Summary: We need to make sure our faith is visible and real so others might see who God really is in us!
-Our lives are on display. This is true of all who calls themselves Christ followers or Christians. Since our lives are on display, we need to be sure that people can see Jesus, not just us. People won’t stay interested very long if they just see me. But if they can see Jesus then I know I am doing what God has called me to do – know Him and make Him known.
-I hope you understand that we don’t do spiritual things just to be seen. Jesus condemned this approach to prayer and giving in the Pharisees. So pride must not be what is behind our visible faith. Pride will weaken our faith because it causes us to focus on ourselves instead of on God. Nevertheless, part of God’s plan is to have other people see your life so that they might catch a glimpse of Him. Just like Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 “…Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” The 2 verses before that are worth reading as well: “14 You are the light of the world-- like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. 15 Don't hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all.” Matthew 5:14-15
-So, if I could put the main thought of this message into one simple sentence, it would be this: We need to make sure our faith is visible and real!
-How do we do that?
-Let’s look at several visible signs of faith from the Bible.
I. Actions that Make our Faith Visible (James 2:18) (How we act)
James 2:18 …I will show you my faith by what I do.
A. Love one another
John 13:35 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
B. Do what Jesus did – believe for miracles!
-John 14:12 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
-Acts 3:16 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.
C. Bring people to Jesus
-Matthew 9:2 2 Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven."
-Acts 11:24 24 He [Barnabas] was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
D. Show Hospitality
-3 John 1:5 (Msg) Dear friend, when you extend hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters, even when they are strangers, you make the faith visible.
E. Do Good and Help the Poor
-Acts 9:36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha who was always doing good and helping the poor.
-Faith in action is often visible by God’s design (loving one another, working miracles, healing, people coming to the Lord, showing hospitality and generosity, etc.). It is hard to pick only a few actions to illustrate visible faith. In reality, it is our entire life that either reflects a visible faith or perhaps sometimes confuses the issue. Here are a few other actions that make our faith visible: Our obedience to God and His word; the way we worship, pray, and connect with God (if we are genuine and wholehearted, people will see); the way we share our faith in lifestyle and in what we say; what we talk about with others (does the conversation ever lead to Jesus?); and, the earthly sacrifices we are willing to make for Jesus.
-Well, let’s move from actions to attitudes that lead toward a visible faith. Some overlap with actions, but if we allow the Holy Spirit to shape our attitudes with God’s grace, then our actions will be affected as well.
II. Attitudes that Make our Faith Visible (How we think & feel)
-Albert Einstein said: "Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character."
-“God is more pleased with the quiet attention of a sincere servant than the noisy service of a sour one.... What matters more than the type of service is the "heart (motive)" behind the service. A bad attitude spoils the gift we leave on the altar for God.” (Max lucado....He Still moves stones)
A. Fruit of the Holy Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23
B. Love – 1 Corinthians 13 describes the attitude of love: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.