Living By Faith – Part 1
INTRODUCTION: In Luke 8:26-41; we read one of the miracles Jesus performed. Here Jesus cast demons out of a man who was living in a cemetery.
“And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. (27) And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. (28) When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. (29) (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) (30) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. (31) And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. (32) And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them. (33) Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. (34) When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. (35) Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. (36) They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. (37) Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again. (38) Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying…”
Now carefully notice in verse 39 what Jesus said to this man of whom the Demons had been cast out of. "Return to thine own house, and show what great things God hath done unto thee." Jesus was simply telling this man go home and give testimony to his faith.
Now the rest of the verse tells us he did just that, "And he went, and published (preached, gave testimony) throughout the whole city…" Notice what that testimony was, "What great things Jesus had done unto him."
Looking over this miracle and more particularly verse 39, I trust the Holy Spirit will encourage you and challenge you in "Living out your Faith." After a person has been saved:
They will go back living with their family with whoever that may be. There they need to live and walk before them seeking to live out their faith.
Some will go back to their job, whatever that may be and there they need to work and walk with those on the job seeking to live out their faith.
Still others will go back living in their communities among unsaved friends and relatives. There they need to live and walk with them. It is not easy. The world is never friendly to Christians. Yet here you need to seek to live out your faith.
However, you are going to find there will be those who will ignore your salvation experience altogether. It seems unworthy of notice or mention. Some will even make critical remarks, some will ridicule. Some will scoff about your salvation or about your stand for Christ.
How then do you deal with this and live out your faith before others?
I. IDENTIFY YOURSELF CLEARLY. Make sure that you are fully aware of all that you have in Jesus Christ. Be able to say with the Apostle Paul in II Timothy 1:12,
"For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day."
If you know that you are a child of God, then let others know that you have been saved and are now a member of God's family.
First: Confess your new life in Christ before others. Regardless of what others may say or think confess your faith. It is important to tell others of your salvation.
Listen to these words from Matthew 10:32, 33; "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Let others see that you are rejoicing that Jesus is your Saviour.
Second: Never make light of your conversion. Others may laugh at your decision to follow Christ, but don't join with them. That which has happened is of primary importance, so bravely declare yourself on the side of Christ. Do not join with the scoffers.
If someone laughs at your faith, don't make the cowardly statement, "Oh, I can go on doing just what I have always done." Simon Peter comes to mind.
When Jesus was taken from the Garden of Gethsemane, the Bible says, "And Peter followed afar off." A little maid came up and said, "This man was also with him…" But Peter denied it, saying, "Woman, I know him not." A little later when another person said, "Thou art also of them," Peter said, "Man, I am not." About an hour later, when the third person came and said, "Of a truth this fellow also was with him; for he is a Galilean…" Peter said, "Man, I know not what thou sayest." In Matthew's Gospel we find even stronger words: "Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man."
How shameful was this action of the apostle! However the Bible gives a better record of this man after he came to himself and received forgiveness from God. Don’t be ashamed of the Jesus be proud to be a Christian. Never make light of your conversion.
Third: Engage in those things that would identify you with God's people.
A. Be faithful to attend the FOUR services for success, Sunday School, Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening. At these times you have a standing appointment with the God of Heaven and the people of God on this earth.
Psalm 122:1; says, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
Hebrews 10:24-25; tells us, "And let us consider one another to provoke (To stimulate) unto love and to good works. Not forsaking the assembling together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting (that is encouraging) one another…"
B. Get into the Word of God, read it, talk about it, study it. II Timothy 2:15; tells us, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of Truth." Come prepared with spiritual ears to hear the Word preached. If you leave getting nothing out of a message the fault lies with the hearer not the messenger, as the Bible tells us, "God's Word will not return void, but will accomplish things it was sent to do."
C. Establish good prayer habits. "Pray without ceasing" Make your life one of constantly breathing prayers up to God, always remembering to return thanks even for your meals.
D. Let your appearance be that of one born again. Stay far away from any dress that might identify you in the slightest with this world.
E. Let your speech identify you! Let your work on the job speak in such a way that people will know you are a child of God. Avoid all words of profanity.
II. DEDICATE YOURSELF COMPLETELY. Romans 12:1-2; challenges us because of the mercies of God "that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."-
On the negative side this means separation – "And be not conformed to this world …." This means don't become involved regarding doubtful and questionable worldly things. If there is a doubt about a thing, then you had better turn from it. Avoid the questionable. Separate yourself from the world.
On the positive side the Bible says that we are to "present [our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." We are to be "transformed by the renewing of [our] mind[s]."
Plainly, we are to walk as Christians. In business life, no matter what others may say or do, identify with those who know Christ and stand on the positive side of every issue.
III. ACTIVATE YOURSELF ENTIRELY. Every Christian is to be a witness! Note that I said "every" Christian! Jesus said, "Ye shall be witnesses unto me." I remind you again of Mark 16:15, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
First: This calls for a clean life. Keep out of your life anything that may be doubtful or that might hinder you from speaking to others. You can't win souls if your influence is a question. This calls for you to live by II Corinthians 6:14-7:1
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (15) And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? (16) And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (18) And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (7:1) Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
Second: This calls for a life of prayer. Prayer is the power line. Spend time praying for others – for your family, your friends, missionaries, and the lost. In a few weeks I will be giving you a “WAR ROOM Prayer Book” with many, many suggestions on building your prayer life including how to pray for your wife/husband, children, family etc.
Third: This calls for a spoken witness. The Bible exhorts us to speak out regarding the Lord Jesus Christ. A time-honored, effective method of evangelism, is your personal testimony; just telling about your spiritual pilgrimage.
The skeptic may deny your doctrine or attack your church, but he cannot honestly ignore the fact that your life has been changed. He may stop his ears to the presentations of a preacher like me, or the pleadings of an evangelist, but he is somehow attracted to the human-interest story of how you, found peace within.
On six separate occasions between Paul's third missionary journey and his trip to Rome, he stood before different audiences and presented Christ to them (Acts 22-26). Two times he stood alone, addressing unbelievers, and each time Paul used the same method: his personal testimony.
Each time he simply shared how his own life had been changed by the invasion of Christ and the indwelling of His power. Not once did he argue or debate with them. He didn't try to preach a sermon.
Why? Because one of the most convincing, unanswerable arguments on earth regarding Christianity is one's personal experience with the Lord Jesus Christ along with the exciting results of His presence in your life.
Now I'm not talking about some stale, dragged-out verbal marathon. I'm speaking of an effective, powerful, clear-cut testimony. Follow me as I read one of the times Paul gave his testimony in Acts 26:2-19.
“Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: (2) I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: (3) Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently. (4) My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; (5) Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. (6) And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: (7) Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. (8) Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? (9) I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. (10) Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. (11) And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities. (12) Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, (13) At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. (14) And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. (15) And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. (16) But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; (17) Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, (18) To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (19) Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: (20) But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. (21) For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. (22) Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: (23) That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. (24) And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. (25) But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. (26) For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. (27) King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. (28) Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
From this testimony consider these five suggestions:
First: In giving your testimony, you want to be listened to, so be interesting. Guard against religious clichés, jargon, and hard-to-understand terminology. This is not a time to define for the unsaved theological terminology.
Second: You want to be understood, so be logical. Think of your salvation in three phases and construct your testimony accordingly. In fact if you have not already done so, sit down and write out your testimony and attach a copy somewhere in your Bible. Now if you will recall what we read in Acts 26 of Paul's testimony, he gave it in three parts.
Part 1. Before you were born again, what were the struggles within, the loneliness, lack of peace, absence of love, unrest, and fears you were experiencing. Perhaps you had gone through some family, personal or physical trying time of difficulty.
Part 2. What brought you to the decision that revolutionized your life?
Part 3. Now that you have come to Christ, and found new life what difference has it made since you received Christ.
Third: You want the moment of your new birth to be clear, so be specific. This is crucial! You want them to focus upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
Don't be vague.
Speak of Christ, not the church.
Emphasize faith more than feeling.
Be simple and direct as you describe what you did or what you prayed or what you said.
Fourth: You want your testimony to produce results, so be warm and genuine. Let your enthusiasm flow freely. Absolutely refuse to argue. Nobody I ever met was "arm wrestled'' into the kingdom. Insults and put-downs turn people off.
Ask God to open your lips and honor your words. Nothing will ever take the place of your personal testimony. If you have not discovered the values of telling others how God saved your soul and rearranged your life, you've missed a vital link in the chain of His plan for reaching the lost.
This evening, why not claim I Peter 3:15, "But sanctify (that is make a dedication to set your life apart for Him) in your hearts, and BE READY ALWAYS TO GIVE AN ANSWER to every man, that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear."
Why not leave here and do as that converted man did in Luke 8:39, preached throughout the whole city, what great things Jesus had done unto him."
If God has spoken to your heart, after reading the sermon "Living By Faith – Part 1" right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
In His Amazing Grace,
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