Does It Matter What We Believe?

Date written: 7/9/06 Scripture ref: Hebrews 11:1-10

Does It Matter What We Believe?

SUBJECT: Faith, Truth

TITLE: Does it matter what we believe?

PROPOSITION: It matters what we believe because 1) Our beliefs determine our actions, 2) Our actions have consequences, 3) Happiness results from believing the right things.

OBJECTIVE: That each would be concerned with believing the right things and understanding how not believing the right things is detrimental to our spiritual welfare.

INTRODUCTION:

1. Read: Hebrews 11:1-10

2. About the Text:

1) Hebrews 11 is the Bible's great chapter on exemplified faith.

2) We are introduced to several Bible characters and their behavior.

3) We are told that they behaved the way that they did due to their beliefs.

4) We find a strong correlation here between what we believe and how we act.

5) Hebrews 11:6 says that we must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek him.

6) This is what these ancient Bible characters believed.

7) Hence their behavior.

8) If we would seek to follow their examples, then we first need to begin with what we need to believe.

3. In today's religious world.

1) In today's religious world there are many who say, it doesn't matter what you believe.

2) Many are inconsistent in that regard.

3) They will firmly proclaim that it doesn't matter what one believes and then expect certain correct behavior.

4) Expecting someone to behave in a certain way is expecting them to believe certain things.

4. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.

DISCUSSION: It matters what we believe because . . .

I.   Our Beliefs Will Determine Our Actions

1. We act according to our beliefs.

1) Hebrews 11:4 – Abel acted according to his beliefs.

2) Hebrews 11:7 – Noah acted according to his beliefs.

3) Consider Matthew 12:34 “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”

4) Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”

2. If we believe the right things we will act correctly.

1) Consider Matthew 12:35 “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things....”

2) Consider Matthew 6:22 “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

3. If we believe the wrong things we will act incorrectly.

1) Consider Matthew 12:35b “....and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”

2) Consider Matthew 15:18-19 “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:”

4. Different beliefs determine different actions.

1) Some beliefs determine what we trust.

a. Who or what we trust determines other beliefs.

b. We want to trust the right things.

c. We don't want to trust the wrong things.

d. Consider the beliefs of witchcraft, sorcery, astrology, idolatry, materialism, etc.

e. These all replace God as our source of trust and confidence.

2) Some beliefs determine how we worship.

a. If we worship correctly, then God will be pleased.

b. If incorrectly we will offer vain or empty worship (Matthew 15:9).

c. Consider Cain and Abel (Genesis 4).

3) Some beliefs determine how we personally behave.

a. Personal behavior is important to an orderly society.

b. Offensive behavior creates disorder and confusion.

c. We are not to behave inappropriately (1 Corinthians 13:5).

5. If it is important how we act, it is more important what we believe!

II.  Our choices/actions have consequences.

1. We act based upon what we believe; consequences then follow from our actions.

1) Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”

2) We do not live in a vacuum; in the world, but not of the world (1 Corinthians 5:10).

2. Consequences affect the lives of other people.

1) For each and every action we choose, good or bad, there is a ripple effect in the world

2) So called “innocent” fun isn't so innocent when one considers the potential consequences.

3) Most sins start out relatively “harmless,” but end up costing much more than originally intended.

4) The unwed mother whose life is completely changed because of one night of “fun.”

5) The vegetative son or daughter who thought that just one snort wouldn't hurt him or her.

6) The family denied their right to live because of the driver who didn't think he had had too much.

7) These are all the consequences of wrong action which started with wrong belief.

3. The Christian who lives by the rule of love will choose his actions accordingly.

1) Love compels us to have the right beliefs so that we will choose the right actions. That is what it means to be a responsible individual.

2) Romans 13:7-10 “ Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

3) Romans 12:9 “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”

4. God, because He loves us, tells us what is right and wrong so that we will know how to make good choices.

1) Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

2) Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

3) Psalm 119:9 “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

III. Happiness results from believing the right things.

1. Jesus taught so that those who believed could have joy. John 15:11 “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”

2. We have joy from knowing the right way to live! Acts 2:28 “Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.”

3. Correct belief brings us hope as well. Romans 15:13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”

4. Correct belief brings us to joy regarding salvation. 1 Peter 1:8 “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:”

5. Correct belief brings joy to others as well. 3 John 1:4 “ I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

6. Consider the beatitudes - "happy are you . . ." When we believe the truth, and live our life based upon it, we can rejoice that our actions will have the consequences that God intended for them to have and not have consequences that are evil or wicked. What a great reason to rejoice!

CONCLUSION:

1. It is important what we believe!

1) Our actions are based upon our beliefs.

2) Consequences follow from our actions.

3) Happiness results from believing the right things.

2. Invitation