Preached Sunday, April 1, 2012
AUTHENTIC FAITH THAT SAVES
- Satan seeks to dilute our devotion to God. He’s happy to have all or part of us. No superficial, halfway, hypocritical faith
- Some have the zeal, but it’s show. Some have meticulous rule keeping skills, but they are cold.
- We are taught to be balanced, to be genuine, single-minded, unity in mind, body, and soul: “And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND;” Lk 10:27
- Lk 9:23 “If anyone would come after Me, He must deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
- How do we get to AUTHENTIC FAITH, TRUE DEVOTION, past this superficiality that is designed and encouraged by Satan?
LEARN FROM THOSE WHO ERRED – SOME DON’T GIVE FULL DEVOTION TO GOD
- Remember the hypocritical Pharisees in Matthew 23? Pharisees and Scribes and Lawyers inside didn’t match the pious outside.
- Matthew 6:2 — sounding trumpets to be seen by men.
- Mt 6 – Fasting to be seen by men.
- Matthew 23:23 — tithing smallest possessions.
- But they were complete hypocrites – Matthew 26:59 — they were trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus.
- Satan’s Work: The Corinthians: 1 Cor 1— divisive spirit; 1 Cor 5 — tolerant spirit; 1 Cor 11 — selfish spirit; 1 Cor 14
- 2 Cor. 11:3 “3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.“….
Satan deceives to dilute our worship to God.
- They were the church – Acts we saw them become Christians, but their spirit is all wrong.
- Commitment to God: 1 Cor. 7:35 “35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.“…
Marriage chapter – vital to full devotion is marriage that doesn’t hinder the walk with God
- Vows: 1 Tim 5:11 “But refuse to put younger widows on the list, for when they feel sensual desires in disregard of Christ, they want to get married, “.
The cares of this world can hinder someone from the important vows made to God.
- Doctrinal Purity: Gal. 1:6-8 “6I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!“.
Doctrinal soundness is necessary for full devotion to God.
- Sexual Purity: 1 Thess 4:3 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality;“. Sexual purity is necessary for full devotion to God.
- Learn that there is much in religion that is superficial and vain.
MAKE YOUR LOVE PURE – A PURE AND SINCERE LOVE FOR GOD….”the greatest of these is love“….not the love of the world.
- Jn 3:16 “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” love began action
- Lk 10:27 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind”
- Lk 10:28 And love your neighbor as yourself….. That love for God is sometimes compromised when we don’t do the second part.
- 1 Jn 3:18 “Love in deed and truth“….not just in word or tongue….full devotion is harder
- Rom 12:9 ” 9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;”
- 2 Jn 1:6 “this is love that we walk according to His commandments.“
- Jn 14:15 “15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
- Admonitions in the Bible. Keep fervent love, let it not grow cold, keep yourselves in the love of God, be perfected in love
MAKE YOUR FAITH STRONG – A SINCERE FAITH, FULL AND UNDILUTED – Faith is the victory….but what kind of faith?
- Jesus, Heb. 5:7 “7 In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.“
- Jesus is our example — God heard Him because of his devotion — Satan could break Him.
- Piety relates to full worshipful devotion to God
- Rom. 4:20 Abraham was “strong in faith”
- 1 Peter 5:9 “Resist him (the devil), firm in your faith” (strong)
- Very Important: Rom. 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” The making us right, atonement, salvation full and free is for people of faith.
- Real, visible Faith: James 2:14 “What use is it brethren if someone says he has faith but he has no works.”
- Jas 2:18 “I will show you my faith by my works.”
- Visible 1 Thess 1:3 “constantly bearing in mind your work of faith”
- Rom 1:5; 16:26 twice Paul talks of the “obedience of faith“.
- Sometimes a brother professes faith but is works say otherwise; “They profess to know god, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” Tit 1:16
- Unprejudiced: “My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.” Jas 2:1
- It must not doubt in prayer, Jas 1
- It must not be using God to get worldly desires, Jas 4
- Faith can be shipwrecked, Everything claiming to be faith is not; we must believe in the Unseen God and trust His Work,
FIX YOUR HOPE – “hope is stronger than fear” – Hunger Games. Hope is the anchor of the soul.
- Heb. 6:19 Hope does not disappoint, “Hope is the anchor of the soul.”
- 1 Thess 1:3 “the steadfastness of hope”
- Romans 8:25 “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” “you don’t hope in what you have, but in what you don’t have”
- Do you have a hope that anchors you against the trials of this life?
Authetic faith GOes BEYOND THE SUPERFICIAL – SINCERE DEVOTION IS LIFE AND WORSHIP BEYOND THE SUPERFICIAL
- John 4:23,24 — spirit and truth: “23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.“
- You can see churches that focus on one or the other. Why? Because still in their heart they serve the flesh, they serve Satan, they love the world, their faith is weak for the Lord.
- 1 Thess 1:3 “your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope”
- “faith, love, and hope” – greatest is love, after often depicted as a feeling of the heart, not tangible.
- “faith alone” “faith only” “belief only” doctrine has created superficial religion.
- Fakes and frauds capitalize they say because you can’t tell what I have I my heart.
- The “faith, hope, and love” which some preach has no fruit, no evidence.
- Romans 10:2 — zeal and knowledge: “1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation. 2 For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.”
- Our denominational friends today would say they were all good – who can argue with the zeal!
- But Paul said they were lost. Zeal that doesn’t “do the will of God” is not pleasing to God.
- Revelation 2:2,4 — deeds and love don’t match: “2 ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance,…..‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.“
- Like many, they keep going through the motions, but where’s the love?
- Words and Deeds – “18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1 Jn 3
- Examples abound for us to be authentic in our love and faith and hope, not compromising, not superficial.
- This has been appeal to God’s people to offer to God a measure of full devotion.
- That does what God commands – without hesitation
- That believes without doubt what God says – no double-minded wavering or hesitation.
- That puts God first – the right priority of God first and everything else second.
- That loves eternal things more than temporary things – The things of this world are not from God
- God has shown to us love that gives us what we need.
- God has shown us faith through Jesus that does not bend to the devil’s temptations