Summary: The bible reveals who and what are saints. Often our ideas differ from the bible. This sermon encourages you to discover who are saints and what do they do.
If you were to ask someone what they thought a saint is, how would they respond?
Many would probably say someone holy.
Someone who has done extraordinary things,
Someone considered special.
Someone who has done nothing or very little wrong.
The most well known and celebrated saint in Australia, is Saint Patrick.
On March 17 people around the world gather to celebrate St Patrick’s day.
Most of them don’t gather at a church.
But at a pub, some even drinking green beer.
And most of them have no idea what they are celebrating.
The celebration is about St Patrick converting most of Ireland to Christianity.
Now maybe next St Patrick’s day we should all go to our local pub and join in the celebrations.
Telling others isn’t it great that God used St Patrick to convert Irish to Christianity.
The popular view of saints is that saints are like St Patrick.
They are perfect and achieve spectacular things.
Yet the bible reveals somewhat of a different understanding.
The New Testament and the experience of the church highlights that
Saints are essential for the Christian faith.
God has chosen to work through saints.
Think about it without saints there would only be Jesus…
But no followers of Jesus.
Now I want you to clearly hear me.
I am not saying Jesus is not essential for the Christian faith.
Jesus is the foundation and the centre stage of our faith.
In fact a good way to recognise when your life is off track is when Jesus is no longer foundational for everything you do.
And when Jesus is no longer taking the credit for everything you do.
You don’t have to be an American rock star who says I thank God for this award.
But are you recognizing that God is foundational and responsible for everything you achieve?
When Jesus is both foundational and centre stage then not only does it highlight you are taking notice of God.
But it reminds you that God is being seen through you.
And this is the way God has chosen to grow His church.
For people to have been touched and affected by the love of God, through people like you.
People like you and me who have not just listened to God but also been doers of his word.
From James 1:22 we hear
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
A saint listens to God and does what God says.
And so it is no wonder that throughout the New Testament,
From the book of Acts through to Revelations
We see that followers of Jesus were referred to as saints on many occasions.
And these weren’t special followers of Jesus.
These were everyday Christians.
Christians like you.
And so in God’s eyes you are a saint.
But you say hold on a moment the person sitting next to me,
They can’t be called a saint!!
You should know about their sins.
In fact, how can I be called a saint, I sin?
Well every person here sins.
In fact every Christian has sinned
And in God’s eyes all sins are equal.
So if you have ever cheated on your taxation,
talked about someone in a bad way,
swore at someone.
God sees you as no better than the person who has committed adultery or committed murder.
Now that’s hard to take isn’t it?
But that is the fact,
because all sins separate us from God.
And being perfect isn’t a criteria to be classed as a saint.
You see many of the people referred to as saints in the bible had problems, they sinned.
And not just in small ways.
Instead lets get God’s perspective on what a saint is.
From Romans 1:7
To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:
Being a saint has nothing to do with what you do.
Let me say that another way
Being a saint does not start with what you do.
But it starts with God saying I love you.
And God saying I call you to live your life for me.
And when did you first experience this?
For many it was at your baptism!!!
For others it was when someone shared this with you.
And how do you experience it now?
When you read your bible.
When you worship.
When you share God’s word with others.
When someone comes and helps you.
When you love others, without grumbling and without conditions.
Being a saint relies on God and being exposed to His love.
So what do we do about sin?
Martin Luther after studying the scriptures recognised that every follower of Jesus is both a saint and a sinner, but there is one difference.
Saints are forgiven.
And all Christians are sinners and saints at the same time.