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Simple faith
Sunday 15th May


We open our scripture with instructions from Paul to Timothy about the way God wants us to live.  With simple faith. Second, we look at a woman who had simple faith and finally at Jesus and his simple idea for us to follow him.

 

Paul treated Timothy like his own son

 

He wrote to him to be mindful of what is important.  To live simple and to preach a simple gospel.

 

1 Timothy 2 1-3 

 

The first thing I want you to do is pray. 

 

Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Saviour God wants us to live.

 

For some they want a more complicated answer than the advice to pray.   Prayer seems to simple an answer.

 

Prayer for some seems just an activity for the religious or some have made it so complicated it has made people feel inadequate.

 

Here Paul says pray every way you know.  And pray for those in authority that we may do all that God wants us to do.

 

Prayer at its most basic level is simply talking to our heavenly father.

 

Especially talk to the father about what he is passionate about.   Which are People 

 

4-7 He wants everyone saved, everyone to get to know the truth we have learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. 

 

This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith in plain truth.

 

Simple faith and plain truth are the way to live.

 

The more stuff we have the more complex our lives are.

 

God wants us to live with ‘simplicity of heart’.

 

The word simplicity is often translated as singleness of mind. Keeping our lives simple by staying focused.

 

We look at our second example the woman with the issues of blood.

 

As Jesus was walking this day, He was thronged by a crowd. The people were pressing in on Him. 

 

In the crowd that day there was a weak, timid, dying woman who reached out and touched Jesus Christ. When she did, her life was instantly, completely and permanently transformed.

 

What do we know about this woman 

 

Her problem - We are told that she suffered from “an issue of blood”. This means that she was haemorrhaging, or bleeding, from some part of her body. 

 

Whatever may have caused this internal haemorrhage, she was a very sick woman. 

 

A constant flow of blood, such as this, would have caused this woman untold suffering.

 

She Suffered Physically - From the constant blood loss, this poor woman would have been weak and anaemic. She would have been pale. She would have had no energy at all. The least of efforts would have worn her out. 

 

She Suffered Medically - We are also told that she had tried all the remedies of all the physicians of her day. We are told that she “suffered” under their care.

 

She Had Suffered Socially - She almost certainly was not married, because, through physical contact, she would defile her husband. If she had ever been married, her husband would have probably divorced her. She could not work around others because of the danger of defilement. This reduced her to a life of begging scraps of food from a distance. Her condition left her on the fringes of society.

 

She Had Suffered Emotionally - Since the Bible says that she had been this way for 12 years,   Perhaps She was lonely, isolated and desperate!

 

She Had Suffered Religiously - Under the Law, this woman was to be considered unclean. Anything or anyone that she touched was also considered unclean. As a result, she could not mingle with people in public, lest she causes them to be defiled. 

 

She Had Suffered Financially - The Bible tells us that she had “spent all she had”. The doctors and their useless remedies had not helped her. 

 

Somewhere, this poor woman heard about Jesus.  She believed with all her heart that if she could just get to Him, she would be healed.

 

She displayed her determination to get to Jesus by approaching Him in that crowd. 

 

She was taking a great risk, for if she had been recognised, she may have been subjected to public humiliation and ridicule. 

 

For her, it was a risk worth taking. She believed Jesus would heal her!

 

She had to be determined because, by the very nature of her disease, it would have taken all the energy she had to drag herself out of her bed to struggle through that crowd to get to Jesus. She was desperate!

 

When she was near enough to Him, she reached out a trembling hand and touched His garment. 

 

Then, in that very instant, she received what none of the doctors or their costly and painful remedies could give her; she was healed! Instantly, she felt the change in her body. She knew she was a different woman!

 

Many touched Him, but only one touched Him with the fingers of faith!

 

Jesus said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.’

Luke 8:48 

 

Jesus sought her out because He wanted to give her more than mere physical healing. 

 

He wanted to move her beyond her simple faith for healing. He wanted to bring her to the place of salvation.

 

We see Jesus doing the will of his father

 

we Jesus travelling and as he went he had compassion

 

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Matthew 9:36 

 

Jesus was someone who noticed people, he then had compassion for them and then gave them some good news and he healed them.

 

Jesus is the good shepherd, he takes care of us, teaches us, and enables us to grow strong and healthy lives.

 

Jesus is the kind of shepherd who would give his life for the sheep, the kind that empowered his followers to be like him.

 

Jesus often said to people "come, follow me."

 

We would ask what can I do?  Give me a job!

 

Often what we do defines us 

 

It's often the first question we ask people who, we meet for the first time  What do you do?

 

Jesus said simply follow me!

 

To the fishermen, he said come follow me and I will 'make' you

 

Our job is simply to follow him.

 

The making of strong disciples is His job.  To empower us we simply follow him.

 

Following those early disciples meant 24/7 they did not dip in and dip out.

 

They were there with Jesus whatever the day brought them.

 

"What would Jesus do" was often a question on their lips.  

 

Would we gate crash a funeral like yesterday, would we spit on someone, ride a storm, meet a crazy person, whip some folks who were trying to sell animals at the market.

 

There was never a dull moment.

 

They followed him, they were with him all the time.

 

Others would only turn up if there was some food on offer, but Jesus met their needs too.

 

Some have a view that God is someone whom we come to only when we have a problem, he is our fixer.  

 

Jesus wants us to live in him, not just show up when we have a problem.

 

Jesus answered, “If people love me, they will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. (John 14:23 NCV)

 

God wants us to stay.  Staying in is where we find strength.

 

Branches bear more fruit from staying connected and then produce the kind of fruit that remains.

 

They would flock to Jesus in their thousands wanting a touch, they were weary and scattered having no direction or purpose.  Hurting and helpless

 

Jesus saw people...

 

Sheep without a Shepard a harvest needing workers.

 

 the solution was that he sent out his 12 and later 70, to help them, to put them back on their feet to shepherd them into the kingdom.

 

Jesus is mixing metaphors here, first it's shepherds and sheep then it's grain and harvesters.

 

Perhaps he is saying.

 

Have compassion like a shepherd and work hard like a harvester.

 

I want you to reach out to this generation.   

 

Our motivation to become involved is that of compassion and love and work hard.

 

Do we notice people? Do we notice they are harassed and helpless?

 

There are as many as 1 in 6 today suffering from depression, anxiety and stress, they are often scattered and feel helpless.  

 

Our job is to nurture them and gather them.

 

How? The Holy Spirit is at work in us, our helper and teacher 

 

What is God saying to the weary 

 

God says, “It is vain for you to rise early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows…” 

 

In other words, it is pointless to worry and lose sleep because the truth is, 

 

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)

 

Our understanding is often what needs to change.  

 

What is causing us stress or pressure 

 

let God be the one who builds your career and watches over your finances. Let Him be the one who guards your health, marriage and children.   Look at the sparrow, God looks after them, he will take care of you too.

 

Don’t worry and stay up late as if you are the source of the increase or the one who has the power to make things happen and save the situation. 

 

No, God is the one and He says to you, “My beloved child, throw that care to Me and go to sleep.” 

 

The simple faith that says while we are sleeping, God is working on our situation. 

 

He, who neither slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:3–4), works the night shift for you as you sleep!

 

 it is hard for us to let go and let God take over. But when we do, casting all our cares, anxieties and worries once and for all into His hands, we will see how He cares for us affectionately and watchfully. (1 Peter 5:7) We will see Him taking care of our problems and working things out for good. (Romans 8:28)

 

What was Jesus' solution to stress, we saw Jesus extremely stressed at the times he withdrew into private time with the Father, one time after the death of his cousin he tried to go off and pray but others followed him?

 

We know that if we just pray we will find the strength, but often there is not the time, then we feel guilty as we haven't prayed enough etc

 

The strength Jesus found was in doing the will of his father.   He told his disciples I have had food to eat that you don't know about.

 

Jesus taught on worry.   He did not teach some magic instant formula but rather offered a solution so simple that birds know it.

 

People in Jesus' day often missed the fact that he was divine because he came in an ordinary human package.

 

Often the simple solutions are the best.

 

Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ The people who don’t know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them. Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well. So don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will have its own worries. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:31-34 NCV)

 

Jesus' advice was simply to take a day at a time and learn from the birds, they know their creator and they don't have food in the cupboard or money in the bank.

 

It's often that because God is in the simple things we can miss him. 

 

Let us not overcomplicate and over spiritualise things 

 

Follow me, learn from me, and do what I have asked you to do.

 

What seems simple is maybe God's plan.

 

Let's use the gifts God has given us...

 

Don't despise the ordinary.

 

When making coffee, we make friends. 

 

When we are working with the parents and toddler, we are building the kingdom.

 

When we love people we are showing that we love God.

 

It's simply following the master.

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