TITLE : BELIEVING IN THE HEART
TEXT: Romans 10:10
AUTHOR: Fr. Christopher M. Nerreau
“For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.”
• I’ll bet I know a deep dark secret of yours…I’ll bet that there are times where you doubt the things of God.
• Did the Snake really talk? (I wasn’t there)
• Did Jonah really live in the belly of a whale? (Seems impossible)
• Did Adam live several hundreds of years? (That does not happen)
• And I’ll bet you often feel guilty about the fact that you doubt. You try to push these thoughts back into the recesses of your mind
• Or maybe you simply try to force yourself to believe… (I am not a prophet, I struggle to.)
PROPOSITION: The reason you may struggle is because you may not fully understand what it means to believe.
ORIENTATION: Today I want to help you to understand what it means to “believe” in Christ as we address:
I. THE SOURCE OF BELIEF? (GODS REVELATION)
II. THE SPACE OF BELIEF? (THE HEART)
III. THE SURENESS OF BELIEF? (SANCTIFICATION)
TRANSITION: So lets start to understand by looking at our first point…
I. THE SOURCE OF BELIEF (MT 15:16-17)
• Christ Asked Peter (Mt. 15:16-17 “Who do you say that I am)
o Peter responds correctly – “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”
o How did Peter come to understand this?
NOT FROM LOGIC OR REASON
• “For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you” v.16
• To believe in Christ is not the work of man -“flesh and blood”.
• We do not in and of ourselves have the ability to simply manufacture belief.
• THE REVELATION WAS OF GOD
• “but my Father who is in heaven” v.17
• Belief is revealed to us by God. God gives us the revelation and that is where belief begins.
• In this sense belief in Christ begins with God – The apostle
Paul said - Romans 12:3 - “Each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him.”
o I did not have the ability to believe my sister in-law was pregnant until someone revealed to me that it was so. Then I simply agreed with this revelation.
o In a similar way, we could not know Christ apart from the revelation of God, directly in our hearts. We are simply called to agree with Him.
• Do you struggle with believing?
o Remember we are simply called to agree with God’s revelation. To be open to what God writes upon our hearts.
• Also, remember that you cannot “MAKE” yourself believe anything, nor are you called to. Our goal is to be receptive to what God is telling us (sermons, scripture) God will make it real.
II. THE SPACE OF BELIEF – (Romans 10:10)
• COMMON CONFUSION
o I think the greatest challenge to overcoming unbelief is understanding where it resides.
o Most of the time people who are struggling will tell me they – “don’t understand this or that”
o Unbelief has very little to do with the brain, it has everything to do with the heart.
o God has never said – “There’s a man after my own brain…” its always after His Own – “ heart.”
• THE SPACE OF BELIEF – The heart
Mark 11:23 – “Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.”
Mark 16:14 – “Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they sat at table; and he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.”
John 14:1 - “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.
Acts 4:32 - “Those who believed were of one heart…”
Romans 10:9 - “if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:10 - “For man believes with his heart and so is justified”
Trying to explain love is very difficult, but experiencing love is not. Because love is of the heart, not the brain. The same is so with God, He is of the heart, He desires your heart.
• This does not mean that we are mind numb robots, but belief begins in the heart. I want to ask you – What if someone were able to persuade you that God was not real. Picture yourself at home, all alone and having lost your faith in God. How would you feel?
• Well if your answer is lost, its because you DO BELIEVE! YOU BELIVE SO MUCH IT IS PAINFUL TO CONSIDER LIFE WITHOUT HIM!!!! YOU BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART!
• Today embrace this heartfelt belief and God will take care of bringing your mind along.
TRANSITION: So we have seen that belief begins with God and it resides in the heart but lastly…
III. THE SURENESS OF BELIEF – (Romans 10:10)
• HOW CAN I BE SURE I BELIEVE?
o The last question I want to address with you today is this one – How can I be sure I believe?
o Belief it or not the answer is not very difficult.
• Paul said – Romans 10:9 “For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.”
o Our belief must move from our hearts to our lips
or in other words our belief is demonstrated in our actions.
o Luke 6:45 - “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good.
o Matthew 15:18 - “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart.”
Our profession of faith and our actions are a good barometer of our belief.
• ULTIMATELY IS COMES DOWN TO LOVE
o Do you love Christ with your heart? Even though you fall short in your actions?
o Do you long for Christ, long to know Him and be known by Him?
o Do you find yourself disappointed when we sense unbelief in your heart?
o These are all good signs that you do in fact believe.
• The fear that one has disbelief is an obvious evidence that one does not! If you question your belief in Christ ask yourself – “Do I love”.
• Has belief in the person of Christ moved from your heart to your actions?
RESTATE MAIN POINTS
What does it means to “believe” in Christ:
I. THE SOURCE OF BELIEF? God is the source of our faith, we cannot manufacture it.
II. THE SPACE OF BELIEF? The Heart is the home of faith not the head. Its ok to not understand, just don’t harden your heart to what God is telling you.
III. THE SURENESS OF BELIEF? We can measure our belief by our “Love” for out of our hearts comes our actions.
• "Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that thou mayest believe, but believe that thou mayest understand." Augustine