Sunday, 12 March 2006

Faith: Notes for a sermon for Second Sunday of Lent


THINGS OF GODTHINGS OF MEN AND WOMEN (Mark 8.33)
Promises (Ro 4.13)Promises KeptLiesPromises broken
Gives life to the dead (Ro 4.17)Give death to the living—a culture of death (Pope John Paul)
Calls things that do not exist into existence (Ro 4.17)
Send things that do exist into extinction
Suffering and rejection (Mark 8.31)
Freedom from suffering and conformity—we rebuke that still
Self-denial (Mark 8.34)
Self-promotion—a culture of rights
Taking up our cross (Mark 8.34)
Avoiding sacrifice
Following Jesus (Mark 8.34)
Following the ways of the world—ashamed of Jesus and his words

Faith involves setting our minds on the things of God (Mk 8.33)
  • In hope he believed against hope because of the promise (Ro 4.18)

  • He did not weaken in faith when he considered his and Sarah’s age (Ro 4.19)

  • No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God (Ro 4.20)

  • Grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God

  • Fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. (Ro 4.21
Roger Steer, Spiritual Secrets of George Müller, (Wheaton, Illinois & Robesonia, Pennsylvania: Harold Shaw Publishers & OMF Books)

How our faith may be strengthened—first ask God for that gift since it is from him it comes. In addition
  1. The careful reading of and meditation on the Word in order to learn of God’s ability and willingness to help

  2. Take care to live the way God wants us to live

  3. Don’t “shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried” and “through the trial, be strengthened.” The more I am tried the more opportunity I have to see his work.

  4. “Let God work for us, when the hour of the trial of our faith comes, and do not work a deliverance of our own.” (p76-78)
The cause of our weak faith:
We fold it up, as it were, in a napkin, lay it carefully away, and treat it as tender but foolish parents might do to their offspring: afraid of the open air, it will take cold; it must not walk out, it will fall and break its limbs; it must not take nutritious food, it is so delicate. Thus the poor, unfortunate child never rises to the full strength and vigour of adulthood.So it is with that class of believers who do little else than to nurse and sing a kind of lullabye over their puny faith; it must never venture out of sight, or upon a stormy sea in a dark night, or, in other words, never trust God. (p80)