TD Jakes - Put Your Faith into Action
Faith is the door of legal access that brings you into the kingdom. The Bible says that "without faith it is impossible to please God". Absolutely no way in the world that you can please him without faith. You can clean up your act and stop smoking and stop drinking and stop chewing, and stop running around with people that do, and become as morally good as you want to be, and still be just as far away from pleasing God as you were before. "You mean, Brother Jakes, if I clean up my life and get myself together, God is not impressed"? No, he's not impressed.
There are people who live better by accident than we do on purpose. There are people who don't even believe that Jesus is Lord who have more moral integrity and are more committed to their philosophy of life than many of us that say we are Christians. As Christians, we should be moral. We should be clean. We should try to live a sinless life and so forth. But that is not our distinction. Our distinction is that we have believed on the shed blood of Jesus Christ. For the Bible says, "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation". There, then, is a correlation between the heart and the mouth. "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness". That's in your heart. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation". In other words, believing God brings you into a state of righteousness.
This didn't just start in the New Testament. It started in the Old Testament. "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him as righteousness". Well, I had no righteousness to bring before God of my own, but he set up a coupon sale called "redemption" and said, "If you believe me and you can come with faith, I will give you righteousness in spite of the fact you were not right. I will declare you righteous if you will put your faith in me". So, you cannot be a born-again, blood-washed Christian without faith. See, but we're so engrossed in what we see and what we feel and we read in the paper and what we heard on the news, and we operate in our natural senses rather than in our spiritual senses, and God, that's why, "The eyes of the Lord go to and fro throughout the earth". He's looking for somebody who will stand on his Word and say, "Lord, I believe you. Come hell or high water, I believe you. My body's wracked with pain, but I believe you. My circumstances are in trouble, but I believe you. I believe that you're able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that anyone will ask or think. I don't care what the accountant says. I don't care what the doctor says. I don't care what the lawyer says. I still believe you. And when it's all over, I am coming out of this".
Pack your bags, baby, we're coming out. I'm not talking about this kind of modernistic, superficial, camera-ready, shake and bake, microwave stuff that passes for faith today. This is a luxury that we have in this country because we got urgent cares and emergency rooms and medical centers and all kinda stuff. But you have to go where people are in trouble to see faith really flourish. See, you don't really know nothing about faith when all your bills are paid, and your body's feeling good, all your kids are acting right, your marriage is intact. You have to go through something where all hell is breaking loose and you got trouble everywhere, and you got to believe God.
Jesus left from Jerusalem, passed through Samaria. Samaria, that untouchable place where the Jews had no dealings, no dealings with healthy Samaritans, much less a sick Samaritans, not healing sick Samaritans. He's now dealing with lepers, at least of which some of them were Samaritans, lepers. Nobody wanted to deal with a leper, much less a Samaritan. Lepers were commanded to announce their coming so people could move. "Unclean," they'd say, "unclean, unclean". People's hearts were filled with terror when they heard that cry, "Unclean". They moved out of the way. The lepers were not a pretty bunch of people. Their spotted, infected skin drew gnats and flies, infectious diseases. Nobody would treat them. The lepers were a mess. It was not usual to see, as leprosy began to take in and eat up the flesh and even the muscle tissue, little by little, you would see fingers fall off their hand while they were walking. Nobody wanted to touch a leper for fear that in the process of getting near a leper that it might get on you.
You think people today have a fear of AIDS? Leprosy, if you got close to it, if you got near it, if you made any casual contact at all, you could get infected, and they were commanded to stay in their place in the lepers' den, live in colonies. And you can't get well living in a colony, hanging around people who are messed up in the same area that you're messed up in. If you're trying to be delivered from lying, you can't hang around with a bunch of liars and get delivered from lying because the spirit in this liar will get with the spirit in that liar, will strengthen the spirit in that liar, and there you are trying to be delivered and all those spirits... oh, God. Why do people hang in colonies with people who cannot help them? Maybe it's because those of us who don't have the problem won't associate with people who do have problems. "Unclean, unclean, unclean," mothers would snatch their children. Husbands would grab their wives. "Back up, baby, here they come, the unclean".
Jesus came down through Samaria. I would like to tell you that Jesus came to the lepers' colony, but he didn't. He did not. He didn't come to the lepers' colony. He was just passing through. He was not looking for the leppers. What do you do when you're losing life or joy or peace or strength or relationships or finances, hemorrhaging emotionally or financially, attitudinally, and Jesus is not even looking in your direction? I'm not a jealous person. I'm not jealous by nature, but you can get frustrated when it seems like he's blessing everybody else but you. And you wonder, "Lord, when is my turn going to come? I've been faithful, and I've been seeking you, and I've been serving you, and look like you're blessing all these other people, and you're headed to somebody else. Hey, 911, this is an emergency. I need some help over here". Have you ever?.. Maybe y'all don't pray like that, but I open up and I tell God everything. "It might not be right, but this is how I feel about it. You may have to fix my heart, but I got an attitude".
Jesus was passing by and the lepers didn't holler, "Unclean, unclean". Oh, it's gonna get your head in the car. It'll hit you on your way back home. See, when the emergency gets bad enough, sometimes you got to break some protocol to get a breakthrough, break the rules and say, "Look, I know I'm out of order, but I need a breakthrough". Now, I know there are all types of personalities in here, and some people are reserved, and I respect that. Some people are not as animated as me, and I can appreciate that. But all of you who are not too worried about what people think. Holler, "Have mercy"! "I know I don't deserve this blessing. I know I don't have a right to this blessing. I know I'm not on your schedule. I know you weren't coming by my health, but could I have a little mercy"? Shout unto God. See, there were some folks in the Bible that had to holler to get healed. Blind Bartimaeus sat by the highway side begging, but when he heard Jesus was passing by, he said, "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy"! They said, "Shut your mouth. Shut your mouth. Shut your mouth. Shut your mouth"...
Look at your neighbor and say, "Where is your faith"? You mean, you gonna sit up here and just die and just faint and just wither away and planning your funeral and give up and give out? "Well, we can't save the marriage". "Well, we can't save the children". "Well, we can't save the house". When are you gonna say, "Enough is enough, devil, you ain't taking another thing"? Hey! Shake your neighbor by the hand and say, "Neighbor, if you start it, God will finish it". If you just start it, look at somebody and say, "Set it off in here". Enough is enough. Enough is enough. I have taken it enough. You've been quiet long enough. You've held back long enough. You've lost enough stuff. They're after the car. They got the house. The devil's got your kids, messed up your marriage, and you ain't saying nothing? You better open your mouth. "The power of life and death is in your tongues".
Now, sit down. I'm just talking to you. Don't get all excited and stuff. The interesting thing... Whoo! Oh my god, I feel something in here, y'all. It's gonna be tough to finish this 'cause I feel a gully-washing, earth-shaking, thirst-quenching move of the Holy Ghost about to hit this place. Look at the sequence. Sit down, I wanna talk to you. I want you to see this sequence. Jesus didn't start it. They started it. That's why the devil wants you to sit back and think you waiting on the Lord. They started it. You see this? I lost my thumb. I lost one of my fingers. You see it? I lost one of my... hey! Stuff is falling off. I lost my joy. Hey! The devil took my oldest. Now he's after my youngest child. Hey, I can't lose nothing else. Oh, watch this.
Evidently, Jesus wasn't, he didn't even see them. He wasn't even looking at them until they hollered, because the Bible said, "They screamed, 'Have mercy.'" And then it says, "When he saw them, he said". Mmm, throw your hands up and say, "See me, Jesus". Oh, God, I wish I had some time today. "See me, see me in my stupor. See me in my distress. See me in my crisis. See me in my confusion. See me in my pain. See me in my predicament. This ain't a pretty picture. I got some ugly stuff. I got some gnats and some flies. I got some funky stuff and some smelly stuff". Oh, yeah, yeah, 'cause you don't need to show Jesus your cute stuff. You need to show him your ugly, messed... "Hey! Have mercy".
When he saw them, when he saw them. See me, Lord. See how much I lost. See what fell off of me while I'm trying to get to you. See how much stuff that was supposed to be mine, and I left it laying in the road, and I left that laying over there, and I left that in my first marriage, and I left that on my first job, and I left that when I moved to Texas, and I left that... see me, Lord! So, the interesting thing, and this is what I want you to see, Jesus didn't spit on 'em, and he didn't lay his hands on 'em. He didn't touch 'em. He didn't even address the leprosy. He didn't even address the leprosy at all. He commanded them. He says, "Go show yourself to the priest".
When God tells you to do something, do it. It may not even seem like it's related to what you're praying about. But when God says, "I want you to do that," don't you stand there saying, "This is the wrong time, Lord. I'm going through trouble, Lord. It's not the right week, Lord". When God tells you to do something... slap somebody and say "Do it"! You do know obedience is better than sacrifice. Go show yourself to the priest. What about the leprosy, Lord? What about what I lost, and what about my clothes? And I can't get ahold of my wife. And my kids won't touch me. And what am I gonna... Go show yourself to the priest! Faith does not demand details. I said faith does not demand details. Don't keep discussing with God your issue. When God says do it, just do it!
So, they turned from him to go. First they were coming to him, now they're going from him. First they're chasing the miracle. Now the miracle is chasing them. I don't know who I'm preaching to this morning, but the thing you've been chasing after, if you obey God right now, that thing is gonna chasing... I'mma give you 30 seconds to praise him about that right there. Ten seconds to praise him... Oh, God, help me preach this thing. Walk over to your neighbor and say, "Things are about to shift". You had to chase it at first, but now it's about to chase you. Turn your back on your miracle, and obey your God, and watch your miracle. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me".
Look at your neighbor and say, "If you obey God about this, your blessing is gonna overtake you". It's gonna run up from behind and tackle you. It's coming right now. It's coming right now, pressed down, shaken together, down, shaken together, and running over. High five someone and say "Just do it! Don't ask no questions. Don't argue, don't get in no debate. Don't get in no discussion. Just do it!"
Sometimes God'll give you a word, and it looks like the word is not working. But the word is working even when it don't look like it's working. Jesus told 'em to go show theirself to the priest, and they were still lepers. But while there were walking, the Bible said that they were healed as they went. It means if you don't go anywhere, you don't get anything. But every step they took, they got a little bit better and a little bit better. No wonder the Bible said that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way. Slap your neighbor and say, "I dare you to take a step". Just one step, step, step, step out on his Word. Step out on his promise. Step out on what He said.