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Heroes of Faith

If a true hero walked upon a person who is drowning, they wouldn’t ask the person if they are liberal or conservative, Christian or atheist. They wouldn’t ask if the person was gay or straight, pro-life or pro-choice. The true hero is going to spring into action without giving a thought to their belief system and use whatever they have available to save the life of the drowning man.

As Christians we have a life saving message that we must be willing to share and live out before others, regardless of what they may think or believe, and regardless of what we may fear. Our response to others will tell everyone who we truly are. We will never be able to hide who we are from God. If you’ll continue to read in Jeremiah 5 NIV you’ll see that there were plenty of people who professed to love God. He had no problem finding people who believed in him, but there’s a big difference in believing in him and seeking him. It says that his eyes are always looking for the truth and all he found were fakers. Glad we don’t have any fakers in the church today. How many of you just responded with a, “Yeah Right!”

The church has compromised so much with the world that it’s getting more and more difficult to tell them apart. That’s why it’s important for each one of us to establish our own personal relationship with God and know his word. The reason I keep telling you to (look it up) is because I don’t want you to take my word for it. Read it for yourself. I guarantee you that if you are a truth seeker God will reveal so much more from the scriptures you’ve searched out than what you get from me. He’ll share things that will be more personal to you and reveal things that you need for that moment in time. Let me give you an example.

The bible tells us that there are times that we don’t know what to pray and the Holy Spirit will pray on our behalf, essentially pray for us (look it up) Romans 8:26-27. Jesus told his disciples that he would be going back to the Father and it was for their benefit. Our benefit as well because he would be sending the Holy Spirit to earth to teach us and empower us. Because of the Holy Spirit we would even do greater things than he (look it up) John 14:15-26 NIV.

I was sitting at home one afternoon and something was wrong. I felt a heaviness within me. It was like I had done something I shouldn’t have but I had no idea what it was. The only thing I knew was that I just didn’t feel right. I was watching T.V. and just happen to turn to a preacher that I would listen to from time to time. I love his teaching on prophecy and Israel and would watch when I had a chance. This time he was talking about how the Holy Spirit prays for us when we don’t know what we ought to pray. I felt like I needed to go to my room and just begin to pray. I knelt down beside my bed and began praying. My prayer started out with, “God, I’m not sure what I’ve done to offend you or make you mad, but I just don’t feel right. Please allow your Spirit to search me and rid me of this sin or whatever it is that I’ve done.” Shortly after that I felt a presence enter my room and what felt like a hand placed on my back. It was such a sweet presence. I began praying in another language. I have known idea what language it was or what was being said, but it was very intense. There was a conversation going on between God and the spirit within in me and after a few minutes there was a huge weight that was lifted, and I felt free from whatever it was that was hindering me. These are the kind of things that God loves to reveal to us when we truly seek him and search his scriptures.

So, what’s the key to becoming the kind of hero God is looking for today? It’s in that first verse of Jeremiah 5. One who does justice & seeks truth. What’s truth? Just because a person may believe something doesn’t make it truth. If I say that I believe bigfoot roams the woods riding a unicorn while sharing a corndog with Elvis, you would call me insane. No matter how much I believe it, it doesn’t make it true. There’s man’s version of truth, which is also known as lies, and then there’s Gods version of truth. It’s getting more and more difficult to know when truth is being told. Social media has become the main stage for manipulating people. I see politicians spouting off all kinds of nonsense and people will eat it up. I even see pastors manipulating scripture to make a point that will eventually lead people astray. Jesus made this very clear that false teachers, even back then would teach a false religion and deceive many, even the elect Matthew 24:24 NIV. The only truth that brings real freedom is God’s truth and his truth is found in his word. If you don’t know the truth you’re not going to know when your being lied to.

Find a good church. Listen to the pastor and take notes. Throughout the week study it and search it for yourself and see if it measures up. If it does, then take it to heart and apply it to your own life and live it out.

Seek truth! Here’s something important I learned when I began seeking truth and I traded in my replica Christian lifestyle for the real thing. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21 NIV. I’ve read this numerous times and every time I would breathe a sigh of relief because I’ve said the sinners prayer and I believe that Jesus is the son of God. That’s all it took right? I’m heaven bound. One day when I was reading this verse, I felt an unsettling. Remember, the Holy Spirit was sent to teach us right, so we must be teachable. That means when your reading scripture and you get this feeling that there’s more to it, then you need to stop and listen. I began to look at that part of the verse that says, only he who does the will of the father. Then this interesting question popped into my mind. Do I know what Gods will is? Sure, I did. His will is to believe in him and say the sinner’s prayer, right? I decided to do what God has always intended for us to do and seek the truth. It wasn’t long before I came across a statement that Paul made. “It’s Gods will that you be sanctified”, (1 Thessalonians 4:3). It was a little alarming because I wasn’t sure what sanctified meant. I grew up in church my whole life and had been reading the bible since I was a child, yet I couldn’t really describe sanctification. I knew it had to be important because the bible says only, he who does the will of the father gets into heaven and his will is for you to be sanctified. It seemed to me that if I didn’t understand sanctification, I probably wasn’t doing it therefore I don’t qualify to get into heaven. That’s was a frightening thought. Guess what I did? I started searching the scriptures to learn about sanctification. Now there are some great teachers out there on this subject, I’m not really one of them, but you will never really get it until you search it for yourself. The more I learned about sanctification the more I realized that I had been living wrong most of my life. I had fallen victim to so many of the devils lies and schemes because I was neglecting the most important process of my Christian walk. I was always compromising and holding on to a love for the world because I hadn’t truly started the process of sanctification. It goes well beyond the sinner’s prayer. The sinner’s prayer is just the beginning of a process that will take a lifetime to complete. If we ignore this process, we’re nothing more than Christians in the flesh and that is unacceptable to God. What is this process of sanctification? Simply put, it’s the process of becoming holy. God commanded, “Be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16 NIV. That’s not a request and it’s not an option.

We are sanctified by the word and if we’re not in the word we are not going through the process which means we are out of Gods will. Sanctification is accomplished only through the blood of Christ and the truth of his word. Holiness is not achieved by our works. A form of godliness won’t work either. Doesn’t matter how smooth a talker you might be or how much money you put in the plate or what ministry you serve in, if it’s not done out of love its just a show and a bunch of noise. Sanctification makes the difference and it’s one of the most important things we need to understand if we’re going to be the hero that God is looking for.

Some may think that I’m starting to sound legalistic. When someone brings up legalism to me it’s usually followed by, “We are no longer under the old law. We are covered by grace.” This is true but it’s not about rules, regulations & law. It’s not about what you consider to be a sin or someone else considers to be ok. Should Christians drink or not? Should Christians get tattoos? Is it ok for Christians to watch the walking dead? Can we please bring an end to all the petty controversies and get back to what’s important? You want to know what’s right or what’s wrong, then obey God and search out his word. Jesus saved us with every intention for us to be holy. Be holy because he is holy.

So, who determines what holiness is? Does a certain denomination or doctrine? No. God does. God determines what is sin and what is right or wrong. When you stand before him in his kingdom on the day of judgement, he’s not going to ask you what church you went to or how many friends you had on Facebook. He’s going to open his own book to see if your name appears. If your name is not found in that book, you are lost for eternity. That’s why it’s important to be in his book here so your name can be in his book there. You will never understand his ways or his will if you don’t read his word.

I’m not writing to stir up an argument of whether or not you can lose your salvation or if speaking in tongues is still done today, I’m writing this to point to one simple fact that God demands that we be holy and righteous, holy & righteous in his eyes and not mans. Holy & righteous because he is holy and righteous. As you begin the process of sanctification God reveals to you what he considers holy and righteous and that’s discovered in his word and through prayer. God desires a unique and personal relationship with each of his creation. My experiences are probably going to be different than yours because your relationship will be personal to who God has created you to be. If your faith has been reduced to just attending church on Sunday and maybe helping in some form of ministry, your missing out on a lot. A real relationship with God should be exciting and even frightening at times. Why, because to learn to trust him he requires you to get out and walk where you wouldn’t normally walk. Kind of like Peter walking on the water. He stepped out of the boat and took a few steps and then what happened. His flesh got in the way. He took his eyes off Jesus, put them on the storm and lost his focus and his belief that he could do it. Matthew 14:25-33 NIV

We sink in this life when we take our eyes off the Father and focus on the world. We tend to put our focus on the world because for some reason we think the world dictates what is right and wrong, good and evil and the standards by how a person will be judged and looked at. I’ve got news for you, God decides that not man, and it’s found in his word.

Paul writes in Romans, “Do not to conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV. Too many Christians today want to just live under grace without pursuing righteousness. Some have just accepted the fact they their going to sin but that’s ok because we are saved by grace. They’re not giving a second thought to what Gods will is and his command to be holy. We are made new at our acceptance of Jesus Christ as our personal savior and then we are transformed in the process of sanctification and it’s a never-ending process. You cannot conform to this world and be sanctified at the same time.

I literally just walked by the television and a certain reality show was on and at this moment the young lady vying for the heart of this young man was trying to explain to him who she really is. This was her description of herself. “One minute I might be on the front row at church on my knees weeping and worshiping God, and the next minute I can be a devilish witch.”

My first question would be what exactly is being preached in that church and if it’s truth then she obviously doesn’t pay attention. But I see this a lot in the younger generation of Christians. One minute they might be talking about the work they do in the church and how powerful Sunday service was and the next they are dropping more F-bombs than the movie Platoon. By the way, scripture also tells us let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth Ephesians 4:29 NIV (Look it up). If we call ourselves Christians, we represent him and the church. If the world can’t tell us apart from them and accept you as one of their own, then you’ve taken Gods name in vain and I do believe that is the third commandment. Exodus 20:7 NIV.

Here’s an interesting way to look at it. Think about each day as if it were a movie. At the end of the day rate your movie. Was it rated R, PG-13, PG or G, based on what you said and how you portrayed yourself. You’re the star in your own movie, who did you impact or who did you cause to stumble? Did you offend anyone and if so, in what way? There’s a reason scripture tells us to keep our minds on things above and not on earthly things Colossians 3:2. We must be aware of how we present ourselves daily because that is our witness. We were saved to come out of the world and not conform to it. We still love the sinner without condoning the sin so that we might have the chance to share the gospel with them. There can be no room in our heart for hate. The process of sanctification removes hate, bitterness, anger, resentment and everything that is the opposite of the fruits of the spirit. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen. We must be disciplined and persistent in our seeking of truth. We can’t go by how we feel each and every day. I have days where I feel God is nowhere to be found, but I know he is there because his truth tells me he is. Remember, we are tested and tried in order to develop faith, trust, strength, discipline & perseverance because as this world continues to grow evil and the last days approach, we will need all of these to be able to stand strong against persecution and deception.

Only he who does the will of the father will enter into the kingdom. It is Gods will that you be sanctified. We are sanctified by the word of God. Let your life be an everyday movie that glorifies God and not disgraces him. Don’t be a stumbling block for others.

As for the question of should Christians drink? Here’s how I look at it. Whether it’s a sin or not, I choose not to. And the reason I don’t believe a Christian should condone it is because you never know when you might have a new convert who has struggled with alcoholism for years or a former drug addict in the congregation. You might have a former alcoholic at your little in-home bible study and decide to break out the wine for a little social drink and bible study. You’ve just become a stumbling block and created mass confusion for that person.

Again, Paul reminds us that even if something is permissible does not mean it is beneficial 1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV. We are washed and sanctified through Jesus Christ and should always consider others before ourselves. And using the verse that says to win the world become like the world (1 Corinthians 9:22), which is not accurate by the way, doesn’t work. I believe what the bible is talking about here is respecting one’s culture and way of life but without condoning their sin or bowing to their false gods.

I’ve traveled to many parts of the world and by far India is the most interesting to me. When I visit people’s homes, I remove my shoes before entering and I eat or drink what I’m given because that is their culture. But I do not pray to their Hindu gods nor do I compromise my faith. I love visiting the people of India and have sat and had many deep discussions with some of the strongest Hindus, but I always treat them with respect and pray for them. Many will convert. I have a great story about that, but you’ll have to wait a little bit more for that. Sorry.

Just keep this in mind as you read on. God is looking for heroes who are seeking truth and being sanctified by his word and the blood of Christ. That one person has the power to save an entire city. It can happen today, and you can be that hero. You just must believe and seek truth. Die to the flesh daily and follow Christ and he will transform you into that hero to carry his message of salvation to those who need to her it.

If we try to be that hero of faith, we will fail. We are not called to try to be a Christian, we are called to be Christians. Not try to follow Jesus but follow Jesus. We are not to try and obey his word, but we are to obey his word. There is no trying to be Holy, only being Holy. Remember, be holy because he is holy. This is why so many fails, including me, because we allow ourselves this wiggle room with the word “try”. We provide ourselves with the option to fail. When it comes to following Christ, failure should not be an option. Either we are disciples of Jesus Christ or we are not. There’s no middle ground when it come to be a child of God. He said you are either for me or you are against me Matthew 12:30 NIV (look it up). The lamest excuse I constantly hear is, “I’m gonna fail anyway, at least we are covered by grace.” You need a better understanding of grace and mercy. Dive headfirst into 1 John NIV and see what the scriptures say about continuing to sin. The good news here is that if we do sin, we have an advocate to the father who intercedes on our behalf. It’s convenient to only remember the second part of that yet forget the first part that says DO NOT SIN. We read just enough scripture or go to church just enough to give us a false sense of security without knowing that we are totally powerless. To be a hero of faith is to be dedicated to seeking truth and living it out on a daily basis, not just when it is convenient or feels right.

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