Such Great Faith – Part 1 | Luke 7:1-10

YouTube video sermon

Does your faith have substance?

Introduction

Luke 7:1-10 NASB  When He had completed all His discourse in the hearing of the people, He went to Capernaum.  (2)  And a centurion’s slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die.  (3)  When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave.  (4)  When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him;  (5)  for he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue.”  (6)  Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof;  (7)  for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed.  (8)  “For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”  (9)  Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.”  (10)  When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.

**BRING UP TITLE SLIDE**

  • When the Bible goes out of the way to define a term or a word, especially a theological word… we should take notice.
    • What do I mean? I mean when the Bible is black and white saying “hey, this is what this word means, here’s it’s definition” we should take notice… that should be our definition of that word, right?
      • If the Bible defines a word, then we can stop right there and say matter-of-factly: This is the definition of this word.
      • We don’t need to dig deep into the ancient languages, we don’t need to consult theologians and commentaries… we don’t need to wildly speculate what something means in order to define…
        • Seems pretty simple, right? BUT YET, we as Christians love to make things more complicated then they need to be…
        • For example: If I asked you to define the word “Sin” what do you think you would say?
        • I have asked lots of people this question when doing street evangelism and I get lots of different answers… people who have grown up in the church say something like this:
          • *In deep theological voice* “Well you see, the Hebrew word for sin sometimes can be translated in some ancient documents as “missing the mark” so sin is “missing the mark” that God has set”
            • WHAT‽ That implies that you were trying to do good but just missed it by that much… like what “mark” was David aiming for when he slept with Bathsheba and murdered her husband?
              • “Well you see I was TRYING to do my morning devotions, but I just messed it up by a little bit and ended up having an affair with a woman, getting her pregnant, then killing her husband… Ooops! I missed the mark!”
            • What‽ No! THE BIBLE DEFINES SIN:

1 John 3:4 ESV Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

  • Sin is lawlessness! That’s your definition, the Bible defines it, go no further… do not pass go do not collect $200! SIN IS LAWLESSNES.
    • If you break God’s law you are sinning, period… simple.
  • If the Bible defines a term that is the definition of the term.
    • I feel like this should be an easy concept! Yet, one of the most important things in our walk with Christ often goes undefined in Christians for their entire life.
  • THEREFORE: This morning, before we even get into the depths of the Centurions faith, we are going to talk about defining faith. We have to have a good definition and understanding of what faith is to be able to understand why the Centurion’s faith was so great that Jesus would say “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.

Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray

Point One: Faith is Substantial and Evident

  • If I asked you “What is faith, can you define it for me? What does it mean to have faith”… how would you answer…
    • You better know! Because Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith it is impossible to please God!
    • Therefore if you want to be pleasing God with your life you better know what faith is so you can have some.
      • Yet, I find that SO MANY CHRISTIANS have bad, incomplete, or sometimes just made up off the top of their heads definitions of faith… in fact many Christians don’t really know what Biblical faith is.
      • PRO TIP: Faith does not mean “Believing in what you can’t know”
      • Faith does not mean “Just believing”
        • “Well I just believe in God…” great, good for you, you know have as much faith as a demon…

James 2:19 ESV You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe–and shudder!

  • No, faith is not “just believing” it is not “blind” and it is not irrational. It is not feeling based, it is not tradition based, it’s not even religion based, that kind of view of faith leads to people being brainwashed…
    • there are all kinds of people in other religions and cults that have THAT kind of faith.
  • But that’s NOT how the Bible defines faith!
    • And if you have been with CLC for a while you have probably heard a message or two about this, but it keeps coming up so I am going to keep preaching it, amen‽
    • So… does anyone know the scripture reference for the definition of faith?
    • Hebrews 11:1!
    • Hebrews 11:1, it’s just Hebrews with three 1’s after it, easy to remember, this is your go to verse for a definition of faith… I am going to read it out of the King James version because they use the most black and white words, the most simple and boiled down words to understand…

Hebrews 11:1 KJV  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

  • Faith is NOT hoped for things… Faith is NOT unseen things… those things are not faith… no, Faith is the EVIDENCE of things not seen, faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for.
    • Therefore, faith is Substantial and Evident!
  • Quick example then I will move on, because I don’t want to spend the whole message defining faith, instead I want to examine the centurion’s faith from Luke…
    • So quick example… did you know that the building that we are sitting in was built by a group of construction workers?
      • Show of hands… who here believes this building was built by builders… that some actual people with their tools and blueprints and whatever spent a good deal of time building this building?
      • Now: Show of hands, who here actually saw with their two eyes people building this building?
      • So why do we believe in unseen construction workers? Because we have evidential and substantial faith. There is evidence that builders where here… what evidence? THE BUILDING! If there is a building there must be a builder!
      • There is substance, I can touch it I can feel it, I can go up the elevator, I can be locked out…
      • Evidence and substance of things hoped for and things unseen, that’s biblical faith.
    • Another example, have y’all heard of the legendary Japanese watchmaker Pokoyochu?
      • Pokoyochu P-o-k-o-y-o-c-h-u… dude, this guy is a LEGEND of watch makers!
    • Yeah, check it out he made this amazing watch I am wearing, y’all see this masterpiece? No‽ Oh… um… let me show you some pictures I took of it… hmm, I don’t seem to have any… well let me just Google some images for you…

**SHOW Google-Image-Search.png**

  • No results… hmmm…
  • Listen, just take my word for it ok, these watches are made of pure diamonds, they magnetize the negative ions in your blood to remove toxins, they burn fat while you sleep, they help with balance and diabetes, they are each hand crafted masterpiece, they are bullet proof, sweat proof, water proof, fire proof, and toddler proof… they even each have a single drop of uranium in them for novelties sake, making them illegal in 49 out of 50 American states… plus they tell time!
    • Isn’t Pokoyochu awesome? I even heard he has been making watches for 300 years, they are known to keep you alive forever!
    • Now: How many of you are going to go tell your friends about Pokoyochu? No one? Why? Because there is absolutely no evidence or substance to my story… to believe in him would be blind faith!
      • You would be believing just to believe… yet so many Christians define faith that way…
      • And the world looks at us and sees Jesus like we all just saw Pokoyochu, so made up fanciful tail of nonsense…
    • But that’s not Biblical faith… Biblical faith says Pokoyochu is nonsense but God is real and alive… why? Because we have evidence and substance of His existence and His promises.
    • YALL OUR FAITH IN GOD IS EVIDENT AND SUBSTANTIAL…
      • Someone give me an AMEN if there is evidence of God in your life…
        • There is evidence in my life…
          • I am not the man I used to be…
          • I am free from addiction, I am changed from my old self, I am fulfilled and joy filled, I am blessed.
          • Not only that but I talk to God and He talks back. He tells me things no one on earth could know, He shows me the way and when I listen I prosper!
        • Someone give me an AMEN if God has given you something substantial… do you have something to to show for what and who God is‽
          • My faith has some substance… and that substance has names…
          • Names like: Amanda, Ezra, and Hannah…
            • 8 years ago I was weeping because I had broken up with my fiancé… and a man of God prayed over me and said God has something 5 times better than you…
            • Two months later I meet Amanda! Praise God!
          • The substance of my faith has names! Names like: Wendy and Dustin, James and Stacey, Shana, Moses, Dianne, Stephanie, Zion, Luara, Prophet, and Jedidiah!
            • IF you are sitting in this church today you are a part of my family and a substantial part of my faith, Because God said “Who can I send to plant a church in Cedar Rapids” and Amanda and I said “Here we are Lord, Send us!”
          • I have more faith that God exists than I do that Donald Trump exists… why? Because I have actually had a conversation with God, I have seen evidence of God personally in my life!
            • Now of course Donald trump exists, I have seen evidence for him, seen him on TV, seen the drama on Facebook, yada yada yada…
            • But the evidence of God existing that the substance there of is PERSONAL and close to me, therefor my faith in God is strong!
          • Point two this morning, before we get too political:

Point Two: Faith is Reasonable

Hebrews 11:17-19 ESV By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, (18) of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” (19) He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.

  • A couple of weeks ago Pastor Bernard Williams gave a FIRE message… if you weren’t here for that please go to the website and watch it, it was so good and blessed A LOT of people!
    • In His message He gave a really good, easy to remember, explanation of how to live out our faith.
    • Remember how he taught us to live out our faith? He said living out our faith is:
      • Living like it’s so
      • Even when it’s not so
      • In order that it may be so
      • Simply because God said so
    • This is such a wonderful and powerful explanation of how to live out our faith…
      • But the question is why? Why is this powerful?
      • The last line says we should live this way because “God said so”… but what if we changed that to “Because Buddha said so” or “because Mohammed said so”… why “Because God said so”…
    • Simple church, we simply use reason… You see when we pair evidence and substance with reason, we have a formula for how to live out our faith as Pastor Bernard taught us too… Look at this story from Hebrews 11…
      • By faith, when he was tested, Abraham offered up Isaac… when He considered that God was able to raise him from the dead…
    • You see God tested Abraham’s faith, He said “Take your first born up the mountain and sacrifice Him to me”
      • Abraham reasoned: Wait a minute… God promised that my first born would have lot’s of kids and bring forth generations of offspring and blessings… and I have seen evidence of God’s mighty wonder working powers, and I have substance, in fact Isaac Himself is an incredible miracle that God promised me, therefore, since I know that God is able to even raise the dead, and I know that my son MUST be alive to fulfil the promises of God, then I can kill Him as God has asked and God will simply raise Him.
        • Abraham lived like it was so…
        • Even when it wasn’t so
        • In order that it may be so…
        • Because the God who had worked evidential and substantive miracles in His life said so! Amen‽
      • When God asks you to do something, when God says so, it’s ok to take a moment to think back and to reason, as Abraham did, that’s not faithless, that’s faithful! That is the very essence of living out our faith.
      • Ok, God asked me to quit my job, move to Iowa, and start a church.
        • I don’t know anyone in Iowa…
        • I don’t even know where Iowa is…
        • My Job is incredibly stable and well paying…
        • My friends and family are here…
        • But God asked…
          • And God gave me this job in the first place…
          • And He gave me my wife who is hearing the same thing from God…
          • And he brought me into this situation where I would be presented with this challenge…
          • And He has never ever let me down before…
        • Yeah! I know I will make it through this, even though there is no earthly way this should work… because the evidence and substance of my God is so strong in my life that when He says go I go!
      • That’s living out your faith with reason!
        • Amanda and I believed it was so, that we could plant a church in state we barely knew anything about…
        • Even thought we had never planted a church and had no connections on the ground…
        • In order that God’s church would grow in Iowa…
        • Because God told us to…
          • We lived like it was so
          • Even when it was not so
          • In order that it may be so
          • Simply because God said so

Conclusion

  • Y’all, to conclude, simply remember this: Hebrews 11:1

Hebrews 11:1 KJV  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

You are going to need that definition for next week as we dig into the centurion’s faith.