“All Things Are Possible” – Jesus

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Faith.

Due to frequent distortions the word itself now raises antibodies among many Christians.

The so-called ‘faith teachers’ have in many cases been responsible for the distortion of prosperity teaching, the worst export that America has given the world.

It is an ongoing scandal and provocation to the Almighty that certain preachers are getting rich from deceptive preaching on ‘faith.’

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The idea that God can be turned into a slot machine, serving up ever increasing riches and health if we just do certain things, like send money to the preacher, is an abomination.

And yet the Bible does clearly say,

“Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Faith.

The first of the three virtues that the Apostle Paul said will last forever (1 Corinthians 13:13).

“My faith” the way I much prefer to describe what some call my ‘religion’ which I am so glad that my parents taught me, having been themselves taught by their parents.

Faith, that thing I can’t do for my children, but as they grow and mature it is the most precious thing I see in them.

Faith.  So simple, and yet so much I still have to learn.

Is there anything more audacious we could say about faith than Jesus did?

“All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23).

Faith.

It makes the impossible possible.

Best not to argue with Jesus about faith.

It sometimes sounds so unreasonable. So unattached to the realities of the present.

And yet Abraham, the father of faith was not the father of unreality:

“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead” (Romans 4:19, NIV).

Real faith can face head on the terror of a diagnosis like cancer, and not be ultimately shaken or destroyed.

Faith dares to believe in the audacious promises of God to heal us even if our sickness lasts for decades.

Today, when you are facing challenges that seem insurmountable, Jesus would say to you ‘All things are possible’  

If you are frightened about the future and feel like you face certain failure, be filled with his strength and power and claim it: ‘All things are possible!’  

Even when facing the death of a loved one, we can confidently look forward to a future bodily resurrection: ‘ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!’

True faith has one eye on the pain of the present, and one on the glorious reality of the future.

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1).

If you can see it, then you don’t need faith to apprehend it.

If a promise has already been fulfilled, then faith is no longer required.

Faith gives us a promise of a future home when we feel lost in a foreign land.

Faith inspires us to be like the Ancients who died,

“not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar” (Hebrews 11:13).

And yet we live in a time when whilst we haven’t received our promises in full, we certainly have received them in part.

We don’t just look forward to an eternity with Jesus. We can look back to his glorious resurrection and KNOW he will raise us too.

Faith enables us to spend a difficult life,

”looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10).

Faith is full of glorious expectation of a God who will one day act to bring restoration to the whole universe, and in the meantime is constantly restoring you and me!

And yet faith is not wishful thinking, it is deep trust in a Person.

Faith.

Not an optional extra, but the chief demand demand of deity:

“Without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6).

Faith is not an all or nothing thing. It is a journey of many steps.

Three phases of growing faith

1. How to begin your faith journey

Our first baby steps in faith simply require us to make room in our hearts for Jesus.

2. Resting in faith.

Faith then leads us to we begin to really trust Jesus. Contentment then marks us out as we learn that we need NOTHING if we have HIM.

Learning to calm our hearts is a vital aspect of faith:

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the LORD
from this time forth and forevermore.
(Psalm 131 ESV)

One of the best ways I have learnt to still my heart in this way is to listen to Gospel filled songs, including golden oldies and brand new ones like this recent album.

3. Active Faith

As our faith grows we dare to begin to EXPECT GOD TO ACT.

We dare to ask audaciously for him to bless us, and to change our situations.

Without the foundation of RESTING faith, active faith will be flimsy indeed, as if God doesn’t immediately answer the prayer in the way we want him to, we will collapse in a heap!

Many Christians never grow beyond resting faith, but many Christians are too quick to only focus on this active faith.

We are encouraged to ask Jesus for things.

He loves it when we remind him of his promises.

When with one eye on the glorious eternal future he has prepared for us, we dare to ask him for the powers of the age to come to break into our lives today.

When we suddenly grab a promise from his Word and make it ours, and as Spurgeon spoke of ‘cashing’ the promise of God like it is a bankers cheque.

Sometimes we have to wait decades for a faith-filled prayer to be answered.

If you are praying for healing you may find my Top Ten Healing Do’s and Don’ts helpful.

Sometimes the ultimate healing happens when we die and receive the eternal restoration he promises us.

Don’t just take the beginning steps of the journey of faith. Press on for all God has for you. 

Faith is often seen as a solitary adventure.

And it is true that nobody can have faith for you. And nobody can walk your journey.

None of your friends or family can fully understand. It took me a while to realise that it is foolish and unfair to expect them to.

And yet Jesus promises that HE will be with us, you are NOT alone. HE understands.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, HCSB).

Learning to abide in Jesus is the only way for our faith to truly grow.

And Jesus gives us brothers and sisters to help strengthen us when our faith is weak.

We really are part of a community of faith that goes back to Abraham, and extends to the ends of the earth.

Just in my local church over 80 nationalities are represented and we will gather as a crowd of believers this Sunday worshipping him in a stadium.

And being with such a crowd is meant to increase your faith.

And yet the crowd is even bigger and includes a great multitude of people who have gone before.  People whose stories can inspire us and renew our faith.

Faith can feel like a lonely journey. But we are not alone.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

 


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