Summary: Faith is more than just belief; it’s a living response of trust, obedience and loyalty to the Creator who has a claim on one’s existence.
IN GOD'S IMAGE 70 - THE CHURCH -FAITH
This message is part of a series of 90 sermons based on the title, “In God’s Image – God’s Purpose for humanity.” This series of free sermons or the equivalent free book format is designed to take the reader through an amazing process beginning with God in prehistory and finishing with humanity joining God in eternity as His loving sons and daughters. It is at times, a painful yet fascinating story, not only for humanity, but also for God. As the sermons follow a chronological view of the story of salvation, it is highly recommend they be presented in numerical order rather than jumping to the more “interesting” or “controversial” subjects as the material builds on what is presented earlier. We also recommend reading the introduction prior to using the material. The free book version along with any graphics or figures mentioned in this series can be downloaded at www.ingodsimage.site - Gary Regazzoli
We have spent quite a bit of time looking at the role of the Holy Spirit in both bringing sinners to Christ and then developing God’s holy nature in those believers so that they form the holy temple within which God can dwell.
• Now it is time to turn our focus on the role of the church.
• Much has been written on the role and function of the church.
• The approach I would like to take as we look at the role of the body of Christ is through the five virtues of faith, hope, love, worship and service.
• When one becomes a believer, one does not glow in the dark, nor to our disappointment does “divine perfection” set in.
• However with the coming of the Spirit the living God sets up home in our lives and imparts to us “divine infection.”
• It is the role of the individual members of the church then to infect the world with divine life.
• This is a good disease to have.
• So the church as the body of Christ needs to be people of faith, people of hope, people of love, people of worship, and people of service.
Let’s first of all look at the subject of faith.
• Faith is something that goes back to the early creation event itself.
• The first sin was so much more than a lack of obedience to a simple command of God. In its ultimate sense, it was a lack of faith.
• We saw in our earlier sessions on the creation of man that God in creating Adam and Eve exercised two exclusive and comprehensive claims on them as their Creator and Father (Ephesians 3:15).
• But remarkably, as God’s purpose was to create “man in His image” (humans who would think and act only as God would by their own volition), He created them with the ability to reason, to question and to choose, which opened the possibility of them disagreeing with, or worse, disobeying their Creator and Father.
• In other words, they were given the prerogative to decide for themselves whether they could trust their Creator and Father on how they should think and act as His children, or they could trust themselves and be their own gods.
• As we saw this independence also opened the door to the possibility of them creating “evil.”
• This was a prerogative God granted them as key to His purpose in creating mankind was to have them share in the very relationship which already existed in the godhead itself, a love shared by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
• But the decision was for them to make, it would not be forced on them, as then it would not be of “love.
Well, we know what happened. Instead of putting their faith and trust in their Creator and Father, they exercised their God-given prerogative and chose instead to trust themselves.
• Jesus, in later telling the parable of the prodigal son, knew from firsthand experience what it meant to be told, “Stay out of my life and give me the inheritance which I deserve” (Luke 15:11-13).
• It’s interesting while rejecting his father’s claim to him, the prodigal was happy to accept that claim when it came to his inheritance.
• Modern society does much the same thing when they happily push God out of their lives but then blame Him when disaster strikes.
• What we witness here on the part of Adam and Eve, is more than a moral failure, it’s really a rebellion against the One who had a comprehensive claim on their lives.
• It was the wilful refusal to acknowledge the Creator’s claim on them as both their Maker and Father.
• This sadly is the mindset of humanity ever since and the one Paul categorizes in Romans 1:18-3:20.