<strong>TEXT: JOHN 4:46-54
TITLE: EVER INCREASING FAITH
AUTHOR: JACK WOODARD
[2 Corinthians 5:7] tells us that as Christians “…we walk by faith, not by sight.” In other words, we live out our everyday lives by believing what the Word of God says and not by what the circumstances around us may look like. We take the Lord’s Word as fact and not what may look like the facts from the world around us.
[2 Timothy 3:1], along with many other Scriptures, tell us that these “Last Days” will be characterized as “Perilous Times.” Difficult and Dangerous people will make life very difficult and dangerous for the people and the world around them.
For the Christian, it will be absolutely necessary that as the days grow more difficult that our Faith in Jesus continue to expand as well. In these serious times we are already seeing that those with a Shallow Commitment to Jesus, and a Shallow Faith in Him, are becoming the victims of our times and not Victors over them. Trials and temptations are conquering what seems to be the majority of those who claim to be Christians. Our Faith in Jesus MUST continue to expand if we are going to make it in these Perilous Times.
In our text we have an incident that took place in the life of Jesus that gives us the story of a certain nobleman who was from Capernaum. This nobleman had a son at home, who was so sick that he was knocking on deaths door. He comes to Jesus in a panic, begging Jesus to rush to Capernaum and heal his son before he dies. This wonderful story gives a picture of a man whose Faith in Jesus started out in the infant stage and continued to expand until he was living a victorious life of faith in Christ. This story gives us an opportunity to Evaluate Our Faith. We can see if our Faith is Infant Faith, or an Increasing Faith we too need in these days and the days ahead of us, if we are to live a victorious life.
1. LET‘S EVALUATE OUR FAITH [JOHN 4:46-54]
This nobleman‘s Faith in Jesus starts as infant Faith, but quickly begins to increase. As we look at his Faith we can evaluate our own Faith.
A. Signs of Infant Faith [v.v.47-49]
1. They Only Need Jesus When They Are In a Crisis. [v.47…at the point of death.]
We have no record that this nobleman ever had any interest or need of Jesus until he was stricken by this horrible crisis in his life. That is a sign of Faith in its infant stage, if one is a believer. There is a paradox between weak Faith and strong Faith, and that is, the stronger your Faith in Jesus is, the more weak you feel, and the greater you sense your need of Jesus every day and in every way. The weaker your Faith in Jesus is, the stronger you feel and the less you feel you really need Jesus in your everyday life. Those with infant Faith like this nobleman must be driven to Christ by a crisis. You never see this type of person in Church unless they are experiencing a crisis. These are the people whose lives just go from one crisis to the next.
2. They Will Only Believe If They Can See It First
[v. 48…Except ye SEE…you will not believe…”]
To those with infant Faith, seeing is believing. To the strong in Faith, “Faith is the substance of things Hoped for, the evidence of things Not Seen.” [Hebrews 11:1]
The weak in Faith refuse to believe until it comes to pass, the strong in Faith, sees it as done in their hearts before they see it done in reality.
3. They Put the Emphasis on the Temporal and Physical […heal his son…v.49]
Here is a father who is understandably worried about his sons physical health, but we do not see that when he first came to Jesus that he was concerned about his sons eternal soul going to @#!*% upon his death. He should have been praying; “Oh, Jesus, please save him and don’t let him die and go to @#!*% .”
Most Churches show their infant Faith at Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting. Most, if not all or our prayer requests are like the nobleman’s, just for the physical health and healing of our loved ones and friends, when many of those friends and family members are also lost souls. We should be praying about Kingdom matters and eternal matters, and we will be if we ever grow up.
4. They Dictate to the Lord in Their Prayers [Sir, come down…v.49]
Those weak in Faith always want to tell the Lord their problems, and then tell Him how to go about fixing them. Those with a more mature Faith will bring their needs to Jesus and may even share with Him what they would like for Him to do, but they will always qualify their requests with a “NEVERTHELESS NOT MY WILL BUT THINE BE DONE!” We learn when the Lord answers our prayers He does so in His time and in His way, and it is always much better than what we would have had the Lord to do. We have learned not to dictate to the Lord. He will not be dictated to, and he always does what He does perfectly, so we see that we need not dictate to Him.
5. They Are Always Impatient with Jesus [Sir, come down BEFORE…v.49]
Infant Faith always want Jesus to come now, hurry, do it now, there is no time to waste. These people have little patience with Jesus. If He doesn’t do it in a hurry, then they give up on Jesus and take the matter into their own hands, or go elsewhere for help.
B. Signs of Increasing Faith [v.v.48-53]
It wasn’t long until we see this nobleman’s Faith in Jesus begin to increase. We see his growth in the following changes that take place in his attitude towards Jesus.
1. He Was Open to The Lord’s Correction and Rebuke [v.48]
Jesus gently rebukes the make and begins to show him the errors of his ways and thinking. No one will ever grow unless they are willing to receive correction, and even rebuke at times.
[PROVERBS 1:5] “A wise man will hear, and will Increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain into wise counsel.”
[PROVERBS 1:7] “…fools despise wisdom and instruction.” *[PROVERBS 15:10, 12]
Infant Faith will not take correction they are too prideful to do so. Many would have stomped away from Jesus offended, letting their child die, rather than to have humbled themselves under Jesus’ rebuke.
2. He Was Willing To Take Jesus at His Word
[Go thy way; thy son liveth…the man believed…and he went…v.50]
The nobleman now is willing to take Jesus at His Word and Obey Him before the healing took place. That is a sign of growing Faith in Jesus. We know that Jesus’ Word is as good as gold. We know that if He has heard our plea and given us a Word it is as good as done.
My wife’s brother broke his neck years ago, while just in is early 20’s.The Doctor’s told the family that he would be a quadriplegic for the rest of his life, but the Lord immediately gave my wife and I the encouragement that that would not be the case if we would pray and fast for the Lord to heal him. We had a calm assurance as we begin what would eventually be a 6 month ordeal. We would pray many times a day, as a matter of fact we were in continual prayer for 6 months. Many times I would pray and feel a sweet peace from Jesus and then I would call the hospital to check on his progress only to be told that he was doing worse or at times we would be told that there was no change in his condition. I was so up and down until one day I just decided I was going to stand on the Word that the Lord had given me, no matter what his circumstance were at the moment. Within 6 months he would walk out of the hospital with just a slight limp, left no doubt to help him to remember from where the Lord had brought him.
I would learn a valuable lesson about Faith in Jesus, and that is, we must learn to take Him at His Word and patiently wait for it to come to pass. You are increasing in faith if you are learning this lesson.
3. He Began To Demonstrate Patience and a Peace of Heart In the Middle of His Crisis […yesterday…v.52]
When the nobleman first came to Jesus he was impatient and anxious, but now we see a peace and confidence that has him at perfect rest.
It was about 15 to 20 miles from Capernaum to where Jesus was at, a trip that a hurried man could make easily in a days time, but when he learns of his sons healing we are told that it was “yesterday”, indicating that he had not made it back home yet. What a difference we see in this man as he makes his way back him. There is no rush in him. There is no anxiousness about him, just a man who is a perfect peace, at rest in the Word of God.
When you are in a storm and the storm is not in you, you can be sure that your Faith is increasing.
4. He Credits Jesus for His Miracle and Blessing
[So the father KNEW that it was…JESUS…v.52]
After an answered prayer and a miracle, those who are weak in Faith always tend to explain it away in their hearts as just a Coincidence, or the results of our efforts or the efforts of the doctor or medicine, etc. Mature Faith never has a question about the source of their blessings and miracles, like the nobleman, they know it was Jesus!!
5. He Sees the Importance of Leading Others to Saving Faith in Jesus
[…he himself believed, and his whole house.v.53]
There is no doubt it was the nobleman that led his whole family to put Faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They were not sick, nor are we told of any others problems in the home, but now the nobleman sees that man’s greatest need is to personally know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
The healthiest and wealthiest person without Jesus is in the most horrible state that a man can be in, Lost and Undone Without God or His Son. Man’s greatest need is Jesus, the forgiveness of their sins, and eternal life. The nobleman’s son would live to die again, but now he is in heaven with Jesus and not @#!*% , is that not man’s greatest need? Those of a mature Faith, sees the importance of seeing others come to Faith in Christ just as they have, especially those of their own households.
Evaluate your Faith against the nobleman’s journey of Faith. Is yours still and infant Faith or is their evidence that your faith is an ever increasing faith? In these days either our Faith will grow or our fears will. Let it be your Faith in Jesus, he is worthy of your complete trust no matter your circumstances.
11. LET’S EXPAND OUR FAITH [Lord Increase Our Faith…Luke 17:5]
A. The Necessity for Increasing Our Faith
1. The Degradation of the World
a. Increased satanic activity
[Matthew 24:4, 5, 11 *1Timothy 4:1, 2 *2 Timothy 3:1-13]
b. Increased sinful activity
“…iniquity shall abound…” [Matthew 24:12]
c. Increased selfish activity
(“For men shall be lovers of their won selves.” [2 Timothy 3:2]
d. Increased suffering affirmed [2 Timothy 3:1, 12]
[2 Timothy 3:1 “Perilous times”] *[2 Timothy 3:12 “…shall suffer…”]
2. The Damage of Weak Faith
a. Weak Faith hinders the Lord
“And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief” [Matthew 13:58]
b. Weak Faith deprives us of the Lord’s prepared blessings
“So we see that they could not enter in because of their unbelief.” [Hebrews 3:19]
“…according to your Faith be it unto you.” [Matthew 9:29]
c. Weak Faith allows for emotional problems in our lives
“…be anxious for nothing…” [Philippians 4:6]
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow.” [Matthew 6:33]
d. Our weak Faith can deprive others of the Lord’s blessings for them
The example of the unbelief of the 10 spies in [Numbers 13:26-33] shows how ones unbelief can cost many others the Lord’s blessings that He has for them. Many Churches have gone unblessed of the Lord because the voices of unbelief have been allowed to rule the day.
B. The Means for Increasing Our Faith in Jesus
1. The Bible
“So then faith cometh by hearing…the Word of God [ROMANS 10:17]
2. By Remembering the Lord’s Past Blessings
[…and do ye not remember…Matthew 16:6”]
3. By Our Obedience to the Lord
“…and Prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of host” [Malachi 3:10]
Often times for a young Christian to see his Faith to grow must just bite the bullet and determine he is going to obey the Lord’s orders and try the Word to Prove if the Lord and His Word is trustworthy. That is what Malachi is challenging his doubtful people to do.
4. By Prayer
“Lord, I believe; help though mine unbelief” [Mark 9:24]
“Lord, increase our faith” [Luke 17:5]
Pray for Faith like you would pray for any other need.
5. By keeping Company With Men and Women of Faith
“Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses…” [Hebrews 12:1]
Faith like unbelief is contagious you can catch it from others, so keep company with men and women of Faith, and avoid like a plague those small people that are filled with doubts and unbelief.
6. Be Filled With the Holy Spirit
“But the fruit of the Spirit is…faith” [Galatians 5:22]
“In whom we have boldness…by the faith of Him” [Ephesians 3:12]
[*Acts 4:31 *Proverbs 28:1]
Jesus doesn’t have an ounce of doubt or unbelief in Him, and if you are FILLED with the Holy Spirit neither will you.
When I went into the ministry I was timid, but I realized there was no way a man could be in the ministry and be faithful to the Lord without a Holy Boldness, so I remember getting on my knees and prayed for the Lord to give me boldness, and I always say that the Lord gave me an over-dose. When you are Filled with the Holy Spirit you are filled with the Spirit of Faith and thus boldness. Boldness Is Faith In Action. The Filling of the Holy Spirit is a must for one to have a growing Faith.
In the days that we live in and are sure to face in the future, our Faith must be an Ever-Increasing Faith if we are to live victoriously, as well as living a life that will honor Jesus.
Evaluate Your Faith. If it is still in the Infant Stage, make a commitment to Jesus to expand it through every means He has made available to you.
If after evaluating your Faith and you see it is lacking, you need to be careful to make absolutely sure that you have truly repented of your sins and Trusted Jesus and Jesus alone as your Lord and Savior. In this matter you cannot afford to be wrong. It is the difference between Heaven and @#!*% .
“FOR BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH; AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD. NOT OF WORKS, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST!” [Ephesians 2:8, 9]
[1 Corinthians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:5]