We cannot serve God if we don’t understand God
Reading: Luke 17:1–10
Additional readings: 2 Timothy 1:1-14, Isaiah 55: 9-11
Jesus Christ often says to his students:
Because with God, all things are possible.”
Do you know what it's like to have faith?
Were you able to do things because you have faith?
When I just became a Christian, I didn’t know what Jesus is saying here.
I could not understand the word “faith.”
You know, I was not familiar with that word.
But at that time since I was a young Christian, God really helped me.
I knew that God is with me and loves me.
So slowly I learn to have faith.
But when I experienced faith, I felt like it was like understanding.
I understood what God would do.
I understood God would do things because God loves me and people.
I had no doubt about that.
I just knew.
I had faith.
Then I experienced what other people said impossible.
I'm sure you experienced something like that.
When we understand God, we have the faith of Jesus.
Then we know what will happen.
We just know.
We just know God’s will will be done.
Jesus is God who is powerful.
God can do great works.
So when we understand, we pray in God’s faith.
Then God can do beautiful works.
But if we don’t have faith, we don’t pray.
We don’t forgive others.
We don’t obey God.
So let’s think about how we we have faith:
When we pray through the Bible, then we understand God.
We understand who God is.
We understand what God can do.
So we start thinking in faith.
We love God and wait for God’s words.
Then when God says, we believe.
When God gives us his words of blessings, we believe.
We know that God can accomplish that.
When we pray, we also experience that the faith of Jesus coming to us.
Then we pray according to God’s will.
We pray to follow Christ.
We speak in faith because we believe in Christ Jesus.
We may speak in faith for others as well.
Then God will help other people as well.
When we have faith, we live very thankfully because the Holy Spirit does all the works.
We go some places because the Holy Spirit guides us.
We do things as the Holy Spirit helps us.
But then there are those who doubt about what God says.
Even when God says “I will bless you,” they doubt.
And sometimes their doubts win.
Also there are those who add doubts in people’s mind.
As they speak, they may reduce your faith.
The more that person speaks, the more you disbelieve God.
So you may not want to be with them very long.
I also have some people like that.
When I talk with them, I get upset inside.
The more they talk, the more they attack my faith.
Probably they don’t know.
For them everything is hard to achieve.
For them everything is difficult to do.
So it seems that things happen according to their faith.
Because they do not have faith, they work harder and try harder.
But because they do not have faith, they could not accomplish much.
Have you talked with people that?
They may not even know what they are doing.
I confessed I was like that when I was in seminary, as I read many books that discourage faith.
It almost destroyed my faith.
Before I went to seminary, I pray for healing.
I understood that Jesus healed people.
So sometimes, people got healed.
When I read about Jesus healing many people, I believed:
Sometimes, Jesus said:
“Your faith has healed you!”
Then many people got healed.
I believe that.
When Jesus faced the stormy sea and the stormy winds, Jesus simply said:
“Be calm. Be still.”
Then the winds stopped.
And the storm was gone.
I believe that.
I believe that Jesus can do miracles.
But when I read those books that discourage faith, I found myself start doubting.
Then when Jesus asked, "Where is your faith?”
Then I might have said: Where was my faith?
Without faith, nothing goes well.
So I wanted to know how to have faith again.
But then there is also those who have a wishful thinking.
Wishful thoughts do not have power yet.
When we bring our wishful thoughts to God and see what God says about that, then we may have faith along with God’s words.
I pray for someone who always dreams for himself.
He is smart and wants to make his name known.
But I am not sure how much this person understand God.
Without understanding God, he might not be able to progress very much.
God works through those who understand God.
When we understand God, we may move on with God’s words.
Then we can do good works because God is able to help us.
So when we discover something is God’s will, we have faith.
We know what God will do.
So when we understand God’s will, we move forward.
We experience God’s abundance in our life.
We follow Jesus.
Jesus is powerful.
Jesus is God who can do great works.
So we need to understand him.
Then we may pray and receive God’s faith.
Then God can do beautiful works.
Today, Jesus seems asking:
"Where is your faith?
Do you understand God?”
May Jesus help us.
May we understand God and believe that we can do what Jesus is doing.
One time the students of Jesus felt they had some sort of faith.
So they came to Jesus and asked:
“Jesus, forgive our unbelief.
Can you increase our faith?”
Then Jesus was like: (Luke 17:6)
“If you have faith, as small as a seed, you can command this mulberry tree to be uprooted and plant itself in the sea.
And it will obey you.”
Jesus was like:
If we have faith, we can speak in faith.
If we have faith, we can command the world around.
If we have faith, we may say, “Let here be God’s revival!”
Then it will happen.
But those who have no faith will say:
“Well, now, hold on, Jesus.
Don’t be silly.
If you want to move a tree, you gotta dig and uproot it.
Put it on a truck.
Drive into the sea and plant it there.
If you don’t want to do that, you can hire someone else to do it for you.
That is how you get it done.”
That is how we think when we have no faith.
We try to do it.
We try to make it happen, because we don’t have faith.
So it is more difficult to live without faith.
But then some may say:
That would be nice.
I mean today we command the tree to be moved.
Then tomorrow we find out that someone has moved the tree.
We may not know who did it.
But the tree is moved.
That would be great.”
Well, yeah, we may want someone else to do that.
We may not want to know how exactly it happens.
We may just want to know someone else has figured that out.
But that is not the faith that Jesus is talking about here.
Jesus is talking about something more, isn’t he?
He is talking about moving a tree by faith.
By speaking to it.
Did Jesus really mean that?
Jesus means it.
Think about how Jesus lives:
When Jesus wanted to calm the wind, wave and storm, Jesus spoke to it in faith.
Then the wind and the waves obeyed him.
When Jesus healed the paralytic, Jesus said:
“Pick up your mat and walk.”
The the paralytic walked.
With faith, Jesus turned the water into wine.
With faith, Jesus walked on water.
So when Jesus moves a tree, he would not hire someone to dig and uproot a tree.
He would speak God’s words.
Jesus would use the word of faith.
Then his word will accomplish what he says.
So Jesus is saying to is students:
“Speak what you believe in faith.
It will happen.
Speak in faith and see what happens.”
But if we don't have faith, we may need to work harder.
Then Jesus may also have to put up with our unbelief.
We may drag Jesus down.
So Jesus may feel like saying:
“It is really difficult to work with you because you don't have faith to walk with me.”
We know that the faith work positively and negatively:
You know this already.
So we say:
“Be careful what you wish for.
You just might get it.”
We say these words, because some of us wish for something and we got exactly that.
We experience something like that in our life.
Another proof that the faith works is placebo effect.
What is placebo?
It is like this.
A doctor gives a pill to a patient, saying:
“This will cure you.”
Then the patient believes it and gets cured, even though it is just a sugar pill.
Things happen according to our faith.
A documentary film said that there was a research done to 4 different knee patients.
They were told that two of them would get fake surgeries.
After two years, they would announce who got the fake surgery.
But interestingly every patient got healed.
Everyone thought that they got the real surgery.
But two years later, two of them were told that they got fake surgeries.
They were surprised, because they felt so much better after the surgeries.
They could walk a long walk.
They were playing basketball with grandchildren.
But they were healed by a placebo effect rather than surgery.
They were healed because they believed.
So do we believe in God?
Do you believe in God?
Do I believe in God?
Things has been happening according to our faith.
So we know why Jesus wants us to speak in faith.
When we speak in faith, we will work easily with Jesus.
That is why God wants us to live with the faith of Jesus the Christ.
God wants that we use our words in faith in order to live with Jesus.
So let’s speak in faith.
Then it will happen.
We can speak in faith if we understand God.
Then it will happen.
Let’s speak in faith:
God renews us, uses us and blesses us.
God will accomplish God’s will through this church.
God blesses this Albany area through this church.
God will use this church to bless over 10,000 people.
We are God’s church.
If you do not have this kind of faith, be quiet so that those who have faith may speak.
Let the words of Jesus work here.
Then things will happen.
With God, all things are possible.
So if we understand God and speak in faith, it happens.
If we speak in faith for God, God’s desire is accomplished on earth.
If we understand the faith of Jesus Christ, we can live like Jesus.
If we understand God, various things and coincidences will happen into our path.
If we understand God, we will have new ideas and thoughts coming from God.
When we have faith, we can serve God and people.
When we get closer to God and have faith, we may join in God’s movement.
Then we may serve the world through our faith.
That is what God wants.
Jesus, help us to understand you and why we are here.
Help us to speak in faith and live in faith.
In Jesus name we pray.