Andy Stanley - Practically Speaking
So here's something to think about. If, if simply believing if simply believing stuff was enough to make a difference. If simply believing was enough to make a difference think how different our life would be. If simply believing stuff. In other words, you believe what you believe about health and nutrition. We believe the science behind health and nutrition. What if all you had to do is just believe the science about health and nutrition and suddenly you had all the benefits of actually eating healthy and working out? Wouldn't it be amazing? If you just simply believing was enough just this think how different our lives would be if believing made a difference thing, how different our, our lives would be. Nobody would have any addictions because we all believe that addictions are bad. They ruin our relationships, ruin our health.
And so, if simply believing was enough to make a difference. Just think how different our lives would be. I mean, everything would be different. It could financially we know the principles of finance. We need to stay out of debt. We need to spend less than we make. We need to save and prepare for the future. We believe all that, you know? So if believing was enough to make a difference think how different our life would be. When it comes to school. I mean, we all know that preparation is the way forward for a student, right? We believe that preparation is how you move forward. So, what if what if simply believing that preparation was the way forward but you didn't have to actually prepare. So again, if all it took was believing all the right things our lives will be so much better. They would be. I mean, it would be amazing what we'd be able to accomplish the truth is most of us believe the right stuff.
And most of us know what we need to know to live better and more productive lives. I mean our problem, I think for most of us our problem is not a lack of information. I mean, we know we need to be honest. We know we need to forgive. We know that we need to be compassionate. We know we need to be generous. For the most part we know what we need to know and we believe everything we need to believe. But the truth is, and we know this as well that knowing and believing doesn't really make any difference. Otherwise our lives would be very different. There would be, our relationships will be better. We'd be better off financially. We'd be better off in terms of health, we'd be better off really in every area and believe it or not, believe it or not. Jesus knew this. Believe it or not Jesus actually knew and actually taught in such a way that underscore the fact that he knew that simply believing is not enough.
So consequently, he didn't invite people. And this may run a little contrary to what perhaps you believe about Jesus or maybe what you learned growing up in church. But because of this, Jesus didn't spend a lot of time just trying to get people to believe things that He said. He actually invited them over and over and over. And I think invites us to this very day to do things because He knew what we know that doing is what makes all the difference. And, and perhaps this next statement is why you tuned in or why you're at church today. And maybe this is all you need to run on for the rest of the day or the rest of the week. When we believe but don't do our dreams don't come true. When we believe but don't do our dreams don't come true. But I would like for all of us to just say this out loud together, okay. If there's nothing else you can pass this along to your children. Even if you don't apply it ready altogether when we believe but don't do our dream. Yeah, you've never met anybody who failed for a lack of believing the right thing necessarily or even knowing everything they need to know.
Obviously, in spite of the fact that there's certain things people need to know. And if they don't know them, they can't act on them. But for the most part, we fail and people fail in life, not because of they didn't believe the right stuff or even know all the right stuff. It's, it's what do, because it's doing or not doing that ultimately makes all the difference, but worse but worse than that, if we believe all the right things but don't do anything with what we believe, our faith our faith becomes feeble and frail and fragile. Today were in part two of the series that we began last time we were together. Faith Full, fueling your faith in a world on empty. And we discovered last time that Jesus agenda for His first century followers. And I think we could make the case His agenda for his 21st century followers. Many of us, is that we would be people of big active in the real world, in spite of faith.
In other words, that we would live our actual lives our relationships, how we manage our money our time, our careers or academic careers, our dreams, our goals that in the real world, that our confidence in God would be translated into action and activity and responses and reactions or a relax or lack of reactions to the people in the circumstances around us. In fact, we said last time we were together, the only thing the only thing to ever amaze Jesus in the gospels are the four accounts of His life. The only time Jesus was like, you know amazed or the other translation to that Greek term the only time he ever marveled was when He encountered someone who had big confidence or faith in Him and acted on his faith. And this explains why His initial invitation and I think His invitation to us today wasn't just to believe a lot of things, His actual invitation was follow me, follow me. It was relational. It was active. It was interactive.
And Jesus never altered or backed down on this invitation. It was follow me right up to the end, right as He's about to go into Jerusalem, you know for the big finale of his crucifixion He still invite somebody to, "Hey I want you to lay down what you have right now. You to follow me". But over time, something pretty horrible happened. The church kind of dumbed this down. In fact, if you grew up in church it's, it's possible that you never even heard the phrase "Follow me". What you heard. And honestly, what I heard a lot was believe in me, believe believe me. So the church reduced Follow me to simply Believe in me. And as you would imagine in fact, as many of us have experienced, believe in me is a lot easier. Than follow me isn't it. Believe in me is a lot safer than follow me. Believe in me is far less demanding than follow me. But unfortunately just believe in me is that invitation that leaves you exactly where you are, no change required.
But Jesus did not merely invite people to believe true things about him so they could go to heaven when they died. Read the gospels, that is not the case at all. Jesus invited people to live their life or to live a life that actually reflected their confidence and their faith or their trust in God. And as we said last time, the reason Jesus came was so that we could know what God is truly like so that we can place our confidence in the real God. The God, as he truly is not God as we imagine God to be or God that we grew up believing God to be. So the invitation was for people to live their lives in such a way that reflected their confidence in God. Because like us, God is most honored by our active and our living our living active death defying in spite of faith. You're most honored when you're supposed to be somewhere at seven at seven o'clock and you're not there.
And somebody turns to the people waiting for you and say and says, "You know what? Don't worry. She'll be here. He'll be here. I know them. They're gonna come through". You're most honored when there's a gap between what people expected of you and what they experienced from you. And they decided to place in the gap that they would believe the best about you. They trusted your character. That's you know, she's not usually this way. He's not usually this way. There's something we don't know. They just, they just have confidence in you because of your character. I mean, it's so honoring. Somebody says something bad about you and somebody hears it and they turn it in. They say, "No, that's not, That's not the person I know". Why? Because they just express confidence in you.
Then you hear that story. If you've ever heard a story like that. And you're so honored by that, that's what this is about. That God is most honored by our living active in the world confidence and faith in Him, even when it looks as if He's not paying attention or He's not going to come through. And Jesus taught this over and over and over model this over and over and forced His first century followers as we're going to see next time in the circumstances where they were forced to trust God in spite of over and over and over. So Jesus did not invite people to simply believe things or to simply believe things even about Him. He invited people to follow him to essentially I guess we could reduce it to this, to to wake up every morning. And you should try this. To wake up every morning with this question.
What would I do if I was confident that God is with me? What would I do? Not what would I think or simply believe, but what would I do today? How would I respond? How would I react? What would I initiate? What would I avoid? What conversation would I begin? Who would I forgive? Who would I ask to forgive me? What would I do if I was absolutely confident that God is with me? God not as I imagine God to be but God who was revealed through the teaching and the life of Jesus. So in this series, we're asking the question and answering the question, hopefully over the course of a lifetime, over the course of a lifetime.
What kinds of things fuel or what fuels and or facilitates the development of enduring faith? The kind of faith that works itself out in the real world. That shows up at work, that shows up at home, that shows up in trauma, that shows up in fear, that shows up in worry that shows up when I'm being challenged. And I know what I want to do, and I know what they deserve for me to do, but I'm not sure that's what I ought to do. What, how do we develop that kind of long range in the moment gritty, real world faith. Faith that will sustain us from childhood all the way through adulthood. In other words what, what are the ingredients that if we stirred them together would create that kind of faith. That kind of go the distance in spite of faith.
In other words again, what are what are those ingredients? If we if we, if we knew what they were and we could stir them together, you know what are those? And the good news is this based on the teaching of Jesus in the gospels, and based on literally hundreds and hundreds of conversations with go the distance. Long-term Christians who have mature faith that we did many many years ago. We've come to the conclusion that there are five things specifically that God uses to grow up and blow up our faith.
And they're not a list of things to do. They're more like dynamics as you're gonna see some things you have control over some things that you don't, but there are five things that when people tell their faith story when you talk to somebody who's kind of a mature go the distance Christian that's been through the Valley has been to the mountain top. They trust God when things are up to the right and they trust God when things are down the other way when you talk to them and hear their stories you hear these five things over and over and over and over. Not because somebody taught them these five things. These were just the five things that over time over the course of a lifetime that God used to grow their faith. Sometimes we refer to these as the Five Faith Catalysts.
You might've even heard us talk about this at some point in the past. Five things that God consistently uses to grow our faith. And the great thing about these is that they intersect with our lives in every season of life. They intersect with our lives in childhood. While we're in middle school, high school for a college student, university student a newlywed, somebody who's been married for a long time. Somebody who's facing health challenges somebody who's just overwhelmed with success. In every season of life , these thought five things interface in with us in our lives in such a way to help grow up and mature our faith.
So for the next few weeks, as I said last time we're going to explore each of these five things. And today we're beginning with the first one, and we refer to it as Practical Teaching. Practical Teaching. Whenever you hear a faith story and if you have a faith story, this is part of your story I bet. Everyone always tells about the time or describes the time they were first introduced to practical teaching. That someone opened the scripture and they taught from the scripture in such a way that they knew what to do with what they'd heard. That somebody finally gave them handles and applications. That they sort of always believed in God. And that sort of always believed in Jesus but they didn't know what it looked like in the real world.
They didn't know how to take it home. They didn't know how to take it to work. And so somebody for the first time open the scripture in such a way that they knew what to do with what they believed. And they say, this is something that began to grow their faith. And perhaps that's your story as well. And the reason, the reason that application, the reason that real world application of the teaching of Jesus grows our faith is this, when our active faith when our active application oriented faith intersects with God's faithfulness, our faith grows. That when our active faith, in other words you kind of feel nudge to, "Hey you need to go make things right with them". "I don't wanna make things right with them". "You need to make things right with them". " I don't wanna".
And finally, you give into that nudge. You have that challenging conversation. And on the other side of it, you're so glad you did. And on the other side of it you see God's faithfulness, your faith grows. So whenever we step out in obedience or to say it another way whenever we follow Jesus in an area where it's challenging where it costs us something, where we resist at first but finally give in. When our faithfulness to God intersects with His faithfulness to us, our faith gets bigger because we're going to come back to this. Your faith is like a muscle. And if you want your muscle to grow you have to exercise it. And an exercise of faith is simply saying, "God I'm gonna say yes to you. Even though I don't know how it's going to turn out. I'm gonna say yes to you even though no one else would do this. I'm going to say yes to you. Even though everybody's thinks I'm crazy I'm going to say yes to you because I know it's the right thing to do. And I don't know what the outcome is but God, I trust you".
And on the other side of that decision when you experience the faithfulness of God your faith gets bigger. But for many people that never begins until they're exposed application oriented faith either in high school, college or perhaps as an adult. And when we experience God's faithfulness here's the thing , you're actually experiencing God. God is spirit. God doesn't have a physical body. God doesn't usually have a physical voice. Oftentimes when people feel like God spoke to them, we're not so sure, are we? Anyway, we'll talk about that. But so the point is because God is spirit. The best way to experience God is to experience His faithfulness on the other side of an act of obedience.
And remember this, we talked about this last time that trust when it comes to relationship trust is actually the currency of relationship. So to have a relationship with an invisible God is all about trust. And when you express trust practically not just in your mind or in my mind when we express trust trust, practically we experienced the faithfulness of God. And that's the essence of our relationship with God because obedience demonstrates trust and provides God with an opportunity to be trustworthy. If you never step out and do what Jesus called you to do if we never step out in the real world and live out our faith out loud, we deprive, I know it sounds strange. There's a sense in which we deprive God of demonstrating His faithfulness to us.
Now, again as I said earlier this was a theme throughout Jesus' ministry in terms of how He led people. And it was a certainly a theme in terms of His teaching. As we'll see, next time Jesus was constantly with his 12 apostles pushing them into uncomfortable circumstances asking them to do things they could not do. They had never done before. And they weren't sure it was going to work and an effort to get them to trust Him so they could experience His faithfulness on the other side of that decision. But in His teaching with everybody else Jesus pointed in this direction as well.
And the best example of this is in His most famous sermon we call it the sermon on the Mountain. And there was a version found in Matthew. There's a version found in Luke. My theory is that whenever Jesus taught this was kind of His, His go-to content His go-to sermon. I mean the apostles would be like, "Yeah we've heard this before. I think I've heard it 20 times". Because I think this was this is what Jesus brought in terms of real world faith building application. And so when you read the sermon on the Mountain. And again is found in Matthew and is found in Luke. It's so challenging because it is so practical. In this this message or in these applications Jesus is introducing what we could call His Upside-Down Kingdom Ethic. He came into the world where the people with all the power and all the resources leverage their power and resources for their own benefit.
And Jesus says, "I wanna turn that upside down. And those of you with power and resources should leverage your power and resources for the sake of those who have less power and fewer resources". This was a completely new concept. So Jesus turns it all upside down and it's all about others first. So somebody asks you for a favor, do more than they ask. If somebody wants you to give, give more than they ask it was sort of this open-ended generosity. Open-ended compassion, open-ended forgiveness. Just no matter what's happened to you. He says you, you are to forgive. And then he would say things like, don't worry. Don't worry in a, in a culture where there was so much to worry about. Pray for your enemy to which they would say we rarely pray for our friends.
And then there was that whole yank the plank, you know teaching He did, you're familiar with this where he says if you see somebody and there's something about them that bothers you. Before you go try to get the little speck of sawdust out of their eye, you go home and look in the mirror and make sure you don't have the same issue. So deal with you first. So you'll be in a better position to go help them. And then once you get the plank out of your own eye, don't just go on your merry way. You do you do need to go have that awkward conversation to make you can help them. But once you deal with what's, you know true of you you will be able to see more clearly to help them deal with what's true for them. So you are obligated to help but you start with the person in the mirror. I mean, all of this was so new.
And then there was this whole idea. He said that you can't even be right with God, your father. If you have something against your brother or your sister. This was so upside down because they lived in a culture that was like, "No I I can be good with God whether I'm good with them or not". Jesus says no, it's not the way. So almost everything in the sermon on the Mount was so counter cultural. It was terribly practical. It was, it was so practical that it was honestly it was it was impractical. But this was his way of saying, "I'm inviting you into a different way of living. I'm inviting you into a different kingdom. I'm inviting you into a kingdom that's nothing like this world because it's completely opposite and upside down from this world. And I'm inviting you as an individual. And I'm inviting you as a community, not to simply believe a different way or to know new things. I'm inviting you to do life differently".
And this is what it would mean to follow Jesus. So, no wonder the church came along and dumbed it all down to simply believing things because Jesus teaching was so challenging. And yet, for those of you who have embraced the practical teaching of Jesus. You know, there's a reward on the other side and you know it has made your life better. But when you're first introduced to this, or if you take it seriously it's like, "I believe, you know, I I took notes". But to do this I just feel like it puts me at risk. And it's like your heavenly father saying, "Come on trust me, trust me, trust me. Trust me. You won't ever experience me until you trust me. Not here, out here".
After Jesus finished his sermon on the Mountain with all I mean, this there's so many there's so much in it. At the end, He concludes with a promise to the men and the women or even the children who take him seriously and take Him up on this offer to follow Him into this new way of actual living, a new kind of lifestyle. Not a one and done, a lifestyle embracing this kingdom value. And here's what He says at the very end. And most of you, most of us are familiar with this teaching. In fact, it's a parable but many of us learned this growing up. In fact, you might even know a song but I encourage you not to sing it.
But here's, here's what Jesus says. He says, therefore again He's just finished all this practical real-world stuff. Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine everyone who sat through this sermon everyone who just their jaws are hanging open. Like what? Everyone hears these words of mine and believes them, nope. Who remembers them? Nope. Who wrote them down? Nope. Who agrees with them? Nope. I know what it is. Who feels convicted by them? Nope. And unfortunately that's about as far as most sermons, sometimes take us. In fact, there's a weird thing in American religion and maybe it's all over the world but it's certainly an American thing, especially for Christians that when we come to church and the preacher kind of beats us up a little bit and we feel so sort of bad about ourselves we feel like we've had an encounter with God.
It's like, "Ah, that was that was so good. I mean, it was still rough. I'm not going to do anything with it, but wow the experience was rough. I mean, I feel like having an encounter with God I feel guilty or I feel worse about myself and I know he's right. And I know God's right. And I wish I was a better person. See you next week and beat me up some more because"... We confused feeling bad about ourselves and kind of being beat up by the preacher as if that's some sort of encounter with God and your heavenly father says, "No that's not an encounter with me. The encounter with me that I want you to have is I want you to do this stuff. And then experience me on the other side of it. That's the encounter I want you to have". So Jesus says, "Anyone who has heard this message of mine who has heard of these words of mine and puts them in to practice anyone who's here, who hears and then does who acts on what I've just taught is like a wise man, or a wise person".
And what is a wise man or wise woman or wise person? A wise person is somebody who connects the dots. Who understands the relationship between what they do today and what happens tomorrow who lives as if today's behavior actually creates or shapes tomorrow's reality and understands that doing not simply believing is what shapes the life and what ultimately makes a difference. This is the person who just heard this message and actually puts it into practice is like a wise man who built his house who established his future, who established her future who established her life, who went all, all in. It's like that person who does what I just says they're establishing their life. It's like, they're building their house on a rock.
Now this is where we, we we kind of lose it because if you buy a piece of property that's got a lot of rock you're in trouble. You have to hire somebody to come out with dynamite right before you can even pour a foundation. Because the way we do foundations is we dig a deep hole. We pour concrete and rebar and we have footings to build houses. Back then they didn't do it that way. The best thing you could do was find something very solid like rock and dig a foundation, or build a foundation on rock. But the problem was, this was very labor intensive. It took a long time and it was often more expensive. His point is simply this He's saying the wisest thing you can do, the wisest you can do is to build your life on the foundation of my teaching. It's going to be harder initially. It's going to be more time consuming initially. Your neighbors are gonna think you're crazy.
You know, if you just move a half a mile down, I mean our house is up in no time. Meanwhile, you're trying to scratch through the rock. He said, but ultimately in longterm the person who listens to what I just said, as counter-cultural as it is and as challenging as it is and decides, this is the way I'm gonna live my life. This is how I'm going to manage my life and my relationships. He says that person is like a person who chose to do it the hard way. And to build their life on rock. It'll cost you. He says, but it's more rewarding.
Now, the problem or if you, if we just pause right there and we're in Jesus' audience, there's a question He kind of leaves hanging in the air. And the question leaves hanging in the air as it relates to this is the, and the unspoken question is do you trust me? Do you trust me? Do you trust me? Will, will you live this way before you know what the outcome is? Will you follow me? Not, do you believe me are even believe in me? Do you and will you trust me even before you know what the outcome is? That's the question. That's the question for me every day. That's the question for you every single day. Not do we believe, do we trust? And it's only when we express our trust in the real world that our faith intersects with God's faithfulness and we experience God.
And this was Jesus' invitation saying, "Come on trust me, trust me". Then He illustrates the the outcome or the future of the doers. He says this, you may remember this. He says, "The rain came down after this person built their house on rock. The rain came down the streams rose, the winds blew and beat against that house. And yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock". Something they all understood because occasionally there'll be a flash flood in this region of the world. And if you did not have a good foundation it was a total loss. This was sometimes the difference between life and death surviving with something to show or surviving with nothing to show, if you survived at all. But He continues. He says, "But everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them in a notebook, feels guilty, nods and says amen, but does not put them into practice. And even comes back for another dose next week is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand".
Now. If you've tuned out, I need you to tune back in for just a moment because the implications for what Jesus is saying here, the implications are staggering and stunning for the average church person. In fact, if you're not a church person, you are gonna love this part of the message, okay? The implications are staggering. Here's what Jesus is saying. He's saying it is possible for you to attend some kind of gathering every week of your life or every other every you know, twice a week. It is possible to hear. And it's possible to believe and yet live a life that ultimately undermines your faith. It is possible to hear, and it's possible to believe and yet live your life in such a way that your practical life undermines what you've heard and what you believe. That will actually set you up for a crisis of faith or to say it a different way that believing can actually be deceiving.
Now, real quick. If you're not a Jesus follower, not a Christian or maybe you used to be. This is, this is where we pretty much owe you an apology. Because one of the reasons that you gave up on Christianity or you've never explored Christianity it's not simply that you don't believe it. You wonder sometimes if we believe it, because you've heard our rhetoric and you've heard what we say about God and about the Bible and about truth and all this stuff. And then you look at the way we actually live and you look at the way we actually treat people. And the reason you're not more open to believing what we believe is because if I can be honest on our behalf, you're not convinced we believe what we believe because we don't live it out.
And the discrepancy, the distance between what we say we believe in what we do leaves you wondering who in the world would be even interested in that kind of belief system and you are not wrong. And in that sense, we all in some way owe you an apology. But here's what I would say to you. Ignore us for a moment and read Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, and at least consider following Jesus. Because our inability, our our unwillingness to move beyond belief, to actual practical application in the real world. In no way undermines the reality of God's love for you. And the reality of it is an invitation to you to follow Him. But I get it. Because if, we don't live out what we say we believe why in the world would you find that belief system at all interesting?
The other thing interesting thing too is James the brother of Jesus comes along and he'd heard all this from his older brother. And James writes a letter. We call it the book of James. And he's even more direct than Jesus. Here's what James, the brother of Jesus says on the same topic, he says to his audience, " Do not merely listen to the word. And so deceive yourself". Believing can be deceiving. If you think that, because you believe everything and you know, everything you need to know and you have the perfect theology but you don't do anything. James says, "You're just deceiving yourself".
You're thinking something that's not true about you. And it's ultimately going to come back on you. Don't merely listen to the word. And so deceive yourselves ready for this next line, "Do there it is again. Do what it says". But good I believe in Jesus. James is going okay okay. Hey, come on believing doesn't do anything. A faith that doesn't do any good. It's not any good. It doesn't do anybody any good. It doesn't even do you any good. In fact, it's bad for you because you're deceiving yourself thinking you're something you're not, or that you're somewhere you're not or that you're prepared for something you're not. Because faith is a muscle. And if you don't exercise it it atrophies and it Withers away. And the way we exercise our faith is not by believing things. We exercise our faith by stepping out and doing things and experiencing God's faithfulness. That's what grows our faith.
And then after James says this As if that wasn't enough he gives us this amazing illustration. It's one of my favorite illustrations in the whole new Testament. It's the mirror illustration. And I'll just give you my version. He says, believing everything you're supposed to believe and believing perfectly but not doing is like getting up in the morning, walking into your bathroom looking into the mirror and going. I believe I look terrible. I believe my face needs some work. I believe my hair needs some work. I believe that I would be, I would probably the kids would probably run away and hide. If anybody saw the way I look right now I'm absolutely convinced I need to do some work on my face and my hair. And then putting on your bathrobe and going to work. Which none of us would do. You know why? Because when it comes to our appearance we're not just hearers.
We're not just seers and we're not just believers. We are doers. We would rather be late for work than to show up, not looking good. And James says to listen to the truth and to listen to the teaching of Jesus and go, I believe it. I believe it. I believe it. And to do nothing with it is like showing up somewhere in public having giving no attention to something that's important to you in terms of your personal appearance. And we would never do that. But somehow some way it has become so easy for us to just retreat to but I believe all the right things. Here's the thing. If all you do is believe and you never step out and practice what you believe you are setting yourself up for a crisis of faith because you're not building strong faith. And one day you're gonna need it and it won't be there, end. It's like sowing and reaping. You can't rush a crop. You're either ready. Or you're not.
And Jesus says, I want you to be ready. So follow me follow me follow me. Not just in your head. I want you to follow me in the real world. I want you to trust me and trust my heavenly Father so that your act of faith will intersect with His faithfulness and you'll know your Father in heaven. And then James like Jesus, Jesus offered the promise. Hey, your house will stand. James offers this promise. This is amazing. He says this, "But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom. And by the way, if your approach to Christianity doesn't really, it doesn't result in more freedom. Then you either don't have the right approach or you're not doing anything with it. He says that anybody who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it they will be blessed in what they believe. Now they will be blessed in what they do".
This is James way of saying, if you want to experience God and if you want to experience the blessings of God I don't mean just so you'll be more blessed but just the experience of God He says you've got to do something with what you say you believe again Jesus promised that we just read it. "The rains came down and the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house. But it didn't fall because his foundation was on the rock". This is an invitation to live it out loud and to live it everywhere we go. And the point as it relates to this whole series is it is in living it out that our faith gets stronger. Then there's the other character in the story. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice. I mean, they're there every Sunday. They just don't do anything with it. They feel convicted. They wrote it down, even memorize some of them but they never did anything with it.
It's like a foolish person a foolish man or woman who built their house on the sand. It was quick. It was easy. They listened. They might've even agreed and believed with it but they just didn't do anything with it because it's just too hard, just interfere too much. And the rains came down, same rains and the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell with a great crash. This important. Do you know? And maybe this is your story. I hope not. Do you know how people who listen and believe, but don't do do you know how people who listen believe and don't do respond when the crash comes? They often either blame God or they conclude there is no God.
And do you know why they blame God or conclude there is no God? Because their faith is fragile, frail and weak Because although they believed, their faith was feeble, frail and fragile. Even though they believed they had not exercised that faith muscle to be prepared for the inevitable storms of life. I love this part, when Jesus finished the whole thing the whole sermon on the Mount, and then his final you know parable about the wise and foolish builder. When Jesus had finished saying these things the crowds were amazed. They were amazed at His teaching because he didn't teach like everybody else. He taught as one who had authority, not as their teachers of the law.
Can you imagine having been there for that? When your obedience, when my obedience, when our obedience intersects with God's faithfulness, our faith gets bigger. This is an invitation to grow your faith. Because again, it's like a muscle neglect it, refuse to use it refuse to exercise it. Just believe in your head, but that's too hard. That's too expensive. That costs too much. That's gonna, that's too much ego. I have too much ego to do that. I'm not gonna forgive her. I'm not gonna step in. I'm not gonna confront. I, it just I'm just not gonna do it. Neglect it and you miss the opportunity to experience your heavenly Father. And you miss the opportunity to grow your faith and preparation for whatever's coming down the road the inevitability of life.
And if you decide not to. If you decide to be the person who believes but not do and eventually you have a crisis of faith and you walk away from faith, which happens all the time. Initially you will be relieved when you walk away from faith. Honestly for, for a minute, for a day, for for a season, life is easier. When you finally say there's nothing to God and there's nothing to Jesus. There's nothing to any of this. Because building your house on sand is always easier. Quicker requires much less of us. But when the rain comes, the streams rise, the winds blow and beat against that house. It's gonna fall with a great crash and your heavenly Father, this is why Jesus showed up and told us what God is like and spent so much time teaching these things. Your heavenly father wants better for you because one day the storm is coming. One day, the streams are going to rise.
One day, we're gonna walk through the Valley of the shadow of death. And you've seen men and women face all of that with extraordinary confidence in God. And your heavenly Father wants that for you. And the way you get there, the way we prepare is through practicing what Jesus preached. When, when you meet someone with big bold faith like that you'll discover quickly they've been living it not just listening to it. I'm so fortunate because I grew up in a church with my dad where he preached this way. It wasn't just about believing. It's like, how do you do this at school? How do you live this out in a marriage? How you live this out in a relationship? How do you live this out in your finances? How do you live this out in your emotions? I mean, he was so practical and how he taught.
There was a gentleman in my life and in many of our lives in that generation, a man named Dan Kahan, who came to our student camps and he gave us handles. And he started this big thing in Atlanta. We would go to for years, he gave us handles. This is why we provide handles in all of our environments for your children, for your middle-schoolers for your students , this is why we teach practically even in our sermon series. And, and here's the thing there's, there is a time and a place for quiet reflection as facts. One of the reasons, some people don't like our churches is it's kind of loud as boisterous.
And I, you know, I preach too long and there's you know, all this talking and I get that. But here's the thing. And I'm not comparing myself to Jesus. So this is the disclaimer before I say what I'm about to say but read for yourself when Jesus would preach it was not quiet and reflective. When Jesus preached, John says on two occasions while he's preaching, hadn't He finished. They picked up stones to stone Him. It's one of the reasons we have a stage and there's some distance between me and the front row.
You know, it's like it was when Jesus would teach it was so disturbing. It was so upside down. It was so different. He was inviting them, not into simply a different way of believing and, and and you know understanding what that was part of it. He was inviting them to do something different and there was so much tension and there was so much grit. And there was so much anger at times. I mean, one time he was preaching they tried to push him off a cliff. Hadn't even finished the message. So from time to time to follow Jesus to be invited to follow Jesus, there's gonna be tension. There's going to be because there's going to be resistance. I mean, how many times have you sat through a message me or somebody else? And you just argued with me or whoever it was in your mind the whole time.
So you didn't have to do anything with it. We that's the way we're wired and your heavenly Father saying, "Come on, I want you to trust me. I want you to step out and do what you know, you need to do. So on the other side of that you experienced my faithfulness". I love what Lane Jones said. He said this years ago, when he was preaching a message he said, "Unapplied truth is like unapplied paint. It doesn't do anybody, any good". We all have a can of paint somewhere in our garage or basement or a closet. And we're gonna get around to it one day. Aren't we? And it doesn't do us any good. And he said this, "The value you have paint is in the application". And Jesus agreed. Application is what makes all the difference.
So one thing God uses to grow up and mature and blow up our faith is application oriented teaching someone who gives us handles that challenges us not to simply sit and listen and not to simply experience something. And so my, what I would urge you to do is find if you haven't already somewhere where somebody will sit down and teach you in such a way that you know what to do with what you hear and stay engaged and stay involved and make sure your kids are engaged and involved. And it's not just about being better people. It's about growing enduring faith.
Being Faith Full in spite of the fact that we live in a world that seems to have abandoned or given up on faith. And following Jesus it's gonna stretch your faith. It's gonna exercise your faith. It's gonna grow your faith. That's why ultimately following Jesus, will make your life better and it'll make you better. Not at believing. It will make you better at life. And as I've said, multiple times, we all know people that way. So I've had, I've got an idea. Why don't we just become people like that? Well, the world needs more people like that. Your world, your family, your community your where you work, needs more people like that.
So let's not be content to simply believe correctly, and let's not be content to simply believe true things. Let's act on what we believe. And in those moments where we're feeling that prompting apologize, forgive, talk to him, confront him, humble yourself, show up. Let's just say yes, because it's on the other side of that application that our obedience will intersect with the faithfulness of our heavenly Father. And we will experience God and our faith will get bigger. In other words, let's follow let's follow Jesus. And we will pick it up right there. Next time. In part three of Faith Full.