What People Will Say About Your Faith

True faith cannot be faked or hidden. People notice how you live your life and talk about it.

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8, 1 Thessalonians 8


Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Oh, I’m feeling okay. Praise the Lord. We’re looking at 1 Thessalonians, you, and I. “And Paul said, you followed me, and then other people followed you. Ye became followers of us, and of the Lord.” Small thought here, if you are going to take anybody for your example, remember it is in the Lord. Any human being you emulate will ultimately disappoint you. Right?

In pastoral work through the years, I pastored full time for eighteen years before I went to the Youth for Christ and then on into other things, still ministering to people. I meet them all the time, folk who got their eyes on another human being who seemed so perfect, so spiritual, so inspiring, and then he or she turned out to have some very human faults, and flaws; and people get bitter, and they say, “who can you trust? I thought that I could trust so and so and now look at what he, or she, or they have done.”

Paul said, “You became followers of us and of the Lord.” Just remember, we’re dealing with human beings, and there isn’t anybody in all this world but Jesus, who will not fail you somewhere along the line, maybe not intentionally, but there’s those flaws, because we are sons and daughters of Adam.

Followers of us and of the Lord, keep your eyes on Jesus. “Let’s run with patience,” says the writer to the Hebrews, the race that is set before us looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Anytime you are disappointed with another human being, you look up and say, “Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for both of us,” because he did.

You and I have our faults, and the other person has his or hers, and Jesus died for us all. “That he died for all,” it said. That was what the Bible said, and so anytime you’re disappointed in another human being and some of you are this minute, I know. Look up and say, “Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for both of us, and help me to show love to thy child who has a need.”

Good idea? Well, that was a detour and now we come back. He said, “Ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.” What makes you an example to other people? Well, look. Followers of the Lord, number one, Receive the word. Number 2, receive the word in affliction. Your faith is greater than circumstances. Receive the word in much affliction in spite of your troubles, in other words – with joy – of the Holy Ghost.

The continuing miracle of the Word of God working in your life being greater than circumstances and greater than your feelings, and your moods – that makes you an example to other people. So he said, “ye became examples to all that believe, living in Macedonia and Achaia.”

“For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia but also, this is verse 8 now in Thessalonians 1, also in every place your faith to God is spread abroad; so we need not to speak anything.” Couple of thoughts here: Number 1, true faith cannot be faked, or on the other hand cannot be hidden.

Remember the story of Simon, the sorcerer? So when Simon saw the true laying on of the apostle’s hands, the Holy Ghost was given. He offered the money saying, “Give me also this power that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” But Peter said, “Thy money perish with thee because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou has neither partner love in this matter, thy heart is not right in the sight of thy God, repent of this thy wickedness.”

See there was one named Simon who was who was somebody. It was Simon who, before time, used sorcery and giving out that himself was some great one. The verse third, Simon himself believed also, and he continued with Philip and wandered. But Peter said your heart is unright that I wasn’t saved, was he?

True faith cannot be faked. Don’t try it you’ll end up looking ridiculous. The attempt to be something that you’re not only makes you ridiculous and pitiful. Ever see an old man trying to act like a young man? And people smile and say behind his back, “Ah well, he’s trying to recapture his lost youth.”

This happens in so many areas of life not simply in a manner of chronological age but any time you tried to appear to be something that you’re not. You just come across as a fake and a phony, and people either laugh at you or pity you.

True faith cannot be faked. Either I’m absolutely committed to Jesus, or I am not. Either I trust Him with all my life and I’m willing to obey Him, or I’m not. It cannot be faked. But on the other hand, it cannot be hidden. If you are committed to your Lord Jesus, and if you are following His directions, and if you are trusting Him with all your heart step by step, I want to tell you the news we’ll get around.

“The word sounded out throughout all Macedonia, and in Achaia, and also in every place your faith to God is spread abroad.” The word gets around if you are real with God. You do not have to be afraid of that. People talk anyway, don’t they? You ever talked about your neighbors? Oh, yes you do. You ever talked about other church members? Yes, sure I might. You ever talked about the minister? Yes, oh yes and it is not always kind. Many times it is if you are a kind person and you don’t have vindictiveness in your heart, but people will talk. That is a truism.

Well, then if you are full of the Spirit of God, and living in the power of God, and you are actually exercising true faith in your blessed living Lord. When people talk, they are going to talk about what’s going on in your life. The reason many people don’t have a good testimony is because nothing is going on. Nothing as I often say, nothing is going on but the rent. Oh there isn’t any miracle, there isn’t any joy. There isn’t any sending over circumstances and living above them. There isn’t any evidence of real commitment even though it might mean a sacrifice of time, or money, or effort, or all three.

Nothing going on and so people discount you. You don’t have much of a witness as a result. You following me in that? So what do you do about it? Bow down on your knees until your heart is warm and tender toward God, and then get up then start obeying what He told you to do when you were praying. It is that simple, and when you engage in a life of obedience to your blessed Lord the word is going to get around. You don’t have to say a word. It will get around.

People will know whether or not you mean business with God. True faith cannot be hidden, and it then true faith doesn’t need somebody to do to promote it.

Now, I am not against public relations people. When I first came to the college, I did not know anybody. I did not even suspect anybody. (Laughs) I was dumb. (Laughs) And one of the things I did was to look up a firm, that was already successful in doing some public relations on the college level. I got to know these men, and I said, “You know I wish that I could get your help in opening some doors for me.” And they did. They actually lined up calls for me to make. I made scores, and maybe hundreds of calls in those early years on corporation executives and newspaper people and I don’t know who all, and they opened the doors for me. Now I think that’s perfectly legitimate. Then that is not, beloved, not what I’m talking about here.

But there is a kind of self-promotion that some people engage in hoping to convince others that they are really very spiritual. You understand me? And that sort of a thing is entirely unnecessary if you are the real article. Paul said, “I don’t have to say anything.” Because people who know you are telling how you turned to God from idols to serve the living God, and so on. People who know you will certify you in the things of God without you saying a word.

I have a little Cookism, that I use sometimes. There is room in interpersonal relationships, there is room for the occasional misunderstanding that needs to be cleared up, but what people say about you over a period of twenty years will be precisely the truth. The word gets around about who and what you are. Now you want to think about that in within the framework of your own life in ministry, my beloved friend. You got so much going for you.

God has given you so many gifts, so many good things, so many abilities. Now think about all of that, and deliberately yield it all, point by point to your blessed Lord so that He can work and speak and live through you, and the people who know you best are going to say, even though some of them may say it grudgingly, who knows? The people who know you best are going to say, “God is at work in that life.”

Oh that is what I want for me, Bob Cook, and it is what I want for you, my dear friend. God working in our lives so that other people, who observe us, will certify the fact that the Lord is doing something. They themselves, that is the people who know the Thessalonians, show what manner of entering in we had on to you, and how you turned to God.

You give some thought to that today, will you? It starts on your knees with the presence of God. It continues in day by day obedience in trust in your blessed Lord, and He does the rest. Hallelujah.

Holy Father, we worship Thee and we love Thee. Help us to obey Thee today so thou canst be glorified, and people will see that we are real, in Jesus name, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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