EP85 Do You /faith?

Hello and welcome to episode eighty-five of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by the Ekklesian House.  This is Pastor Bill and over the next ten minutes or so we’re going to talk about faith. In 1 Timothy chapter one, we find Paul writing to Timothy, a young preacher of whom it’s estimated Paul led to Christ about 20 years earlier when Timothy was 15.

Starting in verse three Paul tells Timothy, “remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach false doctrine or to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies.  These promote empty speculations rather than God’s plan, which operates by faith. Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.”  Paul has articulated what’s been in my heart for this podcast and The Ekklesian House from the very beginning. That what I say on the podcast and what we do as a church would lead people to:
  1. Love others from a pure heart

    1. We’ve talked about it over and over again about Love being the most important aspect of our lives as Christians; regardless of if they’re your enemy or friend, without respect to whether they believe the same as you or not.  It’s more important to love them than it is to have Hope, than it is to have Faith, than it is even to uphold any Religious Law.

  2. Find a place of good conscience

    1. Discovering the peace with God that Christ came to give.

  3. Have a faith in, and passion for, Christ that is sincere

    1. Knowing the difference between the religion of Christianity and actually being a follower of Christ.

Like I said, today we’re talking about faith, so let’s look at that bullet point.  In 1 Timothy 1:5 the word used for sincere there is:

G505 ἀνυπόκριτος anupokritos an-oo-pok'-ree-tos From G1 (as a negative particle) and a presumed derivative of G5271; undissembled, that is, sincere: - without dissimulation (hypocrisy), unfeigned.

I like the word undissembled and the King James version chose the word unfeigned there.  To dissemble is to conceal your true motives, feelings, or beliefs. To feign is to pretend to be affected by something.  

Paul is telling Timothy that one of the purposes of their teachings is to ensure that people in the church have unfeigned faith, or undissembled faith, or sincere faith.  We can deduce then that there is such a thing as feigned faith, or dissembled faith, or insincere faith. Is your faith in Christ sincere, unfeigned, undissembled? Or are you hiding what you believe and pretending to have faith, pretending that you’ve been changed?  Religion has taught for generations that all you have to do to be saved is to say a prayer. But the scriptures teach that you have to believe in your heart -and- confess with your mouth. If you didn’t truly believe in your heart then the confession of your mouth wasn’t a confession of faith, but a parroting of someone else.
Why would I even bring this up?  Why would I challenge your salvation experience and run the risk of casting doubt in your heart?  Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves.  Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless you fail the test.” I didn’t make this up that you should make sure your faith in Christ is real.  The bible tells you to examine yourself to make sure you are in the faith. To make sure that you are quote/unquote “saved.”
In Matthew 7 Jesus himself even says, starting in verse 21, “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 in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?” Then I will announce to them, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!”  These folks never had an unfeigned, undissembled, sincere faith. They confessed with their mouths over and over that Jesus was Lord; they prophesied in His name, they cast out demons in His name, they did miracles in His name. But they obviously never truly believed in their hearts.

They believed God existed and in the power of Jesus name, but that wasn’t alone enough.  In James chapter two James tells us that it’s good that you believe that God exists, but even the demons believe in God.  It’s not enough to believe God is real or that Jesus lived. You have to believe, and I mean truly believe, that Jesus died on that cross with you in mind; took the issue of sin onto Himself, died, He rose again from the dead, and is forever at the right hand of God.  Believing that; having that kind of faith isn’t a head thing, it isn’t a knowledge thing, it isn’t even something reasonable. You can’t be talked into it and it’s no small leap or simple thing to get there.

Philippians 2:12 says, “...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”  This is not an endorsement of a simple prayer and you’re done theology. Salvation here is painted as a deeper process.  Praying that prayer may be a good first step to belief, but it’s not the last.

I’m really not fond of the analogy, but the salvation experience is similar to marriage.  You can get up there and quote the words before God and man, but if you didn’t honestly mean it in your heart then were you ever really married?  You might say yes, and maybe legally you were married, but if you asked your spouse how they felt about your feigned, or dissembled, or insincere vows then they would probably have a different answer than you.  And if your vows were feigned, were dissembled, were insincere; then how long until you cheat because in reality you were never really married? You were just pretending.

So if you stood before God and man and confessed faith in Christ then religion says you have salvation, congratulations.  But, if you didn’t actually believe it in your heart; if your confession was feigned, dissembled, or insincere, how long until you “fall away” because in reality you were never really saved?  Are you truly persuaded, or just pretending? Only you can heed the words of 2 Corinthians 13:5 and “test yourself to see if you are in the faith.” I can’t do it for you, no one can, but you.

While you’re testing yourself a good rule is to see if you are exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5.  If you want more info on that, we talked along these same lines in episode 42, you can go back and look into it.

I haven’t said it in a while, but it’s more important with issues like this than most podcasts, go back and look up these scriptures for yourself.  It’s a prime tenet of The Berean Manifesto and The Ekklesian House. Don’t believe a word I say until you find it and verify it for yourself.

This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”

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