When we were in Milwaukee for our nephew’s wedding, we attended the home church of his bride the morning of the big event.
Redeemer Church is an unaffiliated church with roots in the Lutheran background and was just a sweet service.
With opening songs of both “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and “It is Well with my Soul”…needless to say Sonja, the groom’s mom, and I were fishing tissues out of our purses and dabbing our eyes shortly after arrival.
The sermon was right on theme with our own church series, which always amazes me how thematic God is.
Because apparently, His current message to me is Surrender and while I may be several hundred miles from home…He wanted to make sure I got the point.
Today, I am sharing one of the points of the message we heard in Milwaukee that really hit me because I have never thought of it this way, but check out the resources at bottom for full sermon plus the All of Me series from FCC.
The passage of the teaching was James 2: 14-26 and the paradox of saved by grace not our works and yet the evidence of salvation being in our works.
This is a balance we struggle with as believers, because we are human and prone to measure things.
We talked about that at First Christian in the Fruits of the Spirit series as well. We can’t produce the fruit of the Spirit, but we do have to activate within ourselves a place where this holy Fruit can develop.
So we can’t do some things but we must do others and it can get muddled as we work it out.
But to the point for today… the pastor at Redeemer Church, David Lynden, opened the sermon with a bold challenge to not be a “Precious Moment’s” kind of church but a church that is attacking the gates of Hell.
And he said in order to do that, we need to face the tougher aspects of what we say we believe.
He opened with the question,
“Does ‘faith alone’ mean works are not part of the equation?”
An interesting and provocative question that we would probably rather avoid, amen?
But the next portion of the sermon was so eye-opening for me.
I have never thought of it this way, but if faith doctrine alone is all that is needed…then, he asked, does that mean Satan is saved?
Did you gasp or at least cringe?
I know I did.
But think about it as we were called to consider on the handout we were provided:
What doctrine does Satan believe?
Does he believe God is a Trinity?
Does he believe that Jesus is both God and human?
Does he believe salvation can only be acquired by faith in Jesus?
Does he believe Jesus rose bodily from the dead?
Does he believe Jesus is coming back again one day?
He certainly does, and he is wreaking havoc because he knows his time is running short.
But is he saved.
Of course not.
So believing all of the truths is not the same as salvation.
It says in James, they even tremble before Him…but…
And here is the kicker he gave us:
“The difference between a head knowledge faith and saving faith is surrender.”
It’s believing all of the above doctrines and then making the choice to say, I can’t save myself.
I have to come under the authority of what I believe.
I can’t do enough good.
I can’t work myself into a better person.
I will never be, even on my very best day, righteous.
I not only acknowledge the saving power of God, I accept His Lordship over me.
I was born with a sin nature and I believe AND receive Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross in payment for my debt.
I can only do that by faith, yes.
But then that faith will be worked out daily as I give up my “rights” to my “self” and allow His life to be lived out through me.
It is daily dying to my own plans, will, desires, bent…and taking up His plans, His will, His desires, His best for me.
He becomes more.
I become less.
For Redeemer Church sermon:
For First Christian Church series “All of Me”