Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The First Part

There have been many times I could have sat through hours of teaching, when one point led to another and each one opened my eyes to sights unseen. My pastor, however, is aware that time does make a difference and is careful not to reach the point where people stop listening. Sunday morning’s sermon was one of those times.

The scripture reference came from a short letter and follows an introduction validating his credentials as well as describing to whom it was written:

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: (2 Peter 1:1 KJV)

It was upon Peter’s statement of faith that Jesus gave as the foundation of His church:

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:15-18 KJV)

That’s why our Sunday morning scripture began with faith:

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. (2 Peter 1:5-7 KJV)

Faith is an absolute necessity for salvation. The Bible tells us so. Christianity is established by faith in God.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)

Jesus explained it to a man who served God, yet did not understand God’s teachings:

Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? (John 3:9-12 KJV)

Nicodemus knew that what Jesus did had to have come from God – but he did not understand what was so different about Jesus. To answer him, Jesus drew upon an example very familiar to a religious Jew, and foretold His own death:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:14-16 KJV)

Without faith in God’s love for His creation, understanding that Jesus was the Messiah would be impossible. Without faith in God’s perfect planning, accepting the death of the Messiah at the hands of Jews would be just as impossible. Today it remains a barrier to billions of people who will not accept the totality of God’s message. Too often a reader of God’s word shuts out portions of His will as still being impossible. Yet, we were told:

When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:25-26 KJV)

The Bible also tells us how to achieve faith:

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)

And, it speaks of its necessity:

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV)

If this is not understandable, The Second Part will be just as understandable, so spend some time here determining the strength of personal faith in Jesus, God’s son, our savior, Christ.

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