Leon Fontaine - Made Alive
Probably one of the mistakes of modern Christianity is the inordinate focus on this one thought, "My sins are forgiven". And so that's, we're gonna go to heaven and that's a wonderful point. No one wants to spend eternity in hell. So thank you. That our sins are forgiven, that Jesus has done that. And but it doesn't change people's lives much. In fact, as I travel, as I work here in the church, as we teach, as we watch the counseling offices and the issues that are going on. I've found that people who know their sins are forgiven don't change much. And they just kind of struggle through life like everybody else.
There's not much of a change in the percentages of issues, go through divorce, lying, cheating, you know, depression, sickness. There's just not much of a change. Pretty much you come to church for psychological relief of the issues you're going through this season in your life and Jesus comforts you in your hours of grief. Jesus is there through all your losses and poverties and etcetera. And of course, He is. But it just makes living the Christian life not much different in living in the world. And quite frankly, now take this the way I'm saying it. People like taking clips out of what I say.
I can't think of anymore boring than being a Christian and you've only gone as far as your sins being forgiven. It doesn't do much for your life. I mean, it's amazing for heaven. But on this planet, you walk along season after season from single to married to family to grandparent, from poor to rich to wealthy, from nobody to somebody and back to nobody or whatever the seasons of your life are, pretty much nothing changes. And we've never focused on the things that Jesus talks about the most.
And that is that your sins are not just forgiven. But you had been made alive. You are alive to a place, to a degree that you have never known that mankind has never known before. The Bible calls this the mystery of godliness. That you can live like God. You can sound, act like God. You can have the emotions of God. You can have the thinking of God. You can walk in the life of God. You can love people with the love of God. You can live a life where Jesus is living it through you or you can just be my sins are forgiven but I'm gonna live as weak and as defeated and as fearful and as sick and as confused and as unhappy as everybody else. And that's not the Christian life.
And so today, I wanna challenge you as we go into this message, to listen closely to what I say as we go through some of these teachings. The Bible shows us, and I'll show you in the Word that when you listen to the teaching of Word right now, right now, the devils in the room, demons are in the room. They go to church. Hey, the Bible says they were at the last supper because the devil entered Judas right there in the room. Do you believe on demons? The whole world believes on them. It's just the Christians are embarrass about talking about it. All the movies are about demons and fallen angels and every TV series out there and every book that's the most popular book is all about wizardry and witchcraft and Harry Potter and you name it. The world has no problem with the spirit world. It's the Christians who have the truth who are quiet about it. So this, this is a spirit world and they're here at church today.
Now, they have a job. Their job is to steal the Word that you are listening to right now. Their job is to take your attention away. Their job is to move your mind off of the teaching of the Word. I'm gonna show you why that is so crucial. They do not want the Word of God to all of a sudden impact you where you reach out with your mind and your will and you grab a teaching and you pull it in because all of a sudden everything changes. So most don't, it floats in one ear and out the other. They give me a high five and say, "Good preaching, pastor". I'll ask them, what was your favorite point? They don't have one. They don't remember the message 10 minutes after, you know, in the hallways. Sorry, well you've said, I've done that with. But if you do not begin to understand this process not much is gonna change.
And so today, this is a life message that I'm showing you and I challenge you, see if you can actually keep your brain glued in for 30 minutes because you'll find the enemy trying to draw you off. He's the accuser of the brethren. He's the one who's trying to tempt you. Right now, the temptation is away from the Word, away from the Word, away from what pastor is saying. It's not pastor's gonna change your life. It's the presence of God attach to His Word. His Word works. It accomplishes what it is sent forth to do. And right now, I'm sending it to you. What are you doing with it? Because if you don't mix faith in what you hear, it profits you nothing. It's a complete waste of time being here. If you don't mix faith, accept God's Word.
In Matthew 22:29, Jesus is talking to religious people and there some in the room. And He says, "You err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God". You err not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. Now, there's a hope ton of stuff in here. Let me just pull out a couple of points. Where you will have errors in life, where you will make mistakes in life, is where you don't know the scripture and where you don't know the presence and the power of God. We must know the scripture and we must know the presence and the power of God. If you do not know these two things, you will make error after error after error in life. This is crucial.
In John 5:39, He's talking to the Pharisees. But I really believe this is portion of scripture that we as mature Christians need to be concerned about John 5:39. You carefully study, search, and examine the scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. They do in fact testify, witness about me, concerning me on my behalf. So many people discovered Christianity at the time of trouble in their lives. They're sick, marriage is struggling. They're dealing with fear, depression. Something is going on in their life. And so they're attracted to the Word of God to this the way of following Jesus because of heartache.
And I'm glad they're attracted to Him. But when you go to the scripture, if you simply try to meet the need that you have, then once the need is fulfilled you simply move on in your normal way of life. And you don't, you miss the entire purpose is that you're not, you shouldn't be looking for the life that isn't healing or prosperity or peace. But you should be looking for the life giver, Jesus. And to some of you mature saints that are here that your life does not differ much from your unsaved friends and family other than you get to go to heaven and you're secure in that fact. You, your sins are forgiven. And that's a beautiful thing but you do not understand the life, the alive, the relationship with Jesus that will take you through this world in a superhuman ability to live this life, to walk through everything that life has.
It's not about learning formulas. It's not about learning the six steps to everything. We use that in teaching, but it is practically useless to the person who has not discovered Jesus. It's about Jesus. Jesus is talking to the most learned men of the Bible and He says, "You know the scripture and the scripture talks about Me and here I am, and you don't even recognize Me". How ridiculous is that? But you know today I noticed the same thing. We've got Christians who think that who you vote for. Every Christians should be voting over here. We got Christians who think that if you're a Christian, that you should be over here. You should be caring about the political thing. And when you follow the life of Jesus, His entire purpose was to please God. Even a lot of the good things you do, I wonder if they're God things.
Some of you are praying about God's will and every time some good thing opens a door, you think it's God. Good things don't mean they're God things for your life. The direction for your life has been decided centuries ago because He's created paths for you to follow. That you should walk in them. You individually. And Christians get caught up in all the good things to do. It was a struggle that I had in my life years ago as Springs began to, you know, get territory and ground and people began to come out and we get to pack out buildings and stuff.
And all of a sudden, there was a hundred good things that we should be involved in. Every parent church ministry out here that you need to be concerned about and then make the list, from abortion to single moms to the government to this and we are concerned about all of them. But to do them all would bankrupt us in one month. To give the stage to every person who wanted the stage. You know, well, we're here. We want the stage. Don't you care? Don't you care? I say, "Look, we here are following Jesus for Springs". Okay. What does He called us to do? We're following Him one step at a time. And you need to understand that the same way. That you can get your life involve in all these good things. Go do good things.
And if you don't have a relationship with Jesus, you will miss the God things that He's called you to. You get all wrap up in. You know, it's interesting. I'm not gonna preach on this. But it's interesting that Jesus not once took a potshot at the government and the government was one messed of a government. I mean, killing, stealing, dominating. Rome was dominating. Jesus never raised a bunch of people up and went after the political realm. I'm not saying you shouldn't vote. Absolutely. I'm just saying that as Christians we get going on things. We get going on where things aren't going good. We've gotta go after and help the marginalized people. Of course. We've gotta go after and help this group. Of course, of course. But your purpose, isn't that your purpose is to follow Jesus?
And it's easy to differentiate between the bad things and the God things, where it's hard to differentiate is between the good things and the God things. I've had people leave us who I knew God sent to us because they found something good and they get a better position to go there. And they're gonna just go. It's a good thing. But it wasn't a God thing. When I was a young man people would stand in pulpits and they would preach these messages and they would inspire everyone to get down to the front and get to the mission field. I mean, I watch altars fill up everywhere I went, at camps and youth ministries and our church beggars would come in.
And the Bible says go into the world and preach the gospel. What do you do? And it was, and they would just guilt you and motivate you and with tears we would fall down. I literally only know a couple of the hundreds of young people my age I watched go to the mission field. Their marriages are a mess, their kids are a mess. There's lots of missionary kids they go to our church. They have talked to me in the hallways about how brutal it was being on the field with their parents as their marriage fell apart and their family fell apart nothing really happened. And you go, "What happened there"? Well, they probably were chasing good things but not God things. They probably were being motivated by somebody else than motivated by the Spirit of God. And so it's crucial for you to know God.
One of the things that keeps Springs Church healthy is I refused to tell you what to do. People often stop me in the hallways and give me a situation and they'll say, "What shall I do"? And they're looking at me and I don't mind that. They're looking at me with a sense of, "Whose gonna answer a question God"? And sometimes I'll guide them say, "Think about this. Go listen to this". But most cases I listen to them. Give a few verses and say, "Let's pray. I'm gonna pray that God's gonna direct you". Because I don't wanna direct people. I don't wanna be people's God because it's impossible for me to tell you which of the seven good things.
Well, it's easy to tell you, "Oh, that's sin. That's sin". But you know that. But what should I do? Yes, there's lots of good things. But are they God things? And so I wanna challenge you that John 5:39, Jesus talking to people who are know the Word. You carefully study. You search the scriptures. You're looking for eternal life. Now, when they say looking for eternal life, the word "eternal life" does not just mean the length of life. It's also the quality of life. Zoe life. Everyone is looking for a quality of life. Everybody here wants a better marriage including me. Are you admitting that? Are you kidding me? I'm working on everything. I want to be a better father, better grandpa, better husband. I wanna be a better pastor. I wanna handle finances. We all should be growing and leading.
So it says you want this life but you didn't find Me, Jesus said. Here I am. And you're missing this relationship for a whole bunch of trying to find life in areas of your life. The Word is very interesting because if you do not discover Jesus, if you do not build a relationship with Jesus, you are simply another religious person. If you believe on Him, you get to go to heaven. But other than that, give me a Buddhist, give me a Hindu, give me you. There not much difference. Why? Because you don't have, and haven't developed a relationship with Jesus. You've just learned how to get healed, how to get happy, how to get to church. You've put more formulas in place. If you're addicted before to something you try to get on it. There's not much difference.
And so when people argue about what religion is right. You know, there's just no place to get. The difference between following Jesus and all the other world religions was that Jesus didn't come to start another religion. He came to end all religions and give everybody a personal relationship with Jesus. Discover Jesus. Discover a relationship with Jesus. How do we do that? In Mark chapter 4, speaking to mature believers today is that there's a talk there that Jesus is teaching a parable. And He says if you do not understand this parable, you'll understand no other parables. That makes Mark 4 a key to the entire New Testament of parables.
If you do not understand the parable in Mark chapter 4, you will struggle with all parables. The parable in Mark chapter 4 is the one where Jesus says that the sower sows the Word. And then it says, remember some were on the pathway, some go into shallow soil, some go into thistles and thorns. And so it says the birds of the air come and eat the seed. Then the seed gets choked out. Then the sun scorches other seed. And it talks about how that the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches pulls us away. And what this entire scripture is talking about is the power of your heart. Your heart is a womb.
Sorry guys, this sounds weird. But your heart is like soil. And you and I were dead because of sin, okay, and inequity. And then when Jesus came in and made you alive. This life means your heart is alive and it can produce the Word of God in an incredible way. And so as you begin to focus on God's Word, and so God's Word is the seed and your heart is the soil. And when that seed of God's Word begins to come into the soil which is what's happening right now and there are four kinds of people sitting in this room listening.
There are some that yeah, cool, nice message, wasn't enough story. They didn't have enough entertainment value in that one. And so the seed just kind of lands on top of the path and the enemy comes in which is what the birds of air are, and they just eat it. Somebody else's says the soil the seed gets planted in a heart that is just kind of shallow. You maybe gonna try Jesus or maybe you're a believer. But you just kind of try the Word and try it for a couple of days, pastor. That didn't work.
You know that you're shallow. And when the sun scorches or when the life begins to push at you, you abandon your teachings and run to anything else that will bring you pleasure or relief from the pain that you're going through rather than standing strong with Jesus. Then it says there's other soil that is so full of thorns and it's the thorns are the deceitfulness of riches. The beliefs that had been planted into you by life, by school, by parents, and by grandparents are in this heart. And as you try that the thorn and the thistles, they just choke God's Word out. It literally is saying three quarters of the believers who listen to God's Word won't prosper, not because the Word doesn't work, but because the soil's not been prepared.
And so if you wanna see change this year, it won't be by learning new formulas. It won't be by memorizing new scriptures. It will be by hearing and understanding. And for times let me give you one thought to go through in Mark chapter 4, it says here, and those that are planted on good, well-adapted soil are the ones who hear the Word, receive the Word, accept the Word, welcome the Word and bear fruit.
Now let me get this point across to you because, you know, you can go as deep as you want. You'll just be another Pharisee in the Christian world. You can go memorize all the scriptures, listen to every TV preacher you want, go amalgamate all the Greek and Hebrew. You'll just be another Pharisee and Sadducee. But if you want God's Word to radically change you, okay. Radically change you. Then you must hear it. Then you must receive it.
Now, how do you receive God's Word? It is a choice that goes even in my mess up head and my inability to pay attention like I want to. I receive Your Word Father and you reach out by your own will and you desire God's Word. The word "accept" means to accept it like you are an heir. It's like a son receiving. Receive God's Word. Accept God's Word. Anytime you hear God's Word fight to be disciplined in your attention so that you begin to hear it and you mix faith with what you hear. Then it says God's Word comes into your heart and it begins to grow in your entire... If you've given your life to Jesus, you are alive. And you can grow God's Word at an alarming rate, at a beautiful rate, in an incredible way.
And as you hear His Word, as during the week you read the Word. Listen to messages. Feed on God's Word. You are planting fields. If you could just for a minute imagine you as a farmer looking out over miles countless miles of beautiful black chernozem soil and you begin to plant fields of peace. You begin to plant fields of joy. You begin to plant fields of prosperity. You begin to plant fields of healing. You begin to plant fields of just walking in a relationship. All of, that's like your heart. Your heart is eternal. You could never stop planting God's Word as much as you want. And if you will hear, accept, listen, cling to God's Word, those crops will come up.
You see, I'm not at peace because I learned a new trick. I'm at peace because I planted decades of peace. I'm not joyful because I figured out the key. No, there's not a key. It's not because I've got greater will power than you. In fact, I don't. All I've learned is that in my weakness as a human being, my only hope is to go to God's Word which Jesus is the Word. And to feed on the Word and enjoy Jesus as I do that. And as I feed on God's Word and listen to messages and read great teaching books and read God's Word, it begins to get planted into my heart. And the Bible says in Mark 4, that you'll go to sleep, and the seed will grow. And you don't know how it's growing. You don't know why it's growing.