SermonIncrease Our Faith, O Lord
An all-creatures Bible Message

Increase Our Faith, O Lord
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
6 October 2013
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Proverbs 12:10
Luke 17:1-10
2 Timothy 1:1-14

Every one of us needs to increase our faith, so that we can live comfortably in the heavenly will of God, while still in this corrupt world.
Let’s begin by looking at a few current events.
This past week has been a very interesting one; October 1st was World Vegetarian Day, October 2nd was World Farm Animal Day, and October 4th was The Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi.
All of these days fly in the face of the way in which the world around us lives with their indifference to the suffering of animals; and to live in the heavenly will of God, we must increase our faith.
Saint Francis is often referred to as patron saint of animals.
And, today, some churches will have a blessing of the animals; but following the blessing of the animals, unfortunately many of them will have a luncheon that will serve the remains of other animals who suffered horribly, which to us is extremely hypocritical and ungodly.
This happens because the churches and pastors lack the faith to stand against the ways of the world, so they give into it.
Think about what we are told in Proverbs 12:10 –

10. A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal,
but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

All of the celebrations we have just mentioned are designed to remind us to care for the lives, needs, and desires of all of the animals, and not just some animals.
So, when the churches whose celebration includes serving and eating animals, their staging of a blessing for animals is nothing but a means of making their parishioners feel good about themselves without really being righteous as God calls us to be and as this passage from Proverbs says we are to be.
Thus, by their actions, these hypocritical churches show that they are wicked and cruel.
We are not to put on a show to look righteous; we are to actually be righteous in the sight of God and our fellow human beings.
As we go on in our study, keep these things in mind and also put ourselves in the place of the animals, which is like “asking the animals” as we talked about last week.
With these things in mind, let’s take a look at Luke 17:1-10 –

1. And He said to His disciples, "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks should come, but woe to him through whom they come!

What these hypocritical churches and pastors are doing is putting a stumbling block before the people, which unfortunately includes the children.
They are telling the children that it is alright to cause animals to suffer and die, which in turn hardens their hearts and souls.

2. "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.

This is God’s judgment upon such people, but Jesus tells us that judging is not to be our choice; we are to discern the evil around us.

3. "Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.
4. "And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him." 

Most of the people who ate other animals at some time in their lives and realized the errors of their ways and repented of their evil ways, were forgiven and became loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God, who don’t eat or wear any animals or otherwise exploit them.
So, if we have been forgiven, then we must also offer that same hope and forgiveness to everyone who still exploits and eats animals.
This is also part of being righteous children of God.
Like us, the apostles also suffered from a lack of faith.

5. And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
6. And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you.

This would really take the kind of faith that Jesus had, which is exactly what Jesus wanted them to have, as well as us today.
But knowing our weaknesses, Jesus gives us some more practical advice to help us increase our faith.

7. "But which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down to eat'?

This is the kind of faith that ends putting humans and other animals into slavery; and instead, makes them our brothers and sisters.

8. "But will he not say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me until I have eaten and drunk; and afterward you will eat and drink'?
9. "He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he?

People do these kinds of things because they lack faith and a tender heart.

10. "So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.' " 

We all need to wake up to the worldly ways that still plague our lives, and repent of them and do everything in our power with the help of the Holy Spirit to increase our faith until we can live as peacemaking children of God for the benefit of the whole of creation and the glory of God.
We also believe that this is the reason that Paul wrote his letters to Timothy, as in 2 Timothy 1:1-14 –

1. Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus,
2. to Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

This is the assurance that comes with a strong faith.

3. I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day,
4. longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.
5. For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

This is the encouragement we are to give to one another in Christ Jesus, for it helps us not only to hold on to our faith, but it helps us to increase our faith so that we can take a strong stance against the evil in this world.

6. And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

When we touch those we are praying for, it seems to transfer even more of God’s heavenly power to them.

7. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

The more we practice our faith, the more we increase our faith. It’s as though the Lord has given us all the faith we could ever handle, but unless we practice it and use it, we cannot assimilate it until it becomes an integral part of our being.

8. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,
9. who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,
10. but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
11. for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.

We believe that this is a gift given to all of us in differing ways and with differing titles, but all with the same title of “ambassador,” for we are to represent the Lord in everything we do, which includes abolishing as much death as we possibly can and promoting life both here on earth and everlasting in heaven.

12. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.

This is another example of having a strong faith.
Then Paul reminds Timothy and us to keep using our faith.

13. Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
14. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

As we increase our faith, these treasures become more evident.
We can change the world even in the face of all the evil in the world around us.
We can be the beacon of light that shines upon the evil and causes it to flee.
Never lose hope; we can do it.
We can…but will we?
We pray so.

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