for ourselves.
    C. Faith is never us inventing things for God to do.  Faith is
        always us finding what God wants.
        1. Example 1 - A man prays for his finances which are in
            disarray. He envisions God sending him a lottery to pay
            off all his bills.  When that happens, he promises that
            he will tell the world about Godís goodness, but he has
            missed it. As soon as he prayed, God opened the door for
            him to sell his most extravagant toys for a good price
            and thenówith hard work and a little sacrificeóhe could
            have his debt paid off in just a few months. The man
            missed it because that was not what HE wanted.
        2. Example 2 - Parents pray by the bedside of their sick
            child.  They envision a miraculous healing their child
            and pledged to go to church when God heals him.  But they
            missed it.  As soon as they prayed, God opened the door
            for this couple to have a powerful, soul winning ministry
            build upon their dramatic conversion during their
            childís sickness and death.  The couple missed it
            because that was  not what THEY wanted.
    D. Someone says, "BUT THOSE ARENíT THE THINGS THEY WANTED."
        1. Exactly, those are the things that GOD WANTED.
        2. Faith is not a tool for us to get what we want.
        3. Faith is a tool for us to get what God wants.
    E. Everyone who is going to walk by faith must take the same
        first step.
        1. We must ask God, "What would you have me to do?"
            a. Notice Saul of Tarsus statement.

Acts 9:1  And Saul, yet breathing out
threatenings and slaughter against the disciples
of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
2  And desired of him letters to Damascus to the
synagogues, that if he found any of this way,
whether they were men or women, he might bring
them bound unto Jerusalem.
3  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus:
and suddenly there shined round about him a light
from heaven:
4  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice
saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou
me?
5  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord
said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is
hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord,
what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said
unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it
shall be told thee what thou must do.

            b. Abraham first act was to leave his family and go to a
                land he had never seen.
            c. Noahís first act was to start building an ark out of
                gopher wood.
            d. It took Moses a few minutes to come around but his
                first act was to see Pharaoh and tell him to let
                Israel go.
        2. In every one of these situations, the same things happened.
            a. Not once did anyone ever tell God what they wanted.
            b. In every instance, God told the people what He wanted
                and the peopleóby faithódid what God told them to do.
        3. Why, because faith always begins at the same place.  It
            begins with us seeking Godís will for us.  It never
            begins with us telling God what we want!

II. Step Two - Faith drives us into Godís presence.
    A. You have heard of guns that kick?
        1. Faith kicks.
        2. It kicks us into the presence of God.
    B. No one can walk by faith who does not earnestly, continuously
        seek God for God is the only One who can reveal what He
        wants.
        1. Throughout the ages and on every single day, people
            suppose they know Godís will.  Yet few do.
            a. The biggest supposition that most make is that they
                can "figure out" the will of God.
            b. We cannot.

Isa 55:9  For as the heavens are higher than the
earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and
my thoughts than your thoughts.

        2. No human being will ever "figure out" Godís will.

Romans 10:2 For I bear them record that they have
a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

            a. We are different beings.  We are people.  God is God.
                Lions and butterflies do not see things the same way!
            b. We are corrupt sinners (mind does not work).
            c. We are carnal (fleshly). He is spiritual.  Those are
                two completely different worlds.
            d. We are selfish. God is glorious.
            e. We are limited, seeing only an inch in front of us.
                God is infinite seeing all things, all people, all
                places, and all time at once.
        3. All of these and dozens of other reasons mean we cannot
            and will not every figure out what God wants.
            a. How would Noah ever figured out the flood?
            b. How would Moses ever figure out he was to go to
                Pharaoh?
            c. God is just too big to be figured out.
    C. For faith to work, people must be shown by God Himself what
        God wants. How?
        1. For the basic steps in the Christian life, God can use
            other Christians to show you some of what He wants.
            a. When it comes to how we are to live, act, and serve,
                God does want largely the same things for all of us.
            b. Therefore, pastors, teachers, brothers and sisters
                in Christ, and the church can show us what God wants.

Heb 10:25  Not forsaking the assembling of
ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but
exhorting one another: and so much the more, as
ye see the day approaching.

                (1) Going to church is an act of obedience but it is
                     also an act of faith.
                (2) By going to church with an open and eager heart,
                     you are expecting God to teach you what He wants
                     you to do.
            c. Donít let anyone or anything steal your church!
        2. For all the steps in the Christian life, the Word of God
            shows you want God wants.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and
hearing by the word of God.

            a. The surest knowledge of God, His plans, and His will
                is the written Word of God.
            b. Whatever God has promised in the pages of His book,
                you can know it is correct and reliable.
        3. For all the steps in the Christian life, the Holy Ghost
            shows you want God wants.
            a. Everything from the most general to the most personal
                will of God for your life, can be known by the Holy
                Spirit revealing them to us.

1Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth
not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are
foolishness unto him: neither can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned.

            b. However, knowing when the Holy Spirit is speaking and
                your flesh is takes some experience and some
                controlled trial and error.

Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them
that are of full age, even those who by reason of
use have their senses exercised to discern both
good and evil.

     D. All three of these inletsóothers, the Word, and the Holy
        Spiritóare only able to show us what God wants as we
        abide earnestly and consistently in Godís presence.

John 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the
branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it
abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye
abide in me.

III. Step Three - Faith demands careful attention while God works.
    A. The more powerful the weapon, the more care and attention must
        be shown for it.

Illustration - On February 10, 2006, Dick Cheney, the then sitting
Vice President of the United States, was quail hunting with his
friend, Harry Whittington, and shot him in the face, neck, and
upper torso.  The shooting was described by both men as an
accident and although Mr. Whittington did suffer a heart attack
from one of the pellets lodging near his heart, it appears that he
ultimately made a complete recovery.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Cheney_hunting_incident

        1. What happened?
        2. Someone had a weapon and got careless with it.
        3. So it is with faith.

Heb 2:1  Therefore we ought to give the more
earnest heed to the things which we have heard,
lest at any time we should let them slip.

    B. The danger with faith is twofold:
        1. What we seek is not here yet.
        2. The time we seek is not here yet.
        3. Faith necessitates the lack of what we are waiting on.  If
            we had it, we would not need faith.
    C. God often places time and problems between His promises and
        their fulfillment.
        1. The time period from when we see what God wants until God
            gives us what He wants is called a trial.
        2. We pray; we understand; we might want immediate results,
            but that does not always happen.
        3. Examples:
            a. Noah preached about the flood for 120 years.
            b. Abraham waited 25 years to have Isaac.
            c. David ran from Saul for years before he received the
                throne.
        4. So we must wait with this powerful weapon in our hands;
            but while we wait, we must give it careful attention.
    D. Faith requires faithfulness.
        1. We must keep on believing and keep on obeying no matter
            how badly we need God to do something now, no matter how
            many problems the Devil and his minions throw at us, we
            must be faithful.
        2. A sound faith must endure until it is no longer needed.

"A faith that fizzles before the finish had a fatal flaw from the
first."

        3. Hence, faith stays regardless of the problems.
        4. Faith must outlast:
            a. Confusion
            b. Time
            c. Suffering
            d. Apparent disappointments

<OutlineIndex>  <Close Window>