Faith is our connection to God for everything and anything. Faith is the foundation of Christianity; faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world. “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
I want to look at faith from a different angle in this message. I want to look at our faith in times of great need or extraordinary circumstances. I want to deal with our faith as it relates to receiving an answer and/or manifestation from God that is tangible and quantifiable in the present tense.
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:16)
God has opened the door for us to ask, seek and knock (Matthew 7:7). He has given us the privilege to ask for things in the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14) and has promised to give us whatever we ask.
These are awesome promises from the word of God that always cause our faith to be strengthened when we hear them. God wants to answer our requests. He wants to manifest Himself in our lives. He wants to show Himself strong on our behalf (2 Chronicles 16:9).
God is alive (the Great “I am” not the “I was”) and He is living on the inside of all who believe. Regardless of the religious tradition you have been raised in (or not raised in) the scriptures declare that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrew 13:8). The word of God can be believed as absolute truth. The Holy Spirit can be depended upon to move in our lives. We can trust Him with everything that pertains to us. He never fails (Psalm 136).
This doesn’t mean that prayer is like a fast food drive through; order at the menu and everything will be ready by the time you get to the window. Answers to prayer are not always microwaveable. Persistence must be married to passion and faith. The Amplified Bible gives us a better translation of the Greek of Matthew 7:7-8:
Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.
For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8 AMP)
Jesus gave us this parable:
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,” he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’”
Then the Lord said, “Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” (Luke 18:1-8)
Faith is not to be deterred, dissuaded, discouraged or defeated. There are many things in this life that will tell you to stop believing, to give up on the promises of God or to accept something less than what you have believed for as God’s answer. Resistance to your faith will come from family members, co-workers, friends and even other Christians. Unfortunately it will be those within the church who sometimes seem to be the most discouraging to your faith when you are believing God for something extraordinary. Their resistance will come in the form of rationality and many times quote preachers and even scripture. This resistance to your faith very rarely will come as a malicious attack from other people who are trying to harm you. It will simply be words that sow doubt into your field of faith that cause you to question whether or not it is worth it to stand and believe the word of God.
The greatest battle of faith is internal; we are at war in our own minds. We must decide whom or what to believe. The voices of this world, of friends, of family, of well meaning people and of God are all influencing our faith; causing us either to rise up and believe or to shrink back and doubt.
I want to look at three of the miracles of the Gospels in this message that brought healing to extraordinary illness and were brought about by faith that stood out in the crowd. Sometimes we have to make those around us uncomfortable in our efforts to press through and stand before Jesus. We must be willing to believe in the face of naysayers and hold onto the word of God.
Then they came to the town of Jericho. As Jesus was leaving there with his followers and a great many people, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus son of Timaeus was sitting by the road. When he heard that Jesus from Nazareth was walking by, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many people warned the blind man to be quiet, but he shouted even more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and said, “Tell the man to come here.”
So they called the blind man, saying, “Cheer up! Get to your feet. Jesus is calling you.” The blind man jumped up, left his coat there, and went to Jesus.
Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
The blind man answered, “Teacher, I want to see.”
Jesus said, “Go, you are healed because you believed.” At once the man could see, and he followed Jesus on the road. (Mark 10:46-52)
- He cried out to Jesus when those around him said “shut-up”
- He was explicit in his request to Jesus (“Teacher, I want to see”)
- Jesus said that he was healed because he believed
The woman with the issue of blood
Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him. A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. For she thought to herself, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.
Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my robe?”
His disciples said to him, “Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
But he kept on looking around to see who had done it. Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” (Mark 5:24-34)
- She approached Jesus expecting to be healed
- She pushed through a crowd and touched Jesus, interrupting His journey to meet another need
- Jesus said that her faith had made her well
The man borne of four
When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”
But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”
Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!” (Mark 2:1-12)
- Four men of faith brought the paralyzed man to Jesus and would not be kept away from Him by any obstacle (they tore a hole in the roof)
- These men interrupted the normal flow of events and placed the need of the paralyzed man before Jesus
- When Jesus saw their faith the healing was manifested
There are some common elements in each of the people who receive healing at the hand of Jesus.
1. They were incurable by the standards of modern medicine
2. They were desperate in their pursuit of healing
3. There were expectant in receiving from Jesus if they were to stand before Him
In each of our lives there are things that can only be fixed or changed by God. In order for faith to be activated in your life for that situation you must come to the point where you realize that He is your only solution. As long as we are waiting for rescue through another means it will be very challenging for us to release our faith wholeheartedly for that area of our lives.
Desperate people many times do desperate things. Faith must be willing to do what it takes to receive from God.
- Bartimaeus refused to listen to those who told him Jesus was passing by and just shut-up.
- The four friends of the paralyzed man refused to accept the fact that the meeting was in progress and there were no seats left.
- The woman with the issue of blood was unconcerned that Jesus had not seen her in the crowd and that He was on His way to heal Jairus’ daughter.
There was faith in Jesus’ ability and willingness to heal in all three of these accounts prior to the sick person standing before Jesus. They all expected to receive from Jesus if they could just get His attention.
- Jesus is the answer.
- Jesus is the healer.
- Jesus is the deliverer.
- Jesus is the supplier.
- Jesus is the savior.
“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” (Mark 9:23)
If you are believing God to intervene in a situation in your life I add my agreement to yours. I encourage you to stand firm and never doubt.
Like Bartimaeus do not stop crying out to Jesus because others believe that you should.
Like the four friends of the paralyzed man do not settle for next time; tear a hole in the roof if you need to.
Like the woman with the issue of blood, press through the crowd and lay hold of Jesus; knowing that you will receive.
God is greater than any of us and has promised to answer all requests that we make in Jesus’ name. May your faith be strengthened in the name that is above every name.