September 16, 2022 Brethren Letter

Dear Brethren,

When I was a boy, one of my classmates asked what church I belonged to. Since my family didn’t attend any organized church, that question puzzled me. I didn’t know how to answer his question.

At the end of the day when I returned home, I asked my mother the question, “What church do we belong to?” She explained the answer this way: “Oh, you’re a _________ (A Protestant church was named). That’s the FAITH you belong to.” Well, as a child, I was satisfied with the answer and couldn’t wait to tell my friends the next day. The answer didn’t seem to offend my “buddies,” even with other church names being represented. However, from that point on I did equate the word “FAITH” with, “The name of a church a person belongs to.

Needless to say, as an adult, when God began to call me (John 6:44), I realized that the word “faith” had a lot more meaning than the name of the church one attends. Again, as we see in Galatians 5:22, “faith” is listed as one of the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith … ”

I have always found the story of the disciple Peter’s experience with “walking on water” to be very informative. Reading about this event, we find that Peter began to doubt and had begun to lack faith. He subsequently started to sink right into the water.

Matthew 14:22-32 (NKJV)

[22] Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.

[23] And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.

[24] But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.

[25] Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.

[26] And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.

[27] But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.

[28] And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”

[29] So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.

[30] But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”

[31] And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?

[32] And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

Every one of us can identify with Peter’s example of being human, and having human failings. Obviously, God was still able to use Peter mightily. He was later made an apostle, no longer only a disciple. Christ was demonstrating to Peter and the others in the boat what real faith was. Just like all of us today, Peter, as well as the others, was going through a process of “spiritual training” in learning what real FAITH was and is.

In Matthew 17:20 Christ tells us, “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.” By His words, we can see that having even a small amount of faith can accomplish great things. That’s not to say we would actually be given the ability to toss mountains around as if they were toys. Ripping mountains from their foundations would not serve any spiritual purpose for us. Christ is however illustrating a point about what even a small amount of actual faith will achieve for us.

I plan to continue with this subject following the Feast of Tabernacles, and list some key points that can help us in our development of real faith. Remember, the faith we must have comes from God’s Spirit and is not our own “faith” worked-up by human emotions. It is literally the faith of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9).

Please have a good night’s rest. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow on God’s Sabbath.

Sincerely, Your Brother in Christ,

Gary Liebold

Log In