So Great a Faith

22/04/2012 11:00

 

Date:   22 April, 2012

Text:  Luke 7:1-10

Title:  So Great A Faith

 

Certain things in life are remarkable.  Authorities on different arts or sciences will at times exclaim over the genious of one who is excelling in their field. If we are seeking to better ourselves in that field we would be wise to note the observations of these authorities.

 

For instance, if tennis player, Andy Murray, took note of a tennis player by saying, "I have not found so great talent in all of Great Britain."  Young tennis players would be exceptionally wise to observe that talented person for the purpose of learning to better their tennis game.

 

Tiger Woods spoke about the playing ability of Rory Mcilroy a few years ago.  And now we find that indeed Rory has great talent.  Young players would be wise to observe his game. They ought to be asking themselves, "What can I do to make my game as good as his?"

 

We have the greatest person of faith, Jesus Christ, exclaiming over another man's faith.  His statement is remarkable, "I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel."  (If he hadn't found it, it couldn't be found.) And so, we have a man before us this morning, whom we aspiring Christians ought to observe.  He is a model lifted up to us by the Lord Jesus Christ.  What can we obsever that would help to strengthen our faith?  The man of faith...

 

 

I.  Loves those about him.

1 ¶  Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.

2  And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.

exp.  Are you struck by the contrast in this verse. The centurian has at least 100 soldiers at his command.  It was his servant that was terminally ill.  But, the centurian dearly loved him. 

question:  Why would love be important to a man of faith?

Ga 5:6  .... faith which worketh by love.

exp.  Faith and love are always connected.

ill.  You can see that in marriage.  Trust is vital within that loving relationship.

1Co 13:7  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

exp.  Breaking that trust will always hurt the love of that relationship. Why because love and trust are attached.

ill.  Paul is a great example of taking others needs to Jesus.  Guess what, he dearly loved those for whom he prayed.

Romans 1: 9  For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

10  Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

11  For I long to see you,

app.  Do you want to be a person of faith?  Cultivate care for others.

 

II.  Believes in Jesus.

3  And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.

exp.  According to our text, the centurian didn't see Jesus healing someone, he heard of Jesus healing.  Based on what he heard, our friend responded by faith.  He could have said, "I don't believe it.  Nobody can heal a blind man.  Nobody can bring someone back from the dead. etc." But he said, "I believe in that man."  Somebody run to Jesus for me.

quote:  Seeing is not believing.

ill.  The Pharisees saw Jesus heal but they didn't believe in him.  The wicked crowd witnessed the love of Christ on calvary but they didn't repent until they heard the preacher at Pentecost.

ill.  I had a man this week blaspheme God and then say, "Oh yeah, if there is God get him on the phone.  I want to talk to him."  I said, "You want me to get God on the line for you just now."  He said, "Yes, do that."  I bowed my head and started to talk with God and he jumped away cursing.

ill.  Remember what Abraham said to the rich man about his lost brothers.... Lu 16:31  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

app.  You are in a sorry place if you can't believe what you hear about Jesus.  You are rejecting the best witness and nothing better is going to come your way.  If you can't believe, you will be damned.  I pity you.  This man accepted what he heard about Jesus.

 

III.  Is worthy to come to Jesus.

4  And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this:

5  For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.

exp.  Jesus was not more likely to respond based on their praise of this man - BUT, would he have responded if the Centurian were a reprobate?  (Not without repentence.)

ill.  Luke 18:9-14 The Publican and the Pharisee.)

9  And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

10  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

12  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

app.  Are you worthy to come to Jesus this morning?  Not without repentance and salvation.  Not with harbored sin in your life.  When the Centurian needed to go to Jesus, he could go, because his life was "worthy."  Jesus wouldn't have answered if our friend wasn't right with Him. 

 

IV.  Is considerate of the Master's plan.

6  Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself:

exp.  On earth our Savior had limited time.  He was in one place at one time and often was overburdened by those who sought his assistance.  Our friend didn't want to bother the Master.  He viewed the Master's plans as more important than his own.

question:  How did Jesus pray?  "Nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt." What was our Savior's work, "to do the will of him that sent me." John 4:34

app.  What is more important to you - your problem or God's plan?  Until we can get to the point of praying for God's will, our faith will be small.

1 John 5:14  And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

 

V.  Feels his unworthiness in God's presence.

for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:

Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee:

exp.  His friends said he was worhty but he didn't. What a testimony to the centurian's humility.  He didn't demand that Jesus come to his home because he was the great centurian.  He obviously had a great understanding of who Jesus was.  He felt inadequate to come into such Awesome company.

ill.  Moses at the burning bush - Exodus 3:5  And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

Joshua - Joshua 5:15  And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.

Isaiah - Isa 6:5  Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

exp.  You kind of get the idea that it is awesome to go before God.

app.  Do you have any sense of that as you go to God in prayer?

Ecclesiastes 5:2  Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.

 

VI.  Is convinced that God's Word is law.

but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.

8  For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

exp.  He believed that if Jesus said it - it would be done.

Numbers 23:19  God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

ill.  George Mueller, giant of faith,

Silverball1. Open Bible Before Him, and His Finger Upon That Promise, He would Plead That Promise, and So He Received What He Asked

Silverball2. Müller's Discovery Was That After Meditating On Scripture He Was More Able to Experience a Meaningful Prayertime    

app. Do you believe that if God said it - it is as good as done?  There friends, is power in prayer.

Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

 

VII. Brings joy to the heart of God.

9  When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

exp.  I believe the Lord took great delight in this event.  How refreshing it must have been to our Savior after seeing such hard unbelieving hearts.

ill. Matthew 13:58  And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Mark 6:6  And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

Matthew 14:31  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

Matthew 16:8  Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?

Luke 12:28  If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

ill.  I talk to many people about God and mostly they are unbelievers.  Occasionally I'll meet someone who knows and loves the Lord Jesus and may heart is refreshed. If my heart responds that way, can you imagine how God's heart responds?

app.  Is your faith refreshing to the Savior?  Or is he shaking his head saying, "Luke 18:8  ... Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"

 

VIII.  See's the hand of God at work in his home.

10  And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.

exp. If this man had not had faith and if he hadn't sent for Jesus, his servant would have died.  (I'd love to have this man as my friend and praying for me.)

question:  Do you believe this morning in a God who actively works in our lives?  You do if you have a working prayer life.

ill.  Praying for library books - next day being given about 25 books, that summer being given over 400 books.

ill.  Praying about finding a key lost in a huge park.  Going to it and picking it up.

app.  God answers prayer specifically.  He intervenes supernaturally.

James 4:2-3  Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.  Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

exp.  God can answer but they hadn't prayed.  God would answer but they prayed incorrectly.

app.  When is the last time you saw God interven in your life?  If the Centurian was aked if he had seen God's hand, no doubt this story would be one he often would share.

 

conclusion: We aren't talking tennis or golf this morning.  What we are considering impacts us, our family, our church, our society, and our world.

 

Are you a "man" of faith?

I.  Do you love those about you?

II. Do you believe in Jesus?

III.  Do you have a right to come to Jesus? (are you worthy?)

IV.  Are you considerate of God's plan?

V. Do you feel unworthy to come into God's presence?

VI.  Do you accept if God's Word as good as done?

VII. Does your faith bring joy to the heart of God?

VIII. Are you see God's hand at work in your life?

 

9  When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.