Challenged to Change
Acknowledgement of Belief
A Good Confession
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Could you take your Bible and turn to Romans 10:10. I’ll just mention a few things, loved ones and then we’ll open the microphone up for all of us to share. Romans 10:10, “For man believes with his heart and so is justified and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.” That’s what faith is, both of those things. Believe in your heart inside and then make your outward life match what you believe in your heart, confess with your lips. And if you are anxious to be closer to God and to have a living and a real relationship with Him, you need to do those two things. Believe in your heart and then confess with your lips and the Greek word is “make your lips agree with what is in your heart” and that’s true, loved ones. It’s true in ordinary life. Faith includes inside belief and outward action, and you never get the benefits that are promised to you by your belief unless the outward action takes place.
I don’t know if you have a gas guzzler, but many of us who have tend to say, “I believe if I would only buy a Rabbit diesel I would save a mint” and if you keep on saying that week after week, you will save precisely nothing — until eventually you go into a car lot and you actually buy a Rabbit diesel. Then you fill it up with regular gas and it coughs and splutters and you spend most of the time pushing it and you can keep on saying, “I believe if I only would put diesel oil into it, it would go like a bird.” But if you keep on saying simply “I believe if I put diesel oil into it, it would go right,” but you never actually put diesel oil into it, then you will never get the benefits of what you say you believe — until eventually you draw up to a pump someday and you give up the unequal battle and you put diesel oil into the diesel. Then you begin to experience the benefits.
Now loved ones, it’s the same with our Father. You will not receive His life, the life of the Holy Spirit into you unless you act in accordance with your belief. So sometimes I think we run the risk in a group like ourselves of being mental, closet Christians. That is, we say we believe that we were buried with Christ and that we were recreated new persons who can depend on Him and not on people or things, we continue to say we believe that but we never actually do it.
I could give you one fairly plain instance and then I’ll sit down. It is the last page of the Old Testament if you’d look at it. I use it because I fought over it so much myself and it’s such a plain promise and it comes home to so many of us because we all have pocketbooks. Malachi 3:10, the last page of the Old Testament, Malachi 3:10, a promise: “Bring the full tithes into the storehouse that there may be food in my house and thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and poor down for you an overflowing blessing.” Tithes are a tenth of your income, that’s what it means, and the promise is if you give me a tenth of your income, I will open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing.
Many of us lie awake, tossing and turning at night, worried and anxious with our stomachs churning inside because our finances aren’t working out and we keep on saying,” I believe if I would only give to God what is His and not rob Him, if I would only give a tenth of my income to Him, His promise is sure, He will pour out blessings from the windows of heaven.” We keep on saying “I believe that, I believe that”, but do you know all the powers of Satan are organized to prevent you ever actually putting your income on a sheet of paper and dividing by ten and then making a check out for that. That’s it. And I think you all know I am not talking about giving it here. Give it
here if Jesus guides you but getting rid of it somewhere, even if you burn the stuff, doing what God tells you to do.
It’s interesting, loved ones, all the powers of Satan are against you actually doing the doing part of faith because that’s the part that opens the power of the Holy Spirit. I’d just finish on this: I wonder how many of you are really people who love Jesus and who believe in Him in your heart and you’ve actually never confessed it with your lips. I wonder do you see how important that is, that when you confess with your lips you start the life of the Holy Spirit flowing through your being and you begin to be saved. That’s it. You begin to be saved, your personality begins to be saved and renewed and cleansed and changed by the Holy Spirit pouring through you as you give an outlet to the Holy Spirit at the other end — be that some kind of outward obedience or some kind of confession.
I would just mention this, if you are someone that is in your heart respectful and loving of Jesus and you have never actually said that aloud to anyone, I would urge you to do it even this morning. If you’re very shy and you’re just very uncertain, I would just come to that microphone and I would just say my name is Ernest O’Neill and Jesus is my Savior and my Lord. I would just start there. If you are in that situation where you’ve never actually voiced it, here are loving friends and family around you and they certainly are rooting for you. Now some of the rest of us may want to share some of the light that God has given us, but I would urge you to do it briefly so that as many of us can share as possible.