#103 Mountain Moving Faith - Part 6 (16/11/03)

By: Robert H. Schuller

I want you to know anybody can be a saint. You can be. You don't need to be rich or celebrated or famous. You don't need to be someone with a glory banner on the web site. Let me share how it happens.

I said in my last sermon here two weeks ago, we've got to understand again what faith is. Faith is a fact, not a fantasy. Every human being on Planet Earth is a faith responding creature. They may not know it, they may not admit it, but that is a fact. It's what I call the spiritual law of gravity in humanity, is every human being operates from faith. You sit down without checking the chair. You eat without making positively sure there is no poison in it. And you love a person when you cannot be totally proven that they are trustworthy to you. Faith is in every major decision human's make. So faith is a fact, it is a scientific force, not a moral value.

That's the second point, faith is a force, not a value. It has no conscience. It has no compassion. It has no heart. It's a force, powerful force for good or ill, divine or demonic, intelligent or superstitious. Faith is a fact, not a fantasy; a force, not value. It is therefore, a decision not a debate. We don't debate 'should we have faith?' 'do we have faith?' We've all got it to some degree. Then it becomes a commitment, not an argument. Which leads us to where I want to pick up this morning; the object of our faith then becomes all-important. Faith has no heart, no compassion, no conscience, so we have to choose as an object of our faith something that puts heart and soul, energy, power, ultimately altruism into our life. What do you have faith in? What's the object of your faith? We've all got an object, whether you know it or not. Maybe it's consumerism, God help you. Maybe it's celebrity-ism; there's a lot of that. Young people and adults that swarm around the famous figure. Maybe it's a branding number, or a branding name. Hummer? Got a Hummer?

What's the object of your faith? That becomes the central issue in our culture in this year 2003. We all need a God and we will all have a God, whether we know it or not and it will be, what is the object of my faith? Is it money? Is it fame? What kind of a God should we have? Where do we find this kind of a God? And where can people who never have any exposure to religion, bible or church, where can they find that kind of a God?

Quickly! What kind of a God do we need? We need a God that I would say inspires three C's in me. When I arrived at my last trip to Singapore there was a message waiting for me. It was from the president. He wanted me to.. to see me before I did anything else. I did not know him. So I was brought to the White House, and it's a bigger White House than our White House. And he greeted me alone in the grand lobby and he said, "Oh, I finally get to meet you. You've been my pastor for seven years." He said, "I was in the Embassy in Washington, lived there for seven years. There was nothing to do on Sunday morning and I found that television show and I watched it. And I can't tell you how my sermons have helped me.. your sermons have helped me, especially the one with three C's: compassion, conscience and commitment." Because that sums up what kind of a God we need.

We need a God that is compassionate. The human race has to get a heart where they care about people, really care, not exploit, not manipulate, not indoctrinate, not intimidated, not control, so that you are more powerful, you control these people. We need compassion. Pick a God with compassion.

Second, pick a God that can give you a conscience. We've lost our conscience to a great degree in our culture today. Pathetic. There was a time when I entered the ministry a half century ago, where people had quite a conscience. In fact, they all felt guilty and I developed a self-esteem theology to work through that. And so churches got into the thing of stopping trying to form the conscience of people. You can go to a Catholic Church and if you ate fish on Friday you ought to feel guilty, you better come to confession Saturday night. Protestant churches had their own thing. Some would say if you drink wine you've committed a terrible sin, you ought to feel guilty as hell, and you got to be born again. And others that if you wore jewelry it was a sin. I mean, every church, Catholics, Protestants, Jewish, religious institutions shaped the conscience of their followers. And in the process did a lot of damage to the souls of the persons.

So I've seen religions have totally, virtually abandoned that role then humans arise in society without any conscience at all. Who can give them a conscience? Not the government, not the state, not education. We need a God who can give compassion and give us a conscience.
And then we need a God who can inspire us to make commitments. We've lost that to a great degree in our culture and in our time. Commitment, yes - if; yes - when; yes - but. Commitments probably might tie you down till death and you don't want to do that. Too many conditions, too many clauses, and you complain about the fact that if you get a legal document, the lawyer puts all of these, this stuff in it. So do you. You do the same thing. Not on paper, but subconsciously you make promises but subconsciously you have these qualifications that.. We've lost compassion. We've lost our conscience. We've lost commitment.

Compassion, conscience, commitment are in my mind, sorely lacking in the world today.
I will be staying at the home of the Embassy to the Vatican where my friend Jim Nicholson is the ambassador in Rome. He was born in a farm home not far from where I was born. I was born in Alton, Iowa. He in Struble, Iowa and his family was so poor that he didn't have a pair of matching shoes. And when he went to school, they never.. the pairs did not match. Now that's poverty.
Many people that claim they live in poverty today, aren't that poor. They still have matching shoes. He didn't. And he was teased because of it. But his mother, who loved Jesus Christ, said to him, you are wonderful. You are somebody. You can do anything. You can be anybody. And today he is the Ambassador to the Vatican in Rome.

What kind of a God do you have? You need a God that has compassion for you, and a God that has the power to give you a conscience on how to live. We desperately need that and the power of a God who can motivate you to believe that you can become what you want to become.
Mother Theresa, gosh, now there's a lady, very appropriately declared a saint October 19. Wow! What kind of a God did she believe in? Where did she find it? Surely not consumerism, she didn't have anything but her robe. Surely not celebrity-ism, she became a celebrity herself. Surely she wasn't just a branding label to sell property over the Internet. She found a God that produces compassion, conscience and commitment and she found that in a person named Jesus Christ. And that's why she wrote this to me, in Tijuana, in her own handwriting. "Be only all for Jesus. Let Him use you without consulting you. God bless you. Mother Teresa." And her love for Jesus Christ filled her with compassion, gave her a conscience and a commitment till her death.

I was thinking of one of the last stories she told me in Tijuana, there was a terrible famine and she said when they found this mother, she was just barely alive and she would die and she did. But there was a little baby suckling on her chest. And the baby was healthy, strong, though it had not had water for days or food for days and weeks. Then they discovered why the baby was so healthy. The mother had cut her finger; put it in the baby's mouth and the baby sucked her finger the way it would suck a breast, feeding itself from the mother's life. That's compassion. And it's a positive conscience, and it's commitment. That's the kind of a God you need and I need.

But where do you find this kind of a God? You don't find it in commerce. That's not their business. You don't find it in the educational system, the great universities in the world. You don't find it there. You don't find it in the political parties, whatever it is. Where can you find the kind of a God that can fill you with compassion and then a conscience to be a good person, and then a commitment to give your life for it the way the mother gave her blood from the finger to the baby?
I'll tell you, at the age of seventy-seven, I have to tell you, only in Jesus Christ. That's the only place you'll find this kind of a God. I swear that's the truth. I'm very respectful of other religions, but there's no substitute for Jesus Christ. His compassion, His conscience, His commitment.
So I ask you to embrace this Christ into your life. Then the object of faith is Christ, then faith is delivering to you a heart. Wow, then faith is turning you into the kind of a person where people can see the love of God. You find this God in Christ. You find Him because you go to church or you read the Bible. But then I ask the question; it's not our world today. Most people in the world will never go to a church. They will never go to a synagogue or a temple. They will never read the Bible. They will never be introduced to the kind of God that is there. But many of these people know you or they will meet you or they'll do business with you.

And the only hope I have is that you will have Jesus Christ in your life so sincerely, so strongly, that when they see you, they will see the face of Jesus, or they'll never see it. The object of their faith, then, will be the Christ who lives in you. And they'll trust you. They'll believe in you. You're a wonderful human being and then they'll come to see, oh it's Jesus Christ that lives in you. Oh that's why they trust you. Oh that's why they want Him too. And faith delivers a heart transplant. Let us pray.

Dear God, thank You. You're getting to us and we thank You. Dear God, You are a God of compassion, conscience and commitment for us. And we pray that You, Jesus Christ, You are alive, You are out there, that You will come and live within us. Take our hearts and live in them. Take our faces and shine through them. Take our hands and feet and our eyes. May we lead people. May we twinkle. May we give people encouragement. Thank You Lord, we choose, we make a decision, we make a commitment to be beautiful believers in Christ. We make that decision today. Amen.

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