Thursday, April 26, 2018

Timeless Truths. When Faith Becomes a Little Less Interesting. 3 of 3



I don't know why, but I continue to be amazed by how God links apparently unrelated events together in recognizable patterns. Maybe I'm the only one who sees a pattern, but I'm not going down that road. Suffice it to say, that I've added this third link to the current chain/series of blog posts. 

Let me know if you see a pattern, too!

Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. So watch yourselves.
“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.4Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
 “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’
Luke 17:1-10
Note: 17:3 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a fellow disciple, whether man or woman.
This passage is a plan for how Christians can renew their faith.

People today aren’t interested in following Christ. However, Christ wants all people to “get it” and have mature faith.

Why don’t more people have a relationship with God?

Let’s look at seven reasons.
7.  Heartbreak. A heart broken by a loved-one or friend leads to bitterness and anger toward God.
6.  Fatherlessness. An absent or bad earthly father leaves a negative feeling toward father figures. Many prominent athiests have this background.
5.  Social pressure. It’s not cool to be a Christian.
4.  Cost of discipleship. People aren’t willing to commit.
3. Immorality. According to research surveys, this is the most common reason so far. Christians can’t/don’t live the way many people want to live.
2. Religious hypocrisy. This is an offense to God. Many “Christians” acknowledge Jesus with their lips but don’t live in a relationship with Him. Worldly people find this unacceptable.
1.  Religious over-kill. As much exposure to the Christ and His story as many people experience leads to disinterest. Too many times people encounter a weak or false form of the Gospel.

HOWEVER, NO ONE CAN SAVE HIMSELF OR HER SELF.
Many people today quote “the Greatest Commandment,”
Image by Kayla English Creative
BUT, the Gospel is not “the Greatest Commandment!”

Also not the Gospel:

Obey God then He will forgive you.
Give money to Jesus, and He will make you healthy and wealthy.

In Luke 17, Jesus is headed to Jerusalem for the last time. It reads like He knows that He has nothing to lose. In fact, in Luke 18:31-34, He predicts His death for the third time.

Verse 5 is the key verse in the above passage.
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

You can think of increasing your faith as faith renewal.
I.  Faith renewal happens when we have a true desire to grow in faith.
The easiest thing in the world to do is the easiest thing in the world to do. Practice faith by lifting your eyes to God.

Faith is the most powerful force in the world. We’re not alone when we have faith in Christ.

Maybe the Gospel is less interesting because people don’t see our faith in action. That’s something that costs us.

II. Faith renewal happens when we decide to believe.
Pure faith has NO DOUBT.

Mature faith is being able to make a commitment (move mountains).

Maybe your faith has been so soft is because you are easily led astray. This can happen by gradual compromises in life.

Decide to have faith. That’s how you start faith renewal.

III. Faith renewal happens when we realize that we owe God everything.
In Luke 17, Jesus is getting ready to show His love by dying on the cross.

To hold on to faith, we must drop everything we think is right and embrace what God says is right.

Ask what God wants for you!
(Hmm. That sounds a lot like an expectation!)

Next Timeless Truth is Hoax or Hope? Got Questions Series -1

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