Examples To Imitate

Examples To Imitate

Carl Pollard

Faith impacts every aspect of life and that’s why we should always strive to grow our faith. A quick look at the church and we will see that there is a need for greater faith! We can grow our faith by looking to those who Jesus commended for their great trust. 

Throughout Jesus’ ministry he encountered several people that showed great faith. There are only two occurrences in scripture where Jesus “marvelled.” Mark 6:7 says Jesus marveled at their unbelief (lack of faith). Luke 7:9 tells us that Jesus marveled at the centurions great faith. With our faith we have the ability to cause Jesus to marvel. The question is, will Jesus marvel at our belief or our unbelief? Let’s look at a few examples to imitate: 

Example #1 Matthew 8:5-10

The centurion comes to Jesus with a faith that caused Jesus to marvel. It’s rare to find someone with this kind of faith. Many today have a hard time trusting others. And for good reason since many have evil intentions.

But we must be careful not to let this impact our faith in God. We can and should trust in the Lord! He cares for our well being and we can rely on Him. We can be wary of the world, but we should never believe God to be a liar. The centurion came to Jesus with a great faith. 

Why was it great? Notice what he says to Jesus, “You don’t even have to come.” He believed that Jesus had the power to heal his servant without even being present. Most people in his position would have wanted to see Jesus heal them in person. That way you could watch Jesus do it, and watch the sickness leave. But the centurion was so confident in Christ that he knew his servant would be healed, even though he was separated from him. He saw Jesus for who He was. A man/God with power and authority.

In verse 13 we read the result of this great faith. The centurion’s faith was placed in the right thing. His faith paid off and his servant was healed “at that very moment.” He would go home to a perfectly healthy servant. And that’s the result of a great faith in the Almighty. 

Example #2 Matthew 9:1-2

It says that Jesus “saw” their faith. They didn’t speak, they didn’t tell Jesus anything that showed faith. Jesus saw their faith. What did He see? He saw a group of people coming to Him carrying a paralytic. What faith did Jesus see? He saw people that came to Him for help. 

They had a problem and they believed that Jesus could fix it. Do we see Jesus as the answer to our problems? Do we believe that He is what we need? Does Jesus see our faith? Do our actions show that we believe in Him? 

These people saw Jesus as the master physician and they acted on their faith.

Example #3 Matthew 9:19-22

This woman’s faith was so strong she knew that just a touch would heal this problem that she had been dealing with for 12 years. She didn’t believe it was necessary for Jesus to look at her, lay hands on her, or speak. Just a touch would do the trick. Jesus responds by saying “your faith has made you well.” Jesus had the power, but the woman had the Faith to be healed. If she lacked faith she wouldn’t have been healed. 

Example #4 Matthew 9:27-30 

Jesus asks the men an important question, “Do you believe I can do this?” When we experience suffering and heartache what is our response? If Jesus came to you and asked, “Do you believe I can fix this?” How would you respond? These blind men came to Jesus and believed that He could heal them. 

Vs. 29 says, “According to your faith be it done to you.” Once again their healing was based on the faith they possessed. God rewards those who have faith. 

If you read through the accounts where Jesus heals the sick there’s a phrase that keeps coming up, “Your faith has made you well.” 

  • Mark 10:52 “go your way, your faith has made you well” 
  • Luke 7:50 “your faith has saved you, go in peace” 
  • Luke 17:19 “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
  • Luke 18:42 “Recover your sight; your faith has made you well.”

Based on these verses, what quality saved them? Their faith. Which begs the question…

Will your faith save you? Do you believe in heaven and hell? Will your faith in God cause you to live according to His word? Will your faith save you? Or do you cause Jesus to marvel at your lack of belief? 

The Power Of The Word

The Power Of The Word

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

Gary III

Gary Pollard

Angels are not the dainty, long-haired Western Europeans they’re often depicted as being. In Matthew 28, their appearance was like lightning and they had white clothes. Evidently their appearance was other-worldly enough to frighten these soldiers almost to death (28.4). Whether this was some cardiac event or simply shock we cannot know. But to frighten someone that tough to that extent would take something pretty crazy. 

But some of these same guys still went straight to the chief priests and took a bribe to keep quiet and spread disinformation (28.11-15). After what they had just seen and experienced, you’d think they would run to a therapist and not the chief priests to help perpetuate something they knew to be false. 

We can be tempted sometimes to think that evangelism requires more than just showing someone the word. We might think the miraculous or incredible could persuade even the most stubborn non-believer. The power of our job (making disciples) is in the Word and in faith. The Bible has many accounts of people seeing incredible feats of supernatural power with their own eyes and still rejecting God. Abraham informed the rich man in Luke 16.29-31 that God’s Word is what saves; if that is rejected, no miracle will change this. 

If we place our faith in the power of the Word and work to deepen our understanding of the Word, we have all we need to show the power of Jesus. 

The Convictions Of The Lost

The Convictions Of The Lost

Neal Pollard

The lost are convicted, too. Don’t let anybody say they’re not. Some of the strongest-held beliefs, some of the most fully-persuaded minds, and some of the most determined hearts are attached to lost individuals. Even in the Bible, one finds the deepest rooted convictions in the heart of the lost sinner. If one wants to find a people wholly dedicated, he should take a trip into Noah’s world (see Gen. 6:5). If one wants to find a people completely set in a given pursuit, he should visit with King Solomon about the sons of men (Ecc. 8:11).

We should abhor rather than admire the lifestyle of the lost. This statement, if it has ever been true, applies to the people who spread themselves around Pilate’s judgment seat. Grounded in their hatred and jealousy of Jesus, the chief priests, the elders, and the persuaded multitude had as their singular focus the destruction of Jesus. They wanted Him gone, and any way they could do it they were willing to try. The rulers of the people had tried to ridicule, embarrass, trap, frustrate, tempt and discourage Him, but they had failed. One would think that, after three years of trying, they would have given up on their task. But, they were convicted.

The mob who finally “got rid of Jesus” (actually, they fulfilled God’s eternal plan for their and our salvation, and they did not foresee the resurrection) was a crowd we could learn a few lessons.

THEY WERE UNITED (Mat. 27:22). Pilate asked them what he should do with Jesus. All of them said, “Let Him be crucified.” No dissension is recorded by Matthew. Together, they forced a governor to submit to their wishes. How unfortunately that they were united to do evil.

When the righteous are united under the proper standard (Eph. 4:13), “how good and how pleasant it is…” (Psa. 133:1). Think of the untold good Christ’s disciples can do under the banner of brotherly love (Heb. 13:1), outdone only by our love, devotion and obedience to the Lord (Heb. 5:9).

THEY WERE DECISIVE (Mat. 27:21,22). There were no long committee meetings. There were no endless business meetings. They did not vacillate in this moment of decision. Pilate knew who they wanted crucified and who they wanted released. Though iniquitous, their decision was most expedient for their stated goal.

The Lord’s church in most places does an adequate job of planning its local work. Alas, in some cases, their best laid plans get lost somewhere between the forming and fulfilling. No congregation wants to rashly enter any endeavor–whether it be picking up support of an extra missionary or the execution of a needed program or plan. Yet, at times, the church can be overcautious and ponderous in discharging their responsibilities. Surely God was thrilled at the decisive way the disciples in the early church mobilized, spread the gospel, and reached the lost. The book of Acts is the model of decisiveness for today’s church.

THEY ACCEPTED RESPONSIBILITY (Mat. 27:25). Pilate wanted to know who was going to take moral responsibility for killing the just Jesus (24). Seemingly without hesitation, “All the people…said, His blood be on us, and on our children.” They collectively pointed the finger of guilt at themselves. Later, when Peter’s Pentecost preaching pricked their hearts, in a different way they took responsibility for this heinous acts (Acts 2:36-37).

Every person must take responsibility for his actions. Everyone must reap what he, individually, has sown (Gal. 6:7-8). In the congregational setting, the eldership must accept responsibility for what goes on among its members. When congregations individually begin to accept responsibility for themselves, theretofore avoided subjects will again be addressed courageously and frequently by the pulpit, eldership, and classroom.

We do not admire those responsible for slaying the sinless Savior. They were callous-hearted wretches darkened by the night of sin. However, they teach us the power of a united people ready and eager to stand accountable for what they decided to do. Churches will grow who follow God’s blueprint for His kingdom with enthusiasm and conviction. Let us maintain our convictions in “well doing” (Gal. 6:9).




Neal Pollard

There are some people with “trust issues.”  They are stuck in a negative frame of mind, believing the worst in others with little expectation that they will improve.  They may even castigate anyone who would encourage you to put faith in people.  Certainly, our greatest faith must always be in God.  He never fails, forsakes, or leaves us (Heb. 13:5-6), but people invariably do those things.  We cannot put more faith in people than God, listening to and following them when they contradict His will. That’s a false, wrong extreme, but so also is a cynicism that fundamentally, inherently distrusts people to do the right thing.  This does not mean that there are people in our lives who do not struggle with sin because we all do (Rom. 3:23).

Let me encourage you to have faith in God’s people. Why?

  • Jesus did.  He selected twelve men, salty fishermen, shady tax collectors, strident nationalists, and selfish materialists.  While the latter let Him down, the other eleven grew and accomplished much.  Jesus entrusted His mission to them (Mat. 28:18-20), having faith that they would accomplish it.  But, Jesus also had faith in others—the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, Zaccheus, Bartimaeus, Nicodemus, and so many others.  Some He put faith in failed Him and even left Him, but that did not ever stop Him from investing that faith in others.  Do you remember what He said to Peter after He had failed? “I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32; emph. mine).  That was faith in Peter!
  • It empowers others.  When somebody expresses faith in your ability to accomplish something, how do you respond?  When you are given responsibility with the explicit or tacit understanding that the giver believes in you, don’t you give it your all to live up to that trust?  2 Timothy 2:2 seems to imply this reaction is a natural consequence of being entrusted with something.
  • People live up (or down) to our expectations.  Have you ever had someone in your life who handled you this way:  “You’re no good!”; “You’ll never amount to anything!”; “You’re hopeless!”?  Maybe they don’t say it, but they convey it.  Preachers and teachers communicate the word through such a pessimistic prism. Leaders convey it in ways both spoken and unspoken.  Love “believes all things, hopes all things” (1 Cor. 13:7).
  • It brightens life.  Would you like to maintain a PMA (possible mental attitude)?  Never lose the ability to believe in others!  A glass half full approach is necessary to retaining an optimistic, hopeful way of life. I’m not saying to be delusional, but you can improve your own quality of life with a fundamental belief that most people, when they know what’s right, want to do what’s right.
  • It is biblical.   Paul had confidence in Philemon’s obedience (Phile. 1:21). He had confidence that Corinth would do the right thing (2 Cor. 2:3). He had confidence in Galatia’s doctrinal resilience (Gal. 5:10). He had confidence in Thessalonica’s continued faithfulness (2 Th. 3:4).  What an example, and oh how we should imitate him in this!

Teresa of Calcutta is often associated with certain verses found on the wall of her children’s home, even credited for authoring it. Kent Keith is the likely author.  In the composition, “Do It Anyway” (aka “The Paradoxical Commandments”), he notes that people will criticize and be petty.  He encourages doing good, loving, and serving anyway.  You can choose how you will spend your life, expecting the best or worst of others. May I urge you to have the most faith in God, but leave room for faith in people—especially God’s people! You will not regret it.



Neal Pollard
“What did he mean by that?” “Those elders never get it right!” “You know our preacher. What else would you expect?” “That deacon is destined to fail.” “Those people at church!” “They don’t like me.”
What would it be like to work with a congregation that had people who openly flaunted their sexual immorality, that was divisive, that even was guilty of worshiping pagan idols, that had members who were filled with sinful pride and arrogance, whose wealthy members neglected and mistreated the poor members, and who saw spiritual works and involvement as a competition? That was not a nightmare for the apostle Paul. It was a reality. The church was in Corinth, and he wrote multiple letters to them. The first one preserved by God in the Bible addressed a variety of problems including the above-mentioned ones. Then, in the epistle we know as 2 Corinthians, Paul conducts a follow up in which he commends their penitent spirit and encourages them to find comfort in Christ despite trials. No fewer than four times, Paul speaks of having confidence in them. As he viewed their reformation of character, he said, “I have confidence in you” (2 Cor. 2:3). Later, he says, “Great is my confidence in you” (2 Cor. 7:4). A few verses later, he says, “I rejoice that in everything I have confidence in you” (2 Cor. 7:16). He even relates Titus’ “great confidence” in Corinth (2 Cor. 8:22).
Paul is often credited for his master psychology, his knowledge of how to treat the brethren to “get the most” out of them. Yet, if Paul was this disingenuous manipulator, he would not draw heaven’s praise nor would he have found sustained success. The right conclusion is that Paul really did have confidence in his brethren. That does not mean that he thought they would never let him down or that he was gullible and naïve. It did not mean that he did not reprove and rebuke in appropriate measures. But, it did mean that Paul had faith in the average Christian’s ability to know and do “the right thing.”
Every church has its stumbling blocks, but no congregation could survive for any length of time made up entirely of them. Most congregations have a healthy number of building blocks and we do well to address them as Paul did Corinth. Do we have faith in each other? Or do we assume the worst motives and intentions on the part of others? Not only is that somewhat paranoid and miserable, but it is quite un-Paul-like. Let us have confidence in the other fellow. And let us strive to be worthy of others’ confidence in us!