Sunday, July 28, 2013

Liberty Church Sermon: Believing is Seeing 7/28/13

"... Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call."
Acts 2:38-39 NIV

Welcome to Liberty Church, a place where the true loving caring God may be represented freely.

I'd like to discuss a variety of topics briefly today, and yes, none of these topics has to do with a zimmerman trial, a royal baby, or even a manning trial.  This is our respit from all that, for a bit here today.  So let's forget about what the world says about what's important.  And let's forget about what most people think is important.  Most importantly, lets remember who we are in the eyes of our God, not in the eyes of dollar bills and fashion.

I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father (John 15:15).

But to all who have received him--those who believe in his name--he has given the right to become God's children … (John 1:12).

The world is very in your face.  And I know it's hard.  But as I always say, the more you include God and the Bible in your daily life the more you'll start to see through the lies.

We're taught today and from a very young age that seeing is believing.  I'd hate to call it indoctrination, but it really lines up pretty well.  We know there isn't much middle ground on this planet.  Either you're working for God or you're working for the enemy. 

Matthew 12:30 NLT "Anyone who isn't with me opposes me, and anyone who isn't working with me is actually working against me."

Seeing is believing means we need to see it with our own eyes to believe it's real.  Fairly simple, and I suppose it makes sense for the things of this world.  How many times have people tried to con you personally?  How many times have people lied to you about what actually was?

So why then, might I, seeing all the pyramid schemes, lies, and danger, choose to put my blind trust in a supposed God, right?

I'm sure it all seems very backward to "intellectuals" and those with big titles and big degrees behind their names.  But how often do those supposed brilliant minds seem miserable?  How often do they seem arrogant, and rude?  Full of corruption?  Sad and defeated, putting on a face for others?  More often than not, in fact.

Matthew 7:16 NLT You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

It's a hard thing to do.  And we can't understand it alone, we can't even approach the truth without help from the maker of all things.

John 6:44 NLT For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.

Even further compounding matters is the fact that many of us were exposed to religion at a young age, and raised on it, forced to attend church, or classes, and hated every minute of it.  How often has God been misrepresented to us?

I talk to so many unbelievers who simply refuse to give a personal walk with God a chance.  They make harsh claims against organized religion, and toss out a personal relationship with God through Christ, along with their ideas of organized religion.

I understand, I completely do.  It was portrayed badly to me as well.  I was terrified of God.  I thought God hated me because I was such a bad sinner.  I thought all the rules and regulations of the church were ridiculous.  And I watched some in my family claiming to be Godly, but actively doing very ungodly things.

And that sent me in a tailspin.  I went from religion to religion, because something deep inside me knew there was some higher force behind all of it.  I don't want you to have to go through all that.  Because in the end it brought me right back to Christianity.  All the others were false and empty.  I speak from practice, I tried very hard to make the new age thing work.  In the end, it was nothing.

So please, please, please.  Give yourself a break and open your heart.  Just let it open.  Let your ideas on organized religion stand, they're hardly wrong.  But don't don't don't lump the creator of the universe in with the failings of organized religion!

There is a God.  And he loves you with a power you couldn't imagine.  He has forgiveness for every mistake and sin you've made or ever will make.  And even when you sin, he still loves you.  I used to think that when I made a mistake, well, that's it, God's shaking his head up on the fiery throne, and he doesn't like me anymore.  God's love is unconditional.  The condition is in our acceptance of it.  God's busy loving you and you're busy judging him on what the corrupt organized religious bodies have done to forsake his name! 

Don't lump it all together.  Get to know God.  Read his book directly, and make up your own mind.  I think you'll find the New Testament, the gospel, the good news, is actually very good news.

And boy wasn't I surprised when I started studying the Bible in depth in my college courses, that it's laid out very differently than it was represented to me.  The rules and regulations my old church followed to the T had been called hypocricy thousands of years ago.  Jesus has told the pharisees, stop judging by external standards, and judge by true standards.  Honestly the modern Catholic churches seem rather Jewish in their doctrine.  You'll see the ten commandments all over the place, despite the fact that Jesus Christ fulfilled that law 2,000 years ago.  We are no longer under the law.  The law we are under is that of Jesus Christ, and he gave us two commandments:

1. Love your God with all you have.
2. Love all other humans as yourself

Why aren't the two commandments carved into any of those old cathedrals?

Maybe, because if we followed those two, we'd live in a paradise. Loving others isn't the easiest thing to do.  Loving God is hard for us too.  But once we receive the holy spirit, it works in us, and changes our hearts, so we become selfless, instead of selfish.  We become loving, with soft hearts, instead of rock hard stubborn hearts.

The point I'm coming around to here is that seeing is not believing.  If seeing was believing we'd have it all figured out and wouldn't be still searching for a God of our understanding.  But what we saw was not good.  And we didn't really understand it anyway.  All signs before our eyes pointed to the fact that humanity is really really doomed.

Seeing isn't believing.  Believing is seeing.  Is that a plug for blind faith?  No it isn't.  That is what begins the process though, a leap of faith.  Taking a courageous jump into letting go, and saying.. I don't understand this, but I'm going to trust.  And to your amazement, you find.. that Believing is seeing.  When we believe and trust in God...  When we accept the sacrifice of Jesus for all our sins, now for all time... When we receive the holy spirit within us, to guide our thoughts... When we study the Bible..

Wow.  It's like the blinders come off our eyes.  And we truly see.  We see the matrix around us, just like Neo.  We finally see the truth.  That we had been enslaved and blind, being dragged along by our own desires and obsessions.  We had been slaves to selfishness, slaves to wants, slaves to the world, slaves to the evil one.  And we are free, finally, free.

With these new eyes, powered by the holy spirit, we can now discern the troubles of the world.  We start to see from a perspective of selflessness.  We want to help others, instead of feed our own desires.  We find by serving others, God cares for our needs perfectly.  We want to be a blessing to every person we see.  We find a new peace and happiness, in close connection with a truly and perfectly loving God.  We are made complete, the empty place in our hearts is filled.  The troubles of the world no longer harm our hearts.  We wait patiently for the return of our beloved King, knowing, through and through, all will be perfect when he returns.

Soon, may he return.  And he will!

Truly, by believing, we come to truly see things as they really are.

Be a blessing on the people you see today, and everyday.  Ask God to change your heart and he will.  And if you haven't made that step yet, keep seeking, and when the time is right, I know you'll find it in your heart to accept Jesus Christ.

God bless you, go in peace :)