OceanSide church of Christ
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BELIEF: SURETY IN THE MIDST OF CONFUSION (1)
Victor M. Eskew
A. In Ephesians 4:5, Paul taught that there is “one faith.”
1. There is one, true system of faith.
2. There is one faith given by God.
3. There is one faith that will save the souls of lost men and women.
B. This “one faith” exists within the midst of many false faiths.
1. One preacher referred to this as “confusionism.”
2. How would you like to begin a search for the “one faith” without any knowledge or guidance?
C. What is needed is surety in the midst of confusion. A person must obtain a belief based upon the one faith and hold to it tightly.
D. Let’s look at this subject with the idea of obtaining and maintaining a belief that will save us in the last day.
I. PRODUCE A BELIEF
A. The first step in the process is to produce a belief within us.
B. To find the one true faith, there must be an active, diligent pursuit of it.
C. It must be a pursuit into the Word of the living God.
1. Romans 1:16-17.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
a. The gospel is God’s power to save.
b. Within the gospel is the plan whereby God makes men righteous.
c. This plan is revealed “from faith to faith.”
1) The gospel is “the faith.”
2) It is by the gospel, the faith, that faith is produced in man. Thus, it is from faith (the gospel) to faith (man’s personal faith).
2. Romans 10:17.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
3. John 6:44-45.
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me.
D. If one does not obtain his belief from the Word of God, it will come from another source.
2. Numerous warnings are given in Scripture about false “belief-producing” sources.
a. Matthew 16:6.
Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
b. I Timothy 4:1-2.
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.
1) They depart from “the faith”, the system of faith that will produce saving faith.
2) They give heed, they listen to seducing spirits and teachings (doctrines) of devils.
3) What they believe are lies.
2. Even if we do not actively pursue one belief, one will develop: media, education, friends, etc.
E. Our exhortation to all present is to delve deeply into the Word of God in order to obtain a belief that will save the soul.
II. PERSONALIZE THE BELIEF
A. When we say one must personalize his belief, we mean that the belief must really be that of the individual.
1. One beliefs things because he really believes them.
2. One does not believe just because of parents, friends, preacher, or society.
B. The example of Paul (Gal. 1:13-16).
For ye have
heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond
measure I persecuted the
C. Things that happen when beliefs are not personalized.
1. The individual carries out his/her beliefs in a half-hearted fashion (i.e., church attendance, Christian living).
2. Plans are made to change things once the older generation dies.
3. The third generation is not trained and departs from the faith.
D. Our beliefs have to move from our head to our heart. They have to be more than persuasions; they must become our passions.
III. PRACTICE THE BELIEF
A. Once my belief has taken root within my heart, it will sprout into attitudes, words, and actions.
B. The Thessalonians.
1. This group of idol-worshipping Gentiles heard and received the Word of God (I Thess. 1:6).
And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.
2. The faith they had in their hearts did not remain there alone. It came forth in their practice.
a. I Thessalonians 1:3.
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father.
b. I Thessalonians 1:8.
For from you
sounded out the word of the Lord not only in
1) NOTE: Their faith to God-ward was spread abroad.
2) Their faith was manifested in their actions. Thus, actions proclaim our faith.
C. Question: What do your actions say about your faith?
1. You cannot possess a saving faith, when in your actions you refuse to obey God.
2. This was the problem of the Jews who wandered in the wilderness.
a. Verbally, they had faith. They would say: “We are the children of God, and have faith in Him.”
b. They, however, refused to demonstrate that belief in their practice (Heb. 3:7-12).
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, they shall not enter into rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
A. Do you have a belief? If not, we point you to the divine Word of God.
B. Have you personalized your belief? Remember, it is a passion, not just a persuasion.
C. Are you practicing your belief? (James 2:14).
What doth it profit, my brethren, Though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him?
1. The last question posed by James is rhetorical.
2. The answer is a simple, “No.”