Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sacred Words
Watch the Video

Sacred Words

Intro.: If you have been following my sermons for any length of time you could probably list some of the core beliefs that define my ministry.

  1. At the very top would be the authority of Scripture as God's written word to us.

  2. You would also note that I am firmly convinced that God created this world – including mankind. All creation is God's gift.

  3. Though we are God's creation, we are also broken people. This is of course partly result of the fact that we are created and therefore limited. But in Adam and Eve, the human race was damaged. We continue to experience the effects of the Fall on the human race – the evidence is in each days news.

  4. But God addressed the flaws introduced by the Fall. Much of this is summed up in Ephesians 2:8-9

Read: Ephesians 2:8-9


Trans:I expect that very first Bible verse I ever memorized was John 3:16

  1. But I stopped memorizing scripture for many years until I met a group of Christians in college who helped me understand what it meant to be a Christian.

  2. One of the first verses (along with John 3:16) that I was presented with by the student leaders of the Campus Crusades chapter was the verse that we are looking at today.

T.S. These verses provide a foundation upon which we can better understand our faith.

  1. The first keyword is GRACE

    1. Over the last few weeks we have been looking at the book of Galatians. If there is one lesson that Paul focused on in this book it is this – works will get us no where.

      1. It is an easy trap to fall into. It started with our parents, or as we practiced our own parenting skills. We heard those words all too often – don't do that, do this, why don't you hang up your clothes.

      2. Or in school, Johnny, stop that.

      3. Or even on our jobs, we are measured by what and how we DO.

      4. And we, too often, measure our success in ministry by how well we are living the Christian life.1

      5. You see, at some point we are all legalists at heart.

    2. Though at some point, we need, as we have the last couple of weeks, talk about the doing of the Christian life; we also, like Paul, must return to beginning – God's blessing comes from grace.

    3. Howard Hendricks, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, understood grace. His words make it very clear, “Nothing you ever do will ever make God love you any more or any less. He loves you strictly by His grace given in Christ.”

    4. Whether we stand tall before God or fall flat on our face, God's grace will carry us.

    5. There is something powerful here – when we fall, we we get overly worried, when we act out our anger, when we find ourselves giving into temptation – God's love does not fade. His love is rooted in His grace, not in our behavior.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

  1. The second keyword is SAVED

    1. I learned something this week. Not only did I learn something, but I learned that I had to unlearn something first. I don't think it is a surprise to anyone that I like to attend Red Wings baseball. I had always thought when a pitcher was awarded a “save” it meant that he took a losing game and turned it around. He would then have both a “win” and a “save”. But I found out this week that a pitcher is given a “save” when, as a relief pitcher, his team is winning and does not lose the game.

    2. Scripture does not look at a save as something awarded to a winning team. You see, it is only given to those who know that they are losing the game. It is only given to those who know that they are broken. It is only given to those who know they have sinned.

    3. God's does not save those who are winning the game, He shows his grace toward those who are losing.

(Ill.) As we saw, baseball does not help us to understand what it means to be saved. But a story from the mid-1800's might help us to better understand. In a remote district of Wales a baby boy lay dangerously ill. The widowed mother walked five miles in the night through drenching rain to get a doctor. The doctor hesitated about making the unpleasant trip. Would it pay? he questioned. He would receive no money for his services, and, besides, if the child’s life were saved, he would no doubt become only a poor laborer. But love for humanity and professional duty conquered, and the little life was saved. Years after, when this same child—David Lloyd-George—became Prime Minister of England, the doctor said, “I never dreamed that in saving the life of that child on the farm hearth I was saving the life of the leader of England.”

    1. God works like that doctor – he saves the most needy, and then uses them to accomplish great things.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

  1. The third keyword is FAITH

(Ill.) One of the best illustrations that I have found for faith is found in the history of the Northwestern University Wildcats football team. The year was 1995 and Northwestern had the reputation for being the smallest school in the Big Ten and its most academically demanding and had been in one Rose Bowl in its entire history. And that was 45 years earlier. Gary Barnett was the coach and he was convinced that his team could make into the Rose Bowl. He put his faith into his convictions. He ordered a Tournament of Roses flag for the football stadium and kept a silk rose on his desk to remind him and the team of where they were headed. One of the players on the team noted later that “At the first team meeting he told us we needed belief without evidence. He asked, 'Do you know what that is? That's faith.'”2

    1. That may have been about football, but it is also true in the spiritual realm.

    2. The writer of Hebrews put it this way, “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

    3. Do you need to experience God's grace today?

    4. Do you need to know God's salvation?

    5. Take a minute to put your faith in Christ today.


1Bridges, J. Discipleship Journal: Issue 22. 1999 (electronic ed.). Colorado Springs: The Navigators/NavPress.

2Burfurd, S. L. quoted in Rowell, Edwark K. (2005). 1001 Quotes, Illustrations, and Humorous Stories for Preachers, Teachers, and Writers. Grand Rapids, MI:Baker Books.

No comments: