TD Jakes - Believing Matters - Part 1
I want you to see that believing is the pivotal point of what defines you as a Christian, as a believer, as a person of faith, as a child of the King, and so if there's anything that the enemy wants to attack, he wants to attack what you believe. Now, intellectualism is extremely important, and research should never be discounted. You want to be as smart as you can be, learn all you can, read all you can, develop all you can, evolve all you can, that's very important, but believing is our only gateway to God. Not intellectualism; believing is our only, it's not baking pies, it's not payin' tithes, you can't buy it. It's not singing in the choir, it's not preaching the Word, believing is our only gateway to God, and the first place in the book of Genesis starts with unbelief. The original sin is really unbelief. At the root of the forbidden fruit is unbelief. Does not believe, "Hath God said"?
Questioning what God says is an attempt to tear down the belief system that was constructed that allowed them to stay in the garden. So, the enemy doesn't try to physically move them out of the garden, he tries to move them away from what they believe, because if he moves them away from what they believe, then he will automatically move them out of the garden, y'all don't hear what I'm saying. So, he comes against what you know about God, trying to alter it. Oh, you should eat of it because if you eat, you're going to be just like God, you will know as God. Though now he's questioning God's integrity, like God is trying to stop you from doing something because God is intimidated by you, what arrogance, what utter arrogance, what utter stupidity, and yet he is attacking. He is attacking not their bodies, he is attacking their belief system. The enemy is not after your body, he's after your belief system.
Now, he might attack your body, but he's only attacking your body to break down your belief system. So, if that's how sin entered into the world, through an ideology, an idea that comes against what God had said, then in order to fix how sin entered into the world, we have to go from unbelief to believing. So, God now fixes it so simple that a fool, though he be a wayfaring man, he can still enter therein so that the person, whether they're bright or not bright, went to school or didn't go to school, intellectual or not intellectual, it doesn't make any difference whether they're 3 or 300, God has fixed it that we all must become like children and have childlike faith and dare to believe him. And while knowing is important and learning is important and growing is important, you don't want to lean to your own understanding, you don't want to lean on what you know, because what you know is always evolving, c'mon somebody.
For a simple thing, when I went to school, Pluto was the ninth planet, and then they decided it wasn't a planet at all, it was a star, because as they know more, knowledge is always changing, ideas are always changing. Your belief system has to be built on something that's solid and something that's stable, and something that's proven, and something that's true, and something that you trust in. Your belief system has to be built on God, not church, not denominations. Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm saying. Not preachers, not televangelists, not small church pastors, it doesn't make any difference. People make gods out all kinds of stuff, they make gods out of their children. You can make gods out of anything, all of these things will shake, all of these things will crumble, but your hope has to be built on nothing less than Jesus Christ and his righteous, not yours, his, not yours, but his, not yours, but his, not mine, but his, not your mama's, but his righteousness, not your grandfather's, but his righteousness.
Your faith has to be built on something that's solid as a rock so that you become above being Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Church of God in Christ, Church of God in Prophecy, Church of God Got It Going On, In Jesus's Name Incorporated, above whatever you might call yourself. If you ain't nothin' else, at the very minimum you must be what they first called us, a believer. So, somebody shout, I am a believer. If I am a believer, what does a believer do? A believer believes, so it has to start with belief system. You can come up here to accept Christ and get slain in the spirit, other people burst into tears, and some people get goose pimples. Some people feel nothing at all, it is not an emotion you're looking for, it is a change to your belief system. The Bible says Esau sought repentance with many tears and found it not, this is not about emotions. You can't turn on the tear faucet and move God.
Have you ever seen people that could just cry at will, and anytime they wanted attention, they start crying? God said, I'm not gonna be psyched out 'cause you cry, I'm not lookin' at how you cry, I'm lookin' at how you believe. Esau sought repentance with many tears and found it not. The reason he couldn't find it, he was seeking change through his emotions, and repentance means to change your mind. Metanoia, to change your mind. So, you can change your emotions all day long, but if you don't change your mind, how many of you ever had somebody promise you, I ain't gonna never do it no more, I'm never gonna do this no more, I promise you I'm never going to do it no more, I'm never gonna... then they went right back and did it again. They had emotions, they might even felt those emotions, but they didn't change their... mind.
The Gospel then is designed to give you a new belief system, in which you build your life around not just your habits, not just goin' to church on Sunday, but you build your life around it, you make your decisions around it, you make your choices around it, you get married around it, you decide what I'm going to do and what I'm going to be based on that belief system, that sovereign, absolute belief system. The Bahamas used to have London as a sovereign, even though they were separated by miles with water, the rule of law in the Bahamas, if they were driving on the left in London, they were driving on the left in the Bahamas, because they were imitating their sovereign. That the will of London be done in the Bahamas, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So, when heaven becomes your sovereign, you wanna imitate what's going on in heaven in your life. God wants you to believe him. His integrity warrants your belief. To believe him is to embrace God's integrity, not my integrity.
Abraham became, we're going to talk about more about him in a minute, but Abraham became the friend of God because he believed God. He believed God's integrity. Do you believe God's integrity? God said, "I'm not a man, that I should lie, or the son of man that I should repent. Have I not spoken it? Shall I not perform it? Have I not said it? Shall I not make it good"? This is God's word, it's not contemporary ideology, it's not about embracing the culture, it's not about the latest fad they have going on, it's about embracing what God has done and believing that his integrity is absolute. Why do you think Jesus performed more miracles than he did messages? It's because he did the miracles that you might believe. The miracles didn't mean anything to God, it was the mechanism to get you to believe.
Oh, y'all don't hear what I'm... let's take Lazarus for example. Lazarus is sick, Jesus waits and lets him die. Why does Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead in John chapter 11 when he knows that no matter how many times he raises Lazarus from the dead, Lazarus is still gonna die? Healing the woman with the issue of blood didn't stop her from dying. Feeding the 5.000 didn't stop them from being hungry again. He only did the miracle so that you might believe. So Jesus waits and lets Lazarus die and lets them bury him and shows up at the house when they eating chicken. He even weeps with them while they're crying and says, "Show me where you laid him down".
Now, Jesus knows that to die, to be absent in the body, is to be present with the Lord. Jesus is not sad because Lazarus died, Jesus is using Lazarus's death as an illustration, he let him die. If Jesus had been worried about Lazarus dying, he didn't have to go raise him up, he could've spoke the word only and Lazarus would have been risen from the dead. Lazarus dying was a setup. And then he goes and raises him from the dead. Now, God knows that Lazarus dying and even Mary and Martha knew they would see him again in the resurrection, so why did he let Lazarus die? He let Lazarus die and then came and woke Lazarus up. This happens in the gospel of St. John, chapter 11, but go to the gospel of St. John chapter 12. All this drama has happened in 11, the crying, Lazarus is dead, the tomb, Mary running out, hollering at Jesus, everybody freaking out, the family's going crazy, Jesus rolls the stone away, Lazarus raises from the dead.
Now, in John chapter 12, Lazarus has been raised from the dead, and he's sitting at the feast with Jesus, and here comes the unbelievers around. And the Bible says in John 12, verse 9, "Meanwhile, a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead". Oh, good, good, "So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well". Lazarus was the problem, "For on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus... and believing in him". So, the whole purpose of Lazarus, well, not the only purpose, but one of the purposes of raising Lazarus from the dead was that they might believe. The purpose of the miracle is not the miracle. If he gives you bread, you're gonna get hungry again. If he gives you life, you're going to die again. If he heals your body, it's not gonna stop death. All of this is just so that you might believe. Somebody shout, I'm a believer.
Finally, find John 14:28-29, let's go, "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father; for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe". He said, I'm telling you before it happens, he said, I've given you prophecies, so that when the prophecy comes to pass, your faith will be increased, and that ye might believe. He said, the only reason I'm telling you what's gonna happen before it happens, so that when it happens and I get up from the dead and I rise again that your faith might be strengthened, and that ye might believe. Not so you can dance, not so you can beat your tambourine, not so you can start a choir, not so you can shout 'til your makeup drips on your face, no, God says, what I want from you above everything else is believing, and dancing and praising him and beating tambourines are nice, but if it doesn't lead you to believing, you might as well drop your tambourine on the floor.
We're in a faith fight, we're in a faith fight, we're in a faith fight, we're in a faith fight right now, we're in a faith fight, and what you believe matters. Not how you feel, not how you hurt, not how your emotions are, not what you'd like to have, not what you'd like to drive, not what you'd like to live in, what matters most is what you believe. I believe God, I believe his Word, I believe what he said, I believe that he's able, I believe that he loves me, I believe that he knows what's best for me, and if I hurt, then I hurt knowing that if you allowed me to hurt, it must go work for my good. Therefore, we glory in tribulation, for tribulation worketh patience and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh itself not ashamed. Look at somebody, say believing matters.
Hebrews 11:1-6 tells us again, now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Wait a minute, let's go back to that, faith is confidence in what we hoped for and assurance about what we do not see. I don't need faith for what I can see, I don't need faith for what I can do myself. I need faith when I don't have any other evidence. The Bible says in King James, faith is the substance of things hoped for, it is the evidence of things not seen. It is my evidence, what is your evidence admissible in court? I believe, I believe, I believe it. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what is visible. And most of what you're worried about is what is visible.
Oh, y'all not gonna talk back to me? Most of what you're praying about is what is visible, but what you need to understand, what made what is visible is invisible. And so, if you break it in the spirit, you can break it in the flesh. Glory to God, you don't hear what I'm saying to you. Jesus found the woman that was bowed over for 18 years and could not lift up herself, and he did not heal her, he just gave her a new belief system. He said, "Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity," and the moment she heard that she was loose, she immediately changed her behavior and straightened up herself. What you think about yourself has got you bowed over. What you got goin' on in your head has got you tripping. The moment you get, ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.
I don't know who I'm talking to today, but somebody's gonna get a breakthrough. I don't care what you see with your eye, I care what you believe in your heart. This is what the elders were commended for, not their behavior, their belief. By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous when God spoke well of his offerings, and by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. He does it, by faith Enoch was taken from this life so that he should not experience death. He could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. Anybody in here want to please God? If you want to please God, make some noise. Come on, make some noise, type it on the line. I wanna please God, I wanna please God, I wanna please God, I can't hear you. I want to please God, I wanna please God, I wanna please God, I wanna please God. I can't hear you, I want to please God. That's why I love that song y'all sing, "Take It Out of Me". "If it's not pleasing to you, Lord, take it out of me".
I want to please God. I haven't always pleased God, I have disappointed him, I have let him down, but I want to please God. You have to have the desire to please God. He that hungers and thirsts after righteousness shall be filled, not he that is righteous, he that hungers and thirsts after righteousness shall be filled. You have to want it. How many people want to please God? Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith, it is... It is impossible to please God. Without faith, I don't care what you give, I don't care how talented you are, I don't care how you can preach, I don't care how important you are to your church, I don't care how big the check is you write, the Bible says... oh my God, I better quit. I feel somebody.
The Bible said, without faith it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he is, that he exists, and that he rewards those who earnestly, earnestly, from your heart, seek him. Seek him, I came here to seek him. I live my life to seek him. I haven't mastered God, I am in pursuit of God. I haven't searched him fully, his thoughts are above my thoughts, his ways are above my way, but I came to seek him. The Bible says, seek and ye shall find. Ask and it shall be given. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you. Are there any God seekers left? I see the crowd seekers, I see the stage seekers, I see the money seekers, but are there any God seekers left in the church today? I can't find God seekers, I can't find people that lay out on their face and say, all I want is you. You will have to earnestly seek after him.
Can I go a little bit further? Now, all of that's my setup. I don't even know whether to go any further. Somebody just shout, I believe. The more we start talking about this, doubt is being pushed out of the room, is being pushed out of your mind, is being pushed out of your spirit, is being pushed out of your behavior. I believe, say it again. If God raised Lazarus from the dead just to get people to believe, if God prophesied his own resurrection so that when we saw it we might believe that God has been working overtime tryin' to get your mind together, God wants to get your belief system together, God wants to get your head on straight, God wants to get you away from shouting and glorying and dancing and being upset. God wants to get you over coming to church and getting drunk 'cause you can't deal with life. God wants to get your mind back to the place that it ought to be.
Somebody throw your hands up and say, I believe, I believe. When you walk in the room, faith ought to walk in the room. When you come in the hospital, faith ought to come in the hospital. When you come into the office, faith ought to come into the office. You are a believer, that's your contribution, that's what you add. I believe. My eyes haven't seen, my ears haven't heard, neither have entered into the heart of man what God has in store for me, but it has been revealed unto me by his Spirit. The Spirit not only convicts me, the Spirit convinces me. The Spirit informs me what's mine. The Spirit informs me what's possible. How do you receive it? Believe it. You cannot receive what you don't believe.