The Faith That Amazes God

Preached To The Saints At Riverview Baptist Church on February 26, 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN 38401

 

matthew_8_5t13Matthew 8:5-13 (KJV) And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, [6] And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. [7] And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. [8] The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. [9] For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. [10] When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. [11] And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. [12] But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [13] And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

I don’t usually start out a sermon by doing a “Word Study”, but I feel it’s necessary to our sermon today. Do you see that word “Marveled” in verse 10 of the text we just read?

The Centurion had a faith that caused Jesus to “marvel”. Do you see it? “When Jesus heard it, He MARVELED”. This is the Greek θαυμάζω thaumazō which means “to hold in admiration, to wonder at, to marvel”. This word is found in several places in the New Testament, in fact, just a few verses down. Our Lord Jesus was continually traveling, and often used the fishermen’s ships to cross the Sea of Galilee. We read:

Matthew 8:23-26 (KJV) And when {Jesus} was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. [24] And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. [25] And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. [26] And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

Crossing the Sea of Galilee a storm came up – a not infrequent thing to happen on that mountainous body of water. Jesus went to sleep, and while asleep the storm got so bad that the disciples woke Jesus up. They ran to Him Who was resting and said “Lord, save us … we PERISH”.

Oh, you cannot perish while Jesus is in the boat with you.
You cannot perish when you put yourself in His Presence.
It is impossible to perish where the Almighty is.
It is impossible to drown while standing on the Solid Rock!

There are so many times in my life when I have felt frightened by circumstances, by sickness, by loss of loved ones, by the insidiousness of Satan’s plottings, of things outside of my control. I have cried out

Lord, save me! I perish!”

then Jesus arises and rebukes the storm. “Peace! Be Still!”. And when He does

There is a great calm”

A calm that only Jesus can bring. Then He looks at me and says, “Why are you so fearful, O ye of little faith? Are you not My disciple? Am I not your Master? Are you not My sheep, and I the Great and Faithful Shepherd?” And every time Jesus saves me I respond the same way that Jesus’ disciples did on that ship on that day.

Matthew 8:27 (KJV) But THE MEN MARVELED, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!

Thought I was chasing rabbits didn’t you? I’m not. Do you see that word “Marveled”. Again, this is the Greek θαυμάζω thaumazō – to wonder, admire. The men – just as I often do – marvel at the love and power of Christ. I marvel that He could love a sinner like me!

When Jesus healed the paralyzed man, saying “Take up your bed and walk” the Pharisees murmured but the people marveled. The Bible says:

Matthew 9:8 (KJV) But when the multitudes saw it, they MARVELED, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

When Jesus cast a demon out of a man we are told in Matthew 9:33 “the multitudes MARVELED, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.”

When Jesus cursed a fig tree which then died we are told in Matthew 21:20 (KJV) … the disciples saw it, they MARVELED, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

When Jesus told His followers to “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,
and unto God the things that are God’s (Mark 12:17)”
the people MARVELED at Jesus’s teaching.

I could go on and on. In every case the word the Greek θαυμάζω thaumazō – to wonder, admireis used. We have an amazing Savior and Lord, and it is not surprising that we who love and serve Him MARVEL at what He does.

But Jesus Marveled Only TWO Times In The Scripture

It is one thing for we mortal humans to marvel at Jesus, but quite another thing for Him Who is “The Word made flesh”, Immortal God in human form, to marvel at one of us. Jesus marveled at the faith of the Centurion. I only find two places in Scripture where it says that Jesus marveled. Here, and when Jesus tried to minister in His hometown of Nazareth:

Mark 6:5-6 (KJV) And {Jesus} could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. [6] And HE MARVELED because of their UNBELIEF. And he went round about the villages, teaching.

What causes Christ to marvel, to be in wonder, to admire?
Faithlessness causes Him to marvel, and faithfulness causes Him to marvel.

When God does mighty works and people still do not believe in Him, God is amazed at the depth of that foolishness. To look at the clear design of God’s hand in nature, to see the intricate design of the bee, the bird, the humming bird, a flower, the grasses of the fields, the variety of everything around us. To see the beautiful self sustaining earth as God has clearly designed it. To see the innumerable stars in the night sky, the sun blazing for billions of years, the moon at a set distance from the earth. To experience the tides and the beaches, the seasons, the rains and the bounty that God has given us. To look at all that God has done and His fingerprints all around us and say:

We just evolved from goo
We are accidents, from cell to monkey to human
We just happened, order from chaos

When humans created in the image of God reject God to this level of unbelief the Bible says …

Romans 1:21-25 (KJV) Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. [24] Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: [25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

When God hears and sees our immense unbelief
He marvels! He can do no mighty work where unbelief is.
He turns the amazing unbeliever over to dishonor their own bodies,
Worshiping themselves rather than He Who made them.

The Bible says Hebrews 11:6 (KJV) But WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

God is amazed by faithlessness, and is not pleased by it. He is amazed by the faithless unbeliever, and looks in wonder at the faithless professing believer. God will not reward or answer prayer to those who are faithless. A faithless prayer is like a spiritless preacher – none are moved to grow or go, and neither is God. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, but He never rewards faithlessness and lukewarmness.

God will not bless you if you are faithless.
God will not save you if you are faithless.
God will not answer your prayers if you are faithless.
God will not bless your Church if you are faithless.
God is AMAZED and WONDERS at faithlessness, but will not EMPOWER it.

Jesus declared in Matthew 21:22 (KJV) And all things, WHATSOEVER YE SHALL ASK IN PRAYER, BELIEVING, ye shall receive.

Has not Christ promised us if we BELIEVE when we ask in prayer WE WILL RECEIVE. To ask unbelieving is to amaze God in the wrong way. Why ask if you do not believe He is able? Why go to God at all if you think Him little and petty? Oh, open your eyes, and believe!

The Centurion’s Faith Amazed Jesus

What is amazing about the Centurion’s faith? Well first of all,

  • This Man Is A GENTILE. He is not a Jew. He is a Gentile, just like every person in this room today. When Jesus first came, He came to the JEWS not to the GENTILES. The Bible says:

John 1:11 (ESV) He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

The first people that Jesus came to were the Jews. When He sent His twelve disciples out to preach the Gospel of salvation we read:

Matthew 10:5-7 (NLT) Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “Don’t go to the Gentiles or the Samaritans, 6 but only to the people of Israel—God’s lost sheep. 7 Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

Now God intended to save the Gentiles. When God spoke of the Coming Messiah He said in:

Isaiah 42:6-7 (KJV) I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a LIGHT OF THE GENTILES; [7] To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

The day Jesus was circumcised old Simeon blessed that Child in the Temple, recognizing Him as “a light to lighten the Gentiles”. God intended to save the Gentiles. But God came FIRST for Israel, for the Jews. The Apostle Paul declared this when he wrote:

Romans 1:16 (KJV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew FIRST, and also to the Greek.

God made promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, promises that He fulfilled in Christ. Christ came for the Jew FIRST. Jesus was born a MALE JEW because it was a MALE that sinned, causing us to lose Paradise. It was a JEW that God promised salvation to FIRST. The Centurion was a Gentile. God would send Christ to the Gentiles at the second half of His earthly ministry. But at this time The Gentiles are not being approached.

But the Centurion comes to Christ. He is a man on the outside looking in. He is a Gentile.

  • This Man Is A CENTURION. The Centurions were Professional Soldiers of the Roman Army, the people who conquered Israel. They were the captors of Israel. The Centurions commanded centuries of around 80 armed men, but could command up to 1000 men. Centurions had immense power. Roman citizens could not be struck or disciplined by common soldiers, but Centurions could strike or discipline any as need be.

This man represented the invaders of Israel, yet this man respected and knew of God. In Luke 7 the Elders of the Synagogue at Capernaum went to Jesus on his behalf, saying:

Luke 7:4-5 (KJV) … That he was WORTHY for whom he should do this: [5] For HE LOVETH OUR NATION, AND HE HATH BUILT US A SYNAGOGUE.

This is in itself amazing. He loves Israel, and has built us a Synagogue.

  • This Man Had Every Right To Be Proud And Puffed Up, But Was Not. The regular Centurion was known for his cruelty and oppression of the Israelite, but this man was not inflated by his high office.

Oh how many people will not see God because of pride.
PRIDE destroys a life.
PRIDE keeps a person from receiving the Gospel blessing of salvation.
It is PRIDE that says: Walk the aisle and profess Christ!
I would rather die and go be with the proud in hell,
Than kneel and profess Jesus!

Pride. Pride.

Pride Is What Caused The Damnation Of Adam “God knows in the day you eat of this which He has forbidden YOU WILL BE LIKE A GOD, knowing good and evil” saith Satan (see Genesis 3:5).

Pride Causes The Damnation Of The Lost Psalms 10:4 (KJV) The wicked, through the PRIDE of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

God HATES Pride Proverbs 8:13 (KJV) The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: PRIDE, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

Pride Destroys All It Touches Proverbs 16:18 (KJV) PRIDE goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

{PRIDE Is One Of The} Evil Things That Come From Within that defile the man. (Jesus in Mark 7:23)

The Centurion Understood His Place Before Christ

Notice how the Centurion came to Christ …

Matthew 8:5 (KJV) …. there came unto him a Centurion, BESEECHING him,

The Centurion did not come DEMANDING.

He did not ORDER Christ as so many of us do with God, demanding that He do this or that, BARGAINING with God. “God if You’ll do this then I’ll do that” as if God needs anything from us. Christ needed nothing from this Centurion. What does God need of ANY of us? God said ….

Psalms 50:10-12 (KJV) For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. [11] I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. [12] If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

Christ needed nothing from this Centurion – and the Centurion knew his place. He BESEECHED Jesus. He παρακαλέω parakaleō called out to Jesus “please walk with me. Please Comfort me.”

Furthermore, the man did not ask for himself.

Matthew 8:6 (KJV) …. And saying, LORD, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.

Though he was a Gentile Centurion, on the outside of God’s Promises looking in, he had LOVE in his heart for Jesus and love in his heart for his Servant. LORD is what the Centurion called Jesus. Lord! LORD! He reached out in love to Jesus, submitting himself to Him. “My servant is at home lying sick of the palsy, suffering”. Do not say that you are a Christian if you do not love those around you. This man – a Centurion – a high ranking officer – loved his servants. He did not demean them, but loved as we should all love. He lowered himself that his servant might be healed.

Matthew 8:7 (KJV) And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

When we come to God
knowing He is God
and submitting to Him as God
then God will be God to us!

Jesus did not hesitate nor delay. He said “I will come and heal him”. The Lord does not delay to honor the prayer humbly offered in faith. He saw the Centurion’s heart. He was ready to heal. But then the Centurion says something that amazes the Lord …

Matthew 8:8 (KJV) The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

This is what faith says. This is the faith that amazes God. Lord – I am not worthy that you should come to my home. Just speak the Word – not many words but THE Word. When You speak, the universe listens. You speak, Lord, and my servant will be healed.

Matthew 8:9 (KJV) For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

The Centurion knew that he had authority over his servants. It is not pride to exercise authority over that which God has given you. But the Centurion knew that Jesus had authority over EVERYTHING. He knew that Jesus only had to command, and it was done.

Matthew 8:10 (KJV) When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Israel was God’s Chosen people, a people He called to Himself. But this Gentile, this outcast, looked up and found a great faith in God. He surrendered totally to Jesus. Our Lord ended with this:

Matthew 8:11-12 (KJV) And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. [12] But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Those Gentiles who trust and obey Jesus will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who have received Christ are adopted into God’s Family. We who are Gentiles who love the Lord are the wild olive branch grafted into the promises of Israel. But the Israelite, for whom Christ came first, who rejects Christ, they shall be cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. For the Scripture says:

John 3:16-19 (KJV) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. [18] He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [19] And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Have you received Him? Has God marveled at your faith, or is He now marveling that you choose darkness and gnashing of teeth over Him? Will you not receive Christ as your Lord and Savior today? Will you not believe on Him while there is time to do so? Please, I beg you, come to Christ today. As Jesus told the Centurion:

Matthew 8:13 (KJV) Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

As Jesus healed the servant with a word, He can save you eternally with His Word. Believe Him. receive Him. Do it today, now, without delay. May God touch your hearts with His Word and Spirit.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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