Who in our world is perfect? Mother Teresa? Gandhi? Nobel Peace Prize Laureates? Is there anyone in your community or family who is without fault?
In this sermon, we will see that all people are broken. Paul, the author, paints a vivid picture of how all people fall short of God’s standards. Both the religious and unreligious people of the 1st Century fell short of God’s standards.
But how do we compare? Can we reach the standards God has set? And what happens if we fail…?
Have a look at God’s perfect solution for our imperfect world.
This Sunday is ‘Bring-a-friend-to-church Sunday’. You may think, ‘Why didn’t I hear about this before? This wasn’t advertised!’ That’s because every Sunday is bring-a-friend-to-church Sunday. Next week’s will be too and the week after that. The fact is, one of the best and easiest ways we can share the gospel with friends and family is simply to invite them to church.
In the Old Testament we meet a brave prophet named Habakkuk (great name – imagine naming your child Habakkuk!). His role was to bring God’s people back to obedience to the covenantal promises which God has made with Israel at Mt Sinai. By the promises and under the law (10 Commandments and Covenant Code) Israel would know how to live as righteous ones. If the covenantal obligations were neglected, ignored, abandoned, then punishment would come. God’s gift had been the prophet Habakkuk, who spoke what was often thought to be an offensive message, for the sake of saving Israel and calling them to repent of their unrighteous attitudes or behaviours. In other words, to call God’s people back to the righteousness of faith.
Habakkuk admonished Israel by saying ‘the righteous person will live by his faith’ (Hab 2:4)
Fast forward to the Apostle Paul in AD57. He writes to the church of Rome. Similarly his message was often deemed offensive. To him he understands how the promises of God in the Old Testament find their fulfilment in Jesus. So, he proclaims God’s gospel and, like Habakkuk, calls people to faith.
Quoting Habakkuk, he reminds us that ‘The righteous will live by faith’ (Rom 1:17).
In this sermon, we look at Romans 1:5-17 and we should see that faith in Jesus is the most fundamental response to God’s gospel and the way by which Christians most honour Jesus as Lord.
“An open door to all the most profound treasures of Scripture.”
That – and much more – is what people have said about Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Without question, this letter has had a huge influence on our world. From Augustine in the 4th century to Luther in the 16th century to the evangelical revivals and the arrival of the gospel in Australia in the 18th century, all the major events of Christian history seem to have been ignited in some way by this magnificent letter.
In this sermon we begin with a wonderfully succinct yet profoundly deep summary of the gospel message – the core truths at the very heart of the Christian faith boiled down to just four words!
Does Christianity work? Do Christians offer anything of value to our modern, contemporary, progressive world today?
The answers could be offered in well-articulated arguments which aim to defend and describe the true faith established by the gospel of Jesus Christ. The answers could be influenced in the way that followers of Jesus Christ pass on their faith from generation to generation. Both are valid.
Yet there is a way that the established and passed on faith can be most clearly valued by our world today – it is when the faith is lived out and visible to the world around.
The salvation offered in the gospel should be lived out in the godly lives of those who have been saved and for the benefit of those who might be saved through the proclamation of this true faith supported by the testimony of transformed lives.
This talk is about how Christianity works, when it is seen in Christians devoted to doing good works.
Over the generations, across the world, and right to your local church family, there will be numerous examples of godly and generous givers. Among those who have given, are many who have given even at times of extreme poverty or hardship (Luke 21:1-4; 2 Cor 8:2). It is right and proper to be immensely thankful to God for these saints (maybe you are one such person). Under God, what has been given has served the gospel and those the gospel has reached for centuries. Godly giving, although rarely put on display, is a wonderful testimony to the power and gift of the gospel. Praise God.
So how should a Christian organise their godly giving?
Let’s look first at our priorities and then at the practical mechanics!
Christians are called to be godly in giving. That could be giving in attitude, time, energy or money – all are important. Here we will focus specifically on the area of money and the way we generously and responsibly use the resources that God has put in our care.
Let me make four points from 1 Timothy 6 which may help our thinking.
First, Godly giving is not a means to financial gain.
Christians are givers. In fact, they are called to be godly in giving.
When it comes to financial giving, Christians are called to be different to the world around them. The world promises anything that money can buy, but God calls upon the Christian to give generously.
The battle, although played out before our eyes every day, is really a battle played out in our hearts and minds. Each day, all week, we get hit by an avalanche of advertising informing us of the best, newest, most economical, trendy, affordable, and necessary product or service available. Be it dining, travel, technology, fashion, real estate, entertainment, motoring or home furnishing. There is a lot competing for our dollar – thank goodness we have jobs to afford all these necessary things!