“FAITH OF A CHILD” By Pastor YAU
Text: Matthew 8:5-13 October 4, 2009.
1) A modern day story: The family was on the way home from a trip, driving late at night, the 4-year-old girl and her dad were the only ones still awake in the car. She looked at the full moon through the car window and asked, “Daddy, do you think I can touch the moon if I stand on my tiptoes?” “No, I don’t think so,” Dad answered. “Can you reach it?” she asked. “No, I don’t think I can either.” She was quiet for a moment, then she said, “Daddy, I am sure I can if you hold me up on your shoulders.” Faith, childlike faith, that daddy can do anything.
2) A Bible time story: A centurion of the occupying Roman army came to Jesus and asked for the healing of his servant who was paralyzed and in terrible suffering. When Jesus agreed to go to his house to heal his servant, the centurion said he did not deserve to have Jesus come to his house to heal his servant. He said that all he asked for was a word from Jesus and he believed that his servant would be healed. When Jesus heard this, he was astonished of the faith of the centurion. Then Jesus said to him, “Go! It will be done just as you believe it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour. (Matthew 8:5-13)
FAITH IS IMPORTANT: Life won’t be life without faith.
1) Faith, a marriage begins: Regardless of how were the marriages of your parents, friends and colleagues and stories of the kind you might have known or heard, when it is your time to marry, you always have all the faith that this one is going to work and work perfectly. It is the faith you have on yourself and your partner that you are willing to commit the rest of your life to be with him or her. The faith, trust, or confidence or whatever you may call it is the key to the future of the marriage. No one would commit to someone for marriage if he doesn’t have faith on her and vice versa.
2) Faith, a baby is born: No one would doubt the joy, hope and all the possibilities of a new baby when the baby was born. Even none of us would know anything about his/her future, we all love him, give all the care we can to him and start to build our hope in him. Each day in the life of that baby, we keep building hopes and dreams. Even though we don’t have any solid ground to build our faith on the baby and his future, we all have strong faith that he is going to be well, good, cute, healthy, smart and all the good things of life. It is faith that keeps parents growing their children. It is faith that keeps children growing and dreaming of their future. If faith is extinguished, no one has any desire to continue. Faith is that important.
3) Faith in things we buy: When we take prescription medicine, eat at a restaurant, drink a cup of coffee at McDonald or else where, we take them with good faith. We believe that the pharmacist had done it right to give you the correct medicine, the restaurant kitchen crew prepared the food clean, fresh and up to standard, etc. When you shop at grocery stories, we have faith on the label they placed on the package about the quality, the date of expiration and the nutrient information. If the public doesn’t have faith on the government that is responsible to regulate and inspect all products, and no faith in the business people that they are honest, the whole society will turn chaotic. Faith is what keeps us going in an orderly and peaceful manner.
4) Faith in things we do: When we crank our cars each morning, we have faith that the engine is good, the tires have the correct air pressure and the traffic will be right. We have faith in the road surface, condition of the bridges and that all traffic lights will function properly so we can get to work on time. We go to school with faith in the teachers, the textbooks and the knowledge that is being transferred is good and right and that all students are there to learn. When we go to church, we have faith that the place is clean, the temp is right, the choir will sing well and the message is biblical and inspiring. We have faith that all those who are responsible of all these will do their jobs right.
FAITH AND OUR SOULS: According to a concordance, there are 400 plus listings of the words “faith” and “believe” in the Bible. The only other word that has more listings is the word “love”, over 420. It is too many to list in a sermon, so here are a few samples.
1) Faith, the door to God: “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) God has opened only one door through which man can approach Him: the door of faith. There is no other door through which man may come to Him. No man may buy his way to God by his own effort or efforts of anyone else.
2) Faith, the way to salvation: “For it is with your heart that you believe (have faith) and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:10) God has prepared one way by which the world will be save: faith of men in His Son, Jesus Christ. Again, the Bible declared, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from yourself, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
3) Faith, the hope of life: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)No one can be sure of things of tomorrow. All we can do is hope and to anticipate. But hope and anticipation are all empty and meaning less if there is no faith in them. The Hebrews writer referred to God as the foundation of faith both ancient and present. Without faith in the all mighty God hope and anticipation means nothing.
4) Faith perfected by Jesus: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)After listed all the great examples of faith, the writer put the foundation and the ground faith can rest: the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith without a strong and last foundation is a terrible mistake. Faith rests on wrong people, harmful teachings or outright deception can only lead to total disillusion and self destruction. There is no stronger foundation other than Jesus on whom we may build our faith.
TRUE FAITH OF A “CHILD”: (Matthew 8:5-13)
1) Faith in a child of God: “When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him asking for help.” (8:5) Although there is no record that this centurion of the Roman army believed that Jesus was the Son of God, his action demonstrated his faith in Jesus stronger than that of God’s chosen people, the Israelis. “God so loved the world,” more than the Jews or the Israelis. All who have faith in God and His Son Jesus are His children. There is no need of any pre-requisite to have faith in God.
2) Faith at time of needs: “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.” (8:6) May be it is because of empty pride or shame, many people won’t let anyone else knows when they have a problem or some needs. Most people don’t know that there is a God who cares for us and has the desires to help us if we just turn to Him. Jesus invited all of us to come to Him when we have burdens, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28) No one has to carry all the burdens by himself.
3) Faith in a loving God: “Jesus said to him: I will go and heal him.” (8:7) If you think that God is too great or too busy to care about your minute problems, then you are very wrong about God. God is great and He is very busy taking care of all our needs, even to the very details. Jesus explained it this way: And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:30) No parent is too busy to take care of the problems of his child. God will never be too busy to take care of your needs.
4) Faith at its best: “The centurion replied: I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word and my servant will be healed.” (8:8) Compared to the attitude of Naaman, the proud Syrian general who demanded how the prophet would do to heal his leprosy. (2 Kings 5:11) True faith in God is to respect and trust God that He knows the best both in ways and means and time He would solve our problems and deliver us from our troubles. No one should ever demand God to do things his way.
5) Faith that pleases God: “When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him: I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.” (8:10) Nothing may please God more than when we put our total faith in Him: faith in His love, His power and His grace.
6) Faith that brings rewards: “Then Jesus said to the centurion: Go! It will be done just as you believe it would.” (8:13)To believe is to have faith. The pure faith of the centurion was rewarded with the result he asked for, healing of his servant. Jesus said, “All things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)The key is not if God can do anything to help you. It is if you have true and pure faith that God can and will help you in your problems.
1) Faith for your life: From the moment when we were born, our survival depends on our faith in the good will and ability of those surrounded us. In all steps of life, we have to believe in someone or something everyday. Exercising faith is an important part of life. No one can live a normal life without faith in people and things. So, it is important that we know our faith is given to the right people and on the right things.
2) Faith for your soul: Faith in the world is important for life in this world. So faith in God is important for life in eternity. Our souls make us different from the rest of all creation: we have the image of God in us. To ignore the need of the soul is worse than to ignore the needs of the body. To place faith of your soul in wrong places like man-made religion or philosophy or to ignore the need of your soul is the worst thing you may do to yourself.
3) Don’t leave home without faith: I am talking about your faith in the all powerful, all loving and all resourceful God. He is God to all in the world and you are included. Come to Him with a humble heart, confess your sins and ask Him for forgiveness. He is ready to guide you through life and bring your life to a higher level of meaning and purpose. Call on the name of Jesus and you shall be saved. (Romans 10:10)