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The Centurion's Servant

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Matthew Ch 8    

 5When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6"Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering."

    7Jesus said to him, "I will go and heal him."

    8The centurion replied, "Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."

    10When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

    13Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go! It will be done just as you believed it would." And his servant was healed at that very hour.

 
The Faith of the Centurion
Luke 7:1-10

    1When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this, 5because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue." 6So Jesus went with them.
      He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."

    9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, "I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel." 10Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

 

SERMON OUTLINE FOR BIBLE AND PRAYER SERVICE

Elder Teo Keng Siang – Nov 22nd 2007

Healing of the Centurion’s Servant (Mt 8:5-13, LK 7:1-10)

 

Introduction

Luke chapter 7 and Matthew chapter 8 are talking about the same miracle. A striking difference is that in Luke’s version, the Centurion did not have a direct conversation with Jesus. The Centurion asked intermediaries -the Jewish leaders to approach Jesus. The Centurion gave the reason that he felt unworthy of approaching Jesus directly. The 2 versions are talking about the same miracle. Matthew gave a summarized version in his narrative. He attributed the request of the proxies of the centurion to the centurion himself. Matthew is not talking about a separate miracle. This is not unusual. For example,  Paul uses scribes to write his epistles,  they are still attributed to him. Nixon was not present at Watergate Hotel, his underlings were there. He was held liable as if the act was his own doing.   Another example of this is found in Mark 10:35-37 and Matt. 20:20-21. James and John requesting to sit at the right and left of Jesus in the Kingdom. In Matthew, it was the mother of Zebedee’s son who made the request. I will be examining the various characters involved in story.

A       The Jewish leaders

In Luke 6:46 the preceding passage of our  Luke text tonight ,Jesus has just asked Jewish leaders, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and then do not do what I say.” One issue that He is dealing with is the Jews not recognizing His authority, not accepting his Lordship.

In Matthew 7, the preceding passage to Mt 8, we read as follows about the Jewish leaders who do not acknowledge Jesus’ authority:

 

23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' 24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." 28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

The Jewish leaders  think that they are worthy of and deserving of God’s blessings. How do I know? From the text ( Lk 7:4), they said that the centurion was “worthy” based on works. Based on flawed theology, they felt that the Centurion was as worthy as them before God. They are descendants of Abraham and promised subjects of God’s Kingdom, the Centurion by his works are as worthy as them. They were self-righteous. The Jews possesses the Old Testament, God’s word. The Gentiles do not have God’s word. However, according to Jesus, the Jews are building on sand when they do not put God’s word “ into practice” .

According to Jesus, not to put God’s word into practice is associated with “evildoers” . In contradistinction, putting God’s words into practice is equated to “ building on a rock as a foundation”. The Jews hang scriptures on the forehead and on the garments for show while spiritually, they are like whitewashed tombs. Being “evil doers” and having “no foundation on a stone” is the hurdle that keeps them from experiencing the grace of God.

Jesus said in  Matt 8:12 that the “subjects of the kingdom” will be cast out into utter darkness and there will weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Does this disturb you? It does for me. My parents and grandparents are Christians. In a sense, my parents are subjects of the God’s kingdom.  Why is verse 12 troubling? To answer that, turn to Isaiah 57: 15

 15 For this is what the high and lofty One says—
       he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
       "I live in a high and holy place,
       but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
       to revive the spirit of the lowly
       and to revive the heart of the contrite.z

God lives ( 1 )  in heaven – in the lofty places, but also ( 2)  in the lowly places. God lives with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite. Only in these 2 places can God be found. In high and lofty heaven and in lowly places where one is crushed and contrite. There is no middle ground. Any middle ground is shifting sand.

In Ezekiel 33: 30 ff is instructive of the spiritual state of the Israel

30 "As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, 'Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.' 31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.

The Jews treat Jesus like the reigning Jerusalem Idol – one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well for they hear his words but do not put them into practice. They will be cast out into utter darkness where there will be gnashing of teeth.

Does this causes disquiet among us? Especially those of us whose parents and grandparents are subjects of God’s kingdom ? Who then will occupy heaven if the subjects of the Kingdom will be cast out in utter darkness?

Submit – that God’s kingdom will be occupied instead by people of faith. People from East and from West. People whose foundation is on a rock and not shifting sand.  People who acknowledge that they are unworthy, humble, who are contrite, crushed and lowly in spirit. People who accept the authority of Jesus and not because their parents and grandparents has a historic relationship with God. People of faith are people who put God’s word into practice.  People like the  Roman Centurion.

B       The centurion Gentile

The centurion is an enemy of the Jews, part of the Roman empire which conquered the Middle East. However, he is a benevolent overlord  & a benefactor to Jewish religion. He contributed money to built a synagogue. The Jewish leaders , in their faulty theology agreed that he is worthy . He is a man of authority and has a 100 soldiers under his command. He is compassionate to his servants. Most important of all, in

Luke 7:3 " The Centurion  heard of Jesus..."

We are not told how, but somehow, this centurion "heard of Jesus!" Perhaps he had been present to hear the sermon recorded in chapter 6. Maybe he had heard the report of the gospel from someone else. How he heard is unimportant. What is important is this. – "He heard of Jesus!"  God sent his Word to him. God the Holy Spirit had given him a hearing ear, a seeing eye, and a believing heart. I have no way of knowing how much knowledge the man had; but I do know who he knew. He knew the Lord Jesus Christ, and he knew the one true and living God in him (John 17:3). In other words, he was born of God.

  • The only way any sinner can ever have eternal life is by knowing God (John 17:3).
  • The only way you can know God is in Christ (Matt. 11:27).
  • The only way you can know Christ and believe on him unto life everlasting is by the preaching of the gospel (Rom. 1:16; 10:17) -  “faith comes from hearing the message”.
  • Romans 10: 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!

Another evidence that the Centurion was born of God is his confession that he, (Roman imperialist) was unworthy before Jesus, from a subjugated nation. ( See v 6,7 of Luke 7 ). Because he is spiritually regenerated, he realizes that he is unworthy to receive the Majestic Son of God .This is the reason he told Jesus not to come and just say the word.

Remember Isaiah 57: 15?  God says he resides 1stly in the high and holy places and 2ndly he resides in the hearts of the contrite. Centurion confesses and acknowledges his true standing before Jesus. He must have realized by faith that Jesus is divine. His is not a false humility. His humility is same as apostle Paul who says he is the “chief of sinners”. This humility is similar to David who says “ Who am I?” before God and to prophet Isaiah who said “ Woe is me” in Isaiah chapter 6.

The centurion has the gift of faith. Almost all the disciples of Jesus and probably some of the more receptive Jews also had the gift of faith. Remember in Mark chapter 1, Peter and Andrew dropped their fishing nets, ggve up their livelihood by the sea of Galilee without asking questions, and followed Jesus? That took great faith too. But why was the faith of the Centurion so outstanding that it amazes Jesus? Jesus was amazed only twice!! The first is the faith of the centurion. The only other occasion that Jesus was amazed can be found in Mark 6:6 where Jesus was amazed at the Jews’ lack of faith.

4 things can be said about faith : -

i. Faith asks

ii. Faith acts

iii. Faith expects

iv. Faith accepts

Before I go deeper into this account, we need to understand what faith is. Faith is not a formula whereby with the magic faith formula, one can name it and claim it. Faith is not a decision a person makes. Faith is not a leap a person takes. Faith is a gift from God. When you receive a gift, no credit is given to you for receiving it, rather the credit goes to the giver. And God is the giver of our faith. We didn’t ask for it. We don’t deserve it.

Faith is a miracle, a miracle the Holy Spirit generates in sinful hearts through God’s Word. We need to be clear on this before we begin tonight. And any discussion of faith can easily lead to credit being given to the possessor of that faith, but that would be wrong. The credit for our faith goes to God.

At the end of the sermon, I want you to remind me to ask “ What is so amazing about this incident?” That being clear, let us begin our discussion of the amazing faith of this Roman Centurion.

ASK – 1st element

 The centurion was not afraid to ASK Jesus for help. He “sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant” (3).

Imagine what the other soldiers might have said to him when they heard about this: “He’s just a servant. You can go out and get another one tomorrow. And why do you want to grovel at the feet of some Jewish healer anyway, like there is anything he can do?” But the centurion didn’t care what anyone else thought. He must have heard Jesus’ preaching earlier and his spirit had been regenerated. He was to put his faith into practice.   He wasn’t afraid to ask.

Jesus invites us: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). The Lord encourages us: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:15). Our God challenges us: “With me all things are possible. All you have to do is ask.”

ACTS -ACTIVE

The centurion asked Jesus for a miracle, but his faith didn’t allow him to stop there. In addition to asking, the centurion’s faith was also active. He loves God’s people. Verses 5 of Lk 7 says he loves the Nation. He went so far as to pay for the construction of a synagogue so that he could worship God together with God’s people. The Jewish elders were not entirely wrong to say that he was worthy because his faith was so active. His actions indicate that the centurion’s faith was very active.

The Bible is filled with examples of people who put their faith into action. In faith Noah built an ark. In faith Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son. In faith Joseph resisted temptation. In faith David slew Goliath. James tells us that “faith without deeds is dead” (2:26). We would say, “faith without action is dead.” But faith that is living and active produces good fruit. What does that fruit look like today? In faith God’s people go wherever the Lord leads them. I read of  Campus crusade organising “ beggars mission “ in Korea. The missioners go to villages with no luggage and no money. Somehow, they get accommodation, food and hungry hearts to hear the gospel.

EXPECTS

This leads me to 3rd point that faith EXPECTS results. Yes, not only does God give us the faith to believe in him, but God gives us the faith to live for him. And when we ask him for anything, it is the same God-given faith that leads us to expect results. As Jesus approached the house, the centurion sent some friends out to stop Jesus. This is not because the centurion did not expect results.  The centurion gives us his reason: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you”(6,7).

Listen to what he said next. “Say the word, and my servant will be healed” (7b). The centurion expected Jesus to heal his servant. If and when Jesus said the Word, the servant WILL and not may be healed. The centurion didn’t need Jesus to stand over his servant. The centurion wasn’t looking for a sign from heaven. All he needed, the only thing he needed, was Jesus’ word. Faith trusts God’s Word, and faith expects results.

There had been a severe drought, and the members of a rural congregation were deeply concerned that their crops would be ruined. One Sunday, therefore, the minister said to his congregation, "Brothers and sisters, I understand your deep concern about the harvest. There is nothing that will save us, except a special service of prayer for rain. The Lord promises that if we pray in FAITH, He will hear us. So go to your homes now, fast for a week, and pray. Then, next Sunday, we shall hold a service to claim the Lord's promise because I just know it will rain next week at this same time!" The people fasted during the week, then returned to church the following Sunday morning. But as soon as the minister saw them, he was indignant. "Go away!" he shouted. "How can you expect to claim the Lord's promise if you have no FAITH?" "But Reverend," they protested, "we fasted and prayed, and we have come believing that the Lord will be true to His word." "Believing?" exclaimed the minister. "Believing?! Then where in the world are your UMBRELLAS?" TRUE FAITH EXPECTS RESULTS

ACCEPTS

The Roman centurion had high expectations, some might say unrealistic expectations. He wanted a miracle, but he didn’t demand it. Throughout this story, this man exhibited the fourth and final characteristic of an amazing faith. Faith accepts what God gives.

Faith accepts the Will of God.  Listen to what the centurion said. “ Say the WORD, and my servant will be healed.” His faith is active but circumscribed by the Word of God. If Jesus said that it was not God’s will and refused to give the Word, the Centurion would have accepted.

Centurion didn’t put his faith in Jesus after Jesus granted his request. He trusted in Jesus from before this. He asked God to do the impossible, but he was willing to accept whatever God’s will might be. He was not worthy of receiving Jesus at his house. He was not worthy to demand that Jesus must say the word. Jesus could have said that it is not God’s will to heal his servant. The unworthy centurion would not have sent soldiers after Jesus . Centurion knew that he just could not name it and claim it if it is contrary to God’s will. The centurion will abide by Jesus’ word.

Humor- incontradistinction to “accept” will of God.

A man fell off a cliff, but managed to grab a tree limb on the way down. The following conversation ensued:

"Is anyone up there?"
"I am here. I am the Lord. Do you believe me?"
"Yes, Lord, I believe. I really believe, but I can't hang on much longer."
"That's all right, if you really believe you have nothing to worry about. I will save you. Just let go of the branch."
A moment of pause, then: "Is anyone else up there?"

Comments: man doesn’t accept God’s WORD OR WILL.

         

C.Subjects of the Kingdom of heaven

 

In our text in Matthew, there is mention of a feast in heaven where gentiles from the East and the West will have a feast with the Old Testament Saints like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  This is the wedding banquet after the Marriage of the Lamb in Revelation 19.

Briefly, in Jewish wedding, there are 4 stages. In 1st stage the father of the groom made the arrangement and paid the bride price. The groom will prepare the matrimonial home.  2nd, the father of the groom determined the time and day when the bride will be fetched. This is usually one year. It is more if the couple were small children when the arrangement was made. Thereafter 3RD stage would be the wedding ceremony and 4th stage the wedding feast.

In the marriage of the lamb mentioned in Revelation 19, the 4  ingredients of a Jewish wedding can be seen. The Father had paid the bride price, which is the blood of the Messiah. The groom is or has prepared a place for the bride.  When the Father of the groom decides on the proper time, the bride will be fetched during the rapture ( 2nd stage ). The bride of Christ is the church.  Prior to the wedding ceremony, the bride undergo  a ritual immersion for ritual cleansing.

This ritual cleansing of the church as the bride of the Messiah is Judgment of the Believer.  Let’s read 1 Corinthians 3: 10-15.

 10By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

The marriage feast will take place on earth after Christ’ 2nd coming and with the feast, the Messianic Kingdom will begin on earth.  The marriage feast will include the old testament saints which is why you see people from the East and West supping with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

In his sovereign will, God gave saving faith to gentiles from the East and West. Revelation 19: 6- 7 refers to  a great multitude;

6Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
   "Hallelujah!
      For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
 7Let us rejoice and be glad
      and give him glory!
   For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
      and his bride has made herself ready
.

Jesus’ prophecy that “ many” will come from East and West has been fulfilled . Today, November 2007,  There are many Christians from the East – Africa, China, Korea Singapore and from the West – Europe, America etc.  They will down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob at a feast.

Their saving faith is not by virtue of their birth, religious association or works. It is God’s gift of saving faith in Jesus, the Word of God. It is laying a foundation on Jesus who was crushed for our sins. Saving faith is inviting the high and lofty one to reside in the hearts of the contrite. It is asking the Holy spirit to regenerate/ transform the lowly in spirit thru repentance and remorse.

At the ritual cleansing of the bride before this feast, some Christians who do not exercise their faith and put into practice Christ’s teaching will have their wood hay and straw burnt although they will be attend the marriage feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

D       The servant

 

Unnatural offences.

Outrages on decency.
377A. Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or abets the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 2 years.

 

As I was doing my research,  I came across an article entitled “ Christ affirms a gay couple”. We are aware that Singapore had a heated debate on s 344A Penal Code.  The pro gay camp questioned Dr Theo the NMP whether she was , I quote “ stupid, Christian or both” Unquote.

In Luke 7:2 , the Greek Word used to  describe the servant or slave was “entimos doulos” or “ honored servant”.  “Doulos” means servant/slave whilst “ entimos” means “honoured / valued/ precious”. Elsewhere in the  entire  Matthew passage, as well as the passage in Luke,  the word” pais” was used for servant. “ Pais” could be used to refer to either young son or  servant. )

In the words of the  pro gay author : I quote “Luke’s account rules out the possibility the sick person was the centurion’s son; his use of doulos makes clear this was a slave. However, Luke also takes care to indicate this was no ordinary slave. The word entimos means “honored.” This was an “honored slave” (entimos doulos) who was his master’s pais. Taken together, the three Greek words preclude the possibility the sick person was either the centurion’s son or an ordinary slave, leaving only one viable option — he was his master’s male lover.” Unquote.

In the world view of the gay author, since the slave is an honored slave, he must be the centurion’s gay lover. He cannot understand that a God fearing man would give honor to slaves. He cannot accept that Christians treat servants, even slaves as humans made in the image of God. To the perverted mind of the gay author, if a slave is treasured, it must be because the centurion made the slave his male lover and not otherwise.

It is perverse logic to infer that “ entimos” meaning precious/ highly valued/ honored/ precious servant must ineluctably refer to a male lover.

In Philippians 2:29, the Philippians are to hold men like Epaphroditus in “ entimos” in “ high regard”. Paul was not asking the recipients to regards Epaphroditus as a male lover.

Other examples of “ entimos “ can be found below: -

1Pe 2:4    And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God,
1Pe 2:6    For this is contained in Scripture: "Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a PRECIOUS CORNER stone, And he who believes in Him shall not be DISAPPOINTED."
Lu 7:2    And a certain centurion's slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die.
Lu 14:8    "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him,

 

Php 2:29    Therefore receive him in the Lord with all joy, and hold men like him in high regard;

In all the usage of “ entimos” in the New Testament, one cannot read “ entimos” as referring to “ young male lover”.

My conclusion, Is the gay author “ stupid, anti-christian or both?” He is not “putting God’s word into practice”. He’s attempting to meet God on his own terms , on shifting sand. I can only pray that God gives him the gift of faith and a contrite heart.

The last point I want to make is this? Where is the healing of the servant? It is back at the house and almost not a part of the miracle story. It certainly doesn’t get center stage. The miracle is still important because it verifies that Jesus is the Messiah and has authority over sickness, but it is not what gets the emphasis. In our day, we put emphasis on miracles and signs and wonders. We place great faith in faith. The emphasis should be on submission to the Authority and Word of God.  We should meet a majestic God with a contrite heart like the Centurion. We should not be fascinated by wood stubble and hay .

We should ask of our Father in faith , We should  act in obedience to his Authority , We should expect great things from God and lastly we should accept God’s will in submission. God’s word will surely come to pass. His word will not return to him void.

In conclusion, What is so amazing about the incident?  Yes, it is amazing that for the past 2,000 years many Gentiles rather than Jews are entering God’s kingdom . Gentiles from east and west.

However, to me, what is truly amazing, what is much more amazing than the faith of centurion, is the Grace of God. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. He doesn’t send us where we deserve to go. Instead, the Lord says: “I love you. I sent my Son to die for you. And because Jesus did for you what you could never do for yourself, I forgive you.” Not only did God give us his one and only Son. He also gives us the faith to believe in Him. May we reciprocate in gratitute with an active faith that amazes Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

F       Reflection

a.       Is our faith based on our long association with Glory Church?  This faith will not save. ( I am a third generation Christian. I have been attending Glory Presbyterian for 49 years. Before this building was erected, my parents used to stay in Wooden houses on church grounds before moving to “ Black House” at the foot of Bt Timah Hills. Long association with a church per se or synagogue does not make us “ worthy”. The Pharisee claimed that the Centurion was worthy of God because he helped built the church but the Centurion openly admits his unworthiness.)

b.     If our faith based on works ? The centurion who contributed to the building of the synagogue admitted that his deed was not worthy.  He needed the gift of faith.

c.      Have we rejected God’s gift? Do we think we can earn God’s approval on our own? Israel was self-righteous and proud. In contrast the Centurion subjected himself to the authority of Jesus. He was humble and accepted the gift of faith.

d.      I’ll like us to pray for the gift of  faith that will amazes Jesus. A faith that asks in faith, acts in obedience , expect great things  and accepts the will of God. Pray that we will build on the foundation of Jesus, a life that is precious and not wood, stubble and hay till we meet at the banquet at end of life’s journey.

e.       If Jesus came back today, would he be amazed by the frequency of our prayers and our faith filled deeds?

.

Application: ( optional – see time )

1.     May God give us grace, like this centurion, to believe him.

2.     May God give us grace, like this centurion, to love others, to do them good, to seek the grace and mercy of God in Christ for their souls.

3.     May God give us grace, like this centurion, to walk humbly before him, knowing and acknowledging to him our utter unworthiness of the least of his favors.

4.     May the Lord Jesus Christ be pleased to do for you who are now perishing under the wrath of God what he did for this centurion’s servant in Capernaum.

Healing of the Centurion’s Servant

Introduction

a.     Jewish leaders

b.      Centurion’s faith that :-

i.                   asks

ii.                   active

iii.                  expect

iv.                 accepts

c.      Subjects of the Kingdom of Heaven

 

d.     Servant

 

e.     Reflection Questions

1.Is our faith based on our long association with Glory Church?  This faith will not save. I am a third generation Christian. I have been attending Glory Presbyterian for 49 years. Before this building was erected, my parents used to stay in Wooden houses on church grounds before moving to “ Black House” at the foot of Bt Timah Hills. Long association with a church per se or synagogue does not make us “ worthy”. The Pharisee claimed that the Centurion was worthy of God because he helped built the church but the Centurion openly admits his unworthiness.

2.If our faith based on works ? The centurion who contributed to the building of the synagogue admitted that his deed was not worthy.  He needed the gift of faith.

3.Have we rejected God’s gift? Do we think we can earn God’s approval on our own? Israel was self-righteous and proud. In contrast the Centurion subjected himself to the authority of Jesus. He was humble and accepted the gift of faith.

4.I’ll like us to pray for the gift of  faith that will amazes Jesus. A faith that asks in faith, acts in obedience , expect great things  and accepts the will of God. Pray that we will build on the foundation of Jesus, a life that is precious and not wood, stuble and hay till we meet at the banquet at end of life’s journey.


Spare story

Faith honors God and God honors faith! A story from the life of missionaries Robert and Mary Moffat illustrates this truth. For 10 years this couple labored faithfully in Botswana without one ray of encouragement to brighten their way. They could not report a single convert. Finally the directors of their mission board began to question the wisdom of continuing the work. The thought of leaving their post, however, brought great grief to this devoted couple, for they felt sure that God was in their labors, and that they would see people turn to Christ in due season. They stayed; and for a year or two longer, darkness reigned. Then one day a friend in England sent word to the Moffats that she wanted to mail them a gift and asked what they would like. Trusting that in time the Lord would bless their work, Mrs. Moffat replied, "Send us a communion set; I am sure it will soon be needed." God honored that dear woman's faith. The Holy Spirit moved upon the hearts of the villagers, and soon a little group of six converts was united to form the first Christian church in that land. The communion set from England was delayed in the mail; but on the very day before the first commemoration of the Lord's super in Botswana, the set arrived.

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