TEXT: MATTHEW 17:14-20
THEME: The Object of faith
THESIS: The smallest of faith is effective when it is placed in the right object.
TEST: What is the object that makes faith effective?
TRANS: Our text describes three insights that define the object of effective faith.
A man was hiking along a fantastically high mountain side. On his left the mountain seemed to grow straight up into the sky. On his right was a cliff with a drop of several hundred feet. This man lost his footing and began to fall. Just as he began to fall he saw a branch sticking out of the edge of the cliff.
This man’s only hope of preventing his fall some hundreds of feet to the rocks below was to grab onto this branch. Now this branch was the man’s only hope and it was strong enough to support his entire weight.
Can this branch save him? Let’s say this man’s mind is filled with intellectual certainty that the branch will support him. If the man does not reach out and actually grab that branch he will fall to his death.
If this man’s mind is filled with doubts and uncertainty that the branch will hold him. If he is afraid that the branch will snap off or be pulled right out the mountainside, but he grabs it anyway and he is saved.
Why? Because it was not the strength of this man’s faith that saved him from falling. It was the object of his faith. The object of his faith was the branch.
Listen, strong, vibrant, exciting, and even zealous faith in a weak or dead branch is fatal. Weak faith, tiny faith in a strong branch can be salvation.
This means you don’t have to wait until you think your faith is large enough before you can begin attempting to serve God or belief God. That would be trusting in yourself at worst or trusting in faith at best. Working on the size of your faith before believing or trusting God would cause you to miss out on blessings, privileges, and opportunities given by God.
It is not the size of your faith, it is the object of your faith that works on your behalf to accomplish things.
The writer to the Hebrews stated, “…without faith it is impossible to please him…” (Hebrews 11:6, ESV.) There is no doubt that faith is essential to our Christian experience and life. In our human frailty influenced by sin we are prone to place our faith in wrong sources or objects. We are prone to place faith in ourselves, our abilities, our past accomplishments, or even in “faith” itself.
As a result, there are many times we attempt to serve God or do ministry with little or no “success.” We may mean well, we may even work very hard, while all the time we are simply spinning our wheels. It is important to remember that it is not the size or amount of our faith that is important. We must be clear on the source or the object of our faith.
Our THEME today is The Object of effective faith.
I propose to you today, that the smallest of faith is effective when it is placed in the right object.
What is the object that makes faith effective?
Our text describes three insights that define the object of effective faith.
Today’s passage is good for those who worry about the size or amount of their faith