Changes: Is your faith contagious?
Changes • Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 33:21
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Carol - Frank - Tom …SPRC…Scott
Reception next Sunday at RHUMC.
Camp Pecometh… Poison Ivy
Easy to catch…
Sadly, this isn’t the case for the Gospel in our world…or in our churches because many people have been inoculated to the gospel.
The nature of vaccines has shown us that goodness can come from sickness. Diseases that could be life crippling are able to be fought off by the antibodies that the body begins to produce. This is accomplished by infecting patients with a small amount of a virus so that the body can develop antibodies to fight future similar disease. This is done with chicken pox and polio. This at times can cause some fever in infants and adults alike because they are being infected/vaccinated with the virus. The upside is great in that when coming in contact with the disease again the next time, the body has already adapted and adjusted by building up antibodies to fight against the disease. This is a common practice and it has resulted in many saved lives and a changed world for the better. We receive just enough of something bad in order to benefit us for the future good. That’s amazing!
When a person is immunized against the flu, they receive just enough of the flu virus to trick their body into acting as if they had the real thing so that they build up a resistance to the real thing. So too, there is just enough truth in this certainty-seeking, contractual, belief-oriented, individualistic version of Christianity to trick people into thinking they have the real thing. They thus aren’t open to, or hungry for, true faith because they assume they already have it when they believe.
We preachers have led this inoculation over the years as we preached a faith that saves…but doesn’t transform. A faith that will get us to heaven, but not a faith that can set you free today. A faith where God will rescue you when you die, but won’t set you free today.
I want to tell you. The grace of God saves and makes us holy… He redeems and sanctifies.
You aren’t inoculated from the gospel, I want you to be infected with a highly contagious confidence. That each one of us will go out into our community and infect our neighbor with an amazing love.
I want our church to be infected with the Gospel.
I don’t know if I can get us there today, but if you keep coming back, I want you to know that’s the way this train is heading.
31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true. 33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.
They knew John…but didn’t believe what John believed. They did appreciate the call to devotion. They appreciated John’s preaching and calling people to repentance. It provided a spiritual lift to Jerusalem…but it didn’t last.
Parable of the sower in Matthew 23, Jesus explained this as when the “seed fell on the rocky soil”.
January in the gym…made it till May...”i’m better than most”…but I’m really no different.
This believing on the testimony of others can move us, but sadly it can’t hold us.
36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me.
The proof is in the pudding.
I give life, who else can do that but God?
37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
Knew the scriptures…but didn’t know who the scriptures were about.
The Scriptures were their way of knowing God, their way for salvation. Many of us today hold the Bible in high esteem…but
The Bible isn’t about me, it’s for you, but it’s about Jesus.
When I read it, I should be asking, Where is Jesus? What is God trying to show me about Jesus.
The Bible is like a window… made to look through, not look at.
The Bible is a spoke, Jesus is the Hub.
For you it may be some other means other than Jesus. My issue may not be my view of the Scriptures.... it may be instead that I see
My ministry as the source of my salvation...
Saved because of our ministry to the poor in our community
My piety (devotion) is the source of my salvation...
My spiritual disciplines.
Saved because of our faithfulness to God’s call...
But Lord I was a preacher for you…I taught Sunday School for you…I was only honest mechanic in town for you…I was the most compassionate banker for you…I stayed home with our kids for you...
Jesus just might ask, “Did you really…or did you do it for your own salvation?”
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
It doesn’t say we are saved by good works...We are saved to good works.
The Scriptures, our ministry, our spiritual disciplines, our faithfulness - can give us truth, wisdom, counsel, guidance, hope, encouragement, inspiration, caution, warning, rebuke, correction, and on, but none of these can give us life. Only Jesus gives life.
41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
It’s not that Jesus isn’t wanting to be known; it’s just that He’s not seeking or expecting human affirmation for being God in the flesh. Jesus saw everything from the affirmation, the glory, of the father.
They would extend trust to one another…but not to Jesus. How often do we do that? I mean we have friends who tell us crazy stories about what they did, and we believe them. We laugh and invite them to tell it again. We build them up, but we don’t do that for Jesus.
This was their problem…self centered-ness. They thought every thing was about them…the Law was about them, life was about them, the bible was about them.
Everything is about Jesus....it’s for us, but it’s about him. John wrote about 7 signs…but when you think about it, everything can be understood as a sign. Life itself is a sign, pointing us to the goodness of God.
45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”
That which you rely on to make you holy will be your judge because it sought to point you to Jesus.
For them it’s Moses… For us it would be those saints who went before us, who’s lives we are seeking to model…when instead we should be looking to Jesus. Let him be our judge because he’s the only one who came to set us free.
They are going to ask us, why we missed Jesus in the Bible,
Why we missed Jesus in our community service,
Why we missed Jesus in our piety
Why we missed Jesus voice calling us through our vocation.
Believing in my marriage license - role model couple…rather than building a relationship with my wife.
Instead, Jesus is inviting us to circle back…You know what that means…when you miss a turn and you have to go back to where you started from time to time.
When Jesus becomes first in my life…and in my relationships ... then my faith will become contagious.
Prayer: One person to circle back with in the coming week.