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Summary: AS CHRISTIANS WE MUST UNDERSTAND THE CHALLENGE TO OUR FAITH IN OUR WORLD TODAY. WE MUST MAKE A STAND FOR WHAT WE BELIEVE IN. THE CHALLENGE IS WHETHER OR NOT WE WILL.

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THE CHALLENGE OF FAITH

1 KINGS 18:16-46

INTRODUCTION:

THEY SAY IT’S GOOD FROM TIME TO TIME TO START A MESSAGE WITH A JOKE OR A FUNNY STORY. KNOWING MY SENSE OF HUMOR, THAT IS ALWAYS A SCARY UNDERTAKING, BUT I DID COME ACROSS A STORY THAT I FOUND FUNNY AND I HOPE YOU DO AS WELL

IT APPEARS THERE WAS THIS PASTOR WHO HAD A PARROT. ALL THAT THE PARROT COULD SAY WAS “LET’S PRAY, LET’S PRAY.” THE PASTOR TRIED TO TEACH HIM TO SAY OTHER THINGS BUT TO NO AVAIL. HE LEARNED THAT ONE OF HIS DEACON’S GOT A PARROT. THAT PARROT WOULD ONLY SAY “LET’S KISS, LET’S KISS”.

THE PASTOR DECIDED TO INVITE THE DEACON AND THE PARROT OVER TO HIS HOUSE. WHEN THE DEACON ARRIVED THEY PUT THE PARROTS INTO THE SAME CAGE TO SEE WHAT WOULD HAPPEN. THE DEACON’S PARROT SAID “LET’S KISS, LET’S KISS.” THE PASTOR’S PARROT HEAD SRUNG UP, GOT EXCITED AND SAID “THANK YOU, LORD. MY PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED.”

THERE IS POWER IN PRAYER.

TODAY WE FACE GREAT CHALLENGES TO THE CHRISTIAN. I’VE BECOME MORE AND MORE CONCERNED THAT CHRISTIANS ARE BECOMING FAR TOO COMFORTABLE WITH WHAT THEY CALL CHRISTIANITY. WHAT IS HAPPENING I FEAR IS THAT WE ARE RESEMBLING A SOCIAL MOVEMENT, NOT A CHURCH WITH VITAL CHRISTIAN VALUES THAT WE AS CHRISTIANS STAND FOR.

I REMEMBER HEARING OR READING MESSAGES ENTITLED “AN INCONVENIENT FAITH” AND I REMEMBER BEING INTRIGUED BY THE TITLE. HOW COULD FAITH BE INCONVENIENT? AS I FOLLOWED THE MESSAGE THOUGH, ALTHOUGH I MAY NOT HAVE LIKED THE TITLE, THE CONTENT WAS RIGHT ON THE MONEY.

HE WAS SAYING THAT AS PEOPLE LIVE THEIR CHRISTIAN LIVES, THAT IT WILL LEAD THEM INTO SITUATIONS OF INCONVENIENCE. DO YOU NOT THINK THAT WHEN MISSIONARIES GO OVERSEAS THAT THEY DON’T FIND SOME OF THE CHANGES THEY FACE TO BE INCONVENIENT FOR THEM? IS IT NOT INCONVENIENT TO GIVE MR. X A DRIVE TO CHURCH ESPECIALLY WHEN HE’S NEVER READY ON TIME, IT’S TWO MILES AWAY IN THE WRONG DIRECTION TO PICK HIM UP, AND YOU ARE ALWAYS LATE AS A RESULT. HOW ARE YOU EVER GOING TO FIND OUT THE SCORES OF THE BASEBALL GAME LAST NIGHT?

HOW ABOUT THIS ONE. THE PASTOR ASKED ME TO LEAD A YOUTH GROUP THIS YEAR. IT MEETS SATURDAY MORNING. THEY DON’T HAVE MUCH AND HE JUST WANTS TO BRIGHTEN THEIR DAY. I ALWAYS KEEP SATURDAY MORNING FREE TO HUNT OR FISH. I KNOW I SHOULD HELP, BUT DON’T I DESERVE SOME FREE TIME LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.

THERE ARE COUNTLESS SCENARIOS THAT CAN COME UP WHERE WE HAVE TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THE LIFE WE WANT TO LEAD, OR TO WALK THE ROAD CHRIST IS CALLING US TOO. EACH TIME THIS OCCURS WE WILL MAKE A CHOICE, EITHER TO BE FAITHFUL OR NOT. THIS IS THE CHALLENGE OF AN INCONVENIENT FAITH. IS CHRIST THE SOVEREIGN IN OUR LIVES, OR ARE WE.

THERE IS A FABLE OF A HUNGRY DONKEY THAT WAS BETWEEN TWO BUNDLES OF HAY. IT LOOKED AT THE ONE, THEN AT THE OTHER, AND COULD NOT DECIDE WHICH TO EAT FIRST. EVENTUALLY IT DIED OF STARVATION. JUST ABOUT AS FOOLISH ARE THOSE WHO HALT BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS TILL THEY DIE IN THEIR SINS, OR A CHRISTIAN THAT TRIES TO LIVE BOTH A LIFE FOR THE LORD AND A LIFE FOR THEMSELVES AND FIND IN THE END THAT THEY HAVE LIVED NEITHER.

J.I.PACKER STATED:

“ALONG WITH MUCH OF THE BAD THINKING THAT HAS COME DOWN TO US FROM THE LAST FOUR HUNDRED YEARS, COMES THE IDEA OF SPLIT LIVING. THESE ARE THOSE PEOPLE WHO, “LIVE CAMPARTMENTALIZED LIVES; WORSHIP GOD, GO TO CHURCH, AND DO THEIR “RELIGIOUS” BIT ON SUNDAYS. THEN THEY SWITCH THAT OFF AND PURSUE THEIR PROFESSIONS, WEEKDAY WORK, WEEKEND HOBBIES, AND ALL THEIR RELATIONSHIPS (AS THOUGH THESE WERE MATTERS ENTIRELY SEPARATE FROM THEIR CHRISTIAN COMMITMENT). THEY DO NOT EVEN TRY TO SEE THEIR LIVES AS A WHOLE IN TERMS OF GOD AND HIS WORD. INSTEAD, THEY SLIP INTO THEIR RELIGIOUS COMPARTMENT ON SUNDAYS AND THEIR SECULAR COMPARTMENT ON THE OTHER DAYS OF THE WEEK AND ALLOW NO COMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE TWO.

THE SCRIPTURES ARE CLEAR THAT WE CANNOT WALK THE TWO ROADS AT THE SAME TIME. WHEN A TIME OF CRISIS COMES, THE ROAD THAT WE HAVE CHOSEN WILL BECOME CLEAR. DO WE HAVE OUR TRUST IN GOD, OR DO WE HAVE OUR TRUST IN OURSELVES?

LUKE 16:13: No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

1 PETER 2:9: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

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