WHAT THE RECESSION REVEALS
ABOUT YOUR CONFESSION
Rev. Rick Mays, Pastor
Trinity Temple Assembly of God
Arkadelphia, AR 71923
There is nothing that reveals who a person is than when they face trying circumstances.
The real person surfaces when the pressure is turned up and the fire gets hot.
I assure you that each of us here this morning is living in trying times.
• The Dow Jones is down.
• The NASDAQ is down.
• Housing values are down.
• Venture capital is down.
• Consumer confidence is down.
• Employment is down.
• The Auto industry is down.
• Commercial real estate is down.
• Foreign markets are down.
• During these times, if it can go down - it seems like it is down and continuing to head that direction.
However even when things are on the slide, we must ask ourselves is there anything that is going up?
I submit to you that there is…
• The opportunity to serve people in need is going up.
• The opportunity to trust God when trusting isn’t easy is going up.
• The opportunity to build a faith that will last when the storms of life hit it is going up.
• The opportunity to help our churches become communities where people love and support each other is going up.
• And allow me just to remind you that when Jesus comes the church is going up.
Jesus said, …And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh…
There may be a lot of things in this world going down - but as a follower of Jesus - you and I are not headed downward, we are on the rise and on our way up.
If you really believe that would you sound a faith filled "Praise the Lord".
I want us to go to the book of James, chapter 1.
I want to preach from this title…
WHAT THE RECESSION REVEALS
ABOUT YOUR CONFESSION
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Say those last 3 words with me …not lacking anything…
The church has always faced hardship and crisis.
Maybe because our lives today are often so easy - we actually are more frightened of hardship than Christians at any time over the past few thousand years.
I wonder how many of the New Testament saints would handle today’s pressure and persecution?
Compared to the saints of the early church - we are what some would call - soft.
Once trouble arrive, must are looking for the exit rather than allowing their faith to develop perseverance.
Psychologist Jonathon Haidt proposed this hypothetical situation with a group of parents.
Imagine that you have a child, and for five minutes you’re given a script of what will be that child’s life. You are handed an eraser. You can edit that script. You can take out whatever you want.
• You read that your child will have a learning disability in grade school. Reading, which comes easily for some kids, will be laborious for yours.
• In high school, your kid will have a great circle of friends; then one of them will die of cancer.
• After high school your child will actually get into the college they wanted to attend. While there, there will be a car crash, and your child will lose a leg and go through a difficult depression.
• A few years later, your child will get a great job, then lose that job in an economic downturn.
• Your child will get married, but then go through the heartache of the death of an infant.
You get this script for your child’s life and have five minutes to edit it. What do you erase?
Wouldn’t you want to take out all the stuff that would cause them pain?
Can you imagine the grief you could save your child if you could take away every event that would cause their heart to hurt?
But in doing so - what kind of person would they turn out to be?
I am part of a generation of adults called "helicoptor parents," because we’re constantly trying to swoop into our kid’s educational life, relational life, sports life, etc. to make sure no one is mistreating them or no one is disappointing them. We want them to just experience one unhindered success after another.
One Halloween a mom went to the door to trick or treat. The homeowner answer the door asked, why didn’t she send in her kid?
Well, the weather’s a little bad, she said; she was driving so he didn’t have to walk in the mist.
But why not send him to the door?
He had fallen asleep in the car, she said, so she didn’t want him to have to wake up.
The home owner said, "Why don’t you eat all his candy and get his stomach ache for him, then he can be completely protected!"
Is it possible that in some way people actually need adversity, setbacks, maybe even something like trauma to reach the fullest level of development and growth?
Look and listen again to our text. Let me read it from the Message…
2 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.
3 You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.
4 So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
I know some may not like this - but…
Some times you are just gonna have to go through some stuff that doesn’t make any sense and isn’t fair.
Some times you’re just gonna have to hang on and ride out the storm.
Some times you’re just gonna have to endure the pain and the pressure.
Some times you’re just gonna need to learn to tie a knot in the end of the rope and hang on and hope the knot holds.
God’s promise is NOT that you won’t suffer - His promise IS that he’ll be there with you through it all.
David said, …even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death - you are with me…
David also said in, Psalms 139:5-10
5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!
7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.
As the song says, His eyes are on the sparrow, so I know He’s watching me
When a person gets saved, commits their life to the Lord and becomes a follower of Jesus - often we call that - A CONFESSION OF FAITH.
Paul wrote in, Romans 10:10
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth CONFESSION is made unto salvation.
Paul also said, 2 Corinthians 9:13
13 …men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your CONFESSION of the gospel of Christ…
Adversity says a lot about who you are. So in this time of economic recession - what does it reveal about your confession of faith.
WHAT THE RECESSION REVEALS
ABOUT YOUR CONFESSION
1: A RECESSION REVEALS WHAT KIND OF FOUNDATION YOU ARE STANDING ON...
24 "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
I began this message by sharing with you things that are down.
The Dow Jones, The NASDAQ, Housing values, Venture capital, Consumer confidence, Employment, The Auto industry, Commercial real estate, and Foreign markets are down.
And there are many that would say instead of tossing money to keep many of these areas afloat - the government needs to step back and allow them to crash.
Hard times have shown us that many in the business world have built upon lies and deceit. And because of that their company is crumbling.
But in these times of recession - there are people who are standing firm and standing strong because their life has been built upon the ROCK.
• They are not exempt from financial distress
• They are not exempt from failing health
• They are not exempt from troublesome times
• BUT they are exempt from their lives ending with a great crash.
BECAUSE LIKE THE WISE MAN - THEY HAVE BUILT THEIR LIFE UPON THE ROCK BECAUSE THEY ARE WALKING IN OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S WORD.
Jesus said, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
Listen to what Paul writes in, 1 Corinthians 3:11-15
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have - Jesus Christ.
12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials - gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw.
13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.
14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.
15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss…
Those of you that have been around for a time know that I’m not a gloom and doom preacher.
But every expert and indicator is telling us that the future looks bleak.
I’m reminded of the story of Joseph when he predicted 7 years of plenty and then 7 years of famine.
We’ve enjoyed the years of plenty. Many have extended themselves to gather toys and luxuries.
Am afraid that in the years of plenty we have failed to store up for the years of famine.
The media has already started using the term, recession murder and recession suicide.
In the story of building on the rock or on the sand I find these words.
In both cases - The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house…
Jesus isn’t interested in your stuff surviving - He wants you to survive.
Building your life on Christ isn’t going to keep your life from the falling rain, the rising streams or the blowing wind…
…building your life on Christ is going to keep your life from crashing
A Recession Reveals What Kind Of Foundation You Are Standing On
2: A RECESSION REVEALS THE LEVEL AND WHAT YOU TRUST THE MOST...
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
13 For I hear the slander of many; there is terror on every side; they conspire against me and plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, "You are my God."
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
1 Those who trust in the Lord Are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
3 You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.
I can’t tell you how many times the following statement has proven itself true…
When troubles hit your life
…the first thing you turn to…
…the first thing you grab hold of…
Is the very thing you trust the most.
You can trust Jesus.
You can also trust Him completely.
What does the recession reveal about your trust in the Lord?
• Are you holding to Him and His power to see you through?
• Or are holding on to your abilities and talent to see you through?
In the story of the rich young ruler, Jesus ask told him to sell all that he had and give it to the poor and then come and follow Him.
He was unable because his trust was in his stuff and he had a lot of stuff.
He wasn’t able to trust Jesus to take care of him. He held on to what he had.
What are you holding on to today? When trouble hits, it will reveal what you are trusting.
Let me close with this…
In times like these, it helps to remember the words of Paul. His adjectives are particularly striking, since he likely wrote these words in chains, under oppression, and awaiting execution:
He writes, …For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all… (2 Corinthians 4:17).
In times of recession and uncertainties remember this…
• God remains sovereign.
• The blood of Jesus is still more powerful than the stain of sin.
• The Holy Spirit still guides.
• The Bible is still the Word of God.
• The tomb is still empty.
• Prayers still get answered.
• Love still beats bigotry.
• Hope still trumps despair.
• The church is still marching.
1. Truth is, your life isn’t built on a relationship with the Lord. You find yourself not trusting the Lord and your life is sinking on shifting sand.
2. You’ve made it through many storms of the past, and yet you find yourself in another one.