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Date: 14 December, 2018
Text: 1Thesallonians 2:13
Title: Life Changing Faith
There are certain things in life that can be life changing. They are transformitive events.
1.) Surgery - getting a heart transplant or a mechanical knee or hip.
exp. life changing because you have great health improvements or mobility
ill. Saw a friend of ours in the community this week who had hip surgery. He's not using sticks anymore but has great mobility.
2.) Education - people learning to read later in life or getting a degree later in life.
exp. Job opportunities open up and there is opportunity for advancement.
ill. Street preacher in Edinburgh - was a gypsy in Ireland. Learned to read 20 years ago after he got saved. He wanted to read the Bible.
3.) Financial windfall - inheritance, treasure (art, etc.)
exp. Opportunity to travel or resign job.
ill. It's not everyday that you walk into a local charity shop and come away with one of the most important documents in your country's history!
Nearly thirty years ago, a man paid $4 for a painting in Pennsylvania thrift shop because he liked its frame.
The last thing he expected to find when he looked behind the painting in the frame was a copy of the Declaration of Independence - a super famous statement written after the separation of the United States of America from Britain.
The document was eventually auctioned for the incredible price of $2,420,000 in 1991 - that's the equivalent of more than £3,227,000 in today's money!
exp. I think that probably changed his life.
Our text this morning is a transformative text. It declares something with power to change our life.
It is LIFE CHANGING FAITH.
1Thesallonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
exp. "Which effectually worketh" also reads like this in other Scriptures.
1.) God adopted you.
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
2.) God forgave you the punishment of your sin and gave you eternal life.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
3.) God made it so that you don't have to worry about death.
Joh 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Joh 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
exp. These are life changing truths received by LIFE CHANGING FAITH.
My message this morning is simple. We need LIFE CHANGING FAITH. Has your faith changed you? If not - you don't have the faith of which Paul is speaking.
I. Life changing faith glorifies God.
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because,
exp. Paul was an apostle. He could not stop thanking God for the life changing faith of the Thesallonians.
ill. I saw some good news this week, if you have been saving your 250,000 USD to take your 90 minute flight up into space. Virgin Galactic successfully rocketed to the edge of space and back.
exp. Richard Branson - CEO - was obviously very excited - his investment of time and money, his dream, is coming true. No doubt others in his team were even more ecstatic as they've laboured to make this dream a reality.
note: Paul was a church builder for the Lord Jesus Christ. He wanted nothing so much as to see mankind in the power of Jesus reaching the heights of Heaven for God's glory.
ill. John, under inspiration of God's Spirit, summarized this exhiliration as....
3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
ill. Have you ever worked really hard to accomplishs something? What a joy when it is well accomplished.
ill. At Halfords this week because a bulb went out on my Honda Jazz. It's a great little car, but the engineers made it almost impossible to change the headlight bulbs. I said to the kind man helping me, "Just think what Job satisfaction you will have tonight." "He said, "You mean nightmares."
app. There is nothing more wonderful than ministry job satisfaction because you have seen life saving faith in people's lives. We will say, "Glory to God" when this takes place.
II. Life changing faith receives Bible preaching.
when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us,
exp. It wasn't hard to plant the Gospel seed in the soil of their hearts. They were ready to take in the preaching of God's Word.
question: Was it an easy message they received?
A. Paul wasn't shy in his preaching.
11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
exp. A father speaks freely to his children in ways he would not speak to other people's children.
ill. At the Post Office in Penicuik - older man nudged his wife - looked at the little disobedient girl - unpackaging toys - he said, "You shouldn't do that. Your mummy is going to have to pay for those if you open them.
exp. I have no doubt if it was his child he would have spoken more freely.
app. Paul didn't hold back from his children in the faith what they needed. He gave them...
def. Exhortation - an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something.
ill. Paul was a Spirit filled emphatic preacher - 1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
His comfort - Paul encouraged them in their obedience to God's Word.
2 Corinthians - Paul is defending his Apostolic calling and ministry. Even though he was correcting them he was doing so gently.
2:1 But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness.
2 For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?
His charge - Paul put the Biblical arguments in front of His children challenging them to obey.
ill. Preacher Boys Class - at BJU - teaching young men in preparatin for full time preaching/ pastoral ministry. Paul taught a preacher boys class in his pastoral epistles. About preaching he said to his young son in the faith - Timothy -
2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
exp. Paul was a bold preacher of God's Word - AND PRAISE GOD THE THESALLONIANS LOVED IT BECAUSE THEY HAD LIFE CHANGING FAITH.
NOTE: That was how he preached - but what did he preach?
B. Paul preached the LIFE CHANGING Gospel!
exp. Pauline Gospel and Apostolic teachings know nothing of Easy Believism - where a person just gives mental assent to the Gospel and has an untransformed life.
1. Walk as a son of God ought to walk.
12 That ye would walk worthy of God,
exp. Some Christians in our day have complained about high standards. Paul set the standard where it ought to be. "You need to walk worthy of God."
ill. Meghan Markle is rightly or wrongly making headlines for breaking royal protocol. Coloured nail polish - opening her own door....etc - It's a bit silly - but understand this - to the royal family it matters if someone represents them well or not.
app. The way we represent God is not trivial and unimportant. It impacts eternity.
1Co 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
app. Are you doing what honours God?
1.) Entertainment - music, tv, internet, social media....
2.) Dress - worldly, immodest, materialistic (300 pound football shirt)
3.) Appetites - social drinking, (what would you think if you saw Pastor Ben with a beer in his hand? or cigarette? What about Jesus?
2. Walk as a citizen of Heaven ought to walk.
who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
ill. I am very thankful today that I stand here a citizen of Scotland as a citizen of the United Kingdom. I'm as much a citizen as you because of the gracious authority given by Britain. I want to represent my new country well.
app. You are a citizen of Heaven. Are you living as a citizen of Heaven?
Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
app. LIFE CHANGING FAITH embraces this message and this messenger - because it received Bible preaching.
III. Life changing faith rejects liberalism.
ye received it not as the word of men,
exp. Liberalism rejects the verbal, plenary inspiration of Scripture. It attributes God's Word to men and not to God.
ill. Scottish Christian Heritage - Liberalism crept into the Free College Seminary in Aberdeen in 1870's. Dr. Robertson Smith - appointed to professorship at 23. At 28 espoused the belief that somebody - not God, passed on the book of Deuteronomy to Moses.
"Dr. Marcus Dods, minister of Renfield Free Church, Glasgow, entered the field in support of Robertson Smith. In a sermon entitled, 'Revelation and Inspiration', he argued that the element of 'inspiration' in Scripture was limited to matters of salvation."
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
ill. Jesus attributed David's Words in Psalms to the Holy Ghost.
Mar 12:36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
ill. Paul believed that ALL SCRIPTURE WAS GOD BREATHED.
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
ill. Jesus said of the law that even the diacritical markings in the Hebrew text were inspired.
Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
ill. J. C. Ryle - "Prepared to Stand Alone" also written by Iian Murray -
Ryle was an Anglican Evangelical faced the same thing in the Anglican church. His son became a sided with liberalism. HE STOOD AGAINST IT.
"No doubt we all love unity; but we must distinctly maintain, that true unity can only be built on God's truth. No doubt we must not withhold the right hand of fellowship from any faithful brother, because he doees not think exactly like us; but we must understand who the men are to whom we extend the right hand. Many are saying now-a-days, that 'after all, there is no great difference between one clergyman and another. Some speak of a thing by one name, and some by another; but, after all, they mean the same.' It is not uncommon now to hear of high churchmen saying to evangelical clergymen, as was said in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, by Sanballat and Tobiah- 'let us build with you.' But let us not be taken in by such sophistry. Better build by ourselves, better let the work go on slowly than allow Sanballat and Tobiah to come and build by our side.
question: Why is it so important for life changing faith to reject liberalism?
1.) Life changing faith is founded upon an authoritative book.
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
2.) Satan is actively seeking to destroy foundations.
Psa 11:3 If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?
ill. Satan has attacked - creation, marriage, family, inspiration of Scripture.... Because he wants the body of Christ - the church - to fall.
transition: If you have life changing faith - you reject liberalism.
IV. Life changing faith believes in the absolute authority of God's Word.
but as it is in truth,
exp. This allows us to say with God's servants down through the ages, "Thus saith the Lord."
1Pe 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God;
def. oracle - utterance "utterance of God."
note: Our world is scared of Absolute Truth and says there is no such thing. (How can we believe they are telling the truth if truth does not exist?)
ill. The Bristol Magistrates' Court in the U.K. has convicted two Christian street preachers of public order offenses for saying Muslims are going to Hell and Jesus is the only way to God. The prosecutor in the case argued that Jesus being the only way to God "cannot be true."
Christian Concern reports that Michael Overd and Michael Stockwell were found guilty during the four-day trial of using "threatening or abusive words or behavior or disorderly behavior within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress, thereby, and the offense was religiously aggravated."
A third man with the preachers saw the case against him dismissed.
The preachers insisted that they were speaking truth from the Bible, but prosecutor Ian Jackson argued that they cannot proclaim that what they believe is true.
"To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth. To the extent that they are saying that the only way to God is through Jesus, that cannot be a truth," Jackson reportedly said in court.
The street evangelists were accused of offending a crowd in Bristol in July 2016 by saying things such as "Allah does not exist" and "all Muslims will burn in Hell," a witness claimed.
Stockwell had quoted Jesus from the Bible saying, "I am the way, the truth and the life," and also said: "If you are trying to come through Catholicism, through Jehovah Witness, through Mormonism, the Bible says you're a thief and a liar and a thief comes to steal and destroy. But Christ came that we may have life."
Reports say that the crowd gathered around the preachers grew agitated over their remarks. Police who arrived at the scene also accused Overd of having "gone over the top" and of having "wound up people."
app. Satan is very keen to get the world to reject absolute truth. Why? Because absolute truth IS JESUS AND WITHOUT HIM MAN CAN NOT BE SAVED.
app. Life changing faith, believes in the absolute truth of God's Word.
V. Life changing faith believes the Bible is God's inspired Word.
the word of God,
How can God's Word be absolutely true? - BECAUSE GOD GAVE IT TO US.
Tit 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Rom 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
ill. Often asked in evangelism - how do you know what you believe is true vs. Islam, Catholicism, JW's, etc?
exp. As difficult as this seems to an unbeliever, someone who's life has been changed knows that the answer is very simple. It is found by asking a simple question, "What does the Bible say?"
note: Not - what do you think, how do you feel, or what is politically correct and acceptable to those who hate God.....
ill. Like a measuring tape is a standard for building - so God's Word is the standard for building His church.
app. If you reject the inspiration of God's Word, you have no foundation for life changing faith. Why? Because you turned off the light of God's Word.
question: Is it logical to believe it is God's Word which it claims to be?
1.) It's subject - Jesus is the most famous person in human history.
2.) It has been translated into more languages than any other book and has outsold every book ever year since printing presses were made.
ill. Guetenberg first massed produced a book on his printing press - it was the Gutenberg Bible.
3.) It has been impossible to suppress this book though mankind has tried.
4.) It is written by 44 human authors is 66 books, was written over 1500 years and it all agrees.
5.) It has been slandered but NEVER disproved.
6.) It contains prophecy - Jesus, Israel, etc
app. Friend, if you are here today and you have struggled to accept the claims of God's Word - you need to set aside your unbelief and accept this book as the inspired Word of God - it will change your life.
VI. Life changing faith switches on the dynamic power of God's Word.
which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
ill. During World War II bombs fell on Great Britain - just down from our house is a place where one of those bombs hit.
During the London blitz in 1940 I was just 4 years old and lived in Braemar Avenue, Neasden.
During one of the air-raids targeting the Welsh Harp Reservoir, directly behind our house, a bomb landed in the middle of the road about 30 yards from where I was sleeping but luckily did not explode, just shattered a few windows.
The next day we were evacuated while the bomb was defused and then allowed back in time to see it loaded on a lorry and removed and the 15 foot wide crater filled in.
During a recent visit to London my wife, also from Neasden, and I took a pilgrimage to see our old homes and haunts. Assuming that Breamar Avenue has been resurfaced more than once in 64 years, I was utterly amazed to to find the circular outline of that crater still clearly defined.
exp. The power was all their - yet they were not destroyed because the bomb was ineffective - and praise God that it was.
app. God's Word has all the power for good that the bomb possessed for bad. And yet, like that bomb, it strikes without affect in many people's hearts. Why? Because it is rendered ineffective by their unbelief!
Heb 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
app. If you haven't had a life changed by faith - it is because you have not yet exercised Biblical faith.
Jesus is quoted in Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
app. Your life will never be changed if you continue in unbelief. However, if you put your faith in God's Word - that is the key which opens the door to all the blessings of God's Word.
People have life changing events happening. But, none is so significant as those who experience LIFE CHANGING FAITH. Has your life been changed by faith?
1.) God gets glory through life changing faith.
2.) Life changing faith receives Bible preaching.
3.) Life changing faith rejects liberalism.
4.) Life changing faith believes in the absolute authority of God's Word.
5.) Life changing faith believes the Bible is God's inpsired Word.
6.) Life changing faith switches on the dynamic power of God's Word.