Summary: A sermon about having extreme faith in God.

Genesis 22:1-14

“It’s a Sellout!”

By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN

In a small Texas town, a new bar started a building to open up their business.

A local church started a campaign of petitions and prayers to block the bar from opening.

Work progressed, however, right up till the week before opening, when a lightning strike hit the bar and it burned to the ground.

The church folks were rather smug in their outlook after that, till the bar owner sued the church on the grounds that the church was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, either through direct or indirect actions or means.

The church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building’s demise in its reply to the court.

As the case made its way into court, the judge looked over the paperwork.

At the hearing he commented, “I don’t know how I’m going to decide this, but as it appears from the paperwork, we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that doesn’t.”

Sometimes it’s inconvenient to have faith.

Because with faith comes the responsibility to act on what you believe.

James, the brother of Jesus, writes in James Chapter 2: “What good is it…if a [person] claims to have faith but has no deeds?

Can such a faith save him?

Remember what I have said over the past 2 Sundays?

There is a big difference in being merely a fan of Jesus versus being a follower or disciple.

Christianity is a team sport—and we are all called to be on the field!!!

Christianity is also an extreme sport.

It takes guts.

It is demanding.

It can be dangerous.

And therefore, it is something that must be fueled by a burning faith that God is good—and that nothing can separate us from God’s love!!!

The great faith chapter of the Bible is found in the Letter of the Hebrews Chapter 11.

In it we are told, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see…

…By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice…

…Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back for death.”

In Romans 4 Paul informs us that “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed…”

Do we believe God?

Against all hope…do we believe God?

Are we fully persuaded that God has the power to do what God has promised?

On July 4th we are going to head out to the Soddy Daisy 4th of July Festival at Soddy Lake off of Dayton Pike.

If it’s anything like last year, there will be thousands of folks milling around.

We will have the opportunity and the privilege to be Christ to our community as we pass out free gifts, provide a prayer tent, tables for folks to eat at, free face painting, free bracelet making…

There will be a lot of people there who do not have a church home…probably the majority.

There will be a lot of folks who may be surprised that everything we are offering is free of charge!

We will be there representing Christ, the One who freely gives and calls us to freely give as well.

Perhaps some folks will not want what we have to offer.

Maybe some people will be rude.

We will not be rude back.

We will smile and offer Christ.

For against all hope we believe God is able to deliver on God’s promises, and that nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from God’s love made known to us in Christ Jesus!!!

I hope as many of us as possible will come out.

I also encourage everyone of us to share our faith openly and without shame to all the folks we come in contact with.

This does not mean we shove our beliefs down other people’s throats.

It means we show people love in all we say, do and think…

…that they may get to know us, and therefore…

…be open to relationship with our Savior!

And this takes faith!

Jesus has given us our marching orders.

In Matthew Chapter 28 Jesus says, “Do not be afraid…

…All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

When we hear this, we may appreciate it as good advice, but unrealistic for us personally.

Some of us may think, “I am not an eloquent speaker. How can I do this?”

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