X-TRIALS: TAKIN’ LIFE TO THE X-TREME
September 23, 2001
Chips and hot sauce. You couldn’t eat chips without hot sauce, could you? Peanut butter and jelly. What’s peanut butter without jelly? Microsoft and Bill Gates. Would there even be a Microsoft without Bill Gates? How about the Dallas Stars and Mike Modano. If you have the Dallas Stars without Mike Modano, there is a hole in the entire team. I think you would all agree with that. I think the items I just mentioned are really complete, and really come together, when you have this combination, when you have this connectivity.
Well, James—the book in the Bible we have been studying lately, the most practical book in the entire New Testament–comes along and says, faith and works. James says it is strange, it doesn’t work, the math is fuzzy if you just have faith alone or faith without works. There is this relationship, there is this fiber, that connects the two. James goes as far as to say that if we don’t understand this connection, if we don’t understand the fiber, that not only could you potentially live a flat lined faithless life but also you could be jeopardizing your eternity. So this connectivity, these fibers that connect faith and works are something that we have to understand if we are going to have a mature and authentic faith.
The whole theme of the book of James is becoming mature. It is growing deep in the Christian life. James hammers this home time and time again. So today, we are going to talk about a section of scripture from the book of James that is pretty tough to understand for a lot of people. Many people misinterpret this section of scripture. Many people don’t really get it. They don’t understand the fiber, the connectivity, between faith and works, trust and deeds. But today, after our time together, I pray that all of us will leave this place saying, “Yes, Ed, I’ve got it. I understand what it means to have faith and works and the connectivity between the two.”
This past summer, I was in the Bahamas, specifically Nassau, and I had the opportunity to meet with several pastors, because Fellowship Church is thinking about partnering with a church in the inner city of Nassau. Now most people, when they think about the Bahamas, think about the resorts and the crystal clear water. That is just a small part of it, because the Bahamas are a third world country. These islands are just third world. Most people don’t understand that, because they go on a cruise ship or fly in, do the resort thing, and then they are gone. But that is not the real world in the Bahamas.
Anyway, I was having dinner one night with these leaders. I love Bahamian food, conk, key lime pie, macaroni and cheese. We were having a great time talking about the things of church and having some fun together. I asked them, “I want to find out some slang terms. What do you guys, Bahamians, say for slang terms? For example, if someone is doing something kind of stupid, and someone is kind of crazy, kind of out there, what do you say to that person? Do you call them stupid? Do you call them dumb? What do you say to them?”
They looked at me and these Bahamians said, “Ed, when someone is acting crazy, we don’t say you are dumb or stupid. We say, hey man, you are doin’ fool, man. You’re doin’ fool.”
I said, “Come back one more time.”
They said, “When someone is doing something crazy we say that man is doin’ fool.”
James says this throughout this text. James says you are doin’ fool, man. Because to a lot of us who say we have this strong faith, to a lot of us who say we are bound in belief and we are mature and authentic Christians, James says we are doin’ fool.
Let’s see what he says in James 2:14. Remember the connectivity between faith and works. How much is trust and deeds tethered to one another? Let’s get into it.
James says, a lot of you are talking some serious spiritual smack. He says, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith, but has no deeds. Can such a faith save him?”
Wow! Now a lot of Christians, a lot of believers, right now are saying, “Wait a minute, Ed, this appears to be a contradiction. It appears that James is singing one song and St. Paul, the Apostle Paul, is singing another. Because Paul says, I believe, Ed, if my Bible is right, that we are saved by faith alone. Now our boy, James, comes along and he says its fine to have faith, but you had better show me your deeds, show me your works. What is up? Is God talking out of both sides of his mouth? Is God a cosmic contrarian? I don’t get it. I don’t understand it. Is there an error in the Bible? This is really wild. This is really crazy. What is the deal? Is it faith alone or works alone? Can you work you way in? Can you be good enough to get to heaven? I’m not sure.”
Let’s track down that thought for a second. In Ephesians 2:8-9 the Apostle Paul said, “for it is by grace that you have been saved.” The word “grace” means something we don’t deserve. Grace, you have heard it before, is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. It is a gift, Paul says. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith.” This word “faith” means a living, productive trust in Christ. It’s not from yourselves, it is from God. What kind of place would heaven be if we could get there by working our way in? We would be strutting around saying, “Yes, I am in heaven because I did this or that. I am here because I gave this or that and heaven is a works thing.”
Paul says no. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Again, the plot clots. I don’t understand it. James is talking about works and Paul is talking about faith. When you read the Bible, especially Ephesians 3:8-9, don’t stop at 8-9, go to ten. So, turn to your neighbor and say, “Go to ten, baby. Go to ten.” Verse ten says this, “For we are God’s workmanship.” That word means we are God’s masterpieces. I am an original work of art and so are you. “Created in Christ Jesus to do…” What? “good works.”
Just think about it. Before we were a gleam in our Father’s eye, God had prepared in advance good works for me to do and for you to do. The Bible says, “which God has prepared in advance for us to do.”
I love what Peter Kreeft said. I quote, “God doesn’t save us because we are good, but we do become good because he saves us.”
So the great news is that James and Paul are singing the same song. There is no dissonance, there is harmony. We are talking Destiny’s Child here, we are talking N’Sync. We are talking Back Street Boys, they have perfect harmony. Because James says if you really have faith, if you really believe in God, you are going to be able to see it by your lifestyle, by your works. The Apostle Paul said the same thing. So they are singing the same piece of music with beautiful harmony. Aren’t we happy about that?
Let’s continue. James brings up an illustration and I love this illustration. James says he will show us what he is talking about so you will understand it. He begins in verse 15 and concludes this illustration in verse 16. Let me read it for you and then I will explain it to you.
James says, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?”
Let me paraphrase what James is saying here. Let’s say a brother or sister, a believer, knocks on your door. You open the door and there they are. You can tell they are poor, you can tell they need water, clothes and food. Let’s say you say, “Come on into my house. Come on into my crib.” You close the door and say, “Honey, bring down the Bible.” You bring the Bible down and you say, “Sit down. Let’s have a Bible study together. Isn’t it cool what the Bible says? The Bible says that back in the Old Testament they had the children of Israel. They were wandering around in the wilderness and God fed them manna from heaven. Isn’t that cool? God will feed you. Jesus says also that we are to feed the poor and help those in need. Isn’t this cool? And the word ‘need’ in the Greek term means this or that. Now, I want to have a prayer for you. Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for these people. I pray Lord that you will feed them, that you will bring them to the right situation where you can put food in their mouth, water in their stomachs and clothes on their back, and a roof over their heads. Amen. Hey, it’s time for Sports Center. You’ve got to go. Wasn’t that a great Bible study? I’ll see you later.”
Listen to me, believers. Those poor people didn’t need some Scripture. They needed some Sonic. Too many of us are so busy with our big noses buried in the Bible, that we are missing the needs.
James says it is great to have faith. You have got to have faith, but real faith always syncs up with real works. Not sometimes, always. The meat is in the street. Information without application is an abomination. If you just believe it and don’t have any works, I feel sorry for you. James and Paul say I’m not sure if you are a believer because true belief can be seen.
A transaction takes place when someone bows the knee to Christ. When someone becomes a Christ-follower, the Bible says we are justified by faith. I’ll talk about that in a second. This justification process takes place in a private sector between myself and God.
Last weekend, if you were here, we had 410 people bow the knee to Christ. They were justified by faith. You ask how can I see this? How can I know they have been justified? I’ll tell you how you can know, by a changed life. Too many believers are so involved dialing 411, that we are forgetting to respond to 911. The meat is in the street. The response is 911. It’s doing the stuff.
James says if someone has a need, a true man or woman of faith is going to meet it.
Now let’s cruise down to verse 17. James says, “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” It’s a flat lined faith. It’s a barren or idle faith. This word “dead” in the original language means, money drawing no interest.
So when we come to Christ, and we are justified by faith, we receive him, we admit our status, which is simply a bankrupt sinner in need of a Savior. Christ comes into our lives and, once that happens, God says, “Show me the money.” I have taken care of your accounts spiritually. You are saved by grace through faith. You have been justified by faith. Show me the money.”
Remember in verse 17 where it says, “in the same way faith by itself.” You know what the problem with most of us is? We have a single faith. Our faith is all alone. Faith should never be single. Faith should always be married and pregnant. Did you hear me? Faith should always be married and pregnant, barefoot and pregnant, married and pregnant. In God’s economy, he does not want any singles. Everybody should be married. I heard some women say, “Amen!” I am not talking about relationally. Not all of us will get married. I am talking about spiritually. Once we have faith in Christ we should be married and our faith should be barefoot and pregnant, married and pregnant.
Who are we going to marry? Deeds and works. We produce growth. The Bible says in Galatians 5 that we produce fruit. We must be barefoot and pregnant, married and pregnant 24/7. If we are not, something is wrong, dead wrong.
That’s what James says. So there is that connectivity there, that fiber there, between faith and works, between trust and deeds. We have got to understand it. James does something weird here. A lot of people miss this. For years, I have studied this passage and I have missed this. In verse 18, someone else enters the conversation. James is not talking now for a while. Someone else is going to talk some smack. Here is what someone says, verse 18: “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” What is going on here?
A Christian does good deeds because of his faith. It’s a result of his or her faith. Whereas some people, non-believers, try to do good deeds in place of a faith.
Now look at verse 19, James says, “You believe that there is one God. Good!” Now he is going to bring up the theology of the demonic. Did you know that demons have a theology? Did you know that demons have a belief system? I don’t mean to rattle your biblical cage here, but it says, “Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” What do demons believe? What is their theology? I have written it down in my margin here. Here is what demons believe. Write it down, too, if you want to. They believe in the existence of God. They believe in the deity of Christ. They believe in a place of punishment. They recognize him as judge and they submit to his power. Demons believe that stuff. But they are not Christ followers—Why?—because there is no life change. But they believe it. They believe it so much that the Bible says they do the Barney Fife thing. They shake. That’s a lot more than a lot of people I know do who say they are Christians. A lot of Christians I know don’t even shake. They don’t even tremble.
Now, in verse 20, James is saying, hey, man, you’re doin’ fool. He just rips them on this one. He says, “You foolish man. Do you want evidence?” James says, do you want evidence of what I am talking about, “that faith without deeds is useless?” Now James does something that is really cool. James brings up some illustrations. He brings up two people, two people who seemingly on the surface have nothing in common, a patriarch and a prostitute. This patriarch walked in the light. The prostitute walked in the red light. The patriarch was a Jew. The prostitute was a Gentile. The patriarch was a man who really had a track record with God and the hooker had just made a faith decision. So James talks about these people when he illustrates faith and deeds, when he illustrates this marriage between the two.
The first one he talks about, the patriarch, is Abraham. That’s right, Father Abraham. Abraham, a man way back there in the Old Testament. In Genesis, Chapter 15, God tapped Abraham on the shoulders and said, “Abraham, I want you to move from Ur of the Chaldeans to the Promise land.” During this whole situation, and I won’t give you all the details, God took Abraham out one night and said, “Abraham, see all the stars in the sky? You, one day, are going to father a great nation.” That’s the nation of Israel.
Abraham said, “Great.” The Bible says Abraham believed God and in Genesis 15, Abraham, don’t miss this now, got saved. The Bible says God credited his account as righteousness. He was justified by his faith, Genesis, Chapter 15. Well, that’s cool. Good for Abraham. He is a believer now.
God doesn’t stop there. God sends Abraham some X-trials. God said, “Abraham, show me the money. I want to see if it’s real or Memorex.”
So here is what happened. Push the clock forward a couple of years. Abraham was married to Sarah. Sarah was ninety years old. God said, “Abraham, Sarah, you guys are going to get pregnant.” Now what do you think Abraham did when he heard that? He was a patriarch. He probably hit his knees and started praying. No, he didn’t. Do you know what he did? He started laughing and said, “Look at Sarah, ninety years old. God, she can’t.” You know what Abraham said about himself? He said, “God, my body is dead. I can’t produce a child. I can’t do it, God. There is no way, God.”
Well, they got together. Sarah got pregnant and they had bouncing baby, Isaac—Isaac, the man.
Push the clock forward again. Isaac is a teenager. He is the apple of his father’s eye, a chip off the old block, literally. God told Abraham to do something really strange. You talk about an X-trial. God said, “Abraham, I want you to go up to Mount Moriah and I want you to kill your son, Isaac, and sacrifice him to me.”
Abraham was a power broker. He was the Bill Gates of his day. He had a lot of money. So he got up early one morning, took his entourage with him, servants and everything, and they started making their way to Mount Moriah. I am sure Isaac was saying, “Hey, Dad, where’s the animal to sacrifice? Where’s the animal?”
I’m sure it was breaking Abraham’s heart and he was thinking, “Wow, I can’t believe it but I am going to have to do what God wants me to do.”
They got to the base of Mount Mariah and Abraham said, “Hey, guys (talking to his servants), you wait here. We will be back.” He didn’t do the Arnold thing, “I’ll be back.” He said, “We will come back to you.” That’s faith. So he took Isaac up to Mount Moriah, put his only son on the alter, drew his knife, and I am sure right when the knife was just like this, Abraham probably thought, “Okay, God, the joke is over. I’m obedient.” Nothing. Right when he was about to thrust the knife down through his son’s flesh, an angel of the Lord stopped him and said, “Abraham, no. Abraham, you are a man of faith. You are a man who puts your faith and deeds together.” Then, the Bible says that Abraham looked behind him and the angel of the Lord pointed out to him a ram caught in the thicket. So Abraham took that Ram, brought Isaac down off the alter, and they sacrificed the ram. This ram is the picture of the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God, which took away the sins of the world, which is a whole other story.
Abraham had faith, justified by faith in Genesis 15, but his faith was really tested in Genesis 22, when God asked him to sacrifice his only son. That’s when it was tested. That’s when his faith had to have feet beneath it. Unbelievable stuff. Because he had that kind of faith, God took his faith and his belief to the next level. You can’t exercise that kind of faith lying in your bed. You can’t exercise that kind of faith just sitting in church, sitting, soaking and souring. You exercise that kind of faith as you step out and do the stuff, as you live the life, as you trust in God, as you take those steps of obedience. I ask you, what is God asking you to do? What’s he asking you to do?
Do you know why Abraham was going to kill his son? Do you know why? Abraham knew that if God could give him a brand new baby at ninety years of age, or a hundred, whatever, he could easily bring his son back to life. That is what kind of faith he had. But God just tested him and took him through those trials, and it took his faith to the next level. Obedience. God has that ram in a thicket in many areas of our lives, and we don’t see it there, because we are so busy with all the other stuff, we are missing what he wants us to do.
Let me read this text, James 2:21-24, “Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did?” Now this whole thing being justified by works that James talks about means to vindicate, to show to be righteous, remember? Justification by faith is when God declares us righteous by the finished work of Jesus Christ, but we are also justified by works, which means to show to be righteous. He did this when he offered his son, Isaac, on the alter.
Verse 22, “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete,” that means mature, authentic, “by what he did,” not by what he just knew but “by what he did, and the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.’” This word “credited” means to put in his account. “He was called God’s friend. You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.”
Now do you remember the first question I asked you through the Scripture in James 2:14? Verse 14 says, “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such a faith save him?” That’s verse 14. It is answered in verse 24, “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” James is saying unproductive faith cannot save. It’s not genuine. A lot of people hearing my voice have some unproductive faith going on.
Let’s look at verse 25, because 25 and 26 tell the story of Rahab. Rahab was the prostitute. Here is the story about Rahab. Joshua was getting ready to take over the city of Jericho. So Joshua sent some spies out to do a secret reconnaissance type mission to check out the lay of the land, and these spies met Rahab. Not only was Rahab a prostitute, she also owned this big hotel. She was kind enough to put these spies in the hotel and keep the whole thing quiet. The spies told her what God was going to do. The Bible says, “She believed that and she harbored the spies, sent them out another way.” The spies said, “Hey, because you believe God and you believe all this stuff, you have faith and you are going to be spared.” What a cool story.
Even though she had little bitty faith, a little Rahab-type faith, even though she was a woman of the night, she believed God and had faith, and because of that God saved her and she is mentioned in the Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11. She is part of the lineage of our Lord and Savior.
I don’t care where you are, what you have been involved in, who you are, God says, “If you have faith, if you trust in me, the moment you trust in me, I will declare you righteous. You will be justified by faith.” The word “justified” simply means just like I have never sinned. Because all your sins are forgiven and forgotten, past, present and future. Justification by faith is not something that you do, it is something you receive. It’s not a process, it’s a once and for all event. It takes place. You are justified by faith. Once you are justified by faith, if it is true faith, true faith will always sync up with true works.
Let’s go back to our girl, Rahab, in verse 25. “In the same way was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction.” She went all the way with God, and because she went all the way with God, God took her to another level.
“As the body without the spirit is dead,” verse 26, “so faith without deeds is dead.”
Now look at Philippians 2:12-13. The writer says, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” That’s the Barney Fife thing. It doesn’t tell you to work for your salvation, does it? It says to work out your salvation. We have got to work out what God has worked in. There is no way we can work something out unless, first of all, it is in there. If we know Christ personally, it is in there and we have got to work it out.
We are saved by grace through faith, period, but genuine faith always advertises itself by works.
I have a friend who is a pastor. His name is Dr. Jim Deloach. Dr. Deloach has this weakness. The guy loves Juicy Fruit gum. How many people like Juicy Fruit gum, raise your hands? It’s great, that blast of sugar. There is nothing like Juicy Fruit. Jim Deloach is from Opalaque, Alabama and he has this one-of-a-kind accent. He talks like this. He pronounces his “s’s” like this and he always has a bunch of Juicy Fruit with him. He’ll say, “Ed, you want some Juiccccy Fruit? Here’s some Juiccccy Fruit for ya’. Take some Juiccccy Fruit.” Every time I see Juicy Fruit in the stores with that yellow package and the black writing, I think about Jim Deloach.
The Bible says that we are to produce juicy fruit when we know Christ personally. The Bible says that once we bow the knee to Christ, once we are justified by faith, Jesus does what? He places the person of the Holy Spirit inside of our life who works from the inside out. We defer to him, we listen to him, we follow him, we work out our salvation and we produce something called juicy fruit.
Let’s look at the Juicy Fruit passage, Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” That’s the fruit of the spirit. That is what I am to supernaturally produce. The Holy Spirit produces that in my life. Now it is not for self-consumption. I know a lot of Christians who are fat, spiritually fat. You produce this fruit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and you just eat the fruit. You don’t have to eat it. You are to share it with others. It’s not about you. It’s about others. Juicy Fruit.
“Okay, Ed, I understand now. I get it. Faith is to be married and pregnant, barefoot and pregnant. I understand the connectivity now between faith and works. I understand it. I understand that I am justified by faith. God has declared me righteous. It’s just like I have never sinned. Why? Because I have applied the blood of Jesus into my life. This is cool, Ed. I have seen the illustration with Abraham, faith and works, and Rahab. I get it.”
Well, good. I am glad you get it. But for you to really get it, for me to really get it, we have got to be ruthlessly honest with ourselves before God, and that brings us to the final text of this talk. Because after I do this thing, we are going to do something here that we have done maybe two or three times in the history of Fellowship Church. I will let this next verse explain.
2 Corinthians, 13:5, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith.” Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you, unless of course, you fail the test. You guessed it. We are going to take a test. We are not going to grade these tests. We are going to take a test, though. There is going to be no cheating. Do not look at your neighbor’s paper. We are going to see if our lives, if our faith is real or if it is Memorex, if we are talking serious spiritual smack or not. We are going to see if we have a connectivity between our faith and actions. We are going to see if we are authentic deep believers, or hypocrites.
The word “hypocrite” has the word “hippo” in it. Maybe it is talking about someone who is spiritually fat. I don’t know. Here is the test. We are going to have a grading system, Q1, Q2, those are questions, Q3, Q4, Q5, Q6. Grade yourselves on a scale of 1-10 but don’t mark it down until I tell you to mark it down. This is going to be some serious spiritual inventory because some of you are going to say, “Whoa, I thought I was a believer, but I guess I am not.” Others are going to say, “Yes, I am doing the stuff.” Others may kind of hang their head and go, “Wow, this has kind of been a wake-up call for me.” This is not a scientific test. We have not given this to millions of people. But it is a test that we have come up with that I think is a good one. I call it the Doin’ Fool Test. Are you doin’ fool man, or are you living the life?
Here is the first one, Q1, question one: Do you have a strong desire to grow spiritually, to orient your life around God’s purposes? For example, do you have a daily time where you read the Word and pray? Do you attend Fellowship Church, if this is your church, at least three out of four weekends a month? Are you going to First Wednesday? Have you gone to the Player Development Classes? Do you have an overwhelming spirit of appreciation and thankfulness for the grace of God? If you do that, then I would say you have a strong desire to grow spiritually. If you are doing well on that, put a seven or an eight, whatever, maybe a ten. But if you are saying, “I kind of show up at Fellowship Church half the time, and I read my Bible when things get difficult, like this horrible disaster, you know.” Then put yourself maybe a four, five or three.
Now, Q2: Do you seize the opportunity to share Christ? Do you talk as naturally about Christ as you do other areas of your life? Do you talk about sports, talk about the weather, talk about the news, talk about Christ just as easy? Are you inviting at least one or two people a month to Fellowship Church? We are talking about the ABC’s of the faith.
I will never forget what happened eleven years ago. I went over to a guy’s house who had visited our church and I said, “Hey, thanks for coming by Fellowship.” He says, “Yes, I appreciate it. I am looking for more theology than Fellowship Church teaches.” I said, “Really, I am in a series about Philippians, but I appreciate that.” He was telling me how he had taken this seminary course and gone through all these Bible studies and all. I said, “Man, that’s great. Let me ask you a question. I know it’s probably a dumb question, but let me ask you because you are a mature believer. Tell me, who was the last person you led to the Lord, and secondly, name three people in your life that you are discipling.” He stuttered and stammered and said, “I can’t name anybody.” I said, “Well, don’t ever tell me or anyone else that you need more theology if you are not doing the ABC’s of the faith.” So do you seize those opportunities, because this guy who thought he had this great mature faith was, on a scale of one to ten, probably about a one or a two.
Question three, Q3: Are you committed to the basic Christian core values? What’s that? Do you lead a moral life? Do you understand your life as a life of worship? Do you come to Fellowship Church worshipping and not just to worship? If you come here just to worship, you are missing the boat. Worship should transcend everything we do in our lives. We should worship in our dating life, worship in our marriage, worship as we treat our children certain ways. Everything is worship. Do you give? The Bible says straight up, ten per cent off of the top of everything we make should go to the local church. Simple stuff.
Question four: Are you involved in a ministry? That’s a Biblical thing. Are you involved in a ministry? Are you? We have 5200 people involved in a ministry position who work at least once a month here at Fellowship Church. That’s unbelievable. Last weekend, Doris Scoggins, our statistician, told me we had 21,035 people that showed up here at Fellowship Church. The awesome thing about it was we were not expecting that many people. But the cool thing about it was, did you see how the parkers and the greeters, and the hospitality folks and the ushers worked and the security people? Unbelievable. Let’s give it up for those men and women. So don’t play games with God. Don’t say, “Yes, God, I really have this authentic faith,” when you are not involved in some ministry here. We have a lot of ministries to get involved in. It’s not about you, it’s about others.
Q5: Do you have a desire for fellowship with other believers in a small group? Are you involved with community and intimacy with other believers? That’s why we have home teams, following the model set forth in the early church, book of Acts. They met in temple courts, also from house to house. Are you in a Home Team? Because if you are a true Christ-follower, you have this desire, kind of like a moth to a flame, or a mosquito to a piece of flesh, you want to gather together with people who love the Lord. Or, if you say, “Man, I don’t want to hang out with Christians,” then you have to give yourself a low score there.
Q6: Was there a specific moment in your life where you bowed the knee to Christ? And I did that last because all these other questions, Q5 to Q1, don’t mean anything unless you have made that decision. That can either be answered, this last one, either one or ten. You can’t say three or four. It’s not something you gradually get into. It’s not something that you say, “I think I am a Christian because my father was a deacon or elder, or my great-grandfather pastored a church.” You either have made the decision or not. It’s a moment in time when you are justified by faith. You become a Christian by admitting the truth about your condition, that you are a sinner, and by believing that God sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for your sins. And you receive that, you allow Jesus to infiltrate your life, you make that decision. Once you make that, you are justified by faith. When God looks at you, it’s like you have never sinned before, because you have applied the blood of Jesus into your life. Now that you have made that decision, you must work out what God’s grace has worked in. But you become a Christian by asking Jesus to penetrate your life. Have you done that?