Sonrise, Feb. 18, 1996 Truth Christian Assemb July 17, '96
God Only Uses Broken Vessels!
1) Many Christians ask: "How can I increase my faith?"
There is only one place in scripture where the apostles ask their master, Jesus, to increase their faith. It is found in:
Luke 17:5-10 "And the apostles said unto our Lord,
increase our faith."
And in response He said, " ... when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which is our duty to do,'" Luke 17:10.
He clearly tells us to think of ourselves as unprofitable servants!
2) Jesus clearly teaches that the key to faith is humility, brokenness, yieldedness; that Godly faith, true faith, is a gift from God; a gift which only comes to the humble obedient servant. Faith comes, like the meal provided by the master, after the servant has fully and humbly waited on the master. Jesus instructs us that we, His servants, are to serve the master; then the master will give us the gift of Godly faith. The master only gives true faith to His humble and obedient servants. So humility is the God given key to receiving increased faith.
3) In many other places the Lord's word shows us this same truth:
Psalm 138:6 "Though the Lord be high, yet hath He respect unto
the lowly: but the proud He knoweth afar off."
Isa. 57:15 "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit..."
Matt. 18:3-4 "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Matt. 23:11-12 "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant...and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
James 4:6 "God resisteth the proud, but gives grace unto the
I Peter 5:5 "... be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility for God resisteth the proud and
gives grace to the humble."
Remember, like the apostles, we are to say:
"we are unprofitable servants, we have done (only) that
which was our duty to do." Luke 17:10
(And sometimes we don't even do that!)
4) We gentiles have been grafted into His body because of the Jews' unbelief. That is, our faith-belief is a grace gift from God. If we get lifted up, then we are in danger of falling, falling through pride, in the same way that the Jews fell due to pride.
Paul tells us:
Romans 11:13-20 "Boast not against the branches ... because of
unbelief (caused by their pride) they (the Jews) were broken off, and you (gentiles) stand in faith. Be not highminded, but fear."
And in Romans 11:18, "thou bearest not the root, but the root thee"
That is, we don't bring Him into action in the world, for He rules regardless of our choices. Rather it is He who gives us the gift of His faith-truth.
5) He brings into His kingdom those that can become His humble and obedient servants. If you are willing to follow Him in all things; to humble yourself as a servant, as a child, as He humbled himself before the father, even unto the death of the cross; then this scripture will apply to you as it did to Him:
Rom. 8:14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they
are the sons of God.
6) Since God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble,
He asks us to willingly endure humbling until we can truly receive in our hearts the truth that:
"we are unprofitable servants, we have done (only) that
which was our duty to do." Luke 17:10
When He has worked in us true humility, then will we agree in our hearts that "we are unprofitable servants," and we will not steal His glory.
7) For the Lord knows us better than we ourselves, He searches the hearts. David speaking of the Lord to Solomon says:
I Chron. 28:9 "Know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him
with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts..."
and Solomon says:
Prov. 21:2 "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but
the Lord pondereth the hearts."
For He truly knows what is in our hearts and responds accordingly.
We can't fake the humility He requires, it must be genuine, it must be a true work of God. When we have chosen true humility and He has worked it in us, then He will give us great faith.
8) This is a process, for when He gives us faith, and does wonders, we often are amazed and lifted up, falling into pride. Then we must suffer testing to again be humbled, lest we stay proud and separated from Him. Only after much relating to Him, being much used and much humbled, do we become truly humble. Those new in the Lord have great faith, then pride and trials, back and forth. Paul exhorted Timothy regarding this, and who should be an overseer:
Tim. 3:6 "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil."
So choose to let the Lord work in you true humility, to die to self, that pride may have no fruit in you.
9) Faith is a God made tool. We can't make it or control it.
Heb. 12:2 "Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith."
The witness of the Holy Spirit in us reveals God's plan, what will be, and how we should align with it, thus He works in us like a faith factory.
I Cor. 12:7-13, "to another faith by the same Spirit."
Faith is a gifting of the Spirit!
Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is the substance (more solid than the things we see) of things hoped for, the evidence (the gift of certain expectation) of things not (yet) seen."
Faith is given so that we will know what is on the way. The promise of God never fails, and is more certain than the laws of nature, which He sometimes changes. Faith is a gift which brings grace (unmerited favor). Faith is itself a grace gift (unmerited) from God. Faith and grace are like two feet on which we can stand or walk. We move forward on the foot of grace, unbalanced and falling, until our foot of faith lands. Then the foot of faith propels us forward, again unbalanced and falling, until the foot of grace lands. That is, faith brings grace and grace brings faith.
John 10:27 "My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me."
10) We need to ask for His gift of Godly faith and not waiver in continuing to ask.
Luke 18:1 "He spake a parable unto them, that men ought
always to pray, and no to faint.
See Luke 18:2-8
God is not an unrighteous judge. If even an unrighteous judge will avenge those truly aggrieved, then the Holy God will certainly do what is right for His children, when we are humbled as children He will give us the gift of great faith.
So we are to, "always to pray and not to faint."
11) Faith is our God ordained highway to God and His abundant provision. He gives us faith so that we can have our needs met and the needs of others met by His gifts. He wants us to truly depend on His working in us, not on our own strength. But only the humble can travel the road of faith. God is the source of faith.
[Because of His great mercy, He takes care of us even when we can't follow Him as we should, even when we are operating in presumption and self will instead of Godly faith. He works with us where we are, otherwise we would perish.]
But His loving desire is for us to grow in true faith and obedience, so He can provide for us through faith. By humility and truly trusting in Him, we do overcome the world!
Rev. 3:21 "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me
in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my father in His throne.
12) To operate in faith is to follow the right and proper directions of the all knowing Father God. It is only right for us to do so, since our Father knows what is best.
Faith may be illustrated by the man that on a dark night was trying to drive his car without headlights. In the dark its easy to run off the road into a tree, or to drive off a bridge. But when God turns on the light of faith, to show the way, we are then protected from going off the road, and we follow the most profitable path.
Should He thank us for doing the only sensible thing, for following His leading? Let's see. If you as a parent tell your child not to go into the street, this is for the child's benefit. You are keeping the child from harm. You don't then thank the child for obedience to this life saving commandment. When it is time for the child to learn to read, you set aside the time, even though the child may not want to spend the effort, for you know that reading is of great benefit to the child. You don't then thank the child for learning to read, for it is to the child's benefit. Likewise, God does not thank us for doing His will, which is for our best, since He knows that His direction is His best gift to us.
Jesus tells us in Luke 17:9 "Doth he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow (suppose) not." So, God does not thank us for doing what is in our best interest.
Romans 5:1-2 "we have access by faith into His grace (unmerited favor) wherein we stand...
Eph. 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith
(and not of yourselves) it is the gift of God."
13) True faith comes as an outworking of the will of God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. By the giving, or by not giving the gift of faith, He is in charge! (This is only one of the many ways in which He is in charge.)
If our motives are selfish, He will resist us and we will be faithless.
Again, "God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble."
If we choose to live in total selflessness, then His faith, Godly faith, will grow in us, and we will do His mighty works.
14) Some preach a faith which seeks to get from God. But praise be to God, Jesus is not our servant. Jesus does what is best, what is right and true, and He doesn't respond to human foolishness. He is in charge, and we are His servants! I'm so glad He is in charge and I am not!
When something is not good for your child you say no, even if it looks very appealing. Likewise, He gives us what is best for us, even when, because of our very limited understanding, we don't understand what is best for us.
15) Coming home from work a man found his house on fire and his
child inside. Put yourself in his place. If you were that man, would you risk your life to save your child? Of course you would! And it wouldn't matter if your child had been disobedient. You would let nothing stop you from saving your child. So God chooses to save us, even in our disobedience, from our disobedience.
16) God Only Uses Broken Vessels, humbled vessels!
I Cor. 11:24 "eat this is my body which is broken for you."
He chose the way of brokenness in order to be used.
Likewise we must choose the way of brokenness.
II Cor. 4:7 "we have this treasure in earthen vessels that
the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
Our failings contrast with His miracles, revealing that this power is His gift.
Judges 7:16-22 Until the earthen pitchers (vessels) were
broken the light couldn't shine forth. When the pitchers were broken then the light shined forth and the enemies of God were destroyed. Clay vessels break so easily, are is so fragile. Only when we are broken does the light shine forth.
I Peter 2:6-8 He is "a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence (even to them) which stumble at the word ..."
This rock is an offence to those that don't want to be broken, who can't imagine the joy of overcoming the old nature through Him.
Matt. 21:44 "... whosoever shall fall on this stone (Jesus) shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
He is the rock, if we choose to fall on Him, we will be shattered.
If we resist, then He will fall on us, and grind us to dust.
17) Therefore, to fully receive Him and to live in our proper
relation with Him, as broken vessels and as unprofitable servants, we need to ask Him for true humility. Only Jesus can work in us true humility. To ask this is contrary to every natural instinct of man. But when we are saved, God gives us that desire for a closer walk with Him, a walk of grace and faith. By His grace we can ask for humility. And with His grace we can endure the trials necessary to become humble.
I Peter 1:7 "the trial of your faith, being much more precious than Gold that perishes...."
The works of faith will stand even when the world is consumed in fervent heat (II Peter 3:10-12).
Romans 8:17 "...joint heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with Him."
When we are broken we partake of His sufferings. Praise God!
James 1:2 "...count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations (trials-testings)"
Then we can rejoice, because we know that trials-testings bring humility, and humility brings true dependence on Him and intimacy with Him, and true dependence on Him is to live in His faith, trusting in Him.
Romans 5:1-5 "...tribulation worketh patience (endurance) and patience, experience (events showing His power), and experience, hope (positive expectations), and hope makes not ashamed (of anything we must bear) because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost..."
Don't fret when you see your attitude fail, that's just part of the process. Just ask forgiveness and cast your cares on Him. Remember, (Rom. 8:1) there is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus, who are seeking to do His will.
18) In enduring humbling we are doing as He did.
II Cor. 8:9 "though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich."
As He suffered that others might benefit, so do we endure trials, that others might see the power of God come through us.
II Tim. 2:10 "Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory."
And we also endure all things for the elect's sake.
II Tim. 3:12 "... all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
And we sand in the midst of persecution, that we may depend on Him.
I Peter 4:12 "think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you."
He takes care of us in all our tribulations,
He gives grace to the Humble!
So ask to become a broken vessel as He was a broken vessel.
And when you are broken confess, "I am an unprofitable servant
for I have only done that which is my duty to do." Then you will operate in Godly faith.
19) But don't be in a hurry, the humbling process takes time!
a) Moses was 40 years in the Midian desert.
b) Abraham was 25 years waiting for the birth of Isaac.
c) Jesus was 40 days fasting & 30 years waiting to start His ministry.
d) David spent 7 years of tribulation and waiting.
e) Not to mention secular leaders like Lincoln and Churchill
When I was very new in the Lord, I asked for rapid growth. He said, "No, you can't handle it." He knew the great humbling I would have to endure, humbling beyond my understanding. Many times I asked Him what I should do, and He said nothing. He was silent, because if He had told me what to do, in my weakness, error and lack of faith; I wouldn't have been able to do it. So He saved me from disobedience by not asking me to do things beyond me.
He will grow you up as rapidly as you can handle it.
20) He wants you to ask for love, patience, mercy, joy, humility, and all of His Holy character; then brokenness and dependency on Him and His direction will bring grace and faith and grace and more faith and intimacy with Him and then great faith.