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Summary: This sermon is about faith, and it is intended to involve the congregation in singing parts of the sermon.

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The WINDOW

Bible Teaching Ministry of

CEDAR LODGE BAPTIST CHURCH

Thomasville, NC

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November 7, 2004

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Faith is not an easy thing! Trusting something that you don’t understand, or haven’t seen with your own eyes is tough – especially if the stakes are high. Eternity is a high stake. George and his wife take the wife’s mother to Jerusalem for the once-in-a-lifetime Holy Land Tour. The relationship hasn’t been that good between George and his mother-in-law. However, for the sake of the trip they kept the arguing down to five or six hours on the plane...then two or three out of four days. (It was a vacation spirit after all)!

On the fifth day George’s mother-in-law has a heart attack and dies. Wading through the international paperwork required to transport the body back to the U.S. one of the Israeli officials pulls the son-in-law off to one side, out of earshot of George’s wife. He offers: "Mister, burial is really inexpensive here. You can get her planted for less than $150. Just transporting your mother-in-law back to the United States will cost over $15,000. Then there is the burial."

George looks at the official and says, "No way!"

The official is stunned, "How come? That’s a lot of money!"

George replies, "I know, I know; but you don’t understand. I can’t have her buried here. Two thousand years ago they buried a man here in Jerusalem, and three days later he got out again. Mister, I just can’t take that risk!"

Salvation is a word that finds its way into most religions. It is in the definition of that word that Christianity separates itself from all other so-called attempts to know God.

The reigning popular religions of the day are really non religions. In a current swell of skepticism, cynicism and individualism, people have turned to a kind of personalized iconoclastic idolatry – you choose a personal god or system that suits. The key is, "Whatever you think is right must be okay, because everybody has a right to his own opinion. You find God your way, and I’ll find Him my way. Don’t impose your thinking on anyone else."

We live in an age of political correctness, which is the offspring of pluralistic-thinking. You cannot say, do or even think anything for fear of offending someone! In this age of "New Age" it is inconceivable to the Baby Boomer or Baby Buster (educated in schools where God has been ruled out of order) that faith and spiritual life are anything more than one’s personal philosophy of life.

Tina Turner is a perfect example; she has sold 30 million records, and talks freely about her “faith”. She says:

"I’m a Buddhist-Baptist. My training is Baptist. And I can still relate to the Ten Commandments. It’s all very close, as long as you contact the subconscious mind. That’s where the coin of the Almighty is. I don’t care what they feel about me and my tight pants on-stage, and my lips and my hair. I am a chanter. And everyone who knows anything about chanting knows you correct everything in your life by chanting every day." [1]

The Bible speaks a word to that kind of thinking:

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man,

but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Proverbs 16:25

We can think anything we want to about how to find God, know God, be right with God...but the bottom line is that God Himself makes the rules about how He may be known. He says the only way is by faith:

But without faith it is impossible to please him:

for he that cometh to God must believe that he is,

and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Heb 11:6

Everyone exhibits faith -- operates his whole life by faith. We do so when we turn the key to start the car, open the pantry to find our corn flakes. Every breath is an act of faith that the air won’t be poisoned.

All the major world religions have valuable insights into living good and valuable, moral lives. But that is not to say that living a good and moral life will ultimately bring you to a right relationship with God. The Bible tells us only Jesus can do that:

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12

There are many things Christians can share with people of other faith in this world community. We can work with Muslims and Buddhists and Jews – even Unitarians and Atheists for righteous causes like peace and ending poverty and world hunger. We can do that…until they begin to ask us, in the name of tolerance or unity, to give up proclaiming Jesus as the only way to be right with God.

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