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Luke 17:5 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.
What is faith? The best definition is given in Hebrews 11:1. It says Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. It goes on to say in verse 6: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. If the disciples needed an increase of faith, so do we.
A lack of faith brings fear. Jesus often rebuked the disciples for lack of faith. A storm came up and they were afraid. Jesus rebuked the winds and waves and then rebuked them for their lack of faith. In First Samuel 17 we see the story of David and Goliath. The giant brought fear to the army of Israel. So, we need an increase. We need to say “Lord, increase my faith to ______”. There are three things I want you to see.
(1) Increase in faith to walk when we cannot see. We walk by faith, not by sight. It’s one step, one day at a time. We should say “not my will but thine be done.” We can have stunted faith; it starts out okay but ceases to grow. Stymied faith lets something get in the way between us and our objective. Shattered faith was once wholesome and growing but something happened that shattered it. It could have been the death of a loved one. In crisis people ask where is God? He is still where he has always been. Deception can shatter faith. The measure of what we are is found in our reaction to adversity.
(2) Increase our faith to work on in spite of ridicule. We’d not have airplanes if the Wright Brothers had stopped. We’d not have automobiles if Henry Ford had quit and we’d not have light bulbs if Thomas Edison had given up. Imagine how people laughed at Noah. It had never rained. He kept on preaching and building. We can’t quit. We’re not home yet.
(3) Increase our faith to watch and wait for the Lord’s coming. He could come anytime today or tomorrow. He doesn’t tell us when he’s coming, just to be watching and ready. People believe he’s coming but do they really believe he’s coming soon? Well, he could. People don’t watch for him because (a) their faith is weak; that causes people not to watch for him; (b) Satan doesn’t want us looking. He knows a Christian watching will live right, keeping his house in order; (c) scoffers don’t watch. These are the ones who say things are going the same ways as they always have. Peter wrote that people were saying this: Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
How can faith be increased? By the Word of God. Romans 10:17 says: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. The Word of God is true. As we hear the Word we learn it. People worry when there are promises for us in the Bible. We’d do better if we knew our Bible better. It can also be increased by using what we have. “Lord, I believe.” We believe. We have that. Then say as the man did in the Bible. “Help my unbelief.” If we don’t use what we have, it will be diminished.
We need faith. God can keep what we’ve committed to him. Do as the disciples did and say “Lord, increase our faith.” In the midst of troubles, ask God to help any unbelief. If all this came automatically, the Bible wouldn’t tell us of the need. Let’s increase our faith.