Saturday, April 4, 2009

Making Faith Complete

Here's the abstract for my sermon tomorrow. There are two types of Christians in the world: those who are living out amazing and abundant lives, and those who aren't. Why the difference? It is a matter of faith - but not in the amount. Jesus said even the smallest amount would be sufficient to move a mountain with. So, what's the deal? First, James 1:22 says, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceives yourselves. Do what it says."
If you hear the Word preached or read the Bible and you don't do what it says - you're fooling yourself thinking that that's a great way to get through life. It's not. Matthew 6:33 says "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness." First and foremost, put God in charge of your life. Then, submit to that Lordship and do what He says (that's the stuff in the Bible). If you don't do this, you can be a saved Christian, but your life won't be that amazing and abundant one Christ intended that you have.
WHY? James 2:14-22, "What good is it...if people claim to have faith but have no deeds? Can such faith save them?....You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did."
The idea here is that there was a kind of completion that Abraham's faith had similar to something being fully developed, or matured. So, YOUR FAITH IS MADE COMPLETE BY WHAT YOU DO. This is the main point. Many Christians are living lives of incomplete, or not fully developed faith. Why? Because they are deceiving themselves and not doing what the Word says they ought to be doing.
Mark Batterson wrote a great book called "Wild Goose Chase." I highly recommend it. Here are a couple quotes from that book that apply to this situation. "Jesus didn't die on the cross to keep us safe - He died to make us dangerous." "It's time we started playing offense with our lives." "The world doesn't need more people playing it safe all the way through life to death. It needs daring people with daring plans, in pursuit of the passions God has placed in their hearts." "Getting where God wants me to go isn't nearly as important as becoming who God wants me to be."
When people find out they're terminally ill, they immediately change disposition and begin spending time with family, donating money, traveling - they live as if they don't have much time left. They realize how much they've squandered the previous part of their lives. Do yourself a favor - let me give you a diagnosis that will change your perspective. Here it is: You don't have long to live. No one knows when they will die - so you really might not have that much time. Regardless, isn't it time you began pouring your time and energy into the things you are passionate about instead of wasting most of your life on things you "have" to do that don't inspire you or impact anyone else?
My paraphrase of James 3:13 - "You want to know who has it figured out? It's the people living our their faith through their deeds." What you do with your life will show whether or not your faith has been made complete.

Final thought from Curry Blake - "If your gospel isn't touching others, it hasn't touched you."

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