New Beginnings in Faith
Why was the book of John written? What is the purpose? John 20:31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
God’s goal is that we grow in our faith. 1 Peter 2:2 “As newborn babies, long for the sincere milk of the word that you may grow in respect to salvation.”
Illustration) Abraham Rom 4:20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief, but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, NASB
2 Cor 10:15 not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we shall be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you, NASB
1 Thess 3:10 as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith? NASB
2 Thess 1:3 We must always thank God for you, brothers, which is fitting, since your faith is flourishing, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. HCS
1 Tim 4:6 If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished by the words of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. HCS
The disciples were shallow in their faith.
But all through the Gospels, Jesus grew them. He nurtured them. He encouraged them and taught them. He didn’t keep them as newborn babies. He purposely put them in situations that would test their faith. And as they passed those tests, their faith grew. Sometimes their faith even grew when they failed the test.
Matt 16:8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, “You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread? NASB
How does God grow our faith? God grows us through:
John 6:16-17 Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea, 17 and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. And it had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them.
In other words, Jesus commanded and they obeyed His command. And what was His command? Matthew tells us that Jesus told them to “go before Him unto the other side.” Mark fills Jesus’ command out a little more.
Mark 6:45 And immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the multitude away. NASB
Mark 6:45 Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat New Living Translation
to necessitate, compel, drive to, constrain, whether by force, threats, etc., or by persuasion, entreaties, (from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)
Jesus gave them very clear instructions. Not only did He tell them to get into the boat, He told them exactly what He wanted them to do once they got in it. He told them to make their way across the Sea to Bethsaida, which is toward Capernaum. His instructions were clear, concise and to the point. There was no misunderstanding what Jesus wanted them to do. As their Master, Jesus gave the disciples a command. And they obeyed.
You obey regardless the cost. Faith is not a feeling. Faith is OBEDIENCE to the clear commands of God.
Romans 10:17 “faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of Christ.”
How is your Faith grown? By not only hearing but obeying the clear word of God.
You may even resist as the Disciples resisted. They could not understand why Jesus would want them to cross the Sea of Galilee without Him. They did not know how he was going to reach Bethsaida. They wondered what he would do. They were leaving at night and they were not happy about that. They resisted but even though they were not happy about it and didn’t understand it, they obeyed.
How do you build up faith? You obey when you don’t understand and when you may not be happy about it.
Obedience to Christ is built on trust. Our faith is not in our faith. Our faith is in Jesus. Faith has everything to do with our attitude toward God.
Obedience is directly linked to faith. If your faith, your attitude about God, your trust in God, is right, then the issue is not about your faith. The issue is about God.
We make much of our faith when the fact is faith makes much about God.
We focus on our faith when biblical faith focuses on God.
Keep in mind what Jesus said to the Disciples in Luke 17:5-6 after they said, “INCREASE our FAITH.” He said, if you had the faith the size of a mustard seed, which was the smallest seed he could possibly use as an illustration, then you could say to this mountain, MOVE, and it would move.
You see, your faith is stretched because the object of your faith is enlarged.
The point of this miracle is not so much Peter walking on the water, as exciting as that is! The point of the miracle is that Jesus has the power to walk on water which is a violation of the law of gravity, he has the power to speak and settle the wind, he has the power to supernaturally move things where he wants them to be. The point of the miracle is all about the disciples growing in their understanding of Jesus – to enlarge their perception of his person.
Jesus calls on you to obey. When you do not obey, it is a faith issue. When you do obey, it is a faith issue. That is why everything that we do is a faith issue.
Rom 14:23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin. NASB
If you are dependent upon God for today, obedient to God because you trust him, responding to the needs of others because you love him and others, then you are walking by faith. But if you live independently, that is sin.
John 6:18 And the sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When therefore they had rowed about three or four miles, they beheld Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened.
They were 3.5 miles, half way there, when they faced the problems. They were in a headwind. It would have been easier to turn around and go back. But that would have been disobedient. It was painful, frightening, and seemingly fruitless. But they kept on rowing. They kept on going. They didn’t give up. They obeyed. They were frustrated. They were discouraged – why would Jesus tell them to go when this would happen… Part of the growth of faith is total surrender…
James 1:2-3 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. NASB
Listen to this summarization of King Uzziah who reigned 52 years in Judah:
“As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success” 2 Chron 26:5. Then listen to this:
“He was greatly helped until he became powerful. But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall” 2 Chron 26:15-16
3- His PRESENCE
John 6:19b they beheld Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. 20 But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 They were willing therefore to receive Him into the boat; and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going. NASB
Matthew and Mark say that they thought they were seeing a ghost. They panicked and cried out in fear, but notice what Jesus did. As they were panicking, Jesus spoke to them. He said, “I’m God.” In verse 20, Jesus says, “It is I, be not afraid.” ‘It is I” literally means- “I AM.”
The identical word is used in the 7 “I AM” Sayings in John
It is used in John 6:48 “I am the bread of life”
8:12 “I am the light of the world”
8:58 “Before Abraham was, I AM”
10:9 “I am the door
10:11 “I am the good shepherd”
11:25 “I am the resurrection,
14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life
15:1 “I am the true vine”
This past week in my devotion time I was reading about Moses and his fear of going back to Egypt and the people’s response to him and his fear of rejection and he asked God, ‘who shall I say sent me?’ God said, “tell them I AM.”
I AM ever present
I AM eternal
I AM everything (you need)
Charles W Price writes:
“Is this way some Christians and some churches never give much evidence of a God who lives and works? Are they too afraid to take what appears to be big risks in stepping out where God has told them to go, holding prayer meetings for the work instead of actually doing it? Praying is important, of course, but it can become an escape route from obedience if we refuse to obey God and to get on with the responsibilities He has called us to fulfill.”
When you are in the presence of God, your faith in God will grow as you come to know Him.
You see, our faith cannot detached from our personal relationship with God. As we walk with Him, we know him and the depth of our personal relationship is reflected in the depth of our faith.
God grows you as you obey Him. When you do obey Him, your obedience may put you in a trial. God will use that trial to stretch your view of Him and once your perspective of God is enlarged, your faith is deepened. God’s goal is for you to develop a deeper, richer relationship with Him.
Do you have a personal relationship with Him?
Are you in a trial right now? Are you asking God to get you out of the trial OR are you seeking to learn more about Him through the trail?