Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 148 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Romans 10 today and our focus is on How Can Our Faith Grow?: We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Bangkok, Thailand, Rajasthan, India, Hartford, Connecticut, Salinas, California, Atlanta, Georgia, and Petersburg, Virginia. Thanks for listening!  Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

We begin with a comment from Og on our recent Daniel episodes:

Something that has always puzzled me here… As part of their re-education, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are all given new names (compounded with the names of Babylonian idols). The latter three are known by these names … we even tell the story, in Sunday School, of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. But Daniel is always referred to as Daniel, his Hebrew name, and never as Belteshazzar, his Babylonian name.

I’ve wondered this too, Og. I think I know why we call Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah by their Babylonian names, and that is because most of the Bible, especially Daniel 3, their most famous ‘appearance’ calls them by their Babylonian names. The big question is why does the BIBLE refer to Daniel consistently by his Hebrew name, and the others by their Babylonian names? That’s quite the mystery.

Today our focus is back on the New Testament in Romans 10, and our focus is on faith – specifically, how can our faith grow? Romans 10 is going to give us one of the most profound truths in the Bible – one that is deep theologically, but most practical and important in practice, and here it is:

So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ. Romans 10:17

Faith comes by hearing – or what is heard, specifically, the message about Christ.  Consider carefully Mark 4. In that chapter, Jesus teaches multiple parables on God’s Word and faith. In what is probably the most important parable, the Parable of the Sower, Jesus explains how a person receives the Word like this:

14 The sower sows the word.15 Some are like the word sown on the path. When they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word sown in them.16 And others are like seed sown on rocky ground. When they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy.17 But they have no root; they are short-lived. When distress or persecution comes because of the word, they immediately fall away.18 Others are like seed sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word,19 but the worries of this age, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.20 And those like seed sown on good ground hear the word, welcome it, and produce fruit thirty, sixty, and a hundred times what was sown.21 He also said to them, “Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it to be put on a lampstand?22 For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing concealed that will not be brought to light.23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen.”24 And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear. By the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and more will be added to you. Mark 4:14-24

Notice what Jesus says: PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU HEAR (of God’s Word) and then He challenges His listeners: With the measure you use, it will be measured back to you – and more will be added. In other words, if you come to God’s Word with a tiny and wee little thimble sized container, you are likely to walk away with a tiny and wee sized little faith. Come with a large bucket full – in other words, if you give yourself to the listening to and learning and following of God’s Word with time and diligence, then you will come away reaping great faith and reward from that. Whatever measure you use in coming to the Word, you’ll get back. (just like if somebody was offering free gold out of a truck, and you come with a small 1 oz measuring cup, you might get one ounce of gold, but those who come with great big buckets will get more. This is important, because we aren’t just talking about reading the Word to learn facts – Paul tells us in our passage that faith comes through the HEARING of God’s Word. The Word builds faith. This is one of the reasons the writer of Hebrews says:

For this reason, we must pay attention all the more to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away. (Hebrews 2:1) 

We must pay careful attention to the Word – listening and following it. Those who don’t will doubtless find their faith lagging, and their position drifting from God.

Galatians gives us another illustration of faith coming through the hearing of God’s Word:

So then, does God give you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law? Or is it by believing what you heard— just like Abraham who believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness? You know, then, that those who have faith, these are Abraham’s sons.

So remember, listening to and absorbing the Word is critical here. The deeper it goes – the more you listen, meditate, absorb – the greater the work of the Kingdom in your life. The shallower, the less. With the measure you use…Think of it this way. When you come to the Word, you can bring a small cup, and hear only a bit, or you can bring a giant barrel and get TONS of it. There is a direct correlation to the amount of fruitfulness in your life and your getting – hearing of the Word of God.

Colossians 3:16 is a great encouragement for us here:

16 Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Colossians 3:16 

Now, let’s read our passage.

Bible Memory verses for the month of May: Matthew 28:18-20 18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”    

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