Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."

Today I want to speak of faith – and the reason you need to know what it is, is because these days there is a lot that looks like faith – but it just won’t stand – when hard times come – it will fall to pieces. While faith is a gift of God, which comes complete – it is helpful to speak of it as having 3 parts – like the legs of a stool. The first leg is knowledge – for one needs to know why one needs a savior, as well as who that savior is. The second leg is ascent – what you know, you must accept as true – if you cannot see that you are a sinner, you do not believe you need a savior. The third leg is trust – what you know, and what you accept as true – you must be able to act upon. This is the hard part – and where we often get into trouble.

Imagine if you will, that a light bulb goes out – but you cannot reach the bulb, as its too high – what do you need? A ladder – if you have a ladder, you can say to yourself – now I can reach the bulb and change it – but just having a ladder is not changing the light bulb – to change the bulb, you must use the ladder – do you trust the ladder enough to use it? Or do you sit in the dark – because you are afraid to use what you have?

Our text today speaks of people who know enough – to know that Jesus is Lord – and who accept that it is true that He really is Lord of All and our Lord – but are having trouble acting on what they know and accept. You see – If you know Jesus is Lord – If you accept that this is true – then because He is Lord you will do the will of God.

The first excuse is that some people claim that they do not know what God’s will is – that is silly – God wrote the commandments in the hearts of all people – and it is by keeping the commandments that we begin to do God’s will. So we examine ourselves in light of the 10 commandments, and we repent of our sin – we ask not only for God’s forgiveness, but for his grace to change our sinful ways.

God has given us much more than just the 10 commandments – He has given us the Bible – the Word of God – to teach us the way of salvation and to train us in holy living. But it is one thing to know that the Bible is the Word of God – and quite another to know what the Bible says – if you do not regularly hear the Bible how can it act on your life – if you do not regularly read the Bible – how can you know all you need to know. So once you know the Bible is the Word of God, and accept that it has something to say to your life you must read, mark, learn and inwardly digest God’s Word – and that is how we put into action what we know and accept.

Some people want to know why they should act upon what they believe – and God’s Word gives us the answer – for if we are going to build anything – we want to build something that lasts. But much of the world is building nothing that lasts – in fact, it is as though all they were building are sand castles. Sand castles don’t last – all it takes is a storm like last night – and all that remains of a lifetime’s work is a pile of sand. It might have looked impressive – but if affords no protection and offers no shelter. And that is also the point of the parable Jesus tells to explain why doing God’s will is so important. Matthew 7:24 Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.

It may look like doing God will saves us – but that is not what it says. You see – it is God who gives faith – it is God who saves – it is God who gives us all that we need. And God gives us faith so that we can lay hold of his gracious promises and receive his mercy and salvation. For when we fail to act on what we know God is calling us to do – we are saying quite plainly – I do not really believe. It is as though we are tired of standing and about ready to fall – but we are not certain we can sit on the stool of faith – uncertain it will support our weight. What happens – if you will not live by faith – you fall – its just that simple. But if we trust God enough to rely on his promise – we find that the faith he has given us – as small as that appears – supports us. And that is how faith grows, as we see how through many trials temptations, dangers and peril – how God is with us – providing for us – supporting us – and helping us to live as his children – forgiving others, and God in Christ has forgiven us.