Such Great Faith

Recognizing The Importance Of Putting Your Faith In Jesus

Dan Franklin
Jul 30, 2023    45m
The story of the centurion from the Book of Matthew chapter 8 helps us recognize the importance of putting our faith in Jesus. , Our behavior matters, but it flows out of our faith. Jesus makes it clear that being in the family of God is not about where you come from but rather who you trust and where you put your faith. Video recorded at Upland, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Life Bible - Such Great Faith
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Rich Shores: [00:00:19] Good morning, Church. The good news, Jesus is alive. Isn't that amazing? Many religions of the world worship somebody that isn't alive. But we have a Savior who's alive. Amen. Amen. Well, my name is Rich Shores, and as we were worshiping today, I was thinking of how important it is that I'm here today and how important it is that you're here today. But not just today, but every Sunday, how important it is.

Rich Shores: [00:00:55] Let me illustrate. A couple of weeks back, I had to have eye surgery because my vision over time had become yellow and cloudy, but it was over time and I wasn't able to, and I didn't notice it because it took so long. Right? Well, I went to an eye doctor and he was able to correct that. And so let me just say, God isn't going to do surgery on us today, but he is going to refresh our vision every week we come. So if you're here today and you're not quite sure why you're here, know this, God is refreshing your vision of his truth. Amen?

Rich Shores: [00:01:38] Well, I have the privilege of reading today's sermon text, and it's one of my most favorite ones. So if you have your Bible, I still need glasses, though, even though I had eye surgery. Turn to Matthew chapter 8, and we're going to be reading verses 5 through 13, the section on the faith of the Centurion, "When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” 7Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” 8The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment." This is God's word.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:09] So this morning we are starting into a new section in our journey through the Gospel of Matthew. We just, a couple of weeks ago, we just finished going through the Sermon on the Mount, the longest continuous teaching of Jesus in all the Bible. In that section, he lays out what it looks like for us to live with Jesus being our King. And just a quick review, I know some of you weren't around every week, I know it's the summertime, but some of you were around for a lot of the weeks. What are some of the subjects that Jesus covers in the Sermon on the Mount? No, I'm actually asking you. What are some of the subjects that Jesus covered in that section? All right, seek first his kingdom. Yeah, but anger, absolutely, he talks about anger. Somebody else? Giving to the needy. Yeah. What else? What was that? I still can't hear you. Shine the light, absolutely. Worry? Yeah. Worry was a big theme that we talked about in chapter 6. Storing up Treasures in Heaven, yeah, a lot of different passages having to do with money. There's a whole bunch that Jesus covers in these three chapters. I encourage you if you're ever having a time where you're like, you know, I'm trying to do my Bible reading, but it's feeling a little dry or I'm feeling disconnected from Jesus. And the Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5 through 7 is such a great passage to come back to because it's Jesus really laying out for us this is what life looks like if Jesus is your king. Like, if Jesus is your king, this is how you handle worry. If Jesus is your king, this is how you handle money. And if Jesus is your king, this is how you handle prayer and anger and judgment and all of these different subjects that we encounter in life. We live with Jesus as our king. And now as we move into chapter 8, and the following chapters, we move into a section where we get to see the king on the move. He's not done teaching, but there's going to be a lot of action in these sections and there's going to be action that revolves not only around teaching but around healing and miracles. We're going to see one of those miracles today.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:21] But first, I want to let you know just what to expect through this next section of Matthew, because up to this point in chapters 1 through 7, we covered every section, and every passage in a verse-by-verse way, and we're going to do it a little bit different through the rest of the Gospel of Matthew because you may know this is a pretty long book, there are 28 chapters. And so the way that we're going to handle it from here on out is instead of going passage by passage and verse by verse, each week, we're just going to go through one passage, verse by verse in each chapter. So what I mean is today we're going to be in one passage in chapter 8, next week, we're going to be in one passage in chapter 9, and so on and so forth.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:03] And here's why we're doing this, because we felt like, all right, there's a few options other than doing it this way. Another option other than doing it this way is we could say, all right, we could do a chapter a week, but we could just cover everything in the chapter instead of just one section. And that'd be fine, but it would be like we'd just get a surface discussion of a whole bunch of really deep passages, so we would miss getting to go deeper into what's going on here. And so then the final option other than that is we could say, well, let's just go through passage by passage like we've been doing. We could do that; we would be in Matthew for about three more years. Now, some of you are like, bring it on, that's fine. And it's not that that's bad, but we think sometimes we can actually miss what's going on in a book of the Bible because we're too much in the trees and we're missing the forest, we're missing the big picture. So each week, even today, I'm going to look to give some big-picture things about other things that happened in chapter 8, but each week we'll focus in on one specific passage where either Jesus is teaching or acting or healing, and through that, whoever's preaching is going to also try to catch us up and make sure that we're seeing some of the surrounding content. Does that kind of make sense? Yeah, even if it didn't, it's what we're doing, so. But I do want all of you on board with it.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:24] Today, we get to go through a healing passage, which is appropriate because most of chapters 8 and 9 are about healing. We have at least 11 individuals healed and then some other statements about general healings that Jesus does. But we're going to zero in on one specific one, the one that you heard Rich read just a few moments ago in Matthew 8, verses 5 through 13. So I do encourage you, even though I'll have the verses up here on the screen, if you have a Bible or a Bible app, turn there because I am going to refer to some things that happened before and after this, and it'll help to have an open Bible.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:59] But here's what you can keep an eye open for as we go through this passage. In this passage, we're going to learn something, first of all, something really important about Jesus. Which in some ways is always what we're doing through the Gospel, we're learning something really important about Jesus. And then secondly, we're going to learn something really important about faith. Something really important about Jesus and something really important about faith.

Dan Franklin: [00:08:26] But I love this story, so let's just jump in and let's experience the story as it unfolds. So here's what happened, starting in verse 5, "When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help." Now, Capernaum was a city in Galilee, and that's mostly where Jesus was when he was preaching and doing miracles and gathering people around, Capernaum ended up sort of being his base of operations at different points in his ministry. So he's back there after the Sermon on the Mount and a centurion comes to him asking for help. And here's the reason why this is surprising, the centurion is not a Jew. What is he? He's a Roman. Rome is occupying Israel at this time; they are not on friendly terms. The Jews are not excited about the Romans being there, so it's surprising, especially this early on in the Gospel, to have Jesus interacting with a Gentile. And a centurion was not just a Roman, but a Roman soldier, and not just any Roman soldier, but a Roman officer who was probably over 100 different soldiers. Which even if you hear the word centurion and you hear the word cent, kind of century, 100 soldiers probably under him. So he is pretty important when it comes to all of this stuff, he's pretty high-ranking. And he's coming to this Jewish itinerant preacher and healer asking him for help. Because we read in verse 6, “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”

Dan Franklin: [00:10:06] And the word that's used for servant here implies probably a young boy, so a young man here. And the servant was probably a valued member of the Centurion's household. So he's not just treating this like, hey, he's got to get back to work, get him up, he's clearly deeply distressed over his servant being sick. It says it lies at home, paralyzed and suffering terribly. The words that are translated into this, they're all kind of generic words about sickness and paralysis, so we don't get the details. But here's what we do know, we do know that Jesus almost certainly was not the first resort for this centurion. He would have had different resources because of being high up in Rome. He would have had access to plenty of other doctors, not just Jewish doctors, but Roman doctors. So he was probably at the point of desperation, and this is probably a last-ditch effort to come to Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:07] And one of the cool things about this passage we'll talk more about this later is that he's face to face with Jesus, but in a way, he's praying, he is coming to the Son of God asking for help. And even though in this passage he doesn't ask a specific question, we all know what he's asking. My servant is at home, he's paralyzed, and he's suffering terribly, please come and do something about it, please come and heal him. I've heard that you can heal, I have some information on this, if you can do anything, that would be wonderful.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:38] In verse 7, we get Jesus's response, "Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” Now, just to pause quickly on this, I want to pause because some of you, if you have an open Bible and it's a version of the Bible other than the New International Version which we have here, it might read a little bit differently. It might read, "And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him.". Instead of a question, a statement. And if you go back into the Greek, it could be either way. If you go back into ancient Greek, they don't have question marks there, we just discern from the context whether it's a question or whether it's a statement. The NIV is probably right here, it could go either way, but it's probably right that it's a question. But either way, whether it's a question or whether it's a statement, Jesus is implying that he is willing to come and do something about this. He's either saying, all right, you want me to come to the house and heal him, or he's saying, I will come to the house and heal him. So Jesus responds positively, this is about as good as you could get if you're the centurion in this situation. Basically, this is an answered prayer. Come to Jesus, my servant is hurting, can you do something about it? Jesus says, I'll go ahead and come, or do you want me to come? The response from the centurion is what really makes this story different.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:02] In verses 8 and 9, "The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof." Now just please understand this is not false humility here, this man is desperate, and this man deeply cares about his servant and wants to see him healed. He thinks that Jesus may be the last chance he gets, he is not delaying through false humility here, that would be totally out of character with the rest of the passage. And some people think that the reason the man doesn't feel worthy is because he's a Roman, he's like, you're a Jew, I'm a Roman. That's possible, but it's unlikely because it probably would have been the flip side. If you're a Roman, you probably feel like the Jews are not worthy of you. But he says, I'm not worthy for you to come under my roof. Instead of this being about like, hey, you're a Jew and you would be ceremonially unclean if you came here, this is much more likely this man just recognizing the basic reality that every human being has to come to realize, and that's that we are unworthy sinners. This man knew he was unworthy of who he had at least come to suspect was somebody pretty important. He recognizes his sin, he recognizes his unworthiness, and every single one of us has to come to a point at some point in our lives of recognizing we are not worthy of God, we are all sinners asking God to show mercy instead of entitled people asking God to do what he's supposed to do.

Dan Franklin: [00:14:50] He says, "I'm not worthy for you to come under my roof, but just say the word and my servant will be healed." Just say the word, we're going to spend some time on that in just a few minutes. Just say the word, he says you don't even need to come, you don't need to show up. I know that you can just declare it from here and my servant would be healed. And this is important because this would be a break from Jesus' normal pattern of healing. If you're familiar with the way that Jesus normally healed, how did he normally heal people? He would touch them. In fact, in the passage right before this, in Matthew 8 verses 1 through 4, he touches a leper to heal him, which has deep significance because nobody was supposed to touch a leper because they were unclean and contagious. But Jesus breaks through the barrier, touches the leper, and has him healed. Jesus would touch the eyes of blind people, touch the ears of deaf people, touch the tongue of somebody who wasn't able to talk. Jesus frequently healed with touch, and so this man is believing that Jesus can do something that apparently, he hasn't yet proven he can do.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:00] Why does he believe Jesus can do this? Because of what He says in verse 9, he says, "For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” This man says I know that you can do it from where you are right now because I understand authority. He says I'm a man under authority and I have authority over others, he's saying Jesus has the same. If we're drawing a parallel here, this man has soldiers and servants under him as a centurion, and he's saying Jesus has servants too, and the servants are disease and demons and weather, and he can just tell them what to do and they will do what he says.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:47] Now I want to pause because there's an element of what the centurion says here that I think is really easy to miss. And that's that, look at what he says in verse 9, he doesn't just say I am in authority. What does he say? He says, I am under authority. He says, I am both under authority and in authority, which is weird. And all I can tell you, until this week, I don't think I really understood that there is a level to which I hadn't got what he was saying here, even though I was familiar with this passage. Because every time he'd said, I'm a man under authority, I'd always thought, well, you don't need to say that because your point has to do with the fact that you're in authority, but I was missing something that he was getting at. This man is saying I'm in authority over other servants and they do what I tell them to do. But you know why they do what I tell them to do? Because of who is the authority over me. I was sent, not on my own authority, but by a tribune who was sent by a governor who was sent by the emperor. I bear the authority of the Emperor, of Caesar, when I tell a servant what to do, and so they do it. He's saying I'm under authority, and that validates the authority that I have over others, and he's pointing out that he believes that the same is true about Jesus. He doesn't just think that Jesus has authority, he thinks that Jesus was sent by the ultimate authority, that Jesus has come in the name of God, and when Jesus speaks, he is speaking reality based on the authority of God. This man has a pretty profound belief about Jesus. He says I know you can just say the word because not only do you have authority over all of these, but they are going to listen to you because you come and the authority of the one true God.

Dan Franklin: [00:18:45] Now, quick side note. Luke records this story also in his gospel, in chapter 7. It's the same story, there are a few details that are added in Luke which might give some insight, and that's that it says that there were actually Jewish leaders who came to Jesus and advocated that he do this healing for this centurion. And they say you should do this healing because he loves our nation, and he built us a synagogue. So there's some indication that this centurion had at least a soft place in his heart for the Jewish people, and maybe even he had started to believe that they were on to something with their beliefs about God. So he comes to Jesus, and he says, I know that you can do this, you don't even need to come to my house, just say the word, just say the word and it'll happen.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:40] I mean, how many of you like going out to eat? All right, I like going out to eat. There are lots of reasons why I like going out to eat, one of them is because we're a family of five, and when we go out to eat, everybody ends up happy. You all get to order what you want. You know, there could be other cases where it's like, all right, tonight we're having, you know, we're having pasta and maybe, you know, four people are happy and one is a little bit bummed. Or tonight we're having fish, and one person is happy and the other four are bummed. You can guess which one's happy when we do that. When you go out to eat, everybody ends up happy, so that's one of the things that I like about going out. But here's the other thing that I like about going out. When you go out to eat, even if it's not a fancy place, even if it's fast food, but even if it's not a fancy place when you go out to eat, it's one of the few times that we get to experience saying a word and having it become reality. When we tell them what food we want, what word do we use to talk about what we do? We order. We order our food, we tell them what we want, and that food shows up. So I can be at a restaurant, and I can say I want a steak. And then they say, how would you like that done? I say, oh, thank you so much for asking, I would like that medium rare because the older I get, the bloodier I want it. And then they say, all right, well, what do you want to drink? And I say, I'd like a glass of, let's say, soda for this one. I'll take a glass of soda. Well, what soda do you want, sir? Well, let me see, what soda do I want? I want a Pepsi, bring me a glass of Pepsi. Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. I don't care, I'm the one ordering. And what would you like, would you like vegetables or potatoes? Easy choice, I'll take a whole bunch of potatoes. Do you want more bread for the table? Actually, I would like more bread for the table, make more bread come to the table. And sir, after all of this, would you like dessert? You know what? I'll decide, I will let you know. And when it comes time, if I say I want dessert, dessert will come, and if I say I don't want dessert, dessert will not come because I just say the word and it happens. But even as great as that is, we still, even when we experience that, we're not experiencing the ultimate sense of saying the word, because sometimes they say we're out of that. Sometimes they say we only have Coke products and you're like, you guys are the worst. There's a limit to even in a situation like that, and not to mention at the end of the day, you're going to have to pay money for the food, we're not experiencing this ultimate reality that we say something, and it becomes reality. Who speaks and it becomes reality? God, this is what God is.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:40] You go all the way back to the story of Genesis. Genesis 1, where we find out, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3And God said..." You know, there are other passages in the Bible that kind of artistically depict creation as God forming it, even though he's not physical, the idea of God forming it like an artist. But in Genesis 1, in the foundational passage about God's creation, we hear in the beginning God said, and it happened. God said, Let there be light, and there was light. God said, let there be vegetation, and there was vegetation. God said, let there be stars, and there were stars. God spoke and reality changed. Here is Jesus being told by the faith that Centurion, all you need to do is say the word, and I believe reality will change.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:42] And for all of us here today, this has implications in our lives in multiple ways, but none more direct than our prayers. We are praying to a God who all he has to do is say the word and reality changes. And so we come to him with whatever is burdening us, we come to him, and we say, I'm dealing with all kinds of anxieties, I'm dealing with all kinds of worry, and I'm stressed out. But Jesus, I know that if you just say the word, I'll have peace that passes all understanding. So please, Jesus, just say the word. And we come and we say, I've been looking for a job for a while and I haven't been able to find it and I need some money to come in, I need some income. And so I'm stressed, and I'm applying, and I'm trying different things, but Jesus, I know if you just say the word, reality will change, and I will be given a job. And we might pray over health issues, or we might pray over temptations, we might pray over different things that we're dealing with and that we want to be gone. And we can know, just like the centurion here, Jesus, if you just say the word, it's gone. And this is huge news for our prayers, this means we pray confidently. We're not praying to a God who will say, I'll do my best, we're praying to a God who just says the word and things change. It's good news, but then it also runs into confusing or even hard news, because every single one of us, even if you're very young, has had at least one time in our lives where we asked Jesus just to say the word and he didn't, or at least he didn't say the word we asked him to say. The sickness didn't go away. The job didn't come through. The person didn't change their minds. The temptation didn't instantly evaporate. We asked Jesus just to say the word and it didn't instantly change.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:48] A lot of you know, I refer to this passage a lot, but in Second Corinthians Chapter 12, we get a powerful time where this happened to the Apostle Paul. The Apostle Paul, you would think, man, if anybody's in good with Jesus, it's Paul. He wrote half the books of the New Testament, traveling around, he's like the greatest Christian ever, but he had something that he called the thorn in the flesh. We don't know what it was except that we know he wanted it gone, and he cries out to Jesus three times, take this away. In essence, he's saying, just say the word and I know it'll be gone. And that's not the word Jesus says, the word Jesus says is, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Jesus says, I have a different word to say, I could say the word and this thorn in the flesh would be gone instantly. But I have a different word to say, and that's that this right now, this thorn in the flesh, whatever it is, in essence, Jesus is saying currently, it is my servant, and it is doing my work in your life, keeping you humble and keeping you dependent upon me. Everything in our lives is a servant of Jesus, and if it's lingering around, it's because it still has a purpose that he's using. That boss or that teacher right now that you're saying, God, get them to transfer, get them out of my life, they're making my life miserable. Jesus might say the word and have them transfer. Or Jesus might say, they are my servant right now to build patience and endurance in you. That temptation right now that you're like, Jesus, I know you could just say the word and I wouldn't even want this anymore, whether it has to do with anger or jealousy or lust or gossip or greed, you're like, Jesus, just say the word and I won't struggle with this any longer. But in some ways, Jesus is saying to us that temptation right now is my servant to keep you humble and dependent upon me.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:53] If you want to know how far this goes, even let me read you a passage in the Book of Acts. In the Book of Acts, Peter is praying, and listen to what he prays to God about what happened when Jesus died. He says in Acts 4:27, "Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen." Evil people gathered and conspired, and in the end, they were God's servants doing exactly what needed to happen. It doesn't exonerate them from evil, what it means is that even disease, even trial, even really difficult people, even sickness, even injury, these are all God's servants. In the snap of a finger, he could cast them out, and if it hasn't been cast out, that means that they are still serving a purpose in our lives because all he has to do is just say the word. This is what we learn about Jesus. I said we'd learn something about Jesus and something about faith. This is what we learn about Jesus, that when we come to him, we are coming to the one with all power and all authority in heaven and earth, and all he has to do is say the word.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:35] But the story goes on because we get to see how Jesus reacts to this statement from the Centurion. Starting in verse 10, it says, "When Jesus heard this, he was amazed." Jesus was amazed. Have you ever thought, about what would it take to amaze the Son of God? This guy's statement amazed Jesus, this is actually the same word for amaze that's used later on in chapter 8, when Jesus stills the sea when the disciples are out on a boat. It says they were amazed at what he did. Jesus is amazed at what this centurion just says. And here's what he says to those following him says, “Truly I tell you; I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. This is where we're moving into what we're going to learn about faith. He says, I've been around and in the whole nation of Israel, they have God's Word, they have God's promises, they have all this info, and I haven't found anyone with the same level of faith as this foreigner.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:38] He goes on in verses 11 and 12, he says, "I say to you that many will come from the east and the west." And when he says the East and the West, what he's basically saying is outside of Israel, outside of the chosen people of God, many will come from the East and from the West and will take their places, literally will recline at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. And what Jesus is talking about here is what some Jewish scholars talked about as the messianic banquet. It was this great future that was promised where God's anointed would come and the nation of Israel would finally be experiencing peace and victory and prosperity, and they would all be reclining at the banquet with the great fathers of the faith, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But Jesus says people are going to come from the East and the West, it's not just going to be Jews, it's going to be non-Jews coming in and getting in on this banquet. And then he says in verse 12, But the subjects of the kingdom, literally the sons of the kingdom, the people of Israel, will be thrown outside into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Now, Jesus is not here saying no Jews are going to be a part of this. But what he's saying is some Jews are not going to be a part of this. And any Jews who are a part of this aren't going to be a part of it just because they're Jews, just because they're Israelites. Many are going to come from far away and get in on this, People are going to be at the banquet who you don't expect to be there, and people who you think or assume would be there are not going to be there, they are going to be left outside where there's weeping and gnashing of teeth. Here's what we're learning about the nature of faith here. What we're learning about the nature of faith is that who you trust is more important than where you came from.

Dan Franklin: [00:32:36] Now, one of the unfortunate things that we've done in the English language is we've kind of separated out faith and trust as if they're two very different things, like faith is sort of what you believe in your head. But trust is really about the heart because, in the Bible, faith, belief, and trust, they're all the same. They're the same idea, when we are called to believe in Jesus, the implied idea is that we are trusting Jesus. We're not just believing that He exists, the demons believe that. We are putting our trust in Jesus, and Jesus is making clear it's more important who you trust than where you came from. Because we've got this Roman centurion who is from the wrong nation and the wrong ethnicity, and he's doing the wrong job, and yet he is going to be part of the messianic banquet, he is going to be part of the kingdom of heaven. And we've got Jews who have grown up being told all the true stories about how God was at work, and some of them are going to be left out and they're going to be left out because they have not put their faith in Jesus. Who you trust is more important than where you come from.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:47] More on this in a minute, but first, let's look at how this passage ends. Verse 13, The man already said, Jesus, I know all you need to do is say the word. And then in verse 13, it says, "Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would." And I love how the wording is there, let it be done. It sounds a lot like, let there be. God says, let there be light and there is light. Jesus says, let it be done, and it was done, his servant was healed at that moment. Jesus said the word and reality conformed to what he declared.

Dan Franklin: [00:34:30] Let's go back to that idea. What is it that we learn about faith? What we learn about faith is that who you trust is more important than where you come from. Faith is at the center of what we do as Christians. You can follow me on this one, Ephesians 2:8 says, "We were saved by faith." We were saved by faith and not by works. Second Corinthians chapter 5, verse 7, says, we currently walk not by sight, but by faith. There are things that we haven't yet seen, but we still believe. And Hebrews 11:1 says that it is impossible to please God without faith. Faith is right at the center of our lives. It's not that our behavior doesn't matter because our behavior flows out of our faith, but at the end of the day, what Jesus is making clear is that the most important reality of whether you are in the family of God or not is not where you come from, but is who you trust, where for your faith is. The Centurion's faith was placed in Jesus, many of the Jew’s faith was placed in their own ability to obey and to accomplish what God had told them to do.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:54] Now, this whole idea, this means several things for us. Some of you, I didn't make this phrase up, some of you have heard the adage, God doesn't have any grandchildren. And that whole statement, God doesn't have any grandchildren, what that means is that nobody inherits Christianity from their parents. And some of you might feel like if somebody asked you, how long have you been a Christian, you would say, I was born a Christian. I was born a Christian. My parents are Christians, I was born a Christian, and so I just am a Christian, unless I decide to do something to not be a Christian. That's actually not the reality, you weren't born a Christian, no one is born a Christian, you were born a sinner. You were born a sinner in desperate need of salvation.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:42] I think one of the reasons why we struggle so much with the doctrine of hell, and I'm not trying to act like hell is something that's easy to swallow. But I think one of the reasons why we struggle so much and just push back so much against the idea of hell is because we think our default setting is that we deserve heaven unless we really do something to screw it up. We think, well, my default setting is that I'm heading to heaven unless I do something really bad, and then maybe I need some help like Jesus dying for my sins. None of us deserves heaven, none of us has earned heaven, and we all begin in a state of sin and guilt. We are appropriately guilty before God, and we are headed toward judgment, but God sent His son. God stepped in to rescue us. God has no grandchildren. This is why we sometimes say to our sons, we're like, all right, you're our sons, but because of your faith in Jesus in a much greater way, you are our brothers. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter our age and no matter our ethnicity.

Dan Franklin: [00:37:54] So one of the realities we all need to take in is there might be some of you in here right now that you've basically been functioning as a spiritual grandchild of God. You've never really had a faith of your own, this has just been the default. And maybe sometimes you're around the church when you feel like you need it, and then sometimes you disappear when you feel like you're doing pretty well, and then you come back because this is just your default setting. Nobody ends up in the family of God because you're from the right country or from the right neighborhood or from the right family, we all need to come to a point where our faith is not our parents or our grandparents or our neighbors, but our own. So if anybody here is coming to the reality where you're like, I've just kind of assumed I'm ushered in by those around me. I want to invite you to place a faith of your own in Jesus. That doesn't require a pastor, that doesn't require a baptism, that doesn't require anything else other than you coming to Jesus and saying, I have come to the end of myself, I know that I'm guilty, I know that I'm lost, I know that I'm a sinner, and I know that my only hope in life and death is Jesus and His sacrifice for my sins and his resurrection, I place my trust in you. Today can be the day that you go from being somebody on the outside to being brought into the family of Jesus. And even though I just said you don't need a pastor there for any of that, after the service, a bunch of us on the prayer team are going to be upfront. And if any of you feel like I'm not sure, or I think I need to do this right now, any of the people who are upfront would love to walk with you through that.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:40] But there's another element to this, and that's this, some of you feel like you grew up in the wrong family. You came from the wrong place. And maybe it's not even the wrong family, you just have the wrong background. You're like Dan, you don't know what I've done, you don't know where I've come from. And even if you're a Christian, you deal with just plaguing doubts that God couldn't really receive you. Please hear this, it is not about where you've come from, it is about who you trust. The question is not how bad were you? The question is how strong is Jesus? Jesus paid it all, and every time the enemy comes to you and plagues you with accusations, you get to look not yourself and say, no, I've turned my life around, you get to look to Jesus and say, He said, from the cross, it is finished, and when he declared it, it became reality. And I think about this any time I'm talking to somebody who's not a Christian and they just say, I can never be well, I can never be brought in. You don't know what I've done. You don't know what I've said. Not only do we get to claim this reality, but every time we're talking to a non-Christian about Jesus, we get to come with the reality that it doesn't matter where you've come from, it matters who you trust.

Dan Franklin: [00:41:09] Now, one last implication of this, there's not a person in this room that doesn't have an area of faith right now where God is calling you to trust him. For all of us, there are multiple areas, but for all of us right now, there's probably one that stands out. For some of you, it's physical and you're like, I'm trusting God even in the midst of this disease or this injury or this pain, and I'm trusting him that he's good and I'm asking him to do things but it's hard right now, it's hard to trust him. For some of you, it has to do with money or with financial provision. For some of you, it has to do with an area of temptation or an area of difficulty that you're just asking God to bring some help into. There's some area of your life right now, but most of you probably have it in your head, if you don't try to take a moment and say, what is the crossroads? What is the battlefield of faith right now for me? And when you've thought of that battlefield of faith, here's what I want you to remember, you get to boldly and confidently go to the throne of grace where Jesus is seated. And when you're going to the throne of grace, you're not only going to somebody who welcomes you in, you're going to somebody who only needs to say the word, and reality changes. So it really means one of two things is going to happen when you commit this to prayer. Number one is that you are going to ask, he is going to speak, and reality will change. Number two is that that difficulty in your life right now is God's active servant shaping you into who you would never be without his intervention. Either way, we go confidently and boldly to the one who only needs to say the word.

Dan Franklin: [00:43:03] I'm going to ask you to bow your heads and I want to pray for us right now on this. Father, thank you so much that you have blessed us with not needing to be from the right country or the right ethnicity or the right family or the right background or the right behavior, you welcome us all in the name of your son who paid for every sin and conquered death for us. Father, I pray that right now, I pray that you will make uncomfortable those who are not rightly secure, but who need a faith of their own so that they will be led to trust in you. And Father, I pray that you will comfort those who are wrongly disrupted by the enemy, believing that they could never be welcomed. Help them to know that it's not about where they've come from, but it's about who they're trusting. And Father, with all the burdens that we cast on you right now, burdens about our bodies and about our health and about our money and about our relationships and about our temptations and about our future. Father, we cast all of these burdens on you, knowing that you care for us. Father, we pray that you speak into reality, greater things than we would even imagine. Father, we pray that we come back with answered prayers and stories that were celebrating, and we pray that we also come back with a greater perspective over how you are using your servants, even our trials in our lives right now. I pray this all in the name of our great Savior, Jesus. Amen.

Dan Franklin: [00:44:50] And I'm going to invite you just to stand, and I'm going to read a word of benediction over us that I think is appropriate. As I'm doing it, if you're a member of the prayer team, you can make your way to the front so that afterward people can come. But let me read as a benediction, Romans chapter 8, verses 31 and 32, so we're just remembering the one that we're coming to, "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" Amen? Amen. God bless you for the rest of this Sunday.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848