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A Faith that Saves

Sermon Series: The Life of Jesus: From Creation to the Cradle to the Cross to the Crown

Sermon Title: A Faith that Saves

Sermon Text: John 4: 46-54

Sermon Date: April 24,2016


If you have ever been to a circus you have seen elephants tethered to a chain that is connected to a stake in the ground. You may not realize that that stake is only eighteen inches long and that elephant can easily pull that stake up, because a grown man has to pull the stake up to free the elephant. Now if a grown man can pull up the stake, why doesn't the elephant pull that stake out of the ground and free himself?
Well, when that elephant was a baby, he did not have the strength to pull that stake out of the ground. After years of trying, the elephant concludes that he can never pull it out of the ground. So in circuses all over the world there are massive elephants, capable of lifting entire trees out of the ground by their roots, held captive by puny stakes.
Likewise, there are many people in this world who are chained to the stakes of sin, sorrow, and suffering who could be free in an instant if they would just trust Jesus.
We need a faith that can conceive the invisible; we need a faith that can believe the incredible; we need a faith that can receive the impossible.
This is a story about a man who learned how to "just trust." With just three words, "Lord I believe", his life was totally transformed. Just by faith he went from darkness to light, from blindness to sight, from weakness to might, from wrong to right. In the process he shares with us the single greatest lesson we can ever learn on how to walk through the valley of the shadow of disaster, darkness, and even death, and come out victorious on the other side.

Jesus taught him how to have strong, life-changing, life-saving, transforming faith.


  1. Obstacles to having Strong Faith

This man is called a "nobleman." That word comes from a Greek word, which gives us the word kingdom, and it literally means "a king's man." This man was an officer in the king's court. He was a man of prominence and a man of position. He had money and influence in the highest places.
But he had a problem. His son was at the point of death. Now I am sure this man had spared no expense. He had hired the finest doctors, he had bought the most expensive medicine, and all the while he watched helplessly as the life of his son was slowly flowing out of him. For the first time, this man realized how little money really means. Because money can keep poverty from your door, but it can't keep problems out of your life.
This nobleman learned that there are some things that money can't buy. Money can buy a degree, but it can't buy wisdom; it can buy people, but it can't buy friendship; it can buy influence, but it can't buy respect; it can buy a house, but it can't buy a home; it can buy pleasure, but it can't buy peace. Money can take you almost anywhere except to heaven, and buy you almost anything except eternal life.

But I want you to see that it was trouble and tragedy that brought this man to Jesus. It was a dying son that brought him to a divine Savior. Do you realize that if this man had not known grief, he may never have known grace? If he had not experienced tragedy he might never have experienced triumph.
So often when trouble comes our way we will get bitter toward God, and ask the question: "Why did God allow this trouble to come into my life?" Well, many times, in fact I believe any time trouble is brought into your life, one purpose is that the trouble might bring you closer to God. . Anything that drives you closer to Jesus is a blessing, whether it be cancer, the premature death of a child, the loss of a job, or the desertion of a spouse. Anything that drives you to Jesus is a blessing.

A. It was a second handed faith verse 46
B. It was a sign demanding faith verses 47-48
1. It dishonors God-can't take God at His word.
2. It’s dangerous to man-2 Thess 2: 9-11 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
C. It was a self centered faith
D. It is a strong will faith verse 49  "Lord come down"  he is instructing the Lord.  Jesus in verse 50 says you go.

He was trying to instruct the Lord.  Instead of saying Speak Lord thou servant hears you,  you say Listen Lord I'm talking to you,  here is what you must do.

Strong faith waits and listens to God and gets a word from God.  Weak faith is strong willed.  Faith isn't so much receiving from God the things that you want as much as accepting from God the things that He gives.  Faith is hearing from God, believing God and acting on what He says.


II. Observation of what is Strong Faith

  1. You must hear the Word of God verse 50,

 Romans 10:14-17 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?[a] And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

 Faith is the response to the Word of God

  1. You must believe the Word of God "he believed the Word" Faith is a response to God Himself.  Faith is the heart response of the soul to the character and nature of God. It doesn't demand signs.  It does not demand wonders.

Jesus said, "No, I won't give you my presence, I won't even show you my power, but I will give you my promise-your son is healed."
Now at that exact moment this nobleman came to a fork in the road where faith and doubt part, and he had to make a decision whether or not he was going to get on the holy highway of faith, or the rocky road of doubt. He made a decision that would begin to change his life forever. He said, "Lord, you said it, that settles it, I believe it."

This man had to learned that seeing is not believing, but rather believing is seeing. I read one time about a man who was crossing a desert back in the days of the pioneers, and he ran out of water. He was dying of thirst when he came upon a water pump near an abandoned shack.
Well he had no water to prime the pump, but he noticed there was a jug of water near the pump with a note attached. The note said, "There's just enough water in this jug to prime the pump, but not if you drink any of it first. This well has never gone dry even in the worst of times. Pour the water in the top of the pump and pump the handle quickly, and you will have all the water you can drink. After you are finished, refill the jug for the next man who comes along.
This man had to make a decision. He could see the water in the jug; he could only believe the water was in the well. He had to make a decision. Is seeing believing, or is believing seeing? Well, the man believed, primed the pump and had all the water he could drink. But understand he had to believe there was water in that well before he could ever prime that pump and see it. You don't receive and then believe, you believe and then receive.

  1. You must obey the Word of God verse 50 “The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.”  Faith is shown by obedience.  Romans 16: 27 “to bring about the obedience of faith” James 2: 26 “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from words is dead.” You are not saved by works.  You are saved through faith that works. 

God is more concerned with your faith than he is with your finances; more concerned with your faith than he is with your fitness; more concerned with your faith than he is with your feelings; more concerned with your faith than he is with your fortune; more concerned with your faith than he is with your future.
You can be in the greatest shape in the world, have more money than you can spend, enjoy a beautiful family, live in a three-story mansion, drive an expensive car, and hold a top position in the greatest corporation on earth, but without faith you will never please God. While this man was harping on healing, Jesus was focusing on faith.

D. You must rest in the Word of God-Isaiah 28:16 says “Whoever believes will not be in haste.”  The nobleman lived 20 miles away so he could have made it in 5 hours if he really wanted to but he took 24 hours.


III. The Objective of Strong Faith verse 53

Now he is not believing for physical healing but for salvation

Now he is not believing for a miracle but believing for a Messiah

Now he is gone past the miracle and gone onto Jesus 

He didn't come as a healer but as a Savior to seek and save that which is lost.

Now I want you to notice what happened to this man beyond this miracle:
"Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, 'Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.
So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, 'Your son lives.' And he himself believed, and his whole household." (vv.52-53)
Now there seems to be a contradiction here, for we are told in v.53 that this man believed. But we were told earlier in v.50 that the man believed. It's the same Greek word, but the reason why we are told twice that he believed is because he believed in a different way.
There is more than one kind of faith that people can have even in a relationship to God. For example: Nine out of ten Americans believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but only three out of ten Americans have received Him as Lord and Savior (George Barna, Marketing The Church, P. 94.)
You see, in the Bible there are different levels of faith and different kinds of faith.

In v.50 this man had a satisfied faith, but now he has a saving faith.

 At first he believed in the promise of Jesus, but now he believes in the person of Jesus.

First he believed in what Jesus said, now he believes in who Jesus was.

 First he believed in the sign, but now he believes in the Savior.

Never ever get the idea that salvation is simply believing in the word of God, it is also believing in the God of the word.
This man had a different agenda from Jesus. He wanted Jesus to deal with his son; Jesus wanted to deal with his soul. The highlight of the story was not in the son's physical cure, but in the father's spiritual conversion. The reason why Jesus performed this miracle was not primarily that the son would be healed, but that the father would be saved.
But I want you to see one other aspect of this story. Not only did salvation come to the man, but v.53 says it came "to his whole household." I can see this man walking down the road to his house, the servants excitedly run out to meet him, and all they talk about is the miracle, the healing of his son. This man looks at them calmly, and says, "Forget about the miracle, let me tell you about the man that performed the miracle. Forget about the sign. Let me tell you about the Savior that gave the sign."
They probably said to him, "Well, aren't you glad your son is cured?" He said to them, "Oh, I'm glad that my son is cured, but I'm more concerned that my son is saved." That father led that entire household to Christ.
Can I just make a practical observation about many of us here today? So often when we ask for prayer requests, the vast majority are for people we know and love who are sick and ill. I want to emphasize that we ought to pray for the sick and we want people that we love to be healed.
But has it ever occurred to you that we are more concerned with keeping the saints out of heaven than we are in keeping sinners out of hell? May I tell you something? It is no tragedy to go to heaven, but it is life's greatest tragedy to go to hell. We're more concerned so often that our saved fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers are going to heaven than we are that our lost neighbors are going to hell.



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