A Saving Faith – Dr. Charles Stanley

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A Saving Faith – Dr. Charles Stanley

We are not born knowing how to rely upon God or understanding the importance of depending on His wisdom and strength. We must discover how to do so. Dr. Stanley explains what it means to truly rely upon Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of everlasting life.

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And the son of god, Jesus, the lord said, I am the way the truth and the life.
No one comes to the father, but by me.
Therefore, go into all the work teaching and preaching the gospel to every single person that are immodest parts of the earth.
In touch, the teaching ministry of Doctor Charles Stanley.
Next on in touch, a saving faith.
One of your greatest assets in life, which you use continually, money cannot buy.
And yet oftentimes, we overlook it. It’s a gift from god.
Jesus said a great deal about it, and the truth is you and I exercise it every day.
And in fact, the more we exercise this particular gift he’s given us, the better we do it, whatever we do, We’ll do more.
We’ll do better. We will be used by god much more as if we did not use it at all.
And so when I think about all the things that he’s given us, which are innumerable, one of the most precious and most powerful is the gift of faith, which he has given to every single one of us.
And that’s what I wanna talk about in this message, and this is the beginning of a series entitled in the school of faith.
There’s so much to learn about trusting god.
There’s so much to understand about what it really truly means to trust him.
Many people think they do, but they don’t.
So I want you to turn, if you will, to mark chapter 4.
In the 35th verse, I want us to start with this verse, and Jesus spent a great deal of his time instructing his disciples about faith.
And there are some reasons which we’ll talk about.
But beginning in this 35th verse is sort of typical of the kind of things he had to deal with.
So he says, on that day when evening came, he said to them, let us go over to the other side.
Leaving the crowd, They took him along with them in the boat just as he was, and other boats were with him.
There rose a fierce gale in, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.
Jesus himself was in the stern asleep on the cushion, and they woke him and said to him, teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?
And he got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, hush.
Be still, and the wind died down, and it became perfectly calm.
And he said to them, why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith.
Do you still have no faith?
After all you’ve seen after all I’ve said, do you still have no faith?
They became very much afraid and said one to another.
Who then is this that even the wind and the sea obey him?
So I want you to write down these definitions that I’m giving you.
And the first I want us to understand is what do we mean by intellectual faith or natural faith which is faith that everybody has.
And that is intellectually believed something to be true without proof or commitment.
For example, I could say Intellectually, I believe some things about Jesus and about what he did.
So this is not godly faith.
So the second faith is faith in god, the confident conviction that what he has promised he will fulfill.
The confident conviction that you and I have, that what he has promised he certainly will do.
And that speaks about a relationship that we have. Confident conviction that what he’s promised he will do.
It is saving faith. The trust is trusting in Jesus the person, the son of god, watch this, as a living person for the forgiveness of sins and of eternal life.
That is it’s a personal relationship. Look at that.
Trust in Jesus Christ, the son of god is a living person that we’re relating to.
For the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life.
Saving faith is one thing, intellectual faith is something else.
One of the reasons many of you who’ve made decisions, you’ve joined the church.
Maybe you’ve said, well, I think I’m a Christian. I believe I am.
You expressed intellectual faith if there’s no personal intimate relationship with him.
If there is no turning about in your life.
If it’s all intellectual, you believe about something, that is not saving faith. Remember what we said?
That saving faith is more than that.
It speaks of forgiveness of sin, the gift of eternal life, and a personal relationship with a person, Jesus Christ.
Now, Jesus spent a lot of his time attempting to instruct his disciples and to help them understand what true faith was all about.
And sometimes, he had to scold them a little bit as we saw in the chapter we first read in the boat.
He said to them, do you still not have any faith?
Now if you grade the disciples, and I think, uh, humanly speaking, we could grade them.
There were, uh, 4 kinds of faith. First of all, there was no faith.
That’s what he said to them on the boat.
You don’t have any faith, and then he talked about little faith.
And then he talked about great faith, and then he talked about a faith failure.
So I want us to look at, um, look at the sermon on the Mount for a moment, Matthew chapter 6.
And you remember when Jesus was spending a lot of his time in this chapter talking about different things that they would need?
He talked about prayer and fasting and so forth. I think he talked about worry and being anxious.
And then he said in the 30th verse, But if god so clothe the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will he not much more clothe you, owe you of little faith?
So there’s no faith, then there’s little faith. Then there is great faith.
And a good example of that is in the 8th chapter Matthew.
The scripture says, when Jesus ended Capernum in verse 5, a centurion came to him imploring him and saying, lord, My servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.
Jesus said to him, now watch this. Jesus said to him, I will come and heal him.
But the centurion said, lord, I’m not worthy of you to come. Under my roof, just say the word.
And my servant will be healed. Just say the word. You don’t even have to come.
Now most folks would have said, well, come on to my house so they could brag about the fact that Jesus had been there.
So he said, you don’t need to come. Just say the word and my servant will be healed.
When he said that, Jesus said, I’ve not found this kind of faith, this degree of faith, in all of Israel.
So there’s no faith. There’s little faith, and there’s great faith. Where would you fall in that category?
So all of us have a degree of faith in our relationship to him.
I either have, let’s just count out the no faith.
Let’s say we either have little faith Oh, we have great faith. Now, listen, it may be struggling faith.
It may be, uh, it may be faith that is just wobbling and wavering and here today and gone to my We all have intellectual faith.
We all have at least a little faith.
And god wants us to have great faith in order to do what?
He wants us to have the same kind of faith that he’s talking about.
In order that, he can do the same thing through you and me that he intended to do through them.
Because he has a plan and a purpose for your life.
No matter who you are, no matter what somebody says to you, god has a purpose for your life.
He has a plan for your life.
The reason the primary reason he wants you to have great faith is because you and I will respond to him on the basis of the degree of faith we have.
If we have great faith, he can give us great challenges.
If we have great faith, he can do great things through us.
That’s why it’s so very important that you and I learn to trust him and to walk obediently before him.
What will it take to bring you to realize?
And to recognize Jesus Christ is the son of god.
And he is the only hope you have of getting to heaven.
How long will it take you to realize?
This Bible is the true word of god, and god is our heavenly father.
And he sent Jesus for the primary purpose of dying on the cross. That your sins may be forgiven.
Your name written in the lamb’s book of life.
And when you leave this life, you go absolutely immediately into the presence of god.
How long will it take you?
Before you’re willing to believe the truth, not some intellectual attitude, but I believe Jesus was this, that, and the other the facts but believe in him with a relationship, whereby you ask him to forgive you of your sins.
You turn from the life that you’ve been living. You surrender your life to him. You yield yourself to him.
He becomes the lord and master of your life. How long will it take you to come to the place?
That you make the most important decision in your life.
Well, that brings me to something that I want us to discuss for a few moments here.
And that is this whole issue of saving faith. That is the faith that really entirely saves.
Intellectual faith will not get you salvation.
So I want us to deal with what I think is a real deception.
And that deception is this, that many people who sit in church week after week, many people probably who watch or who listen.
You grew up. You grew up going to church, or you grew up in your family took you to church, and maybe you got sprinkled and poured on baptized.
When you were a baby, you don’t know anything in the world about that, uh, but, uh, that’s what they did to you and what your parents were doing.
They were dedicating you to the lord.
But the the pastor of the priest may have said to you, now that you’re saved because you’ve been baptized.
And so you grow up. And what do you have? You have intellectual faith.
You believe that all those things that they taught you and therefore, if you were baptized, you must be saved.
Oh, yes. I believe in Jesus.
You have you have an intellectual faith, but you do not have saving faith because saving faith demands a relationship.
And their requirements for a relationship like this.
And so I want you to turn to James chapter 2 for a moment and look at a passage here.
That, uh, again, reminds us that there’s gotta be more than just, uh, intellectual faith here in the second chapter and the 18th verse.
But someone may well say you have faith and I have works.
Show me your faith without the works, and I’ll show you my faith by my works. Watch this.
You believe that god is 1. You do well. The demons also believe and shudder. Listen.
Intellectual faith is no more than the faith demons that the devil have. The demons believe in god.
The devil believes in god. Absolutely. But that’s that’s intellectual faith. That’s believing the facts.
Natural the devil believes the facts about his crucifixion, resurrection, so forth.
Many people have intellectual belief in the life, the history, some of the attitudes, and so forth about Jesus, intellectually.
But remember this, there’s a gap between intellectual belief and saving belief.
And the gap is relationship.
I can believe a lot of facts, but if I don’t have a personal relationship, which comes about when I confess my sins, I repent of my sins.
I accept Jesus Christ as my personal, savior, and lord.
Unless that’s there, all you have is an intellectual belief in and about Jesus Christ, but you have no relationship.
Because when you receive Jesus Christ as your personal savior, what happens is the Bible says your sins are forgiven.
Jesus Christ comes into your life through the Holy Spirit to live from that moment on in you with you.
And upon you, he says, that’s what he promised, uh, he’ll be in you with you and upon you.
And so, therefore, at that moment, you have a relationship.
And that from that moment on, you you yield you’re saying I’m a I’m a follower of Jesus.
That’s what true saving faith is all about.
And the many people who’ve never done that, they sit in church week after week, listening to false doctrine If you just be good listen.
The false doctrine today is good works will get you to heaven.
If you if you’ll just believe in Jesus, and good works.
Well, now what do you mean by believing in Jesus? You talking about intellectual faith?
If if the idea is believing in Jesus intellectually and doing good works, You got 2 problems.
The Bible is very clear that it’s not good works, and the Bible is very clear that it’s saving faith relational faith, not intellectual faith.
When you are saved, you can point back to some time in your life.
You not be maybe be point the day, the hour, and so forth, but you know that our relationship developed because you express faith genuine saving faith in a person, the son of god, but the forgiveness of your sins.
And from that moment on when the Holy Spirit came into your life, things changed.
Things had to change because you had a brand new relationship with him.
Now that brings up something else, and that’s the whole issue of repentance.
Look, if you will, in Luke chapter 24 for a moment.
And this is one of the last things Jesus was saying because disciples before he left and beginning in, uh, uh, verse 44.
Now he said to them, these are my words which I spoke to you While I was still with you, that all things which are written about me in the law and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.
Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them.
Thus, it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the 3rd day.
Watch this next verse and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations beginning from Jerusalem.
Or what about believing? Because it was undisturbed. Think about this. First of all, you’re not gonna listen.
First of all, it’s hard for some people to deal with their sin issue anyway.
You’re not gonna go around Repenting of sin, if you don’t first believe that Jesus Christ is who he says he is, that he did what he said he had done, that he came for the reason he said he came and that he’ll do for what he said he would do.
So just because it’s not mentioned, it’s absolutely understood. Listen. Repentance and faith go hand in hand.
Two sides of the same coin, and you can’t have one without the other.
In order to see if you have saving faith, you are going to say that I’m trusting Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of my sin, for the removal of this in my life the guilt of my life.
And now I am saved by the grace of god through the lord Jesus Christ.
And so when you and I think about salvation, The idea of saying, oh, my sins have been forgiven.
Yeah. I know it, but, no, he’s not the lord of my life. Well, let me just say this.
If you are saved and he’s not the lord of your life, let’s put it like this.
He is the lord of your life. You’re just refusing to acknowledge him as the lord of your life.
He is the lord. He’s not the lord if or maybe, or possibly. He is the lord.
He is the lord as god sent him. He is in control of all things.
He is the lord who created all things. He’s the lord who sustains all things.
He is the lord who lives within us, moment by moment day by day in the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit.
He is the lord of all of life. When you receive him as savior, you’ve got him as lord.
Whether you recognize it or not, That’s why listen.
That’s why the very idea that a person is saved by the grace of god and then is living in sin and continues to live in sin.
There’s something wrong. And oftentimes people ask me, get all kind of emails of parents, for example, who say, I know my son was saved back younger, but he’s living in sin.
Uh, do you are you what do you think I should do, and how should I respond to them?
And so forth depends on what they’re up to and what they’re into.
If a person is genuinely saved, they’re saved. Does that mean they’re not gonna sin? No. They’re gonna sin.
Does it mean that they’re gonna be lost if they sin, no, it doesn’t.
But here’s what I want you to see.
When you receive Jesus Christ as your savior, you took him as lord. You may not have understood it.
You no. Nobody may have explained it, but listen. Watch this. He’s not just lord in in somebody’s life.
Who understands it, he is lord, period.
In fact, he’s the lord over the life of every wicked vile, sinful, evil person in the world.
They just don’t know it, but he is lord.
And the scripture says that one day, every knee listen.
Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess what Jesus Christ is lord to the glory of god, the father.
And I would simply say this, if you have a belief system in which you believe all these things about god and Jesus and so forth, Here’s the question you need to ask yourself.
Do I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which took place at the moment I confessed, yield, confessed my sins, repented of my sins.
You yielded it all to him and allowed him to forgive me, transform me, make this awesome eternal change in our life has there ever been a time when you came into a personal relationship with Jesus about your life?
So I want you to be clear That’s my whole purpose.
That your faith in Jesus Christ is not just intellectual, but it is saving You accept him as a person.
The son of god, the only sacrifice that could take care of your sin.
And you’re willing to yield your life to him. That means a change.
It means a transformation in your life.
It means a different direction in your thinking and every aspect of your life.
And the longer you walk and the more you understand, Listen, the more god is gonna give you a sense of awesome, absolutely perfect assurance about that relationship.
So my prayer is for you that if you’ve never trusted Jesus Christ as your savior right now, You say, what do I say?
Listen carefully. It isn’t just what you say, but it’s what you mean in your heart.
You ask you you you say this. Lord Jesus, I do believe that you’re the son of god.
I do believe what I’ve heard and what I’ve read that you died on the cross and somehow your death paid my sin debt in full.
And that if I accept you as my personal savior, you will forgive me of my sins, change my life, and that you will empower me to walk a different kind of life.
And I’m asking you to forgive me. And I want this personal relationship he’s talking about.
The moment you do that, you don’t ever have to beg god to save you.
All you have to do is ask him sincerely with a surrendered heart, and he’ll do it.
And that’s my prayer for

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