Olsen Park Church of Christ

“O You of Little Faith”

Introduction. There are five instances in the New Testament where Jesus addresses His disciples beginning with the phrase, “O you of little faith.” This morning I’d like for us to look at these instances and consider what these accounts teach us about our own relationship to God.

I. Faith in God Should Elliminate Worry About Life. (Matthew 6:30; Luke 12:28).

  1. Analysis of Text: (Matthew 6:25-34)
    • vs. 26. Instruction > Do not “worry” about food, clothes Reason > Life is more than these things.
    • vs. 27-30 Argument from reason and experience proving the previous statement: 1. Example of birds (vs. 27) - fed by God > Humans are more valueable to Him; 2. Worry can’t add to stature > doesn’t accomplish what it promises; 3. Lillies (non specific flowers of the field) “clothed” by God,better than Solomon > Lilles temporary -- Human soul eternal. vs. 30 To think otherwise is to be “of little faith.”
    • vs. 31-32 Instruction repeated > Do not worry saying “what shall” Reason > 1. Gentiles seek these things; 2. God knows our needs.
    • vs. 33 “But”i.e. the alternative approach > “Seek the kingdom”First. > Promise -- “These things” i.e. needs “added to you.”
    • vs. 34 “Do not worry about tomorrow” > Reason: Each day has enough of its own concerns.
  2. Analysis of the text: (Luke 12:22-30)
    • vs. 22 - Adds “Do not worry about life.”
    • vs. 23 - Positive statement (instead of “Is not?”) “Life is more than”
    • vs. 24 - Not just “Bird” - “Ravens” - Can’t eat them, not pretty, not good for pets -- just scavengers. Yet God cares for them.
    • vs, 25-26 - Same as Mt. - can’t add stature -- Adds “can’t do the least why worry about the rest” i.e. adding stature is easy for God -- other things are as well.
    • vss 27-29 Parallel Mt.
    • vs. 29 adds “nor have an anxious mind” Gr. meteorizo meaning literally “to rise up high.” It is used of ships that are “put out to sea”being raised up on the waves. In this text that idea is used metaphorically of being at sea, but tossed about by the waves.
    • vs. 30-31 Like MT. don’t be like the “nations” = “Gentiles” but “Seek first the kingdom.”
  3. In Greek the word translated “worry” in both Matthew and Luke is the word merimnao. Zeller says that it refers to that which “monopolizes the heart’s concerns” (EDNT, vol. 2, pg. 408).
    1. It can be modified further as (as we saw inthe text in Luke) by the phrase the “cares of life” (Luke 21:34) described as something that can “weigh down” the heart and leave one unprepared for the Lord’s coming. (Luke 21:33-36)
    2. The idea is not that the Christian is unconcerned with anything. The word is used in I Cor. 12:25 of the “concerns” that Christians should have for one another. (I Corinthians 12:20-26) We are to have “concern” for one another.
    3. Jesus does not call us to a life removed from interaction with the world. We are not asked to live in a cave or on a mountain somewhere. We are asked to live in this world but with a limited concern for the things that are of this world. (I John 2:15-17)
    4. We are to be responsible with the things of this world. Because in doing so: 1.) We reflect a spirit that is led by God; 2.) We safeguard ourselves least the cares of this world distract us from service to the Lord.

II. Faith in God Should Carry Us Through Dangerous Times. (Matthew 8:26; Matthew 8:23-27)

  1. I have never been in a storm at sea, but I can’t imagine anything quite as frightening. You are in an environment that is not suited to human life and the vessel that sustains you is vulnerable.
    1. Compare: Apollo 13, on its way to the moon, two days into space, on April 11, 1970 oxygen tank exploded leavening the power and life support compromised and forcing them to use the Lunar Module as a life-boat. Space is an environment that is not suited to human life. The difference of course is that Jesus was on the boat with the disciples. Would the author of life allow wind and waves to overcome Him?
  2. The Christian must realize a few things about our life.
    1. We are in a dangerous environment (we just deceive ourselves into thinking it is safe). (I Peter 5:8-9)
    2. Jesus is with us. The author of life will not allow the “winds and waves” of life. To overcome his children. -- “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:18-20) -- “The Lord stood with me” (II Timothy 4:16-18)

III. Faith in God Should Carry Us Through Unfarmiliar Experiences (Matthew 14:31). (Matthew 14:22-33) In the Greek “little faith” is one word oligopistos from oligos meaning “little, smallof degree or intensity: light, slight” and pistos meaning “faith” (Thayer). It is an adjective used to describe those to whom it is applied. Almost like a name that someone is called, they are “Small-faith.”

  1. All of us face new and frightening experiences. We go through things thatwe have never been through before. Depending upon the stage of life that we are in, these might vary a great deal.
    • Child First day of school, new class, speaking in front of a crowd, having to admit that we have done wrong.
    • Adult New job, making a big purchase, experiencing the death of a loved one, starting a new relationship.
    • Parents Birth of a child, raising a teenager, learning to set limits and practice discipline.
    • Older Adult Facing a major illness, a major financial set back, a disaster or wreck.
  2. All of these types of things are new and unfamiliar to us. We are asked to step “out of the boat, and walk on the water” trusting that the Lord can carry us through. The challenge is that there are millions of things all around us that try to distract us and make us think that we are going to sink. Peter didn’t sink because all those things were going on around him. He sank because he looked at those things and not the Lord!
  3. This is the focus of the 23rd Psalm. (Psalm 23:1-6)

IV. Faith in God Should Make Us Confident that God Will Provide Us With Our Needs (Matthew 16:8). (Matthew 16:5-12)

  1. Jesus had fed the 5000 with five loaves and 4000 from seven loaves. And then He teaches them something about “leaven” and they think materially. They think he is upset because they didn’t bring bread.
    1. What He really was concerned with was what they were feeding on, on the inside. If they listened to and followed the teachings of the Pharisees it was the “leaven” of the Pharisees.
  2. So often we make the same mistake. We lose sight of the fact that Jesus is the one who made us and He is the one who can provide for us. That is true of our material needs (as we saw in the account in Matthew 6 & Luke 12) but it is also true of our spiritual needs. (II Peter 1:1-4)
  3. We do as the disciples did in this text. We let concern over physical things keep us from seeing the spiritual needs we have, and how the Lord sustains them. (Luke 10:38-42)
    1. It is always important to distinguish “wishes” from “needs.” Most of what upsets us is not missing out on some need we have but a something that is not the way we “wish”it was. Recpect for the authority of God doing what the Bible teaches is acting by faith. It is trusting that God knows best.
    2. Faith in God calls on us to be confident that when we don’t see the way something can work out, we trust God that He will bring us through it. That doesn’t mean we may not face difficulty, but it does mean that God is on our side.

Kyle Pope 2005

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