Is Christianity Real?
Getting Revived – Dead Works to Fruit
PROBLEM: I’m cold, how do I ignite the coals?
Christ is not real.
This is the last day friend’s - all around us are Christians who are self-deceived or being deceived because the reality of Christ is missing. Yes we live in the days of mega-churches but they are nothing but a den of wolves, leading foolish cheap astray. We live in the modern Christian society whose desire is not the witness of the gospel, not the furtherance of the gospel, but endless fables, genealogies and doctrinal differences. We live in a time where truth has become relative; the truth of scripture has become related because the Bible has become relative, with all the different versions. Why has the Christianity become so diluted, so fickle, so weak and so pathetic? Because friends, eternity is not a reality, Christ is not a reality, His coming judgment is not a reality and His coming wrath is not a reality. Recently, a colleague at work, lost a dear friend, she was quite broken up. Her friend that died was probably 20 odd years old and died in a car accident. And she mentioned to me, that his death had not sunk in, to the extent that one of the days after his death, she tried to call him, and then realized the truth. There is a disconnect there from reality, that’s why a funeral is necessary, so closure can be head, so they mind, heart and body can face reality and thus the mentality be altered. Christianity, us, not them out there - us in here have a disconnect from that which is eternal, from heaven, from Jesus Christ, from Christ’s return, from His impending judgment at the Beamer and from His coming wrath. And it is this lack of reality, which causes us to recline back in our seats, to play with sin when we ought not too, to not share the gospel when there is every cause too, and to continue to try surviving, instead of living in Christ for Christ. It’s kind of like knowing that you have an exam, but its 12 months away, and knowing that the exam is 12 days away; on the one hand (12 month), you coast, allowing other things and priorities to take over the need to study. But when you 12 days away from the exam, it becomes your priority, and your energy is used to effectively manage your time and get the studying done. This is the exact scenario Christians are in, but most of them are running around thinking that the exam is 12 months away so there is no cause, no unction, no action and no zeal for the things of God. As human’s, we are not motivated, unless there is pressure; that’s why we are not doing what we should; not being who we are in Christ (new creatures), and not laying down our all, for the pursuit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This morning brother and sisters in Christ, it is my earnest desire that you and I, would get real, for it is only when Christ is real, can we be effective ministers for Christ upon this earth. Let’s turn now to the Lord in prayer.
I. Recognizing One’s State
(a) The Reality of Christ the Person (vs. 9, John 1:43-45)_– Does Jesus stir your soul?
- Christ is Not Real
- “I believe that if there is one thing which pierces the Master’s heart with unutterable grief, it is not the world’s iniquity, but the Church’s indifferences.” (F.B Meyer)
- Indifference is the weed that has over-taken the church and relinquished its soul purpose of ministering Christ to the lost.
- The heart for evangelism that is missing in churches is not due to the distractions, not due to busyness of it’s members, nor due the lack of urgency on that’s of it’s member’s but plain and simple a lack of knowledge of Christ. Without the reality of Christ (as a person), in the life of the believer, indifference dwells, lives and festers.
- Repeatedly in scripture we recognize that when people meet Jesus, when they eyes open to whom He is – there is an instantaneous reaction; witness.
- Consider, this very Phillip in John 1:43-45 vs. 9; note his immediate reaction (Nathanael). We only
- Consider; Mark 6:53-56 (they brining out the sick). Someone had to stand in the gap.
- There are many more portions of scripture I could turn too, but when someone knew Christ, knew who He was, understood Him, they immediate response was to point others too Him.
- Friends I know we are different, we have different roles in the body, but at the end of the day, an understanding of Jesus Christ, knowledge of Him, results in a reaction to bring the lost to Him. (b) The Reality of Christ’s Return (vs. 3) – You living like He’s coming NOW?
- Urgency for the Work
- We have seen that Christ is the fuel by which we organically go forth and witness, testify of Christ, love one another and do good works. But the urgency for the work, for the gospel; that comes from a different place; and it’s not in the person of Christ, but in the return of Christ.
- Yes friends we are going to have a mansion, a place prepared for us, praise God, but like the Word of God, it is a double-sided truth; because at Christ’s return, (a) it will commence our Judgment at the Bema. (b) But secondly, it will bring on tribulation, and thereafter the “Lake of Fire”.
- Because we got our tickets stamped, our mansion prepared, there is little fire under our butts, excuse me to create any form of urgency’ but that urgency comes from knowing that we will be judged, and we will gaze at Him, and more so, the world will face the worst kind of judgment there is.
- If you knew the rapture was happening tomorrow, and your spouse, kids, close friends and family were unsaved; would you not rush to their side to witness to them and share the gospel. With that by itself not be urgent enough.
- Despite your inabilities, your reserved-ness, your lack of knowledge of the deep doctrines of scripture; would you not run to their aid and in the last few hours cry to them to believe on Christ to avoid the pending “tribulation” and probably eventual “lake of fire”.
- Oh friend, why is that not our behavior, our action today, in the present? Did Christ not say He will return like a thief in the night? It could be tomorrow, or it could be this very next second. But there stand’s indifference, our of fear of man, out of pride, out of laziness, out of neglect, our insecurities; and simply because His return as He promised, is not our PRESENT REALITY.
II. Realizing the Book
(a) The Reality of It’s Words (vs. 23) – The Importance of His Words
- The Solution
- So how does Christ, His return and pending Judgment became a reality, it’s simply the Word of God.
- “The Bible does not contain the Word of God; It is the Word of God.” —Lee Roberson
- Analogy – THE WORD is the SOURCE of BELIEF IN CHRIST
- John 17: 8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
- John 17:14, I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
- Friends, note the importance of the Christ’s words; in John 17; believe of the Word , resulted in the belief in the identity of Christ as to who He said He was. The foundation for any belief, is trusting what has been said or read.
- “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”
- Can you see the importance of the Word? (b) The Reality of It’s Truth (vs. 15, 21, 23, 24) – The Reality of His Words
- The Test
Note what Christ says here, 4 times in one passage alone. Verse 15, ¶ If ye love me, keep my commandments. Verse 21, He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
- Verse 23, Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
- 24, He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
- A fruit tree, organically will produce fruit, when rooted into the earth. We cannot say we “love” Christ (I’m not talking about salvation), but actually loving Him, unless there is fruit to show for it.
- Read verse 23 again; for by these very words, when we do them; we show our love for Christ.
- This is the reality of Christ - HIS WORDS.
- Our love, our belief in Christ – thus our reality of eternity is waged on our reading, trusting and application of His Word
- The reality of Christ’s words is this in all simplicity; “if ye love me, keep my commandments”. Are you keeping them? Do you love Christ this morning?
III. Resolving what’s Right
(a) The Reality of No – A subtle dilution of constitution, you stop being effective
- Indifference Through “No”
- Brothers and sisters; it’s so easy one day to be on fire for the Lord, and to slowly fade into indifference, to be backslidden.
- No by “indifference” I don’t just mean witnessing for Christ on the streets, at work wherever; but I am talking about being fired up by the preaching, stirred up for Church, displaying LOVE in the church, and to those around by being a Christ-like example.
- I got a call from the Lord some 4 years ago from Joshua 7:13; Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.”
- I remember soon after, I was set a light, man I would evangelize at every opportunity, I was busy if not consumed with church activity, and taking every moment I felt led, to witness to a lost person, either on the street, or in a parking lot.
- But after getting married, I had to find my feet and adjust but I didn’t do that very well.
- Sadly, because of changes in my life and priorities, my continual “No” to witnessing, because of busyness and time, turned to indifference.
- Change, life happens; and it will make it harder to get done the things of God. But we need to ‘redeem the time’, we need to apply our minds practically, to take oppurtunuties
(b) The Reality of a Critical Spirit – Tearing the Church Apart
- Get your eyes of each other
- Perhaps one of the most disturbing problems in churches today is a failure to understand love and love those around you in the church.
- What prevents Christ from being real in a church to others is not necessarily the preaching or the teaching of the Word, but rather the people of the church.
- There is nothing like a critical spirit or person to put out the flames for Christ, and yes I know we all are individuals accountable for our own walk with Christ; but sometimes we can be nasty with our thoughts, our actions and our words, and we can seriously hurt one another.
- Friend, are you perhaps such a person this morning?
- Quotes From Spurgeon:
- What would people encounter if an individual, family, or church were a “ministry of death” (that is, a law-based ministry that left people relying upon their own sufficiency)? They might encounter judgmentalism or fleshly striving. They might find self-righteousness or self-confidence. They might discover hypocrisy or frustration. They might detect harshness or coldness.
Conversely, what would people encounter if an individual, family, or church were a “ministry of … life” (that is, a grace- oriented ministry that encouraged people to rely upon God’s sufficiency)? Instead of judgmentalism and fleshly striving, they would encounter love and peace. Instead of self-righteousness and self-confidence, they would find humility and confidence in God. Instead of hypocrisy and frustration, they would discover genuineness and fulfillment. Instead of harshness and coldness, they would detect gentleness and warmth.
Second analogy; struggling with a friend; and we are having some differences.
- Application: Some of you sitting, might be spending more thought thinking about what someone else did wrong in the church, or those that left the church and how wrong they were, instead of taking those moments to pray for those in this church, to pray that the Gospel would go forth, to pray for laborers!!!!!!! The harvest is WHITE!!!!
- Fear God, DON’T MESS WITH HIS CHILDREN; those in the church are His children; and if someone picked a fight with my child, I’m be ready to knock their lights out. Conclusion: Push them this day to a DECISION!!!!! First step – recognizing your walk is not where it should be; Second step – “If ye seek me, ye shall find me, if ye search for me with all thine heart” Read the Book, get stuck in the stuck; for the reality of it’s pages are scene, only when it is unfolded. Christ, His return, His judgment and His impending Wrath needs to be a reality in our lives, and only then friends, can we have the pressure, the incentive, the inspiration and direction to run the race before us!!!!!!! Poem: The Reality of Him A cry must bellow out from within our souls, Lord anchor me to thy truth, fasten me to thy Word, help me to stand, help me to weather the storm and while doing it Lord, grant me opportunity to be an ambassador for you. But is that really our cry?