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Pentecost 20 (no audio this week)

October 2, 2016 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Luke 17:1–17:10

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†††In the Name of Jesus†††

Pastor Murray Keith

Text: Luke 17:1-10
Date: October 2nd, 2016; Pentecost 20; Series C

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Just have faith.

Just have faith that it will all work out - that everything will be okay.

Just have faith.

Do you have enough faith?

We heard in our Gospel lesson that the disciples didn't think they had enough faith.

Jesus clearly tells them that forgiveness isn’t an option. If someone sins against you even as many as seven times in the day, and repents seven times, you must forgive them.

The disciples understood that forgiving someone even once is difficult, but seven times?

“Increase our faith!” they begged Jesus (Luke 17:5).

Is your faith big enough? Do you have enough faith?

Is the weather going to cooperate for the farmers so that they can get their crops off the field?

Is the economy going to recover so that people can get back to work?

Is that persistent illness finally going to go away?

Is my loved one going to recover?

There seems to be more and more opposition to the church - are we going to be persecuted like so many other Christians around the world?

Do you have enough faith?

Dear friends, this is a dangerous question. This is the wrong question.

It is a question that is based on a faulty premise.

The faulty premise is that there is some measure of faith needed.

Faith isn't like a ride at the fair where you have to be this tall before you get on.

Does your faith measure up? It does? Great! Then you will be blessed in this life and in the next!

It doesn’t measure up? Ah sorry, things aren't going to work out for you in this life and you can forget about heaven. Too bad you didn't have just a bit more faith.

Do you have enough faith?

Wrong question.

Do you see the problem with this question?

The trouble is that it makes it about you.

Jesus hits on this when he talks about “faith like a grain of mustard seed” (Luke 17:6).

It’s not about the amount or measure.

Its not about you and your faith.

It’s really about in what do you have faith.

Or more accurately, in whom do you have faith.

Mixing this up places your focus where it shouldn’t be.

It’s like when you notice those floaty things in your eye. You don’t pay attention to what you are looking at. All you see are the floaters.

Faith that is preoccupied with faith takes its “eyes” off of Jesus.

Faith isn’t some kind of virtue or quality in us that makes us lovable to God.

Faith is a gift of God to us the receives God’s gifts.

God grants us faith that we might be “faithful,” full of faith in what he has accomplished for us through Jesus.

And when you look at your faith, don’t expect to see much of anything at all - because there is nothing to look at.

Instead, look to Jesus. He is the author and perfector of your faith.

Understood in this light, Jesus said that if your faith were as small as a mustard seed, you could move a giant mulberry tree by telling it to jump into the Sea.

That’s how potent faith is because it is God’s work, not ours.

Now God isn’t interested in our moving mulberry trees but in forgiving us for our sin. He’s interested in giving life to all of us who were dead in our sin.

And he does so by grace through faith all for Christ’s sake.

Faith justifies. The righteous shall live by faith.

The power of faith is not in faith itself, but in Christ to whom faith clings.

It’s like the power of what we see is not in our eyes but in what our eyes are looking at - the light going into our eyes.

The power of God to save you is not something inside, but is something outside of you that comes to you through faith.

The power of faith is in the receiving - and even the tiniest glimmer of faith, receives the fulness of forgiveness, life, and salvation that Jesus died to win.

Do you have enough faith?

Wrong question.

The right question is do you have enough Jesus?

And Jesus isn't stingy with his love, grace, forgiveness, and salvation.

In fact, it seems he is downright irresponsible with it.

He’s the sower who throws the seed everywhere - not worried about where it lands.

He’s the shepherd who seeks after his one lost sheep.

He’s the one who throws a party after finding a lost coin.

He’s the father who runs out to welcome home his wayward son and has a big celebration because his lost son is found.

With Jesus, you always have enough.

And how do you know you have enough Jesus?

Our Lord provides us with certainty - and we just witnessed Ariel receive that certainty, she received all that Jesus accomplished for her, when she was baptized.

You too received Christ’s forgiveness, life, and salvation when you were baptized.

In Holy Baptism you were clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness that covered all your sin.

St. Paul says, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For is we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:2-5).

Our Lord provides us with certainty when he comes to us in his true body and true blood in Holy Communion.

We read in 1 John chapter 1:7, “The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

Do you have enough faith?

Wrong question.

Do you have enough Jesus?

Yes, there is no doubt about it.

And because you have enough Jesus, you are cleansed of all of your unrighteousness. Your sin is forgiven. You have the certain hope of everlasting life.

In life and death, Lord, keep me
Until Your heaven I gain,
Where I by Your great mercy
The end of faith attain. Amen.
(LSB 587)

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.