Summary: Over a 20 year period, you have listened to over 1000 sermons! This one will encourage & strengthen you! Identify with James, brother of Jesus who journeyed from unbelief to full faith in God! Learn that it’s okay to doubt! Jesus transforms it into faith!

I’d like to do a short ‘quiz’ with you this morning, in fact it’s really easy, has only one question – and is quite entertaining and enlightening!

I want to find the person here this morning - who has been going to church for the longest time.

(Longer than five year? Ten? Fifteen? Twenty? …)

Longest is: ………… years of attending church regularly!

The reason I am asking this, is I am trying to decide how effective ‘preaching’ really is.

As a regular church attendee of around 50 Sunday’s per year, listening to only one sermon each Sunday – we listen to around 500 sermons over a 10 year period!

That amounts to:

§ 1000 sermons after 20 years,

§ 1500 over 35 years,

§ 2000 Bible messages over 40 years,

§ 2,500 after 50 years,

§ 3000 after 60 years, and if you live to make it –

§ that’s over 3,500 sermons after 70 years of attending church!

Okay – who can tell me what I preached about last Sunday?

Great! – What about the Sunday before that – who can tell me what the topic of the sermon was about?

Well, it seems I’m not alone in this endeavor.

Listen to this:

A church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday.

"I’ve gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 30,000 Sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"

You see, the Bible says in Romans 9:6

It is not as though God’s word has failed.

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Well – last week I spoke on: The Meaning of Easter.

And two weeks ago we were blessed out of our socks as four young men committed their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ,

…as they were obedient to Him by being baptised in water.

Baptism is a big step that everyone must take who loves the Lord Jesus Christ and surrenders their lives to Him.

In fact, it’s been said, that: Baptism in water deals with the past, but baptism in the Spirit deals with the future.

Having been baptised in water,

…we must now pray and seek for each of these young men to be baptised, immersed and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

It’s encouraging when our children, our family members begin to move in the power of the Spirit of God.

Growing to be more like Christ every day as they read His Word and find guidance and purpose in their lives.

The challenge of the four young men who were baptised,

…and the challenge that faces each and every one of us on a daily – hourly and minute by minute basis –

…is to grow to be able to hear the voice of God speaking into our hearts and directing our lives for His purposes and glory.

And it’s not an easy thing learning to discern between what is the voice of the Holy Spirit, our own desires and at times the temptations of the devil.

Countless of thousands of people have done sinful things – all claiming it was the voice of God that told them to do it.

Along these lines of hearing the voice of God - I have just one more very short newspaper article I want to read to you this morning.

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