FBC Earlville 4-06-14 10:30 AM Rev. J.B. Stopford, Pastor

INTRODUCTION In honor of last Tuesday’s April Fools Day, Today’s Special: April Fool Story
A true story. Rev. Henry Ward Beecher entered his church one Sunday and found several letters awaiting him. He opened one and found it contained the single word, “Fool.” Quietly and with becoming seriousness, he announced to the congregation the fact in these words: “I have known many an instance of a man writing a letter and forgetting to sign his name. But this is the only instance I have ever known of a man signing his name and forgetting to write the letter.”

If someone said to you, “don’t worry about which method you use to seek a higher power. Just pick one. They all lead to the same place.” – how would you respond? Or what if someone said to you, “spreading the gospel to the nations is not only imperialist but arrogantly irrational. Since there is no absolute truth, we dare not attempt to share it.”
What if one person passed through our church not knowing absolute truth, not knowing that Jesus loved them to the cross, not knowing that they’re going to heaven when they die because they’ve trusted the death, burial, and resurrection of a personal Savior. That would be a faith-based church. Is ours a faith-based church? Is your faith faith-based? How do we create that? How can we be sure? Our text tells us today! PRAYER

Definition of faith: “to believe in, to rely upon, to adhere to, to cling to”
Heb. 11:1: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV)
“Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].” (Amplified)
1 Pet. 1:8 “Whom having not seen we love”
1 John 4:9 “we love Him because He first loved us”
Who are the “uncaring”? Look at…
Rom. 10:3 Those who don’t submit to God’s righteousness (“He is holy, I’m a sinner who falls short”)
Rom. 10:6,7 Those who try to be saved by their own efforts
Rom. 10:16 Those who just don’t know (quote from Isa. 53 – the chapter on the crucifixion)
Rom. 10:21 The undeserving
POINT: The world says “no absolutes” because it is in defiance of the One Who is absolute. Illus.: John 3:16 God has already prepared His love for those uncaring, for those needing comfort!

#2 FAITH IS AN OBJECT FOR THE UNHEARING (the deaf!) (Romans 10:8) (from Moses’ last speech to his people in Deut. 30 before going to his death)
Faith is a convicting Word (to the mouth and heart – outward and inward)
Faith is a spread Word (by those who proclaim it, vs. 14-15 taken from Isa. 52:7. Note vs. 13-15 ref. to the Messiah!
Faith is a cried out Word (1 Cor. 1:17-31) – the Word is good! It doesn’t need our eloquence to hit home!
[Illus.: John 3:16 can be applied to MY heart – “for God so loved ME”]

Mom/son conversation: “You didn’t hear me.” “I heard you.” “IF you heard me you would have done what I asked.”
True faith means that what we are told gets put into action
Note v. 18 taken from Psalm 19:4 The creation becomes an illustration of the POWER of God’s Word – The message is NOT dependent upon MAN to CREATE or WRITE IT, only to give the message.
Point: a “faith-based church” takes the message of the gospel and allows it to do what it does best – change hearts to the cross!

CONCLUSION: Listen to this prayer prayed long ago:
“Almighty God, Father of All Men; To Thee we raise thankful hearts for deliverance from forces of evil…Deliver us also, we beseech Thee, from the greater danger of ourselves…Awake us each time to a sense of our responsibility in saving the world from ruin. Open our minds and eyes and hearts to the desperate plight of millions. Arouse us from indifference to action…Fulfill in us and through us Thy glorious intention: that Thy peace, Thy love, and Thy justice may enter into the regeneration of the world.” Who prayed this? George Washington on Christmas at Valley Forge.

Our country was founded on Biblical absolutes. Our hearts, our homes, our church needs to be faith-based before a world that, even though they refuse to hear, is loved and cared for by a God Who even went so far as to send His own Son to die for it!

CLOSE IN PRAYER: to have God’s heart for the world

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