Volume. XXVI, No. 3
Sunday, 17 July 2011

Lord Increase Our Faith!


We live every day of our lives by faith — faith in God and faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord, faith in the life eternal to come and faith that the Bible is the inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of God. We don’t know any other way to live than to live by faith, for it is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man, the Psalmist says. (Ps 118:8) Yet, how often do we cry out with the Apostles “Lord, increase our faith!” Now, why did the Apostles ask the Lord to increase their faith? It is very likely that the prayer was offered when the apostles endeavoured to cast out the evil spirits from the poor demon possessed man and failed in the attempt in Matthew 17 where they said to our Lord, “…Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” In spite of this, we shall always find good enough occasion for each of us to put it up to God to increase our faith. For faith is having the confidence, trust, conviction, assurance, belief, hope or expectation that something is true or exists without ever actually seeing it—thus, it is vitally important for us to have strong faith! The question is: “How can we increase our faith so that our faith may be strong?”

 The Necessity to Increase Our Faith

 Before we discuss how one may increase his faith, let us consider why it is important to increase our faith. We read in Luke 17:5 that the Apostles said unto the Lord, “Increase our faith…”! Just imagine if the twelve mightiest in the army of the Lord of hosts had need of such a supplication, what shall we say who are but the inferior soldiers — the feeblest saints? The scenario here should be enough to convince us that it is necessary for all of us to increase our faith. If we hope to win the day in our spiritual battle, does it not well become us to pray, “Lord, increase our faith” like the Apostles? The great Apostle Paul’s faith increased in times of infirmities. That thorn in his flesh was never removed from his body. Was it arthritis, was it rheumatism, or, was it gout? We might never know the answer. Whatever the great Apostle suffered from, he recounted the words of Christ, “My grace is sufficient for thee…” despite that he asked the Lord three times to remove his infirmity from him. (2 Cor 12:9a) Then he said in the same verse, “I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me… in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ\'s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Cor 12:9b) In what sense was Paul strong in his infirmities? I believe he is saying that he might be strong in “his faith in Jesus Christ”. What a marvellous statement! Spurgeon once says, “Faith is of the utmost importance to a Christian. There is nothing of which we should have a greater and a more earnest concern than our faith.” Indeed, the Apostle Paul thanked God for Christians in Rome that their faith is spoken of through the whole world. He said, First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” (Rom 1:8) The Apostle Paul also prayed that the faith of the Corinthians should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (1 Cor 2:5) The Apostle also speaks of faith in his epistles to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians and in his pastoral epistles. In the book of Hebrews, there is a whole chapter that dedicates to the men and women of faith.

 If faith is so important to a Christian, we need to guard our heart against unbelief, for Satan is like roaring lion seeking whomever he may devour.  Although a child of God can never lose his salvation, he or she can temporarily lose his trust in God. Remember the Apostle Peter who tried to walk on water in the Sea of Galilee? As long as he focused his eyes upon Jesus, he actually succeeded in walking on water! But when he focused on the wind boisterous, the waves and the water, it forced doubt into his mind—and he sank! How many of us have ever “walked on water” like Peter when everything is going so well around us? How many of us also have started to sink into the “quagmire of disbelief” and even sank deep into the “slough of despond” because of circumstances around us? No one is too young or too old or too sinful or too holy to come before the mercy seat of God to plead to God to increase his or her faith! But we must cry out to Jesus Christ: “Lord, Increase my faith!”     

 Faith Increases though Prayer

 Surely it is important to increase our faith, but how can we increase our faith? We need to increase our faith through prayer. There is no doubt that there is an inseparable relationship between faith and prayers. Concerning this subject, one of the best writers on the subject of prayers, E.M. Bounds, wrote, “Faith grows by reading and meditating upon the Word of God. Most, and best of all, faith thrives in an atmosphere of prayer. Prayer is absolutely dependent upon faith. It has no existence apart from it, and accomplishes nothing unless it is its inseparable companion. Faith makes prayer effectual, and in a certain important sense, must precede it. In other words, faith and prayer must always be found working together hand-in-hand. There is no point to pray a faithless prayer; there is also no point maintain a prayer-less faith! As mentioned earlier, all of us need to guard against unbelief as we would against our spiritual enemy, Satan. However, the Scriptural writers do not brush all the blame to Satan. We, as children of God, must take heed not to allow unbelief to drag us down. Hebrews 3:12 says, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.Bear in mind that the author of Hebrews is not talking about a heart in which unbelief is merely present, but rather a heart that is controlled by unbelief. The kind of heart that will drag a person down even as Peter was dragged down into Galilee’s water! Such dismal spiritual condition certainly is not acquired overnight. It broods slowly over weeks, months and even years of distrust and doubts. Dear fellow Christians, the peril of unbelief is that it breaks the trust on which our relationship with God is based. Unbelief leads to falling away which is just the opposite of drawing near to God! It inevitably will have a devastating effect upon a Christian’s spiritual walk with the Lord! Thus, if we find ourselves losing our trust in God, we need ask God to increase our faith even if it is as simple as the Apostle’s—Lord, increase my faith” (Luke 17:5) Our faith is capable of growing through prayers, so we let us boldly come before the mercy-seat unashamedly asking God to increase our faith!


Faith Increases by Practice

Our Lord said in Matthew 17:6 as his answer to the Apostles, “If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed…” A mustard seed is very, very tiny seed; it is no bigger than a sesame seed. But once planted, it grows into a plant large enough to provide a valuable food and shelter for animals. Jesus said, “If ye HAD faith as a grain of mustard seed… By implication, the Apostles did not have faith as big as a grain of mustard seed. It wouldn’t be too much of an encouragement to the Apostles to know that they didn’t even have a faith of a mustard seed, wouldn’t it? Our Lord, of course, had no intention to discourage the Apostles, but to challenge them to grow their trust in God. We shouldn’t be ashamed for having a little faith, just as there is no shame in being a seed before the blade appears. For, faith involves a growing process that takes time. Fortunately, God honours each of those stages of growth. We should only be ashamed of ourselves when we don’t seek to grow in faith or refuse to ask the LORD to increase our faith. Take, for example, Abraham who is a splendid example of the growth process of faith. He is known to every Christian today as the Father of all those who believe,” a role model of faith! But, he didn’t start out as a faith giant. From the time he left Ur of the Chaldees, his home, until the conception of his son Isaac twenty-five years later, Abraham was travelling a maturity continuum of faith. In Genesis 12, he passed off his wife Sarai (also known as Sarah) as his sister in Egypt out of fear that the Pharaoh would kill him to procure the beautiful Sarah. “What little faith he had,” we might say. Didn’t God promise that he would be a great nation and make his name great!  Abraham surely had a little faith but he grew to be a spiritual giant of faith. The same was the case for Moses. His faith also started small. When God called him to lead His people Out of Egypt, first, he says that the Egyptians would wonder who sent him (Ex 3:11). Second, he makes the case that the Hebrews might not listen to him or believe that the Lord appeared to him (Ex 4:1). Third, Moses tells God that he is not a good speaker (Ex 4:10). And finally, Moses tells God to send someone else (Ex 4:13). Basically, Moses made excuse after excuse until he was finally compelled by God to carry out the mission—he just did not feel like he was the right person to carry out the task, but his faith grew. Dear readers, isn’t your faith also small when you first believe? Perhaps, your faith is still small—smaller than a mustard seed perhaps. Would you start calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and cry out to Him Lord, Increase My Faith!” But please bear in mind that when we ask the Lord to increase our faith, God may send trials and tribulations into our lives, just like in the case of Job. So that we may have the opportunity to practice our faith or to display our trust in Him, for faith can grow big by practice or by exercise like a muscle. Spurgeon says, “Be not satisfied with church membership; but seek after membership with Christ. Do not talk about faith, but exercise it. Do not boast of experience, but possess it. Be not like the wheat, but be the wheat. No shams and imitations will stand in the last great day: that terrible "but" will roll as a sea of fire between the true and the false. OhHoly Spirit! Let each of us be found transformed by thy power!” What Spurgeon is saying is that faith possessed must be exercised by visible signs and be proven by actions. Thus, having faith also means believing in what the “Word of God” says is true, and acting like it!


Dear readers, have you placed your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you believe that Jesus Christ came to die for sinners and has accomplished the salvation for those who would call upon His name? Would you come to Him by faith and lay aside all your burdens and spiritual baggage you might have today? “For without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Jesus also said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Would you come and unload your burden of sins before Him?


Ps Weng


More Lively Hope




*Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Bro Cong Pham. Next Lord’s Day: Dns Joyce Gong.

*Session wishes to thank organisers of the Sparks4Christ & Senior Sunday School Sleepover.

*Hope Bookstore - open 12:30-1:45pm every Sunday.

*Hospitality Roster for Preacher Hai Seng Lim - vacant slots are still available.

*A Thanksgiving Memorial Service for the life of the late Bro Winston Selvanayagam will be held at The Stone Mansion on Sat, 6 Aug, at 11 am. All are welcome to attend.

*All members of Hope BPC are expected to attend the ACM. Please keep this date in your diary.

*Please note: No Tiny Tots Sing-a-long this Tuesday.


 Looking Ahead

*Gospel Rally, 7:30 pm, 7 Aug.

*ACM, Sat, 27 Aug.

*AFG Retreat, 1 - 3 Oct.

*Christmas Concert, Sat, 3 Dec.


 Praise And Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Pr Hai Seng Lim (Adl); Elder & Mrs Loke (Melb); Sis Myung Ki (S’pore/KL); Bro Raymond & Sis Swee Yee Chia & family (Vic); Bro Peter & Sis Mary Ting & family (HK/S’hai); Sisters Cyndi Chan, Michelle Lee, Gillian Ong (Adl) & Peng Ha Yeo (Mal); others who arrived safely.

2. Church activities - over the past week.

3. Sleep-over of Sparks4Christ & Senior Sunday School students.

4. Job - Sis Corinne Teng

5. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

6. New worshippers & visitors.

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser;  Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Margaret Hooper, Myung Ki (Lond), Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), & Susan Varadi; Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); & others in affliction.

2. Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry (Phnom Penh & Kandal Province); Bro Chanton & Sis Siang Lai (Siem Reap BPC).

3. Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry.

4. Batam Missions - Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.

5. iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & Ministry at Hope BPC.

6. IBPFM (USA) - Rev K Coleman, Board & Missionaries around the world.

7. Ministry in New Life BPC, London - Ps & Sis Ki.

8. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.

9. Ps & Sis  Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC.

10. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.

11. Journey mercies: Pr Hai Seng Lim (Melb); Dn Wai Kin Wong (Rural Vic/Adl); Bro Raymond & Sis Swee Yee Chia & family (Adl); Bro Peter & Sis Mary Ting & family (Adl); Mrs Helen Heah; Sisters Samantha Heah, Gillian Ong (Bris) & Peng Ha Yeo (Adl); & those who are travelling.

12. Job - Sisters Clara Sim.

13.  Studying in Auckland, NZ - Bro Peter Koo

14. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.

15. God’s comfort - Those in grief.