Leon Fontaine - The Harmony of Grace and Faith
One of our greatest problems as a church. I got to tell you how I really feel, is the message that the church of Jesus Christ worldwide is giving to the world, and it is such a judgmental message. It's such a message that if you do anything wrong, you're going to hell, hell, hell. Go to hell. Go to hell. Don't pass go. Hell, hell, hell. Send hell. And it's actually biblically not true. There's only one sin and I'll show you. That people go into eternity without Christ. But it's created this feeling like if you sin, huh, you are an affront to God. God is displeased with you and you better get the blood of Jesus and forgiveness. And you'd better repent because if you don't, you're done.
Now this ongoing teaching has been around for decades and decades, and its goal was very good. They wanted people to live right. They wanted people to live clean, to make wise choices. And so scare the hell out of them. Just scare the hell out of them. You know, you're going to go to hell, hell, hell, hell, hell. And, but what it did was the opposite. It caused people who were dealing with issues to feel awful in the house of God. It made people who came to church just feel like they're going to get struck by lightning. If they dared to appear with all these perfect people. And they felt like I'm the imperfect one, and look at all these perfectly well put together people. They've got their lives altogether. They don't know much do they? And so because of that, people don't want to be hypocrites.
And I've talked to so many beautiful, wonderful people. They'd say, "Leon, I'd come to your church, bro. But I just don't want to be a hypocrite. My life's not together". And I said, "Yeah," I said, "You know, that's kind of a wrong belief, because your life doesn't have to be together to come to church. The Bible teaches us that the church is like a hospital. It's like a neonatal unit. It's like a teaching college to equip you. It's a family. Do any of those things require perfect people? No". And so today, I want to share a couple of the most basic thoughts in Christianity. But they are so powerful that they will change your life forever. They'll change how you talk to people. Because it's, God is not looking at you and checking out your sins.
Example, as a teenager, as I begin to get really serious of pushing in for God on my own. I would try to pray. Man, I hated praying. Maybe you're like this. I hated praying. Why? Because the second I would get on my knees in my bedroom, or I'd put my feet up when no one's around and I'd start talking to God. My mind would remember everything I did wrong that day. I lied to my teacher, and I got mad at my brother, and I didn't do what I promised my mom. And, you know, I had a dirty thought over there. And you just got this list just comes up. And so I just, I had to get everyone apologized. Sorry dear God. I'll change, hope for me. My whole prayer time was just asking for forgiveness. Oh, don't look at me so saint-like. I mean, and so prayer was never an enjoyment for me, until I found something out I had never known about sin.
And so you have to understand that people think Holy Spirit's job is to convict you of sin. But it's not. That's His job to the world. I'm going to show you a very interesting verse that we've taught on here many times. But it's a stunning look at how to understand the things of God. In John 16:7, it teaches us what Holy Spirit does for this world. It says in here in verse 7, 8, 9, that when Holy Spirit is here because Jesus when He died and went to heaven, He sent Him. He is here to convict the world, it says, concerning sin, to convict world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Three things Holy Spirit's doing. Three things. The first one concerning sin because they do not believe on me. That's the sin. You cannot get to heaven until your spirit is reborn, remade. And that's what Holy Spirit does when you receive and believe on Jesus. This choice of choosing Him.
And so once you give your life to Christ, and you have Jesus in your heart. And that's not a feeling. That's a legal issue of you saying to God, "I choose Jesus. I don't understand everything about You but I choose You. Come on into my heart. I want to learn. I want to grow". This choice only you can make because you have absolute freedom when it comes to God. He's the initial giver of freedom. You do not have to choose Him. You don't have to obey Him. You can choose your own path, your own consequences, your own... etcetera. But Holy Spirit's job is to use His church to share the beautiful gospel of Jesus. And people need to recognize that if you want Him in your life and you want heaven as your eternal home, then you must believe on Jesus and receive Him.
Now once you become born again, all right? It's, the next thing it says now concerning righteousness because I go to the Father and You'll see me no longer. Holy Spirit's job in a believer's life is to keep whispering to him and convincing him. You are righteous. You are righteous. You are loved. You are set apart. You are the apple of His eye. He's excited about you. He can't wait. Get up and try again my son. Come on, my daughter. Let's go. That's what Holy Spirit's job is to do, is to convince you you're righteous. And now, if you're going to believe that He's going to convince you that you're just this dirty, rotten, good for nothing sinner. And that until you get all your sin dealt with, you have no blessing, no miracles, no flow of God's power. Well, you're kind of screwed. Because let's take a look at the list of sin.
The Bible says to know to do good and then not do it. That's sin. Bible says it's not just a matter of doing it, if it's in your heart and you think about it. It's sin. Well, there you all go now. We're all done. It says whatever is not of faith is sin. So if you're going to live your life trying to impress God by how clean and holy you are. That's not even what holy means. So Holy Spirit's job is to convince you. You're in right, righteous. You are in right standing with God because of Jesus not because of your own efforts. Jesus was the holiest, most perfect man that ever walked the planet. And when He would get up to speak on the beach, or in the countryside, the prostitutes loved Him and came to hear.
The drunks and the thieves and the liars like Zacchaeus who just climbed a tree to hear this man. They were so attracted to Jesus. Real righteousness doesn't repel lost people who don't know Christ. It attracts them. But unless you're going to be judgmental and add that to your growth in Christ. And so concerning sin because they don't believe in me. Concerning righteousness, Holy Spirit now is going to teach you that your righteous. That's your position in Christ. And then it says concerning judgment because the ruler of this world, Satan is judged. So Satan knows his time is short and he hates people because of it. And so he's been judged already and there will come a day Revelation says where one angel, when his time is up, when the lease on this earth that mankind Adam and Eve gave over to the devil and that lease is up, okay?
One angel will come. It says he will be chained up and cast into the lake of fire. And so he's been judged. But he's going to take everything with him that he owns. And so concerning judgment gives every believer our marching orders. You could just stay and know, "Hey, I'm blessed. Our God loves me. He cares. He's give me His power, His ability to love and to laugh and to enjoy life. But now there's a purpose. And that is reach wonderful people because there's two kingdoms. The kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light".
This message today is about two words. Faith and grace. When you understand these two words, and you learn to harmonize them and understand how they work together, you will see the very power of God in your life. You see, faith isn't just a believing with your head. It's a heart belief. There's many things that you believe at the heart level, good and bad. And they cause deep feelings to rise up, some bad, some good. And then grace is God's ability that comes to you as a favor because of Jesus. So when you give your life to Christ to be a Christian. You don't have to do it on your own energy. God's grace, His ability, His power, His strength comes to you. But the problem is almost nobody in the Christian world seems how to get it working for them. Because for every mile of truth, there is two miles of ditch.
So we've got people who are only grace. Now this believes that God is in control, completely in control. And I understand what they're trying to say but they don't realize how destructive this teaching is because they believe He's an absolute control. And so God's grace, whatever happens was God's will. Car accident. God's will. Somebody did something wrong. God's will. Lost a loved one too early. God's will. Why? Because it happened. God can do whatever He wants. So if God didn't stop it, didn't do it. Then it's His will. Well, that's actually the doctrine of the majority of Christian churches today. And that's easy for pastors when something happens that is horrible.
You go, "I don't know. God's in control. God is sovereign. Oh, that means He's all powerful". And so people who are in the ditch with just the gray side. They just believe everything is God's will. But then when you look at the Word of God, it says submit to God resist the devil. Well, what good is it to obey that verse if God is sovereign? Well, yeah, that the mess that's happening right now in your life, it's happening. It must be God. God's sovereign. It's His will. Well, then why go to the doctor? Is the doctor going to be able to fix what God is allowing into your life? Why go see a banker to help with your business is going bankrupt and it's God's will. That's how they think. But the Bible doesn't teach that. There is a control that God has over this planet. The time frames that are ahead of us and the enemy will not win. It's already been decided. But grace alone without your faith is not going to function and operate.
And so to just believe that, whatever will be, will be. Que sera, sera. No, that's not true. Well, on that bullet's got your name on it, Leon. Your time has come. Oh, there's a time to die. You think there's a fixed time to die? Well, it says in Ecclesiastes it says there's a time to be born and a time to die. It doesn't tell you an exact time. In fact, did you know, you can increase the time of your life by obeying your parents, Proverbs says. You can increase how long you live by putting a knife to your throat, if you're over eating, Proverbs says. I could give you a whole bunch of things the Bible says that will increase your lifespan. Then how can it be fixed? So do not just accept this doctrine that, you know, God is sovereign. He's going to do what He wants. Because the Bible does not teach that.
It teaches in Ephesians chapter 2 that by grace are you saved through faith. They need each other. Grace is God's part. Faith is your part. When you have faith and grace, and they work together. Faith must believe in grace. The finished work of Jesus on the cross. You have Zoe. Which is the Greek word for life. God's life heals. God's life brings joy. God's life restores marriages, homes, relationships. God's zoe life, He protects. When you begin to recognize the power of what Jesus has done for you and I, and the Bible says that all the promises now are in Him, Jesus, yes and amen. Not if you're good. If, if, if, if, if. In the new covenant, because of Jesus, we come as we are. And if you don't get a miracle, it will not be because you didn't get enough sins dealt with on your way to the service. That's a new thought for a lot of people. Because you're not getting healed because you're so good at cleaning up your sin. He dare say that from the pulpit?
So once we begin to understand that grace is His ability, His power. Someone says, "Well, Leon, you talk like that. People feel okay in their sin". Nobody does. Like, in the issue for dealing with sin in your life as a Christian is that the vertical relationship between you and God is secure because of Jesus. This vertical relationship is what Jesus has done. That's why we've turned to Jesus. And in Jesus, we invite Him into our heart and He comes in and we become alive because of His perfect life. He died on the cross for our sin. 2000 years ago when Jesus died on the cross, He died for me and He died for you. Question, how many of your sins back then were in the future? All of them. And when He died for your sin then, He paid the price. By grace are ye saved.
What is grace? A favor. It's a favor. You know, if I had something of value up here and I thought, "I'm going to give this as a gift to somebody. But I pick out somebody who's doing something for me". It's, you know, like business people with, you know. No. A favor is no strings. Nothing is attached. You, yourself as an individual. If you want to see the power of God begin to move in your life, heal your body, restore that spine. If you want to see your marriage which you're just putting up with, and she's your cross to bear. And you want to see it move to a place where there's a smile on your face again, and you enjoy being with each other. You need Jesus.
You see, grace is a favor but it also means His ability. One guy said to me, "I could never give my life to Jesus because I know right now I could never live up to it". And I said, "Well, you don't have to live up to it. You just are accepted as you are". But I said, "Once you give Him your life, His grace which is His ability, His power becomes yours. Addictions are easy to deal with then". Really? Yeah, Jesus said, "My yoke is easy and My burden is light". Now religion, that will kill you. They'll kill your marriage, your kids. It will kill your body. It will kill your mind. It will just warp you. Religion which is manmade rules. But the gospel of Jesus Christ, Jesus said My yoke is easy, My burden is light. There will be healing and restoration. He heals the brokenhearted, blind eyes see. The lame walk. The Bible says He comes in and He blesses your family to the thousandth generation.
If we get ever understand the gospel... I shouldn't say that way. If we'd ever listen for a while and get what the gospel is about. You see, I'm not interested anymore in the two kinds of Christians. We have the mystics and we have the intellectuals. As I travel and train pastors and we're with people around the world over the years. I find them in one place or the other.
Now, the intellectuals, they'll go and learn the Hebrew, the Greek. They'll memorize the Bible. They are brilliant men and women. And when I talk with them, there's not a thing I can say that they don't already know. But you know what's lacking in their life? Any of God's blessing or power. They'll be the sick, depressed, unhappy, struggling, faithful to Jesus, reading more because they think that faith is an intellectual thing and it's not. Your mind is designed for reasoning. Your heart, this real part of you is where you believe. It's where you dream. It's the deepest beliefs about your identity at the heart level.
And so this heart begins to believe in who you are and what you can do. And your mind is second in command. It comes along to handle the blessing. What do you mean? Well, if you're going to get married. Let's say that your heart attracts this beautiful person into your life and you get married. Your brain needs a little renewing in how to manage a marriage. Now have a kid. They're beautiful. They're a blessing. But now you're going to have to, you had a single life before. Now your mind needs to have systems and structures and deal with things and how to wake up.
We got a baby two, three. Some of you got five, six, seven kids. And if you're going to have a business and you got one employee and a great company. And all of a sudden, you got lots of contracts. Now you got, you know, 20 employees and you got contracts all over the city. You'd better be using your mind to manage, to understand people personality types, hiring, firing. But the direction and the vision and the faith and the capacity and the ability to see the miraculous and the power of God helping you comes from the heart. And when you begin to realize that it sets you free, to realize that my capacity, I can be at peace with God.
And so the heart must always be established in grace, the Bible says. And as you continue to study God's Word, okay, last verse. 2 Peter 1:2, 3, 4, it says, "If you want this grace, this ability, this favor from God to multiply in your life, focus on Jesus". Because as you focus on Jesus through His Word and your prayer time. As you focus on Jesus, it says, grace and peace just multiply in your life. Why? Because when the enemy attacks your faith and says, "You didn't do everything right today". Goes, "Who cares. Jesus is the one that gives the miracles". Yeah, well, you're a lousy at this. Yeah, whatever. He can't get past your armor of Ephesians 6:10 because you are the righteousness of God in Christ.
And so here is where the believer needs to go. And if you have not been able to walk and see God's favor in business and... You singles, listen to me. You don't need to bar hop to find somebody 'cause they're not at church. You don't need to go from church to church, changing church, look at the 20 somes or the teen group to find your husband, or to find your wife somewhere. Why? Because it's the favor of God and it's the blessing of God on your life. And so as you just choose Him and believe for that. This favor brings in the cream of the crop, not the skim milk you're sifting through. The favor of God has been given to you. And He wants to manifest him in your life according to 1 Corinthians 12:7. He doesn't just want you to know it. He wants you to experience it.
I can explain watermelon to you all I want. But until you get one of the ones with seeds. That is done at the perfect time and it's ripe and it comes in. You're having a hot day and someone brings out this great big tray of watermelon. Just try and explain that to somebody. You know, the word, how you're going to, you lacked words. Maybe you could think about enjoying Jesus and what He's doing in your life than just the reasoning and the being good and all the laws and the things you're trying to sort through. It's time for His grace to manifest itself in your life. Heal and restore and build and grow and succeed. That's what He wants to do in your world.
As we come to a close of my message, I want to give you the proper opportunity to accept Christ as your Saviour. Maybe you've never heard it like this. And as a wise person, you didn't want what somebody else presented. But when you see how powerful and wonderful this Jesus is. You say, "Leon, I'm just not sure that I'm born again. That if I died today, I'd make heaven". Pray this prayer with me and accept the incredible gift that Jesus won for us. The prayer, let's pray with these amazing folks making a decision. All of us together. Just say:
Dear God, thank You for sending Jesus. He died in my place. He took my sin, my punishment, my curse. He went to hell in my place. So I could be in Your family and guaranteed heaven. So Jesus, come into my heart. I accept. Guide me from today and on in our relationship. In Jesus' name, amen.