From the Pulpit: Collective faith has great power too

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 13, 2006

And when He saw their faith, He said to him, &8220;Man, your sins are forgiven you.&8221; &045; Luke 5:20

When we discuss faith, we&8217;re usually talking about the faith of an individual rather than a group. But today I want to talk to you about corporate faith &045; or &8220;their&8221; faith, as the phrase appears in the text above.

The paralyzed man who is the subject of Luke 5:17-26 needed others who would join their faith with his for him to receive his healing.

&8220;Their&8221; faith &045; not just his &045; was involved. How else could he have gotten several grown men to crawl up onto a rooftop with him, tear it up and lower him through the hole in the ceiling, right in front of Jesus and a huge crowd of people? In doing what they did, &8220;their&8221; faith became highly visible; Jesus recognized it as having a part in their friend&8217;s healing.

We don&8217;t always realize it, but &8220;our&8221; faith as church members is necessary for our churches to be all the Lord wants them to be. And, thank God, there can be a church-wide (and even city-wide) demonstration of faith. God needs to see &8220;our&8221; faith, not just &8220;the pastor&8217;s&8221; faith.

Notice the things &8220;their&8221; faith did:

&8220;Their&8221; faith received the miracle. What a reward, to have Jesus credit you with part of a miracle. Your church probably has some major challenge or project before it right now that can only be accomplished as all the members join their faith together. Don&8217;t expect your pastor to do all the believing. God called you there not just to be dead weight but to actively participate with &8220;your&8221; faith, in bringing to pass those things God has led the leadership of your church to do.

&8220;Their&8221; faith overcame obstacles. There was no way the paralyzed man could have gotten up on the roof by himself. Further, I&8217;m positive his helpers were told it was impossible to get their friend to Jesus &045; but they did it anyway.

There will always be obstacles to anything God leads anyone to do. As members of a local church congregation, let&8217;s adopt the attitude that &8220;our&8221; faith can indeed overcome any and all of Satan&8217;s obstacles and cause God&8217;s power to be demonstrated through our church for the benefit of our community. Wouldn&8217;t you like to have Jesus credit you one day in heaven with helping accomplish his will on the earth by &8220;your&8221; faith?

&8220;Their&8221; faith prevailed even though it was surrounded by unbelief. The bystanders that day were secretly critical of Jesus for telling the man his sins were forgiven. As far as we&8217;re told in the gospels, none of them received anything that day from the Lord &045; their attitudes isolated them from God&8217;s power.

But even in the presence of so much doubt and judgmentalism, the Lord honored the faith of the paralyzed man and his friends. &8220;Their&8221; faith received a miracle, while the Pharisees did without.

It will always be this way. Some will believe and receive remarkable miracles from the hand of God; others will doubt and criticize and receive nothing. Be a believer, a producer of testimony to the integrity of God&8217;s word.

&8220;Their&8221; faith allowed those men long ago to receive not only a physical healing but also the honor of having all three gospels include Jesus&8217; recognition of &8220;their&8221; faith. May &8220;my&8221; faith and &8220;your&8221; faith &045; that is, &8220;our&8221; faith &045;

gain us a similar privilege!

Truett Murphy serves as pastor at the Living Word Church in Pelham. He can be reached at