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Little Faith and Great Faith

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Matthew 8:5–13 ESV
When he had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.
Matthew 15:21–28 ESV
And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
“You can get anything you want from God if you have enough faith.” The opposite of this is the idea that when you wanted something and didn’t get it, you didn’t have enough faith. “If we only had great faith—reserved for a certain few—we could really see things happen.” Christ did commend great faith and condemn little faith, but there’s more to the story.
If we were to be openly tested concerning the strength or weakness of our faith so that everyone could observe, how would we fare. Of course, we would feel a bit put out being made a display for the judgment of others. Luckily, it is the Lord who judges and with great mercy towards us. However, that does not preclude us from growing in our faith. I am convinced that the world around us desperately need to see our faith in action in these last days (continually).

I. Basic Truth

A. Can we really “get anything we want from God”?
B. Two passages appear to indicate that we can
Matthew 17:20 ESV
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
; )
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.
C. Actually, however, they teach how little faith is necessary to achieve
C. Actually, however, they teach how little faith is necessary to achieve

1. The emphasis is on the amount necessary for great things

2. Both statements are in the form of a rebuke

3. They don’t really teach what is claimed

II. The Demonstration of Great Faith

A. It is not something all that special
1. The two commended for it were both non-Jews
2. Neither was anything special spiritually
B. What’s notable about the centurion?
1. He recognized Christ’s authority
2. He recognized Christ’s ability
C. What’s notable about the woman?
1. She persevered—would not take “no” for an answer
2. She banked on His willingness
D. What’s notable about the two together
1. Both asked for something He was obviously doing
2. Both thus showed a commitment to the will of God

III. The Nature of Great Faith

A. Faith is operating on fact
1. Both people went on the facts they had
2. The greater the commitment to act on fact, the greater the faith
B. Confirmed by people condemned for little faith
Matthew 8:26 ESV
And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
Matthew 14:31 ESV
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 16:8 ESV
But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?

IV. The Contents of Great Faith

A. It recognizes who God is
B. It accepts His absolute authority
C. It accepts His complete ability
D. It persists in its mission
E. It stays serious about what it desires
F. It is totally committed to the will of God
Surely more can be accomplished than what we see, and more accomplished than others do. It is just a matter of accepting the facts and acting on them.
The move of God and our participation in it is dependent upon our ability to achieve and maintain great faith as described here today. You were made for more than you possibly realize. Great faith IS possible, because our God is great within us! In Jesus name!
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