Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come to you.…
Faith is the all-inspiring element of work everywhere! No man long pursues any work which he does not believe in. No man invests his money in something he does not believe in. Faith is not misty imagination, nor is it a mere mystical meditation about God; it is built upon what God is and what God has said and what God has done. But then there comes in this other consideration; faith is a thing of degree. Here, then, it touches the point of mutuality! If you and I engage in a commercial enterprise, I find my faith weakened or strengthened. I say I wish you knew a little more about that enterprise. If we do business with a great firm, the doubt of others affects us. It was a terrible thing when the crew of Columbus said, "We do not believe." The heroism of that man is seen in the fact that he found the land in spite of the mutinous crew! But where there is this element of mutuality in faith, there is wonderful strength.
I. SUCCESSFUL ENTERPRISES NEED THE FAITH OF EVERY ONE OF US. The unbeliever is a weakness wherever he is. Do you believe that yourself? Masses are not strong in and of themselves. The unity of the spirit in the bond of faith — that is strength.
1. Men who are engaged on gospel enterprises can only do it in proportion as they believe in Christ, and in each other as true men in Christ.
2. If you are mated to another, take care your friend believes with you, or, young woman, you will regret it. You cannot row to heaven with one oar comfortably; both must row together. It is a terrible revelation to some. "I am yoked to an unbelievers."
3. The enterprises of home-life demand mutual faith.
II. THE BEST FAITH NEEDS REFRESHMENT. Even Paul gained strength by another's faith. The rivulet feeds the sea, as well as the mountain feeds the river! The little child feeds my faith — I cannot hear a child's prayer without being helped. The increase of faith is made up of quiet influences! When you went to the seaside out of health, you wonder how it was you got better. You breathed the pure oxygen; you looked up to the broad heavens and forgot meaner things; your nature was influenced by a million little touches along the nerves. So you may be in an atmosphere of faith; and Paul wanted to see them to be in such an atmosphere and to contribute to it.
III. FAITH BRINGS COMFORT. When we voyage to America, "Do you believe in the captain, too?" Then, when evening comes, "Good night," and we are all comforted. The vessel is safe in which we voyage to heaven. All believe in the same Divine Lord over the storm. You are going home without trepidation tonight, but if you had lived in some parts of Italy some time ago we might have asked, "Are you afraid of being stabbed tonight? Which way are you going? We will walk together!" We are comforted by mutual faith in each other. The same thing holds good in regard to religion. What a glorious triumph over fear the early Christians enjoyed.
IV. FAITH GIVES COURAGE. There were a few people inside Rome who believed in Jesus, and the apostle took courage from the thought that he should not be alone, but be surrounded by a loyal few. In the army everyone helps the other's courage. There is no talk about danger, but only of taking the battlements! So wherever you are, by the exercise of your faith you are sustaining that poor fellow there who has the same battle to fight as you have.
V. FAITH MEANS PRAYER. "Making request," etc. You cannot work yourself up into love or faith! It must be something that comes to you. Every good gift comes from God. What we want to make request for is faith, and if we have it as a possession, may God enlarge it.
(W. M. Statham.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.