The Power of Faith

6.1.13

 

 

Audio:

 

And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Faith is the measure of our relationship with God and it is the only measure for it determines everything we believe and do.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

God’s grace saves us based upon our faith. God created us to exercise a faith-filled life that obeys and serves and loves. Faith is believing in God, Trusting God, Living for God. Faith can grow stronger, and faith can be wrecked.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1)

We have two tales of faith in Mark 6:1-13.

1. Two Tales of Faith (Mark 6:1-13)

Faithless Rejection of Jesus

Mark 6:1-6, NRSV

He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.

*Amazed by What They See & Hear (1-2)

*Affronted by His claims (3)

*Absent the miracles he would have done (4-5)

AMP: 5 And He was not able to do even one work of power there, except that He laid His hands on a few sickly people [and] cured them.

The disciples witnessed this reaction, and it prepared them for their own potential rejection.

Faithful Reception of Jesus

Mark 6b:7-13, NRSV

Then he went about among the villages teaching. He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10 He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent.13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.

*Authority Given to Pairs (6b-7)

*Assurance that God would provide (8-9)

*Alert to urgency of the mission ahead (10-11)

*Able through God’s Power (12-13)

2. FAITH…

Faith Empowers our Spiritual Life. The faithless at Nazareth closed down the willingness of Jesus to demonstrate His power. Matthew Henry: “By unbelief and contempt of Christ men stop the current of his favours to them, and put a bar in their own door.” Instead Faith can open to door to Jesus’ work. Abraham is credited with righteousness because he believed God’s promises.

Romans 4:20-21 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in  his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

Faith Trusts. The Disciples were not to carry with them items of security – they were to trust God to provide. What in our lives demonstrates our trust in God? A trusting faith leads us to risky discipleship – following Jesus instead of culture, other people, or even our own feelings. Old bumper sticker: God Says It, I Believe It, That Settles It – truth is, God Says It, That Settles It – whether you believe it or not!

1 Peter 1:8-9  Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Faith Grows! Faith is God’s work through you, not your own power. Faith starts small, grows, ebbs, flows – God is constant.

Romans 10:17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.

Mark 9:24  I believe; help my unbelief!

Faith Defeats Satan’s Schemes! The disciples were empowered to cast out demons.

Ephesians 6:16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

1 Corinthians 15:16 Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.

Faith Intercedes.  The Disciples were to anoint with oil the sick & cure. (

James 5:13-14 Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. 14 Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.

“Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door.” (Old Southern Gospel song. You can hear it HERE.) 

Faith is the measure of our relationship with God and it is the only measure for it determines everything we believe and do. 

Galatians 3:26-27 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

James 2:22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was brought to completion by the works.

Don’t shut the door of faith – when we do, we shut the door on Jesus!

This Sunday at Forsythe

ForsytheFriends&FamilySunday!

This Sunday, July 5th, we are having a ‘Friends and Family Day’ and YOU are invited! We will have BREAKFAST AT 8:45 – Bible Class at 9:30, Worship at 10:30, and then a meal together at noon. We would love for you to be present for this day! The theme of the morning message is THE POWER OF FAITH and comes from Mark 6:1-13.

THE POWER OF FAITH

Sunday Sermon June 21, 2014

SWAMPED

SWAMPED  Mark 4:35-41

Audio:

It is easy to become fearful when the terrors of life have us feeling swamped – but where will we turn when we think we are going to sink? There are many fearsome things that we face in life. Some turn to drugs, relationships, crime, hate. Some give up and decide to commit suicide.  In  2012 –  41,149 suicide deaths reported in US. It is the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. Though many people do give up, there are far many more who recognize that they are in danger in their lives and fear takes control. Where do you turn when you think you’re going to sink?

Mark 4:35-41 (NRSV)

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. 37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

FEAR FACTORS

Situations Overwhelm Us (Mark 4:37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.) The Disciples faced a storm that shook them to the core. In a boat crossing Galilee these experienced fishermen were usually prepared for storms. Storms come quickly on Galilee, but this one caused them to fear for their lives. The waves were sudden and violent. Matthew uses the word seismos (lit Earthquake!)  When you’re swamped … where can you turn when you think you might sink?

Fear Draws Two Wrong Conclusions:

What I see Must be True. Their Faith Could Not See Beyond the Facts VS. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. Facts tell us Jesus is disinterested in their fear. Have you ever felt that way? We can feel alone in our struggle. We can feel overwhelmed by experience of pain. Is Jesus just asleep… looking elsewhere… too busy?

Fear tells me what I see must be true…and What I Feel Must Be True. Vs. 38b-39 they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  What an accusation toward someone who has demonstrated his great care and love for all! When I’m afraid, hurt, struggling, in pain, doesthat mean Jesus doesn’t care? When you’re swamped … where can you turn when you think you might sink?

FAITH FACTORS

JESUS speaks peace into our storms (Vs. 39 He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” ) Be Still – lit ‘Be muzzled’! What voices need to be muzzled in your life today?

He Gives us Peace in the storm… Of Sorrow – telling us we will meet our loved ones again. Of Problems that bring tension and anxiety. When we do not know what to do or which way to take. Of Worry when we don’t know what we will face next.

Jesus speaks to us of a Father whose hand will never cause His child a needless tear and of a love beyond which neither we nor those we love can ever drift. ~ William Barclay

Jesus speaks faith into our fear. Mark 4:39b-40 Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

Sudden calm … peace … silence. Fear dissipates and peace overtakes us when we hear the voice of Jesus. Verse 41 And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Colossians 1:16-17

…For in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in[b] him all things hold together.

We are going to face some storms that will be earthquakes to our faith. Look beyond the facts / look beyond your feelings. Look to Jesus. In this chapter Jesus has encouraged us in parables that faith …

*Grows in receptive hearts – are we receptive?

*Faith isn’t to be hidden under a basket

*Faith grows under God’s power, not ours.

*Faith starts off small but it does grow!

Consider the storms that the disciples were going to face (next chapter is the Gerasene Demoniac!)… consider the storms the church will face (persecution). Early Christian art often depicted the Church this way in paintings and mosaics – Christ in a boat with his followers. Christ shares the boat with us. Because of that, the boat will never sink. (Hughes)

Consider your storms … right now … where do you turn when you think you might sink? Swamped by life’s circumstances?

Resources

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention https://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/frequently-asked-questions

Feasting on the Word, Year B, Volume 3

Mark, Preaching the Word series, R. Kent Hughes

Daily Bible Study, William Barclay