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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Skip Heitzig » Skip Heitzig - Fact-Check Your Faith

Skip Heitzig - Fact-Check Your Faith

Skip Heitzig - Fact-Check Your Faith
Skip Heitzig - Fact-Check Your Faith
TOPICS: Fact-Check

So we're in Hebrews Chapter 11. And you know, there's something that has come out over the last few years called fact checking. And the phenomenon of fact checking, because now everybody has access to the internet, is nobody can cheat anymore. Nobody can readily give out fake news without being called into account because we all have access to run down certain facts. We can go to websites, some of them wholly dedicated to exploring the facts of a matter. And you can discern if what is said, whether it's a news report or a politician's speech or a preacher's sermon. In the old days, you could get away with a lot more. Today you cannot get away with anything. You can get stuff fact checked.

Now put that in the Christian's life. As believers, we deal with facts. We deal with real time events. We are face to face with life. We face the same facts, as a believer, that right now, an unbeliever faces in any country in the world. We're facing something very similar. However, when you bring God into the equation, things look different. Things begin to change. And that is what the life of faith will do for you. What faith does, it brings God into the picture, and it thereby changes your outlook.

Now we all know the word coronavirus. It's part of our vocabulary. It's here to stay. We're going to be saying that for a long time to come, looking back on this very unique time in history. But right now, facts are changing. Models are changing every day. Projections are changing. There's opposing voices of what we should do or shouldn't do, when we should open, when we shouldn't. We're noticing that each state is being very unique in how it's gearing back into business, a variety of opinions on this.

So when we face a difficulty, a trial, an experience that's hard, we have to fact check with faith. So are there issues? Are there difficulties? Yes. But fact, God loves me. Fact, I'm His child. Fact, God has a plan unique for my life. Fact, all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. And fact, I'm going to heaven when it's all done. I've got a future and a hope. I've got God's plan and the best working for me now, and I have a glorious future when it's over.

Now Hebrews Chapter 11 is one of the great chapters in the Bible. And I have a notion that most of you know it already pretty well. We know it as the faith chapter in the Bible. It's similar to what 1 Corinthians 13 is. That's the love chapter. This is the faith chapter. It's as if the author writes this long, beautiful oratory or song about faith using a variety of examples from the Old Testament. The theme of Chapter 11 is common people with an uncommon faith, or simply put, ordinary people who trust an extraordinary God. And because of that, they lived extraordinary lives. They were normal people like you and I are. But they tapped into something in the midst of a difficulty.

Hebrews Chapter 11 has been called a number of things. It's been called the Hall of Faith or the Hall of Fame of faith. It's been called the honor roll of the Old Testament. You know, one of the things that the coronavirus has done with hospitals, and it's going to be changing, we think, soon, but right now elective surgeries are not being done. Like I had a back surgery. I elected to do it. I can't get that done today. So that's been shut down, which means all the elective surgeries like face lifts and plastic surgeries, they're on hold. And so there's people who are, man, I'm so bummed out I can't get that face lift that I wanted. You're not thinking that, Tamara, because you're so beautiful the way you are, you girls, Avery. But now's a good time for you to get a faith lift.

Let's look at Hebrews 11 as something that's going to give us a faith lift. These are people like you and me. These are people who put their sandal on one at a time. They struggled with issues in life. They had to pay rent. But they were models of trust. These are people like Abel and Noah and Enoch and Abraham and Sarah and a host of others. They all had difficulties, but they had to fact check life by bringing God into the equation, adding faith to it, and things changed. Each of them lived in hardship with this world, but each of them lived in fellowship with God. They lived in hardship, yes, with things around them, but they lived in fellowship with the one who is above them.

Well, we face the same obstacles. We face difficult times. And that has been a recurrent theme on the weekends and Wednesday studies for the last several weeks, and rightly so. We're dealing with something very, very unique. We're in tough times. No question. Tough times demand tough faith. By the way, the only way to get tough faith is to have tough times. Faith is like a muscle that needs to be exercised. You need resistance. It needs to be kind of beaten down and broken down, and then you build it back up again, just like when you go to the gym and you work out.

So God is allowing us to go through this difficulty because he's strengthening the outcome of the church's faith going forward. And some of us are saying, oh, I don't know if I can make it. You can make it. You should make it. You must make it, and here's why. Jeremiah once complained, because things were difficult in his life, and he was pleading with God in the midst of a difficult situation.

Listen to the Lord's response to Jeremiah. If you have run with the footmen and they have wearied you, how will you contend with the horses? And if, in the land of peace in which you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain in the Jordan? In other words, yeah, this is tough, but I'm preparing you for something, perhaps, that is tougher going forward. So God is conditioning us. And the way we get conditioned is to have our faith challenged.

Now not everybody agrees that faith is even a worthwhile disposition. There's people who marginalize the life of faith. They think that it's crude and outdated and it's for weak people. It's a superstition. The American author HL Mencken said, faith may be defined as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable. In other words, it's a blind leap in the dark. It really makes no sense at all. But weak people do that.

But I contend that everybody has faith to some degree. There's natural faith, and everybody has that. You go to the faucet, you turn on the faucet, and you don't know what's living in your pipes, but you've had enough experience to know that probably I'll be OK. Go to the car and you put the key in and you turn it, though you may not understand how engines work and electricity and pistons and rings and all that. But you have faith that it's not only going to turn on, but roll down the road.

You go to the pharmacy, and they say take two of these every four hours, you don't know what's in there. You're hoping that there's somebody back there with enough experience to give you something that won't kill you. You go to a restaurant, for takeout, and you go home and you eat it. You don't know what's in there. It's probably good that you don't know what's in there. But you have had enough experience that that natural faith is going to carry you through.

So we all have faith. I remember when my son Nate, who's now a pastor on our staff and a gifted leader, when we would give him a meal, if he didn't know what it was, and my wife cooked it, but he had a very unusual prayer. You know, we usually, Lord bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies. He would pray this prayer. Lord, I pray this food is not poison, in Jesus' name, Amen. Not a whole lot of confidence in his mom. So we're going to look at Hebrews Chapter 11. And we're going to begin with some preliminaries before we get into some examples of people who did fact checking by bringing faith into the equation.

Hebrews 11, Verse 1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it, the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God so that the things which are seen were not made of the things which are visible. Let's begin by talking about the essence of faith. That's where Verse 1 comes in. It tells us not really a definition, but a description of faith, the essence of faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

I've always found it interesting, maybe funny, maybe funny isn't the right word, but sad, I would say, the way some people try to define faith. They define faith as, some people, a blind optimism, saying things like, things are going to work out. I have faith. In what? Way do you have faith in? What is the object of your faith? So that's just sort of a blind optimism. Everything's going to work out. I have faith.

Others' view of faith is like positive confession, the idea of whatever the mind can believe and conceive, it can achieve. And so you just speak out. Your words are the containers of your faith, and you speak out a positive confession. The problem with that, that can be faith in faith. You're believing in the power of faith alone. To other people, faith is a feeling. I don't know if any of you here remember the movie Oklahoma. Do you remember it? It was an old musical. You remember it? So you have seen it because you've had acting experience, Ryan. So there is a song, you'll recognize the song. Oh, what a beautiful morning. Oh, what a beautiful day. I've got a beautiful feeling. Everything's going my way.

What a wonderful feeling. To some people, that's faith. I have a wonderful feeling, and it's my feeling that things are just going to be OK. Listen, faith is only as good as its object. If your faith is in faith, if the object of your faith is the power of faith, it's going to fail because some days it's strong, some days it's not. If your faith is in a feeling, well, that's going to go up and down.

You have to have faith in God. True faith clings to the promises of God, not to the premises or preferences of man. It has to be rooted in something more solid, and that is the promise of God. That's why it says in Verse 3, by faith we understand the worlds were framed by the word of God so that things which are seen were not made of things that are visible.

Some people have seen faith as believing in spite of evidence. Now nothing could be further from the truth. To believe in something despite or contrary to evidence is just superstitious. So what I love here is that what the author does is he gives us the essence of true Biblical faith, and he says two things. It's the substance of things hoped for. It's the evidence of things not seen. They are two parallel phrases that essentially mean the same thing. One just builds on the other. It's not a full theological definition of faith, but it is the essence of faith.

So listen to Verse 1 in the New Living Translation. What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. So take that first phrase here. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. I like that. Faith has substance. It's substantive. So the word translated here, substance, means a firm, solid assurance, or better yet, a foundation. It comes from two Greek words put together that means to set underneath, to set underneath. So you put something underneath and you rest on that. It's a support. It's a firm ground to stand on.

So then faith is not something that you concoct in your imagination. It's for weak people who need to look outside of themselves and believe in some God that they made up. It's not fabricated by the mind. Faith, true Biblical faith, has solid substance. There's a great story about John Patton, who became a physician and an academic. And before that he was a missionary to the New Hebrides Islands in the South Pacific, filled with cannibals, by the way. He went to these islands. He was translating the Gospel of John. And he was trying to come up with the right word in the receptor language for the word faith, the word believe, the word trust. And he didn't find an adequate word to translate into that language.

So he is in his tent one day. And he did have a desk. He had a chair. And he had a local attache or servant with him who knew the language. So he would ask him questions. Well, what does this mean? What does that mean? So one day he sat in his chair at his desk and he said to him, he said, what am I doing? And the man said you're sitting in your chair. So then he leaned back a little, put his feet up in the air like this, said, now what am I doing? And the word the man uttered back to him was a word that, when translated, means to lean your whole weight upon. What am I doing right now? You are leaning your whole weight upon that chair. So he said, that's the word to translate trust, faith, belief.

So John 3:16, in that language, is, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever leans his whole weight upon Him will not perish, but will have everlasting life. That's the essence of faith. It's substantive. It has a strong under-girding and foundation. You might say that faith is putting all your eggs in God's basket, and then counting your blessings before they hatch. It's got real substance. So that's the first phrase. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. Second parallel phrase is, and it's the evidence of things not seen. That's the same truth, but it just kicks it up another notch, goes up another level. And the word here for evidence means the satisfying conviction. So that which I rest upon becomes deep within me something I'm really convicted in that it's true, a satisfying conviction.

And the idea here is that faith acts upon that confidence even though I can't fully see it. I don't see it all yet. It's not completely revealed. A man of faith acts upon what he believes even if he can't totally grasp it. You going to the doctor, to the pharmacist. You don't understand all the compounds, but you take it by faith, and you apply it. I've always loved the story about a grocer, a guy who owned a grocery store. Old days now. Think small town America, little grocery store, the kind that had the cellar beneath the store. So he had a wood floor, he'd go down the steps. He kept his stock down there, moved it upstairs.

So he went down to get some items, some stock to bring up to the shelves. And while he's down there, so up top, it's It's very well-lit because you have natural window light. Down below it's dimly lit. While the grocer was down in the cellar, the grocer's son was in the main part of the store looking down that hole where the ladder is. He couldn't see anything because it's so dark. It's so well-lit up here. Couldn't see anything.

And his dad looks up and sees his son, his well-lit face from the window light looking down, peering down. And the dad says, jump. The boy can't see. He can only hear a voice that says, jump. He goes, I can't jump. Come on, son, it's your daddy. You recognize my voice. You hear my voice. Jump. And the boy said, I can't jump, daddy, I can't see you. And daddy said, but I can see you. And you know me, and you know that I love you. The boy just jumped. So there was substance and conviction that dad was going to be down there to catch him. That's the essence of faith.

Now when it comes to living a life of faith, and the need to fact check with a life of faith, it's because of this. There is a spiritual reality around us that we don't see with our natural eye. If we could see it, it would change our life. I'll give you a few examples. In the Old Testament, there's a guy who's running from his brother. His name was Jacob, and his brother, Esau, because of the stolen blessing. Jacob hightails it through the country. His brother is running after him, chasing him.

And so Jacob runs. He goes to this spot where it's desolate. He doesn't have a tent, doesn't have a home. He lays his head on a rock at night. And he's very lonely. He's very isolated. He feels very alone. When he falls asleep, the Lord gives him a vision, a dream. And he sees a ladder going all the way up into heaven and the Angels of God going up from the Earth and coming down from heaven to the Earth.

Jacob wakes up the next morning and says, the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not. And he calls the place Beth El, which means the house of God. Truly, this is the house of God. Surely this is the gate of heaven. I love the way it's worded. The Lord is in this place, not was, is. Present tense, but I knew it not. I know it now. But I knew it not yesterday, but now I know it. There is now an awareness. I have seen into the other world a reality I didn't know existed. But now I do. And it changed the way he did life. That's one example.

Another example is the prophet Elijah. He's down at a town called Dothan. The Syrian army camps surround him. The reason the Syrians are after him is because Elijah the prophet could tell what the Syrian army was going to do before they did it. As soon as a battle cry went out, bring your men here, he would tell the Israelite commander and they'd be ready for it.

So the Syrian army says, look, we kind of have a snitch. God is telling this guy what we're doing. We got to just get rid of this guy. So the Syrian army camps around where he is, where Elijah and his servant, Gehazi are. And the next morning the servant of Elijah, Gehazi, looks around and the sees armies on the hillsides all around him, and he freaks out. He says, what are we going to do, master? We're surrounded. And the Bible says that Elijah said to his servant, do not fear, for those that are with us are more than those that are with them. Now I'm sure the servant of Elijah didn't understand the meaning of that. What do you mean, there's more with us than with them? There's a whole lot of them. I just see two of us.

Then he said, Lord, I pray, open his eyes. Open his eyes. And it says that the Lord opened his spiritual eyes to perceive that the angels of God were encamped around the Syrian army, more in number than the Syrian army itself. So before, the servant of Elijah was looking out saying, poor us. Now he's looking out saying, poor them. They're surrounded. They're dead meat. So both of them were able to see into the spiritual realm, and because they did that, things changed. Faith is the organ by which we are enabled to see into the invisible order.

Remember Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego, those three Hebrew children. That was their Babylonian names. Nebuchadnezzar gave an order. They defied the order. The king said, well, you defy my order, I'm going to throw you into this burning fiery furnace. So what do these three guys do? Do they obey the king they can see, Nebuchadnezzar? Or do they trust in the king they can't see? They can't see but they know He's there. They decided to put their faith in the one they cannot see but knew was there, and it changed everything for them.

That's how substantive faith is. Jay Oswald Sanders put it this way. Faith enables the believing soul to treat the future as the present and the invisible as seen. So it's not to be marginalized. It's not unsubstantive. It's not backwards. It's not just illogical. It's substantive. So the fact check we need to bring into every situation is, I serve a God who is bigger and more powerful than this virus or anything else. So that's the essence of faith.

Second is the effect of faith. That's Verse 2. The effect of faith is this. For by it, that is, by faith, the elders obtained a good testimony. Now pause for a moment. What does that mean? For by it, by faith, the elders obtained a good testimony. Well, it could mean a couple of things. Number one, as it's translated here in the New King James, it could mean that these people listed in Hebrews 11, these Old Testament examples of faith, left a good witness. In other words, they were a good example. They were a wonderful pattern to follow.

Or it could mean that they were a good testimony before God, that God is approving of their witness. And probably that's what it means. The New Living Translation translates Verse 2, God gave His approval to the people in the days of old because of their faith. NIV is very similar. This is what the ancients were commended for. So the idea is that God approved of their life. And that is fully supported. If you go down to Verse 5, it brings up Enoch as an example. By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death and was not found because God had taken him, for before he was taken, he had this testimony, or this witness, that he pleased God.

But without faith, it is impossible, Verse 6, to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. So the experience of the people of faith is they leave a good witness to the world, and God gives them His stamp of approval. They are pleasing to God, which, by the way, should be our motivation in life, by the way. Our motivation in life, the New Testament calls it glorifying God. Jesus called the cross his way of glorifying the Father. Father, glorify yourself. The time has now come for you to be glorified. So the idea is I'm going to live my life to please God. And this is the effect of faith. When you live a life of faith, God is pleased.

2 Corinthians, Chapter 5, Paul writes, we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well-pleasing to God. That's our goal and aim in life. Jesus said, I always do those things that are pleasing to Him. Don't you wish you could say that? I wish I could say, I always do those things that are pleasing to God. I can't say that. I'm working on it. I'd like to. I want to get better at it. But Jesus could say, and live that way, I always do those things that are pleasing to Him. But that's the effect of faith when you live a life of faith, you leave a good witness, and you get God's stamp of approval.

Another one of my favorite stories is a story about a group of entertainers. You're going to like this, Ryan, because you grew up in this industry. They were a group of actors, minstrels, singers. And they formed a little group, and they would travel through European towns playing at taverns and places where people could pay a modest amount for a ticket and get good entertainment over a meal.

But it was turning from fall to winter. It was getting colder. An economic downturn in the economy, like now, was happening. Less people were coming out, and the group was getting discouraged. So one of them said before a performance, they looked down and saw just a couple of people sitting in the chairs, and one of them said to the whole group, I think we should just not go out tonight. I think we should just quit. Look, nobody's coming. It's starting to snow outside. Fewer and fewer are coming to hear us. It's really not worth the effort anymore. So let's just call it quits.

The oldest and more experienced man, who had been in this group a long time, said to the younger man who was saying this, he said, no, I think we owe it to those people who are here to give our best performance ever. This may be the last time we do it. After tonight we can re-evaluate. But let's just give it our best shot. And then after tonight, well, we'll discuss it. They went out, gave the best performance they ever had to just a few people. It was dark, so they couldn't see who's there. But afterwards, the old man was handed a note, he opened it up, he then shared it with the whole group, that said, thanks for a beautiful performance, and it was signed, Your King.

The kind of that realm happened to be coming through, happened to hear about it, go inside. They didn't know their king was there. They got to perform for their king, and they won their king's approval. Boy, that changes a person's motivation when you know I'm doing this for my king. And my king might say, I love that, or how come you didn't put your heart into it? So that's the effect of faith, for by it the elders obtained God's vote of approval, you might say.

When you live a life of faith, not everybody is going to give you their approval. They're not going to cheer you on, necessarily. They're not going to be clapping for you or encouraging you. But you'll have God's approval. Here's the question you have to ask yourself. Is that enough for you? Really should be because if you know that you're pleasing God, if you know you're pleasing God, I can almost guarantee you, no, I can guarantee you, it's going to be enough. You're not going to care who likes it or who doesn't like it.

The biggest payoff to the life of faith is knowing that God is pleased with your life. And then there's another payoff. There's heaven afterwards. There's home afterwards. You're not home yet. You're not done yet. You still have a welcoming committee yet ahead. So that's the essence of faith and the effect of faith. I'm going to give you a third component, and that is the example of faith that the author gives us. That's in Verse 3. Now he gives several personal examples later. But he begins with a grand example. Here's the example. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Now there's a lot in that verse. I want to unpack it for you.

Again, before giving any personal, private examples, the author gives this colossal public example of faith, and that is creation. Creation. He's assuming that the audience believes in the creation narrative, the creation story. By faith, we understand the worlds were framed by the word of God. Notice it doesn't say, we understand the world, singular, was framed by the word of God. But notice it's put in the plural, worlds. It's the Greek word... worlds plural. So the idea here is the universe. That'd be a better translation. By faith we understand that the universe was created, the physical universe was created by God.

Here's what the author is saying. You Hebrews, he's writing to the Hebrews, you Jewish people already have a certain kind of faith. That's his example. You already believe that God created the universe. You believe this even though you weren't there when it happened. The only way you're certain of it, you rely on it, is because it was revealed to you. The word of God tells you that. That's what he's saying. It was revealed to you. You weren't there when it happened. How do we know the world was made? How do we know the universe was created? By scientific observation? No, because no one was there to observe it that I've met. Have you met anybody who could say, I was there when God created the heavens and the Earth? No. Nobody was there to see it. Only God was there.

Do we understand it by laboratory experiment? No, because we can't replicate the original set of circumstances to observe it over and over and over again to come up with fact. We believe it by faith. We believe it because it was revealed by God. Genesis Chapter 1, Verse 1. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. God created out of nothing, ex nihilo creation. Out of nothing God created everything.

Now I realize, I've been around long enough. I have a little bit of a science background. Unbelievers automatically dismiss God and a life of faith whenever we talk like this. Whenever we talk about a creation, they see this as simplistic. They see this as crude. They see this as naive when, in fact, Genesis Chapter 1, Verse 1, that was one short verse, is incredibly precise and neatly sums up the truth. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. Back in 1903, a scientist by the name of Herbert Spencer said that everything in existence can be put into one of five categories, one of five categories, time, force, action, space, matter. Everything in existence can be put in one of those five categories. Time, force, action, space, and matter.

That happens to be Genesis Chapter 1, Verse 1. In the beginning, that's time, God created, that's force, the heavens, that's space, and the Earth. That's matter. All five categories placed in one verse. We believe that. That's something we apprehend and know by faith. It's faith that informs us that the first un-caused cause is not an impersonal process known as evolution, or theistic evolution, even, but it's the result of a personal God. He is the first un-caused cause. God created the heavens and the Earth.

Instead of saying, billions of years ago there was an explosion, and rubber was bubbling forth and metal was bubbling forth and a car oozed up, eventually, out of the pavement. Go out in the parking lot and you'll see it. Whenever we see something that looks like it's been designed, we infer there is a designer behind it. If I look at this set, I could say, it's amazing how this just happened over a long period of time. We came here one day, and the rugs were here, the couch was here, the surfboard was miraculously here. And the guitar. No. You'd say that and say, you're an idiot if you believe that. This design set speaks of a designer, and there are very capable designers, some of who are watching online, one who is present, or a couple who are present in the other side of the campus, who can attest to the fact that yep, they designed it.

So when you see design, you think there is a designer. It's a very powerful argument, the argument by design. It comes from an axiom. Whenever there is a thing, there must have been a preceding thought. Whenever there is a thought, there must have been a thinker. Somebody had to think that up and then put that into reality.

So if that's true with a car, or this set that we're coming to you with, it's much truer of the human body that God created. You could think this is just the product of fortuitous occurrences of accidental circumstance. Or you could say, boy, it sure seems like this human body has been designed.

I love to look at these things, and I love to research these things, read about them. The human body has 30 trillion cells. Tamara, did you wake up this morning thinking, I have 30 trillion cells? Wow. Not your first thought. So in each human body, about, give or take a few billion, 30 trillion cells. In each cell is the nucleus. You learned about that in school. And inside the nucleus are millions of components. In every nucleus there's 23 pairs of chromosomes. You know about that, right? Mom and dad put those there, or you get it from there.

So your chromosomes, the DNA inside every nucleus of every cell, it's like scrunched up material, scrunched up, coded information written into that DNA. If you took the densely recorded information recorded in the DNA of one nucleus of one cell of your body, and you translated it into words, readable language, you took the information of one cell of your body, it would produce 40 these, 40 volumes, 40 books. So if you took one of your cells, decoded it, put it in written language, you would have a stack of 40 books.

If you were to do that to all of the 30 trillion cells in the human body, it would fill the Grand Canyon 30 times with books. That's how much information which tells each cell how to act from conception to expiration to death.

So Verse 1 through 3, then, that gives us this life of faith, it tells us that faith is the lens that we as believers, as Christian believers, use to live our life. We look at life, we look at everything through the lens of Biblical faith. Not the lens of fear, not the lens of a feeling, not even the lens of facts, factual information, because facts can change depending on who's giving and using the facts. So we need to fact check our facts. We need to fact check our fear. We need to fact check our feelings with the life of faith.

So to sum it all up, this is the essence of faith. Faith is a solid confidence that moves you into action. It's a solid confidence that when you jump, your dad's going to catch you. That's the essence of it. The effect is you get God's stamp of approval on your life. You are pleasing God. You are glorifying God. You are leaving a good testimony and a good witness for others.

And the prime example, before giving personal examples, is the creation that we believe was given to us by God. It's God's design. So what the author of the book of Hebrews would be saying is, now it's your move. Now it's your move. You have a rudimentary faith that God created everything. Your faith is substantive enough to give you a solid foundation. It's winsome and wonderful enough to leave a good testimony, and it'll please God. So what are you doing with it?

I'll tell you what you're doing with it. You are exercising it right now. Right now, in this difficult time. You're going to the gym with your muscle of faith. You're getting a workout, and you're getting stronger because of it.

The last few months, and I've talked about this enough, and I don't need to belabor it, but I do want to say that I've been under the care primarily of two physicians, one for my back and one for my brain. Interestingly, I let both of these physicians take scalpels and cut into my body.

I gotta tell you, they explained to me what they were doing. I kind of did a lot of this. I didn't have a whole lot of questions. I had a few. But I didn't understand everything. I hope that they knew how to connect the dots and sew the right parts together and put the right screws in and make the right holes in the right places.

But I let them do that. I had to, at some point, disengage how I felt with their capability. And the result has been so far, so good. I mean, some people will disagree. That whole brain thing kind of left you a little wonky.

But I want to ask you a question. Are you needing to fact check your life of faith? Because right now, for some of you, it's being challenged by immense fear. You wake up in the morning, or in the middle of the night, fearful. And again, as I said, faith is a muscle that needs to be exercised. It's exercised so that it grows stronger. That's what exercises faith, struggles, hardships, uncertainty, hard times.

Most of you know I like motorcycles. Always have. I grew up in a family, my dad had motorcycles, my brothers had them. The only one that didn't ride was my mom, but we all rode. And whenever I put a passenger on the back, here's what I noticed. Passengers on the back of the motorcycle, as long as we're going smoothly and not too fast, they're just sort of balancing. They're maybe holding onto the seat if it has a strap or a handle.

But I noticed something if we take a turn or go over a bump. They grip. They grip tighter. They might grab a hold of me, or if they're grabbing a hold of me and they get a bump, they'll grab tighter. Now is time for you to grab tighter, firmer. Hold on closer. Jesus knows what he's doing. He's having fun taking you on all these wild turns and curves and bumps. He's not worried in the least. He's got you. He's got this. Grab tighter.

Some of you aren't even living a life of faith at all. Some of you haven't even engaged with God by faith. You're simply observing coronavirus, the lockdown, the turn-down in the economy. This is just a bad thing that happened to the world. But you're watching from afar. You're tuning in now. We're glad you're tuning in. But you need to engage personally in this life of faith. That's a personal commitment. God loves you and God is trying to get your attention. And you have a choice from now till the moment you take your last breath.

But after that, your choices are over and this life is over, and you will face the consequence of the choices you made on Earth. Jesus said, you are either for me or against me. And he's giving you an opportunity, friend, right now to be for him, and to engage with the living God who has a plan and a purpose for this world, for this creation, and for you.

But you have to engage with him. And he's saying, jump. I'll catch you. And you're saying, I can't see you, God. And God is saying, yeah, but I can see you. And if you don't know me, I'm going to reveal myself to you in a very powerful way. I think God is already doing that for some of you who are watching this service. And I want to now take it all the way through. And I want you to give your life to the Lord. I'm going to give you an opportunity to say a prayer with me. And it's a prayer of surrender. It's beautiful. It's a prayer of faith.

It's simply saying, I don't know all about you. I don't understand everything that is revealed about you. I don't understand this book called The Bible, but I'm willing to trust you personally, put my faith in you. It's a simple approach. It says, without faith it is impossible to please God. But he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. That's the text we read.

So I'm going to lead you in this prayer. If you are willing to jump into His arms, so to speak, you say this prayer. He won't let you flop. He won't let you drop. He'll catch you. But you have to make this commitment. So say this to him. Say: "Lord, I give my life to you. I don't understand everything, but I surrender to you". Some of you are feeling in your heart right now that need to let go. You've grabbed on tight not to Him, but to this world, to your 401K, to your bank account, to your relatives. And all of that, maybe, is failing you right now. And so this is a good thing. Say this to Him, say:

Lord, I know that I'm a sinner. I admit that. I believe you said Jesus, tell him that, I believe you sent Jesus into this world to die on a cross for me and to rise from the dead. I believe Jesus is alive right now. Tell him this. Lord, I turn from my sin. I turn to Jesus as my Savior. I want to follow him as my Lord and my master. Help me. Help me. Strengthen me to live for you today and every day in Jesus' name. Amen. Amen.

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