Faith. Hope. Action.

 

This week, I went to the store and bought something that I would typically never buy. I actually bought it to illustrate a point for my Sunday sermon and what I’m about to share with you now.

As I hold it in my hand I realize it could possibly change my life.

  • It could provide financial resources.
    • It could buy my meal today.
    • It could make my mortgage payment.
    • It could pay off all my debt.
  • It could allow me to experience much needed rest.
  • It could provide momentary happiness.

However, this same piece of paper could be worthless and serve no purpose except to fill my garbage can. What is it? It’s a lottery ticket. There are three elements required to determine its value.

  • Faith = Evidence
    • I must believe in the lottery system (I don’t)
    • I’ve witnessed others who have won the lottery (I have)
    • The numbers participating speaks to its legitimacy (They do)
  • Hope = Expectation
    • It could alleviate pressure
    • It could provide financial benefits
    • It could make me popular
  • Action = Execution
    • I’ll have to buy one
    • I’ll have to scratch it off
    • I’ll have to verify its authenticity

If this lottery ticket produces the maximum benefit, it can have a positive affect on me physically and emotionally. In other words, it could provide a positive benefit to 2 of my 3 compartments. However, at its best payout, it cannot help me spiritually.

All humans are body (physical), soul (emotions), and spirit (God in me). Since the lottery ticket has no power to help me spiritually, there must be something else.

There is. His name is Jesus. And, He has power to help me in ways far superior to a lottery ticket, or anything else for that matter. But, the same elements that determine the value of the lottery ticket also determine the value of Jesus.

  • Faith = Evidence
    • (1 Corinthians 15:1-20 ESV) “1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. 12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
  • Hope = Expectation
    • (1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV) “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
  • Action = Execution
    • (Romans 10:5-13 ESV) “5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. 6 But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?'” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

And that is why the call the gospel the good news!

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