Faithlife Sermons

Life-Giving Faith

Come and See: John 1-12  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Life-giving faith is a faith for life.

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Introduction
John 4:46–54 (ESV)
46 So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. 47 When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” 49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way. 51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” 53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household. 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.
This is the “second sign” (54) in the same place Jesus did the “first sign” - water to wine - Cana
signs = directional markers
pointing to? — Jesus as Messiah
for what purpose? to believe (faith) — have life
John 20:30–31 (ESV)
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe [have faith] that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Ultimately, eternal life
More fully, real life TODAY
“This story of the healing of the official’s son is a pointer to the nature of true faith.”
Bruce Milne, The Message of John: Here Is Your King!: With Study Guide, The Bible Speaks Today (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 90.
Tim Keller calls this “life-giving faith.”
(Timothy J. Keller, “The Healing,” in The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive, 2014–2015 (New York: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2014), Jn 4:46–54.)
We will latch onto that phrase and show
I want a life-giving faith.
ILLUST - faith of Caleigh and Peyton as little girls on the play-set, “Catch me, Daddy!”
— They had more faith in me than I had in myself!
— Their faith in me wasn’t only a faith that they would get home safely that night (eternal security)
— Their faith gave them something as they practiced it:
— freedom, peace, joy
(At Granger MC we say that Life Groups is where “real life and real faith meet”)
Official doesn’t start with a true faith (life-giving faith) but ends with it. There is a turning point (v 52 “So he asked them. . . ?)
What is life-giving faith and how do we get it?
Story begins. . .
‘Came again to Cana in Galilee’
from Samaria (spent two days there)
Official at Capernaum (20mi East)
Royal official of Herod Antipas
Son ill
Hears of Jesus (from Jerusalem ?)
Goes to Jesus
Recognizes there is nothing he can do to save his son - even with all his connections

Life-giving faith recognizes a need. (46-47)

Placing your trust in someone else usually happens when there is none left to place in yourself.
For many religious people faith is simply an add-on to their daily lives.
Oftentimes this is a hindrance to life-giving faith:
John 4:44 (ESV)
44 (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.)
Matthew 13:57–58 (ESV)
57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.
Why did they not believe? Why is there no honor for the prophet in his hometown?
— Pride
We have no needs we can’t fix on our own.
Official needed to overcome this if Jesus was to heal his son.
— Familiarity
We see Jesus as usual, mundane, ordinary
We forget his wonder.
Don’t let your pride, religious self-sufficiency, over familiarity of Jesus keep you from life-giving faith.
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(47) Official comes to Jesus - asks Jesus to come to his house to heal son - almost dead (desperate!!)
Jesus’ response?
“Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.”
— Official is in anguish and it sounds like Jesus is chiding him.
— more than just the official — “you” is plural meaning all of Galilee
--- Reminds of how Jesus responded to

Life-giving faith loves Jesus for who He is, not for what He can do. (48)

ILLUST - for my girls, I was ‘Daddy’ even if I couldn’t play ‘Catch Me’ and (hopefully) they would recognize my importance in their lives even if I couldn’t play ‘Catch Me.’
Sometimes, we treat Jesus like a magician. We hear about
- what he did for someone,
- we see the healing that took place in someone else’s life,
- how she got the job when she prayed
and, if we are not careful, these things become the motivation for our prayers, our coming to Jesus.
The importance of Jesus in my life is directly proportional to the degree that I feel Jesus is beneficial in my life.
The areas that he does not seem beneficial — I’ll handle on my own and when I think he could do a ‘sign’ or miracle I’ll give him a jingle and tell him how to do it.
Thing is: Jesus wants the officer to see him not as a magic man but as Messiah
Because:
Jesus doesn't want to just to a physical miracle, he wants to save the whole family spiritually.
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49 The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” 50 Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.
— Doesn’t yet believe Jesus as the Messiah (yet) but he does believe Jesus’ word.
— I wonder what pause there was for the official between his request for Jesus to accompany him back to Capernaum and heading back home without Jesus
Maybe he was thinking, “Great magician! - go home and they'll be a rabbit in your hat!!”
[You wouldn't believe it until you went home and saw it -- UNLESS - you trusted the magician's word]
The official’s son's life hung on his trust of Jesus' words

Life-giving faith is motivated by God’s Word. (49-50)

[Jesus is the Word of God, can speak with the words of God, and when he speaks has the power of God]
Let there be light!
If the official had not believed the Word of Jesus, he would not have seen the POWER of Jesus.
I admit, sometimes, it feels like we come to Jesus with something big, a problem, and we want him to take care of that specific issue at that specific moment
The steps toward life-giving faith include not only seeing God at work, but trusting that He WILL work according to His word.
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Life-giving faith finds its power from Jesus not the level of your belief. (51-52)

51 As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. 52 So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.”
It was a long trip home - It’s already been a day since he spoke with
The glory is Jesus not the faith.
(Life-giving faith saves by its object, not its quality - Tim Keller)
Great faith in weak chair = fall; weak faith in great chair = safety
This is what it means:
The benefits of life-giving faith are NOT dependent on the quality of my faith (how well I believe); rather, they are dependent on what Jesus can accomplish.
NOT:
If I just give God more faith, I’ll get more from God
— If I can just act like a person who trusts God more then somehow I will have more peace, joy, etc.
You don’t need more faith, you just need some faith — enough faith to act.
Mark 9 - Demon-possessed boy and father.
Mark 9:22–24 (ESV)
[Father:] But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “ ‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
— They are struggling. Jesus doesn’t say if you have a certain level of belief then he will be healed (this one’s a biggie)
— Father not sure he even has enough to act, to place the fate of his son in Jesus’ hands asks Jesus to help - Jesus does.
Thank God that the effectiveness of our faith does not depend on the quality of our faith. Instead, the effectiveness of our faith depends on the power of God!
This means you can REST !
Give Jesus the little faith you can muster and let him make it effective!
53 The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” [Connection point] And he himself believed, and all his household. [not the word of Jesus but the person of Jesus] 54 This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.

Life-giving faith grows in adversity. (53-54)

Saved hardest for last.
Coincidence that official heard of Jesus and his miracles? Coincidence that Jesus was in Cana somewhat nearby when his son was ill? Coincidence that he was able to find and speak with Jesus?
If, as we have said, the official did not understand who Jesus really was but saw him only as a magic-miracle-worker, than there is no significant reason why he came to Jesus rather than another “magic-miracle-worker” other than it is the grace of God.
What started out as extreme adversity, pain, fear, ultimately led the official to Jesus — and to life-giving faith.
— not just for the official, but for his whole family as they also each believed because of the witness of the official explaining who Jesus is and what he had done.
1 Peter 1:3–7 (ESV)
3 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, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 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.
Could we say, then, that it was better for this man (and his son) to have suffered and found life-giving faith than for them to have not suffered and never known Jesus?
(Best to have Jesus AND a good life! - true, but often it is not until we come to the end of ourselves that we realize we need Jesus — see first point)
Is it possible, then, that what you are experiencing right now — adversity, trouble, suffering — might just be God’s grace in your life to bring you to a place of life-giving faith in Jesus through His Word?
Real faith / Life-giving faith doesn’t happen unless you jump off the play-set. It happens when you start moving according to God’s Word.
Freedom, joy, peace doesn’t happen until you take the next stepJesus is calling you to take.
What’s your next step?
first step - place trust in Christ.
Finding other believers to share in life-giving faith — joining a local church - joining a Life Group
Leaning into Jesus — stop holding back
*Pray*
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