TD Jakes - It's About the Faith Stupid
Touch your neighbor and say, "It's about the faith". I'm not gonna tell you to call 'em stupid. They might can only take one stupid a Sunday. I want you to understand the importance of your faith. I want you to realize that the enemy is after your faith. He may attack your health, but he's after your faith. He may attack your finances, but he's after your faith. He may attack your job, but let's face it, Satan doesn't need your job. He doesn't need your car. He doesn't need your house. He doesn't need your children. What he needs is your faith.
Let me take a minute and digress and explain the audacity of my subject, "It's About the Faith, Stupid". Several years ago, in a political entanglement, when our political leadership was dealing with all the issues in the country, but didn't say anything about the economy, somebody began to say, "It's about the economy, stupid". In other words, "You're avoiding the main issue that is bringing this nation down". And in their estimation, at that time in our history, it was about the economy. And it's no need in talkin' about fixin' the windows and fixin' the drapes if it's about the economy. Let's cut to the chase and deal with the real issue.
I used it this morning because you must understand that faith is the economy of heaven. Faith is the economy of heaven. Let me explain to you what "economy" is. See, actually, this is a good way to explain it. Let me see. I have $100 bill in my hand. In the US, this is worth $100. But because of the value of the dollar is declining, when I was in Europe, I went in there with $100, and it was only worth $50 because this paper, in and of itself, is worth nothing. It is only symbolic of a value. And depending on how you respect this symbolism, it accrues a certain amount of worth based on your perception of the value. It's not like gold. Gold has its own value. It's not like diamonds. Diamonds have their own intrinsic value. This is just paper that has been legalized as tender to be used in exchange for goods and services.
I cannot drive this. I cannot eat this. I cannot wear this. I can't do anything with it. This is just money. But if I take it and I give it to someone, they will give me something I can drive, give me something I can wear, because this is a medium of exchange for goods and services. In this country, it's worth $100. In Europe, it's worth $50. And in Nigeria, it's worth more than $100. It depends on what country you're operating in how much this is worth. In this present world, the world laughs at our faith. They make fun of our giving. They make fun of our living. They don't understand why you're even in church on Sunday. You could be golfing today. You could be relaxing today. You could be catching up on other things. And yet, you got out, got up, got dressed, got on the road, came to church.
Your sister doesn't understand it. Your cousin doesn't understand it. Your neighbors were relaxin'. And here you're coming to church. Because in the world, they do not respect faith as having much value. However, in the kingdom, in the kingdom, if you have faith, let's look at faith in the kingdom. In the kingdom, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things you cannot see". In other words, in the spirit world, God says, "I don't need money to bring you out. I need faith". If you have the faith as of a grain of mustard seed, you can speak to the mountain and say, "Mountain, get out of my way," and the mountain will get up and move out of your way. There's some things that will never move in your life until you develop the faith. Look at your neighbor and say, "It's about the faith".
Now, I got a few of these today, and the more of these I have, the more I can buy, do, build, and sell. The more of this I got, the more valuable it becomes to bring about a change in my life. Y'all are not followin' me. If I only got a little bit of faith, I can only spend a little bit of faith. But if I've been gettin' enough Word in me that I'm startin' to get a whole lot of faith, when the enemy comes in like a flood, then I say, "Wait a minute, devil, I got some more. I got some more faith. Though you try me, I still got ya. You better get out. Turn my daughter loose. Cancer, I rebuke... Touch your neighbor and say, "I'm in a fight right now, but I got enough faith to get out of this mess". Now, take a minute, and if that's really true... Mm, ooh, this is good, ooh.
Sit down, I wanna get into this. "Faith is the substance of the thing I hope for". Now, that means you don't need any faith if you're not hoping for anything. But if you're hoping for something, hope establishes, "This is the goal I'm after". Faith is the bridge that gets you to the goal. See, that's why people who don't have any hope are not interested to coming to church to get any faith, because there's no need in building a bridge if you're not after somethin'. But if you're after something that you can't reach on your own, and you need a bridge to get you there, good God, I better stop it.
I can't talk about faith, 'cause all my 50-plus years I've been walkin' by faith, livin' by faith, buying by faith, praying by faith, selling by faith, moving by faith, preaching by faith, standing by faith, walkin' by faith, talkin' by faith, negotiating by faith, standing by faith, delivering by faith. Whenever the enemy comes up against me, it don't matter how I feel. It matters what I believe. Touch three people and say, "I believe him. I believe him. I've been broke, but I believe him. I've been sick, but I believe him. I've been in a test, but I believe him. I've been in a storm, but I believe him. I've been in a fight, but I believe him. Though the storms keep on raging in my life, my soul has been". Oh, y'all better get me out of here. I'm in no mood for no foolishness, hallelujah. "Though he slay me, yet shall I trust Him".
Trouble comes to erode your belief system. Generally, it is not a sudden erosion. It is, in fact, a gradual erosion, the kind of erosion that is so gradual that you don't even notice the decline, like water passing by a riverbank gradually erodes the bank. Nobody knows exactly when it eroded it, but little by little, one sand at a time, until all of a sudden, you can see a wider gulf because of the friction, the friction of movement. Just in the course of living alone, enough friction is created in life to erode your belief system. You remember, this is interesting to me, in the book of Revelations when he writes to the church at Ephesus and he says that "they have done a lot of things well". He said, "But he has somewhat against them because they've lost their first love". Then he says, "Remember from what great height you have fallen".
That's an amazing statement to me because if I fell off of that banister up there, I'm scared of heights anyway, so maybe this is just me. But if I fell off of that banister up there and then you said, "Remember from what great height you've fallen," if I could get up, I'd probably punch you, like right up in your nose because I'm not apt to forget fallin' unless the falling was so slow that I never noticed the erosion of my faith through the process of my life. Oh, God, I wish I had time for this. Isn't it funny how you can gradually become cynical? They'd become bitter and cynical and antagonistic, and they don't even know when it happened. Okay, you can go through so much that, first, you doubt people. You get where you don't trust anybody. Oh, I wish I had time, Jesus.
I made a statement some time ago that it's hard for older folks to fall in love. The problem is, see, young people haven't seen anything. So when you tell 'em you love 'em and they beautiful and, "I'm gonna be with ya, and I'mma stand by ya," they just swoon, "Oh". And they come in and tell ya, "Oh, Mama, he loves me. Daddy, he loves me". And you be talkin', "Yeah, right". Come on, somebody. Come on, let's be real. 'Cause you've been there, done that. You've heard all of that junk before, and you know that, you know? And that's why it's hard if, for any reason you get old and have to date again, it's hard to get the feeling you had the first time. 'Cause when you start fallin' in love, you catch yourself. Come on, somebody. I mean, the moment you feel yourself fall, you say... Because doubt comes in gradually, little by little, convincing you that nothing magical, listen to this. That nothing magical is going to ever happen in your life again.
Do you understand, oh, God, the gross poverty that comes in the human soul when you stop believing that nothing else magical is going to happen in your life again? It is when faith has eroded to the point that cynicism prevails and you stop believing. Thomas had been through so much. He had given up everything. He'd done without so much. He'd left his job and his career and his family to follow Jesus. He'd dealt with the opposition and the persecution and the cynical attitude of being named and a follower of Jesus. He had followed Christ as Christ talked about the kingdom. "The kingdom is likened unto a pearl". "The kingdom is likened unto". And he bought into all of that. And about the time he was really buyin' in to it, Jesus got arrested.
I guarantee you, God forbid that this would ever happen, in the name of Jesus, I pray, amen. Had to get my faith out and use it a little bit right here. I guarantee you that if I got arrested, see, as long as I'm up and I'm goin' good, you got all them lines and the traffic and the cars and the honkin', and you can't get in here. But if I got into some trouble for a while, I guarantee, you could park anywhere. In six months, you could just pick, "I think I'mma park right here today. I think I'mma park on that side and walk across the bridge". You'd be walkin' across the bridge by yourself.
Jesus had got arrested, and they stood with him. I give him credit. They stood with him good as they took him from judgment hall to judgment hall. They stood with him real good. They were even there at the cross when he was being crucified. They saw him nailed to the tree. Can you imagine seein' somebody that you loved and led you nailed to the tree? They saw him nailed to the tree. And I give 'em credit for somethin' else. They had negotiated and borrowed a tomb to place his body in. And I give 'em credit for when everybody left, they were still hangin' around. They took his rigor-mortis-ridden body down off the cross, and they pulled his hands out from under the nails. They heard the thudding of the hand as they pulled it from the nails. They forced his stiff hands from the position of the cross into the death position. They felt how cold it was, how stiff his joints were. There was no doubt about it. He was dead. He was so dead that his blood had congealed.
For the Bible says that "out of his side came blood and water," the white blood cells from the red blood cells had separated and congealed. His blood had come from his body. It was stiff. It was cold. He was dead. They touched him. They felt him. It was over. It was finished. And Thomas said, "Mm, I'm through with this. I am through with this". Now they were running because the Jews were out to kill anybody who was connected to him and for fear of the Jews the Bible said, "They hid in the upper room, hiding from their persecutors because they said, 'The same thing that happened to Jesus, we gonna get you,'" terrorism. They lost their house. They lost their family. They lost their friends. They couldn't go back to their neighborhood. They were hiding out like criminals.
And these women came along, women. These women had come along and started a rumor that they had gone down to the tomb and the stone had been rolled away and Jesus was gone. And so Peter and John ran down to see, and the stone had been rolled away, and the body was gone, and they came back struck in amazement. And they murmurin' about it in the upper room. Thomas wasn't there. And while Thomas was gone, Jesus walked through the door and appeared, and showed himself alive. And Thomas wasn't there. And so, they came to Thomas and said, "Man, he's back, he's back, he's back. We gettin' ready to go around again. He's back, he's up from the grave". Thomas said, "Look, look, look, I don't wanna hear that. I don't wanna hear that now. Enough is enough. You gotta stop somewhere. This is ridiculous. We got in trouble. We've been through enough".
And let me break it down to modern times. "We lost our car. They repossessed the house. I don't wanna hear nothin' about no faith. Don't come talkin' to me about faith. Because that's how you feel when you feel like faith got you in trouble. So, listen to this. Here's the beauty. Here's the beauty of it. They're havin' a private conversation, ten disciples, because Judas hung himself. We got a mess goin' here. Judas hung himself. Peter done started cussin'. And so, the nine that hadn't hung themselves or cussed nobody out had gotten together with the one that was still cussin' that's still in the church, and they'd gone to the one who was doubtin' to tell him that Jesus had come back. And he said, "Look," he said, "I'm tellin' you right now," because he thought this would never happen, "until I feel the nail prints in his hand and where they pierced him in his side, I am through with this faith stuff. I'm through with it. That's it, I'm done".
Now, while he was runnin' off at the month, here comes Jesus back through the door. Now, when I was younger and preachin' this, I was so fascinated that the door was shut and that Jesus came through it that my big point was that Jesus was spirit enough to go through the door, and then man enough to eat fish after he got on the inside. You could've said he was a ghost when he came through the door, but when he ate that fish, you said, "No, this ain't no apparition. This is the real deal 'cause ghosts don't eat catfish". Jesus in there eatin' some catfish with some Red Hot on it. They said, "No, that's the Master".
I was so distracted by the dichotomy between him being spirit enough to go through the door and human enough to be hungry that I was just mesmerized at the manifestation of the glorified Christ risen from the dead. I overlooked the fact that Jesus walks through the door and says, "Thomas, reach hither your hand". "Wait a minute, Lord, you wasn't even in the room. Hey, you wasn't even in the room when they had the conversation". But God doesn't have to be physically in the room to understand what you said when you said it. And then, friend, I got to thinkin'.
So, bein' the kinda guy, 'cause, here, let me tell you. Let me be honest. I'mma just be transparent. I feel good about you. Love you, love you, all y'all cool, wonderful people. 'Cause I haven't heard nothin' you said about me, so you're cool. If I ever come in and throw you some shade, it's likely to be 'cause I heard what you said. Thomas was basically sayin', "There's nothin' to Jesus". I probably would've said, "Write him off. He don't need me. I don't need him either". Pray for me, I'm growin'. I'm better than I used to be. I used to would've get in a fight, but I just walk off. I'm growin', I ain't there yet. I'm not finished. Jesus comes right in the door and talks to his biggest critic and calls him by name. And so that makes me wanna praise him for speakin' to me even in my doubt.