Shallowford Free Will Baptist
Sunday, May 20, 2018
For the Glory of Christ Alone
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                                                                                                                                                                                   May 15, 2018

 

Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes."

~Mark 9:23

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                What would your faith walk look like if you took God completely, totally, and unreservedly at His Word? What would your life look like if you believed everything He said and lived it out? I can’t speak for you, but for me I think my life would look drastically different. I get so hung up on the things that I can’t do and can’t understand that I forget that it really isn’t about me at all. And maybe if I put a little bit less “me” into my theology (we’ll call is me-ology), maybe God would show me how much He can do through me. I think that placing our total faith in God opens up so many possibilities for seeing the abundant fruits of believing in Him. “Can’t” becomes a term of a past life. Suddenly we begin to realize how much the Lord can do if we’d just let Him be God.

                Now, before we talk about this passage, we need to establish some ground rules. First, this is not a “name it & claim it” passage. I believe that true faith lived out will subdue our own selfish desires with the will of God. Jesus’ perfect faith is revealed clearly for us in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prays that God would remove this cup (the reality of His impending suffering) from His lips. But in the same sentence He also prays, “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36b). Interestingly He prays this in the context of everything being possible with God the Father (14:36a). But Jesus’ will is not going to violate God’s will. Part of living our faith and making faith claims is understanding that the Lord has the ultimate jurisdiction over the decisions of our lives. It is not “name it & claim it” but “Your will be done.”

                Secondly, faith in the power of God is not a daring of God to do or not to do something. True faith is not reckless as some would have you to believe. When the Lord Jesus Christ is being tempted, the devil tells Him to throw Himself off of the pinnacle of the temple. Jesus responds with Scripture: “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” (Deut. 6:16; Matt. 4:7). Faith in God’s promises ought not to be prideful arrogance, but a confident boasting in the sovereignty and power of God to do whatever He seeks to do. It is abandonment to Him completely and totally. If my faith is lived out in an “I dare you, God” way, I can assure you that He will allow my pride to be abased.

                And so we come to the context of our passage.  Jesus meets a desperate father in Mark 4:14-27. The father has brought his demon-possessed son to the disciples in a last hope that he might be healed. We’re not told, but I am reasonably sure that this poor man had given as much as he had in taking his son to the best doctors around. He had no doubt spent hours with priests trying anything to see his little boy healed. And yet day after day, he sees this demon seize his son and send him foaming to the ground in a rigid, paralyzed state. Worse than that the poor son cannot even tell his father what he is feeling; for he is mute. This fellow had to keep a constant vigil around his son as the demon often threw him into fire or water to try to kill him. His condition was destroying the heart and soul of this dad! Fathers can relate to fathers. Here was a man who was supposed to be the provider and protector of his family, but he was impotent to be able to do anything to change his son’s conditions. Even bringing his son to the disciples did not bring about the healing he so desperately desired. He was losing hope, losing faith. Surely God was incapable or unwilling to heal his son!!! Until Jesus came down from the mount of transfiguration…

                Jesus tells him, “All things are possible to him who believes.” The power and strength doesn’t come from men. Only the faith comes from men. The actionable power of God only comes from the Father’s intervention into the affairs of mankind. “If you believe” provides the condition that needs to be met before God can do anything significant. And the father begins to panic anew. “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Running concurrent with his faith in God is the doubt that life has taught him. He is struggling, torn, wavering…but he’s trying desperately to hold on as tightly as he can. “I do believe…but is it enough?” And it is! Jesus speaks and the son is healed. Even that is possible if we would just believe.

                And so here is my challenge to you this week. Believe…even when it seems so hard to do. Don’t ever stop believing that God can do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Eph. 3:20). Unbelief will effectively rob you of God’s power in your life. It doesn’t mean that He can’t and won’t do things at times, but it does mean that something will inevitably be broken down. And the tragic thing is that sometimes the “disappointment” we have when God doesn’t honor our faithlessness will be compounded by the devil to decrease our faith even more. We each must choose to believe in God even if it is hard to do.

                That means we must first learn what it means to submit to His will. We’ve picked up two kittens at the house. They’ve added certain elements to our lives, some good and some bad. But they are great lessons in trust. They aren’t the smartest animals by far (if they were they would’ve been born dogs)! But they wait patiently for us to bring them food and drink. Every morning they’re on the carport door step waiting for us to open up. The rascals are starting to follow me everywhere I go! It’s a footrace to get to the cars and back out of the driveway before they can get to the wheels, because they don’t see anything harmful in being where we’re at…even if it has wheels. What better example of faithfulness and submission could there be? What if we started out every morning waiting on the Lord? What if our sustenance came from His divine hand each and every time? What if we followed Him everywhere He went? What if we were totally submissive and trusting of Him in everything?

                You see, when we’re faithfully submitted to God, even when we don’t get what we want or what we think we need, we still have to admit we’re blessed. I believe that is the ultimate place of peace for us. Even when things don’t work out, we know that God works it all for good. And to believe that and to trust in that is the epitome of what it means to be a person of faith. All things are truly possible with God. And when He doesn’t act like we think, it is still possible that God has something even better in store.

                So how about you? Do you believe all things are possible with God? When you’re scared to death that tithing will leave you short for the month, do you believe all things are possible with Him? When your loved one is sick, can you believe that God can do anything? When that person you’ve been praying for and reaching out to keeps getting farther and farther away, will you set yourself on the wall like the prodigal’s father and believe that God can turn him or her around? What that diagnosis doesn’t go as planned, when that interview falls through, when your church isn’t groing like you’d hoped, when all around you seems to be crumbling…are all things STILL possible with God? Your faith will not be perfect this side of heaven. But it is possible to allow our faith to overcome our doubt one occurrence at a time. You might find yourself praying that your faith would be increased or that God would help your unbelief, but at least you’re reaching out to Him in a faith building way. He IS able. Believe it and live it this week!

                Hope to see everybody at Homecoming on Sunday. Services start at 10:30 AM. Lots of singing and preaching…and GREAT food. I hope all of Shallowford’s crew will come out and celebrate how faithful God has been to us over the nearly 30 years of our existence here. We have much to rejoice over. I want to see all of you there! Have a blessed week!

 


 

~Bro. Benjamin

 

SCRIPTURE CHALLENGE

Besides David, what Old Testament character was a shepherd?


 

Previous Postings                                                                  This Week's Sermons
May 15
May 8
May 1                                                                                                 May 13 (AM)       

April 24                                                                               "Mom's After God's Own Heart"        
April 17                                                                                                                                 Hosea 11:1-11
April 10                                                                                      
March 27                                                                                           
March 20                                                                                         May 16 (WED)
March 14                                                                                         Acts 10:34-48
March 7                                                                                          
February 27                                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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If you need a copy of any sermon from the past, email Bro. Benjamin with the date and title of the message listed below.
We will be happy to send you a CD of the sermon. Additionally sermons are available through the "Multimedia" Page


May 20 (AM) Homecoming Message - Rev. Ronald Wallace
May 20 (AM) "More Than We Could Ever Imagine"--Ephesians 3:20-21
May 13 (AM) "Moms After God's Own Heart"--Hosea 11:1-11
May 6 (AM) "Great Grace for the Least of These"--Matthew 9:9-13
May 6 (PM) "Becoming the Church"--Ephesians 3:14-19

April 29 (AM) "When You're Tempted to Worry"--Psalm 37:1-9
April 22 (AM) "Can You See His Face?"--Luke 22:54-62
April 22 (PM) "Grace Is Worth It All!"--Ephesians 3:8-13
April 15 (AM) "What's It Really About?"--Mark 3:1-6
April 15 (PM) "The Way Is Open!"--Ephesians 3:1-7
April 8 (AM) "Is Salvation Fair?"--Matthew 20:1-16
April 8 (PM) "The Greatest in the Kingdom"--Matthew 20:20-28
April 1 (AM) "The Resurrection & the Life"--John 11:1-44
April 1 (PM) "Today in Paradise"--Luke 23:39-43
 
March 25 (AM) "It Is Finished"--John 19:29-30
March 18 (AM)
"Father, Forgive Them"--Luke 23:32-38
March 18 (PM) "I Thirst"--John 19:28-29
March 11 (AM)
"Forsaken for Us"--Mark 15:34
March 11 (PM)
"We Are the Church"--Ephesians 19-22
March 4 (AM) "If It Be Possible..."--Matthew 26:36-47
March 4 (PM) "The Peace of Christ"--Ephesians 2:14-18

February 25 (PM) "Remember Who You Were"--Ephesians 2:11-13
February 11 (AM) "Faith Is a Family Affair"--Deuteronomy 6:1-9
February 11 (PM) "There Are NO Inactive Church Members"--Ephesians 2:8-10
February 4 (AM) "The Glory of Christ"--Matthew 17:1-8
February 4 (PM) "Prepositional Christianity"--Ephesians 2:8-10
 
January 28 (AM) "Lord of All Creation"--Psalm 102:25-28
January 28 (PM) "Great Reasons to Be Thankful"--Ephesians 2:1-7
January 21 (AM) "I See the Lord"--Isaiah 6:1-6
January 21 (PM) "All in All"--Ephesians 1:22-23
January 14 (AM) "Let's Make 2018 All About Him"--Proverbs 3:5-6
January 14 (PM) "What Paul Prays For, Part 2"--Ephesians 1:15-21
January 7 (AM) "Time to Start Over"--2 Corinthians 5:14-21
January 7 (PM) "What Paul Prays For"--Ephesians 1:15-21
 
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2017!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2016!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2015!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2014!

Click here for a list of available sermons from 2013!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2012!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2011! 

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About Our Pastor
 
 
Bro. Benjamin Miller began his ministry at Shallowford Free Will Baptist Church in August, 2011. Prior to pastoring our church, Bro. Benjamin pastored at New Home FWB in Colquitt, GA. He received his B.A. in History from Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College) in Nashville, TN. He then received his M.A. in Biblical Studies from Lipscomb University, a Church of Christ graduate school in Nashville. Bro. Benjamin enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and fellowshipping with the people of the church. He is a HUGE Braves fan! Our pastor has dedicated himself to becoming a student of the Word and to preaching the Word with passion, integrity, and real-life applications.
 
Bro. Benjamin married Jara in June 2002. She is a special educator at Mount Bethel Elementary School here in Marietta. She is a tremendous part of his life and quite active in our church. 
 
They had their first son, Thomas, in June 2008. Thomas was born prematurely, and is a testimony to God's amazing grace and provision. He is now a 3rd grader, and does well in school. His greatest ability is to reach out to those in his class in concern and in love.
 
Bro. Benjamin and Sis. Jara welcomed Nathanael in March, 2014. His name means "given by God" and he is absolute reminder of God's ability to bless individuals beyond measure.
 
We hope you'll take the opportunity to get to know our pastoral family!