"Little Faith"

Preached by on June 11, 2017
— From the series,

 

O Ye of Little Faith – June 11th, 2017

1.      Do we ever feel that Jesus is disappointed in the amount of faith that we have?

a.      We hear him several times us the phrase “O ye of little faith”, and it’s usually in an almost exasperated way.

b.      Mark 4:35-41

i.      We see here that Jesus is surprised that the apostles aren’t trusting in him and are afraid that the storm is going to sink the boat and drown them. Keep in mind that some of them are professional fishermen, they’re used to storms

ii.      Jesus calms the storm, but seems disappointed in them

c.       I sometimes wonder how often Jesus would use that phrase if he was physically with me all the time. But does that mean that I’m not pleasing him or that he is unsatisfied with me?

2.      James and John seek a higher position than they ought

a.      Matthew 20:20-28

b.      This isn’t the two apostles asking, but they aren’t shocked or surprised when Jesus asks them about sharing his cup. And the other apostles are indignant with them, so they must have been part of the plan.

c.       As we so often see with the Jewish people, these ones had their minds set on the idea of being great and powerful in the kingdom, and this is how many at the time felt. Jesus tells their mother that she does not know what she is asking for.

d.      But what does Jesus do with this problem? He doesn’t get angry, he isn’t disappointed, he takes this opportunity to teach all of the apostles a lesson about humility.

3.      Peter denies even knowing Jesus

a.      Mark 14:66-72

b.      Peter is known as the brash, bold apostle. He was very outspoken and would act before he thought in defense of Jesus. But even with all of that, he denies ever knowing Jesus, 3 times.

c.       Does Jesus cast him out of the group of 11, formerly 12? No

d.      John 21:15-17

e.      Jesus gives Peter 3 opportunities to redeem himself. I think that there is some great symbolism in that. He says the same thing to allow Peter to confirm himself and his love for Christ.

4.      Paul was known as the Christian killer before he was converted

a.      Acts 9:1-2

b.      Paul is described as breathing murder. I have never heard that expression in any other book, movie, story, or news report. It makes me think that he used every ounce of his ability and passion to kill or arrest Christians.

c.       Does Jesus strike him dead? The rest of this chapter tells about Saul’s conversion and change to Paul eventually. And as we know he goes on to be the most prolific writer of the New Testament, giving us some of the most powerful and convicting sections.

5.      Jesus doesn’t need perfect followers

a.      John 17:6-10

b.      These men who have messed up, fallen short, murdered, lied, cheated, and weren’t great at listening are called by Jesus his glory. The same phrase is used to describe Jesus’ relationship to God. He’s proud of them, he believes in them and he trusts them to do what he has given them the task to do.

c.       God created each one of us, he knows our minds and our hearts and what we struggle with. He understands when we mess up, but just like Peter, James, John, and Paul, he asks us to stand back up, to learn from what we did wrong, and to believe in him.

d.      Matthew 8:26 – parallel account

e.      He says “little faith” oligopistos not “faithless”. Jesus knows that they believe, but they’re not done yet. They are still completing their faith, much like we are.

f.        The good news is that Jesus is perfectly patient with us, as he was with them. We might have small faith or weak faith, but we’re in good company. These men who messed up even with it in their faces went on to be the greatest leaders in the church and to so much good in this world, we can have hope in their example that we can do the same.

g.      Each of has our own faith and that’s always going to be different, but we all have the same God who strengthens us, who has taught us, and is watching over us. So let’s ask God to help our little faith to accomplish great things, because that’s what he’s best at.