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The Rev. William Klock: “If You Had Faith” (Luke 17:1-10)

April 30, 2015

From Fr. Bill Klock of Living Word Reformed Episcopal Church in British Columbia, here is another sermon in his series on the Gospel of Luke, titled If You Had Faith.  In this sermon based on Luke 17:1-10, Fr. Bill does have some very helpful insights about faith – particularly Biblical faith contrasted with that “faith” as defined by the prosperity gospel teachers.  I thought this short paragraph was quite good:

In the Bible, the true Israel is known by her faith as she follows and trusts the Lord and especially so in the face of crisis, persecution, and judgement.  The Lord’s call to his people has always been an impossible call in human terms.  This is why his people have always been marked out by their faith.  Only by faith can we follow God.  And so now, in the New Testament, we see Jesus establishing a new Israel centred in himself and just as the Lord called Israel in the Old Testament to do the impossible in faith, Jesus now calls this new Israel to do the impossible—to walk as living witnesses to his grace—and he calls us to live this life in faith: forgiving others, showing love and mercy, and seeking reconciliation and redemption.  With faith it’s possible.  This is why the disciples ask for greater faith.

And yet Jesus’ response is interesting.  The “Faith” teachers tell us that if things aren’t happening, we need bigger faith.  If you’re still poor or still sick, your faith isn’t great enough.  And yet Jesus says the opposite.  It’s not our faith that accomplishes things; it’s the God in whom we put our faith.  I like the way Tom Wright puts it: “It’s not great faith you need; it is faith in a great God.  Faith is like a window through which you can see something.  What matters is not whether the window is six inches or six feet high; what matters is the God that your faith is looking out on.  If it’s the creator God, the God active in Jesus and the Spirit, then the tiniest little peep-hole of a window will give you access to power like you’ve never dreamed of.”   Now, that doesn’t mean that by faith we can manipulate God to do whatever impossible thing we want.  What it does mean is that by faith in him, God will empower us to do the impossible things he asks and requires of us—like forgiving seven times over every day and doing so happily and ungrudgingly.  By faith, God will transform our hearts and give us a desire to seek reconciliation, to love the unlovable, and to proclaim the lordship of Jesus to a hostile world.

If you’d like to listen to this message, you can do so below:

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