Sermon: What We Believe (4)
Today Pastor Choi concludes his mini-sermon series on basic Christian beliefs: in today’s sermon he talks about what it means to be a child of God, believing and receiving Christ, and having daily communion with Christ.
Following is his sermon script in its entirety:
What We Believe (4) John 1:12, Revelation 3:20
- John 1:12 (NRSV: New Revised Standard Version)
- 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,
Revelation 3:20 (NRSV)
- 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.
- Jesus came to call the sinners to repentance. He didn’t come for those who consider themselves righteous enough that they don’t need a Savior.
- We cannot earn our salvation no matter how hard we try. Salvation is a gift of God, given to us absolutely free, by God’s grace. We receive God’s salvation through our faith alone.
- Faith and works are inseparable. Faith goes first, works follow. Faith is the only thing required for salvation. Works is not. What is works, then? It is not the condition for salvation but the fruit of our faith. We are called to demonstrate our faith through good works not to gain salvation but to bring glory to God and His name.
Child of God
- One of the misused phrases among people today (both in the church and outside the church) is: child of God. Without a proper understanding of the Scriptures, we tend to say that everyone is a child of God. Sounds wonderful and very inclusive. Yet, if you listen to what God’s Word says, it is a quite different story. The Bible is very clear on this: Not everyone is a child of God. In fact, God doesn’t mind calling some folks children of wrath, children of darkness, and even children of the devil (1 John 3:10). E.g. Jesus called some Pharisees children of the devil (John 8:39, 44).
- Yes, everyone is created in the image of God, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is a child of God. God loves them all, He’s gracious to all even to the evil ones (by giving them life, health, and etc.), and He wants everyone to come to repentance, yet when it comes down to who’s a child of God, God is very peculiar.
- Who are the children of God? Only those who are born into God’s family through faith. Born again, born anew, and born from above mean the same of spiritual rebirth. Only those who satisfy the condition of spiritual rebirth in Christ are His children. E.g. I love children, however, that doesn’t mean that every child in the world is mine. Only the one that was born into my family through either natural birth or adoption is my child. Same with God and His children. Becoming children of God requires birth into God’s family.
- So, how can one be born into God’s family? By believing in Jesus and by receiving Him as Savior and Lord. Only those who believe in the name of Jesus and what He has done for humanity (John 1:12) and only those who receive Jesus as Savior and Lord become God’s children.
Believing and Receiving
- Let’s talk about believing and receiving business. To believe in Jesus means to receive Him as the Lord and Savior. They are one thing. Two are the same. Yet, not everyone does believe/practice so. In fact, some believers think and treat believing and receiving as two separate things. In other words, they intellectually agree what Jesus has done (that is believing), yet in real life, they take Jesus not as Lord and Savior but rather as a servant or even an insurance policy (this is receiving).
- E.g. Calling Jesus Lord (intellectual agreement) yet not doing what He commands (not taking Him seriously): 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’” (Matthew 7:21-23).
- E.g.2. Charles Blondin–a French acrobat walking on a tight rope over Niagara Falls. —-“crossing the Niagara Gorge (located on the American-Canadian border) on a tightrope, 1,100 ft (340 m) long, 3.25 in (8.3 cm) in diameter and 160 ft (49 m) above the water, near the location of the current Rainbow Bridge. This he did on 30 June 1859, and a number of times thereafter, always with different theatrical variations: blindfolded, in a sack, trundling a wheelbarrow, on stilts, carrying a man (his manager, Harry Colcord) on his back, sitting down midway while he cooked and ate an omelet and standing on a chair with only one chair leg on the rope.” –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Blondin
- Story goes on when the acrobat asked if anyone was willing to ride in the wheelbarrow, no one wanted to take a chance.
Dine with Jesus
- Imagine: Jesus standing at the door and knocks. We hear His voice and open the door.
- He’s still knocking: Do you hear His voice? Not many of us hear His quiet voice speaking to us. Why? Because, there are too many distractions and too much noise going on in our lives that drown Christ’s voice. We need a routine for your soul to catch Christ’s calling. E.g. Worship on Sunday mornings is a good start. E.g. 2. Spend time with God’s word and in prayer (15 minutes a day means 1/100th of time given to Jesus).
- If anyone: everyone is invited to salvation. No exception. No discrimination against any personal background. Jesus knocks at everyone’s heart. God invites them all.
- Opens the door is to ask Him in. If you invite Him in, He will come in. If you don’t invite Him in, He will not come into your life. Jesus is very gentle and mild. He is so polite that He never forces us to do anything that we don’t wish to do.
- Once you invite Him in, He comes in and dines with you: Dining with Him means to commune with Him. It means a close relationship with Him. It means to talk to Him, listen to Him, and to walk with Him.
- Communion with Him is a daily thing: not weekly, not monthly, not even yearly thing. Yet, to some of us, it’s been years since we talked with Him. Having Jesus in our heart and yet never talking to Him is like inviting a guest to dinner; once the guest is seated at the table, you never talk to him/her and never pay attention to the guest. Worse, you even don’t know that the guest is still there. It is time to restart our communication with Jesus. Every day. More than once a day.
- You will never be disappointed.
- Once the salvation is given, it is not taken away from us, unless we ask God to do so. You have eternal life in Christ. John 5:24: 24 Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life (NRSV). Amen.