Understanding Simple Faith

Why Simple Faith is So Different Than Genie-Faith

Matthew 8:1-4


I.         Introduction ()


A.      There is a lot of confusion about prayer


1.        Some people make it Mystical – an unknowable act, that mysteriously communicates with a great Unknown

2.        Some make it Magical – a way to get ANYTHING you want!

3.        Some make it Methodical – how to pray and walk with Jesus in six easy steps


B.       There are some basic things we need to understand about prayer

1.        Prayer is our real dependence upon the Lord – you are not depending upon the Lord in your life if you are not praying

2.        Prayer is the beginning of the answer to our needs

3.        Prayer is as vital to our lives as breathing is


II.       Message


A.      Stepping Our from the Crowd (Mt 8:1,2a)


1.        Large crowds surrounded Jesus


a.       A very popular guy

b.       Jesus had just spent the last few hours teaching chapters 5 - 7

c.       People came to


1)       Hear Him preach

2)       See Him work miracles

3)       Watch Him take on the Pharisees head to head with the Scriptures, and do it with authority


2.        But just because lots of people are attracted to Jesus, and even interested in His teachings, doesn’t mean


a.       That they are Christians

b.       That they really care to know Jesus

c.       Many, if not most just want more free food, and to see some new miracle done by way of entertainment


3.        But there was ONE person in that crowd


a.       A leper - a terrible disease – very sick, and very contagious

b.       A man with no hope outside of a miracle of God

c.       A man willing to pay the price to get answered prayer!


4.        Here was a man who did three unusual things: (notice this man, and learn about PRAYER)

a.       He Broke rank – he did the unexpected


1)       Notice the “behold” (8:2) – people were surprised to see this man pushing and pressing through the crowd to get up to Jesus – a good man here!

2)       He had somehow heard Jesus teaching Mt 5-7 – normally, lepers were to keep well away from people due to being so contagious

3)       After Jesus finished, this man set out with the greatest of determination to get right up to Jesus

4)       As did the woman with the twelve years of haemorrhaging


b.       He Bowed down – worshipped a MAN


1)       You just don’t do that!

2)       I know people do it all the time today – music stars, football players – but it is SO wasted

3)       Most women are getting tired of worshipping MEN today

4)       Shouldn’t have been doing it in the first place

5)       But JESUS – well, HE is a different story altogether

6)       The king of Israel said (2Ki 5:7), “Am I God, that I am sent to, to recover a man of a leprosy?” Christ proved himself God here, by recovering not only this man, but many from leprosy.


c.       He Bowed-out – he gave up and turned everything, and I mean EVERY thing over to Jesus!


1)       Allowed God’s will to be up to God

2)       A Calvinist wouldn’t pray – it is fate

3)       Here a man wanted to KNOW God’s will

4)       He wanted to know if God had a different will than how he currently was! AMEN!


d.       This is the best approach to God


1)       Not: Demanding, or Commanding – “In Jesus’ name…!”

2)       But rather (Jam 4:13-15)


a)       Discovering – what is it GOD wants through this situation?


(i)       The will of God is a great thing

(ii)     If God be for us, who can be against us?

(iii)    NOT that God gets on OUR side

(iv)   But that WE get doing what GOD wants!

(v)     Who God thinks we should marry

(vi)   The job God thinks best for us

(vii)  The best way


b)       Worshipping

(i)       Loving

(ii)     Adoring

(iii)    Respecting – if Jesus is GOD, then He is to be respected


c)       Fulfilling God’s will


B.       Standing Only by Faith (Mt 8:2b)


1.        What is it that moved the heart of Christ to change this man’s situation? Not this man’s need, or his goodness – it was his Faith (Heb 11:6)


a.       Not just “faith” – hope, or a blind guess in the dark

b.       But instead, a sure system of belief that has been already give to us


1)       In the Bible (Jude 1:3)

2)       In the life of Christ (Gal 2:16,20)


c.       Faith is living by the instructions of God’s written word

d.       It is a confidence in God enough to obey Him when it seems impossible! THAT’S HOW TO LIVE folks!


2.        This man knew the Scriptures (Isa 35:4-6). You can’t be living by faith if you don’t live this Bible!

3.        He knew that if Jesus were the Messiah, He could do anything (Cf Mt 13:58; Mk 9:23)

4.        It all depended upon Jesus just wanting to act on his behalf


a.       Remember the thief on the cross – obtained salvation all by faith

b.       Anyone who ever gets access to God, does so by faith in Jesus


5.        Do you see that:


a.       Ro 5:2  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

b.       1Co 2:5  That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

c.       1Co 16:13  Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

d.       2Co 1:24  Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.


C.       Sensing the Touch of the Saviour (Mt 8:3) – my favourite part!


1.        Most people talk to God, and try to live right, etc., etc., but have never experienced  Jesus reaching down and intervening in their situation (Ps 40:1-4). We all miss this truth here


a.       The Lord wants us to know He cares

b.       The Holy Spirit is here to comfort us – yet few know of His comforting power


2.        To be able to sense the Lord in your life…


a.       You will have to be still

b.       You will have to be soft – touchable

c.       You will have to be different – you can never be the same


1)       If you just want to remain the same, He cannot reach you

2)       It is only for the person wanting to be changed that Christ reaches down and transforms them

3)       Don’t we all know how much this world needs to be transformed?!


3.        The truth is all the more powerful in prayer


a.       You need to be still to know the Lord’s presence - patient

b.       You will need to be soft – not hard, and angry

c.       You will need to be changed through prayer

d.       Stay at your time in prayer until all three are active!!!


D.      Submitting to Christ’s Will for the rest of the Life (Mt 8:4)


1.        Isn’t it unusual, that people will submit to Christ’s will to save them, and answer their prayers…

2.        But when Christ’s additional will is expressed, we see it as hard, or strange, etc

3.        Here is Jesus giving this new man, some new marching orders


a.       No showing off - No grabbing the headlines – just live differently – it will be self evident – no hiding it!

b.       Just go and affect the religious crowd

c.       These weren’t orders for everybody Jesus met (Mk 5:18,19)

d.       Every once in a while, Jesus would have people go and present them before the Pharisees, so that THEY, the Pharisees would have to acknowledge that Jesus could not have been only a good man – this is what moved Nicodemas to come and meet Jesus late one evening!


4.        Anybody who has been transformed, saved, born-again, you would think, would gladly do ANYTHING the Lord wanted after that!


a.       Are you saved? It was because it was God’s will

b.       Are you growing? It is God’s will that you grow as a Christian


1)       In confidence witnessing

2)       In spiritual health – less and less complaining and bad attitudes

3)       In obedience to God’s words


c.       Are you searching to know more of God’s will


1)       Get alone and be still for a while

2)       Get the hardness out of your heart, and be soft for a change

3)       Realise that the will of God will always be so that you are different – and that means more different than you want to be


III.     Application


A.      What is the Right Approach to God in Prayer?


1.        Honesty – about who and what you are – God already knows. He just wants to know if WE know!

2.        Singular worship (Cf Acts 8:37)

3.        Submission – to the lordship of Christ

4.        Surrender – allowing God to decide what is best in your situation

5.        Confidence – knowing that Christ can do anything needed

6.        Right desires – to be clean, victorious over leperosy/sin – now THAT’S a good desire


a.       Not to be successful

b.       Not to even be accepted by others

c.       Not to be wealthy


7.        Patience – ability to wait on God


B.       The Results of Touching heaven


1.        Heaven reaches down to us

2.        God changes us – transforms us

3.        God loves us – you know it when you have spent ANY time with him in prayer and in His word


C.       The Reasons Why God Answers impossible Prayers


1.        Not so you can go around and show off

2.        But so that you can live


a.       Differently

b.       Confidently – as a child of God

c.       Obediently


IV.    Conclusion


A.      Are you saved? God’s will is that ALL would repent and be saved

B.       Are you praying?

C.       Are you getting ANSWERS to prayer?