Seeing
is
NOT
Always
Believing

"And when Jesus was entered into
Capernaum, there came unto him a
centurion, beseeching him, (6)And saying,
Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the
palsy, grievously tormented.   (7)And Jesus
saith unto him, I will come and heal him."

Mat. 8:5-7

My friend, having read the opening
       passage, put yourself in the place of
that Roman centurion.   You have a very sick
servant during a time when medical science
is incapable of curing him.   You hear of one
named Jesus, who claims to be the Christ,
the Son of God.   Some have even claimed
He is God Himself.

So you walk several miles, hoping to see
Him (rumor has it, Jesus is constantly
surrounded by hundreds of people.)   You
encounter Him, tell Him your problem, and
await His response.   Several anxious
seconds pass; your trip was not in vain.
Jesus says, "I will come and heal him."

Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, has just
offered to come to your house and heal
your servant.   From this point on, what
would YOU do?   How would you respond?

A typical response . . .
Upon Jesus' offer, you smile and say,
"Yes, by all means, come this way."   You
lead Him home.   Along the way, you
encounter a friend or two.   During each
encounter, you tell them what's going on.
"God is coming to my house!"   You even
invite your friends along.   "Come and
watch Jesus perform a miracle,"
you tell

them.   When you arrive home, you do
everything physically possible to observe
Jesus at work, even quietly glancing over
His shoulder as He prays to His heavenly
Father.
   Finally, after an incredibly short time,
your servant gets out of bed.   He is
healed--a miracle before your eyes.   You are
both glad for your servant's recovery and
amazed by what you just witnessed.   The
entire episode leaves a life-long impression.

Years go by . . .
You grow older.   One day you're on the very
brink of death.   Naturally, your friends are
concerned.   "Are you right with God?" they
ask.   "Do you know if you are going to Heaven
when you die?"

You smile, slightly annoyed by their short
memory.   "Didn't I tell you of the miracle I
witnessed with my own two eyes?"
you
say, reminding them of your great faith.
They nod.   Of course they heard about it.   A
thousand times throughout the years.

That miracle has been the cornerstone of
your faith; it is what convinces you that
God is real.   No one can question a faith
based on seeing the mighty hand of God at
work.   You trust your miracle-inspired faith
all the way to your grave.

Now, perhaps some, if not all, of the
scenario you just read describes your
response to Jesus' offer.   But let's look at
the centurion's response.

It may surprise you.

NOTICE what the Centurion says in
      response to Jesus' offer: "The centurion
      answered and said, Lord, I am not
worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof:
but SPEAK THE WORD ONLY, and my servant
shall be healed."
  Mat. 8:8

My friend, some might seriously question the
centurion's sanity.   He had the opportunity of a
lifetime and threw it away.   He could have
witnessed a unique event.   And yet, rather than
seeing first hand the mighty hand of God, the
Centurion simply said, "Speak the word only,
and my servant shall be healed."

How did Jesus react?
Was Jesus insulted, perhaps even offended at
the centurion's non-chalant attitude?   Not at all.
According to Jesus Christ, the centurion's
response exemplified great faith:
   "When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said
to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I
have not found SO GREAT FAITH, no, not in
Israel."
  Mat. 8:10

Let's re-read the entire exchange and, this time,
notice the centurion's reasoning: "And Jesus
saith unto him, I will come and heal him.   The
centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not
worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof:
but speak the word only, and my servant shall
be healed.   FOR I AM A MAN UNDER
AUTHORITY, having soldiers under me: and I say
to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another,
Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do
this, and he doeth it.   When Jesus heard it, he
marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily
I say unto you, I have not found so great faith,
no, not in Israel."
  Mat. 8:7-10

The centurion exercised great faith because he
recognized the authority behind God's Word.   He
didn't need visual verification of God's power.
To him God's Word was enough.   He told Jesus
"Speak the word only."   Jesus had only to say
that his servant would be healed, and his
servant WOULD BE HEALED!   To the centurion,
faith meant taking God at His Word, and acting

upon it.   The centurion didn't seek an open
demonstration of God's healing power.   God's
divine authority was all the centurion needed to
know.   That's why he told Jesus: "For I am a
man under authority, having soldiers under me:
and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to
another, Come, and he cometh; and to my
servant, Do this, and he doeth it."

In other words, the centurion, being in a position
of authority, clearly understood the power
behind authority.   To him, God was the highest
authority, and thus commanded the greatest
power.   Therefore, reasoned the centurion, all
God has to do is, "Speak the word only, and my
servant shall be healed."

Seeing is believing?
Referring back to our opening scenario, most
people in the centurion's position would want to
see Jesus in action.   After all, many people go by
the premise that "seeing is believing."   We even
find one of Jesus' own Apostles living by that
rule.   We know him as "doubting Thomas."

Jesus had resurrected and appeared to all His
Apostles, except for Thomas, who for some
reason was not around that day.   Naturally, the
Apostles later told Thomas what he had missed.
To which Thomas replied: "EXCEPT I SHALL
SEE in his hands the print of the nails, and put
my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust
my hand into his side, I WILL NOT BELIEVE"

(John 20:25).   To Thomas, seeing was believing.

However, upon finally seeing the Lord the
following week, Thomas was told by Jesus
Christ: "Thomas, because thou hast seen me,
thou hast believed: blessed are they that have
NOT SEEN, and yet have believed."
  John 20:29

To God, a belief that is not constantly
demanding proof is an example of true faith.
After all, who wouldn't believe upon first
receiving proof?   The Bible says, "Now faith is
the substance of things hoped for, THE
EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN."
  (Heb. 11:1).
Often, in the Gospels, we find the religious Jews

demanding a sign from Jesus Christ.   Here are a
few examples: "They said therefore unto him,
What sign showest thou then, THAT WE MAY
SEE, AND BELIEVE THEE? what dost thou
work?"
John 6:30
   "The Pharisees also with the Sadducees
came, and tempting desired him that he would
shew them a sign from heaven."
  Mat. 16:1
   "And others, tempting him, sought of
him a sign
from heaven."
  Luke 11:16

Such demands were often met with rebuke or
disappointment from Jesus Christ.   "And the
Pharisees came forth, and began to question
with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven,
tempting him.   And he sighed deeply in his spirit,
and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a
sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign
be given unto this generation."
  Mark 8:11-12

How does all this apply to us?
My friend, we have looked at this to emphasize
the fact that while man often says to God,
"Prove it and then I'll believe."   God says to man,
"Believe first and then I'll show you great and
mighty things."
  The Bible bears this out.

In Jeremiah 33:3, God says, "Call unto me, and
I will answer thee, and shew thee great and
mighty things, which thou knowest not."

Obviously, a person can't call upon God unless
they first believe He exists and has the authority
to fulfill their request.
   "How then shall they call on him IN WHOM
THEY HAVE NOT BELIEVED? and how shall they
believe in him of whom THEY HAVE NOT
HEARD? and how shall they hear without a
preacher?"
Rom. 10:14

True faith takes God at His Word.   It recognizes
God's authority and concludes that God's Word
is enough.   It says to God "Speak the word
only."

   After all, to seek a sign beyond that of what
God states in the Bible is to make God out to be
a liar.   It is to say to God, "We know your Word
promises such and such, but we still need some
tangible proof, 'that we may see, and believe

thee[.]'"   However, God doesn't have to
constantly prove Himself.   As the highest
authority in the universe, His Word is enough!
You need only believe what He says.   That's why
the Bible says "So then FAITH COMETH BY
HEARING, and hearing by the word of God."

Rom. 10:17

So, what does this say about those around us
today who are constantly seeking a sign from
God?   Are the Charismatics and Pentecostals
practicing true faith by seeking signs such as
tongues and faith healings?
   Are they willing to simply take God at His
Word, adhering to His promises without needing
the confirmation that a presumed
"manifestation of the Spirit" provides?

Can they say to God, "I don't need any gift, as
proof I've been saved.   Your Word says, 'For
whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord
shall be saved'
(Rom. 10:13).   And that's good
enough for me; Just 'Speak the word only'"
?

What about those who follow after the, so-
called, appearances of Mary?   Are they practicing
faith?   Or are they saying to God, "Show me first
a bleeding statue and then I'll believe"
?

   Can they merely read what the Bible has to
say and take God at His Word?   Can they, like
the centurion, say to God, "Speak the word
only."
?

Finally, what does this say about the agnostics,
who wants tangible and empirical proof of God's
existence?   They may think it makes little
difference if they have true faith, but their
eternity bound soul is depending on it
   We all need to be saved from a devil's Hell,
and faith is the only way.   "For by grace are ye
SAVED THROUGH FAITH; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works,
lest any man should boast."
  Eph. 2:8-9

What about you?   What does your faith depend
on?   Are you simply taking God at His Word?
  Are
you saying like the Centurion, "Speak the word
only"
?

IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven?
  The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).

BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you
from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God,"
Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;"
Romans 3:23.

SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is
the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast."
  (Eph. 2:8-9)   Baptism, good
deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are
all examples of good works that cannot save you,
because, "Not by works of
righteousness
which we have done, but
according to his mercy he
[Christ] saved
us
,"
Titus 3:5.

THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through
Jesus Christ.   He said: "I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me."
  (John 14:6)   THAT'S
WHY
: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us
."
  Romans 5:8-9

THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your
mind
); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner
and can't save yourself.   And call upon Christ, and
Him alone, to save you.   "if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus
[REPENT], and
shalt believe in thine heart
[TRUST] that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved."
  Romans 10:9

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