Last Lord's Day Pastor Daniel boldly proclaimed to us that in matters of our faith, silence is arrogance! He set the tone for his sermon to us by reading from Paul's letter to the Romans chapter 14 verse 23 “But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.” Pastor Daniel then underlined the point by quoting from Romans 1:17 “the righteous shall live by faith alone.”
Sin is not just a bad action. Everything that does not come from faith is sin. This is not just a matter of what we do but of what we don't do. All of our choices in life, even day-to-day banalities, must be done in faith, rooted in faith. Otherwise it is sin.
Pastor Daniel reminded us that not just pastors but all of us are called to live our lives daily in faith. Living is doing. He further emphasized the point from James brother of Jesus:
James 2:17 “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
James 2:26 “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”
Stephen, whose example we followed closely last week, is held up as a man of faith because he exemplified his faith in not just what he said but what he did to his last breath under lethal persecution.
To enter the kingdom of heaven, we will each need to demonstrate our faith by what we do in difficult circumstances. God loves and cherishes not nominal Christians but rather, those who have demonstrated their faith under pressure.
We read from Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
In this faithless world we live in, God is seeking people who are bold like Daniel, Elijah, and Stephen in proclaiming faith. Pastor Daniel noted that today many are silent because they don't have real faith in the first place. These silent people are not fully devoted. What they do is out of their own desires not from faith and obedience. Such people are always learning but not convicted in faith enough to be interested in being doers.
So we read further from James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
In short, we are instructed not to merely receive the Word, but to share it!
We all know that our Bible is full of stories of John the Baptist, the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and many others all preaching until they were violently cut off from doing so.
Our Lord and Savior Jesus, when he finally left his disciples forty days after the resurrection, told them to go out and boldly preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth. We read Mark 16:15 “He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.'”
Pastor Daniel reminded us that so many people – uncounted millions in America and far more around the world – are ignorantly living in sin, total darkness in this world. They are commonly addicted to alcohol, drugs, video games and much else - as we all know!. Sadly, they are not even a little inhabited by the Holy Spirit.
If we ARE the exception, and have received the gift of faith, have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is it not terribly arrogant of us – unforgivably selfish - not to share this with others?
We read from John 3:5 “Jesus answered, 'Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.'”
if not we don't have salvation that way, what is the worth of all the rest there is in this world?
Worldly imperatives are far from God's way, as we read from Luke 16:15 “He said to them, 'You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.'”
So then, our silence is arrogance and ignorance because frankly we don't really have faith. We are just like the lukewarm congregants Jesus criticized through the aged Apostle John in Revelation 3:16 “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.”
Each of us will have his faith will be measured by God by his actions. Power of the Gospel in you must be shared – that is God's command. We must each of us, not just Pastor Daniel and Pastor John, fulfill the Great Commission to go out and spread the Good News to our little brothers, to our classmates, and to folks very unlike us at the other end of the world.
Yes - each of us.