“Is Living by Faith Enough?”
2 Corinthians 4: 13 – 5:1, page 939, June 10th, 2018
Sermon by Pastor Tim Woodard
“Listen now to our lesson from The Apostle Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth. Second Corinthians, chapter four thru Chapter five verse one.”
2 Corinthians 4:13 – 5:1
13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture – “I believed, and so I spoke” – we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. 15 Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
5 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
“Having heard these words attributed to the Apostle Paul, lets open our hears, as-well-as our minds as we seek out that deeper meaning meant for us on this day.”
“Is Living by Faith Enough?”
Years ago, someone I was working closely with, encouraged me to make a list of my priorities. In so doing I had to decide what was important, necessary and what was truly precious in my life, and in what priority, first, second, third etc. Surely, you know what I mean. There is a real difference between things that are important, like food shelter and clothing, and what is precious like family, relationships and intimate things of this sort. Have you ever written out or even thought about what is precious in your life? Is it your spouse, your children, grandchildren? How about your mom? Moms are really-important, they are necessary, and they are truly precious! I know that when I first got back from vacation, and my wife had been so sick, and we didn’t know what the doctors were going to do… I forgot it was Mother’s Day! When I realized it at the Church Board meeting after church, I was so embarrassed. To all our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers here this morning, let me apologize! I am truly sorry for my forgetfulness. When I finally got home that Sunday after our Church Board meeting, I found Lois surrounded by our son Chris, his wife, three grandchildren and one great grandchild. She had cards and text messages from the other two children and several more grandchildren. I was so overjoyed that they had not forgotten their mom, their grandmother. It made her day and mine as well. A belated Happy Mother’s Day to all you mom’s.
Having now brought up our mom’s and put them on our precious list, I almost need another list as well! For the list is indeed endless when it comes to talking about our moms. It all began when they gave birth to us children, after nine laborious and backbreaking months! In case you are not clear about this, without moms, none of us would be here! Even Jesus had a mom, her name was Mary! Yes, we truly ought to be grateful for their labor on our behalf! My mother raised six of us children, while also being chief cook, housekeeper, and she kept our cloths clean and mended as needed. The list goes on and on. But, after fixing dinner on many occasions, she also got in the car and drove off to work as a ‘licensed practical nurse’. She worked mostly by caring for people in their homes, thus spend a lot of nights away from our home. I am sure she was an excellent care giver. My mom was the authority in my life, and the person I went to when I was in need. She was always there for me. I sure hope, your mom is on your list. My mom is just a memory now, yet, I can still feel the ack in my heart. I honor that feeling as it helps me remember those special moments we shared together. And yes, she is still on my list.
Next Sunday, is Father’s Day, they are important and necessary, also. Precious… however, is not the right word to describe most dads, but there are many other words that do describe them. Mine was a really-hard worker and dependable as well. He made sacrifices for the good of the family on a regular basis. I didn’t realize this until I was well on my way to maturity and adulthood. Dad’s like Mom’s they have different qualities and traits. Each is special in their own way. We ought to simply have a day set aside for parents! Then we could raise up our parents and the roles they play in our lives, giving thanks to God on a regular basis for all their love, their sacrifices and oh so many memories. When we are younger we may not grasp how important memories truly are. However, one day, our parents will be called home. There, they shall join with all those whom have gone before them. Yes indeed, parents deserve a lofty place upon our priority lists. Another reason to have a day set aside for these who parent us and care for us, is the lines have blurred as to who has the role of mom or dad in families within the Twenty-First-Century. We have single parent families and we have parents whom share the same gender. We have stay at home dads, who care for the children, and we have mom’s that drive trucks, build houses and work on various construction sights. We have woman who serve in the armed services doing the things we once though only men could do. We have moms who hold high level management jobs and others sit on boards of directors for national firms. We have women in elected government positions and some are senators, and we had one that actually ran for president! Wow! Yes, the lines between the roles of moms and dads has truly become blurred in our society. We really ought to have a Parent’s Day on the calendar!
As special as my parents were to me I was taught there is at least one or two things that still need to come before them on my personal priority list. Can you think who or what that might be? I am sure you all know this, it is of course our Creator God whom gave life to our parents and that life was passed on to us through them. Likewise, God’s love was upon them and now is upon us. The Spirit of God uplifted our parents and that same Spirit still resides with us today! One pastor asks the question another way. “What in your life, your community, your congregation is most likely to cause you to ‘lose heart?'” /Janet H. Hunt/ Sounds like a hard question I am sure. Each of us here today, and those who listen to my sermons on line, could come up with a list I am sure. Take a look at your list. If she or he, or even it is on your list, and you are not giving that person, that thing or that event enough of your energy, then get to it! The time to do so is now! Not one of us know when or if tomorrow shall come! Nor do we know what tomorrow will bring. If something is so important or so precious that you would lose heart, if you lost them or it, then you need to make a real effort to be sure you don’t lose them without giving them or it the attention they deserve! Why did I include ‘it’ as well as they or them you might ask? Because the thing that would make you lose heart, might be an election where the woman or man of your choice lost because you didn’t make your voice heard; or you didn’t bother to vote! It is often very important! It is the thing you sometimes leave for someone else to do! Yet, it belongs on yours and it belongs on my ‘precious priority’ list! Don’t leave it for someone else to do!
In verse 13: Paul’s say’s to us: “I believed, and so I spoke” – we also believe, and so we speak.” The question about faith: ‘is living by faith enough?’ Yes and no. Yes, I have preached to you many times that faith is the key that unlocks the door. True enough, for faith unlocks the Spirit of God which gives you so many ways to know and better understand God. We know that those whom Jesus healed he frequently said to them: “Your faith has made you well!” Yes, it is through faith that we find the courage and become willing to seek forgiveness for our wrongs, for through Christ our debt has been paid and we are forgiven. Yet, is this enough? Look again at Paul’s words: “I believed, and so I spoke” – “we also believe, and so we speak.” Paul is saying to us that when he came to know the grace of God through Christ… he came to believe. Then he goes on to say that because of his belief he had to speak of it to others! “And so, I spoke” says Paul. And as he goes on he includes all whom now believe because he spoke of his belief saying: “we also believe, and so we speak.” Is he saying to us: now that we have come to know the love and grace of God, we too are obligated, compelled even, to ‘speak out,’ sharing this with others? If so, just how do we do this? How do we share our faith?
I don’t know about you, but the one thing that I find annoying about pastors is that they are always pushing us. Believe more, give more, love others more! Come to church more! Study the Bible, more! Learn more by attentively listening to the pastor’s sermons. By the way: Are you watching and listening to see if the pastor walks like he or she talks? If you don’t, maybe you ought to start. For if the pastor says one thing and does another – well. I don’t honor hypocrites, and neither should you! How does Paul walk? What walk did Paul take once he experienced his conversion and came to know Jesus, the Christ? He was imprisoned for saying what he believed. Several of his letters are written from prison. He was flogged for speaking the truth, the truth as he knew it! He spoke about Jesus being the Christ. He talked about the love, grace and mercy of God through Jesus the Christ! In the end, the Apostle Paul, he was put to death for his belief, and for what he dared to say out loud. Yet, he believed, so he spoke!
What you and I must never forget is this: if Paul had not carried the message of Jesus, out from Palestine, and out into the surrounding regions for which he is known to have visited, we may never have heard of Jesus. If he had not written his letters, we may never have come to understand all of which this apostle wanted to teach us! Paul believed in Jesus and all which he stands for; “Paul believed, so he spoke.” Paul is clearly saying to us: “you and me, we also believe, and so you and me, we speak.” We are called to speak the truth as we know it! That thing we hold precious in our heart may never happen, if we do not speak out about it; speaking the truth as we know it!
Is living by faith enough? Yes and No. Yes, faith is a gift and thus we ought to live with and by faith. Yet, is it enough to only receive a gift and then never use it, nor share it? No, of course not! “We believe, so we speak!” How do we do this? We do it with integrity! We are called to share our faith openly and willingly.