Summary: Shows some of the benfits of accepting Christ.
“Benefits of the Blessed”
March 4, 2012
Last week I shared a message with you entitled, “Defining the Undefinable”. I talked about six things all true Christians have in common. I know that because Jesus himself said so. Do you remember what those things are? Let me refresh your memory.
1. We Believe God. “…to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (1 John 1:12)
2. We Trust God. “Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.” John 12:36
3. We Obey God. “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me…” John 14:21
4. We Hear God. “My sheep listen to my voice…” John 10:26
5. We Follow God. “Whoever serves me must follow me…” John 12:26
6. We Receive God. ““Yet to all who did receive him, …he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12
I’m sure there were many more things we could have added to that list, but these, in my opinion are the top 6 things that all true Christians have in common. It doesn’t matter what denomination you belong to; what Church you go to; or even what theology you believe. True Christians will always have these six things in common. Jesus said so. The Bible tells me so. Each item on the list was verified by Jesus.
But I want you to know that as all Christians make similar choices – they also share similar benefits. Let’s take a look at some of them this morning.
Do you understand that ‘Hope’ is the thing that motivates us? Faith is the result of our hope. The Writer of Hebrews put it this ways,
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
I like how the New King James puts it, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Many people use that verse to define faith. It isn’t a definition of faith; it is simply a process of faith. Faith is built of hope. Before you have faith you must have hope. Faith is the substance or the expression of hope.
Let me explain once again what biblical hope is. The great Christian Lawyer, David Gibbs, defined it as “the trusting expectation that God will keep His Word.” The key words there are ‘trust’ and ‘expectation’. If we hope in God we have an expectation that He will do what He says He will do. If we have that trust; that expectation - we can act in faith. Faith is an action verb. To have faith is to act. To have faith is to express what you hope for - in action. Faith always has these three elements in it, Believe, trust and obedience (or action). If you take one of those elements out – you do not have faith. With faith, God reveals His will to you, you believe, trust and then act. The Bible and our daily lives are filled with examples of that. It is important we understand faith. Without it – we can’t please God. (Hebrews 11:6) Without faith it is impossible to please God. “The righteous LIVE by faith” (Romans 3:22).
I say all of that to point out the process of growing in faith. Faith is the substance of hope. So how to we get hope? The Bible tells us.
“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
Let me simplify that verse for you. The Bible was written that, as we read it; as we see and hear God’s promises to us, it inspires a trust - an expectation -that God will do as He says He will do. That comforts us. That enables us to endure trials and patiently wait on the Lord. And with that hope, our faith grows. And that faith results in our righteousness and our pleasing God. That results in great blessings in this life and eternal blessings in the next. Jesus said our acts of faith will result in much blessings in this life and in the age to come, eternal life. (Luke 18:30)
If that is true, and you know it is, then it would be a wise thing to study what was written in the Scriptures. If you want comfort; if you want strength to endure trials; if you want life to be filled with hope and expectation of better things to come – you must study the Scripture. Here are some benefits the blessed can look forward to.
First, freedom from sin. The greatest blessing we can know is freedom from sin. Why is it the greatest blessing? Because all other blessings are contingent on it. Jesus must first free us from our former master before He can bless us as He desires to. So He not only forgives us – but He frees us as well.