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1 Corinthians 12:1-11
I have found that the farther we journey on the path of following Jesus, the test of our faith intensifies. However, in the same token, the more that we learn about Jesus and the more we learn about the truth of creation and the truth about human nature, the stronger our faith becomes. These last few years many of us have faced extremely difficult trials that can cause us to question God in what he is doing and in what he is planning. However, despite my own personal trials I cannot deny the existence and power of God. It is at these moments that our faith is revealed.
In our passage from 1 Corinthians today, Paul is giving an explanation about God given gifts brought on about by faith. Paul explains that he does not want them to be uninformed about the truth. Paul says, “You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols.” I want to paraphrase what Paul is saying here. He is pointing out how ridiculous it was for these Corinthians to worship these statues built by human hands. In other words, how could someone in their right mind possibly believe that these objects made by human hands could do anything for them or that they should even deserve devotion and worship? So, because of that Paul wants to make sure they understand the manifestation of their faith. Paul talks about various gifts given to believers by the same God and the same Holy Spirit as a manifestation of their faith. Some are given different kinds of service, some different kinds of abilities and skills for work, some are given knowledge and wisdom in how to share that knowledge. Some are given the gift of healing and other miraculous powers. Some are given the gift of prophecy and others the gift to distinguish between good and bad spirits. Some are given the gift of languages but all of these gifts are come from the same Holy Spirit as a manifestation of their faith and faith is manifested in all differently. This manifestation is faith being revealed.
Last night I read the story of Jesus’ first miracle to Celeste from her children’s Bible. This story is important because it was a beginning of the building blocks for faith within Jesus’ disciples. Jesus had just put together his followers and won them over by some of his teaching and by helping them catch a bunch of fish. However, he had not yet begun his ministry as it was not yet the time. He and his disciples were invited to a wedding as well as his mother it is likely that those in this family were friends with Mary. She over hears the servants say that they had run out of wine. Running out of wine was a great embarrassment at a wedding party and overhearing this Mary, knowing who her son was and what he was capable of, asked him to intervene. Jesus asks what this problem had to do with him as his time for ministry and miracle had not yet come. However, Mary seems to ignore his statement and tells the servants to just do as he says. So being obligated by his mother (and don’t you just love mothers who do stuff like that for you), Jesus’ time and ministry now begins. He tells the servants to fill 6 mason jars with water and pour out some into a cup for the master of the party. The water turns into wine and turns into the best tasting wine that anyone had ever had. John tells us in chapter 2 verse 11, “What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.”
Notice that it doesn’t say that they understood him, it says that they believed in him. This was the first sign of their faith in Jesus being revealed. There faith was based upon the signs and wonders that they had seen with their own eyes. However, remember what Jesus told Thomas in the upper room when he had been previously doubting, “You believe because you have seen me, blessed are those who have not seen me and yet still believe.” For us living in this day in age, our faith is revealed differently and for different reasons as well. For some merely hearing the good news message of Jesus, of his death and resurrection is enough for people to believe. We see this through the Jesus film project all over the world. For others the message is not good enough by itself. They must seek out the evidences for this message of truth before they will believe, much like the story of Lee Strobel which led him to write The Case for Christ. For others they will not believe unless Jesus speaks to them in a dream or appears before them much like he did with Paul on his journey to Damascus. No matter how and which way you come to Jesus everyone experiences their faith being revealed.
For me realizing my own mortality and finite time in this world through the death of a classmate and then the love of a church community is what revealed Jesus to me and showed me what I was missing all along. My faith was then revealed to me and then revealed in me and through me by the gifts and skills that the Holy Spirit has given to me. I would not be here preaching before you or anyone if it were not for my faith being revealed and manifested in this way.
This past Wednesday I was put to shame internally for realizing my lack of faith when it comes to prayer. We watched a special healing service in our home with Dan Bohi and his son Chad Bohi. The words Dan shared struck me at the heart and I needed to hear them. He shared how it says in scripture that Jesus told his disciples that they will be given the same power and abilities that he himself displayed. The prerequisite of this power is faith in Jesus and receiving the Holy Spirit. When you have faith in Christ then the Holy Spirit lives in you. Jesus spoke as someone with authority when he healed people and performed his miracles. When Peter came to the temple gate and stopped to look at the beggar, he didn’t ask for Jesus to heal him. He spoke with authority by the power of Jesus and he was healed. Dan pointed out that so many of us Christians when we pray for healing or other needs, we don’t use our words to reveal our faith. We don’t speak with the same authority that Christ and the apostles spoke. We ask God if it is possible and if he is willing will he heal so and so or provide for this need in so and so. I am not saying that it is bad to ask such things. However, we are called to so much more faith than that. I realized that I was like one of those Christians that did not speak with the authority the Holy Spirit has given me and part of it is because we have been taught by the world to one be silenced and to beg for our needs to be met. However, God has already given us the power and authority fulfill his will if we would only speak with authority and allow our faith to be revealed.
I don’t know where you are at this morning with your faith but I had mine tested and revealed for what it was this past week and I needed it to be tested that way. I needed it to be revealed. Therefore, I ask you this morning, how has your faith been revealed? How has it been tested? Will it stay the same as it always was? Or will it increase and be stronger than ever before? How is your faith revealed?