Summary: A living faith and a breathing faith a life in conformity with the baptismal profession A sanctified speech and life, give the only satisfactory answer.
“The test of Sincerity”
Pastor Allan Kircher
Shell Point Baptist Church
The founding of a Church of Ephesus:
* The capital city of the Proconsul of Asia
* A great center of Greek and Asiatic life.
* The place of concourse of all Ionia for its celebrated games
* The seat of the famous temple of Artemis, known as one of the wonders of the ancient world.
Two years had elapsed since the Holy Spirit had expressly prohibited the preaching of the Word in Asia, for reasons we do not know, but now that prohibition is removed.
As powerful as Ephesus was, Paul was not at all intimidated by the city;
Rather, he was thoroughly challenged by the scope of the work that beckoned to him as he neared Ephesus.
God says to let your light shine….
* Where does a light shine the brightest? Not in church.
* In the dark corners of our world.
* In the workplace of the unbelievers, w/darkened family members.
And that is exactly what the apostle Paul did….
* He planted his foot firmly on the soil of Asia.
* taking possession in the Name of the Lord Jesus.
The banner in which he set up has never been taken down to this present hour.
the simplest word spoken in the kingdom of God,
the simplest actions taken in the Name of the Lord Jesus,
It may be the instrument used by the power of God for advancing His own purposes of grace and salvation to untold multitudes.
o You shall never know the impact you have till you reach heaven.
o In every fresh effort you make to preach Christ where He is not known
o There is a glorious uncertainty as to the ultimate consequences of such effort.
That special attitude, or friendly smile in the midst of darkness at your work or conversations ….
• May turn that wilderness into a pool of living water.
• It may turn dry land into a spring of water.
• It may bring to life those dead bones.
One Heaven-born thought in the mind of a man of God,
• one prayer in the Holy Spirit
• one faithful word of truth
• may be the seed of a sacred history which shall fill
• Not earth only, but heaven also with enduring fruits of joy and salvation.
1 Cor 15:58…”Therefore my brothers stand firm, Let nothing…..
I. The essential (Faith) but the insufficient (works).
At Ephesus Paul met with disciples who had been baptized “unto John’s baptism”, but who had not learned to exercise faith in Jesus Christ, nor even heard that there was a Holy Spirit.
These men were well on the way to salvation by Jesus Christ, but they were far from the goal.
1. Repentance is essential, but it is not sufficient of itself.
It is essential; for without it the heart remains far from God
o the soul unturned from self and sin,
o A life unrelieved of that which is false and wrong;
Without it there is no sense of that spiritual need
No sense of zeal for God works.
No sense of witnessing power.
No sense of Godly common good.
The Christian disciple who has not experienced it is fatally short of fulfilling the condition of acceptance with God.
2. It is not sufficient if it leaves the soul without any pledge of Divine forgiveness.
It leaves the heart without that personal union with Jesus.
Which is the very essence of spiritual and eternal life.
It leaves the spirit of man without the abiding indwelling and quickening influence of the Spirit of God.
Therefore, make much of your light in the faith of Jesus Christ and continually testify not only “repentance towards God,” but “faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Is your religion genuine? Is it profound?
Is it a living consciousness of God within your soul?
Or is it a dependence on forms, creeds or merely ideals?
How many trained and taught as Christians must answer, “We know not yet the Holy Spirit!”
The new birth, the love, “the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father!”
o What means the name “Christian” that you bear?
o Is the devil and all his works daily renounced?
3. Our lessons from the disciples of John the Baptist.
They are typical, as we have seen, of many among us;
Those who resemble them among us should be treated in like manner.
There are those who stand upon a lower step of faith.
They know the gospel requires them to give up sin;
Perhaps they say, “not yet can I obtain perfect trust and the love that casts fear in me.”