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A Measure of Faith

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Jesus teaching His disciples on faith during the last few weeks of His ministry before the crucifixion.

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This morning we are going to look into a period of time in the life of Jesus the Christ. This time period is the final few weeks that lead up to the crucifixion of Jesus.

I would like stop and say right here, that I am so thankful and joyous, that this is not how we end that time reference, THE CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS!
What I mean is this. To every BELIEVER in the Son of God, we know that the crucifixion was the precursor that led to the single greatest moment in history; THE RESURRECTION! AMEN?!
Hie death was not final; it was not the end, but rather, it was only the beginning!

So, back to this time frame that we are looking at today.

We will looking at the final few weeks that lead into what is called the Holy Week (Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday)
Palm Sunday - The Triumphant Entry in Jerusalem
Maundy Thursday - The Last Supper and the institution of the Jesuscommand to love others as He has loved us.
Good Friday - The day of our Lords crucifixion.
Holy Saturday -
Next week of course is Palm Sunday and the time that we know and recognize as The Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem! (We will talk more of this next Sunday)
Then, of course, in two weeks, is the greatest single moment in all of the worlds history. Resurrection Sunday!
This is the day that we celebrate THE RESURRECTION! I say it that way, because there were others raised from the dead, as recorded within the Bible, before that of Jesus.
This, however, is the only one that matters for all of humanity! This is the resurrection of : The firstborn among many brothers,the firstborn of all creation, and most definitely, the firstborn of the dead!
Before Jesusresurrection, all others who had died were like dormant seeds in the ground; waiting for germination. Jesus, was the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. Once He resurrected, all others who belong to the Father, were to be rise also!
Paul said in , “We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.
All others that were raised before Jesus from the dead, were destined to die again. (And without the completed works of the cross and the resurrection, they were also destined to die the second death; that is, the spiritual death!
The moment that Jesus took His first breath and opened His eyes within the tomb, death would never again be a concern for the believer!
THAT IS WHY THE BELIEVER CELEBRATES RESURRECTION SUNDAY! THOSE WHOM BELIEVE IN JESUSLIFE, DEATH AND RESURRECTION, WILL NEVER AGAIN FEEL THE STING OF DEATH! HALLELUJAH!

OK, so back on track with todays topic. We are getting ready to read (or, if you're from the south, you would say, we’re fixing to) read from Lukes gospel, starting in chapter 17.

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Luke 17:1–4 ESV
And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
The word used in this passage for temptations, is the Greek word, skandalon, and it refers to a trap, a stumbling block, or obstacle which causes someone to sin, or causes an offense.
For those who were here and a part of our John Bevere study on The Bait of Satan, you will remember what a powerful teaching this was. It dealt with the issue of offenses and how that you must get rid of them, or they will destroy you, spiritually!
So, sin and offenses are going to happen, but you do not want to be the one through whom they do come! AMEN?! (But WOE to the one through whom they come.)
Note the word used there in the warning, is the word, WOE. This is not like when we say, Woe, slow down there fella. No, rather, woe from the Greek rendering is pain, discomfort and unhappiness; it is dreadful!
So, if you are the person that is instrumental in leading someone else astray, then Jesus says WOE (pain, discomfort and unhappiness; dread) to you!
Jesus also makes it very clear to His disciples that forgiveness is MANDATORY within the Kingdom of God.
This passage and its dealings with conflict and offenses, is similar to Jesus teaching in where he instituted how we deal with conflict and resolution as believers.
Something that is also repeated here from s teaching is the theme of extended forgiveness. As we just read in this passage, Jesus said that we are to forgive someone for their wrong doings to us, even if they offend/sin against us seven times/day and repent each of those seven times. You must forgive them!
In with Jesus teaching on conflict resolution, we see Peter, A JEW, ask a question that is based upon JEWISH rabbinical teachings for forgiveness. The Jewish rabbis taught that if someone wronged you, you should forgive them UP TO 3x and that was more than enough. No more after that!
So, we see Peter ask this in .
Matthew 18:21–22 NASB95
Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
You see, Peter was doing like so many of us do, we rationalize and come up with an appropriate amount of forgiveness for what has been done to us.
What if God forgave you in this same logic? Where would you and I be?
So, when the Peter and the other disciples heard the answer about forgiveness that Jesus gave to them, they freaked out! That was unheard of and against everything that they had been taught growing up! NOBODY CAN DO THAT, they were thinking.
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Luke 17:5 ESV
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
Note, they didn't say increase our understanding, our love, our patience, or anything else. They instantly sought after MORE FAITH; otherwise this would be impossible!
Jesus answers them in .
Luke 17:6 ESV
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.
Jesus was saying to them, It is not a matter of quantity of faith, but rather, it is a matter of to whom that faith is directed with expectancy!
In other words, if you are looking into your own abilities to be able to do this, then, yes, it wold take a world full of faith to do simple miracles. However, if your faith is directed towards the Father and you entrust it to Him and believe that He is able to do such a thing, then it only takes a smidgen of faith; faith the size of a grain of mustard seed to work the impossible!
If you could harness its power—that is, turn every one of its atoms into pure energy—the paper clip would yield about 18 kilotons of TNT. That's roughly the size of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.
As one commentary states it, “It is not so much great faith that is required as it is faith in a great God, that is required!”
And then Jesus finishes this lesson with a reminder to the disciples and us in .
Morris, L. (1988). Luke: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 3, p. 273). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Luke 17:7–10 ESV
“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’ ”
Jesus is saying this to them and to us as well. Forgiveness and the understanding of faith and who the faith is to be in, are requirements of the Kingdom for the servants. In other words, they are commandments that we are to follow. And as we do them, as commanded, we are never to expect accolades or recognition or honor for doing them! (You and I do not get the proverbial, pat on the back.) Because then, our faith becomes more of a belief in ourselves and not on Him!
Jesus makes this clear when He mentions the part of the master saying, Come on in and sit down and eat with me!
In other words, sit here at the place of honor for what you have just done!
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Uhhmmmm, NO Boo Boo! That is not what you and I should ever expect. In fact, Jesus goes on in this passage to say that we are not to even expect a simple THANK YOU for doing what is commanded as His servants!
How many times have you ever done something for someone and then become mad or even OFFENDED, because they didn't say THANK YOU?
That one is notorious within the church body and I have witnessed it first hand in this church myself and have also seen the hornets nest that it stirs up!
You do not do what is commanded for accolades and recognition; you do it because you are a humble servant to the Lord!
And in order for us to able to do so, it requires us to have and keep our FAITH in Him at all times and for all things!
Gods word also says this, .
Romans 12:3 ESV
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

Do not think more of yourself; it is God who gives each of us a measure of faith!

And so, FAITH is the main point of this mornings message.

There are a few things about faith that I want to mention this morning.
Of all of the virtues that we mention within our Christian walk, FAITH is paramount!
According to
I know that the great commandment and the one like (list them out), as well as the command that Jesus gave on the night of last supper were all centered and focused upon the virtue LOVE.
I know that Paul, in , says,
1 Corinthians 13:2 ESV
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:13 ESV
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
By these, people will say, You see, love is the most important virtue to posses.
Well, let me say this with regard to love and faith, just to help make this whole thing clear.
The are not the same and yet they go together.
When I say that the virtue of FAITH is paramount, I say this because of what it brings to the life of the Christian and not to discredit or downplay the significance of love.
The issue of FAITH is one that every Christian should be aware of in their life and striving for its development. (I know that I just mentioned earlier, per Jesus’ statement to the disciples, it is not an issue of large faith to work a miracle. Yet there is more to that and I will discuss it in a minute.)
Here is the basic reality about FAITH versus the other Christian virtues. The Bible does not say that through LOVE we obtain salvation. It doesn't tell us that long suffering or patience are instrumental in getting us into kingdom. There is not a verse that indicates that great works of love or acts of humility can buy someone redemption!
Nowhere will you read within the Bible, that the grace of God plus, (love, or kindness, or patience, or meekness or self-control) equals salvation!
What the Bible does tell us is this, .
Ephesians 2:8–9 ESV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
The grace of God, plus the gift of faith that He gives us, equals our salvation.
Do you understand that there is nothing that we bring to the table for our salvation? Even the faith that is required for your salvation, was a gift given by God, that you simply surrendered to Him!
When the jailor in , who was about to take his own life, realized that Paul and Silas and the others were still in their cells, asked the question to Paul and Silas, Sirs,what must I do to be saved? Notice the answer given, Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.
When the jailor in , who was about to take his own life, realized that Paul and Silas and the others were still in their cells, asked the question to Paul and Silas, Sirs,what must I do to be saved? Notice the answer given, Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.
Paul and Silas didnt give the implication that the jailers good deeds, or acts of service would save him; they said that his belief in Jesus as Lord, was required to save him!
All of the other virtues can be linked to emotions, works and conditional things. Faith is separate from this. Your belief in God and Jesus His Son, is the key to your life in the Kingdom.
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2 Peter 1:5–7 ESV
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
These are qualities/virtues that Peter lists that characterize a life within the Kingdom of God. Note that they start with FAITH; it has to be the first thing, as it is the only thing that gets you in the kingdom. The others flow after it.
Note also, that the list starts with FAITH and ends with LOVE!
All of these virtues, these graces from God, all start with FAITH.
Charles Spurgeon said it this way, Be anxious about your faith, for all your graces hang upon it. Faith is the root-grace: all other virtues and graces spring from it. Faith is the mother of virtues. Faith is the fire which consumes the sacrifice. Faith is the water which nurtures the root. Faith is the sap which imparts vitality to all the branches. If you have not faith all your graces must die. And in proportion as your faith increases so will all your virtues; not all in the same proportion, but all in some degree. The man of little faith is the man of little love. The man of great faith is the man of great affection. He that has great faith in God could give himself to die for God; but he who has little faith in him would shrink at the stake because his love would be feeble. Have care of your faith, for on that your virtue depends; and if you would cultivate things that are goodly, “things that are lovely, things that are of good repute,” things that are honourable to yourself, and pleasing to God, guard well your faith, for on your faith all things must rest.
Spurgeon, C. H. (1855). The Necessity of Increased Faith. In The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons (Vol. 1, p. 246). London: Passmore & Alabaster.
Spurgeon, C. H. (1855). The Necessity of Increased Faith. In The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons (Vol. 1, p. 246). London: Passmore & Alabaster.
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Galatians 5:5–6 ESV
For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
All of these virtues, these graces from God, all start with FAITH; it is the main source.
Charles Spurgeon said it this way, Be anxious about your faith, for all your graces hang upon it. Faith is the root-grace: all other virtues and graces spring from it. Faith is the mother of virtues. Faith is the fire which consumes the sacrifice. Faith is the water which nurtures the root. Faith is the sap which imparts vitality to all the branches. If you have not faith all your graces must die. And in proportion as your faith increases so will all your virtues; not all in the same proportion, but all in some degree. The man of little faith is the man of little love. The man of great faith is the man of great affection. He that has great faith in God could give himself to die for God; but he who has little faith in him would shrink at the stake because his love would be feeble.
So, it goes like this, Holy Spirit draws and convicts you, you then respond in FAITH to that calling and believe in the Lord Jesus as the Son of God and His finished and perfect works upon the Cross and that on the third day, Jesus was resurrected from the dead and now reigns in heaven! That is what gets you into the kingdom and finds you justified/righteous in the eyes of almighty Jehovah!
The love that can only come from the Father stems from this active faith in Him, as do all other spiritual gifts from Holy Spirit!
LOVE is the ultimate expression of your FAITH in God!
So, if you say that you have a hard time loving someone, then this is an indication of a lack of faith and belief in God.

Hebrews 11:6 ESV
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
If your walk with the Lord is weak and you desire a closer, more intimate relationship with your Heavenly Father, then FAITH is the key, because without true FAITH, you cannot please Him!
His word says that He will reward those who seek Him.
So, if the question of the day is, “How does a person increase their faith, when they have never seen anything miraculous that would validate it, or help to grow it?
First of all, if you can see it, touch it, taste it or smell it, or hear it, then it is not FAITH!
Hebrews 11:1 NKJV
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
An interesting thing about this verse is the way that we look at the word HOPE.
Hope, in the natural sense, is a desire for something to happen (maybe it will happen, maybe it wont. Like a young girl who puts things away in a HOPE chest for the desire that maybe someday.....!)
The Biblical use of the word for HOPE means something drastically different. It means to EXPECT with full confidence; it is having full assurance of what you are seeking!
Get our eyes off of the natural and place your eyes only upon the word of God; THE HOLY BIBLE!
Jesus Christ is the living WORD of God and is also called the author and perfecter of FAITH!
Romans 10:17 ESV
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
The reading and hearing of God’s living and breathing word, is the key to increasing your FAITH and thus increasing that relationship with Him!
The more that you read in His word and the more that you come to Him in prayer. WITH THANKS and PRAISE in your heart to Him, the more your FAITH rises to newer levels!
Knowledge of something produces belief in it. I believe in things, because I know them to be factual and true. (Like the law of gravity.) DEMONSTRATE!

Embrace life's trials in order to increase your FAITH. .

1 Peter 1:3–9 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
It is the little bits of doubt that
Your faith is strengthened as you go through the trials!
True FAITH should produce works that become evident of your faith in your walk with the Lord! .
James 2:17 ESV
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
The greater your faith in God, the greater and more pronounced your works for the Kingdom will become! (it is not that the measure of faith has to be great for God to do it, but the greater measure of faith is implicit to a closer walk with Him which in turn activates greater works because He rewards us with this boldness!)
Daily obedience and exercising your faith will help to increase it.

A couple of closing thoughts for you. When you ask God for the things that you need in your walk with Him, do not doubt that he will give them.

says that you are to ask in FAITH without doubting! The man that doubts should not expect to receive from God anything he asks for and in fact, that person is called double-minded and unstable in all of his ways!
And second, as you read the WORD to grow in your FAITH, allow the word to expose the areas of disbelief and weakness that reside within you. When you see these areas, repent, pray for guidance and deal with them, as Holy Spirit reveals them to you!
Do not acknowledge they are there and then just go on. You will be like the Bible says in .
James 1:23–24 ESV
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

Tell of Andreas Thomas: 1945-2000 in solitary confinement in Russia prison as a political prisoner of war. He was 20 when he went in and 55 years later released at 75 years of age. He was a Hungarian refugee. They thought he was insane when they went to release him, because he seemed and looked odd and spoke in some gibberish! (After a psych eval, it was determined that he was normal, he spoke an ancient dialect of Hungarian and the solitary confinement had messed with his mind!) He asked for a mirror and upon seeing himself for the first time in 75 years, he wept uncontrollably!

If you go for long periods without looking into the spiritual mirror of the word, then you may have no idea of what you truly look like spiritually and how little your faith really is!
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