Simplicity: Discovering Contentment
"whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do..." (John 14:12)
53 And when Jesus had finished these parables, He went away from there, 54 and coming to His hometown He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all His sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” 58 And He did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:53-58, ESV)
1 And when He returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that He was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And He was preaching the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:1-12, ESV)
"Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the certainty of things unseen" (Hebrews 11:1)
Faith leads to excited gathering!
"1 And when He returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that He was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door."
Faith leads to zealous determination!
3 ...they came, bringing to Him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near Him because of the crowd
they removed the roof above Him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.
Faith leads to astonishing awe!
" 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven
"... they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”
It is not people of faith that others should stand in awe of... but rather, it is among people of faith that others will stand in awe of Jesus!
"Churches don't need new members half as much as they need the old bunch made over!" ~ Billy Sunday
"Revival is not just an emotional touch: It's a complete takeover!" ~ Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Ephesians 5:14 - "...Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
"The God who made us, can also remake us" ~ Woodrow Kroll
Week 1 - Rewarding Faith
There are many parts of Sunday’s passage that are demonstrative of a rewarding faith--a relentless commitment to the one whom is known as Jesus! One of the more amazing things we see in the passage from Sunday is that these men, wanting to get their friend to Jesus and being unable to do so, climbed up onto a stranger’s house, ripped the roof open, and then lowered in their friend at the feet of Jesus. What an example of a relentless and rewarding faith! They knew Jesus’ power and were so focused on gaining access to the one thing (Jesus) that could heal their friend they would not allow anything to become an obstacle--even ripping off the roof of a stranger’s home!
There are countless stories in the bible of a radical and rewarding faith. Take a few minutes as a group and brainstorm some of them. Take the time to reflect on and discuss them.
One example that fits the mold of being a relentless and rewarding faith is that of the woman in Mark 5:27-34. Read this passage aloud as a group.
2. What can we learn plainly about this woman from this passage?
3. Knowing what we do of her, take a moment to speculate about this woman’s state of mind. What would expect of her attitude?
Yet we still see this woman as determined as ever. She has not given up hope--she has merely heard reports of JESUS and realizes that this Man can heal her! She had so much faith in the power of Christ, that she only needed to touch His garments. What a remarkable statement of faith and belief. But what made this act so ‘full of faith’--why is this so radical? Let’s look to the scriptures!
4. Why was it wrong for this woman to touch Jesus? (hint: Lev. 15)
5. In v30 JESUS perceived that power had left Him turned to the crowd and asked, “Who touched me?” Even His disciples were perplexed at this (v31). Think about this…why did JESUS ask this question?
6. So, what is the difference between the faith that healed her physically (v29) and the faith that healed her spiritually (v34)?
Much like the friends of the paralytic from Sunday’s passage, this woman has many reasons to give up--but they both persist in their faith and ultimately experience healing. They truly exhibit a rewarding faith, a model of faith that we can learn a lot from. How determined are you to find audience with Christ? How radical and unrelenting is your faith? Will you let obstacles keep you from knowing Christ and experiencing Him, of will you display a rewarding faith?!