The Mountain of Faith
May 17, 2009
The Rev. Dr. Anthony J. Godlefski, Pastor
Montgomery United Methodist Church
Brothers and sisters in Christ, Good morning! Our title today is “The Mountain of Faith.” I want to talk with you today about one of the most important aspects of our Christian life, that remarkable state of consciousness called faith. This morning I’d like to encourage your faith, to lift up your faith, and to celebrate your faith.
How is your faith doing? How is your walk with the Lord going? Let’s talk about it this morning. Today, we’re going to talk about climbing up the mountain of faith.
I also want to say that we’re going to be having confirmation here in church in a few weeks, so I’m inviting you all to join me in a confirmation class. I want to talk with the confirmation youth who are here today and with each and every one of you about this. So in essence you get to sit in on a confirmation class this morning as well.
Now, in terms of the confirmation class, what I’d like to do is answer this question: what is the relationship among church, faith, and the Spirit of God? How do they fit together? How do they mix in? And in order to answer that question, please look at your bulletin. There’s a drawing on your bulletin that was inspired by the confirmation class and our discussions together. As I talked with the young folks in the confirmation class and listened to their very intelligent and insightful questions, came up with this diagram. I’ve been thinking about it for the last few weeks. Let’s talk about it together.
Down on the bottom, we have church. The church is the foundation that is the springboard for everything else. The church is the place where we are taught, where we are spiritually fed, where we are directed; it’s a very important place. The church is also the place where we are given the opportunity to serve the world, where we are given the opportunity to share the precious thing called faith.
What comes with the church? What is the church of Jesus Christ supposed to do? It’s supposed to inspire your faith. When we’re inspiring your faith, we’re doing the right thing. Faith is that remarkable state of consciousness that points us to God. So in the next space we have faith.
And one up from that is Spirit. Spirit is the invisible but very real dimension in which we find God. This is where God lives. Spirit is where Jesus lives. Spirit is the invisible place that we believe in through faith and that we are connected to through faith. Through our faith, we slip in and out of the spirit world. That’s what the church aims us to do. The church is the place where we are inspired to take the leap from the worldly to the other-worldly, from the earthly to the heavenly.
This spirit world is, I believe, what Jesus was talking about when He talked about the kingdom of God. He loved that concept more than any other and talked about it constantly. The kingdom of God is like the mustard seed. The kingdom of God is like the man who went out to sow seed. He was always talking about the kingdom of God.
So, the church points us upward toward the realm of the Spirit. That’s why church buildings are built the way they are. That’s why they point up; that’s why towers and steeples point upward. They are inviting us to consider another realm of reality. They’re inviting us to consider the spirit realm. And that’s what we do.
But how do we connect with it? What’s the connection between our earthly selves and the spirit realm? It’s called faith. And Jesus was constantly praising faith.
So, how’s your faith doing? I’m here today to encourage it and to celebrate it and to invite you to lift it up. Let’s hear what the Bible has to say about faith:
Hebrews 11:1. “What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see.” It is what connects us to the spirit realm, to the spirit level of reality and the hope of what we have not yet achieved. That’s faith.
Luke 17:6. “’Even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed,’ the Lord answered, ‘you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May God uproot you and throw you into the sea,’ and it would obey you!” If you have faith, just a little bit, says Jesus, you can do things that you once thought were impossible. That’s our challenge and that’s our hope, and that gives brightness to our hearts. That’s what faith can do.
2 Corinthians 5:7. “That is why we live by believing and not by seeing.” Anybody know another translation for that? “We walk by faith and not by sight.” That’s what makes us different; that’s what lifts us up, this thing called faith.
And one more, Mark 10:51 and 52. “‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Jesus asked. ‘Teacher,’ the blind man said, ‘I want to see!’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way. Your faith has healed you.’ And instantly the blind man could see! Then he followed Jesus down the road.” Can you imagine? The blind man went up to Jesus and said, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” And Jesus said, “What would you have me do? I need you to name it.” And the fellow said, “Oh, Lord, that I may see.” He had the vision of faith in his heart, and Jesus said, “Your faith has made you well.”
It’s a powerful, powerful thing, and I submit to you that you are powerful beings, that you are people that have faith that can connect you to God and can do remarkable things. I would simply urge you to lift your faith up.
What does faith do? Let’s look at just three things that faith does. Faith causes you to believe in God. Faith allows you to take that leap and say yes, I know there is a creator to this world. I know that there is more than I can see. Faith gives you the joy that comes from being a believer. So, celebrate your believing faith.
What else does faith do? Faith allows you to visit with God. It is by faith that we pray. It is by faith that we converse with God. And I invite you to lift that part of faith up. Faith allows you to visit with God and to pray to God and to tell Him the big things and the little things and to receive His blessing and His love. Faith allows you to visit with God and to hear God say, “You are my beloved child. I am well-pleased with you, and I am so happy to hear from you.” That’s what faith does. It connects us to that spirit world.
Faith allows us to believe, and faith allows us to visit. And friends, I submit that faith allows us to trust in God. Won’t you lift up that part of your faith? Trust in God for today and for tomorrow because of all the things that God has given you yesterday and before. Let your faith allow you to trust in God.
I want you to please take one thought home with you. Won’t you contemplate this as you visit with the Lord, as you approach Him? The top of this pyramid, Spirit – infinite creativity, infinite intelligence that created this world – loves you. Take that one thought home with you – Spirit loves me. Think about that this week, that this remarkable, indescribably intelligence and creative power feels good about you, loves you, and therefore wants to help you and wants to bless you and wants to have you feel safe and wants you to feel filled with love. Take that one thought home with you. Contemplate that in your prayer time. Contemplate that before you go to sleep. Contemplate that when you wake up in the morning. Spirit loves me.
And if you do that, you will be lifting up your faith and climbing up the mountain to God. Think about it this week, won’t you? Because God loves you. I do, too. Have a blessed week. Amen.
© 2009 Anthony J. Godlefski