- Sermon Notes
The Right Kind of Faith
June 13, 2021
1. Who comes to mind when I say, “They had the right kind of faith”?
a. Is it Noah because he trusted God and built an ark large enough to protect his family and representatives from the animal kingdom from a cataclysmic, global flood?
b. Is it Abraham because he believed God would give him and his wife, Sarah, a son even though he was 100 years old and she was 90?
c. Or is it Moses because he obeyed God’s command to lift his staff to part the waters of the Red Sea so that Israel may escape from the wrath of Pharaoh’s army?
d. How about David when he stood before a giant warrior named Goliath with only a sling and a few stones because he believed his battles belonged to the Lord?
2. When we think of these saints and those big events in Israel’s history, it’s easy to connect the dots and say, “They had the right kind of faith.”
3. But what exactly is “the right kind of faith?”
4. Tonight, we will discover what the right kind of faith is as we study the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
5. From Jesus’ teachings in Luke 17 we will learn what is true of the right kind of faith so that it can be said of us, “You have the right kind of faith.”
Transition – If faith were a diamond with many facets, what kind of facets would make up the right kind of faith? Verses 1-10 reveal that. . .
I. The Right Kind of Faith is Faithful (1-10)
• At this point Jesus is heading towards Jerusalem.
• Jesus has been healing broken lives, teaching about God’s kingdom, and correcting the false teachings and corrupt motives of Israel’s religious elite.
• Beginning in verse one, Jesus turns to His disciples and reveals to them what the right kind of faith consists of; and what He shares is not what we would likely expect.
• You see the right kind of faith that Jesus is talking about is not the “big event” kind of faith, like that of Noah, Abraham, Moses, or David.
• Rather, it’s important to see that the “big event” kind of faith is built upon the foundation of a faith which often goes unnoticed by men but never goes unnoticed by God.
• It’s the kind of faith that requires great focus and tenacity as it engages the grind of life one day at a time, one battle at a time, one moment at a time.
• This right kind of faith is faithful.
• And Jesus expects His disciples to be faithful in how they live their lives each day, in how they engage with those who are not, and in how they forgive those who ask.
Transition – Let’s look at these facets of a faithful, right kind of faith. First. . .
A. It’s the kind of faith that is above reproach
1. Jesus said, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble. Be on your guard!” (1-3)
2. Context is helpful here. Remember, Jesus has been confronting the Pharisees because of their pride, hypocrisy, and love of money.
3. Truth be told, their failure to recognize Jesus as Israel’s Messiah was driven by their deep-rooted pride.
4. Also remember the Pharisees were brutally outspoken in their rejection of Jesus.
a. They publicly accused Jesus of casting out demons by “Beelzebul the ruler of the demons.” (Matthew 12:24)
b. And they openly scoffed at His teachings. (Luke 16:14)
5. The Pharisees rejection of Jesus swayed public opinion and became a stumbling block to those who wanted to know more about Jesus, even those among Israel’s ruling class.
John 12:42, Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue
6. So Jesus used a graphic word picture to warn those who sought to interfere with someone coming to saving faith in Him. (2)
7. And we must see that Jesus’ warning was also a wake-up call to His disciples because He knew they were not immune to the trappings of pride, in fact, no one is.
Luke 9:46-48, An argument started among them as to which of them might be the greatest. But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for the one who is least among all of you, this is the one who is great.”
APPL – What is Jesus’ point?
• Jesus knows that it’s “inevitable that stumbling blocks come” because we were born with a fallen, sin nature and we live in a fallen, sin-filled world.
• But Father God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to the world to save fallen humanity because He loves and values every soul.
John 3:16, For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
• After Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He commissioned His disciples to go into the world, share the Gospel, baptize those who confess faith in Christ, and then disciple them to maturity in Christ. (Matthew 28:19-20)
• But what happens to our Christian testimony and witness if we become arrogant, boastful, greedy, self-promoting, or power hungry?
• Or what happens to our Christian witness and testimony if our lifestyle is compromised by anger, addictions, disputes, dissensions, immoralities, impurities, lusts, or lies?
• We create stumbling blocks.
• Conversely, what happens to our Christian witness and testimony if our lifestyle is characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; the fruit of the Holy Spirit? (Galatians 5:22-23)
• Our faithful, right kind of faith may open doors to talk about Jesus and inspire faith in Him.
• You see, pride and all the vices which flow from it, creates stumbling blocks which cause scoffers to scoff and seekers to stumble.
• But a faithful, humble, above reproach life removes stumbling blocks and may open hearts to hear more about Jesus.
1 Peter 2:11-12, 15-16, Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation. . . For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
• None of us will ever achieve sinless perfection on this side of heaven because we are works in progress.
• Nevertheless, may we embrace the command of Hebrews 12. . .
Hebrews 12:1-2, Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith
• As we do, I believe our lives will inspire faith in the hearts of others and open doors to talk about Jesus Christ.
• That’s the right kind of faith.
Transition – Next, Jesus reveals how the right kind of faith responds to a brother or sister in Christ who sins or even sins against us. Second. . .
B. It’s the kind of faith that restores the fallen
1. Again, this is Christianity in the trenches; the “big event” kind of faith is built upon the right kind of faith which is birthed in the daily grind of a born-again Christian’s life.
2. What if your brother or sister in Christ sins?
a. What if they get carried away into false doctrine?
b. What if they are engaging in the “deeds of the flesh” that Paul warns against in Galatians 5:19-21?
3. Jesus says we should “rebuke” them. (3)
4. Now, I have observed two extreme applications of Jesus’ command.
5. First, there is what I like to call the “Hall Monitor Approach.”
a. Hall Monitors are self-appointed fault-finders; experts in sniffing out and calling out the faults and failures of others.
b. Once you’re on a Hall Monitor’s radar, it won’t be long before you’re confronted in a church parking lot, or pummeled by an unexpected phone call, or sent a scathing message on your Social Media profile.
c. Hall Monitors have mastered the art of using truth as a weapon.
d. Ironically, Hall Monitors tend to ignore their own shortcomings and become aggressively defensive when anyone attempts to point out the log in their own eye.
6. On the other end of the spectrum is the second approach, what I like to call the “Let’s Pretend Nothing is Wrong Approach.”
a. This group believes the loving thing to do is to pretend nothing is wrong; even when a fellow Christian is intentionally engaging in sin.
b. They say nothing because they believe Christians are called to love and not “judge.”
c. Their motto is, “Love all by saying nothing at all.”
7. Fortunately, these two extremes can be avoided when we properly apply Jesus’ teaching as the Apostle Paul did in his letter to the church in Galatia.
Galatians 6:1, Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
APPL – Paul rightly notes the goal of any correction is restoration.
• The right kind of faith comes alongside those who have fallen to help restore them in their relationship with Jesus.
o Truth alone is a harsh weapon.
o Love without truth is not true love.
• The right kind of faith combines the two and speaks “the truth in love.”
Ephesians 4:15, but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ
8. But what if the sinning brother or sister in Christ sins against you? What does the right kind of faith look like then?
9. Jesus says, “if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” (3-4)
APPL – Now you might be thinking, “If somebody has to come to me seven times in one day to ask for my forgiveness, I doubt they’ve truly repented.”
• Why would Jesus command such a thing?
• And how is forgiveness related to the right kind of faith?
ILLUS – Too many times I’ve heard people say, “That apology wasn’t sincere enough; they’ll have to do more to convince me they mean it.”
• So I ask, “Does true repentance mean that someone must turn from something so perfectly that they never struggle with it again?”
• Then I add, “Doesn’t spiritual victory have more to do with growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ, becoming more mature through our relationship with Him, by having His Word written on our hearts?”
APPL – Unfortunately, many Christians withhold forgiveness because they’re waiting for the sinner to meet their “standard” of true repentance.
• What they fail to realize is that by withholding forgiveness, they are stunting their own growth and maturity in Christ.
• To have a maturing faith, the right kind of faith, means we must forgive just as Jesus said.
• But you might be thinking, “Do I still need to forgive them if they don’t repent?” Yes.
o One of the best examples of this very thing is Jesus Himself when He was hanging on the cross and said. . .
Luke 23:34, Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.
o When you forgive someone in your heart, your are letting go of the pain and the bitterness of that offense.
o Faith comes in when we forgive because of our relationship to God, because we trust that God can use even those offenses for His glory.
ILLUS – Frankly, one of the best examples of this in my life is Pastor Rich and Jordi.
10. When the apostles heard Jesus say forgive, even seven times a day, they said, “Increase our faith!” (5)
a. They were admitting that such a generous dose of forgiveness would require more faith in God than they possessed.
b. They were also admitting that they questioned God’s ability to change a person’s heart, especially the hearts of those who said they had repented but later repeated their sin.
11. But Jesus said if they “had faith like a mustard seed” they would say to a “mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey” them. (6)
APPL – Here is the key to the right kind of faith.
• The right kind of faith is not measured by its size or quantity, for only a small amount of faith, the size of a mustard seed, can uproot a 35-foot tree and plant it in the sea.
• Rather, the right kind of faith has the right object in view, which is a great God.
A. W. Tozer noted, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
• You see, transformation happens in our lives not because we have learned to rely on ourselves or have learned great self-improvement techniques; faith is not optimism and faith is not the power of positive thinking.
• The faith that Jesus speaks about is also more than just believing God exists. Even the demons believe God exists but it does them no good.
James 2:19, You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
• The faith that Jesus speaks of here, the right kind of faith, can be summarized in the declaration, “I know my God is able.”
o If God is able to make the mountains melt like wax, (Psalm 97:5)
o If God is able to move the heart of a king like the course of a river, (Proverbs 21:11)
o If God is able to move history according to His will, (Daniel 2:21)
o And if God is able to accomplish what concerns me today, (Psalm 138:8)
o Then God is able to transform me so that I can forgive not just seven times, but seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:22)
• You see, the key to the right kind of faith is having the right object, a great God, and then trusting our great God to do what is right in His sight, at the right time, and in the right way.
Ephesians 3:20, Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us
Transition – In verses 7-10, Jesus talks about the servant doing what he has been asked to do and therefore does not need to receive any special commendation.
• Jesus’ point is that we cannot put God in a place where He is indebted to us.
• Rather, anything we do is our response to everything He has done for us.
• In other words, when we forgive those who have sinned against us, we forgive, not so that God will owe us something, but rather, we forgive because He has forgiven us; which is the right kind of faith.
• Then in verses 11-19, we discover another facet of the right kind of faith. . .
II. The Right Kind of Faith is Thankful (11-19)
• While Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, somewhere between Galilee and Samaria (11), He entered a certain village and ten leprous men, nine Jews and one Samaritan, called out to Him saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (13)
• Jesus called out to the ten lepers and said, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” (14)
o Jesus commanded them to do so because in Leviticus 14, Moses gave instructions for what to do if a leper was cleansed of his leprosy.
o The problem was that no one had ever done so prior to the coming of Jesus Christ.
• Now, there would be ten lepers coming to the priests at one time, including one Samaritan!
o What a powerful testimony to Israel that the Messiah had come.
o Unfortunately, it would be a testimony against them because of their refusal to recognize Jesus as the Christ.
• Please also note that the lepers were not cleansed immediately.
o The lepers were healed when the obeyed Jesus’ command by faith and made their way to the priests in Jerusalem.
o Suddenly, they looked at each other, then they looked at themselves and realized they had been cleansed; their leprosy was gone!
Transition – What happens next is a telling revelation about a thankful heart.
A. A thankful heart is a right heart
1. When only one came back to give thanks, Jesus said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine–where are they?” (17)
2. A thankful heart is the right response to all that God has done for us.
a. It’s an important part of us having a right heart.
b. A thankful heart flows from the right kind of faith.
3. God even made a provision so that Israel could regularly give thanks; it was called a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
Psalm 50:14, 23, Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay your vows to the Most High. . . He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me
4. The sacrifice of thanksgiving was to be brought before the Lord but then eaten by the one who was offering it so that nothing was leftover. It was a picture of being fully satisfied.
ILLUS – In many cultures, eating everything on your plate demonstrates that you are completely satisfied. Thanksgiving meals for us today is about being fully satisfied, no counting calories, just enjoying, eating to the full and having fellowship.
APPL – The message is this, if you lack in giving thanks, then you lack in being satisfied. It is only in being thankful that our souls are full.
Hebrews 13:15, Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.
Transition – Lastly. . .
B. A thankful heart is a choice
1. Thanksgiving is a choice because our flesh does not want to be thankful.
2. In our flesh we want to feel sorry for ourselves, we want to be cynical, and grumpy, and caustic, and say every rude thing that comes to mind. If our flesh doesn’t feel good we want everyone to know it.
3. But if you want to have a full and blessed life, then you need to have a grateful and thankful heart; thankfulness is a choice.
4. If we only see the imperfections in ourselves and others then we will have little to be thankful for.
5. But with the right kind of faith we are able to turn things over to the Lord and give thanks with a heart of thanksgiving.
6. When we do so, our souls become satisfied and peace rules in our hearts.
Philippians 4:4, 6-7, Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
APPL – Being thankful is really the key to being content.
• And being content is linked to the right kind of faith.
• Paul knew the secret to the right kind of faith. He said. . .
Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
• I want the right kind of faith, how about you?
• The good news is God wants us to have the right kind of faith as well.
• All we need to do is ask and He will transform our lives.
Luke 17:1-19 NASB
1 Now He said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that [a]stumbling blocks come, but woe to one through whom they come! 2 It is better for him if a millstone is hung around his neck and he [b]is thrown into the sea, than that he may cause one of these little ones to [c]sin. 3 [d]Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 But the Lord said, “If you [e]had faith [f]the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would [g]obey you.
7 “Now which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him after he comes in from the field, ‘Come immediately and recline at the table to eat’? 8 On the contrary, will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly [h]clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and [i]afterward you [j]may eat and drink’? 9 He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10 So you too, when you do all the things which were commanded you, say, ‘We are [k]unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’”
11 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing [l]between Samaria and Galilee. 12 And as He entered a village, ten men with leprosy who stood at a distance met Him; 13 and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed. 15 Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, 16 and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 But Jesus responded and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? 18 [m]Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has [n]made you well.”