Grow My Faith

Eph 2:8-9 (8) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (9) not by works, so that no one can boast.

 

Confusing?  

 

Is Paul saying that nothing we do will get us to Heaven?

 

We have just spent a couple of weeks talking about how we need to seek relationship with God… A choice to set ourselves apart, A choice to do God’s bidding in this world, and a choice to include others in our faith.

 

So is Paul saying that nothing we do will get us to Heaven?

 

Yes.  Sorry. That’s it…

 

·       No tower of Babel will reach

·       No tree of knowledge will make you smart enough

·       Not even Solomon’s wisdom can conjure up a plan to deliver us to Heaven without God

 

It has all been done, and none of it worked! 

 

But let’s look again.

 

Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith

 

Wait a minute… That looks faith part looks like an ‘action item’ doesn’t it.

 

OK, so we got that work’n for us. Let’s go get some faith!

 

What are you waiting on?  What is the problem? Let’s go to the faith store and get some. Faith isn’t exactly something we can run to the store and buy is it?  There isn’t a box of faith in the cupboard. We can’t buy some faith on EBay. So where do we get it?

 

God

 

Yep, even this ‘action item’ is provided by God. John Wesley refers to God’s constant nudging of our life back toward Him as prevenient grace.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevenient_Grace

 

Man chose to be independent from God walking away from perfect relationship with Him. This tendency to keep walking away from Him is the basis of original sin or our natural tendency to sin. In fact some would say sin is walking away from God.

 

But from that first moment of breaking away God has been doing all he can to draw us home.

 

Genesis 3:21

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

 

The old hymn says:

“God will make a way, where there seems to be no way.”

 

All of that having been said, we must acknowledge that this is what is happening. We must still go to Him to be given the gift of salvation. That is faith.

 

Proverbs 3:6

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

 

Other than God what do we have faith in?

 

For some of us it might be Mom or Dad. A teacher that helped you grow in ways you didn’t expect. A friend we’ve had for years. None of that came quickly did it? It took time.

 

Faith is a journey. Faith can come in an instant, but it doesn’t reach its peak in that moment. It grows or shrinks from there doesn’t it. Faith either keeps moving forward or it goes backward. It seldom sits still.

 

We might learn that our Dad is a human being. He bleeds, he cries, he gets sick. As a child we might lose a bit of faith in his ability to help us. 

 

We might find out that our favorite teacher has a drug problem and lose faith in all of the things they taught us about life.

 

But we also might find out that a friend of who has been secretly feeding the family that lives next door to him without letting them know. We could gain faith in mankind and their ability to care for each other without a parade announcing it.

 

In all of these cases faith came and went based on some experience we’ve had or come piece of knowledge we gained that opened our eyes. So faith seems to grow if we expose it to things that add to or reinforce the things we have faith in. But it also has something to do with what we expose ourselves too doesn’t it?

 

We talk last week about the fact that if you had never heard of God you would have no way of having faith in God, right? But even if you have heard of God but have no real exposure to His plan then is it possible for me to have real faith in Him.

 

If we want to go down river we must get in the river. Right? But we do not need to paddle in this river, we simply need to stay in the current. God will do the paddling. So what can we do to stay in the flow. Can faith be grown?

 

The Preacher/Theologian John Wesley referred to it as the “Means to Grace”. We’ll call it the methods God gave us to interact with His Love.

 

It’s easy to find them if you will just watch Jesus.

·       Read the word

·       Prayer

·       Hang out with other believers

·       Worship

·       Communion

 

Read the Word

 

·       If you want to know someone what are some of the things you would do?

·       God Breathed

·       Plenary Inspiration

·       How do I read it?

o   A Practical and spiritual book

o   A Love letter, not a manual

o   Worshipfully

o   Systematically

·       On a quest?

 

What is Prayer? Prayer is letting God know that you believe Him to be in Charge. More than that, Prayer is you letting yourself know that you believe God to be in charge. God wants relationship with us and in order to have it you must relate our lives to him. Relationship requires communication.

 

James 5:13-20

13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 

 17Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

 

Hang out with other believers

 

When Jesus walk with us he did not spend his time at home alone. People did not come to Jesus to see Him. He went to places. He hung out with people. He traveled with friends; believers and non-believers.  

 

But we can clearly see that he had 12 men that he surrounded himself with who where believers and where supporters of each other. He had friends like Mary, Martha, and Lazarus who he would go and stay with. Jesus was famous for spending time with the people who did not really know God and who needed to see God in Him, but Jesus was also wise enough to surround himself with those who believe. Those who could share His joy in God’s glory or His hurt for God’s people.

 

Here is something that Jesus did not need though that those around Him gained by being in the company of believers. They needed someone to keep them on the path.

 

Let’s listen again to what James has said.

 

James 5:13-20

13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 

 17Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. 19My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

 

We save each other from death through relationship with each other and God.

 


Worship

 

What is worship anyway?

 

·       The song service?

·       Silent Prayer?

·       Listening to the message on Sunday morning?

·       A Bible discussion between friends on a Friday night over a cup of coffee?

 

Yes!

 

Worship contains all of those things. It can be found in each of these things. Worship is reverent Love and devotion. To stop in time and spend time in awe of or in appreciation for God.

 

So yes, worship can be any time we put aside specifically for God and he will honor that.

 

Communion

 

God wired us to reconnect through memory, but we very intesly remember those things we taste and smell. When DaRhonda’s father passed away she asked her mother for a shirt of her father’s just so that she could have that feel and smell of her father around to remember him by.

 

When I lived at home with my Mom I can remember how intensely I associated her presence with the smell of her pillows.  If she was in the hospital or when she worked late I would lie on her bed and I could smell her pillows. It comforted me.

 

Communion is like that in that it gives us a chance to revisit a time in the life of Christ through taste and smell. We can be transported back into time with Him. He asked His friends to remember Him when they did this. Something they did often. Breaking of bread and drinking of wine together as part of their supper.

 

We do it as a remembrance of Him. The one who gave all for us and by doing so we can take a moment to reclaim our salvation moment. Paul reminds the us in 1 Corinthians 11:27 that if we take this time to lightly that we are sinning against God. We should take this time to remember what Christ has done for us. We should also take this time to remember that God has given the grace of salvation because of our faith and our willingness to fellowship with Him.

 

By taking the Bread and the Wine we are taking action. We are actively showing our faith that this is a very real remembrance of our savior and His sacrifice for us.

 

As Paul tells us: Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith

 

Come and partake in the grace of God through the body and the blood of Jesus Christ.

 

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About toddcbrown

The body of Christ will never grow if the Pastor is the one using his gifts to MAKE IT grow through some cool program or inspiring turn of a phrase.
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One Response to Grow My Faith

  1. Miktyson says:

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