Sermons

Summary: Pressing on in Christ produces a tested faith that can stand the test of time.

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John McArthur in his book; "Reckless Faith" tells the this story: A few summers ago I drove across the country to deliver my son’s car to him. He was playing minor-league baseball in Florida and needed his car for local transportation. The cross-country trip fit perfectly with some previously scheduled ministry engagements on my calendar, so I took my assistant, Lance Quinn, and together we made the journey. As we drove through Lance’s home state of Arkansas, our route took us off the main highways and through some beautiful rural country. We topped one hill and I noticed near a very rustic house a homemade sign advertising hand-sewn quilts. I had hoped to stop somewhere along the way to buy an anniversary gift for my wife. She likes hand-made crafts and had been wanting a quilt. So we decided to stop and look.

We went to the door of the old house and knocked. A friendly woman with a dishtowel answered the door. When we told her we were interested in quilts, she swung the door open wide and ushered us in. She showed us into the living room, where she had several quilts on display.

The television set in the corner was on, tuned in to a religious broadcast. The woman’s husband was lounging in a recliner, half watching the program and half reading a religious magazine. Around the room were piles of religious books, religious literature, and religious videotapes. I recognized one or two of the books—resources from solid evangelical publishers. The woman left the room to get some more quilts to show us, so the man put aside his magazine and greeted us. “I was just catching up on some reading,” he said.

“Are you a believer?” I asked.

“A believer in what?” he asked, apparently startled that I would ask.

“A believer in Christ,” I said. “I noticed your books. Are you a Christian?”

“Well, sure,” he said, holding up the magazine he was reading. I recognized it as the publication of a well-known cult. I took a closer look at the stacks of material around the room. There were a few evangelical best-sellers, materials from several media ministries, a promotional magazine from a leading evangelical seminary, and even some helpful Bible-study aids. But mixed in with all that were stacks of The Watch Tower magazines published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a copy of Dianetics (the book by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard), a Book of Mormon, some literature from the Franciscan brothers, and an incredible array of stuff from nearly every conceivable cult and “ism.” I watched as he jotted down the address of the television preacher who was at that moment offering some free literature.

“You read from quite an assortment of material,” I observed. “These all represent different beliefs. Do you accept any one of them?”

“I find there’s good in all of it,” he said. “I read it all and just look for the good.”

While this conversation was going on, the woman had come back with a stack of quilts and was ready to show them to us. The first quilt she laid out was a patchwork of all different sizes, colors, and prints of fabric scraps. I looked at it, trying to see some kind of pattern or design in it, but there was none. The color combinations even seemed to clash. The quilt itself was—well, ugly.

I described for her the kind of quilt I was looking for, and she pulled one out that was exactly what I wanted. Her price seemed reasonable, so I told her I would take it.

As she wrapped up my purchase, I couldn’t help looking again at that first quilt she had brought out from the back room. Frankly, it was the least attractive of all her quilts. But she was obviously quite proud of it, having labored over it for hours. It was evidently her personal favorite—and undoubtedly a genuine piece of folk art. But I couldn’t imagine anyone else being attracted to that particular quilt.

Her quilt, I thought, was a perfect metaphor for her husband’s religion. Taking bits and pieces from every conceivable source, he was putting together a patchwork faith. He thought of his religion as a thing of beauty, but in God’s eyes it was an abomination.

Our generation is exposed to more religious ideas than any people in history. Religious broadcasting and the print media bombard people with all kinds of deviant teachings that claim to be truth.

Our faith is based on a multiplicity of non-truths, biblical inaccuracies, error, opinions, feelings, and emotions that makes our faith unbalanced and wavering. If you look around in our modern day Christendom you will notice that many a believers are falling off and giving up their faith in Jesus Christ. Not only that but those of us you still come to church, sing in the choir, usher on the usher’s board, preach in the pulpit, lead devotional service, serve on the deacons board, and any other church function are hanging on by a thin thread that can break at any given moment.

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