Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Salvation is easy but only the beginning. Living faith is much harder.

Wait a Minute, Who Said Anything About Suffering!

Christian faith is different from any other religion in the world. It is different because of the very nature of grace. Grace does not require great works. It is a gift from God. We do not and could not have a chance of ever earning it. We will never be worthy of heaven. And even if we tried we would never measure up.

Every other religion in the world is based on doing just that. Earning one’s way into God’s presence. Trying to live a life that would be worthy of God. But the Bible tells us that it is beyond our power to earn our way into heaven. So in order to bridge the gap, Christ, God Himself, conquered death and did what we could not do. And the only requirement, the only action we need take is simply believe (Press Button) {This is an “Easy button” toy I purchased at the local Staples office supply store.}

We like easy. We crave easy. Complicated and hard are not words we like. Staples, has made alot of sales by making it easy to order office supplies from them. Their website is designed on that premise. And everyone has seen their big ad campaign featuring the “Easy Button” They even sell these toys that remind people to order from them.

Yes! That was easy. However, that was only the beginning, the starting bell, the first step. Now the real work begins.

This morning we rely on Peter’s own words to put this process into perspective.

1 Peter 1:3-9 (NKJV)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Ok, that’s what we get. Abundant mercy, an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled that does not fade away. And all of this is reserved for us. But until the day when we are called into God’s presence, we have some trials and some fire to go through.

6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love.

Whoa! Waite a minute! Grieved by various trials? Tested by fire? How is that easy? … Well, it’s not!

Ok, let’s think, what in life, that is truly worth anything has been easy. Marriage, is not easy but it can be one of the most rewarding experiences in our lives. And those who expect it to be easy are not married for very long. Being a parent is not easy. But it brings great joy along with great heartache. Anything worth anything takes hard work. Even when we play, it takes hard work. And through the work we find accomplishment and satisfaction.

So faith real faith is never easy. Salvation is not earned but faith takes work. That means we must be willing to suffer. When we ask God to send the Holy Spirit into our lives we are asking Him to put us to work. We are asking him to change us from the inside out. Yes The Blood of Christ washes us clean. Then the Holy Spirit begins to paint a new picture of our lives.

Peter knows that easy faith is no faith at all. And that we as humans are always at our best when we meet a challenge. So real faith is tempered and sharpened in fire and suffering. You think you have faith. let’s test that. Are you willing to suffer for it? Walk through fire for it? Do you have the gumption to put your faith to the test?

Jesus talked about this when He told the disciples the parable of the sower. Luke 8 He spoke by a parable: 5 "A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. 8 But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold." When He had said these things He cried, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"

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