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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Building Faith

Below is the outline and text for Sunday's message here at Bethany Place.

Building Faith
Mark 1:40-2:12, Part 4 of The Story I Thought I Knew

1.    Allow Jesus’ active compassion to build your faith

Mark 1:40–45 (ESV) 40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 45 But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.

2. Examine your faith for its action and compassion factor

Mark 2:1–4 (ESV) And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay.

3. See Jesus’ determination and ability to reveal himself to you

Mark 2:5–12 (ESV) And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Questions for individuals, groups, or families
How would you measure the intensity of the leper’s prayer? How would you measure the passion of your praying? What does the level of our passion in prayer reveal about our confidence in Jesus to work in us?

What is required to move from having feelings of compassion toward people who are hurting to actually taking action to make a difference? Who is God calling you to touch who is lonely or hurting?

What do the actions of these four men reveal about their faith? What are the implications for us that their faith was effective for the healing of this man?

Discuss the vividness with which Jesus reveals himself to those present in this incident. How does the combination of both forgiveness and healing strongly increase the way Jesus revealed himself to these people? What do you think is the connection between healing and forgiveness?

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