Take any empty cola 2L bottle sometime and fill it half full of water. Then, take some vegetable oil and fill it the rest of the way. Then try to shake it with all of your might and strength so it will become all mixed up. What happens? The moment you stop shaking, it begins to separate from one another, doesn’t it? What is the moral? The moral is, by their very nature, oil and water do not mix.
The same is true with Godliness and worldliness. For many ages many people have remarked that there was too much world in the church. I agree. But if that is even minimally true, it’s true because there is too much world in each of us.
You might say “well, we live here, and we need to be in the world.” We might need to be in the world, but does so much of the world have to be within us?
In Ephesians 2:19, we are told that we are each citizen and members of God’s household. We are no longer citizens of this world, and as the song says, “This World is Not My Home, I’m Just a Passing Through.”
Since we belong to God; since we are citizens of heaven working as ambassadors here on earth; we need to focus more on God and less on the world, but to do so, we need to make sure that we really believe in God, and not just “think we do.”
Well, perhaps now is as good a time as any other to ask ourselves;
JUST WHAT DO WE BELIEVE OF GOD’S PROMISE OF SALVATION FOR ALL?
Romans 10:8-13 Disciples’ Literal New Testament
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”, that is, the word of [a] faith which we are proclaiming, 9 that[b] if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is believed with the heart resulting-in righteousness, and it is confessed with the mouth resulting in salvation.
The Scripture Says Faith Leads To Salvation For Both Jew And Greek
11 For the Scripture says [in Isaiah 28:16] “everyone putting-faith upon Him will not be put-to-shame”. 12 For there is no distinction between both Jew and Greek— for the same Lord is Lord of all, being rich toward all of the ones calling – upon Him. 13 For “everyone who calls-upon the name of the Lord will be saved” [Joel 2:32].
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
When I was going to school, I had a physics professor who was teaching us about the law of the pendulum. We all know what a pendulum is, right? It swings from side to side, and it always decreases in the length of its ark with every swing.
I remember vividly the professor had nailed a rope to the wall just above the blackboard. To this rope, he had attached a baseball. He asked how many of us really believed in the law of the pendulum and we all raised our hands.
With that, he pulled the rope to one side and marked where it was on the board.
Then he let go of it and every time it swung back to his side, he put another mark where it stopped. The end result was that he had many marks, all closer to the center than the one before, proving the law was true. He asked again how many of us really believed in the law, and we all raised our hands once again.
Then he took us to the auditorium, where he had hung a thick nylon cord from the rafters just above the stage. Attached to this chord was a 50-pound weight.
He asked for a volunteer. He had a chair sitting on the side of the stage and he had the man who volunteered sit in it. He then took the gym weight, which was hanging in the middle of the stage and carried it over to about an inch from the boy’s face. He asked him again and again and again if he believed in the law of the pendulum, and the boy, starting to get a little worried by now, said he did.
With that, the professor let go of the weight and it swung clear to the other side of the stage, and then began to come back. I do not believe I have never seen anyone move so fast in my life as that young man trying to get out of the way.
Did he believe in the Law of the Pendulum, or did he just think he believed?
This is not a particularly long devotional, rather it is particularly short, but I felt I should talk about the true belief Christians have, at least, should have.
The first thing we need is…
1. A BELIEVING HEART
In JOHN 1:7, we are told that Jesus came so that all men might believe. That is how we come to believe, through Jesus Christ. Without Jesus there is no belief.
That is confirmed in JOHN 20:31, when it says that by believing in Jesus Christ, one may have life in His name.
In order to be a real Christian, and in order to receive eternal life, we must be real believers. We must have a burning in our hearts to be with Jesus; to know more about Him; and to know Him more.
Remember the story about the young man who sat on the chair wondering and waiting for the 50-pound gym weight about to swing back towards his face?
There are many Christians who have the same type of faith in their belief in Jesus. They think they believe, say they believe, but when push comes to shove, and Jesus “swings back their way” they get out of the way as fast as they can.
Remember when Peter told Jesus he would follow him into death if necessary?
A few verses later, we see where Peter denied Jesus three times.
Peter was just like that young man on stage, too. He thought he believed, but when he was pushed, he moved his chair away from the table just as fast as he could physically move it. And we cannot have faith unless we really believe.
Everybody believes in something. Everybody has to believe in at one thing.
What is it that you believe in? And how much do you really believe in it?
It is very easy to think you believe when there is no risk involved. It is more difficult to truly believe when you risk losing something very important.
Just like the student, we need to know the basics of what is offered to us. He needed to know what the law of the pendulum was, and we need to know what the law of salvation is. It is eternal life in heaven, with God who is our Creator.
Once we understand what is offered, we are ready to find out …
2. WHAT IT IS WE REALLY BELIEVE IN
In ISAIAH 55:8, we are told,
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.’
Why are we so fully and completely intent on taking God’s Word and trying to change and shape it and transform it to fit our desires instead of just accepting His word as the law we should live by? But by our works is how we live, isn’t it?
We must earn the respect of others and earn promotions at work. We can sing about the best things in life being free, but when it comes to the things of this world, it all has to be earned. And that is how most people come to think about going to heaven; it must be earned by what titanic efforts we put into our life.
The Israelites had a believing heart, but what they believed in wasn’t helping them. They believed they had to follow all the laws of the Old Testament to get into heaven. They were just like the people today; good and earnest people who have an incomplete picture when thinking about their relationship to heaven.
Those who believe in works or some other way of getting to heaven besides believing in Jesus are not bad people. They are wonderful people who have the right heart, but their heart is misdirected. The trouble with works getting you to heaven is that you have to be in 100% compliance – in everything, all the time.
That, in itself, is impossible for us to do. That is the same thing as saying you can never make any mistakes. Not one of us could live up to that expectation.
Mark Twain once said that if doing good was what got us to heaven, you could not get in, but your dog could. Like Paul says, you cannot be good enough to get into heaven any more than you can stand on top of earth and touch the stars.
The Bible is very clear in what we should believe in. It does not mince words and it uses no metaphors to explain it. Pure and simply this, we each need to 100% believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, sent to be our ONLY way to heaven. He is our Redeemer and our Savior. He is THE path, not ONE OF THE paths.
So, we need a believing heart, we need to realize just what we really believe in.
Once we have these down pat, (at least believe we do) we are then ready to …
3. STOP RUNNING AWAY
The student restless sat in the chair, and when the weight started swinging back his way, he quickly jumped out of his chair and ran away. He believed, but he believed only until he believed he had to risk losing something, like his head.
Many Christians are the same way, too. They will all go to church and do all the things, and they will continue to do that until a serious challenge comes along.
With our finite minds, we must have certain logical steps to take us into Christian maturity. God knew this, so we find His instructions in the Bible.
In MARK 9, we read Jesus healed a demon-possessed boy and then the boy’s father came up and said, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief.”
We are much like that boy’s father.
We all believe, but we also sometimes … don’t fully believe. In other words, we believe with our intellect, but we do not believe with our whole heart. We need to do like the boy’s father did and ask Jesus to help us have a bit more belief.
We need to do the same thing Jesus told Thomas about the scars in His side. In the last part of JOHN 20:27, Jesus said, “Stop doubting and believe!”
We have a natural tendency to run away before we commit. We see that all the time with people who say they are Christians but will not go to anybody and tell them about Jesus. I believe that being non-committal towards Jesus is a sin. If we do not know Him here, I truly believe He has promised to not know us there.
Let me ask you a question. Picture yourself at your wedding. You are standing there, and the minister asks you if you will take your fiancé for better or worse, etc. What do you think would happen if you just looked around, and walked out?
What do you believe now? Do you believe you might have hurt your fiancé?
If the minister asked you if you took that person to be your spouse, what do you think the response would be if you were to simply remain absolutely silent?
Again, do you think or believe you would hurt your fiancé? Do you think or do you believe you would be helping yourself? No, you would be doing far more damage to that person and to yourself than you could ever possibly calculate.
That is the same with your relationship to Jesus. Many people freeze up when asked to state their relationship to Jesus. Many people would actually rather deny Him than take the risk of having somebody mock them by confessing Jesus. Isn’t that what Peter did on the exact night that they arrested Jesus?
ROMANS 10:9 promises us,
‘… if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him, you will be saved.
Now, before we go any further, let me say we must believe in Him, and we must confess Him. And, if we confess Jesus as Savior Lord, we have Him in our hearts, doesn’t it make sense we would also be striving to do what He wants us to do?
In ACTS 2:38, we are told to repent and be baptized. It means just that.
Stop running! Get on B.A.S.E. with God.
BELIEVE – ADMIT – SURRENDOR – EXPRESS
Believe that Jesus is Lord.
Admit to yourself that He is your Savior.
Surrender your heart to Him today.
Express Him to others around you.
The young man who sat in the chair on the stage had a decision to make.
He could trust the truth, or he could run when it got uncomfortable.
We have that same choice to make today.
We can choose to actually have a genuinely believing heart; then ponder and study what it is we actually believe; then stop running long enough to cement our relationship with Christ or contemplate Jesus in our path then run away.
The problem with running, is that one day you will have no other place to run to, and you will find yourself in that long line, waiting to be judged one-on-one with the Lord. When you find yourself standing there, what are you going to feel like when He looks directly at you, into your eyes and soul and says, “NEXT”?
I personally believe the only ETERNAL option we have today is to be absolutely sure we are ETERNALLY protected against everyone of tomorrow’s onslaughts.
Do we really believe in the revealed truth contained within the Word of God?
Do we believe we are protected by the Blood of the Lamb of God?
Do we believe we would you like to be protected by the Blood of the Lamb?
Do we think we should better prepare ourselves for the reality of Salvation?
Is it a good a time as any to ask yourself –
“What exactly do I believe – Is there is no other name under heaven …?”
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Father, my Guide, illuminate my mind so I can understand how you want me to live. Your Word tells me people of integrity who follow your instructions are joyful. You have said those who obey your laws and search for you with all their hearts are blessed and happy. I want joy! Holy Spirit, please guard me against allowing evil to influence what I believe and do. Help to me walk only in your paths. May my actions consistently reflect what you have said is right and good. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.