The Faith of a Christian
This coming week’s theme “The Faith of a Christian” can be found in all three lessons. In the Gospel lesson Minimal faith produces maximum results. In the Old Testament lesson faith waits for God to vindicate His own. In the Epistle lesson we find the sincere faith of the faithful. The famous phrase of the Reformation comes from the Old Testament lesson – ‘The just shall live by faith.” The Epistle deals with the “sincere faith” of Timothy, the faith of his mother and grandmother, and Paul’s faith. The heart of the Gospel lesson deals with faith: the disciples’ request for more faith and the faith the size of a mustard seed. The verses preceding and following the passage on faith (Vv. 5, 6) may give us difficulty in seeing faith in the entire gospel. These verses can be reconciled if we see them as the behavior of those with faith. Thus the hymn of the day will bear out this theme in the words, “I Know My founded on Jesus Christ my God and Lord.” The focus of faith is always directed at the Savior.
Collect for the Nineteenth Sunday of Pentecost: O God, the Strength of all who put their trust in Your, mercifully accept our prayer, and because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing without Your aid, grant us the help of Your grace that, keeping Your commandments, we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
Father, Your love for us surpasses all our hopes and desires. Forgive our failings, keep us in Your peace and lead us in the way of salvation. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen
Collect for Proper Twenty-two: O God, our refuge and strength, the author of all godliness, by Your grace hear the prayers of Your Church. Grant that those things which we ask in faith we may receive through Your bountiful mercy; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
Collect for Psalm 62: Lord God, in a constantly changing world we look to You as our rock of hope. Hear us as we pour out our hearts to You, and give us Your grace and secure protection; through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord.
Prayer for a steadfast faith: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in this faith to the end and finally come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Preparation for next week, the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Monday, 27 September 2010—Psalm 119:162, 164-165, 167 antiphon, Psalm 119:166—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, I hope for Your salvation, O lord, and I do your commandments. Faith is another word for trust. Trust is another word for taking God at His Word. The Psalmist has trust because He follows after the Lord and does His will. This is not something the natural man can do be himself. It is something we do as we walk by faith. Thus we are forced to look to Christ where the hope of our salvation finds its root. We trust in Him to bring all of this to pass.
Tuesday, 28 September 2010—Psalm 62 — Psalm 62 is a psalm of longing and trust. Humbly, trustingly, the psalmist commits his cause to God. Man is bent on destruction (vv.3-4) but what is he (vv.9-10)? Power belongs to God alone, who wields it with love and justice (vv.11-12).
Wednesday, 29 September 2010—Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4— In a world of adversity a righteous one lives by faith. Our Old Testament lessons brings up the perennial problem: Why? Why does God permit evil to thrive in the world? When a Christian cries for help in distress, why does he not get an immediate answer? Why doesn’t God do something about what Habakkuk experienced? – “violence,” “wrongs,” “trouble,” “destruction,” “strife and contention.” The answer received: Wait for the lord and He shall bring it to pass. The righteous waits for God to make things right, to come to the rescue because He has faith in God’s character. The world seems to be waiting for God who never comes. Christians by faith know God is coming eventually to save. We need faith to wait for God.
Thursday, 30 September 2010—2 Timothy 1:1-14— Paul remembers the faith of Timothy and confesses his faith in Christ. We face challenging times. The loss of faith is seen in a decline in church membership, a fall-off of church attendance, in the popularity of radical sects, and the secularization of society. Some have a view of the church today with faith becoming traditional and zeal burning low. Hence the encouraging words of St. Paul to a young Christian pastor whose church was facing considerable challenges. As we go through life and as the years pass we need to be exhorted to keep the faith vibrant. We do this as we continue in the faith of the fathers – vs. 5 and as we hold fast to the faith even in times of suffering – vs. 8.
Friday, 01 October 2010—Luke 17:1-10 —The apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. The Savior responds in reminding us that even a little faith is a lot. This might catch some off guard. Like the disciples, many of us are eager for a larger portion of faith – the faith to guide people aright, faith to forgive, faith to serve just for the privilege. As we face the tough issues of life, we cry out for more faith. No one can honestly say, ‘I have all the faith in the world.” If we really have faith do we need more? Jesus corrects the disciple’s desire for more faith. He says the quantity or degree of faith does not matter. It is sufficient just to have faith. The parable of the mustard seed emphasizes that the smallest amount of faith can do wonders.
Saturday, 02 October 2010—2 Timothy 1:12 - Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is I know My Faith is Founded, (LSB #587). Faith finds its focus in Jesus Christ. This is the message of our hymn for the week. As we focus on Christ our faith will be sustained and grow as the Lord directs us. The next three months will be extremely busy for most. Some may feel overwhelmed. Can your faith take all that life has to offer? Our faith is sufficient when it finds its focus in Christ.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Collect for Pentecost 17 from Lutheran Worship © Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing Lima OH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use