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? 

Is God Frustrated?

Is God Frustrated?

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

About a month ago I wrecked my motorcycle at The Hebron Church of Christ work day. It was very embarrassing because I wrecked it in front of everyone that was there. I decided that it would be a good idea to take my bike up the steep grass hill behind the fellowship hall. I was going a little too fast and completely forgot about the drainage ditch at the top. I came over the top of the hill, slammed my front tire into the ditch, and laid my bike down. I ended up bending the highway bars into the side of the frame, breaking my left mirror off, bending the clutch bar, toe shifter and kickstand, and cracking a couple of ribs.
After I had fixed most of the issues, I then spent hours trying to bend the highway bars back into shape. I tried using a mallet, a blowtorch, a ride mower and tow strap, and even got so frustrated I ran over the bars with my truck. Nothing was working so I eventually just gave up. I’ll admit, it’s not pleasant at all to work so hard on something only to realize it was for nothing. We don’t like giving up, but sometimes it’s the only thing we can do.
Did you know there was a time that God Himself gave up? In Romans 1, Paul spends some time describing men that have upset God. In verse 18 we read that these men refuse to acknowledge God and even go so far as to suppress the truth. These ungodly men were determined to bury the truth. Even though God had clearly revealed Himself, these men refused to see it. Because of this God gave up. Three specific reasons are mentioned by Paul.
They exchanged the truth for a lie. Romans 1:24-25 tells us that these men were involved in idol worship. God gave up because they chased after lust and the rituals involved in serving false gods. God quit trying because they exchanged the truth about God for the lies of idolatry. God is the source of Truth, and we can be guilty of accepting a lie instead of Truth. The lie here is idol worship and these men placed more importance on statues and images. While we may not be worshipping a literal idol, we can still practice this today. We can worship the lie of possessions. When we spend more time detailing our truck, boat, or house than we do in our personal relationship with God, we are bowing to a lie. If we place more importance on anything other than God, we are exchanging truth for a lie.
They exchanged the natural for the unnatural. Verses 26-27 shows us the wickedness that they were caught up in. God quit pursuing them because they exchanged the natural for the unnatural. The word “natural” here means, “that which is in accordance to the basic order of nature.” Specifically Paul is talking about human nature. God did not intend for men to be with men and women with women. And yet these people knew the consequences of their actions, and chose to continue in them. Therefore, God gave up.
They chose to ignore God. In Verse 28 these men failed to acknowledge God so He gave them up to a debased mind. This word “debased” means, “unqualified, worthless.” Their action of ignoring God resulted in a worthless mind. A mind that sought after things that are contrary to God’s will. How terrible it would be to find out on the day of judgment that God wanted me, but I chose to ignore His love. God cannot be with the person who constantly ignores His existence, and so eventually He will stop trying.
Has God given up on me?



Neal Pollard

Paul recounted his conversion on several occasions and spoke of his attitude toward  Christianity before embracing it himself.  Of the many ways he described his pre-Christian life, think about what he said in Acts 26:11.  He describes it as being “furiously enraged” at Christians. He ravaged the church (Acts 8:3). He breathed out threats against them (Acts 9:1).  He had the power and desire to punish them (Acts 22:5).  He was a violent aggressor toward Christians (1 Tim. 1:13).   What changed him?

The word of Christ did (Acts 27:14).  Jesus taught that among the conditions of heart is the good and honest one (Luke 8:15). The teaching of Christ can change people’s minds and attitudes.

A changed view of Christ did (Acts 27:15).  Though Scripture does not explicitly tell us his view toward Jesus before his conversion, His vicious reaction to “The Way” (Acts 9:2; 22:4) reveals that he was absolutely opposed to the view of Christ asserted by the disciples, that He is Lord (cf. Acts 2:36).  Yet, on the road to Damascus, encountering Jesus, Paul immediately begins to acknowledge Him as “Lord” (see how Luke emphasizes the Lordship of Christ in Saul’s conversion in the account in Acts 9—1,5,10,11,13,15,17).  A person will have a dramatic attitude adjustment toward Christ who comes to acknowledge and appreciate Him as Lord and Master.

A more profound life’s purpose did it (Acts 27:16-21).  Christ outlines His purpose for Saul—a minister (16), a witness (16), opening people’s eyes (18) as his own were.  Whatever the focus of a person’s life, it is not as meaningful as when Christ is in the center of that focus.

16th-Century Scottish historian, John Knox, wrote, “No one else holds or has held the place in the heart of the world which Jesus holds. Other gods have been as devoutly worshipped; no other man has been so devoutly loved” (Haythum Khalid).  That is true for those who come to take Him as He is presented in the Bible. In the public marketplace where ideas are sold and traded, we will encounter people whose mindset toward Christ and His Way mirrors that of Paul’s before He was converted to Him.  Our task is to live Him in our lives and, if possible, share His Word.  If their heart is good and honest, the Word will change their view of Christ and their view of their life’s purpose.  If that happened so frequently in the unfriendly environment of the Roman Empire of the first-century, it can happen in our current culture!