Sunday, March 7, 2010

FALSE HOPE {Part 1} A False Hope in Christ

FALSE HOPE
Part 1 - False Hope in Christ
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org


INTRODUCTION

We all know that our hope is Christ, but what if I told you, there are those, some whom may even be in this room, who have a false hope.

And although they have a false hope, they do not realize it, because they have a false hope in Christ.

Let me explain;

ILLUSTRATION

Having hope in something does not give that thing any more power or ability than it had to begin with, nor does it make that thing what YOU want it to be or do.

My wife and I have an insect problem in our house that arises each summer.  We have house centipedes, and if you don’t know what those are, you’re lucky.

My wife has a false hope in something, it’s called hair spray.

She thinks that hair spray will kill insects, or will “freeze” them, but all it usually does is make them mad.

She sprays half a can on the insect, and the ones that do die, usually die from drowning.

She places her hope in a can of hair spray as opposed to a immutable truth, such as the stomp from the boot.

Does hope in the hair spray make it any more deadly to the insects?

Does her hope in the hair spray mean it will work?

You see, the funny thing about reality, our perception (beliefs and hopes) has no bearing on it.

No matter what you believe about the hair spray, it is going to act and react the same way, regardless of what you think or hope.
In the same way, many have allowed their misunderstandings in Christ and the Word of God to foster false hopes in them as well.


EXAMPLE

I had a friend who believed that when we die, we go to an asteroid where Jesus will meet us, and there He will ask us if we believe in Him.

If we say yes, we go to heaven, and if we say no we go to hell.

First of all there are a few things wrong with this hope, besides the scriptural inaccuracies.

If you died, and found yourself standing on an asteroid alive and a man there says He’s Jesus and wants to know if you believe in Him...who is going to say no?

Secondly, Jesus doesn’t have to ask after you die whether or not you believe, because if you do not follow Him, you will find yourself in torment in Sheol after you die, where you will await the second resurrection and the Great White Throne Judgment of God.

Now, knowing that this notion is completed absurd and not scriptural, does my friend’s hope in what happens after you die change reality in any way?

Does his false hope in an astral luncheon date with Jesus after his death make this so?

As believers, it is our job to read God’s Word continually, and check our beliefs, as well as our understanding so that we may not fall into the trap of false hope in of all things, Christ.

There are many churches and systems of belief, one in particular I am thinking of in California where they teach that all are going to heaven and that earth is actually hell.

Unfortunate for them, what they believe does not have any bearing on reality.

And unless they meet with God on His terms, they will one day discover what hell really is.  And for them, it will be too late.

There are still others who claim to be followers of Christ, yet still perform sacrifices for sin...

Every time they do so, they are publically claiming that Christ’s sacrifice was NOT good enough.
No where did the Apostles continue Old Testament rituals of sacrifice.

Jesus Himself told us He fulfilled the scriptures.

Paradigms and false teachings have filled the churches because in most cases they have stepped away from the Truth of God’s Word, and began following emotions and feelings instead of Truth.


Let us discover who God says He is, and what His Word says real Hope is.

I.                   GOD OF THE BIBLE
a.      God is
                                                              i.      A Fortress
1.      2 Samuel 22:2, 3 "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;  3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
       my shield and the horn of my salvation.
       He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
       from violent men you save me.

2.      My rock, my fortress, my stronghold...

a.       Is God chasing people down?  Or giving them a path to Him?
b.       Is God trying to force people into salvation?  Or offering them a way?

3.      Does a stronghold, a fortress, a rock follow one around trying to convince them of their worth?
a.      God has told man for centuries “where” He is and how to obtain Him.
b.      Man MUST come on their own accord.
c.       God is everlasting, unchanging, man knows where He is, and how to find Him.

b.     Jesus is
                                                              i.      The Word, the Truth, the Rock
1.      There is not one scripture where Jesus or the disciples;
a.      Chase people down for healings.
b.      Chase people down for forgiveness of sins.
c.       Chase people down and try to play with emotions so they can get a response that they find favorable.
2.      If your decision for God is based on emotions, you may find yourself in a situation of false hope.
a.      Just because a song makes you cry it does not mean;
                                                                                                                                      i.      You confessed anything
                                                                                                                                   ii.      You asked for forgiveness
                                                                                                                                 iii.      You repented of that sin
                                                                                                                                 iv.      You trust in Jesus with your life
                                                                                                                                    v.      You are living a life serving Him
                                                                                                                                 vi.      You are diligently seeking Him

b.      Emotions can fool us.
                                                                                                                                      i.      How many times have you heard;
1.      Don’t make important decisions when you’re upset.
2.      Don’t speak until you calm down.
3.      Sleep on it until your head is clear.

c.       Yet we think that decisions for Christ can only happen in emotional settings?
                                                                                                                                      i.      Sing songs until they cry
                                                                                                                                   ii.      Tell them how terrible they are
                                                                                                                                 iii.      Beg at the end of the service for them to come forward and give their lives to Christ.

Although this may get a response...and we often see it does, it is NOT the response God is looking for.

Why do you think statistically, only 2%-5% are still living a life for Christ 2 years after accepting Jesus at a revival?

Because after all the sad songs, and the emotions are high, and the tears are flowing, people make decisions from those emotions and not from their hearts.

And when their emotions change...so does their commitment to Christ.


II.                EMOTION VS. LOVE

Jesus does not ask us to come to Him with an emotional, tear filled warm fuzzy feeling, the Word of God does not describe Love on those terms.

The Love we are told to have for God is Agapao, which comes from the root word again, meaning to love again.  (This was said to Peter after Jesus’ resurrection).

And Peter answered, Phileo, (or “you know I’m your friend).

And Jesus told Peter, “THEN feed my lambs” (Action - teach children)

Jesus asked again, Agapao (love in social and moral sense)

Peter once again said, Jesus you know I am your friend (Phileo)

Jesus said, “THEN feed my sheep” (Action - teach adults)

The third time Jesus asks, “Are you my friend?” (Phileo)

Feed my sheep...

Three times Jesus gave an action for Peter to show his love for Jesus.

Not an emotion, but true love is shown in ACTION.


Jesus did not accept Peter’s words of love, nor his feelings on the matter, but said, “If your Love is real, then ACT ON IT.

Decisions must be shown in action, not come from feelings and emotions and simply talked about.

Jesus did not accept this from peter, nor will He accept this from you.

What did Jesus say about talk and no action?

Matthew 15:8
 ”‘These people honor me with their lips,
      but their hearts are far from me.

a.      Choices made in life
                                                              i.      Poor (emotional)
1.      Usually selfish as well

                                                           ii.      Righteously (unselfishly “in love”)

b.     Emotional thinking clouds judgment
                                                              i.      Confusion (because emotional)

                                                           ii.      Logical thinking
1.      Focused and orderly


c.       Where does sin live?
                                                              i.      In our emotional hearts
1.      Can we trust our feelings and emotions?
a.       Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked...”

2.      So we Trust the Word.
a.       Base our decisions on the Truth, for we do not live by sight, but faith.

Faith in what?

What we believe?  What we think?  What our perception is?  What our heart tells us?

What our emotions or feelings say to us?

NO.

Our faith comes by hearing the Word of God.  The Word is Truth.


Trusting in the Lord, means to trust in His Word alone.

We must make our decisions based on Truth, and nothing else.

Do not be fooled by emotions, feelings or perceptions.

1 Corinthians 3:18
Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise.

James 1:22
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

False Hope is based on what we think...True Hope is based on what the Word of God Says.



III.             FALSE VS. TRUE

False
True
Security - you believe in your ignorance of God’s Word that you are OK with God, and that you have to change nothing about your life or relationship with God or man.
Security - God is a rewarded of those who diligently seek Him.

Relationship - Believes that because one acknowledges Jesus is real, all is forgiven even though no confessions were made to God, no repentance has taken place.

Relationship - Even the devils believe and tremble.  Without confession and repentance, there is no forgiveness.

Hope - Believes they are going to heaven even though they live their live in selfishness and sin, continually feeding their obsessions and earthly desires while ignoring service to God, not living in love toward others, and neither confessing or repenting of sin in their lives.

Hope - Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.  One must not only “believe”, but must “respond” to God’s love to be saved.  Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I have commanded you to do.”


For one to have True Hope, one MUST;

·        Diligently seek Jesus
o   Seek and you will find
o   Jesus is a lighthouse, not a firefly...He is a ROCK, not a floating sponge
o   One MUST come to HIM
o   Shown in scripture time and time again, Jesus preached to those who CAME TO HEAR HIM.

·        More than believe God is real, you must
o   Trust in Him
o   Confess your sins
o   Repent of those sins

·        You MUST respond to His Love
o   Love is an action...
o   Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I have commanded.”

Are you diligently seeking Him?

Have you trusted in Him with your life?  (All aspects of your life)

Have you confessed of your sin lately, or are you still living in that sin?
Those who live in sin are in danger.

Have you repented of that sin?
You cannot be forgiven if you continue to live in the sin.

You MUST respond to God’s Love with an action.

Do you love Jesus?  Is your hope a true hope, or are you living in a false hope today?

Forget your paradigm of the “Prayer of Salvation”

It is not biblical and there is no format one must pray to be saved.

But what you MUST do is surrender in your heart to the Lord, confess your sins, ask forgiveness and repent!

And for altar calls at the end of service, the ONLY scriptural format given is found in James 5

James 5:13-15
 13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.

14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.

We offer this time at the end of every service, as I have for the last 6 years, if you need prayer for anything, now is an opportunity for you to come forward and I will pray with you.

The Lord has shown you where He is, and He has made Himself available, it is up to you to act in response to His love with action.