Confirmation Question Responses From 10-6-13

This week’s sermon came from Luke 17. You can hear/read the sermon here.

The following questions came up in the confirmation student’s sermon notes. I will do my best to address them.

-How do you know that the Holy Spirit/God has acted after you hear the promise?
Excellent question here.  The simple answer is “when you hear the promise that if you believe in Jesus Christ as your savior from sin and death and you believe it.” If you believe it then the Holy Spirit is doing the work…the Holy Spirit is acting to give you faith.  I say this because of what the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1 regarding the message of Jesus Christ (verses 18-25). The notion of Christ crucified and raising from the dead seems unbelievable…that God would chose to do such a thing. In fact Paul calls it foolishness to believe it…and I agree, its a laughable notion…honestly unbelievable…but if the Holy Spirit is acting in your life then you truly believe it.  Now granted, times of doubt do happen, and that does not indicate a lack of faith. It shows that we are still human. In class we talked about being a saint and a sinner at the same time…doubt is evidence of that. But we can ask God to help us in those times of doubt. I will, at times when I’m facing my own struggles, pray “I believe Lord, but help me in my unbelief.”

-Why did the apostles have to ask for their faith to be increased?
Great question. We don’t really know the motivation behind their request for more faith. Directly before this passage (Luke 17: 1-5) Jesus has told the disciples that if a person repents of their sin, then the disciples must forgive them, even if it is multiple times in the same day. Perhaps the disciples think this is impossible and they are asking Jesus for the strength to do so, but keep in mind that’s only a theory. What I think is important here is to remember that faith is a gift from God. Regardless of if we think we need more or not, faith is not self generated. It is given to us.

-How do you catch faith?
Another important question. In my opinion the way to “catch faith” is to be exposed to individuals that live out the faith that they have received in their lives, and this is why I believe that parents are so important. If a child grows up watching their parents live a life of faith, I think its easier for the child to receive their own faith. They grow up hearing the promise. They grow up exposed to the promises of God. Now granted, it doesn’t always happen, but we tend to learn way more from our parents and the environment that we are raised in than we realize, or that we want to admit to.

-Where does faith come from?
Great question. Faith comes from God, but other people also have a hand in it. First we need to hear the promise of God. The promise that we are saved from our sin through Jesus Christ. That’s the promise…and we need to hear that promise from other people. Then once we’ve heard it, the Holy Spirit acts within us to give us faith…or belief…that God is going to do what He says he’ll do.  Faith, is believing the promise.

-How is faith easy?
Excellent question. In many ways, faith is super simple…and in many ways, faith is really hard.  I say its easy because all it takes is believing that God’s going to do what He promises.  But at the same time faith can be really hard because we have so many voices in our life telling us that it’s not true.  Self doubt happens. Peer pressure happens. Much of modern society tells us that faith is not important, that God doesn’t exist or that He doesn’t care.  We have a lot of negative things working against our faith. That’s why I say that it’s hard.

Wonderful questions everyone. Keep them coming.

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