Faith: Its Nature and Reward

John 4:45-54

 

Introduction:

 

Some of God's brightest blessings come to us clothed in the dark weeds of mourning.  If this nobleman's heart had not been moved through the sickness of his son, he never would have known the healing power of Jesus Christ through faith.  Blessed is that sorrow which constrains us to go believingly to the Son of God.

 

I.    Verse 47 - An essential request.

A.  The workings of an honest heart.

1.   He had a desire for his son to be healed.

2.   He knew Jesus could do it.

B.   The desire for Jesus to "come down".

1.   Shows a faith in the power of His presence.

2.   A lack of faith in the power of His promise.

C.   The lesson to be learned.

1.   The presence of Jesus is equal to the word of Jesus.

2.   Jesus is not physically with us today, but His Word is present with us.

3.   John 1:1,14 - Jesus is the Word of God.

 

II.   Verse 48 - A gentle rebuke.

A.  The real question, "Are you ready to believe what I say without seeing any signs and wonders?"

1.   I Cor. 1:22 - The Jews require a sign.

2.   Matt. 12:39 - A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign.

B.   It is wrong to qualify our believing with what we see.

1.   It is not "see and believe".

2.   It is "believe and see".

C.   There is a certain kind of faith in seeing and believing.

1.   If I "see" that my car has carried me from Troy to Foristell many times without fail, then I have a certain "faith" in my car to do it again today.

2.   This kind of faith is not of God, but of the flesh.

3.   The kind of faith God gives is to believe what He said in His Word, then wait and we will see it come to pass.

 

III. Verse 49,50 - A definite promise.

A.  The nobleman changes his request.

1.   He doesn't ask for anything to see now.

2.   He only asks for the presence of Jesus.

3.   "Signs or no signs, in thy mercy, come down ere my child die."

B.   The nobleman doesn't receive the promise until he changes his request.

1.   Many of our prayer request are not answered because we are asking for the wrong thing.

2.   It helps to understand what to ask for so Jesus can answer our prayers.

C.   Rom. 10:17 - "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."

1.   Jesus gave him what he desired.

2.   What he does with it is up to him.

 

IV. Verse 50 - A believing act.

A.  He left the physical presence of Jesus, taking the spiritual presence of Jesus with him.

1.   Physically, Jesus is not with us.

2.   He is with us just as literally in the spiritual sense.

B.   The promise of Jesus satisfies him.

1.   Heb. 11:1 - He is walking by faith, not sight.

2.   John 20:29 - He has not seen, yet believes.

3.   He acts confidently because he believes.

C.   The two choices.

1.   John 3:33 - To believe that God is true and every man a liar.

2.   I John 5:10 - To not believe God is to make God a liar.

 

V.  Verse 51-54 - Confirming evidence.

A.  The evidence didn't come right away.

1.   It was the next day before the nobleman knew about his son.

2.   His servants knew the boy was getting better, but they didn't know about Jesus' promise.

B.   Verse 52 - There is nothing wrong with checking out to see if God's promises come to pass.

1.   He asked "At what hour?"

2.   His checking out the promises of God led him and his family to a greater faith and believing than before.

3.   Joshua 23:14 - Joshua said, "not one thing had failed of all that the Lord had promised?"

 

Conclusion:

"He, bounteous of thy faith, for no misspent

Is confidence unto the Father lent;

Thy need is sown and rooted for His rain...

trust on!  One day, beyond all thought of praise,

A sunny joy will crown thee with its rays:

Nor other than thy need, thy recompense."

--------MacDonald