Sermons

Summary: When we face trials in our lives, do we complain or do we trust that God will help us through?

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Did you hear of the man who was dyslexic, agnostic and an insomniac? Yes, he stays awake all night long wondering if there really is a “Dog.”

Michael Josephson, the founder of the “Josephson Institute of Ethics” in Southern California writes about an old legend that tells of a monastery in France well-known throughout Europe because of the extraordinary leadership of a man known only as Brother Leo. Several monks began a pilgrimage to visit Brother Leo to learn from him. Almost immediately the monks began to bicker over who should do various chores. On the third day they met another monk who was also going to the monastery, and he joined their party. This monk never complained or shirked a duty, and whenever the others fought over a chore, he would gracefully volunteer and simply do it himself. By the last day the other monks were following his example, and they worked together smoothly.

When they reached the monastery and asked to see Brother Leo, the man who greeted them laughed: "But our brother is among you!" And he pointed to the fellow who had joined them late in the trip.

Today, many people seek leadership positions not so much for what they can do for others, but for what the position can do for them: status, connections, perks or future advantage. As a result, they serve primarily as an investment, a way to build an impressive resume.

The parable about Brother Leo teaches another model of leadership, where leaders are preoccupied with serving rather than being followed, with giving rather than getting, and doing rather than demanding. It`s a form of leadership based on example, not command. It`s called servant leadership.

Can you imagine how much better things would be if more politicians, educators and business executives saw themselves as servant leaders.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

In listing these gifts, Paul accomplishes two purposes. First he told how wonderful it is to be a Christian. Our justification is not simply a guarantee of heaven, as thrilling as that is, but it is also the source of tremendous blessings that we enjoy here and now. What does justified mean? Justification has to do with our standing with God. It’s when God looks at us and says, “Not guilty, by the blood of Jesus”. A simpler meaning that I like is “Justified” – “Just if I’d never sinned.”

His second purpose was to assure his readers that justification is a lasting thing. Jewish readers in particular would ask, “Can this spiritual experience last if it does not require obedience to the Law?” What about the trials and sufferings of life?

When God declared us righteous in Jesus Christ, He gave to us four spiritual blessings that assure us that we cannot be lost. The unsaved person is at “enmity” with God because they cannot obey God’s Law or fulfill His will. Enmity is a state of deep seated ill will.


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