Sunday, October 31, 2004

Salvation Is ...

Intro: I sort of feel that my preaching these last few weeks has been kind of negative.

  1. Much of the first few chapters of Romans draws our attention to the fact that we are sinners.
  2. Maybe you feel like my wife some thirty years ago. . We had just arrived in Chicago after being married five days earlier. We had to catch a bus that would take us north to Waukegan. But it was an overcast day in the Spring of 1974 – and she panicked. She look out of the bus window and said those words that we remember so well, “I've come to one of those God forsaken places where the sun never shines.” Let it be known, that it has shown over the past 30 years.
  3. But it is possible that my preaching has left us feeling like we have reached one of those places in our spiritual life “where the sun never shines.”
  4. But today we turn, along with Paul, the corner. We begin to see what really is the good news of the gospel and what distinguishes Christianity from all the other world's religions.
Read Romans 3:21-32


Tran. During the next few minutes, I want to discuss seven characteristics that will help us to better understand the nature of the salvation we are offered in Jesus Christ.

I. Salvation is apart from the Law Romans 3:21
  1. For centuries the Jews had tried to understand and obey all the laws of God.

  2. (Ill.) Their spiritual leaders had identified 613 laws- and from those they had developed corollaries that the faithful were expected to keep. Realize that most of these “laws” were merely their interpretations – not from God. But the faithful Jew tried to keep them.
  3. Righteousness came from behaving, but it could not happen.
  4. The Law did point to God and his expectation of a righteous people – but the OT also pointed to something beyond the law.
  5. The sacrifices, the prophecies, and great teachers all witnessed to the truth.
  6. The OT law, as well as the rest of the OT, could point to the way, but they could not take care of mans sin.
II. Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ Romans 3:22a
  1. Being righteous is tough – no, it is impossible
  2. Yet that is what God demands if we are ever to live in his presence.

  3. (Ill.) As a child I loved to swim – I still do. More than one person called me a fish out of water. But I always was careful to swim where there were lifeguards. Now, I never had to use their services. Yet, if I had, I could never have done nothing to save myself – it was only because the lifeguard was on duty that I would still be alive.
  4. You see there is nothing we could do to make ourselves righteous.
  5. It is something that we must leave in the hands of God – and he chooses to do it through the person of Jesus Christ.
III. Salvation is for everyone Romans 3:22b-23
  1. “For God so loved the world ...” - the most famous scripture, translated into more languages than any other verse. That's the good news.
  2. But the need for God's love is described here – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

  3. (Ill.) This simple verse should be of special interest to those of you who are interested in sports. Twice Paul uses sports terms to describe our connection with sin – For all have sinned – we have already discussed this word. “harmatia” - the archer who has missed the mark. Paul then reminds us the we each “fall short” of the glory of God. The word is the one who is in a race, a marathon, and is coming in last. It refers to the one who is left behind at the end of the race. Sin is a universal ailment.
  4. Because of sin God had to respond. Because He loved us he did respond
IV. By grace Romans 3:24
  1. There is nothing in me, there is nothing in you, that warrants God providing salvation for us.
  2. It is only because He chose, because God chose, to provide salvation that we can be saved.
  3. We call that grace.

  4. (Ill.) Max Lucado, in his book In the Eye of the Storm, wrote: The supreme force in salvation is God’s grace. Not our works. Not our talents. Not our feelings. Not our strength. Salvation is God’s sudden, calming presence during the stormy seas of our lives. We hear his voice; we take the step. We, like Paul, are aware of two things: We are great sinners and we need a great savior. We, like Peter, are aware of two facts: We are going down and God is standing up. So we … leave behind the Titanic of self-righteousness and stand on the solid path of God’s grace. And, surprisingly, we are able to walk on water. Death is disarmed. Failures are forgivable. Life has real purpose. And God is not only within sight, he is within reach.
    In the Eye of the Storm
V. At great cost to God Romans 3:24-25
  1. Someplace I once heard that Salvation was free
  2. Though it was free to me, it cost a lot
  3. It was Jesus who paid the price.

  4. (Ill.) The year before I came to this church I was allowed to attend a conference in Covington, KY. Covington is lovely little town directly across the border from Cincinnati,OH. My colleague in the CS department at Roberts was my roommate. Microsoft, the computer people, was also in attendance – and they were passing out prizes. Both my roommate and I received prizes. They looked alike, there didn't seem to be any difference between what we received. Until we opened them up – and his was green and mine was orange. You see, his was the equivalent of 11 floppy disks and mine was the equivalent of 22 floppy disks. Why did mine hold twice as much as my colleagues? I have no idea. But it is a perfect illustration of Grace – getting something I do not deserve for no reason at all.
VI. In perfect Justice Romans 3:25-26
  1. God, when he began to put together a plan for salvation, had a problem. Here is the perfect God.

  2. (Ill.) I expect that most of you have experienced the same problem. You have spent the last three months looking for the perfect piece of furniture and you bring it home. For the next three months you keep it polished and dusted. You are careful to place every dish down so carefully. But then something happens and you see it. A ding. A mark and all of a sudden the piece of furniture is not the same as it was. Multiply that piece of furniture a thousand times, a million times, and you have a small picture of God.
  3. Warren Wiersbe wrote God must be perfectly consistent with Himself. He cannot break His own Law or violate His own nature. A God of love wants to forgive sinners, but a God of holiness must punish sin and uphold His righteous Law. How can God be both “just and the justifier”? The answer is in Jesus Christ. When Jesus suffered the wrath of God on the cross for the sins of the world, He fully met the demands of God’s Law, and also fully expressed the love of God’s heart. The animal sacrifices in the Old Testament never took away sin; but when Jesus died, He reached all the way back to Adam and took care of those sins. No one could accuse God of being unjust or unfair because of His seeming passing over of sins in the Old Testament time.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Two Little Questions

Read Romans 3:1-7

Intro: How many of you know what an interrobang is?

1. ‽ It is my favorite punctuation mark. ‽ 2. It is used to express that point in time when we feel both excitement and wonder of what is going on around us. 3. The best example that I can come up with is at a magic show. 4. I dabble in magic just a little. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not – but I dabble. 5. I remember once when my kids were younger – my youngest must have been in kindergarten. I took a single thread of string licorice – the kind you can pull apart into long threads. They saw me take the licorice and take it and fold into two pieces. They saw me push into my hand and take a pair of scissors to cut in half. And they saw me pull the string and, low and behold, it was a single thread again. In their faces you could see the wonder, the wow of the moment. And you could see the question, how did dad do that? If I had to punctuate that moment, I would use an interrobang. 6. I think scripture needs a few interrobangs. The original writings had no punctuation. Neither the OT Hebrew nor the NT Greek, had no punctuation marks. They have all been added by later editors. 7. I think there would be some point in scripture where the interrobang would have a rightful place in scripture. For example, a perfectly good place would be on Easter Sunday when the women come to the tomb and find it empty – and see and angel and then Jesus instead. 8. Today's scripture might be just such a place as well. Paul, in chapter 2 has just finished telling the Jewish and the Gentile members of the church that they both are going to be subject to God's judgement. There is great excitement in that the church as received a letter from Paul, the Paul. Yet he raises some difficult questions for those who are hearing the letter for the first time. 9. Paul addresses two of those questions in the opening verses of chapter 3.


T.S. Let's look at the two questions addressed by Paul in Romans 3:1-7.

I. What is so important about being Jewish

A. If I find myself condemned as a sinner, whether I am a Jew or not, why is being a Jew so important? B. It sounds like God is not making any distinction – I will suffer the same fate as those who are not Jews. So why bother.

(Ill.) The Jews who fell into this trap were falling into the same trap that our kids fall into. They expected life to be fair. I mean they were God's chosen people. Doesn't it seem fair that they would get a free pass.

C. And Paul has already said no! So why bother. D. The descendants of Abraham had done what they had been sent to do. Do you remember the promise that God gave to Abraham when he first called him from Ur of the Chaldees.

Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing; and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.  (Gen 12:1-3)

E. The Jews had been blessed and in the person of Jesus Christ they had become a blessing to “all the families of the earth.” F. They had been given the privilege and responsibility of taking God's truth – both as written in scripture and in the person of Jesus Christ – and delivering it to a broken world. G. It was both an important and amazing task – both on God's part as he guided and worked through this relatively unknown people for 2000 years leading up to Christ's birth and on their own part as they found a very uncomfortable balance between obedience and failure. H. Why was it important to be a Jew – because they had served God and prepared the world to receive its Savior.

(Appl.) Today we, the church, has the task of taking that Savior to our world. Whether it be in our local community or through our missionary focus around the world.

II. What is so important about not sinning?

A. There is another problem that presents its self. B. If God's grace is made so necessary by our sin, maybe, one might argue, sin all the more so that we can experience even more of God's grace.

(Ill.) I wonder sometimes if our kids figure this one out. My middle son and I had this game. When he got in trouble – we would find an appropriate discipline (grounding, extra chores, apologies, etc.), but then we would end with a hug. As he got older, he would be just embarrassed enough that he would run from me and then I would chase him around the living room and dining room until I caught him. Just think, by doing more, he got more hugs. Do you think .... Naw...

C. But we do live in a culture that increasingly suggests that this is the way we should live. Sin appears to many to be less and less of an issue to our culture as we move into the 21st century. D. But to God it still does matter. We serve an unchanging God – theologians call it the “immutability of God.” It simply means God does not change. E. Paul was being accused of saying that it was okay to sin because it increased provided an opportunity God's grace to be multiplied. He will return to this topic later in Romans 6. For now he merely denies that he has never said such a thing. F. And so, though some will say sin is not a problem, whatever the reason, God makes it clear that sin is still a problem.


God deals with sin.

1. Not by minimizing it 2. Not by saying that it is okay because it is normal behavior 3. Not by ignoring it

4. God dealt with sin by sending his son Jesus. 5. Have you met the savior?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Maybe I Can Be Good Enough

INTRO: I was a perfect child. I never lied my parents. I never disobeyed my parents, I always did what I was told. But then neither did any of you. 1.On the other hand, my kids, our kids ... well I really don't want to talk about my kids. I might be embarrassed. 2.And I know you well enough to say without question, that you did not obey your parents either. 3.And, and this is the hard part, I can remember a few times that I disobeyed mine – but I will never admit it. And I sometimes still tell lies. 4.There is something about human beings that makes us want to appear better than we are. 5.We have all sorts of explanations, or excuses for why what we are doing is not wrong. 6.And though we might do a pretty good job of fooling most people, there are two people that know where truth ends and the coverup begins – those two people are yourself and God. And for some, they may even have it confused about yourself. 7.No matter how well we try to cover up our sin, we can never hide it from ourselves and from God. 8.And that is the issue that Paul addresses in today's passage. Read Romans 2:1-11 Pray Tran. Paul has just started discussing the issue of sin. Though man started out as God's creation, he began to ignore God. And through a series of significant steps he began to progress along a path that led further and further from Him. But lest the readers think they are off the hook because Paul did not mention their sin, he ends with a list of sins. But, I suppose that I could be left feeling pretty good about myself if Paul had not mentioned any of my failings. I. No excuses allowed A. I know that I am pretty good. I mean I know people with problems far greater than mine. I mean, my sins are just so minimal. I am a pretty good guy. B. I suppose I could make myself feel pretty good by reading the last few verses of chapter one – and skipping the rest of the book of Romans. C. But, and it is a big but, the minute I begin reading chapter 2, I am in trouble. D. I cannot even begin to compare myself to others without starting to feel the heat of Romans 2. E. It is this that distingquishes us from Christ. (Ill.) Philip Schaff, church historian - A catalog of virtues and graces, however complete, would merely give us a mechanical view. It’s the spotless purity and the sinlessness of Jesus as acknowledged by friend and foe that raises His character high above the reach of all others. In Him we see the even harmony and symmetry of all graces: His love for God and man, His dignity and humility, His strength and tenderness, His greatness and simplicity, and His self-control and submission. It’s the absolute perfection of Christ’s character that makes Him a moral miracle in History. It’s futile to compare Him with saints and sages, ancient or modern. Even the skeptic Jean Jacques Rousseau was compelled to remark, “If Socrates lived and died like a sage, Jesus lived and died like a God.” F. We are without excuse. We are guilty. We cannot hide behind those who we identify as more guilty than we are. G. And that leads us to the second point ... II. No favorites (Ill.) My favorite color is tourquoise. My favorite fruit is the orange. My favorite movie is Contact. And, as I have remineded Sandra on numerous occasions, my favorite wife is Sandra. A. We have our favorites – it is part of what makes us different. B. We also live with our favorites – our favorite vacation spot, our favorite co-workers, our favorite child (I know we aren't supposed to have favorites, but at any given time, there is a favorite.). C. The Jews thought that they were God's favorites. There was Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. There was Moses and David and the prophets. They thought they were God's special people – and they were. But that did not let them off the hook. D. Look at Romans 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law. E. The Jews in Rome, and elsewhere, thought that by obeying the OT law found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy they could spend eternity in God's presence. And God was going to judge them by that law (Ill.) OT law in some ways was very similar to the laws found in other ancient cultures of the middle east. Yet there were some major distinctions. The OT law was given by God – it was not a human law, but a law rooted in God's character and holiness. The law established a theocracy – a nation under God. This was in contrast to the other nations in the area which were ruled by kings. You'll remember that Israel argued with God about the need for a king. God began by giving them Saul and David. F. The Jews also thought that Gentiles could not receive God's blessing. And though Paul does not respond to that here, he does make it clear that they to will be judged. G. The point that Paul wants to make is this – God will not show favorites. His love, his grace, and his justice is equal for all. (Appl.) Here, in the 21st century the distinction may very well be between Christian and non-Christian religions. Or maybe between denominations – Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Mennonite, Catholic. God will hold us to the same standard. Conclusion: But that standard is no longer the law. 1.We cannot live up to the law, we will fail. Whether it be God's law or our own. We will fall short. 2.The standard is what have you done with Jesus Christ. 3.What have you done with Jesus Christ?

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Sin is a Three Letter Word

Intro:  In the early 1700's there was a young preacher who felt called to missionary service.  In 1735 he traveled to Georgia to begin what he thought would be his life work.  Three years later he returned to England, a failed engagement, discouraged and feeling very alone and  unloved by God.  But he began attending a Bible Study at Aldersgate Street in London.  As the group studied the book of Romans they were reading Martin Luther's Preface to Paul's epistle to the Romans.  But something happened in that preacher's heart that night.  Later that evening, he returned home an wrote in his journal: 

In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.

John Wesley spent the next 40 years preaching the gospel that had changed his life.

In 57 AD Paul writes a letter that is carefully passed down to the church till Martin Luther reads it in 1521 and writes his Preface to the book of Romans.  This too is passed around the churches until in 1738 John Wesley is sitting in a small Bible Study and hears Martin Luther's words.  And then we can move to 2004, where we listen to the story and again begin a study of Paul's Epistle to the Romans.

Read  Romans 1:13-32


  1. Sin is real
    1. As I read this passage we can come to no other conclusion.  Sin does exist.
(Ill.) It was in 1973 that Dr. Karl Menniger wrote the book “Whatever Became of Sin?”  Dr. Menniger's point was that we live in a world of moral confusion – where people do not know the difference between right and wrong.  A psychiatrist, Dr. Menniger, was writing to call his colleagues and his generation to a recognition that we do live in a moral universe.  Now, 21 years later, I do not think things have gotten any better.  
    1. I suppose I could spend the remainder of our time this morning giving a list of sins.  I could list the seven or eight that are listed here or I might choose my favorites.  But that would lead to two problems:
      1. I may miss your sin and because I did not mention it, you might assume (or want to assume) that because pastor did not call it a sin, it must not be.  If God is telling you that something is sin, it is sin!
      2. I don't need to do it, I don't want to play God.  God is very good at making you aware of your sin.  If there is something in your life that needs God's attention, he will point it out. 
    2. Having said that, it may be appropriate to give a brief definition of sin.
      1. Wesley defined sin as a “willful transgression of a known law of God”. 
      2. Others defer to the root meaning of the Greek word for sin - “amartia.”  The word has its roots on the archery range.  Anytime an arrow did not the “bulls eye” of the target, it was said to be “amartia.” 
    3. It really doesn't matter which definition you decide to follow – as broken people we do sin.
    4. Let me repeat the first point – sin is real.

  1. Sin is not only real, it is also progressive
(Ill.) Do you remember the slogan for Lays Potato Chips - “You can't eat just one.”  And once we heard that, it was certainly true.  You had to have another.
    1. Sin is too often like that – we choose to cross the line once, but then find it easier and easier to do so again.
    2. What seems like a minor problem to is never minor in God's eyes. 
    3. But too often what started out as something minor to us does not remain minor even to us. 
(Ill.) Do you remember those old TV cartoons.  Some kid is beginning to build a snow man, but something gets out of hand.  The snowball starts going down the hill.  The kid realizes that something has to be done.  He tries to stop the snowball, but then he gets wrapped up in it and starts tumbling down the hill with the snowball.  And the snowball grows larger and larger.  Family members try to stop the damage caused by what is now a gigantic snowball.  And they find themselves trapped in this mess as well.  And in the cartoon, homes are wrecked, people are injured (do you remember the cast and crutches everyone has to wear).  And none of it stops until you get to the bottom.
    1. That snowball is a pretty good picture of sin.  What seems like an innocent activity really becomes a nuisance.  The nuisance becomes a habit.  And, for some, the habit becomes an addiction. And for those of you that have had to deal with addictions, either in your own life or in the life of a loved one, know how what started out as an innocent activity, ends up being a family problem.
    2. Sin is progressive.

  1. Sin has consequences
(Ill.) Sin has ruined men, ruined women, ruined angels. Sin has occasioned every tear of sorrow, every sigh of grief, every pang of agony. Sin has withered everything that is fair, blasted everything that is good, made bitter everything that is sweet, dried up springs of comfort, rolled far and wide tides of sorrow. Sin has dug every grave, built every coffin, woven every shroud, enlarged every cemetery … that the world has ever seen. —Robert G. Lee*
    1. Sin's consequences are personal, corporate, and eternal -
    2. Theologians distinguish between sins and sin – sins are those behaviors that we think of as sin.
    3. But sin is something else – it is part of being human.  When we speak of the fall, we say that every area of our lives is tainted by the fall.  It does not mean that we are as bad as we could be, but it does mean that I can do nothing, I can say nothing without knowing that it in some way is impacted by that thing we call sin.  Whether it be my weird jokes or my singing or even my sermons. 
    4. And here is the kicker – there is nothing I can do about it.  NOTHING.
    5. And, I suppose, if I were to end this sermon at that point, it would be the sadist sermon I have ever preached.  It would offer little hope.

  1. Jesus Christ is the God's response to our sin.

    1. In my sermon I have put the answer last – but Paul starts with it – look at vs. 16-17:

      16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.  17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[1] just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith.”

    2. Three words stand out:
        1. Power of God – you see I can do nothing about my sin.  But God can.  The gospel is God's answer to our sin.  He loves us enough that he has done exactly what we cannot do.
        2. Salvation – The Nelson Bible Dictionary defines salvation as the “Central act in the life of a Christian by which he or she is brought into a right relationship with God through the redemptive grace of Jesus Christ, forgiven of sins, adopted as the child of God, and given eternal life.”  God takes what broke our relationship with Him deals with it. 
        3. Believes – God did the work.  But we have a responsibility as well.  Christmas is coming.  And my wife will have presents under the tree and she gives them to me.  But if I refuse open the presents, I never get the benefits of their being mine.  In fact my life is the same as if I never received them.  Faith is both something in the heart and something in our lives.  “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Sunday, October 03, 2004


Intro: Floyd Johnson, Floyd Howard Johnson you come home right this minute.

1. That was the way that I heard it. But I expect that each of us heard something similar – with a slight change in the pronunciation. 2. Our parents call us because they need us to do something or stop doing something right now! 3. As I prepared this mornings message, I became convinced that our heavenly Father does exactly the same thing. He calls us –either because he wants us to stop doing something or because he wants us to do something. 4. As I read today's scripture note the three times that Paul speaks of the call – each use of the word is indicative of the call Jesus puts on us. Read Romans 1:1-7

Tran. In each instance, the Greek work is the same.

1. Kleytos– the call. It is an invitation. 2. It is the word that would be used if you were to be invited to a dinner or to a wedding. 3. Interesting that both these images are used to picture the invitation that we are given. 4. An invitation to the banquet table or to a wedding . 5. You always have the choice to ignore the invitation, but God, in his grace, and I hope that you will not do so. T.S. Let me suggest, again, that each time Paul uses the word “call” in this passage, he is reminding us of how and why God has called us.

I. As believers we are called to a person -– Jesus Christ (vs 2-6)
A. I like Paul's terminology - “... called to belong to Jesus Christ.”
B. Too often, as followers of John Wesley, we focus on our need to respond to Jesus. But we cannot forget that salvation is the gift of God – it starts and ends with God at work in the lives of believers. We cannot earn it, we never deserve it. Our salvation is entirely the work of Jesus Christ.
C. Actually, Paul provides a three fold argument for the truth of the gospel
1. (v. 2-3) He begins by reminding us that salvation did not begin when you and I put our faith in Jesus Christ. It also did not begin with the birth of God's son in Bethlehem. Rather it has its roots back centuries when he promised that a decedent of David would – those of us who have been studying Ruth were reminded that Ruth was David's great-grandmother. She was also one of only two women mentioned by Matthew in the ancestry of Jesus. It was the OTs consistent picture of Jesus that has gotten more than one person, including me, through dark times.
2. (v. 4) There is another piece of evidence here. The resurrection of Jesus Christ. You see there have been lots of men and women who have said good things. There have even been a few who have claimed to be God. But until Jesus Christ rose from the grave all of these claims had not validity. The resurrection serves as the stamp of God's authority on the life and work of Jesus.
3. (v. 5-6) Finally, you and I also serve as proof of the Gospel's effectiveness. God has taken broken people and on the day that we placed our lives into God's hands he began to remold us into what he wants us to be. Do you want to share your faith with others, tell them what God has done in your life. It will be a far more convincing argument than any other that you or I could give.
II. As believers we are called to a lifestyle - saints (vs 7)
(Ill.) Sainthood is not for me. I mean that I have known people who I would call saints. Oh, there are those from history that most of us have heard of. Of course the apostles are included – St. Paul or St. Peter. Then there were those famous Christians who names have been passed down for generations – for example there is St. Francis who said “Preach Christ always, if necessary use words.” And I, like many of you, have known men and women who we have no problem calling “saints” - their commitment to their faith is so great that there is no better word for them except for the term “saint.” Whether it is through touch times or good – their faith seems to get them through. hey are truly saints. But sainthood is not for me.
A. And then I read Paul's letter to the Romans addressed to “To all that are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints...”
1. But this doesn't apply to me – After all the Roman church was a small church, it needed to know what God expected of them. Oh, that's right I belong to a small church.
2. But then, these people lived close enough to Israel, that they probably knew Jesus. Nope, I can't use that excuse either. You see Jerusalem is a far away from Rome as Garland is from Chicago. And the possibility that I would know someone in Chicago is small
3. You see I, and you, are called to be saints.
B. But why? The answer is in the same sentence - “To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints.”
C. You see – being loved by God is to be “called to be saints.” We cannot separate the two.
D. When we are called to be saints, we are not called to be perfect. We are called to be set aside for God's use.
(Ill.) The Greek word used here is hagios – it is the word that is used to describe a dish or pitcher that was consecrated for use in the temple. The dish was not perfect – it had been crafted by hand and had the imperfections that were common to man made objects. Yet that dish, that pitcher was going to used for God's work in the temple. We too are called to be hagios, to be set aside, with blemishes and all, for God's use.
E. But if as believers we are called to be saints, then we are under an obligation to know what it means to be a saint. Sainthood is not something that comes naturally.
     It means spending time in God's word
     It means spending time with God's people
     It means conscientiously choosing a lifestyle that represents Jesus Christ
F. Being a saint is hard work. It will take time, it will take energy. But as Christians we are called to be saints.
III. As believers we are called to a task (vx 1)
A. Called to the person of Jesus Christ
B. Called to the lifestyle of a saint
C. But also called to a task – for Paul it was as an apostle – a missionary
D. That was Paul's task – but each member of the church has a task. Each of us has gifts, talents, and passions that God wants us to use for him in the church.
E. Ultimately identifying and using your gifts in the church is your privilege and responsibility
F. In a few moments we will be sharing in the Lord's Supper together. Let me suggest that you take the few moments that we spend here remembering the sacrifice that Christ made for us – but it might also be appropriate to ask him what he wants us to do for Him. The communion meal is both a place of remembering and a place of commitment. Are you willing to commit yourself to him again today? Pray