FAITH UNTO SALVATION.
Matthew 11:16 - 19, 25 - 30
"But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and
calling to one another,'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.'For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon'; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds."
At that time Jesus said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for
such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord our strength and our redeemer.
After Lent, Rev Jeremy, Rev Milen and myself decided to speak about FAITH- [various aspects of Faith. ]
Today, I have combined “Faith unto Salvation” with the Gospel reading for the 4th Sunday after Trinity.
To start, I pose 3 questions which will be answered as the Sermon develops.
1.How did you find the Gospel message today ?
2.What are the basic facts/truth of the Gospel of Salvation?
3.What can/should we do to receive righteousness from God based on those facts ? or rather on God’s Word of Truth? The highest authority!
[hold up Bible]
In today’s gospel, Matthew11: 16-19 the issue of “How do we treat Christ and His people?” arises.
We know from the incident when Paul was converted, that what is done against Jesus' followers disciples or leaders is done against Him! So, if we think that God is not noticing the things done against His people in the Church today, we are not wise! God sees and knows everything that we do, even those who do not believe in Him!
We do not dance to the tune of human 'pied pipers'. We follow leaders as they follow Jesus Christ.
There are many examples of people to follow in the Bible [like the converted Paul ]and on the other hand, there are many examples not to follow [like Ananias and Saphira! ]My brothers and sisters, do not judge by human standards. If you must judge then judge as God judges Christians, if you yourself do not want an adverse judgment from God.[the Dalai Lama says: ‘My religion is Kindness’ There is not a lot of that around today. Our mind shapes everything ,Buddists say “Forgiveness, and gratitude are key…Smart mind, warm heart.” The rhetorical question is: ‘Do we exhibit this attitude to every fellow Christian or Leader in our Church?
Wisdom, to be a really successful leader, by God's standards is available for those who seek it through their relationship with God.
As Jesus put it in this passage, “It's available to those whom the Son of God reveals the Father. We can give lip service to humans only but not to Almighty God, being Children of God whom Jesus is leading!
There's an old saying that there are three kinds of people in the world.
There are those who do NOT know about Jehovah and are NOT Christians.
There are those who DO know about Jehovah and ARE true Christians.
Lastly, there are those who DO know about Jehovah but are god's to themselves.
These people, like Satan, God has on a long rope!
As Christians we ensure that we closely follow the commandments, statutes, laws and precepts, set out in the Bible for us today.
We must always remember, we are in Christ and Christ is IN us. This enables us not to fear the future, but behave as good stewards of God’s Kingdom. As a result, we know that we will be resurrected at the last day. We have been translated from the kingdom of darkness and placed in the kingdom of God's dear Son, and can entertain the sure hope of resserection.
True followers, know this and know that they know it. But then,someone who is not yet a disciple, can become so by makng the right choice, as Jesus tells us
in 1 Cor. 15 :1-4 We read:-
“Moreover, Brethren, I declare unto you the GOSPEL, which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and WHEREIN YOU STAND. By which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain.
For I delivered unto you, first of all, that which I also received, how that CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS, according to the scriptures, and that HE WAS BURIED, and that HE ROSE AGAIN the third day, according to the scriptures.”
This is the true Gospel of which he said, if we receive and believe we will be saved and receive God’s gift of righteousness and everlasting life with Him.
We have to humble ourselves and give our hearts and lives to the Lord, believing and exercising FAITH in the 4 basic facts of the Gospel, just read.
1. Christ died for our sins.
2. He was buried
3 God[the Father] raised him from the deaad
4. Righteousness is received from God based on faith in those facts.
It's funny but I heard it said that, “Those who think that they are humble and need to correct others are looking in the wrong direction!” God is looking for true, biblical, Godly, humility.
One definition of bible humility is, “Strength under Godly control!”
Moses was very humble, but he was not a doormat!
So we are to put our strengths under God's control and be able to say as Paul did in Galatians 2, verse 20.
“ I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
True Christians, live for God and through God, and if they make mistakes then God is in direct contact with them and can/will correct them.
Not only do they pray and look forward to their prayers being answered, but they pray specific prayers for named people because they truly care about and empathize with others, knowing that no one is perfect. They naturally correspond with what Paul says in Philippians 2:3.
Phil 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
I trust that we at All Saints, can all say that we are In Christ.
“We are a new creation. The old is gone, the new is here!”
That being so we don't live primarily to satisfy our old lusts for physical things. We live for God in humility and by His grace through faith – the faith of Jesus.
Because it is in Jesus we make our boast, we humble ourselves, and ensure we treat others not harshly, but with empathy and kindness. Without us doing very much, James 4:10 exhorts:-
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
Like children, we must be optimistic, and live trusting God, as evangelists, live not only for ourselves, but go into our community inviting others to fellowship and praise God with us for His great sacrifice for us.Help others to know of God’s saving grace. Let us follow the children…. Who exhibit true agap’e love!
I close with a very touching story, which I trust will
stay with us for a long time….
A young boy was asked by his Mum to donate blood to help his ill brother. He readily agreed. After the blood was drawn, he looked into his mother’s eyes and asked- When will “ I ”die?…..
He thought the gift he gave would mean his death,
yet he trusted that somehow, it would turn out alright. (Sigh!)
Do not let sophistication, subtlety, inability to trust, shut our hearts to loving and accepting love!
The final appeal is to understand that Righteousness is received from God based on faith that Christ died for all our sins, he was buried and rose again so we could gain forgiveness, righteousness, and everlasting life! True humility perceives ---
My brothers ,sisters, friends,
“The old has gone and the new creation is here in all true believers!”
Let all the Lord's people say -