Sermon from our Red Deer Church – Daring Faith Pt 2 – Brad Shattock
Last week Pastor Nick started a new sermon series called Daring Faith, so what is it? Let’s take a look and see the three keys of a faith that we’re going to learn to grow. So the first thing God wants you to grow in your faith, he wants us to grow. He doesn’t want you to stay where you are, he doesn’t want you to stay a spiritual baby; he wants us to become adults, adolescents and then adults I guess. So Colossians 2:7 says, “Let your roots grow deep into him and let your lives be built on him, then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught and you will overflow with thankfulness.” So first I just want to pray. Lord God I thank you for this opportunity to be here this morning, and I pray that you just give me the words to say, that I won’t stumble, that words will come out right. I pray that people would take this to heart and that there would be something for everyone to learn today in Jesus name, amen. So that’s the first.
The second thing we’re going to learn to sow in faith, we’re going to learn to become generous. “Why?” you may ask, “I don’t want to be generous.” You can’t become like God without becoming generous. 2 Corinthians 9:6 says, “Remember this, a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.” So, the more you give the more you receive back. Have you ever heard, “you reap what you sow”? That’s what this verse is saying, it applies in all areas of your life. If you sow love, you’re going to reap love; if you sow criticism, you’re going to reap criticism. You always reap more than you sow. So when you plant one seed in the ground it grows into a plant and it produces many seeds. You get back more than you give, positive or negative, it doesn’t matter; whatever you’re putting out there you’re getting back.
So the third thing, God wants us to go in faith. Hebrews 11:8, “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land, that God would give to him as an inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.” There’s that word “go” – God called Abraham to go and it was by faith, faith that he went without knowing where he was going. Living by faith involves saying yes to God even though you have no idea the outcome. When you say yes without knowing you’re trusting God and his plan; that’s what faith is. So, why do we want to grow in our faith? Here’s a couple verses to sum it up. “It’s impossible to please God without faith” – Hebrews 11:16. “According to your faith, let it be done to you” – Matthew 9:29. And Romans – “Everything that does not come from faith is sin” – Romans 14:23.
We want to grow our faith so that we can please God. What can we expect from going through the Daring Faith series? Well, I’m glad you asked. So the first thing, we’re going to expect to see miracles. We’re going to see miracles, and I’m going to get a little more in-depth on this later on in my sermon, but when people trust God, when they take risks and go for it in faith, God moves. God isn’t compelled to move by our complaining; anyone here with kids will understand this. When my son is complaining and he’s whining for a toy and throws a fit because of it, it definitely doesn’t make me want to give him the toy, I don’t get compelled to move. And if I don’t get it fast to him, it doesn’t make… so when he’s throwing a fit, it doesn’t make me want to give it to him – you all understand this. And maybe it’s just me, but complaining doesn’t motivate me at all, so why do we think it’s going to motivate God? God is compelled to move by faith. When my son listens, even though he doesn’t understand why, when he is obedient and he doesn’t complain, it makes me proud as a father. Those are the actions that compel me as a father to do something, so that’s how we need to treat God, because when we need to treat God the same way as a child being obedient, that’s when he’s compelled to move.
So the second thing we’re going expect is to grow spiritually too, you can expect to see spiritual growth. To grow spiritually is to grow closer to God, and who doesn’t want that. Your relationship with God is going to grow, you’re going to get to a deeper understanding of God’s will in your life, of God’s call. Who wants to see some spiritual growth here? I know I do. I want my roots to grow deeper so I can stand firm when Satan comes to push me off course, which is actually the third one, not as fun. You can expect to see Satan hassling you, you’re going to have some difficulties going through this. Satan doesn’t want us to learn to live by faith, he’s going to try to distract you to keep you from growing. He’s going to try everything in his power, there’s going to be thoughts of doubt, it’s going to be fear, trouble at work, he’s going to try to divide your marriage, there might be other crises that we don’t know. He’s going to do anything he can to distract you from growing in faith. And the fourth thing we can expect out of this it’s to experience joy. You can expect to experience joy when you give in to God and let go of your doubts and say, “I’m here God; use me.” Or you take the step of faith, there’s nothing like it. You take a step of faith, you don’t know what’s going to happen, but you do it because you know God called you to do it, and you get an overflowing of joy. That’s been my most joyful times is when I’ve just said, “Yes God.”
So now that we have an idea of what faith is and what to expect, I’m going to spend the rest of my time talking about how faith in Jesus turns a little into a lot, how to get ready for a miracle. We’re going to learn how to prepare for a miracle, to do that we’re going to take a look now one of the most famous miracles that Jesus performed, and it’s Jesus feeding the 5,000. We all know this, right? Most of us, maybe. How he took one boy’s lunch and was able to feed 5,000 men and their families; that’s a lot of people. Which it’s really is a story about how Jesus took a little and he turned it into a lot. So, what we need to know and understand, why do we need to know and understand these principles? Is because there’s going to be times in our life when we need God to take a little, take the little we have and turn it into a lot. We’ve got a little energy, we need a lot of energy, we got a little talent, we need a lot of talent. Got a little opportunity, we need a big opportunity; got a little bit of money, we need a lot of money. Whatever it is, there’s going to be times when we’re going to need a lot, and it’s going to be God who does it for us. So, many times in life God is going to need to turn a little into a lot in your life.
You might be thinking to yourself, “How does God turn a little into a lot?” That’s what this story is all about, and that’s what we’re going to learn about. Jesus never did miracles just to show off, he didn’t turn water into wine just to get people to like him, he wasn’t trying to impress the cute little girl in the corner; no, he did it for a reason. He did them to teach us spiritual truth, and the spiritual truth of Jesus feeding the 5,000 is how to prepare for a miracle in which God can take a little and turn it into a lot. This miracle is so important that it’s the only miracle in all four gospel – it’s in Matthew, it’s in Mark, it’s in Luke, and it’s in John. Whenever God tells you something four times he’s saying, “Hey, hey, you should listen to this one, you should be paying attention.” I don’t think he put it in the Bible just because he likes to hear the story; it’s for us. So Mark 6:30-44, “The Apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, ‘let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile’. He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place where they could be alone, but many people recognized them and saw them leaving, and people from many towns ran ahead along the shore and got there ahead of them. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, ‘this is a remote place and it’s already getting late, send the crowd away so they can go to nearby farms and villages to buy something to eat.’ But Jesus said, ‘you feed them.’ ‘With what?’ they asked. ‘We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to pay for all this food.’ At that moment the disciples, they began to panic, ‘Are you crazy? We can’t afford that many pizzas, where can even get that many pizzas? And we would need a semi to deliver them all, what are you thinking?’ But Jesus replies, ‘How much bread do you have?’ he asked, ‘go and find out.’ They came back and reported, ‘We have five loaves and two fish.’ Then Jesus told the disciples to have the people sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of 50 or 100, and Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up towards heaven and bless them. Then breaking the loaves into pieces he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. He also divided the fish for everyone to share. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward the disciples picked up 12 baskets of leftover bread and fish. A total of 5,000 men and their families were fed.”
So out of this we can see four steps to preparing for a miracle, and here’s the first one – admit I have an unsolvable problem, unsolvable. You need to admit to yourself you have an unsolvable problem. If you don’t have an unsolvable problem, then you don’t need a miracle. If it’s not unsolvable then you have a solvable problem and you should just solve it. If you have a toothache, you don’t need a miracle, you should see a dentist to get a filling. So, once you realize it’s a situation you can’t solve on your own you need to admit this. I know sometimes I just keep forgetting about it, we’ll get to that. So, back to Mark 6, “When Jesus saw a large crowd he had compassion on them, so he began teaching them. Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a remote place and it’s already getting late, send the crowds away so they can go to nearby farms and villages and buy something to eat.’ But Jesus said, ‘You feed them.’ ‘With what?’ they asked. ‘We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people.'”
So, from this verse we see three typical responses when we have an unsolvable problem. We all do this, I definitely do this – the first thing, we procrastinate, we pass the responsibility on and we worry. The disciples did all three of these first. The first thing, procrastination. When we have a problem we can’t solve, we just keep putting it off, it’s in the corner I don’t have to worry about it. And we hope it goes away, which it never does; it’s still there, it’s still a problem. We know it won’t get better, we know it won’t go away, we know we need to deal with it, but we just keep putting it off acting like it doesn’t exist. In this verse it says, “Late in the afternoon his disciples came to him.” They waited till late in the day to address the problem, they waited all day, “It’ll deal with itself.” They had all day to figure it out, but instead, “Nah, we’ll do it at the last minute when we realize there actually is no way for this to fix itself.” Procrastination only makes the problem worse. One time I had an ingrown toenail, sorry to gross you out. It was so bad that with every step it hurt, and I procrastinated this for over a year until I went and actually dealt with it. I was in so much pain, I finally dealt with it, and the next day it felt so much better, I could have saved myself all that trouble. So do you guys have a problem that you’ve been procrastinating about? Is there something in your life that you’re pretending isn’t there when it actually is? A problem maybe?
So next thing we do, we just pass the responsibility. We shift the blame from ourselves and make it seem like it’s someone else’s problem, and that it’s someone else’s problem to deal with as well. The disciples said, “Send them away. Just send them away, it’s not our problem.” They were they were saying “It’s not our responsibility, not our problem that these people came. We didn’t tell him there was going to be food, we didn’t tell them that we’re going to feed them, we didn’t even ask them to come. So just send them away and let them deal with it themselves.” They were passing the responsibility. But Jesus said, “You feed them.” And the disciples go into stress overload, “Oh, no,” they replied, “with what? No. We’d have to work for months to earn that kind of money. I don’t have that kind of money, that would drain my savings. I just got it saved up, I wanted to buy this car and now you’re telling me to feed these people.” There’s no faith in that answer, there’s no faith in panicking. It’s not going to help us, it’s not what Jesus called us to do. So the point is, they’re procrastinating, passing the responsibility, and they’re worrying. Meanwhile, they’re talking to Jesus, this is the guy they watched heal people, they watched him cast out demons, they watched him calm a storm by talking to it, the guy spoke and the storm stopped. They’ve seen this power firsthand, and yet they’re still panicking.
Has God ever asked you to do something impossible? I know he asked me. Have you ever replied with, “I don’t have time. I don’t have time for that. I got to bring the kids to soccer, I got to all this. I’ve got a movie date tonight, no I don’t have time for God. I don’t have the money. God, I’ve been working so hard, I’ve been putting all my money into groceries and paying the bills, I don’t have money for this, it’s not my problem. I don’t have the energy, I’ve been working all day and you expect me to go do this, I can’t Lord, I got no energy left. I don’t have an education, I’m not smart enough. Lord, you’ve got the wrong guy.” Do you start to panic and stress out when God ask you to do the impossible? Moses, he said, “Not me Lord, I can’t speak.” Jeremiah said, “I can’t, I’m too young.” And then we’ve got Isaiah, and he said, “Use me God. Here I am, send me, I’m ready.” That’s what we need to be like. God tells us to do the impossible; why does he do that? He wants to stretch our faith. When God is asking us to do what we think is impossible, he wants to stretch our faith in him. Have you ever gone and worked out at the gym, anybody? Why do you do that? It’s to get stronger, it’s to work your muscles so you can lift more, for some reason. By working your muscles you get stronger.
When God asks us to do the impossible, it’s like going to the gym for our faith. Our faith grows when we are challenged. So the first principle of a miracle is to admit I have an unsolvable problem, that’s it. Number two, give God what little I already have. So Jesus said to his disciples, “How much bread do you have? Go find out.” And when they came back they said five loaves and two fish. One little boy has brought lunch, just one little boy; that’s what the Bible says anyway. Well I think maybe there were a few other people who brought lunch too and just didn’t have the heart to give. Maybe the disciples came by and said, “Hey, does anyone have a lunch?” and they hid it behind them, “No, I don’t have lunch, this won’t help anybody.” I don’t know I’ve been selfish like that before, it doesn’t help. This boy becomes a hero because he’s willing to give the little lunch he had. So, why did Jesus say, “Find out how much bread you have”? He didn’t need anything to perform a miracle, he could have just said, “Bread for everyone” and pizzas start raining from the sky and everyone’s fed. He doesn’t need what we have, he doesn’t need it. So the reason is, God starts with what we have is because… that is the reason, God starts with what we have, he wants to work through us. So it may not be much, but I need to give it to God. I don’t have much talent, but here’s the talent I do have. I don’t have much time, but here’s the time I do have. I don’t have much money, but here’s what I got Lord, take what I have and use it. I give you everything in my life, my reputation, my heart, my soul, my future, it’s not much, I don’t know what it is, but I’m going a give it to you anyway. I’m going to give it to you and I’m going to let you use it for whatever you want.
In John it tells the story a little differently, John 6:5-6. “Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip he asked, ‘Where can we buy bread for all these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. Jesus asked, “Where can we buy bread?” He asked Philip, “where can we buy bread” just to test him, just to see what he was going to say, because he already knew what he was going to do. Jesus already had a plan, but he wanted to test them. When God asks you to do the impossible, he’s not sitting there worried, he’s not thinking, “I hope he doesn’t do it, I don’t have a plan.” This guy says, “Yes. Oh, I don’t know what to do.” No, that’s not God. He has a plan long before you even decide what you’re going to do. God has a plan before I even know the problem. He has a plan and a solution before you even recognize that there’s a problem. So why are we worrying? God has a plan; we just need to remember this. That’s why the secondary principle is give what little I have to God, you’re giving them your finance, time, energy, worry and saying, “God, this is in your hands and I trust your plan” – which is actually our third principle.
Number three is put at all in the hands of God, Jesus. I put it all in the hands of Jesus. In John it says that the disciple Andrew finds one little boy who brought a small lunch. I’m guessing he didn’t have five giant loaves of Wonder bread, just carrying a bag and two trophy trout, he didn’t have these giant fish; that’s my guess, I don’t know for sure. He probably had some muffin-sized loaves and maybe a couple perch or sardines, some little tiny fish, probably wasn’t much, it was just a lunch, it wasn’t it wasn’t a feast. This kid became a hero because he gave all he had. The Bible says in Mark 6:41, “Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, bless them, then breaking the loaves into pieces he kept giving the bread to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people.” So God will use whatever I give him, it may not be much, but I give him what little I have. If I give God the little time I have, the little energy, finance, effort, no matter how little it is, he’s going to use it. Remember the woman who gave two pennies, and the rich guy gave a whole boat load, but the woman who gave two pennies gave more in her heart because she gave all she had to God. The rich guy gave boatloads of money, but it didn’t matter, he had he had a whole castle full of money. The little boy gave willingly, gave cheerfully, and he gave immediately, which are also keys to a miracle.
This boy gives willingly, it doesn’t say much about his attitude, but I’m guessing the disciples didn’t put him in a headlock, “Hey, give me your lunch.” They probably didn’t force it out of him, they probably didn’t take him out back and beat them, he probably gave it willingly. Would you guys give your lunch? Let’s put it in terms we might understand a little better. The Centrium down that way, it holds just over 7,000 people. So now let’s say you’ve been there all day and for some reason they’re not serving food. Some long event, people are getting hungry, they’re getting frustrated, and the guy comes up on the mic and he’s like, “Hey, does anyone have a lunch they want to share with us all here? We’re all getting pretty hungry.” I know the first thing that would come to my head if I had a lunch would be, “This lunch won’t even feed my row, let alone everyone here.” There’s 20 people in row. Could you imagine being the only one to bring up a lunch, you’re walking up, you see this guy, you’re way in the back, you’re in the bleachers. This guy is walking up, he’s got this little lunch bag, hands it over. I don’t think I’d have much hope of getting food that day, I don’t think I’d be eating. But that’s what the Bible says happened. The Bible says this kid brought up his lunch, he brought up those five loaves and two fish, and Jesus just kept handing it out for everyone, “Here you go, keep going.” And at the end there are 12 baskets full. It doesn’t make sense, right? The boy brought up his lunch and they just kept going. I think the boy did it cheerfully, I don’t think he was complaining. He didn’t say, “Oh man, why do I have to give up my lunch?” No; he did it immediately, no hesitation. He’s seen the need and he gave; that’s what we need to do.
Which also brings us to number four – we can expect God to multiply it. The first three principles here bring us to number four. Without the first three there can not be a number four. So here’s a reminder of the first three – admit I have an unsolvable problem, give God what little I already have, and put it all in the hands of Jesus. Remember what happened to Mark, 6:42-43. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward the disciples picked up 12 baskets of leftover bread and fish; how awesome is that? They had as much as they wanted, it was like they were going to Red Lobster for all-you-can-eat lobster, it just kept coming. Everyone was blessed in the process, and so was he. You’re never going to multiply what you have if you don’t give what you have to God – basic math, anything multiplied by zero is still zero, it doesn’t matter the number. If you give God nothing, you’re going to receive nothing. But if you give God what little you have, he can take that and multiply it, he can take that and turn it into a miracle.
I’ll give you an example of this in my own life. When I was in school I dreaded, dreaded doing speeches. We had to do it in English class every year, three-minute speech, man my life was over. It was terrifying, and it was the only day of the year that I would try and get out of school, it was the only day of the year I would pretend I was sick and give my mom the hardest time, and she never fell for it. Every year I would get up in front of my class and stumble my way through it, people didn’t even know what I was saying. When I finally graduated I thought it was over and that I would never have to get in front of people again. We see that I was wrong there. My fear kept getting worse, until I came to the point where I would get people to speak for me, and I would only speak around my friends. This fear paralyzed me. If we were in a group of people, I would get a friend to speak for me and I wouldn’t say a word. I was terrified to speak. When I started coming to church here and I got baptized, Pastor Chuck said, “You got to say some words, you got to tell your story.” So I got up here, I held the mic, and I said a couple words, and it probably made no sense to anybody. I think it was only like five or six words, and then I hopped in the tank and we got it over with. One day when me and my wife were getting premarital counseling, we were up in the office upstairs with Pastor Chuck and I told him I can’t speak. He asked me a question, I said, “I can’t speak, ask Jess.” And I can’t quite remember the exact words he said to me, but was something along the lines of “God gave you a voice to use it. He didn’t give you a voice to be mute.” So I took that to heart, and that changed my life; but I didn’t realize how much at the time.
Soon after that I was asked if I would help in the kids church by Rob, he put me on the spot. And the first thing that came to my mind was, “I don’t want to do this. I have no desire to be around kids in the first place.” That’s what I was thinking at the time. The second thing, I don’t want to talk in front of kids, I don’t want to be up there, I don’t want to talk. I hate it. I’m scared. But I said yes. I knew that God had asked me to do this, so I said yes. I didn’t know what it was going to look like, I was terrified, but I gave it to God; I said yes. I gave him the little bit I had and it wasn’t much I can tell you that. I wasn’t confident, I was terrified because I didn’t know what the outcome would be but I knew in my heart that it was God calling me, and that if I said yes to God that he would be there with me. It seemed impossible to me; but it wasn’t impossible to God. Because I was willing to give God what little I had, that’s the only reason I can get up here today in front of you guys. He’s taken that and he’s molded it into something else, and I don’t think he’s done yet, I don’t think he’s done there. He’s going to continue, not just in me; in each and every one of you. If you give it to God he’s going to continue to grow it, he’s going to continue to multiply it. You just need to take the step of faith.
So the point of all this I guess is God likes to do miracles through people. He doesn’t like to just do them, he likes to do them through people, he likes you guys to step out in faith and say, “Use me.” He likes to work through every day average people, which is me. What we are waiting for God to do, he is actually waiting to do through us. God wants to use each of us for miracles. He doesn’t just want to do it for us, he doesn’t want you to just sit on the bench and say, “Hey, I need a miracle. Come fix my problem. I’m not going to do anything for you, but fix it.” That’s not what he’s here for; he wants us to step out. God is going to take what we have if we give it to him. He’s going to take it and he’s going to break it, he’s going to bless it, and he’s going to multiply it. He wants to do that in your lives, he wants to do that in my life still; every one of us. So are you guys willing to give God what you have? Are you guys willing to give them your time, your money, effort, energy, whatever you have? Not everyone’s got the same thing. What do you have? What are you willing to give God and trust that he’s going to take it and he’s going to use it and he’s going to multiply it? Because I believe that, I believe he wants to use every one of us here.
In Mark 10:27 it says, “All things are possible with God” – all things, anything. The ultimate example of this is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If God can raise a dead human being, he can do anything. If God can raise a dead human being, he can raise a dead marriage. If God can raise the dead human, he can raise a dead career. He can raise a dead dream, he can raise dead finances; God can do anything. Whatever is dead in your life, if you give that to God he can raise that from the dead; and the resurrection proves it. Genesis 18:14 says, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” It’s a rhetorical question, and the answer is obviously no. Nothing is too hard for the Lord, all things are possible with God. And the resurrection is the ultimate example of the greater the sacrifice, the more you’re willing to give to God, the more he can do with it. Jesus gave his life for the sins of every one of us, and through that we can all receive salvation; no greater sacrifice. Are you willing to give God what little you have and let him do miracles through you?
Now, I’m coming to the end of this. But before I pray for you guys I want to give you all a chance to take Jesus into your hearts. So I’m just going to say a prayer, you guys can repeat after me, we’re all going to bow our heads, so you can do that now. Father God, I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God, and that he died for my sins. I believe he rose from the dead for my salvation. I’m a sinner, and I ask you to forgive my sins. Jesus, come into my heart and cause me to be born again. Today I choose you as my Lord and Savior, in Jesus amen. Now, you can keep your heads bowed and eyes closed. If there’s anyone here who’s prayed that for the first time, you just put up your hand. This isn’t something to be ashamed about, this is something to be excited about. Alright, thank you guys. You can open your eyes again. I don’t really know how to recover from that.
So is there anyone here who would like to allow God to use them? Is there anyone here who’s willing to say, “God, I don’t have much, but I want to give it to you”? I’m going to pray for you guys, and if that’s you, if you want God to use you, I want you guys just to tell God what it is. You don’t need to tell me, I’m not the guy who can take it and multiply it, just tell God, just say, “I give you my time, I give you my energy.” Whatever it is, just say that. I’m going to pray here, so let’s all bow our heads. Father God, like it says in John 12:24, a seed has to be planted in order to multiply. So today Lord, I’m giving you my time, my energy, my finances, my marriage, whatever it is Lord I’m giving it to you. It’s in your hands, I’m letting go of all my worry and I’m going to trust your plan. I want you to use me God, take what I have and multiply it. Use me, use what I give you, and use it to bless people. Bless people around me so that they will know that you are the only God. I thank you God, and in Jesus name, amen. So, if that’s you guys just stay true to that, just give it to God and be honest; don’t hold back. Thank you everyone.
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