Challenged to Change
Proof of Belief
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
This might be a decision day for somebody here so I would ask you just briefly to consider where you stand this morning. Do you believe that there is a God? Now, kind of settle that, you know in your mind. Then do you believe that the Bible is reliable history? Those are primarily intellectual questions so you should be able to say to yourself where you stand in regard to those two. Now, the third one is the crucial one, do you believe in the light of that historical evidence that Jesus is the son of your maker? Do you believe that?
Now, if you do believe that, you’ll see very plainly that he must be still alive because he obviously passed through death and came back to life so what you can do once, you can do a billion times. Now, that means he is alive now. Now you know that if I said to you, “I am the son of the maker of the universe” you know what you would all do. I know what I would do. You would all come to me and you’d say, “Tell me, why am I here? Tell me about your father, what does he think of me? What are his plans for me? What can I do to fulfill them?” You know that. We’d all just be up here in crowds to get him to tell us what we should do.
Now, that’s the obvious logical step if you believe Jesus is the Son of God. It’s interesting, that’s what he said. He said, “he who believes in me, will also do the works that I do.” He said if you believe in me, if you believe I am the Son of God, then you will automatically say to yourself that I must be living a life that is pleasing to my Father and you will want to live the same kind of life. Actually that’s the key to confronting Jesus on your own personally.
It is, because there’s a massive step between an intellectual concept and a living personal confrontation with a person and you know you can’t have it with Napoleon. We can believe that Napoleon lived, we can believe that Julius Caesar lived, we can believe that Hitler lived and Churchill lived but we know there’s no way in which we can meet them. Because in fact, they’re subject to death, but you can meet this man who is the Son of God. The way to do it loved ones, the way to move from just an intellectual concept about him being God’s Son into an actual living confrontation with him is the way he said.
He said, “He who believes in me, will also do the works that I do” and that’s it. If you start doing that, Jesus will give you a power to see him because he is not material substance and you’ll need a special power to be able to see him. He gives you that power of faith if you really show him that you believe he is God’s Son. The way you show him is by doing the works that he does. “He who believes in me will also do the works that I do.”
So that’s the secret. That’s the secret this morning. If you really do believe there’s a God and you do believe this Bible is reliable history intellectually, and you believe from examining Jesus’ life that he is the Son of God then it is possible for you to begin to actually contact him, that’s it. It’s possible for you to actually begin to contact him and for him to communicate to you what he and his father had in mind for you. It’s possible if you will show that you believe in him by doing also the works that he does — that’s it.
I’d speak especially to those of you who think at all academically. This is the difficulty I got
myself into where I could not get from an intellectual concept about Jesus to an actual personal confrontation with Him. I didn’t realize that the way through that is to behave as you normally would, before the Son of God, you’d want to be like him. You’d want to make your life like his. The moment you do that, he begins to give you faith. Faith is a power and an ability to see him alive and to know him, that’s it. So that’s the key. I’d point you to the last bit of what I tried to write there on that page 5 if you’d like to look at it.
It’s page 5, that piece on Communion. If you look just half way down it, I’ll just read it slowly. If you’d be kind enough to just look at it as I read it, half way down the page there. “This is how you, this morning can make that seemingly impossible leap from an intellectual concept that Jesus is God’s Son to an actual experiential relationship with him. Today in communion, show him that you believe he is real by lining up your life with his. Stop doing what he says is wrong. Start doing what he says is right. And study his life so that you can become like him. This is the part of faith that you can exercise yourself, you can believe your own logic and you can do what Jesus says you should do. Then he will give you the supernatural ability to know him and communicate with him and he himself will communicate with you.”
This is what Jesus says, “If you lie, this morning, stop lying, if you swear, stop swearing, if you criticize others, stop it. If you don’t tithe, start tithing, if you don’t put yourself out for anybody, start going out of your way for others’ sake. If you don’t read the Bible every day, start reading it each morning. If you indulge in unclean daydreaming and imaginations, stop it. Start substituting memories of things that Jesus did in Galilee. If you boast and show off and try to be the center of attention, stop it and start trying to build others up. Start living like Jesus and he will begin to show you what his Father’s plans are for you. That’s it — that’s what communion is about.
So will you deal with God, each in your own way? And I am going to deal with Him in my way and let’s each one see that the key to passing from this intellectual stuff into an actual personal confrontation with Jesus is to put your ‘will’ where your head is. You know, we say put your money where your mouth is. Well, put your ‘will’ where your head is.
You say you believe he is the Son of God? Okay, show him by beginning to do the things that he says you should do. That’s a miracle. I mean I changed my life when I got clear of that endless circle of mental mediation and thinking and it was a miracle. Suddenly something began to come from the other side of space — it’s just a miracle. You know it’s because I began to take him seriously and began to change my life to meet what he said was right.
So loved ones that’s what communion is about. So don’t stay away from the bread and the wine because you’re not a church member, that’s not important. The important thing is that you would take it seriously. That as you take this bread and wine, you yourself in your own life would resolve to stop doing the things that he through your conscience has told you, you are wrong. Stop doing it and start lining your life up with him and as you are real with him, he’ll be real with you. That’s it, you take him seriously, he’ll take you seriously and he’ll come from the other side and show himself to you.
So loved ones, will you think about that now as we begin? If you don’t want to do that then don’t take the bread and wine, you know because that’s tragic. The Bible says, “If you eat and drink without discerning the body, you eat and drink damnation onto your own soul.” So don’t, just pass it along. But if you are ready to be serious with Jesus then do take it with joy and as you take
the bread and wine into your body, his Spirit will begin to put himself inside you and you’ll begin to sense a real relationship with him. Really he’ll rise inside you, that’s a miracle.
Let’s stand as we receive the invitation.
You that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins and are in love and charity with your neighbors and intend to lead a new life following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in His Holy ways, draw near with faith and take this holy sacrament to your comfort and make your humble confession unto Almighty God.
Let’s be seated as we pray.
Lord Jesus, for some of us it’s the first time to speak to you as if you were really alive and so we’ll say it again Lord Jesus, we do believe that you’re not just a human being but that you are God’s Son. Therefore that you are alive and even though you haven’t material substance this time as you had in Galilee, we believe that you’re here in this place and that you can see us. Lord Jesus we desperately want to know you personally and to have some kind of relationship with you and with your Father, our maker. We need to start finding out what we’re here for and why our lives were created.
So Lord Jesus you’ve said that if we believe in you, we’ll do also the works that you do. So, we look at your life and we see it’s very different from ours. We’ve been taught for years that we can’t possibly be like you but we don’t know Lord whether we can or not, but we realize that you said to us that we should be, that if we do love you, we’ll keep your words.
So, Lord this morning, we would be honest with you about our sins. We confess them to you now, we’d admit that they are wrong. We would tell you that we intend to be different after we walk out of this room this morning. We intend to live like you. Lord, we believe that if we put our will all on your side, you will miraculously do what you promised. You will give us power to live like you and you will give us the ability of faith to know you. So Lord that’s what we’re going to do this day.
As we pray and meditate before you now, we ask you to bring to our remembrance all the things that you want us to begin to change and we will put our will where our intellect is. Amen.