Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: A powerful series based on the book "Grace: More than we Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine." The series will look at the many different aspects of Grace.

November 18, 2012

Grace Happens - Part 2

This week they announced the Major League Baseball awards for best rookies, pitchers, hitters and managers. How do you know which hitter is the best? Is it how many home runs, runs batted in, or batting average? Or maybe they will use their ~

on base % ~ slugging % ~ or those numbers combined or maybe they’ll use a new stat called Wins Above Replacement — which I don’t understand.

How will they choose? How do they know. Let me put it to you this way, then we’ll be done with baseball . . . In the N.L. – –

Buster Posey has the best batting average and “On Base %.”

Chase Headley has the most RBI’s.

Ryan Braun has the most home runs and combined OBP and SLG

Giancarlo Stanton has the best slugging %.

It can be confusing. Well, on Thursday, Buster Posey was named the MVP.

Is it that confusing for us when we think about getting to heaven? What do our stats need to look like? How many merit badges would it take to reach heaven? Would we need to get all 121 badges like they have in boy scouts? What if God graded on a merit system? It only makes sense that good people go to heaven. Scouts have their manual, we have ours, the Bible.

So, we should set out to read the Bible so we can earn our Bible badge. We can pray, and earn our praying hands badge. We should attend church and receive the church badge. And the list goes on and on. God looks down on us and marvels at how many merit badges we’ve earned; until that great day when we come before God and He hands us a merit badge sash that’s huge; and we all wear our merit badge sashes in heaven.

But, how many merit badges does God demand of us? If good people go to heaven, then how many merit badges do we need to earn? You’d think God would tell us. But the Bible doesn’t tell us how many we need to do to get into heaven.

God wants us to be honest, not to lie. So, we should be earning merit badges for telling the truth, right? Can you tell the truth 80% of the time and still earn it. What if God requires 90%, but you’re at 89%? Can you earn extra credit? Do telling white lies to protect people count? Does exaggerating count? Who’s going to tell us if we’re still falling short of the threshold number? Are there certain good things we must do to get into heaven — certain non-negotiables?

Are there final exams? Are the grades posted anywhere? So, if God gives us merit badges for doing good, then does He give us demerit badges for doing wrong and committing sin? How many good deeds do we need to do in order to offset the bad deeds? Most people operate off of the premise that good people go to heaven, so how many good things do we need to do? How good is good enough? The problem is . . . I can’t find the answer anywhere!!! There’s no number listed!

For example, the Bible says do not covet. So, if I do, how do I make up for it? Do I wash the car I coveted? The Bible says do not commit adultery. That’s a serious sin. If a person commits adultery, what should they do? Go to the dentist and get 5 root canals with no anaesthesia. How do you settle the score? Is there a way?

What if having done everything you could do to be good, you’re still not good enough?!

Most people will tell you . . . do good, you will be saved. Do right and you will be saved. Do more and you will be saved. The entire premise is ~ do and be, do and be, do and be. We become robots and walk around saying do-be-do-be-do-be-do.

It’s the most common song which is sung in the world. If you do, you will be. Do-be-do-be-do. Every religion has their version. Every religion says, do and you will be, except for one. They hold to the premise that good people go to heaven. Do this and you’re in; do that and you’re in; don’t do that and you’re in.

You see, the problem is that there’s no standard definition of goodness. How do we know what good really is? Whose definition do we follow? How do we know how much is enough? What if I haven’t forgiven enough? Worshiped enough? Prayed enough? Given enough? Played with my kids enough? Helped the neighbor enough?

What if I asked you to play a game of catch with me, but didn’t tell you the rules. You might assume you know the rules, but when I throw the ball to you and you catch it, I tell you, “too bad, you lost 10 points.” Would you like that kind of game, a game where you don’t know the rules? You don’t know when you’re winning or losing points. You’d quit pretty soon. Maybe you’d quit on a God like that, too. A God who demands you to be good, but doesn’t tell you how good you have to be. We’d walk away from a God like that.

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