-The Value of Faith-
To help us realize that our ability to have faith in God is extremely valuable to God and that he works to develop it in us.
Matt 7:7-11, Luke 18:1-8, Matt 8:5-10 and many others
Ask students to name their favorite Mcdonalds meal. Collect the data on the board. (Students name & favorite item). Now if you were ask God for your favorite meal do you think he would get it for you? Why and why not?
(Have someone listening but not seen by the students writing down the list and after the list is completed can slip out and during the class procure each of the favorite items. Have the items delivered at the end of class.)
Todays lesson is on faith. But before we look at faith, lets talk about prayer for a minute. Read Matt 7:7-11. When you ask God for things do you really believe he will give you what you ask? Discuss for a moment.
Read the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8
In the parable we find that God explains that he will answer prayer quickly and is not like the Godless judge who needs to be "regularly bothered" in order to grant the request. He encourages us to pray about a situation and then not "give up".. Now many interpret this passage to encourage us to repeatedly ask God for what we want but I believe verse 8 points us to a different truth. Here Jesus finishes the parable by asking the question However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
This question seems on the surface may seem to be unrelated to the rest of the parable. Jesus seems to be discussing justice and the quickness of answers to requests yet suddenly he switches to talking about faith? So what does this mean? What is the point of verse 8? Discuss it..
It would seem that faith is important in some way to Jesus. Here he asks the question with a tone concern. The question almost seems sarcastic? Is it possible that quick answers to prayer and faith are in some way related - Is it possible that one may actually prevent the other?
Read Matt 8:5-10 .. (explain that a centurion is a military commander over 100 men)
Here we find the Centurions faith commended because he asked once and then left assuming Jesus would handle the problem. He assumed that God was more reliable than his men and he knew they remembered what he asked them to do and did it.
So is there something really valuable about faith .. Well Peter thought so when he wrote ;
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold. 1 Peter 1:6-7a (NIV)
Students Teach Students:
So lets find out what is valuable about faith. But first lets look up the definition of faith .. its found in Hebrews 11:1 where it is written : Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Pass out the verses from Appendix A to groups and let them identify the aspect of value faith has in each. Return after 10 minutes and report out. Below are the answers.
|Rom 1:8,12||shows others the way||Heb 10:38||enables us to please God|
|Rom 1: 17||enables life||Heb 11:4, 6,7
Rom 1:17 , 3:22
|enables us to be declared righteous by God.|
enables us not to sin (future)
releases us from sin (past)
|1 Peter 1:9
II Tim 3:15
|Rom 12:6||enable us to use our gifts||Gal 3:8||enables blessings from God|
|Rom 12:3||enables us to think of ourselves correctly||Gal 3:14||receive the promise of the Spirit|
|2 Cor 1:24||enables us to stand firm against evil||Gal 3:26||lets us become adopted as a son or daughter of God|
|Eph 6:16||protects us from Satan||Gal 5:6||generates love|
|Acts 15:9||purifies hearts||2 Thess 1:4
1 Thess 3:2
|enables us to face trails|
|God will grant requests for healing||1 Thess 1:3||produces benefit (builds up) God kingdom|
|Phil 2:17||enables service||John 14:2||enables to be like Christ and do things he did|
|2 Thess 1:11||prompts God to fulfill us and make our efforts successful||Luke 7:2-9||enables miracles|
|2 Tim 4:7||brings eternal reward in heaven||Eph 3:12||Allows us to approach God freely|
As you can see, exercising faith is a very valuable thing not only for us but also for the whole kingdom of God. Lets look for a minute at a man in the Bible who was given all the reasons to cease having faith in God - Job.
Read Job chapter 1-3 (optional if time permits otherwise skip the reading and make the point below)
Here we find God allowing Satan to destroy almost everything Job had including his children and health.. Jobs wife finally gave up when she spoke to Job in Job 2:9 (NIV) saying -
"Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!" Job 2:9 (NIV)
but Job remained faithful as evidenced by Job 13:15 (NIV) when he said
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; Job 13:15 (NIV)
All jobs friends tried to solve the puzzle of why God show allow such a calamity. One thought is was Job was being punished for sin, another thought it was to help Job build character, but in the end, the calamity had nothing to do with Jobs life and everything to do with Jobs faith. Job was not the reason for what happened. Something else was .. a heavenly contest between God and Satan .. one which in which Jobs faith was used to make an important point. A point that was observed by Angels when it occurred and was recorded in scripture for all future mankind to learn from. You see today we tend to think everything is somehow about us. And while God is concerned as we saw last week for each one, there is much more in Gods kingdom. Remember -
- a third of the angles followed Satan and a battle for allegiance is still underway in heavenly realms (Rev 12)
- how God declared the Church (those who come to Christ through faith) be made known to the rulers and authorities in heaven. (Eph 3:10)
- how our faith results in glory and honor for Christ (1 Peter 1:7)
- the joy Christ experience at creation recorded in Proverbs 8:23-31. Faith is about the restoration of creation. A creation which is was frustrated and is waiting eagerly for restoration. (Rom 8:19-22)
The development of faith in people is extremely important because of its value. It cannot be developed or exercised in humans without "time" existing between the request and the answer. It is during this time period we "exercise" faith. Without the time during which we have the opportunity to "doubt" we also have the opportunity to demonstrate faith. (This is a large part of the message given in Hebrews chapter 11.) It also seems that the demonstrating of faith not only strengthens the person but also has causes wonderful things to happen in the kingdom of God .. many which we cannot even see much less imagine.
And I know that this man--whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows--was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. 2 Cor 12:3-4 (NIV)
What should we think then, what should we do? How should we respond.. Examine yourself - Have you trusted in Christ?
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test? 2 Cor 13:5 (NIV)
... pass out the Mcdonalds ...
Appendix A : Reference Cards
|Rom 1: 17|
|2 Cor 1:24|
|2 Thess 1:11|
|2 Tim 4:7|
|Heb 11:4, 6,7
Rom 1:17 , 3:22
|1 Peter 1:9
2 Tim 3:15
|2 Thess 1:4
1 Thess 3:2
|1 Thess 1:3|