Summary: Are we not looking for a simple plan to make our lives easier in Christ? Here IT is.
(All my sermon use illustrations found on www.sermoncentral.com and All scripture is NIV unless otherwise noted)
All of us what IT, we all need IT, but what is IT? Today’s culture is all about making things simpler, and I personally think there are some things that need to be just a little simpler. I recently attended a conference where I heard a number of Pastors talking about the purpose of the church and how they had streamlined their purpose statements to be simpler. There are books out now about making church simple, I think it really was God’s intention to keep it simple, BUT man came along and made it very complex.
This was the issue even back at the start of the New Testament church, there was continual argument about what a person must do or not do to be a member of God’s church. Should he carry the mark of the Jew before becoming a member of the Christian or was that not something that had to be done. Even today, many think they need to get their lives straight before becoming the Christian that God wants them to be. BUT perhaps we can make it a lot more simple by finding out what IT is. There is one thing above everything else, Paul tells us so. If you have your Bible with you this morning, turn with me to Galatians chapter 5: 6
Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
The first thing we must understand about having IT, is that IT is SIMPLE. The only thing that counts is FAITH EXPRESSED THROUGH LOVE.
The first thing we must talk about this morning is faith. We have all heard of the fact that it takes faith to follow God. The scripture says that it is impossible to PLEASE God without faith. (HEB 11:6) But perhaps we should define FAITH first . The Bible tells us: Heb 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. That is not how the members of the church at Galatia were acting, Gal 5:4-5 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.
They were trying to find their way into heaven by outward acts of legalistic deeds, or in other words they were attempting to keep a bunch of rules and regulations to make it seem as they were righteous. But by doing so they were actually pushing themselves further away from Christ, because they acted as if they did not need Him. BUT Paul attempts to set them straight, it is by FAITH we wait on the Holy Spirit to guide us to that righteousness. It is by faith we are saved, it is not by something you or I do.
BUT having said all that, IT goes further, faith in Christ is what saves us from eternal damnation, but it is a faith that changes us.
WHAT IS POSSIBLE WHEN THERE IS HOPE
Joyce Hollyday tells the story of a school teacher who was assigned to visit children in a large city hospital who received a routine call requesting that she visit a particular child. The teacher took the boy’s name and room number, and was told by the teacher on the other end of the line, "We’re studying nouns and adverbs in this class now. I’d be grateful if you could help him with his homework, so he doesn’t fall behind the others." It wasn’t until the visiting teacher got outside the boy’s room that she realized that it was located in the hospital’s burn unit. No one had prepared her to find a young boy horribly burned and in great pain.
The teacher felt that she couldn’t just turn around and walk out. And so she stammered awkwardly, "I’m the hospital teacher, and your teacher sent me to help you with nouns and adverbs." This boy was in so much pain that he barely responded. The young teacher stumbled through his English lesson, ashamed at putting him through such a senseless exercise. The next morning a nurse on the burn unit asked her, "What did you do to that boy?" Before the teacher could finish her outburst of apologies, the nurse interrupted her: "You don’t understand. We’ve been very worried about him. But ever since you were here yesterday, his whole attitude has changed. He’s fighting back; he’s responding to treatment. It’s as if he has decided to live."
The boy later explained that he had completely given up hope until he saw the teacher. It all changed when he came to a simple realization. With joyful tears, the boy said: "They wouldn’t send a teacher to work on nouns and adverbs with a boy who was dying, would they?"