Matthew 8:5-13
How to Amaze God

We just read of a great miracle, a man was partially paralyzed and in
great pain \\#6\\ "grievously tormented." It looks like the miracle
was going to occur no matter what else the centurion said to
Jesusóeven if he had said nothing else to Jesus. The centurion had
asked for Jesusí help \\#6\\ and Jesus agreed to give it in \\#7\\.
However, the centurion went on to cause Jesus to marvel \\#10\\.

The centurion declared he did not need Jesus to come.  He refined his
request to ask that Jesus merely speak the word that his servant be
healed.  Then, Jesus was amazed and declared:

Matt 8:10  When Jesus heard it, he marvelled,
and said to them that followed, Verily I say
unto you, I have not found so great faith, no,
not in Israel.

How do you amaze God?  With your faith.

I. Most everything that is available to the child of God comes by
    faith.
    A. Faith is emphasized not just in this Bible passage, but many
        others.

Matthew 8:26  And he saith unto them, Why are ye
fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and
rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a
great calm.

Matthew 9:2  And, behold, they brought to him a
man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus
seeing their faith said unto the sick of the
palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be
forgiven thee.

Matthew 9:22  But Jesus turned him about, and
when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good
comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the
woman was made whole from that hour.

       1. In each of these instances, faith is presented as a KEY
           to receiving from God.
       2. That makes faith very, very important!
    B. Everything God gives comes to us either by grace or by grace
        and faith.
        1. God gives us some things just because He is good and
            gracious.
            a. God raises the sun every morning and puts it to bed
                every evening.
            b. God sends the rains.
            c. God pulls and pushes the tides in and out.
        2. But the directed desires that God gives us requires our
            faith and Godís grace.
        3. In fact, they require faith IN Godís grace.
            a. salvation
            b. specific answers to prayer
            c. specific healing
            d. requests for help
    C. That means that faith must precede all of our direct desires
        with God.
        1. Whatever it is that we want from God, we must exercise
            some faith in God before He will give it to us.
        2. This is somewhat difficult for humans.
            a. We say, "God, give it to me and then I will believe
                you."
            b. God says, "Believe me then I will give it to you."

II. Faith is not a magic wand.
    A. People come to God wanting what they want.
        1. They want the lottery or a healing or the magic mate.
        2. Their wants may be good, but faith is not for us to
            get what we want.
    B. Faith is not a tool for us to get what we want.  Faith a tool
         for God to give us what He wants.
    C. Bible faith must be built on Bible truth.

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

        1. Three important truths:
            a. We are Godís servant.  He is not ours.
            b. No amount of faith will ever make God do something
                He does not want to do.
            c. The first step of faith is know what God wants to do.
        2. How do we SEE WHAT GOD WANTS TO DO?  Two tools:
            a. The WORD OF GOD.

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

                (1) Notice the connection between the Word and
                     faith.
                (2) But just because God makes promises to everyone
                     does not mean everyone gets everything.
                (3) God has a different plan for everyone so God has
                     different paths for everyone to take.
                (4) Paul prayed three times for a thorn to be
                     removed.  God did not remove it because it was
                     Godís plan for Paul.
            b. Spiritual discernment - We must discern what the will
                of God is for US.
                (1) One of the reasons God gave us the Holy Ghost was
                     so He could speak 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.

                (2) The Spiritual born-again are not born with strong
                     discernment.  They must grow it.

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.

                (3) Discernment comes in little steps.
                     (a) God seldom shows us the final destination.
                     (b) Typically, we can only discern the next
                          step, but that is all right because God
                          is the One who is guiding us.
                (4) Discernment must be practiced and learned.

III. Once we know what God wants to do, we live in faith until God
      does it.
    A. Faith kicks in from the time God makes a promise until the
        time God delivers the promise.
    B. In this Bible passage, the man believed and that "selfsame
        hour" \\#13\\ his servant was healed.
        1. God can do whatever God wants to do.
        2. But it has been my experience that God seldom works that
            that quickly when we ask something of Him.
        3. Instead, God gives us TIME to exercise our faith.
            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 (maybe 12 to 18 years).
        4. The confidence we have in God while we are waiting for our
            miracle to come is our measure of our faith.
    C. So faith is not the asking.
        1. Need, desire, and desperation produce the asking.
        2. The spiritual tools we need to ask correctly are
             knowledge, prayer, obedience, humilityÖ.
    D. Faith is believing until God gives us that for which we have
           Scripturally asked for.
        1. While we are waiting, faith is the hope to which we cling.
        2. The writer of Hebrews said it becomes our substance.

Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is the substance of
things hoped for, the evidence of things not
seen.

            a. Faith becomes our proof that God has heard us.
            b. Faith becomes our promise that God will help us.
            c. Faith becomes our comfort until that help arrives.
            d. Faith becomes our reality.
    E. Some 46 years ago for me (you fill in your number) God saved
        me.  At that time, He promised us a home in heaven, a
        glorified body, and completely cleansed existence.  That has
        not come to pass yet.  We are walking in faith, in confidence
        that God is going to fulfill that promise.  The stronger our
        faith, the more it changes our life right now.
        1. Faith sustains us until the miracle comes.
        2. Go back and re-read Hebrews 11.
            a. That is the roll call of faith chapter.
            b. Did the faith of those listed PRODUCE a miracle or did
                was faith the way they lived until the miracle came?
            c. I believe you will find it is the latter.
                (1) Abrahamís faith did not cause God to give Abraham
                     the Promised Land.  His walk of faith began
                     AFTER the promise was made.
                (2) Noahís faith did not cause God to send the flood.
                     His walk of faith began AFTER the promised of
                     the flood was given.
                (3) Sarahís faith did not cause God to promise a
                     child.  Her walk of faith began AFTER the
                     promise was given.
            d. Notice that in most of these cases, faith did not
                determine what God was going to do.  Faith was the
                condition of hope that the people lived in who had
                received the promise.

IV. How does this help?
    A. It should help us to quit basing our faith on things we dream
        up and to get closer to God to find out what He wants to give
        us.
        1. Just because we want, or think we need something does not
            mean God is going to give it to us.
        2. Faith must be built on the Word and leadership of God.
    B. It should help us to realize that when we know what God wants
        to do, the battle is not over.  In fact, it has just begun.

How do we amaze God?  I only know of one way.  It is with our faith!

<OutlineIndex>  <Close Window>