by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Study # 12 November 19, 1997 Harlingen, Texas
Thesis:The requirement of faith is a requirement of a legitimate motive in acting according to the promised wisdom.
Review:The proper response to stressful circumstances is..
1) To be committed to joy beyond the judgment
2) To be committed to the awareness that the process is designed to yield that joy
a. By being genuinely aware
b. By being willing to permit the process to work
3) To be committed to the promise of wisdom
I. The Meaning of 'In Faith'.
A. Set within a context of...
1. The instability of waves that have no anchor.
2. Divine denial.
3. Having a double soul.
4. Summary: God's refusal to respond to those who are uncommitted.
B. Set against the contrast of "doubting".
1. First consideration: what is the proper grasp of having a 'mustard-seed faith' [Matthew 17:20] in respect to 'nothing doubting' [Matthew 21:21]?
a. Paul implies a certain strength of faith in 1 Corinthians 13:2 for mountain moving.
b. But Jesus declares that only a mustard-seed faith is required [Matthew 17:20].
c. However, Jesus also declares that the mustard-seed faith cannot be mixed with the problem of 'doubting' [Matthew 21:21].
d. How is this issue to be understood?
1) What the disciples HAD that did NOT constitute a 'mustard-seed' faith.
a) A divine mandate [Matthew 10:1].
b) A human commitment to obey.
c) A backlog of success in obedience.
2) What the disciples did NOT have that constituted a 'mustard-seed' faith.
a) The implications of 'privacy' are at least inclusive of the desire to not be humiliated, or, said another way, the desire to be exalted.
b) The conclusion is that their motives were improper: they were using a divine priviledge to reach for self-exaltation.
c) This is in harmony with James' later teaching in 4:3.
3) Conclusion: a 'mustard-seed' faith consists of...
a) A divine mandate by word OR by the immutable character of God.
b) A human willingness to obey the mandate.
c) A legitimate motivation for the efforts to be made.
d) No necessity for maturity or a large amount of faith. [Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13:2, implies that God will sometimes respond to a large amount of faith even if the motives are incorrect, but without proper motivation, we can be abandoned in our agendas at any time.]