Summary: A sermon for All Saints day that helps us see God’s perspective on who a saint is.
How would you recognise a saint?
Often we think of saints as perfect people.
Or people who do no wrong.
Or people who do everything right.
Yet the bible gives us a different idea of who saints are.
So the bible is the one place we need to go
to recognise who and what God sees as saints.
And it is here that we see straight away two things about saints.
They are living…
Often when God used Paul to send a message to a congregation he would address them as saints.
For instance in 2nd Corinthians chaper 1, the Christians in Acachia are addressed as Saints.
They weren’t dead they were alive.
And the thing this shows us is that all Christians God sees as saints.
Now some of you maybe saying, hold on a moment!!
How can God see me as a saint?
Or perhaps you maybe saying, surely God does not think that person over there is a saint?
Now the truth is He does!
There are two things we need to do to see God’s perspective on who and what a saint is.
First we need to forget about some of our preconceptions of what a saint is.
And second we need to allow God to speak to us about who saints are.
So let’s now allow God to speak to us as we open our bibles to Ephesians chapter 1.
Lets begin with verse 11 and 12.
In him (that is Jesus Christ) we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
The ‘we’ who Paul is talking about are those people who are Jews, and are also Christians.
That is they are Jews by nationality but have accepted the Christian faith as the only way to follow God.
In a number of places in scripture, the Jewish people are referred to as God’s chosen ones.
Here God, through Paul is highlighting, that yes they are chosen,
but even as chosen people their future still depended on Jesus.
And then in verse 13 we hear,
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.
Believing in Jesus and the future he has secured, is essential the criteria for saints.
Saints rely on Jesus for their future.
When you look at some one,
the questions to ask are:
Do they believe that Jesus offers them a future?
Do they rely on Jesus for that future?
It is not how good are they?
Or whether they have done many good things?
But do they believe that Jesus offers them a future, and they rely on Jesus for that future?
And we need to ask the same question of ourselves.
Not just once but often.
Relying on Jesus is essential to be considered a saint!!
The pre entry point to being a saint is that you rely on Jesus for your future.
Relying on Jesus means you are eligible to be a saint.
Not relying on Jesus means you have no hope of being a saint.
Probably one of the hardest things for us to take is the simple truth that in heaven amongst many of the good people we will be surprised at the number of murderers, thieves and other trouble makers.
And why will they be in heaven because they relied on Jesus for their salvation future.
What is even more difficult is that in hell,
amongst some of those we thought who deserved to be there,
will be plenty of people who we thought did wonderful things, they did good and apparently did not much wrong.
People like charity workers, people who went to church and even served on church committees and councils, those who stood for good causes.
And why are they there?
Because they wouldn’t rely on Jesus for salvation.
As a result of relying on Jesus something develops in a Christian, a saint.
Hope becomes part of the characteristics of a saint.
Now this is hope that is generated because of the power of God.
Hope occurs when we see what God is doing.
Now we often think about God being active in terms of salvation.
Salvation is what God clearly promises everyone.
Which we know is possible because of Jesus death and ressurection.
But the hope we have from God is not just limited to salvation.
Remember, God is not on leave until Jesus returns again.
God also gives us hope now.
Remember God is always present with us and working in our lives.