The Goal of Our Faith

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 dungAt 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)
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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.


2 Responses to “The Goal of Our Faith”

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    Wish I had been there Byron. All my trophies are in the trash too. They are nothing. My prayer is that Jesus work through me to accomplish Gods will in my life. I subscrive to no glory for myself, but all glory goes to God.

  2. avatar tommytwotoez says:

    Simply amazing! How I would have loved witnessing your 2003 sermon. I feel it is something that I need to focus on a lot in my own life. Sometimes I get the notion that I look to often to my own trophies. How wonderful and prophetic are the lyrics to the old hymnal song, “The Old Rugged Cross.” And I ask myself now, “When can I at last cast my trophies down?” As you and Paul have both pointed out, the moment when my trophies when nothing to me is the moment when I can cherish the cross over our own accomplishments and personal interests. Just as Paul confessed, I too want to know the power of resurrection! I want to be so transformed by the love of Christ that when people look at my physical and spiritual self they no longer see the selfish Tommy, but see the selfless Christ living in me.

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