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Failure and Faith | The Gospel of Matthew

The Verdict / John Munro
The Truth Network Radio
June 28, 2021 11:56 am

Failure and Faith | The Gospel of Matthew

The Verdict / John Munro

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June 28, 2021 11:56 am

Dr. John H. Munro June 27, 2021 Matthew 17:14-27

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How would you describe your faith. I met with you one-on-one and said describe your faith. How would you describe strong week wavering inconsistent, perhaps nonexistent glass like that to the gospel of Matthew, which were going through consecutively on the Sunday mornings we look to Jesus with three of his disciples on a very high mountain. I commonly called the Mount of Transfiguration.

It was truly a mountaintop experience and as we follow Jesus Christ from time to time.

We do have these mountaintop experiences. I wondered you've had one this past week where you have kept your eyes on Jesus, where you have listened to Jesus where you are following Jesus. And yes where you are obeying Jesus a truly mountaintop experience for your faith feel so strong. But as I say that I know some of your saying well, quite honestly, that's not what I meant, far from being on the mountaintop and on the slamming of Valley very deep Valley very dark Valley Valley of notes Valley perhaps of despair Valley of failure, and when in that belly dance is an interesting way to Matthew has written the gospel because here are three disciples three of the inner circle there with Jesus at the top of a mountain and they have one of the incredible experiences where Peter and writer Linda Wrightson says that they beheld about it. Majesty of God saw something of that brilliant glory of Jesus, but now they come down and there's a come dine them on 10. There's a very different see their colleagues in the other nine disciples and they join them. They are there and that rather than having a wonderful spiritual high, as it were there experiencing embarrassment that understanding that that is something that they should be doing, but they can't do it. There experiencing failure.

The reality is if were honest that all of us to follow Jesus Christ. However sincere our intentions are for all of us who follow Jesus Christ and the true that at times about times of failure times of frustration. Yes, times of defeat called this message. Failure and faith. If you have your Bible turn with me to Matthew chapter 17 on the first of all going to need from verses 14 through 20. In Matthew 17 verses 14 through 20. Using we have been praising God. Today is a wonderful experience.

Literally we been saying hallelujah praise the Lord to the people are always doing that, but always praise the Lord hallelujah some of you if you are on this for a little bit of a pain in the neck. Sometimes on third can't relate to this.

They always seem on a spiritual high doesn't always seem real, does it because the reality is, as we follow Jesus Christ. We sometimes encounter opposition that are problems that are hardships and sometimes our faith rather than being strong and dynamic is weak and wavering. I find this passage rather encouraging because Matthew is all of the writers of the gospel paints reality here is authentic Christianity and were going to learn that authentic followers of Jesus encounter spiritual opposition. Are you sort authentic because I'm not talking about the cultural Christian I'm not talking about someone who merely pays lip service and would say yes, I'm a Christian. Are they come to church occasionally but they're not really living for Christ living for themselves, I'm talking about true believers in Jesus Christ. Those who are sincerely trying to follow Christ yesterday encounter opposition verse 14 and when they came to the card mark in his final passage explains of this happened right after the experience in the minds of Transfiguration when they come down when it came to the crowd a man came up to him as to Jesus, and kneeling before him said Lord have mercy on my son for he has seizures and they suffers terribly rough and he falls into the fire and often into the water and I brought them to your disciples and they could not heal him. Jesus answered a faithless and twisted generation along am I to be with you along am I to bear with you, bring them here to me and Jesus rebuked the demon and it came I got him and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, why could we not cast them out, he said to them, because of your little faith for truly I say to you. If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain move from here to there and it will move on.

Nothing will be impossible for you is not an intriguing passage. Here we, and a man very wisely brings his body to Jesus and that the body is demon possessed. There's an unclean spirit. When the Lord Jesus Christ in his incarnation came there was another break a facilitator was an outbreak of the forces of darkness tremendous demonic activity tremendous opposition to the advancement of the kingdom of God is our Lord Jesus Christ is born and goes around proclaiming the kingdom of God and so this father comes and asks Jesus to have mercy on his boy Mark and Apollo accounting tells us that the demon attack the ball hit the boy had seizures that the demon threw him to the ground and the demon tried to destroy the boy so the man obviously Jesus not there at the time up in the mountain he brings his boy to the disciples who, as we had read previously who are able to heal done the casting out of demons who had healed the sick, but this time we can do this time, the feel, or disciples, followers of Jesus sincere man and encounter spiritual opposition can remind you as we try to follow Jesus Christ.

That is opposition. I know people. Many people don't believe in the devil, but that is Satan is real of the forces of darkness, and he is out implacable enemy. The Bible said sometimes he appears like an angel of light can disguise himself. He seems like an angel from heaven.

Other times he goes around like a roaring lion, and he attacks us experiences pickaxes with temptations with dilutes with fears with discouragement sometimes just despair all who follow Jesus encounter opposition contractor problems. Yes, unlike the disciples here sometimes encounter failures and you find this to be true that sometimes your honor spiritual high on the spiritual mountaintop is aware in your you feel so strong and yet just a day or two, sometimes even the next day, sometimes in the next hour and you in the Valley of despair. You'll recall that after the Baptist baptism of Jesus. Jesus is led into the wilderness where he is tempted by Satan for 40 days can imagine the audacity of enemy tempting Jesus, the perfect son of God. You see when God is at work. Satan is there trying to create problems. Here are a number of families that you saw, and they are seeking in God's grace and with his help to have strong Christian homes up strong Christian lasting marriages and that's wonderful is a great desire and we pray for them as we've done, but the problem is that is an anime who's going to try and wreck their marriages trying wreck their home.

Notice what we read in verse 22 as they were gathering in Galilee.

Jesus said to them, the Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men and they will kill him and he will be raised on the third day, and it would greatly distressed reminder that as we follow Jesus Christ. There is hardship that is suffering that our Lord Jesus Christ himself and his humanity is prophesying that he himself is going to be killed by evil men are going to nail him to a cross that as the kingdom of God is advancing its being attacked viciously unremittingly by enemy, Satan himself and pass success in spring ritual Bible is no guarantee for future victory, the top of the mountain was a glorious Transfiguration of the board of the mount of the mountain spiritual failure. Three of the disciples and listen to the conversation between Jesus and Moses and Elijah about the death about the Exodus, the departure of Jesus from the start incredible conversation, Peter and James and John witness but no, that is over by the back with their colleagues can handle circulation, but embarrassed fields. Jesus says oh you of little faith on their lack of faith is hindering the work of the Lord know if I were to some of you about your faith as I did at the beginning with the question some of you would take me back five years 10 years 20 or 25 years when perhaps when God saved you. Perhaps when God use you mightily. Perhaps add to the day when you got married and you and and you you still here is a learning and the with all of your heart you were declaring your love for God and your love for your wife or your husband in your honor. Spiritual high placing wonderful never asked you about your faith. You take me away back there was wonderful to have spiritual experiences of the past wonderful that God use you in the past that God kept you, but that's not my question today. My question is what about now, what about today so you can depend on the past spiritual success for president spiritual victory.

You may have been spiritually strong in the past God made of may have used you in a mightily in a mighty way you maybe you may have followed Jesus very, very closely and faithfully. But the reality is today. Tomorrow you may experience a lack of power you may be experiencing right now some staleness in your own soul. You may have doubts you may be cynical, you may be critical, but why why is that the very nature of the Christian life.

The nature of the Christian life is living by faith each day. The nature of the Christian life as I am to trust God today. There's him. I think it's in. In the book that we sometimes use. I need the every day every I need you recognition the design following Jesus Christ today, this moment I need Jesus Christ. I am to depend on him.

I trust is to be on him.

Yes, I trusted him yesterday five years ago 10 years ago. 20 years ago, but that's not the question.

The question is what about today is my faith idle is a growing fresh reality of the presence of God, truly today looking to Christ today. Am I listening to his word. Today I'm I will be gently following my Savior is the question yesterday together a meeting and so I took her three grandchildren to the lazy five ranch in the jungle with a clean car shifting goodness car, but that she was using it so under three grandkids were having a great time. They more than made so driving along and there's only speaks these black pigs and are so fat that the belly hits a grant using them and then there's the cute little piglets which are granddaughter left but which I'm in the strictly many of these pigs. There were and I don't want to be disrespectful to a pig created by God is not what every single one of them was doing is ghost night and the ground every single page I saw hundred snouts on the grounds is what picked us.

If you like thing to think. Did you see the sky looked up and see birds flying the company see the beauty of these trees no there trying to get every last little bit of food. No wonder there's a fat right grunting alone inevitably there face is down in the dirt. I felt when we sometimes like that would look done. Our newsletter we call looking up to followers of Jesus we are to keep looking up because sometimes as I looked down, it can be very attractive.

There's material things or tangible things are much further things to be enjoyed and we are to enjoy these things are gifts of God, but we are not animals. We are men and women advising girls created in the image of God's, and we must if we are to be the kind of people that God created us to be were not as a way to keep our snouts in the trough all the time to look up the Christ.

Listen to the word of God and when we don't do that we find spiritual failure. Now the spiritual opposition that we all experience is an opportunity when you get this to grow in our faith that difficult time that event in your life that disappointment, that tragedy that difficult person that you work with that insinuation you think you know if that would remove from my life. Life would be so much easier when you give those that difficult difficult person. That situation is an opportunity for you and me to grow in our faith you see in following Jesus. Faith is essential in this verse 20 he said to them, why was it the contest because of your little faith right of the Sino Phoenician woman whose faith was described as Jesus is great faith. But their faith they should have been better but they weren't there. Faith is a little faith because of your little faith for truly I say to you.

If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, the smallest known see that that time proverbial for its smallness as a work if you faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain move from here to there and it will move and nothing will be impossible for you. Faith/faith, no, not faith and faith at the popular is not just believably believe in the part of positive possibility thinking. No, that's not it. The tall faith in the Bible always directs us to the object is not faith and faith at silly it's faith in God.

It's the object of our faith. It's not telling yourself in the morning. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can therefore I can know is rather saying I know I can't.

I know I kind but I know God can. That's it. Faith in God. Paul writes for the very beginning of our faith for the very foundation of her Christian life. He says, for by grace you are saved through faith and that none of yourself is a gift of God not of your own doing, not of works, lest anyone should boast. No, the basis of our salvation is the grace of God is what God has done in Jesus Christ, we can save ourselves. You just can't, as it were suddenly decide one would be a good person on very quickly you'll demonstrate that you're not totally good. Yes you do some good things, but you also do many bad things many selfish things many things which even by your own standard you know a wrong know the basis of our salvation is the grace of God.

It points us to what Jesus Christ has done.

But the gospel that God as we began by singing that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life that this grace yes I understand I have said in the missile, but it points me to Christ. My salvation is outside of myself is been accomplished by by God in Christ, do I receive this faith. Faith is the instrument is the means by which God salvation comes to us. We are saved through faith and know that I'm saved by faith know that I received Christ as my Savior as my faith and know I am to live by faith every day I'm to live by faith. Paul says the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 220 know heart of the Christian life is living by faith that is following Jesus. This is difficult for us as, or is it just me to find the difficult everyday following Jesus requires faith from first to last writer of Hebrews says without faith it is impossible to please God. God is pleased with you when you have faith in him. When you trust him.

Those of us who are married or can you imagine if it good and my wife things I don't trust her that that's sad. That's heartbreaking.

No, the very fact that I trust her right. I know that I rely on her leg gives her joy that increases the that the joy in the fellowship of our of our marriage in God is well pleased with you when you turn from your own efforts and say Lord I and you I need your help to faith sees the invisible faith takes God at his word.

Faith takes the word of God and says I believe it and I claim it.

Faith is the bridges or between God and our needs. Faith is a bridge between the Almighty proud of God and helplessness.

This man could do nothing to help his boy was a very wise mind that he was.

He brings his boy to Jesus and says I need you is ever going to deal with the opposition. Paul, in describing spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6 tells us to hold up the shield of faith shield which is faith says that the enemy is going to fire docs that you and the going to be extinguished by faith by the shield of faith, so as you follow Jesus focus on your doubts.

Don't focus on your past failures. Don't focus too much on your state of mind and don't even focus so much on the difficult circumstances not asking you to be Pollyanna.

I'm asking you to be realistic.

But I'm saying that the emphasis is not on the difficult circumstances, but the emphasis is on claiming the promises of God is faithful God will never ever let you is a God who made you said that with these children. Psalm hundred and 39. We are fearfully and wonderfully made the God superintendent creation right from the moment of conception, God is there. God knows your lives. You he cares for you is watching over you and he has control of every every circumstance of your life sends his son to die for us sunrises from the dead and now I am to trust God you say John that my faith is weak.

So is mine. Sometimes was going to make it strong by looking at Christ's. By focusing on Christ not by looking down all the time, not by focusing on the difficult by looking to remind them or set myself of how powerful God is, how great God is of how God cares for us and in that way, faith grows as you use it as you claim the promises of God.

If you know someone supposing you're in business with someone and that you invest a lot of money in the company and the initially you're wondering, I think I trust them, but I'm not too sure after five years. This person is a reliable time and time again you see how reliable they are and what happens your trust in them your faith in them grows, the more you know them the more you realize how reliable they are and the more you know God, the more you search the Scriptures, the more you understand of the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this way, our faith grows and our faith is expressed in trusting God. Our faith is expressed in obeying God even when it's difficult for us, particularly when it's difficult for us and can I say that think there's confusion, sometimes with Osier having some doubts is not a denial of faith.

You know I like to think the Calvary church was the kind of place where we are free to express her doubts or concerns, or spiritual struggles yes in the failures you know when these individuals who wants to try and portray that you're always on the top of things and that you're always on the mountaintop, no. The Bible, the great man and woman of Scripture are people who had doubts and some some people would say, and wrongly so that if you have doubts if you have some failure that there is evidence that you're not a true believer tall one that rules out everyone in the Bible doesn't it because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. No, the Gospels are telling us something very very important discipleship and failure, faith and doubt are not mutually exclusive. As you follow Jesus Christ that will be times of failure as you follow Jesus Christ there's going to be. Sometimes of Doug. Some of you would raise in Christian homes. As I was yet a certain age and you begin to rethink your faith. At least I hope you do to examine your faith and so doubts can be destructive.

That is true but Doug can also be helpful.

There is a positive side to diodes because it helps us to examine our faith they could stimulate our faith that can drive us back to the great truths of the Christian faith, rather than superficially and frightfully money thing some religious platitudes, but here is ownership. Yes, it can be difficult as we deal with our doubts as we deal with our concerns as we deal with questions, but to come through this and to understand that God's is with us.

Mark tells us, my 2000 and is a kind of math.

Mark tells us in the same account that when this man speaks to Jesus not remember brings his son to the disciples who can help.

And then Jesus comes in Jesus heals a boy and the man says this new office. He says I believe, help my unbelief is at once a contradiction is not saying I believe she believes he brings his bike to Jesus if he didn't say that home you would've gone to the doctors or whatever know. He says I believe the also says help my on number. Sometimes we are.

We believe still of questions because the Christian faith is seeing the in visible, I can see the tangible.

I can see my car my my home, my friends, my wife, my grandchildren, but there are things I can see I can see Jesus says no, whom having not seen you love. Faith is seeing the invisible and that's difficult for us sometimes isn't it we see the tangible receded the physical around us, but you're asking me to come to Calvary church and worship God that I can see God as we come as were instructed by the word of God. Our faith grows and yes that is a big difference between doubt and I say can have a very positive effect if it leads us to examine our faith and if it stimulates our faith and beautiful words of Jesus I read in verse 20 a little faith in the Greek gods results in victory Jesus cast out the demon. No problem there is greater he's more powerful than any demon any forces of darkness that will never be asserted circumstance in your situation, which is too powerful to great for God, no, we see the glory of Jesus on the mountaintop, we see his humility in the Valley is a heals this little boy I love this man. He brings his boy to Jesus with the joy of seeing moms and dads bring their children to Jesus dedicating them to the Lord. No there there are in effect saying, pray for us.

Lord we need your help. I will recognize the children use the gift of God, but we need your help.

We need your we need your blessing, I say to parents to bring in your children to Jesus bring them up in the ways of the Lord is why we're so excited that woodlands Is why we're so excited about vibrant children's ministry is why we are praying fervently as we search for a couple of new pastors wife because we believe that children belong to the Lord and we want to keep pointing them to the Lord Jesus, I thought what a hard life. This man must've had with the boy who had these seizures, even throwing himself into a fire, throwing himself into water what what terrible distress and agony must've been for that that is a wise man. Oh yes is faith. What was not perfect there were still some unbelief but there was a little faith. There was a faith of a mustard seeds and he brings his boy to the disciples of Jesus and what he couldn't do and what the disciples couldn't do Jesus and Jesus says your lack of faith or lack of power is directly attributable to your lack of faith because of your little faith they that's why you can customize because your faith was too small. This man in the sense had more faith in you had because he brings his boy to us. Faith like a green of mustard seeds can move mountains moving mountains was proverbial for accomplishing something difficult to find this encouraging any mountains in your life. Anything that you think of in your life that seem impossible to accomplish this man is a little faith. I believe help on is you follow Jesus, I repeat, the focus is not so much on your frail wavering inconsistent faith. The focus is on the greatness of God with illustration here is Goliath's huge man is a monster of a man over 9 feet and the Z and the seasoned soldiers of Israel look at and say when I'm in a fight or me so big we could never tell them the young man, David, who knows God was a little faith in the great God is… Goliath.

He says he so big I could miss him. One thing is so vague we can kill them. David is saying no, my trust is in God and he so big I couldn't. Can you say can I say to you this morning some of your giants in your life are very big. Some of the circumstances of any difficult don't focus on the size of your circumstances don't even focus so much on the size of your faith what it is. Focus on the size of your card caught and as you do that, I found my faith grows and grows, the more we can I become, the more I focus on the circumstance and the money is a word and saying there is no possibility that I can get through that man turned the more depressing it is to become to be still and know what can I say to you, brother, sisters, don't limit the plywood of God Jesus Essex is saying here.

Nothing will be impossible for you. We face impossible situations, fears, temptations tasks, which are completely beyond their natural ability to say why would God choose me to do this. There's no way I can do that. Jesus, nothing will be impossible for you.

Verse 24 is an example when they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two drachma taxes went up to Peter and said, is your teacher not pay the tax. He said yes when you came into the house, Jesus spoke to him for saying what you think, Simon, from whom the kings of the Arctic polar attacks from the sons or from others what he said from others.

Jesus said to him, then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them. Go to the sea, and cast a hook, and take the first fish that comes up and when you open is Michael find a shekel take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.

You say, will that be nice if I pay my taxes. I just go to Lake Norman all the money is right there that's not the point. The point is this is an important one as you trust God as you put your trust in God all of your needs will be met by him to believe that you believe that God is able to pay attacks from the shekel in the fishes mouth that that he did the fish to deliver the text of course not. The point that showing in a kind of a bizarre way. Isn't that the power of Almighty God, why you're wondering why you're here frighting. Why are you fearful, why do you not trusting me, I could even pay your taxes from from the mouth of a fish with a shekel and that God is sovereign over the sea.

God is sovereign over the fish and therefore will take care of all your needs.

Don't put limits on what God can do. Don't focus on the problem. Don't say this situation can't get better.

This is why it is so important to have a vision of God to worship God to glorify God and when we pray we are acknowledging out on the definitions on insufficient to humble yourself began as the pins were coming up to the red wonderful story of Jesus saying become like little children should a child is helpless. These babies that I had to Feed themselves. They we could never survive in this world by themselves know they are utterly dependent on their parent and you and I are utterly dependent upon God and we are to trust him. Proverbs audit Hebrews 13 verse six. Rather, says the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid of a problem your freedom situation, God is your helper. God is on your site and if God is for us who can be against us.

Yes the enemy is there. Yes the valley is deep.

Yes, among thing seems huge but keep your eyes on God. John Bunyan and his amazing Pilgrim's progress tells the story of Christian making his way to the celestial city and a comes to a very narrow passage to go to the post. The porters • he's about to go through the passage and he sees these two enormous clients. On the other side of them and their chains, but Christian only sees the lines in these afraid that he's about to turn back because he thinks the lines are going to devote him on the portraitist's name. Bunyan calls watchful call statement says fear not the Lions for their chains and their place. Therefore, trial of faith when it is and for discovery of those that have none. Keep in the middle of the path and no heart shall come unto the sole discretion to he presses on he keeps his eyes on watchful and he keeps on the straight path. Bunyan says the lines roared, but did no harm when you took the cup, when you toot to God want you to live your life straight.

According to the word of God and I'm asking you today you do it. If you've never trusted Christ as your Savior, to open your heart to Christ, to ask him come compensation and if you are a follower of Christ can ask you a fresh place your faith in God yes saying like the man I believe, help my on belief. Yes, I sometimes doubt is loved by his father to do the impossible. Lord I sometimes doubt it.

Your goodness, I sometimes get afraid of doing a lot of these notes to harden into unbelief. Trust the Lord with all of your heart and in following Jesus is not the case. That would, often driven to our knees and say I believe would help my unbelief. We have but little faith. I guess what that little faith is in a great God still says nothing impossible, but with me sing a song reinforcing our faith before we do that we give you an opportunity for you to do to say what you need in the presence of God this morning a little faith in the great card.

Father, we confess our doubts confessor failures or sins that offer me take you for granted forgiveness. I pray for those who don't know Christ personally that they will trust in that the call in the name of the Lord and be safe for many who are following Christ strengthen their faith help them to look up to Christ to see him to listen to Toby to follow closely not to fear, to know that you are out helper juror on their site and if God is for us who can send against us in Christ name we pray

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