Thursday, February 13, 2020

Lord Build Me in Action

One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, "Jump! I'll catch you." He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, was flame, smoke, and blackness. As can be imagined, he was afraid to leave the roof. His father kept yelling: "Jump! I will catch you." But the boy protested, "Daddy, I can't see you." The father replied, "But I can see you and that's all that matters."

The boy jumped, because he trusted his father. The Christian faith enables us to face life or meet death, not because we can see, but with the certainty that we are seen; not that we know all the answers, but that we are known.

Donner Atwood.

We live by faith in God. But what use is our faith if we don’t actively live it out? Just like the boy who is afraid, in the burning building, he can’t see his father below with his arms wide open, but he believes that he is there. He has faith that his dad is there even though he cant see. That’s kind of like our faith in God. We know God is here, active in our lives, we know he’s helping us, and guiding us. But what good is it for the boy to believe that his dad is there? The house is still on fire. The flames are close. He has faith, yes. But what needs to happen? The boy needs to take action. And maybe that’s the hardest part. He needs to jump off the house and into his father’s arms. And in the same way, our faith in God, is useless, empty, and dead unless it’s followed by action, by works.

As the founder of the salvation army said,” Faith and works should travel side by side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again -- until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other.

William Booth in The Founder's Messages to Soldiers, Christianity Today, October 5, 1992, p. 48.

Our scripture today said,”14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? 15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?”

In other words, “faith without works is dead.”

The scripture continues:19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God.[f] Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?”

We’ve gotta live this out people. We’ve gotta really walk the walk. Otherwise we’re just playing games at church. And there’s no point to that. We’ve gotta go through the process, of being a Christian, we’ve gotta walk through the steps and really do it.

Do you want to go to heaven when you die, or hell when you die? Jesus came to save us from our sins, and give us new life. We will all have to stand before God at the end of our lives and he will either judge us by the ten commandments, and we’ll be guilty and be sent to hell forever. Or we’ll be judged according to the perfection of Jesus Christ, who is our savior, and we’ll be sent to paradise forever. It’s true, it’s real. Make your choice. Where is your future going to be? Let me share you with how we can walk the walk in action, so we do live like Jesus, and evade the torments of hell.

The first step of faith is to know God. You can come to dinner church and hear about Jesus Christ over and over again. You hear it, you like it, you can tell there is power there, but you’re just observing it from the outside. We’re floating around the outside, saying yes God is real and I appreciate his ways.

But here’s where the change happens: Go from believing that God is real, to living with God inside you. You go from saying that God is there, to having God as your personal father.

Have you made a decision to receive Jesus Christ of Nazareth as your personal savior? It’s between you and Jesus. Nobody else. Embrace Jesus! How? Ask Jesus Christ of Nazareth to be your personal savior. Give your entire life to Jesus. Whisper in your heart, Jesus Christ I make you the Lord of my life. I give my life to you. You died for me personally on the cross. All my sins are nailed to the cross. You suffered and died for my lies, for my misery, for my emptiness. Jesus I am yours, and you are mine.

That’s the first step.

The 2nd step, is action. Joining a life group here at the citadel. Getting fed from the Bible each week. You learn to pray, to talk to God, to study the Bible, and to grow in holiness. We change. We see sins fall away. We develop relationships with other people here in the church. This is vital. This is huge, as far as action goes.

The third step is dive into discipleship groups. You go deeper with God. You begin to study theology, and spiritual disciplines. You begin to identify your spiritual gifts, and you begin to learn how to share Jesus with lost people out there. You learn to give and serve.

The fourth step, is serving brigade, you join teams, like the prayer team, like setup, like kitchen, evangelism, you practice your Christian faith by doing good works. You become a volunteer. You begin to use your gifts for God’s glory.

In a moment we’re going to give you an opportunity to respond to the message today, but first, we our scripture today concludes by sharing two examples of faith in action. It says:

“21 Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”[g] He was even called the friend of God.[h] 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.

25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. 26 Just as the body is dead without breath,[i] so also faith is dead without good works.”

Faith is action my friends. God builds us through action, through us making decisions and then following through on them. Have you made a decision to grow in your faith? Now is the time to step out.

I’d like to invite Zach, Lexy, and Johnathon to go to your stations. You’ll notice that on our four pillars we have marked “Dinner Church, Small Groups, Discipleship, and Serving Brigade. These are steps 1 through 4. In a moment we’ll invite everyone to stand, and choose which step you are on.

If you’re at step 1, you come to dinner church regularly, great, then you’ll go and stand by the first pillar, and Johnathon will talk with you, and pray with you.

If you’re at step 2, you’re wanting to attend life groups, or you’ll already doing that, join Zach at the 2nd pillar, and he will share with you.

If you’re at step 3, discipleship and soldiering, or you want to move in that direction, join Lexy at the 3rd pillar.

And if you’re feeling God calling you to serve, to help, to put your gifts into practice, please join me at the 4th pillar. And we’ll talk and pray.

Everyone please stand, we’re gonna pray, and then please find the pillar that you’re at right now or you’d just like to learn more about.