Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Creative Power of God in Your World

READ: Genesis chapter 1

The Bible starts at a dizzy pace, doesn’t it? I mean, if I were reading the Bible for the very first time – I just picked it up and started at the beginning – I think I’d get to the end of chapter one and say to myself, “This book’s going to be a page-turner.”

It’s a gripping opening. And there are literally thousands of sermons waiting to be preached out of just this first chapter of Genesis. Because it reveals so much about God; about His nature and His character. We could preach this morning about Him being eternal (“in the beginning God”); we could preach about …
· His creativity
· His almighty power
· His holiness
· His providential care
· His fatherhood
· That He is one God, but a trinity of Persons

And on and on - it’s all right here on the first page! So much about the greatness of God.

As I was reading it again recently, I began to think about the Creation account and what we see here of God’s power, and suddenly God was speaking to me about that creative ability of His that is still at work today.

As far as we know, God’s not creating planets or stars or animal species any longer. He has completed it, and that work came to an end. But Jesus said in John 5, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” Another translation says: “My Father never stops working”.

God is always active – He speaks today and things happen. Romans 4:17 says that Abraham “believed God who gives life to the dead and calls (present active tense) those things which do not exist as though they did.” Abraham dared to believe that the great Creator STILL speaks and things are brought into being by that word of His mouth. And therefore nothing is impossible with God.

As we look together at Genesis 1 – the very foundation of the world – I want you to see that the same, unchanging God who did all this wants to move by His power in your life today, and create something for His glory.

There is a law of physics known as the 2nd law of thermodynamics – you may have heard it quoted before because it is a fundamental principle of physics which (if it’s true) means that the bankrupt theory of evolution was never possible in the first place. So it’s a law that is often raised in debates against evolutionists. The 2nd law of thermodynamics says, basically, that in every process – physical, natural, biological, industrial or technological – if something which is in a state of order is left alone, without any force or influence being applied to it, it will not “improve” but rather it must move to a state of disorder and then to a state of chaos.

You know that! Your car rusts, your clothes wear out, your house will eventually crumble. And single cell blobs do not “crawl out of the primeval swamp” and evolve themselves into complex life forms like animals and human beings. It’s not physically possible! It’s nonsense.

But I want to look at that law (the 2nd law of thermodynamics) for another reason. Not only is it a very convincing argument against evolution – it also illustrates something that is equally true in the spiritual realm. Whenever we leave God out of our lives, anything that was working grinds down to disorder, and ultimately to complete chaos and devestation. Order returns to “void” without the creative, life-giving power of God.

The history of NATIONS is a testimony to this. To the degree that nations throughout history have honoured God, and heard His Word, they have experienced the hand of God in blessing. Where Christianity has flourished, there has been law and order, and great freedom and even prosperity. (“Righteousness EXALTS a nation…” ) But those nations who have rejected God for idolatry have receeded into gross darkness, anarchy and bondage.

You think about the United States, we have led the world in advancement, and have prospered – and that has been the legacy of the gospel light that our societies were founded upon. But today, that light is flickering at an all time low. One of the fastest growing religions in America  today is Islam. Most Americans today are in paganism. Many of our laws are no longer Christian. At the same time, some of the nations that were once in pagan darkness are beginning to blaze with the fires of Christianity. If that trend continues, then the tables will turn – God will exalt those nations to leadership.

Thank God there is coming a day (very soon) when “the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.” The King is coming! He will rule the nations with a rod of iron – His light will govern every place on earth; east and west.

We see it in the nations - there is this principle. And I want to apply it to our lives individually now. We’ll state it this way … Just as God created all things out of nothing - to the degree that we submit our personal world to God, He is able to create something beautiful even from calamity and chaos.

Just walk quickly with me through some things in this first chapter of Genesis. When we bring God into our world …


Verses 2-3. “…and darkness was on the face of the deep … Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.”

Have you ever been out in the woods , away from any street light, on a moonless night with no stars? It is pitch black. So dark that you literally can’t see your hand in front of your face. Every step you take is unnerving because you don’t know where you’re treading next.

That’s a picture of what so many people’s lives are like. Without the light of God, without His truth, there is just darkness. People don’t know where life is taking them. They don’t know what the future holds. Everything is in uncertainty and confusion.  (Story about squad in the dark).

Imagine what the darkness was like on day one of creation, before God had established a single source of light. Intense darkness. But God spoke into that darkness: “Let there be light”, and all of creation just LIT UP. Sight and warmth was everywhere – in an instant!

God had to do that in my life. Thank God – it happened to me! Just like the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness WHO HAS SHONE IN OUR HEARTS to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

I was in darkness – I had no answers, I couldn’t hear God’s voice, I couldn’t grasp right from wrong / wise from foolish. But God spoke and everything changed. Night turned to day.

Some of you have loved ones who’ve heard the gospel countless times, but they’re still away from God. The fact is, you can put the truth right under their nose but they can’t see it because of the darkness. They need an infusion of God’s light so that they can see it. Don’t try to win the battle by debating and arguing – win it in prayer!  Win it by speaking the Word over their lifes.  Cry out to God until He shines His light into their life and they can see.

The ninth plague that Moses brought upon the land of Egypt, because Pharaoh wouldn’t let God’s people go, was the plague of darkness. Exodus 10:21-23 says that the darkness was so thick it could be “felt” – it was so intense that no Egyptian moved from their bed for 3 days. But while the Egyptians were in darkness, just down the road the Israelite slaves had light in their dwellings.

You know what that tells me? There may be darkness all around – but wherever God commands the light, it shines.

There are still dark moments in my life. Times I’m confused about what to believe, I can’t see which road to take. But as I seek the Lord, His light comes flooding in every time. I open up the Bible, and “the entrance of His Word brings light.”

When we bring God into our world, He turns the darkness to light.

Secondly, when we bring God into our world …


Verses 6-10. There’s light now, but still nothing is stable or organized in any way. But God speaks again, and this time separates earth and sky so there is an atmosphere. And then he speaks again, and the great continents of land form from the oceans. God brings everything together to become an ordered environment.

Have you ever felt like everything was out of order in your life – like nothing was fitting together properly as it should? I’ve heard people say things like: “Nothing ever works out right” or “my personal life’s a mess” or “my career’s in shambles” … “this is not how I planned life to be”.

There is only one sure way I know to have your life move from chaotic to real peace and order. You need God’s creative power. Put your life in His hands, let Him direct you, and obey what He says completely. If He can organize everything from revolving solar systems, right down to microscopic organisms – and have it all working in perfect harmony together – don’t you think He has the power and the wisdom to bring peace into your life, and to build the fragments into something that makes sense.

God has a plan for you. A perfect plan. And yet I know Christians who are still chasing their tails – their family life is dysfunctional, their finances are in a mess, they’re in relationship problems, they’re constantly in upheaval. Why? Because too many Christians are trying to live life according to their own wisdom to achieve their own desires. And when you’re calling the shots, God isn’t! And so you’re devoid of His creative power.

But the good news is that, if you’ll repent of that self-sufficiency and seek God’s wisdom to do it – there is no chaos too great that He can’t turn it to order.

When we bring God into our world …


Verses 11-13. God has a stable, organized environment now, but nothing’s growing yet. There’s no life. Until God speaks with creative power again, and immediately grass and herbs and fruit trees appear, and begin to flourish.

Some people could say that no matter what they try, nothing grows. Everything seems such a heart-breaking effort. There never seems to be any fruitfulness for all their hard work.

When Adam was expelled from the Garden, and intimacy with God was broken, God told Him that the ground was now cursed. Every blade of every crop would need to be produced by blood, sweat and tears. It wasn’t that lush garden any longer that just produced in perfection. Adam was cut off from God and it was all ruined. So he toiled for everything. Weeds overran everything. Proverbs 13:15 says, “The way of the transgressor is hard.”

Jesus said in John 15 that the way to have a fruitful life (a life that is productive, a life that blooms) is to be “connected” to Him. To be in vital union with Him. God’s power can transform you from barrenness to life.

Is life too hard today? Maybe you need to relinquish all those efforts, and build that relationship with God whose creative power brings life to the barren.

When we bring God into our world …


Verses 14-18. Before God hung the sun, moon and stars, there could be no fluctuation – no ebb and flow of the tides – no changing of the days. All there could be was the passing of time.

I hear people complain about the meaninglessness of life. Some get to the point that they’re even ready to give up on life – not for it’s hardships, but just it’s boredom; it’s monotony. No purpose.

That is what King Solomon found whenever he looked at life on earth without reference to God. You read his search in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He says “meaningless, meaningless – life is meaningless”. It’s all in vain – it’s just the passing of time. Without God we exist, but nothing more.

Only God can turn empty years into full seasons.

Here in Illinois we have 4 seasons. We’ve come into Autumn now – we’ll start to see all those beautiful browns and golds – the leaves will start falling from the trees. The winter will come. Cold days, snow and ice. Sitting by the fire in my easy chair and a throw over me.  Trying to stay warm.  Then we’ll be well and truly ready for the spring. The warmth starts to return – everything seems to brighten. And finally the Summer. Hot days, balmy nights – cook outs and time with the family.

Aren’t the seasons wonderful. Each of them has their own particular beauty. I wouldn’t mind living in a warm climate year round. But it sure beats living in   Alaska where it is always cold and dark.

I love the seasons. My God created that. He hung the stellar bodies in place, and marked out the seasons. Only HE can make the days and weeks flow together in rhythm. Only He can put meaning and purpose into life.

As a Christian we still experience difficult seasons – trials and hardships (there’s the winter as well as the spring). But God makes even those times have PURPOSE. You soon learn that “all things are working together for good for them that love God and are the called according to His purpose.” As you look back on tough times and see what God has done in your life through them, you’re even glad you went through them.

God turns empty years into full seasons.

When we bring God into our world …


Verses 20-25. So far there’s only plant life – the earth has no inhabitants. God speaks again, and the waters teem with life – every kind of fish and sea creatures. Schools and schools of millions of species and varieties. The air is filled with birds of all kinds. Then animals – so many exotic types – they fill the earth. From lack to abundance by the simple word of God’s mouth.

Without God, life is impoverished. And this has nothing to do with money. You can be the richest person in America – the richest in the world – and have a bankrupt life.

God has caused the waters, and the air, and the land in my world to teem with life. The more I yield to Him, the more His creative power can be active in my life, the more abundance flows.

Doors of opportunity in abundance. Joy in abundance. Revelation and truth in abundance. Abundant wisdom. All of God’s richest blessings.

Some people’s world is so small. So confined. They never see a new horizon possible. They need God to speak abundance into their life.

When we bring God into our world …


Verse 27. God finally created man and put him in the garden, but chapter 2 explains how  Adam wasn’t complete. Up until that point, after every act of creation God’s verdict was “it is good”. But when He created Adam he said: “it’s NOT good” – the creation was wonderful; Adam was a fine specimen. But it was “not good” that he was alone. So God created a woman, and brought her to Adam. He saw the need, and He created the answer by the word of His mouth.

How can you feel all alone among 6 billion people on this planet? People feel it every day! People who live in huge metropolises feel isolated and lonely.

But when God is in our world, His creative power can turn loneliness into love. First God filled my longing for love with His own self. Then he gave me Amberi. Then 2 great kids. Some awesome and loyal friends. The whole family of God. He fills my life with LOVE. He seems to have just continuously created it out of nothing! That’s His power.

Finally, when we bring God into our world …


Verse 28. When God had created everything, he gave Adam “dominion” – mastery – over it all. He said, you steward this. What an awesome responsibility – but Adam did it. He named the animals. He tended the garden. Everything was working. But again, when he and God were separated things were thrown into uproar. So for thousands of years man has been wrestling to control the great forces of creation that are in upheaval (Romans says that the whole creation is “groaning” because of the devastation of sin.)

People strive to be in “control” of their lives – to work everything out just as they think it ought to be – to please themselves. And the result is that their lives seem to get more and more OUT of control.

The funny thing is you need to do the opposite. Instead of grasping for control – you need to relinquish control to God. Let Him be the lord and Master.

You see, in God’s economy everything is back-to-front. Have you figured that out yet? The way to “greatness” – is DOWN – serving. The way to grow up strong in God, is to become more and more like a little child. It’s all back to front!

I was trying to undo the screws on a computer one day, and they wouldn’t budge. And someone saw me struggling, and had a look at it for me. “Oh,” they said, “these screws are reverse thread. You’re not undoing them, you’re tightening them even more. To undo them you have to go the other way – clockwise.” It took me 15 years to figure out how to use a screwdriver, and now they’ve changed the rules!

Everything in God’s kingdom is like that – it’s reverse thread! When you give up “control” to God – yield your will over to His, He doesn’t manipulate you like some robot or puppet with stringd. No. For the first time in your life, He GIVES YOU BACK real control in your life. He’s going to direct you, and lead you – but He enables YOU to manage life properly, with all His blessing.  Through His Word.

“The fruit of the Spirit is … SELF-CONTROL.” (Gal 6)
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love and of power and of a SOUND MIND (self-control)” (2 Tim 1:7)


Don’t you want this Creator God – with all His divine energies and mighty power and unfathomable wisdom – don’t you want Him moving in your world?

All your situation is waiting for is one word from God.  He has given us His Word.  This book and all of it’s promises.  This book is alive. 

Just as God created all things out of nothing - to the degree that we submit our personal world to God, He is able to create something beautiful even from calamity and chaos.

He gives us “Beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness – that we should be called the planting (the creation) of the Lord!”

Friday, March 08, 2013

Freedom From Failure

These are my sermon notes from February 17,2013
Luke 5:1-5 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And they saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.“We have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing.

Everyone of you have fought the battle of failure. There are many different kinds of failure. Not all failure is sin. Nobody wants to be a failure. And nobody has to be a failure.

There is a difference between experiencing failure and learning from failure, even in suffering from failure, and actually being a failure. Everyone fails from time to time and hopefully we all learn from experiences of failures, but here is an important distinction. Remember it well.

I. To Fail Does Not Mean You Are A Failure

The devil would like for you to believe that every time you make a mistake, every time you stumble, every time you fail that you, yourself are a failure.

Life is more than a few happenings. No one is a total failure and no one has to fall all the time.

Satan turns the magnifying glass upon our own mistakes and failures and wants us to believe that our failures make us a failure. The devil likes blowing our failures out of proportion and he likes having us believe that we are no good.

The bible says
My little children, sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” Jesus prays for us.

Luke 22:31-32 says:
¶And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
On the heels of every failure, you can look for Satan. Chiding, Sneering, Jeering, Blaming, Shaming, Condemning, Mocking, Accusing, and Lying. Pretending to be your friend, he tries to convince you that because you have failed you are a failure.

II. Failure Is Not A Disgrace

You may think it is. Others may think it is. The devil wants you to believe it is.

Romans 3:23 “ For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Failure is not a disgrace, or at least it doesn't have to be.

Illustration: Boxing Champion James J. Corbett. When asked “What's the most important thing for a person to do to become the champion of the world.” Corbett replied “Fight one more round.”

Illustration: Walt Disney's rejected application to the Kansas City Star for a job as an artist. The editor sent him away, urging him to give up his idea.

The first time George Gershwin played the piano in public, they laughed him off the stage. Anybody who knows any thing about american composers knows about the music he wrote. Lullaby, Blue Monday and Rhapsody in Blue are among some of his masterpieces.

Michael Jorden was cut from his high school basketball team.
Jesus looked like a failure for a few days.

Failure is not a disgrace. It's always too soon to give up. God is not dead. He is still alive. With God all things are possible. He wants to lift us up above our circumstances, above our failures, above our mistakes, above our shortcomings and set our feet on the Solid Rock, Jesus Christ!

III. No One Is A Failure Who Tries

The only thing worse than a quitter is the fellow who is afraid to begin. I would rather attempt something great and fall than to attempt nothing and succeed. Achieving low aims, low goals, can be a greater failure than aiming for a higher target and missing.

Phillipians 3:14 says “I press toward the high mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Paul did not say I will coast toward the mark.

IV. Failure Is Not For Ever
Failure need never be final. You don't need to throw in the towel. The ball game isn't over until the last man is out.
Illustration: Cardinals 2011 season-David Freese.

There is always room for you to overcome and succeed.
When you know Jesus as your personal savior and Lord of your life you become the child of the King. Royal blood flows through your veins. A royal robe of righteousness is around your shoulders.

The next time the devil tries to tell you that you are a failure, that you are a worthless, you look him straight in the eye and tell him he is a liar. When he reminds you of your past, you remind him of his future.

When He talks to you he is talking to a child of the King. He's talking to a son or daughter of God. God is your Father, Jesus is your elder brother, angels are your guardians, heaven is your future home.

V. Refuse To Be Paralyzed By A Fear Of Failure.
Overcome your fears before they overcome you.

Illustration:Thomas Edison was asked by a laboratory worker how he could go on after thousands of failures. Thomas Edison's reply was. “Failures? I haven't failed. I have found thousands of combinations that will not work. As we know, he did not quit. A few days later he invented the light bulb.

Illustration: There was a donkey who was placed between two luscious bales of hay.
And he starved to death trying to decide which one he was going to eat.

That's the way some people are. They are paralyzed by fear. We must refuse tobe paralyzed by the fear of failure.

Illustration: Abraham Lincoln was defeated by a landslide when he ran for the Illinois legislature. Afterward he went into business with a partner and it took 17years to pay back all his debt. He ran for congress and was badly defeated. He was even denied an appointment to the U.S. Land office. In 1856 he was defeated in his candidacy for vice-president. In 1858 he was defeated for a Senate seat by Douglas. But from the ruins and ashes of failures, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States.

Failure, don't be paralyzed by it. You are not alone the Lord is with you. Stand still and see the glory of the Lord.

It was dawn on the sea of Galilee. The warming rays of the sun was melting away the early melting mists. Tired. Bedraggled, discouraged fishermen were coming back to shore after a long night of labor without any results.

When Jesus had told them to launch out into the deep and let down your nets. Peter shrugged his shoulders and said; “But Lord, we have taken absolutely nothing.” They had failed with a big capital “F”.

Never the less, Lord we will put down the nets.” And that was faith with a big capital “F”. It is only faith that can replace failure. They did what Jesus said.
They had tried it their way and failed. And that's what happens when we try it our way.

But Peter turned around and did it Jesus' way. He launched out into the deep. And the results were astounding. They caught so many fish that their nets broke. That is fullness . That's another big capital “F”.

God wants you to have a life of fullness. Rather than a life of failure. God wants you to have a life of peace rather than a life of pieces. I tell you that when you do it God's way you will not go away empty.

Maybe you are disappointed in yourself in the frequency of your failures. I don't know of any more shattering disappointment than to be disappointed in yourself, to be disappointed in not achieving your personal goals. But there is no disappointment in Jesus.

I. To Fail doesn't mean you are a failure.
II. You don't have to be disgraced by your failure.
III. A person who keeps trying, is not a failure.
IV. Failure is temporary. It is never forever.
V. You must not let the fear of failure paralyze you.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Key to Pleasing God

Have you ever asked the question, “What does it take to please God?” 

- There are some people who think that the way you please God is through religious ritual.

- You do certain kinds of rituals and then God is pleased and you're in the in-crowd. 

- But that's not true.

- There are others who think that the way you please God is through rules and regulations – and that if you just do certain things, then God will say, "You're okay." 

- But that doesn't please God either.

- Some people think that if my bad works are real low and my good works are real high, and we kind of balance them out, well, maybe God will grade on a curve and as long as I do more good than bad, I'm okay – That's not true either. 

- The Bible says that there's only one way that you can please God. 

- (Hebrews 11:6) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

- The only way you can please God is by faith.

          Now, the problem with that is that a lot of people think they have faith, but they don't. 

 - How do I know I have the kind of faith that gives me access into heaven?" 

  Fortunately, in the book of James, chapter 2, James tells us four things that faith is not – and then he tells us what it is.


1.      Real faith is not just something you SAY

- (James 2:14)  What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?

- You might circle that word, "claim". 

- He's not saying here that the guy actually has faith, he says he just claims it. 

- In other words, he talks a good line – He knows all the right phrases – He's got the jargon down pat – He knows the language of Christianese. 

- He claims faith, but that doesn't mean he's necessarily possesses it.

- George Gallup says that there are 50 million people in America who say, "I am a Christian." 

- But not all of those 50 million can back it up with a Christian lifestyle.

- And just because a person claims it, doesn't mean they have it. 

- The point I want to make here is that real faith is more than just talk. 

- Not everybody who has a Christian bumper sticker or Fish symbol on their car is a Christian – Have you figured that one out? 

- I mean, you don't have to get more than a couple rude hand gestures from the driver before you begin to figure, “Hey, maybe that guy’s not a believer.”

- “He must have borrowed the car – Or he bought it second-hand and couldn't scrape it off. 

- Not everybody who claims to be a believer really is – Faith is more than just something you say.

2.      Real faith is not just something you FEEL     

- A lot of people confuse emotions and feelings with faith. 

- They come to a church service and they are emotionally moved, they're inspired, and they're stimulated. 

- They get a quiver in their liver and, you know, "Oh, man!  I'm moved!" 

- And they go out after the service and maybe they've even cried or felt God's presence, and that’s great.

- But just because you've felt God's presence doesn't mean you have real faith. 

- There's a big difference between faith and feeling.

- (James 2:15-16) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  

- He's saying here that faith is not just mere sentimentality. 

- You go out on the street and you see some homeless person who's destitute. 

- They're poor, they're hungry, they're cold, they need clothing and shelter. 

- And you walk up to them and say, "Cheer up," or "Don't worry, be happy!" 

- That's not faith. 

- (1 John 3:17) If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

- Faith is practical – It gets involved in people's hurts. 

- And when you see a need, you do something about it. 

- You don't just spout off and say, "I'll pray for you." – You do something about it. 

- You see, if you're a Christian, you're a part of the family of God. 

- And when you became a believer, you became a part of this family. 

- And as a result, you have some family responsibilities.

- What are those family responsibilities? 

- You care about it when other Christians are hurt, or in pain, or grief, or sorrow. 

- You say, "Well, I can't meet everybody's needs!" – You're right – You can't. 

- But you can meet some – and it may not make a difference to everybody, but it makes a difference to those people.

3.      Real faith is not just something you THINK

- You know, some people think of faith as a philosophical quest. 

- It's something they want to discuss and debate and argue about. 

- And when they think about faith, it's their mental stimulation, it's a concept to be debated, it's an idea to be discussed, it's a principle to be bandied about. 

- And we don't make any decision on it, and we certainly don't make any commitment to it, we just discuss it.

- Now James imagines this kind of person in verse 18, this philosophical debater, he says, (James 2:18 ) But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

- What's he talking about here? 

- He says, "Well, here's this guy who says, "Hey! You're into faith.  Hmmm. I'm into deeds.  Different strokes for different folks.  You're into that, I'm into this.  Let's debate it.  Let's talk about it.  Let's discuss it.” 

- And James is making a point here. 

- He's saying faith is not something you debate – It's something you do. 

- The key phrase in here, and I want you to circle this, is the phrase, "show me". 

- "Show me your faith with o deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do." 

- Faith is odorless, it's colorless, it's weightless – So how do you know when you've got it? 

- How do you know if you've got the real kind of faith that pleases God? 

- How do you know you've got the kind of faith that gets you into heaven? 

- Well, the Bible says to look at your lifestyle, and real faith will show up in the way you are living your day to day life. 

- Faith is like calories – You can't see them, but you can sure see the results.

- And when a person really has Christ in his or her life, you can see it. 

- And if you can't see it, you have every reason to doubt, "Do I have the real, legitimate stuff?

- In America today, we have this gap between behavior and belief. 

- And what we say we believe, we don't always back up with our lifestyles. 

- You might say, "Hey, Pastor, you know my husband is a Christian."

-  I say, "Oh, really?  Does he hang out with other Christians, you know, fellowship?"  "No." 

- "Does he have any desire to go to church?  Do you ever see him read the Bible?  Do you hear him pray on a regular basis?  Does he tithe his income?  Does he share his faith with anybody, ever tell anybody about Christ?"  "No" 

- "Then how do you know he’s a Christian?" – "Well, he thinks he is."

- But just because you think it, doesn't mean it's so. 

- Faith is not something you think, or that you feel, or that you say.

- It's much more than that – If it’s real, it will show up in your life. 

- If you were to walk out of here after the service and you were to stick your hand into a 220 voltage socket, you'd get connected to the power source, and you would know it – and your body would show it.

- Well, God is a far greater power source than that. 

- And I don't think it is possible for God to come into your life with o changing you. 

- And when people say, "Oh, I have Christ in my life.  I believe in Christ." 

- And you say, "Well, how are you different?" 

- If they don't know any difference, you have every reason to doubt if they've got the real thing. 

- I don't believe somebody as big as Jesus Christ can come into your life and not change you. 

- Because when Jesus moves into the house, He starts rearranging the furniture. 

- And all of a sudden, your values change. 

- Things that used to be important to you are cheap thrills now–and you see through it

- And you've got a whole new set of values and all of a sudden, you're concerned about other people who are Christians and all of a sudden you're concerned about serving God, not just making money. 

- And all of a sudden, you're concerned about things that are going to last for eternity -- not just what's going to happen tomorrow. 

- Your whole life starts taking on new meaning and new purpose and new significance and new value. 

- Real faith always produces a changed life. 

4.      Real faith is not just something you BELIEVE

- A lot of people have strong beliefs about Jesus Christ, strong beliefs about God, strong beliefs about the Bible. 

- I mean, they went to catechism, they know the creed, they know the religion, they've got the doctrine down, "I believe in this and that and this and that . . ."  and all those kind of things. 

- Oh, they have great beliefs! – But that's not enough. 

- And James points this out, he uses a little sarcasm here in v. 19, (James 2:19 ) You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder.

- He says, "Big deal!  You're not doing anything different than Satan does." 

- Satan believes in God, but you're not going to find him in heaven. 

- Why?  Because he hasn't made a commitment.

- You see, I believe in George Washington – But I'm not a Washingtonian. 

- But I believe in Jesus Christ and I'm a Christian. 

- Why?  Because I have committed my life to Him.  I have accepted Him as Lord.

- I’ve gone beyond a merely intellectual belief in His existence, to a belief that says “I trust You”, “I’m turning over my life to You.”

- A lot of people are going to miss heaven by 18 inches, because they've got it up here, in their head, but they don't have it here, in their heart. 

- They've got a head knowledge – but let’s see it in your life.

- “Well, I’m Baptist”, Good, glad to hear it! "Well, I'm Catholic."  Fantastic!  Great.  "I’m Presbyterian," Fantastic!  Fine.  "I'm from the Independent Christian Church, Restoration Movement." Well, Good for you! "I'm Lutheran." Fine. 

- Listen, that’s all fine and good, but there's no verse in the Bible that says, "Religion is the way to heaven." – Because it's not. 

- Jesus didn't say, "I've come so that you might have religion."  Or rules, or regulations, or rituals. 

- He said, "I've come that you might have life." – It's a relationship. 

- Real faith is not just something you believe. 

5.      Real faith is something you DO

- (James 2:20 NLT)  Fool! When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless?

- He's saying, how will you know that you've got real faith? 

- You look at your lifestyle and see what kind of actions follow as a result of it.

- You say, "How do I visibly show that I have faith?"

- Well, the first thing you need to do is to be baptized if you haven’t yet.

- That's the very first command of Christ. 

- In Baptism I am publicly identifying myself with Christ, and with His Body, the Church. 

- Once a little boy asked, "Pastor, when can I get advertised?"—I like that. 

- Because that's what baptism is – Baptism is an advertisement for Jesus Christ. 

- Baptism is saying to the world, "I'm not ashamed to say I'm a Christian.  I'm not ashamed to follow the first command of Christ, to identify myself as a believer." 

- What else do you do? – You start following the other commands of Christ – Our faith is proven by the way we live.   

- Now, please don't misunderstand me – This is too important to misunderstand. 

- You ask, "Are you saying that I've got to work my way to heaven?"  No. 

- "Are you saying that I've got to do good works to be saved?"  No. No.  No. 

- Good works are not the root of salvation, they are the fruit of salvation. 

- They don't make you a Christian, they show that you are a Christian. 

- They don't deliver salvation; they demonstrate salvation. 

- You do good works not to get it but because you've already got it – It's proof. 

- Only by trusting Christ can you be saved. 

- But the proof that you have trusted Christ is shown in your lifestyle.   

- And if there's no proof out there, you have every reason to doubt whether you've ever really tuned in. 

- A good passage that shows both of these truths together is Ephesians 2:8-10. 

- (Eph 2:8-10) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


1.      The basis for my salvation is GOD’S GRACE

- I can't earn it – I never will – I don't deserve it. 

- It's just a free gift that I accept, and I trust God to come through on His promise. 

- I accept what Christ did for me. 

- The basis of my salvation is God's grace. 

2.      The proof of my salvation is MY MINISTRY

- You say, "Do I have a ministry?"  Yes, you do if you're a believer. 

- What is ministry?  Ministry is just a $10 word that means serving God by serving other people. 

- The Bible says that you have a ministry if you're a Christian. 

- That you are called to serve – You are saved to serve – It’s part of the deal.


- What am I saying?  Let me just summarize all of this. 

- I'm saying that if your faith doesn't work, if there's no evidence of it, then it's not real faith. 

- And you need to settle that issue. 

- Some of you need, today, to say, "I want to settle the issue today.  I want to start, not just to believe in Christ, but I want to follow Him."  That's real faith.

- Now, let me ask you, what are you going to do as a result of today's message? 

- Specifically, as you walk out of here, what are you going to do about it? 

- You could say, "Oh, I heard it.  And I thought about it.  And I felt it.  And I believed it.” But that's not enough.

- What are you going to do about what you've heard today? 

- You need to ask God, "What's the next step in my life? 

- Some of you need to be baptized. 

- You believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be, and you need to identify with Him in this way as you begin your journey.

- Others need to discover your ministry.