Wasted Faith

Wasted FaithMany people are familiar with the “caricature” of the frontier preacher coming from the days of the Kentucky Revivals in the mid-19th century.

The backwoods preacher is standing on a stump, waving his Bible and exclaiming, “Repent!” while perspiration streams down his face.

This portrait, interestingly, is not far from that of John the Baptist, whose voice also reverberated, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2)

Jesus spoke these same words, as did all the New Testament leaders. Why the emphasis? Because they knew that unless a person’s faith came by way of “repentance” it would only be “wasted” faith.

For a person to be “saved,” would it not be necessary for that person to “realize” that there is something from which he or she “must” be delivered?

Christ did not come to “bless” good people, but rather to save “sinners.” He did not come to give people the added benefit of “heaven” attached to their already fulfilled lives.

“Wasted Faith” was written by Jim Elliff to help those who claim to be Christians to know for sure they are in God’s family. It is a sober look at the nature of “authentic faith and its various counterfeits.”

“What is most alarming is the risky willingness of many professing Christians to gamble eternity on an emotional one-time experience, a “sinner’s prayer” properly prayed, or a feeling of substantial relief at a juncture in time, without ever taking a serious look at what is evident now, at this moment. Is eternal life of so little value that it seems unnecessary to examine ourselves for the evidence of it?”

This booklet is very challenging to the Christian faith which some of us profess to have.

If you want a book that will point you to God’s Holy Word, so that you examine yourself to see if your faith is truly saving faith of Jesus Christ, “Wasted Faith” is a great book to explore.

“Wasted Faith” consist of “nine” chapters revealing what are the “counterfeits” to true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Introduction

Faith Without the Spirit

Faith Without Christ

Faith Without Reason

Faith Without Repentance

The Initial Act of Faith

Faith Without Fruit

Faith That Does Not Last

What Must I Do?

These chapters will captivate your mind, and challenging you to think, “Am I really saved by the Lord Jesus Christ?”

In the opening chapter, Jim does an excellent job of presenting the professing Christian with a challenge: “Is your faith authentic or counterfeit?”

Well is it? The scripture says:

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)

“Wasted Faith” implies that our obedience to God is to examine the “issue of our salvation.” How do we do this? How do we get past the “doubting” and know our “faith is real?”

Jim suggest: “To reveal the true nature of your faith, strip away your reliance upon family traditions, church attendance, or baptism. Look deeper than the pious words you say in the right company. Look beyond the well-intentioned assurances given by a trusted parent, pastor, or evangelist. Set these insufficient comforts aside and look at what is left. Then determine if you have what the Bible describes as genuine Christian faith.”

Can we do this? Can we go beyond the norm of relying on what the preachers may tell us? Can we go beyond what our parents or friends told us?

Yes, we can. We can take the Holy Word of God and look to see if we individually line up.

“But I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful flesh nature a slave to the law of sin.” (Romans 7:23-25)

“Faith Without Fruit” is one of my favorite chapters in the book, which brought me to search in the scriptures to see what was written by Jim, was truth. It defined the counterfeit to faith with fruit showing. Jim starts off with a story of a friend he had that was saved from the streets.

He describes his friends “saving” experience to be one filled with emotion and drama. Watching his steps, Jim wondered how authentic his friends Christianity was. Don’t we all know of someone like that, or even ourselves at times? He explained how sin after sin appeared in the man’s life but later on faded out.

This really grasped me because I believe that it doesn’t take the Lord Jesus Christ years and years to clean up everything in our lives (e.g. our sins).

Yet Jim gives the reassuring sign of the genuine love to read the Bible that his friend had. Are we like this? Do we love to do the will of our Father?

Here is what the scripture teaches: “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:18-23)

What sobering verses. To know that our loving Jesus Christ desires us to do the will of the Father. We can know if we are bearing fruit and others to.

This chapter really gave encouragement to know we are not crazy thinking of ourselves as bearing the fruit of the Spirit, and seeing it in others as well.

I highly recommend this book to those of you doing Bible studies in small groups. Get a Bible and guide professing Christians in the truth of God’s Word. “Wasted Faith” definitely points the professing Christian in that direction.

“Wasted Faith” leaves you with some proposals of the authority of God’s Word in pointing out deceptions:

1. Humble yourself before God

2. Admit your inability to properly understand your own heart

3. Be hard own yourself in applying the evidences of true and false conversions to your own life

4. Carefully examine the relational aspect of conversion in knowing Christ

5. Look for the fruit of love in your life toward God and man

6. Evaluate your response towards God during testing

7. Trust the living Christ unconditionally

8. Plead for mercy

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.  Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things.  For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:10-21)

I have ample copies of the booklet to spare so please contact me with your email address if you would like to receive free copies.

You can also listen to Wasted Faith at: http://www.waytogod.org/wasted_faith.asp

I have been teaching this booklet in my ministry with students and business people and recommend it for use in churches to help doubting or unregenerate members of the flock.

God bless you my friends.  The Grace of Christ be with you.

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