< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Christ's Definition of Faith

Monday, May 14, 2012

Christ's Definition of Faith

Mark 10: 13-16 13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Jesus begins to define faith in this passage and continues through verse 27. In verses 13 through 16 He defines faith as humility (a child’s faith.) We just talked about this from the other passage, but He’s illustrating it again because it’s so important. The disciples were being prideful sending the children away. They were being a roadblock to people who wanted to come to Christ. Something no one should do. And Jesus becomes indignant.

He said the kingdom of Heaven is made up of people like the children. People with humble simple faith. He even said if you don’t have that kind of faith you won’t enter it at all! We should never add anything to the simple message of the gospel. Jesus calls and He saves. After we are saved we work at learning more about Him and becoming more mature in our faith. More deep.

Mark 10: 17 -22 17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

The second way Jesus defines faith is allegiance. We know from the three gospels this story is in, that the man here is rich, young and a ruler. He asks the right question to the right person: “What must I do to go to Heaven?” He calls Jesus good Teacher. He knows God is good. But he also thought he was good. Just not good enough to get into Heaven. He wanted to know what he still needed to do. He was asking Jesus what one more thing could he do that he hadn’t already done.

He didn’t understand goodness, which is: God is good and no one goes to Heaven on their own works. We go to Heaven because of God’s mercy and Christ’s work.

The rich, young ruler said he had kept all the commandments. It was all about his actions. So with love Jesus pointed out what he was missing. It’s love because He wasn’t going to sugar coat anything. It was too important. He told him to repent of his materialism and follow Him.

What he lacked was allegiance to Jesus.

At the end of the story the man chose his possessions and went sadly away.

There are four questions we can ask ourselves to see where our allegiance lies:

1.      What do you give your time to?

2.      What do you give your energy to?

3.      What do you give your money to?

4.      What do you think about?

To show your allegiance to Christ you must show your allegiance to His bride, the church. That’s why we promise to give our prayers, our presence, our gifts and our service to the church when we join.

Mark 10: 23-27 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

The third way Jesus defines faith is dependence.

The only way to achieve eternal life is by depending on Jesus Christ. You cannot save yourself. But He can certainly save you.

The reason it’s hard for a wealthy person to enter the kingdom of Heaven is because they are used to depending on themselves. Jesus used an example of impossibility; a camel going through the eye of a needle. And the amazed disciples asked, “Well then who can be saved?”

And Jesus answered them, “It’s impossible for a man to save himself, but not for God. With God all things are possible.”

We can depend on Him!

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