Category Archives: Faith

Do You Have What It Takes To Trust In The Lord?

Luke 18:31-19:27

On a road outside Jericho, Jesus showed what it takes to trust in Him.  He was surrounded by a crowd anxious onlookers.  But the Lord was looking for two special people to set the stage for an enlightening parable about trust.

To Trust in The Lord — It Takes Faith (Luke 18:35-43)

  1. It takes faith to accept your true condition (Rom 3:11-12)
  2. It takes faith to search for a true cure (Rom 10:8-13; 1:16; Acts 2:37-38)
  3. It takes faith to accept the true Savior (Luke 7:22; Acts 4:11-12)

To Trust in the Lord — It Takes Repentance (Luke 19:1-10)

  1. It takes repentance from pride
  2. It takes repentance from greed

To Trust in the Lord — It Takes Obedience (Luke 19:11-27)

  1. It takes obedience to His commands
  2. It means to be entrusted with the gospel
  3. It means to go to work with His word

Are you ready to do His business until He comes back?

Faith That Made Jesus Marvel

Why do the gospels record Jesus’s miracles?

1. To show us His teaching in action; miracles are life examples of His teaching.

2. To assure us that He is God and that He was working for God the Father (John 3:2; 14:11).

3. To help us understand the power of God.

  • He gave vocal commands to creation (John 1:1-5; Mark 4:37-41)
  • Distance didn’t impede Him (John 4:46-54)
  • Time didn’t restrict Him (John 5:1-9)
  • Insufficiency didn’t stop Him (John 6:1-14)
  • Dilemma’s didn’t frighten Him (John 6:16-21)
  • Demons didn’t intimidate Him (Mark 1:23-26; 9:25-27)
  • Death didn’t end life (Luke 7:13-15; John 2:19-22)

4. To prove to us that He is Christ (Messiah) prophesied in the Scripture.

  • Isa 35:4-6 // Fulfilled Matt 11:5
  • Isa 53:4 // Fulfilled Matt 8:16-17
  • Isa 61:1-2 // Fulfilled Luke 4:18-19

5. To move us to respond.

  • Anger (Matt 12:9-14; John 11:47-48, 53)
  • Superficial commitment (John 6:26-27)
  • Genuine faith (John 20:30-31; Mark 16:9)

[Let’s begin our study of Jesus’ miracles (Luke 7:1-10).

I. WHAT COMPASSION!

A. Centurion: “a…slave who was highly regarded by him” (Luke 7:2).
1. Uncommon sentiment (Matt 20:25)

II. WHAT A COMMENDATION!

A. Jewish elders: “He is worthy for you to grant this for him” (Luke 7:3-5).
1. Unworthy all (Rom 3:10; 5:6; Psa 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Ecc 7:20)

III. WHAT A SELF-EVALUATION!

A. Centurion: “I am not worthy for you to come under my roof” (Luke 7:6-7).
1. Unlike pride (Luke 17:10; Mark 10:17-31; 43-45; Mark 10:17-31; Jas 4:6).

IV. WHAT FAITH!

A. Centurion: “Jesus…marveled at him” (Luke 7:7-10).
1. Uncanny faith (Rom 10:17; a possible source: John 4:46-54)

Nothing gladdens the Lord more than when we place our faith in the authority of His word, and nothing saddens the Lord more than when we don’t.

The Roman commander shows what it means to have Christ live in us.

Considering The Outcome

We have no sympathy for those who at every funeral “preach the dead right on into heaven,” who ignore the obvious failure on the part of the deceased to serve the Lord, who try to think that all will somehow get to heaven in spite of their disobedience.  There is a hell, and the many of this earth (in contrast to the few) are going there (Matt 7:13-14).

But we must not allow one extreme to beget another.  While the majority will be lost, there are those in this world whose single purpose in life is to serve the Lord and go to heaven when they die; who devote themselves daily to studying God’s word and living by its precepts.  When such people die, it is right to speak of their good life and faithfulness to the Lord; it is right to commend their example of faithfulness and perseverance to those who may be discouraged; it is right to speak of their eternal reward.

The Hebrew writer stated it this way: “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith” (Hebrews 13:7 – NASV).  Three things are implied in this verse: (1) There had been men in their midst who had served the Lord faithfully unto death; (2) The Hebrew Christians were to be confident that the outcome of the lives of those men was a happy one; (3) Considering this, they were to imitate their faith.

We, like the Hebrews, have had the good fortune of knowing many who have lived godly lives and have now passed on to their reward.  Some were elders; some were preachers; some were Bible class teachers; others were just good, faithful, dependable disciples of the Lord who placed His kingdom first in their lives.  We are not speaking of the lukewarm and indifferent.  We are not speaking of those who claim to be Christians, but were lacking in the fruits of that profession.  We are speaking of the truly dedicated ones who constantly reflected the character of their Father and their Lord Jesus Christ.  Their influence on our lives was tremendous.  They were men and women of whom this world was not worthy.  And the list grows with each passing year.

Every one of these had to overcome serious obstacles to be faithful to the Lord.  The Devil challenged each one of them, but he failed.  They gained the victory through Christ.  Now they are eternally happy because they persevered.  Could we ask any one of them, “Was it worth it,” his reply immediately would be, “It was a thousand times worth it!”  Not one of them regrets a single moment he spent in the Lord’s service.

We thank God for such people.  We rejoice in their salvation.  We look on their passing not as those “who have no hope.”  And “considering the result of their conduct,” we dedicate ourselves to imitating their faith.

By Bill Hall

Carla’s Pumpkin

Carla’s Pumpkins and Gospel Seed

My wife picked our pumpkins this past week–early.  Last Fall our pumpkin got pushed over into the flower bed to rot, where it was forgotten.  In the Spring we spaded the soil in the planter and set out flowers, not realizing that we were also planting pumpkin seeds.   Of course, we were intrigued when the vines sprang up, and even more so when we saw the pumpkins developing on the vine.  However, four months of growth is a lot for pumpkin vines, and they were getting unwieldly.  That’s the story behind our two pumpkins and their early harvest.

Jesus said that the seed of the kingdom is “the word of God” (Luke 8).  Like those pumpkin seeds, the word planted in the right heart will grow a Christian.  A person’s conversion might be a surprise to the one who planted the gospel, perhaps springing up in some unlikely place.

You may have heard of such conversions resulting from the simple gospel message presented in a tract left by a concerned Christian; the conversion that resulted from a short radio sermon; or a family conversion sprouting from a preacher’s invitation to the lady at the convenience store.  The sowing of the seed of God’s word is not in vain.

The following is from my old biology text book: “A dry seed is almost in a state of suspended animation.  Although it may appear to be dead, its metabolic processes continue at extremely slow rates.  Lotus seeds hundreds of years old, when exposed to the right environmental conditions, have germinated and produced healthy seedlings.” (The Nature of Life, p. 270, Koob & Boggs, Ad. – Wes., Reading, Mass.)God’s word is the same.  It may not appear to unbelievers to be alive, however, it is as alive and vigorous today as it was in the first Century, producing the same spiritual seedlings.

Furthermore, like kudzu which came from Asia and ravages the southern United States, God’s word will produce Christians in countries other than its native land.  Jesus’ commission to His disciples is to preach the gospel to all the nations (Mark 16:15; Matt 28:1-20).  However, as kudzu does not grow in colder climates, even so God’s word does not germinate in the wrong kinds of hearts–not that sinners have no choice in the matter, but rather that every person decides what he or she will allow to grow in the heart.

First, God’s word requires INFORMED HEARTS to bring forth fruit.  To be informed, one must hear the gospel.  Jesus said, “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God’.  Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me” (John 6:45).  As locust seeds require moisture, heat, and oxygen to germinate, God’s word requires a listening heart free from prejudice, distraction, or apathy.  Searching the Scriptures produces “noble-minded” hearts because the listeners are simply informed (Acts 17:11).

Second, a BELIEVING HEART is required.  James explains the kind of faith which pleases God in James chapter 2.  He says that “the demons believe and tremble,” pointing out that proper faith moves one toward faithfulness to God, of which the demons were not.  “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (Jas 2:26).  When one asks the question, “What must I do to be saved” (Acts 16:30; 9:6; 2:37), one is showing his or her desire to have a believing heart in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:16).

Third, only HUMBLE HEARTS produce Christians.  Jesus said, “Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3).  Repentance–giving up sin and turning to spiritual service — requires humility.  The rich young ruler refused to give up his covetousness to follow Christ (Matt 19).  King Agrippa refused to accept the lowly cross of Christ (Matt 26).  The apostle Paul spoke of those “whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame — who set their mind on earthly things” (Phil 3:19).  God’s word has little place in proud, unyielding hearts.

Fourth, a BRAVE HEART is needed to make the good confession (Matt 16:15, 16; 1 Tim 6:12-13).  The teenager who walks away from his pot-smoking friends; or the former alcoholic who shuns his old drinking buddies, the converted fornicator who explains to his past associates that Christians cannot practice sin; all show the gravity of the Good Confession.  Brave hearts take a stand for right.

Fifth, obeying the gospel produces an UNCONDEMNED HEART.  “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God” (1 John 3:21).  When one’s sins are forgiven he knows that he is justified before God, uncondemn-ed.  That forgiveness comes at baptism.  “Repent, and be baptized every one of you…for the remission of sins…” (Acts 2:38).  “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16.  See also Rom 6:3, 4).

Further, when one continues in obedience, he has assurance of God’s favor.  “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9) not that he literally cannot sin (1 John 1:7-10), but rather that when a good heart knows God’s will it cannot conscientiously or habitually transgress.  Thus, the obedient, cleansed heart will be an uncondemned heart, producing a child of God.Now, different seeds produce different plants.  Jesus said, “Every plant which My Father hath not planted shall be rooted up” (Matt 15:13).  He said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees”, their love of money (Luke 12:1).  Jesus said, “If anyone does not abide in me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:6).  Please, let every soul demand the simple word of God as the spiritual rule in life.  Unlike the creeds and traditions of men, only the gospel is unchanging, only the gospel is God’s power unto salvation (Rom 1:16, 17). – George Hutto, in Centerview Tidings, Vol. 17, No 32

Pleasing the Father

What does it mean to “please” our Heavenly Father?  Jesus’ goal was to please the Father (John 8:29-30): to excite emotion; to be agreeable; to accommodate desires and interests.  Enoch’s life pleased God (Gen 5:23-24; Heb 11:5): to gratify entirely; to be well-pleasing.  (Strong’s and Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicons)

ATTENTION ?

2 Timothy 3:3-4 ? God is pleased when He has our full attention.

Be fruitful (Matt 13:18-23; Luke 8:11-15)
Be armored (Eph 6:13-19)

OBEDIENCE ?

John 8:29-30 ? God is pleased when we always obey Him.

Our assurance of answered prayer (1 John 3:21-22)
Our Lord’s food and initiative (John 4:34; 5:30)
Our Father’s response (Eph 1:20-23; Phil 2:5-11)

HOLINESS ?

1 Thessalonians 4:1-4 ? God is pleased when we sincerely sanctify our lives.

The process (Peter: Luke 22:34-34) and (Paul: Acts 21:13)

FAITH ?

Hebrews 11:6 ? God is pleased when we trustingly obey Him.

Diligence and Reward (Heb 11:24-26)

SACRIFICE ?

Hebrews 13:15-16 ? God is pleased when we willingly sacrifice what He requires.
Abundance of grace (Acts 4:32-35; 2:44)

PREACHING ?

1 Corinthians 1:21 ? God is pleased when we unashamedly tell His plan of salvation.

Heaven rejoices (Luke 15:7)

The joy of our hearts should be in giving God the pleasure He seeks.

— By Boyd Jennings