His Word Will Not Return to Him Void…

Church was off da hook this morning.  Pastor spoke from Luke
17:1-5 in a sermon entitled “Increase Our Faith”.  The background
is of Jesus teaching the disciples that they must be able to forgive a
brother even if that brother sins against them seven times (seven is
the number of completion and therefore the person has sinned against
them completely), and they come asking for forgiveness–truly
repentant, that the disciples must forgive.  The disciples respond
with “Increase our faith!”  Jesus’ response, “If you have faith as
small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be
uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you”

What lessons can be gleaned from this passage?  As it is the Word of God, many lessons, but here are a few to ponder.

1) Communal accountability–our
“religion” is larger than ourselves.  If in our walk and attempt
to live a Godly life, we cause another believer to fall then we have
failed.  We must have concern for the spiritual wealth and health
of our neighbors.  If it means praying for them, forgiving them,
encouraging them, or correcting them, it is part of our duty to one
another.  We must desire holiness not just for ourselves, but for
our fellow Christians as well. In the passage, Jesus says that if our
brother does wrong then we are to go to that person, rebuke them and if
they ask for forgiveness, forgive.  Imagine that…how many of us,
busy in our own endeavors, when noticing that someone of the faith is
walking down a wrong path, pause to collect our thoughts, pray and then
tell them about themselves?  Seriously though, when did we lose
sight of that accountability?  When did we begin to go to church
for “our Word, our blessing, our praise and worship, our healing, our
miracle?”  When was the last time we went to church with the idea
to help our fellow believer?  Why do we string up other
believers–attacking them viciously with gossip instead of embracing
them with spiritual tolerance and patience?  I would argue that
many within the Church are guilty of this condemnation of other
believers, forgetting the grace that has been bestowed on them.

2)  Application of faith, not the largesse–the
disciples desired greater faith to deal with this “new standard” that
Christ spoke of but His response to them was that if they had faith as
small as a mustard seed, they would be able to handle obstacles. 
We need to clearly understand that we have the faith to address our
“mulberry trees”.  If we have the evidence of any faith then we
have the power to handle the situation.  Our faith does not change
with the size or shape of the challenge.  When we assume that we
need more faith to handle a situation it is because we have allowed our
obstacle to overcome the presence of our faith.  Some problems may
stretch your faith so as to help you handle the problem quicker, but it
is not a matter of needing more as God has promised us that He will
supply all our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus
(Phillipians 4:19).

The example of David springs to mind.  When he saw Goliath
hollering and carrying on, there was no fear in his heart for he
understood that this was a battle just like any of the other battles he
had fought (with the bear and the lion while herding sheep).  A
battle is a battle…and God remains God (Isaiah 46 & 48).  If
He has promised, He will do.  We must trust that our faith is
enough.  If He has shown at any point in your life that He is God,
then what makes you think He can’t handle the current
stressors/challenges/mulberry trees?  The battle remains the
Lord’s and His grace is sufficient to cover a multitude of sins that
you have committed which may have led you to this obstacle as well as
being sufficient for you to live and breath (II Chronicles 20:15).

Remember that Jesus can not be present without being active!  In
the Gospels, we are told of the wedding at which the wedding planners
clearly didn’t realize how much wine they needed and the ran out. 
Mary, mother of Jesus, realizing this, goes to ask Jesus to help them
out.  He informs her that it’s not time for Him to be going all
out and that this really has nothing to do with Him yet as Mary walks
away she turns to the attendants and informs them that whatever Jesus
tells them to do, they had better do it quickly!  Sho nuff, Jesus
tells them to fill the empty jugs with water and when they do, we are
told that the Governor who comes to the feast is shocked to note that
the Champagne was served last!  (paraphrasing all of this of
course lol).  So even though Jesus told Mary that it wasn’t time
for Him to start the evidence of His glory, He went ahead and helped
out anyway.  So you see that where there is a need, Jesus will and
must provide.  It is His nature.

3) New Standard–The disciples had a problem with forgiveness because
somewhere along the line, the standard of the Kingdom was
diluted.  What is God’s normal has become our abnormal.  How
many times have we been surprised by the way in which God works in us
and through us and around us?  How many times have we wondered if
we would be able to do what He asked?  We ask only because the
normal of God has become abnormal and the abnormal of man has become
normal.  Our response to God must be that what He desires is the
norm–it is what we strive for.  If, for example, when I go to
church I stomp my feet, clap my hands, throw my head back and give God
praises without doing it on the regular when I am not in corporate
worship then what does that say to and about me?  It says that I
have not yet incorporated my faith into my walk, my relationship into
my existence.  Our faith must be such that our normal response to
situations is the same as the standard of Christ.

Trust in the standard of Christ and He will accomplish all that He has
willed to do in our lives.  We must create a new norm now that the
Lord Himself has presented us with that new norm and new peace.


About papillion

Intense Often Moody Transparent Exquisitely sensitive Animated Never satisfied Curious Eternal Romantic Creative Devotedly Christian Encouraging Multi-layered Loving Quick Judge Critical Forever evolving View all posts by papillion

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