Summary: A shorter sermon about the difference between having true belief versus just thinking you have true belief. Interesting illustration about a pendulum.
Take an empty cola bottle sometime and fill it half full of water. Then, take some vegetable oil and fill it the rest of the way. Then try to shake it with all your might so it will become all mixed up. What happens? The moment you stop shaking, it begins to separate from one another, doesn’t it? What is the moral? The moral is that, by their very nature, oil and water do not mix.
The same is true with Godliness and worldliness. In his sermon two weeks ago, Bill Howard remarked that there was too much world in the church. I agree. But if that is true, it is true because there is too much world in each of us. You might say that we live here and we need to be in the world. We might need to be in the world, but does the world have to be in us?
2 CORINTHIANS 5:20 tells us where we stand in relation to the world.
‘We are therefore, Christ’s Ambassadors – as though God were making His appeal through us.’
In EPHESIANS 2:19, we are told that we are citizens and members of God’s household. We are no longer citizens of this world, and as the song says, “This World is Not My Home, I’m Just a Passing Through.” And since we belong to God; since we are citizens of heaven working as ambassadors here on earth; we need to focus more on God and less on the world, but to do so, we need to make sure that we really believe in God, and not just think we do.
When I was going to school, I had a physics professor who was teaching us about the law of the pendulum. We all know what a pendulum is, right? It swings from side to side, and it always decreases in the length of its ark with every swing. The professor had nailed a rope to the wall just above the blackboard. To this rope, he had attached a baseball. He asked how many of us really believed in the law of the pendulum and we all raised our hands.
With that, he pulled the rope to one side and marked where it was on the board. Then he let go of it and every time it swung back to his side, he put another mark where it stopped. The end result was he had many marks, all closer to the center than the one before, proving the law was true. He asked again how many of us really believed in the law, and we all raised our hands once again.
Then he took us to the auditorium, where he had hung a thick nylon chord from the rafters just above the stage. Attached to this chord was a 100-pound weight. He asked for a volunteer. He had a chair sitting on the side of the stage and he had the man who volunteered sit in it. He then took the weight, which was hanging in the middle of the stage and carried it over to about an inch from the boy’s face. He asked him if he believed in the law of the pendulum, and the boy, starting to get a little worried by now, said he did.
With that, the professor let go of the weight and it swung clear to the other side of the stage, and then began to come back. I have never seen anyone move so fast in my life as that young man trying to get out of the way. Did he believe, or did he just think he believed?
This is not a particularly long sermon, rather it is particularly short, but I felt like I should talk about the belief Christians have, or at least, should have.
The first thing we need is...
1. A BELIEVING HEART
In JOHN 1:7, we are told that Jesus came so that all men might believe. That is how we believe; through Jesus Christ. Without Jesus there is no belief.
That is confirmed in JOHN 20:31, when it says that by believing in Jesus Christ, one may have life in His name.
In order to be a real Christian, and in order to receive eternal life, we must be real believers. We must have a burning in our hearts to be with Jesus; to know more about Him; and to know Him more.
Remember the story about the young man who sat on the chair waiting for the 100-pound weight to come back towards his face? There are many Christians who have the same type of faith in their belief in Jesus. They think they believe, and they say they believe, but when push comes to shove, they get out of the way as fast as they can.