LITTLE FAITH Andy Hollifield 1-16-18
Matthew 13:31-32 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field: (32) Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
Matthew 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
Matthew 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you.
Mark 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
Luke 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord. Increase our faith.
Faith—-(1) confidence or trust in a person or thing: (2) belief that is not based on proof”
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
I was preaching Sunday night at Woodfin Baptist Church and while I was reading some of my text, the Lord let me see something in it that in all these years I hadn’t ever seen. In Matthew 14:31, after Jesus and Peter had walked on the water to get back to the boat, Jesus said to Peter, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? As I was reading it a thought occurred to me; Peter walked on the water with only “little faith.” How far do you think he might have walked if he had great faith? To me, it took some pretty big faith for him to throw his leg over the side of the boat and climb down to the water especially during a storm that was so bad that it had all of those experienced fisherman in fear for their lives. Then at some point, he let go of what he was holding to and started walking. As far as I know, no one has done that since. And Jesus said he just had “little faith.”
I began to think about that and all throughout the bible we find people with “little faith” doing great things. In my mind, the point Jesus could have been making to Peter was that he walked as far as he did with just a little faith. They might have walked around out there till daylight if Peter would have had great faith. In Matthew 8 we find the story of the centurion in Capernaum. He had come to ask Jesus to heal his servant that was sick of the palsy and in great pain. The bible said that he was “greviously tormented.” Jesus agreed to go to the centurion’s house to heal him. What the man told Jesus next was what defined his faith. He told him that he wasn’t worthy for him to come into his house but if he would just “speak the word only” he knew his servant would be healed.” Matthew 8:10 says, “When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” This man demonstrated his faith not just through what he said to Jesus, but the fact that he believed that Jesus had power enough that he could just say it where he was and it would be done where the servant was. In verse 13 the bible says “And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.” The fact that the centurion had the faith to come where Jesus was demonstrated a little faith. His great faith was the fact that he believed it would happen without seeing it for himself. That is exactly what Hebrews 11:1 is talking about.
As you read throughout the bible you will find a lot of instances where folks had a little faith that yielded great results. One example that comes to mind is Hannah praying for Samuel in Samuel 1. Year after year she took the abuse of Peninnah and without any reason to believe, she prayed for a son. I am reasonably sure that this wasn’t the first time she had asked God for a son and she was eventually blessed with three sons and two daughters I believe in addition to Samuel. Zacheus wound up having Jesus as a dinner guest in his home just because he had faith enough to climb a tree to see him. That just took a little faith but it was rewarded greatly. Such was the case with the widow of Zarephath that baked Elijah a cake first when her and her son were on the brink of starvation in 1 Kings 17. Her little faith was rewarded greatly with a meal barrel and a cruse of oil that didn’t ever run out until the drought was over. In 2 Kings 4 we find the wife of one of the sons of the prophets whose husband had died. She had to have a little faith to go and borrow all of the empty vessels she could find without even knowing what Elisha was going to do. She was rewarded with enough oil to sell and pay off all her debt and for her and her sons to live off of the rest. In Luke 8:48 Jesus told the woman with the issue of blood that her faith had made her whole. She had enough faith to believe he could heal her and all that she done was touched the hem of his garment. Just a little faith to touch his clothes and her life was spared. Rahab only hid some spies in exchange for the safety of her household prior to Joshua’s army invading Jericho. That wasn’t a great work but just a little faith.
In Hebrews 11 you find a list of people who had great faith. It didn’t start out as great faith but, just like the mustard tree, it started with a little faith and it grew. Even the spiritual giants in your life didn’t get there overnight. They had a “little faith” in a lot of big situations and the more God blessed their little faith, the greater it became. Abraham left home with his wife and nephew not knowing where he was going or what he would do when he got there. It took great faith to uproot his home and launch out into the unknown. Noah built an ark on dry land even though it had never rained up until that point. That was hard work requiring great faith. David crossing the brook with a slingshot and five stones to face a giant took great faith. Most of us will never be called on to need to have great faith but just a little faith. We may face circumstances sometime that require great faith but in all honesty, most of what we encounter in life only requires a little faith. Just remember this: “faith is the substance of things hoped for.” That is to say the content of our prayers, what we need God to do. It is also “the evidence of things not seen.” No one can look into my soul and see if I am saved but if I am living pleasing to the Lord, there should be some evidence of the presence of the Lord in my life. Whatever God tells you to do today; just believe him and do it. Have a “little faith!” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!