Summary: This is a sermon about stewardship of talents - faith’s response to the free salvation Christ has given us

In America, we have certain days which we set aside to thank our parents. Children show thanks to their mothers especially on Mother’s Day, and to their fathers especially on Father’s Day. The young children paint pictures or cards, while the older ones often buy clothes for their parents, or perfume for mom and cologne for dad. Why do we do these things? Why do we set aside days for these people in our lives? Is it not because we want to show them that we have appreciated all that they have done for us? We thank them for giving us food and clothes and a nice place to call home. We thank them for the love they have given and continually give us.

As we continue our three-week focus on stewardship, today we consider how we in love, respond to our gracious Heavenly Father, by showing our thankfulness to him. We will consider how ...

Theme: In Love, We Give to God

I. because he gives us righteousness (6-8)

When we talk about our relationship with our Heavenly Father, we realize that we were by nature children of the devil. Because we were born of parents who were sinful, we were not able to call the Father, “Father”. We were unable to “do what is right”. We were “sinners”, and were by nature only able to sin. Scripture elsewhere says we were “slaves to sin”. It is as if we had spiritual chains binding us to do only what is wrong and offensive to God.

In fact, we could do no righteous thing. Why? The Bible says we were blind to how to do righteous things. We couldn’t do what is right, because we had no idea how to do what is right. It would be if you told a person who was blind from birth to paint a picture of the Grand Canyon. Now, painting the Grand Canyon would be hard enough, but if he never had seen the Grand Canyon and was unable to see, it would be impossible. Well, we were in a similar situation. In order for us to get to heaven, God said that we had to be perfect. Sinless. We were unable to be perfect, and were spiritually blind so that we didn’t even know how to do what is righteous.

Still God demanded that we be righteous. It was the only way to eternal life. Does it seem like God is a cruel Father? Well, the fault does not lie with God. He is holy. He couldn’t ask for anything less. A righteous God could not stand unrighteous sinners in heaven!

Nonetheless it was and is impossible for anyone to attain that righteousness demanded by God. God can’t lower the standards. Then he would no longer be a just and holy God. No one can reach those standards. That was the impasse. We desperately needed righteousness. What was our Heavenly Father’s solution?

He promised a Savior, someone who would live a righteous life in our place and bear the sins of the world. Christ, that Savior, became righteous in our place. The Apostle John wrote in this portion of his letter that the Son of God came to defeat the devil’s work. Jesus lived a perfectly righteous life. Jesus died a death which he did not deserve on the cross, and more than that, he suffered the pangs of hell which we deserved. But it doesn’t stop there. He gives us the fruits of his labor, his righteousness. Our sins no longer count against us because Christ paid for them while he hung on the Cross.

The Apostle talks about those who continue living in sin, as having not seen or known Christ. We “see” Jesus through the Gospel message and through faith which the Holy Spirit brings us. We “know” Jesus through faith and through the constant encouragement we receive through his Word.

Application: A well-known parable, the parable of the prodigal son, illustrates God’s love for us. In the parable, the son demanded his portion of the inheritance, and then went and squandered it in a foreign land. Then, when he was broke, a famine hit the land where he was living. He hit rock bottom, and even yearned to eat the slop which he had been hired to feed the pigs. He finally returned to his father’s home, thinking that he would ask to be accepted back as a servant. To his surprise, his father welcomed him home, dressed him in new clothes and threw a party to celebrate his return. The parable shows the distinct and unfathomable love God has for us. When we were at our worst, God loved us the most. We were the worst of rejects, the most unfit children anyone could have. Yet, God showed his love for us by sending his own Son to take our punishment. By Jesus’ life and death, we were declared righteous, even though we rightly deserved otherwise.

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