I Believe It

I Believe It

Have you ever heard someone say, “It doesn’t matter what I believe, if doesn’t affect anyone else?” Or perhaps you have heard someone say “It doesn’t make any difference what I believe as long as I believe something?” Both of those beliefs are wrong! What you believe does affect others and it does make a difference to you.

For example, as a promotion, a diner was offering its customers the chance to win prizes. Bubba goes to the diner for breakfast, buys a cup of coffee, and sits down to drink it. He looks on the side of his cup and finds a ticket for a prize. He pulls off the ticket and yells, "I WON! I WON! I WON a motor home, I WON a motor home!"

The waitress looks at the owner wide-eyed, knowing that the biggest prize given away is a bicycle. The owner approaches Bubba saying, "You couldn’t possibly have won a motor home because we don’t offer that as a prize!"

Bubba replies, "No, I WON a motor home! I WON a motor home! Look here!” and hands the prize ticket to the manager which reads, "WIN A BAGEL."

Now you may believe with all your heart that you have won a Winnebago motor home, but if that is not the truth, all you end up with is a bagel.

For a more serious example, during World War II, allied armies marched into Germany on their way to Berlin. Retreating German soldiers switched road signs and destroyed landmarks in an effort to confuse their enemy. And, to an extent, it worked, for many soldiers followed a false marker and ended up in the wrong place.

Therefore, if we believe what is false, or if we are ignorant of the truth, we will also be lost and end up in the wrong place—Hell.

Jude 1:3-7, 17-23 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire…But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Jude, a half-brother of Jesus, is the author of this letter that bears his name. It is a letter written in response to false teachers within the Church who were leading people astray by distorting the Truth. He said they pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. That perversion is still going on today. There are people in the Church who believe it is permissible to have sex outside of marriage and homosexual sex, denying what the Word of God—Jesus Christ—has said would happen to those who do such things.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

I didn’t make this judgment—God did! Do you believe it? Some evidently don’t, but they are deceived. They believe they are saved and cannot lose their salvation by ignoring and disobeying God’s Word. But Jude reminds us that the Israelites, whom God saved from slavery in Egypt, were destroyed by God because of their unbelief and disobedience. God will destroy all who indulge in sinful sensuality and don’t repent; otherwise, He will have to apologize to the sensual cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Therefore, regardless of what the majority of people believe or what is “politically correct”, we must not be deceived nor afraid. We must contend for the faith that Jesus Christ gave to us and build our lives around it.

God’s Word is not optional. "Build yourselves up" is a command. If you don’t, you will drift away from the Truth. Spiritual growth does not happen by accident. It is connected to faith. But it is not just any faith, in whatever we decide is right. Jude is talking about faith in something specific, Jesus Christ and His Word. That is the summary of what it means to be a Christian. Faith should be making us, not us making it.

We live in a strange time when the very concept of faith is under fire. If you believe something to be absolutely true, you are suspect, and you are considered the cause of all the problems in the modern world. (If it wasn’t for those conservative Christians, the world would be a better place. That is how persecution begins.) They think you are dangerous if you believe in absolute truth. If you divide the world into people who are right and people who are wrong, you’re a social threat. To speak about something as sin makes you a “hater” and a bigot.

Then there are people who think that faith is relative – true for you, but not for me. That you believe in something is commendable, but what you believe doesn’t matter as long as it works for you, and doesn’t offend anyone.

Some people are just confused. Consider this quote from a 20 year-old student in Boston when asked what he believed: “I don’t know what I believe in. And if I believe, ah, I believe there’s some Higher Power, I think. But I don’t know. Like right now I’m at a point where I don’t know what to believe, but I’m open to everything. So I like to believe in everything, because I don’t know what it is I truly believe in.”

According to Jesus, what you believe is absolutely essential. John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

Regardless of how the unbelievers look at us, we should not be ashamed of the Truth, for those who do not believe in Jesus Christ have the wrath of God upon them and are headed for Hell. Do you believe it? If so, we should try to rescue them by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Romans 1:16-17 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous shall live by faith.”

The righteous shall live by faith; that is, by what they believe in their heart. It is not head knowledge. Salvation depends on what we believe. What we really believe is what we do.

Romans 10:10-14 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

Again, faith in Jesus is absolutely essential. Faith in Jesus is what gets your sins forgiven; gets you into a relationship with God, and gets you into Heaven.

John 3:17-18 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Before they were called Christians, followers of Jesus were called "believers". What set them apart from the rest of the world was not their morals, for the Jews were moral, but that they believed that Jesus was the Son of God, who died and rose again. They believed it so strongly they were willing to die rather than deny their faith in Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, many “Christians” today believe that it is okay to pick and choose what to believe, as if they were ordering a hamburger at Burger King. Some say, "Well, this is what I believe. You may not believe it, but that’s okay."

That sounds very tolerant, but it has led many to accept reincarnation, to deny of the virgin birth, to deny miracles, to deny the atonement, to deny the resurrection, and to believe other religions are also pathways to Heaven. They believe it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere and don’t hurt anyone else with your belief. After all, the Bible was for those folks back then.

Therefore, this lack of faith in Jesus Christ—who He truly is and in His Word—has crept into the Church and is why the Church in general has no power. Instead of contending for the faith delivered unto the saints and building ourselves up in it, the Church tries to appeal to the world by becoming worldly. Today, the Church contains many elements of unbelief, following ungodly passions, and ignoring the Holy Spirit. Therefore, God ignores us.

Matthew 13:58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

When we say "I believe It", we don’t simply believe this Word to be true for us, but we believe this to be the Truth—the truth about God, the truth about Christ, the truth about the Holy Spirit, the truth about the Church, the truth about everything in life. The Bible is our instruction manual. Do you believe it? Do you read it?

When you buy a new appliance, an instruction book comes with it. Often, I will toss the book aside, believing I know how to run the machine. Invariably, I will do something wrong, causing damage to the machine or ruining something else.

Many people do the same thing with life’s instruction manual. They will toss the Bible aside, believing they know how to run their own life. Invariably, they will do something wrong, causing damage to themselves or ruining the lives of others.

Everyone has beliefs. Everyone believes that either there is a God, or there isn’t a God, or there are many gods. Whether or not one has sincerely given it a lot of thought about God is not the issue. Even the demons believe in one God and shudder. The issue is that whatever vague or well-thought-out notion one has, that belief determines how that person will live his life. And if it doesn’t line up with the Word of God, that belief is not the Truth and they are living in sin.

The Gospel is not "try harder", "do better", but BELIEVE. Believe in Jesus Christ! Believe in His Word! Believe everything it reveals about Jesus and follow Him. That means: do what Jesus would do. If the Bible doesn’t make any sense to you, ask God to give you faith to believe it and to give you the Holy Spirit so you can understand it.

Luke 24:25-27 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Christianity ultimately is not about going to church and practicing religion. It is about faith in Jesus Christ and His Word. More than that, it is to entrust your soul and eternity to that faith in Christ. Faith in Jesus will make you act like Jesus. That is the evidence that you really believe. All the rest is just religious talk.

For example: In the 19th century, the greatest tightrope walker in the world was a man named Charles Blondin. On June 30, 1859 he became the first man in history to walk on a tightrope across Niagara Falls. Over 25,000 people gathered to watch him walk 1,100 feet suspended on a tiny rope 160 feet above the raging waters. He worked without a net or safety harness of any kind. The slightest slip would prove fatal. When he safely reached the Canadian side of the Falls, the crowd burst into a mighty roar.

In the days that followed he would walk across the Falls many times. Once he walked across on stilts, another time he took a chair and a stove with him and sat down midway across, cooked an omelet and ate it. And another time, he pushed a wheelbarrow across loaded with 350 pounds of cement. On one occasion he asked the cheering spectators if they thought he could push a man across sitting in a wheelbarrow. A mighty roar of approval rose from the crowd. Spying a man cheering loudly, he asked, “Sir, do you think I could safely carry you across in this wheelbarrow?” “Yes, of course.” “Well then, get in,” Blondin replied with a smile. The man refused.

That makes it clear, doesn’t it? It is one thing to believe a man can walk across a great divide by himself. It’s another thing to believe he could safely carry you across. Believing in Jesus is like getting into the wheelbarrow. It’s entrusting all of your life to Him. It’s obeying Him and trusting Him to carry you to the other side of eternity.

Galatians 3:5-6 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Abraham didn’t have a Bible, but he believed God existed and earnestly sought an intimate relationship with Him. To follow God, he left everything he was familiar with. He didn’t know where the Promise Land was. All He knew was God said, “Follow me and I will show you and give the land to you.” Abraham believed God, trusted Him, and did what God said.

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. 

Everyone chooses what they believe. Some choose to believe a particular scientist or teacher; some choose to believe a particular teaching on enlightenment; some choose to believe and put their trust in a particular politician or political ideology. Some choose to believe that there is no God.

I choose to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Why? Because I believe this truth:

Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. 

What do you choose to believe? Is it the Truth? If you have never put your faith in Jesus Christ, you can make that choice today. If you truly believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, who atoned for your sin on the cross, confess that faith publicly. Then show evidence of your faith by repenting of your sin and giving your life to Jesus in baptism. You will be forgiven and born again of the Holy Spirit, who will lead you into all Truth and build up your most holy faith. 

   October 2018   
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