These are my notes from our 2/20/2011 church meeting.
Leader: Philip Weatherford
Let's consider "If I have faith as a mustard seed" what implications that can have on our lives as we strive to be a follower of Jesus. Let's also ask ourselves if I "Follow Jesus, but not too closely" will I have a hollow faith? Consider Mt. 17:20 and Mk. 11:22-23 and any other passages you might find that apply.
And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 17 Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.
(Matt. 17:14-21 NKJV)
20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” 22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
What implications does "the faith of a mustard seed" have on our lives?
We must have faith in order to please GOD (Heb. 11:6), and faith is the very first thing which must be established as we begin our journey from the "far country" back to GOD. Faith is our foundation upon which the relationship with GOD is built (Heb. 11:1). As Christians, faith is what we use to guide our walk (2 Cor. 5:7). Faith is required in every action we take (Rom. 14:22-23). Faith is our conduit to the Father and to the healing He provides.
Faith's Connection to Eden
It occurred to me while studying this week that a strong (if not perfect) connection exists between faith, little children and the Garden of Eden. You see, in the beginning before the fall, faith (at least in the way we know it today) was unnecessary because Adam and Eve enjoyed a perfect relationship with GOD where GOD interacted directly with them. They walked and talked together in the garden. When GOD created man and woman they were naked and didn't know it, therefore they knew no shame. They had no knowledge of evil, only knowing GOD. When Satan deceived Eve he told her that eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would make her "eyes opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen. 3:5).
Jesus repeatedly taught that a person must be like a little child in order to enter the kingdom of heaven (see Matt. 18:2-4; 19:13-15). Why is this? I believe it's because a little child exhibits perfect and complete trust in his/her parents, and that's how GOD created Adam and Eve—they were created to completely and totally depend upon and trust in GOD. A child has faith.
Sadly, however, as children age and mature they, too, learn of evil because we live in a sin-cursed world and the evil one is always on the prowl (1 Pet. 5:8) looking for those whom he may devour. So once a child reaches adulthood they must make the choice of faith or faithlessness—GOD or self. It's reality, but from the beginning it was not so. Maybe it's just me, but with this new realization Eden seems farther away than ever.
If I follow Jesus but not too closely, will I have a hollow faith?
In order to answer this question, let's consider to conversations of our Lord:
57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”
But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” 61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” 62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
(Luke 9:57-62 NKJV)
25 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. 27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
- By faith comes eternal life (Acts 10:43; John 3:14-16).
- We are justified by faith and, as a result, have peace with GOD (Rom. 5:1).
- We are forgiven, sanctified and receive our inheritance through faith (Acts 26:18).
- Faith is a choice (Matt. 9:27-31; Mark 9:23).
- Faith must be accompanied with "no doubting" (Jam. 1:2-8).
- Jesus dwells in our hearts through faith (Eph. 3:14-21).
- The shield of faith enables us to quench the fiery darts/missiles of Satan (Eph. 6:16).
- GOD tells us to cast all of our cares upon Him because He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:6-7).
- The LORD is my Helper, I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Heb. 13:6)
- Faith provides healing (Jam. 5:13-18).
With regard to the second question about following Jesus closely, others noted:
- John 10:27-28 – We must follow close to Jesus in order to remain in His hand.
- Matt. 19:20-22 – GOD must be most important in our life.
- Luke 6:27-38 – We must love our enemies and do good to those who mistreat us and hate us.
- Matt. 11:28-30 – Jesus is calling us to "yoke up" with Him and pull together in life. What a blessing!