Sunday, June 1, 2008

June 1, 2008 (Henry Neufeld)

Henry Neufeld began with three modern stories about rules and obedience that had puzzling origins. The rules we most often find useful and live by, are quite different than those found in the Bible. Such rules as we find in Leviticus are puzzling. Yet by these rules, God gives a blessing if you obey, and a curse if you do not. Little was said in the OT about faith, and a lot about obedience, and Henry had to check not only with a concordance, but also with three knowledgeable friends to be sure. He asked, by emphasizing faith over obedience, are we emphasizing heavenly life insurance over following Christ’s path? Do we have it backwards? Henry quoted Rebecca Sack who said that when we separate what we believe from what we do, the result is that Christians become functional atheists. Another friend quoted Bruggemann, saying belief (“Believism”) is not the only step on the road to eternal life - obedience, actions and discipleship are necessary too. For Jews, faith was obeying the covenant, the rules. Mt 7:21-23 outlines how Jesus defined a follower - it was more than believing or doing miracles in his name, but rather, what results have you produced with the teachings of Jesus? Yet Jesus often berated his disciples for not having faith. Paul, too, reminded Jewish Christians that “By grace you are saved, through faith, not works. Yet what is often missed in this popular text is the second half - “so that you may do good works.”. On judgement day, we’re not going to be judged on what we believed but on what we did with the knowledge God gave us. May we not be found wanting. [AP] Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday June 1st, 2008 using your browser's preferred media player.



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