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Marshall Baptist Church

The Power of Expectation

The Power of Expectation

Luke 7:1-10

 

Intro: Cartoon shows a 4th-grade boy standing toe-to-toe and nose-to-nose with his teacher. Behind them stares a blackboard covered with math problems the boy hasn't finished.

With rare perception the boy says, 'I'm not an underachiever, you're an overexpecter!"

 

Proposition: We are people afraid of great expectations.  That includes expecting things from God.  We are so afraid of being disappointed, so we never expect God to do great things.  In Luke we learn of a Gentile who expected Jesus to do something spectacular – and He did.  We can learn from this story how to have the power of expectation.

 

I.                Never expect blessing if you don’t fear God. (1-5)

This centurion was a Gentile.  Jesus initially was only helping Jews.  But this Gentile believed and expected Jesus could heal his slave.  He had great faith!

It’s very telling that the Jewish elders spoke up for the centurion saying that he was worthy of a blessing for he loved Israel and helped build the synagogue.  The centurion was probably a “God-fearer”, a Gentile who attached himself to the synagogue and worshipped God, but without being circumcised and becoming a Jewish convert. 

Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. Acts 17:4

 

Being someone who fears God does not guarantee blessing – but being someone who doesn’t fear God will guarantee you won’t be blessed.  I want you to expect great things from God – but I don’t want you to expect anything but discipline or wrath from God if you are going to live in willful disobedience.

28 The hope of the righteous will be gladness, But the expectation of the wicked will perish.  29 The way of the Lord is strength for the upright, But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity. Proverbs 10:28-29

 

“The Bible recognizes no faith that does not lead to obedience, nor does it recognize any obedience that does not spring from faith. The two are opposite sides of the same coin.” - A. W. Tozer

Often people succeed for a time, but it eventually catches up with them if they are not honoring God.  Ex. Businesses today.

 

God doesn’t want grand talk and grand gifts – He wants you.

16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17

 

A life of blessing is only going to happen for those seeking God with their whole hearts.  They are the ones who can live in expectation.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6:33

 

II.             Expect great things not because you are great – but because you know Christ is great. (6-8)

Here the centurion shows both humility and great faith.  He says, Jesus you don’t need to walk all the way here.  I’m not worthy of the long journey to my house.  Besides, I know you can heal from where you stand.  Your authority is so great that you don’t need to do miracles in person.

 

In other words, the centurion didn’t say, “Hurry up and get here.  Don’t you realize what a great guy I am!”  He said even though to most I would seem great – I am nothing compared to You.  But notice that his humility didn’t make him not expect Christ to heal.  He knew Christ could heal because Christ was great – not because the centurion was great.

Contentment and humility should never be confused with lowered or no expectations in life.  Too often people let false humility lead them to expect nothing from God.  Or they confuse a lazy faith for contentment.

“The way we continually talk about our own inability is an insult to the Creator.” – Oswald Chambers

To say God can’t do great things through me is to say God can’t do great things.

 

Most of us do not accomplish much because we do not expect to accomplish very much.

“Our God has boundless resources. The only limit is in us. Our asking, our thinking, our praying are too small. Our expectations are too limited." –AB Simpson

Hudson Taylor observed, “Many Christians estimate difficulties in the light of their own resources, and thus attempt little and often fail in the little they attempt. All giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His power and presence to be with them. "

 

Hudson was right.  Look at him – he was a giant of missions.

Historian Ruth Tucker summarizes the theme of Hudson Taylor’s life: “No other missionary in the nineteen centuries since the Apostle Paul has had a wider vision and has carried out a more systematized plan of evangelizing a broad geographical area than Hudson Taylor.”

 

Taylor said, Depend on it, God's work done in God's way will never lack God's supply.”

 

William Carey also a giant – father of modern missions.  He said: "Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God."

 

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3

 

Do you wait in expectation?  Do you expect God to do great things in this church and in your life?

 

III.           Know that God is looking to bless those with great faith. (9-10)

Christ is amazed at the faith of the centurion and instantly heals the slave.  Only twice is Jesus said to have marveled; here at the great faith of a foreigner and in Mark 6:6 at unbelief in Nazareth.

Which do you want God to marvel at – your expectation or your unbelief – your faith or you fear? 

Faith and fear can’t take up the same place because they are flip sides of the same coin.  Afraid of the unseen or excited about the unseen.


We can walk without fear, full of hope and courage and strength to do His will, waiting for the endless good which He is always giving as fast as He can get us able to take it in. -George Macdonald

 

God is searching for faith.  Faith opens up the doors of His blessing.  Why?  Faith says, “God I know you have the power to do whatever you want.  Nothing is beyond You.  I fully trust in You.”

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

 

On the other hand, lack of faith tells God you don’t trust that He can really do anything.  When we show God unbelief He refuses to bless.

And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Matthew 13:58

 

My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. Psalm 62:5

 

Our duty as Christians is to wait or trust in God with a sense of expectation.

 

 

Believe that when you come into the presence of God you can have all you came for. You can take it away, and you can use it, for all the power of God is at your disposal in response to your faith. -Smith Wigglesworth

 

Conclusion: Garage door.  Abigail waited with arms open wide.  She knew I was coming and I would be ready to hug her.  Stand there with your arms open wide for God – know that He is ready to do something great.

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