So a few weeks later I was preaching at First Baptist Church in Kansas. I've preached before, but never in three consecutive services! I have much more respect for the pastors who preach multiple services each Sunday morning. It's a big task.
They asked me to speak on the topic of Living out your Faith. My fear was making it something focused on our role and less on how great it is to serve a God who loves us. So I tried to highlight some great Gospel realities and explain how this motivates our efforts to live out the Christian faith.
We are sinners who deserve punishment- This is the starting point, and the Scriptures are clear in its identification of humans as naturally sinful. Beyond this natural bent, we actually choose to rebel against the God who created us and gives us life every day. God is so holy and good that this rebellion separates us from Him; now and for eternity.
God intervenes- Even when we were enemies of God, He chose to step in on our behalf. Christ died a horrible death, as payment for a punishment that we deserve. What motivated this act? His love, expressed through Jesus. Mercy is not free, it was bought at a price. It was made possible by the death of Christ.
Our adoption as sons and daughers- The incredible thing is that we are not just extended mercy that saves us from punishment. Scripture tells us that we are graciously offered a place in the family. JI Packer writes that adoption is our highest blessing as Christians, even moreso than justification. He argues that justification is best understood in courtroom lingo, while adoption is a family image. The intimacy and privilege of a family relationship is more than we could imagine.
Joining the Family Business- As we enter into the family privileges, we also take on the family responsibilities. The rules are simple, Love God and Love Others. This love is modeled for us by Christ, and is centered around the truth of sacrificial service. Our new job as Christians, is to consistently lay ourselves down to honor and obey God while loving and serving others.
What this looks like is unique for each person. But the motivation should never be lacking. When we looking at the incredible gift we have been given in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can't help but respond with a life lived in gratitude, overflowing with grace and intentionally seeking ways to serve.
Have you been feeling weary, or just less energetic in your service of God and others? We definitely did when we got home from Malawi last summer. We were toast. But thankfully, God has been renewing our energy this year and this gospel message that we need to hear every day has been at the core. Let it energize you as well. Let it fill you with gratitude. And then, live it out.