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Monday, September 27, 2010

What Kind of Faith Do You Have?

I wonder why some people call themselves Christians? Sure, they go to church and they are fairly moral people but there are plenty of people who live lives better than many Christians who aren't Christians. Many Muslims are more devoted to their faith. They fast, abstain from alcohol, abhor premarital sex and pray several times a day. Most of the people who call themselves Christians don't allow their faith to cause such a different lifestyle than those who have no faith at all. Many more Muslims act like Muslims than Christians act like Christians.

I wonder if many of the people who call themselves Christians only became so because they believed it would make their lives better. That makes a lot of sense when you see the sermons from some of the fastest growing churches. It is hard to find a sermon that doesn't have "victory" or "successful" in the title. There are steps and ways and methods to put the hearers ahead of those who aren't at those churches. Who speaks of commitment, suffering and being "washed in the blood" anymore?

These messages don't seem to be the ones being preached during the New Testament. Jesus said that people would try to give His followers hell even though they were trying to give the world heaven. He said that they would be beaten and martyred for the sake of the gospel. Their faith wasn't one of what they would get out of Christianity. They believed in Someone who brought life. Their lives had received the joy of the Holy Spirit. Many of them would indeed be martyred. Others would see Christians torn apart by wild beasts and placed on poles and used as torches to light the city streets of Rome. Why would anyone believe in something so dangerous?

Many of Jesus disciples left Him after he made some very hard statements. It had to be extremely discouraging. Jesus went to the Twelve and asked if they would go too. But their faith was not one of  trying to get an advantage over others. Their faith was one of commitment that could not be shaken by difficult words. They believed in a way that their lives made their Lord central. This is not a life of God as number one. It is a life that does not exist unless God is central to everything that goes on around it. It is a internal faith rather than a simple belief. It is one that becomes the person rather than something the person outwardly believes.

All but one of Jesus' disciples had this faith.

What kind of faith do you have?

John 6:66 (ESV)
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God." Jesus answered, "Did I not choose you, the Twelve: And yet one of you is a devil." He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.

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