I don't normally post sermons or even excerpts from sermons on my blog but the congregation seemed to enjoy this yesterday so I thought I'd throw it out there.
The first part of the sermon focused on earthly kingdom labels such as 'winner' and loser' and how faith in Christ is about the journey... not any kind of finish line. The phrase I kept repeating was this: Faith in Jesus Christ is not about winning and losing. Faith is a journey of decisions, actions and prayer. Our faithfulness in and of itself is a symbol of God’s ultimate victory.
The following was the second part which talked about how to travel on the faithful highway.
Okay, we get it. Faith is a journey not a definitive goal line. So, how do we travel the faithful road? Fortunately for us Jesus gave us – via his disciples – some rules for the journey. He sends out his disciples with three pieces of advice: 1)Travel together. 2)Trust God. 3)Travel lightly.
The good news - rules to go by. The bad news – we are not good at any of them.
Think of it as a family car ride to eternity. Rule #1: Travel together.
Okay, we are really bad at this one. Travel together? The people in that car over there are singing way too much, I am not traveling with them. Those people over there are constantly eating bread and drinking wine – that is just weird. Those people will only let men drive; I’m not traveling with them. That one has way too many kids in the car and is playing really loud, Jesus-is-my boyfriend music. I’m not going with them either.
We cannot even travel nicely together with all of the people in our own denominational car. We are like siblings in the back of the car seat poking at each other the whole trip.
“God likes me better.”
“Does not.” Does too.” “Does not.” Does too.” “Does not.” Does too.”
“Mom! She threw the Book of Order at me!”
I wonder if God ever wants to pull over the car…
A large part of our inability to travel together comes from our earthly kingdom desire to have clear winners and losers. We forget about the journey. We forget about the faith. It becomes my way… or take your own highway because this one is mine.
Rule #2: Trust God.
Well, just when you thought there could not be a harder rule than #1… we come to #2. They are linked actually. The reason why we are always trying to win and get things our way is because we do not trust God. We do not trust that God knows all and sees all and understands all and works with all for good.
Once again it is like getting into the back seat of the car as a child. You know that God is in the drivers seat and that God will get you there and yet we still continue to ask, “Are we there yet?” Then things become a lot less child-like when we start saying, “I think you should have turned there… are you sure we are going in the right direction… watch out for the stop sign…. Hey, we’re being followed by those people and I don’t want to travel with them…”
Rule #3: Travel light. Do not carry unnecessary burdens.
This is another hard rule that links to the previous rule: trust God. God gives us sleek cars for our journey and we start loading them up with family baggage and societal pressures and don’t forget your unworthiness bag – a lot of us carry that up front with us – there are bags of doubt and bags and bags and bags of stuff we think we need and when we are finally done packing up the car we look up and it has turned into a Winnebago!
So there are your rules: 1) Travel together. 2) Trust God. 3) Travel light.
I then wrapped it up from there...