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The Goal of Our Faith
Posted on Sep. 4, 2011 2 Comments
In 2003 I preached a sermon similar to the one I presented this morning. I used an object lesson in that sermon to illustrate putting “confidence in the flesh”. As I talked about things a modern Christian might point to to feel secure in their faith, I would pull out trophies and set them up on a table. I mentioned boasting in one’s heritage such as being “raised in the church” or having various families members in positions of church leadership. Then I talked about feeling secure because of all the good things I’ve done in life such as being baptized, taking the Lord’s Supper, reading the Bible, serving on a committee, and on and on. I mentioned putting our faith in titles such as ministry leader, deacon, or elder. I saved the largest trophy for the last title I mentioned: preacher! By that point the table was overflowing with trophies.
I then brought a trash can on stage and began to put all the trophies in the trash. This was in keeping with Paul’s saying that he considered all the things he formerly put confidence in to be skubala, translated garbage or dung. At the end of that sermon we sang “The Old Rugged Cross” and I pointed out the verse that says, “I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down.”
I decided not to use the illustration this week since I think our church is in a different place than we were in 2003. I find in my preaching now I spend less time talking about some of our past legalisms and more time giving a positive focus to what it means to follow Jesus. Thus, today’s sermon was on the resurrection power available to us as we share in Christ’s sufferings and death. The cross the is ultimate object lesson. How appropriate that it hangs above and behind the pulpit where I preach each week. May every sermon point us to the cross of Christ.
“I want to know Christ–yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” (Phillipains 3:10-11)