Sunday, October 9, 2016 pm



 It is no secret that we are divided religiously (as in every other way).  As was pointed out this past week in our study of reverence, much of it is due to a lack of reverence for God and His word.

In discussing religion with others today, some would tell you that it really doesn’t make a difference what we believe, as long as we believe (some don’t even demand that).  This has resulted in the rise of churches that focus more on social issues and current events than they do on doctrinal matters in scripture. 

But, WHEN you study the Bible, does it make a difference what we believe?  Does it make a difference what church we are a part of?  Does it make a difference how we worship God?  Does God care about the moral standards we set for ourselves?  Does God, in absolute terms, tell us how to be saved and how to stay saved?

As we study the Bible we see that these things DO matter to Him.  In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus taught that it is not enough to simply believe – we must DO the will of the Father.  

Tonight, for a few moments we want to notice some passages that show us that it DOES make a difference. 

Let us consider that it makes a difference:

 I.                     What we hear

a.       Mark 4:24, Luke 8:18 – on more than one occasion, Jesus said, “Take heed what you hear.”
Similarly, He said often, “He who has an ear, let him hear…” (cf.  Matthew 11:15, 13:9, 13:43, etc.)  It is an expression similar to when we say, “Listen to me” or “pay attention”. 
But in His case, He challenged His audience to not merely listen, but also to CONSIDER what was taught. 

b.       What we hear is where it all begins - Romans 10:17, faith comes by hearing.

c.        Acts 17:11, the Bereans were more fair minded… because they received the word with readiness and searched the scriptures daily to confirm.  In other words, they LISTENED!

d.       Luke 18:6, after a parable about God hearing our prayers, Jesus said, “Hear what the unjust judge said…”  In that statement He was calling for more than just an audible acknowledgment of words, but a call to weigh those words and an expectation to make proper application.

e.       Matthew 7:24-27, Whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them…

f.         Friends it matters what we hear – the source, the interpretation, and the application.

 II.                   What we think

a.       Proverbs 23:7 (4:23) – “as he thinks in his heart, so is he”.   Yes this text is dealing with one whose heart is stingy, but it makes the point.  Prov. 4:23 tells us out of our hearts the issues of life spring.

b.       Matthew 15:18-20, after some strong rebukes, disciples of Jesus tell Him some of the Pharisees were offended.  Jesus responded that was because they were not willing to follow Him.  He then notes that what proceeds from the mouth comes from the heart.  It comes from our thoughts – these are the sins.

c.        There are many with evil thoughts and that are in error.  John 16:2 – one will think he is doing service to God.  Paul in Acts 26:9 before Agrippa told how he THOUGHT he must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus.  But he was wrong! 

d.       Philippians 4:8, Paul described the types of things we ought to be thinking about. 
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 – the weapons of our warfare are designed to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

e.       Friends, your thoughts CAN be wrong!  If you are not looking in the right place or with the right attitude, there is a good possibility your thinking is wrong and it DOES MAKE A DIFFERNCE. 

 III.                  What we say

a.       Let us be reminded that many of the sins we read of in scripture involve what we say – from profanity and blasphemy, to lying and gossip, from hurtful conversations to false teaching.    It might be just talking too much!

b.       James 3:6-12 describes the damage that the tongue can do.

c.        Jesus warned in Matthew 12:36-37 that when we stand before God, we will give an account for what we say.

d.       Conversely – Proverbs 13:3 says, “He who guards his mouth preserves his life…” 
Proverbs 15:1-2 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.

e.       IN this we learn that it is not only what we say, but HOW we say it.

f.         Colossians 4:6 – speech seasoned with salt.
James 1:19 – be swift to hear, slow to speak…

g.       Finally, consider Psalm 141:3 where David prayed, “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.

h.       WHAT we say definitely makes a difference and can determine the direction of a conversation and even more.

 IV.                 What we believe

a.       Far too many today believe that it really doesn’t matter what we believe.  The Bible teaches differently.

b.       2 Thess. 2:10-12 – speaks of the lawless one coming who with unrighteous deception cause condemnation.  The reason is because some believe the lie, rather than loving the truth.

c.        There are many reasons why people believe that which is false – ignorance, prejudice, they have an agenda, relationships, consequences of accepting the truth, laziness, etc.   But if you believe a lie, that doesn’t make it truth.

d.       John 17:17, when Jesus prayed to the Father, He said, “Sanctify them by Your truth, Your word is truth.”  John 3:36 says, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe (obey) the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides in Him.”

e.       1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

f.         An example: Ephesians 4:4-6 – the 7 “ones” – these are exclusive.  These things matter!  We need to get them right!

 V.                   What we love

a.       1 John 2:15-17 – do not love the world or the things in the world

2 Timothy 3:1-5 – men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, …
1 Tim. 6:9-10 – the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil

b.       Instead, we need to love God and our neighbor – Matthew 22:37-39.  And this is more than an emotion – it is a responsive love.  Jesus said, “IF you love Me you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15, 21). 

c.        We need to love the truth – Psalm 119:97, “How I love Your law.  It is my meditation all the day.”
Psalm 1:1-2 – his delight is in the law of the Lord…He meditates day and night.
2 Thess. 2:10- the unrighteous are deceived and perish because they did not receive the love of the truth

d.       We need to love one another as brethren – John 13:34-35, 1 Peter 1:22 – we love one another fervently with a pure heart

e.       It does matter what and who we love. 

 VI.                 What we do

a.       Knowing the truth and even loving the truth is not enough.  In fact, a study of scripture reveals that we demonstrate our love and understanding by what we do.

b.       2 Corinthians 5:10-11 tells us that we will each answer for what we have done.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 – God will bring every work into judgment…

c.        Matthew 7:21-23 – the text we began with, we will also end with it.  Notice that Jesus said it is not enough to say you believe in Him or “call Him Lord.”  You have to DO! 


As we can see, when it comes to God and our faith, it DOES make a difference.  Everything about life centers around our understanding that it does make a difference.  AND how we respond to this will also have a bearing on the difference we make in other people’s lives as well.  

What about you?  Will you decide to do what God commands rather than what you want to do yourself?  Realize that the choices you make will determine where we spend eternity – Matthew 25:46. And that DOES make a difference.  Think about it!