Fighting Fraudulent Faith
Fighting Fraudulent Faith
Text: Revelation 3:7-22
Big Idea: Stick with Christ.
Purpose: To encourage people to be "on fire" for Christ and to help them by explaining the process of repentance and the role of disciplines.
While attending a university in London, Mahatma Gandhi became almost convinced that the Christian religion was the one true, supernatural religion in the world. Upon graduation, and still seeking evidence that would make him a committed Christian, young Gandhi accepted employment in East Africa and for seven months lived in the home of a family who were members of an evangelical Christian church. As soon as he discovered that fact he decided that here would be the place to find the evidence he sought.
But as the months passed and he saw the casualness of their attitude toward the cause of God, heard them complain when they were called upon to make sacrifice for the kingdom of God and sensed their general religious apathy, Gandhi’s interest turned to disappointment. He said in his heart, “No, it is not the one true, supernatural religion I had hoped to find. A good religion, but just one more of the many religions in the world.”
Apathy damages the good news of Jesus Christ.
I sometimes think more than poor presentation.
Christian leader once said:
I’ve been closer to being bored out of the Christian faith
Than being reasoned out of it
-it is reasonable
-but what difference does it make
I believe that many people have heard something about Jesus
-at least at Christmas and Easter – some mention
And although there are many who lack knowledge of Christ
-and education is important
I have a hunch – that the damage of apathy – lack of enthusiasm
-does more damage
Not so much a problem of knowledge
-as a problem of asking, “so what?”
Does apathy affect your faith?
-you really believe – but no urgency to demonstrate commitment
-maybe even motivated to “keep your cool” about faith
In our text today
-we see two churches
-one – suffering tribulation – and holding on to Christ
-the other – complacent – and are rebuked for apathy
(complacency often leads to apathy)
Today: recognize apathy and some of its causes
Prescribe steps to stay interested in Christ’s work
-and help avoid the danger of
Movement 1: It seems more common to follow Christ when times are troubled.
We look for Him, we know our need for Him.
The brothers in Philadelphia - suffered tribulation, and were faithful.
-possibly they even faced persecution
-which offers another dynamic to tough times
-when we feel like we are punishment
Given commendations in this text:
v. 8 – I know your deeds
-you have not denied my name
v. 9 – those from the synagogue of Satan
-will acknowledge that God loved them
The Synagogue of Satan
-claimed that they themselves had a favored status in God’s eyes
-probably the Jewish synagogue – that denied Christ
-it is a real privilege, pleasure, to have someone admit you were right
-are there many things as satisfying?
Examples from our day:
-battles – we have an instinct to seek help
-illness – we pray
-when we can't do it any other way - we try prayer
It seems as though hard times force us to turn to God
-because we realize that we need help
-in a way, it is humbling
-we must quietly admit our need
-in order to turn to God
I honestly wonder
-how many have felt like they are persecuted?
-punished for having faith in Christ?
Tough times make us turn to God,
-but how would we react to real persecution?
Movement 2: It is easy to forsake Christ when times are good.
We grow lukewarm.
This is the problem of Laodicea.
-people are warm to Christ, but not on fire.
-don't wear their faith on their sleeve.
-I believe, but I am not a fanatic (Why not? Why would that be so bad?)
I wonder if people who experience times of contentment
-begin to grow lackluster
It seems true in other areas
-after campaigns – politicians are not as intent on connecting with voters
-after war – soldiers go home and rest
-after evaluation – employees stop trying to impress
-after getting married – husband might stop trying to court their wives
How about in our faith?
-maybe we feel secure in Christ (if you are a follower, you should)
-does our security develop into apathy?
Examples of apathy
-don’t want to be noticed as a Christian
-I have heard people say, I am a Christian,
-but I don’t want to wear my faith on my sleeve
-an attitude of satisfaction – that convinces us that
Movement 3: Identify yourself as a Christ-follower.
Which means – put it into practice
Live it out.
Apathy will keep people from allowing faith to come full circle
-Lukewarm – nice beliefs, with no force
-Form without the force
Are you content to allow Christianity be a mere thought process
-something you admire
-an emergency kit that you turn to when it gets bad (prayer)
In order for faith to be effective – must be put into practice
-true for any discipline
Athlete – not just at gametime
Soldier – not just at wartime
Doctor – not only when surgery is in session
Airline Pilot – not just when plane is boarded
-all require training, practice, preparation
-so that they are ready for the important moment
Practice Disciplines in your daily life
-prayer, Bible reading are fine.
-how about service for Christ - neighbor
-weekly habits - not just once in a while
Let me give you just one challenge for the coming week
Jesus had a passion for you
-not a lackluster ascent to a statement about you
-we re-kindle that passion for Christ
-as we come to His table
-participate in a discipline that Christians have been holding
Coming to His table
-remembering His passion
-demonstrated by His sacrifice
Remembering His love for us