Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

Feb 5, 2017 Sermon

“I Believe: Salvation is Needed, The Bible is God’s Word”
Ephesians 2:8, 9, 2 Timothy 3:16, 17
Ted Jansen February 5, 2017  Waynedale UMC
 
1.)        When teams and churches work together they can achieve great things.  I am thankful for the new teams and people working for the Waynedale Church.  Great things are happening.  
            In 1954 a team from a High School of 162 students played a basketball game and defeated a team from a school with an enrollment of 1,662.  The team achieved a lot as they worked together.    
            Some of you were at that 1954 game and saw history being made, when Milan defeated Muncie Central.  I also found out that Bobby Plump, one of the players on Milan HS, did something interesting years before that State title game that I will tell you about at the end of this message.      
                          
2.)        I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God that guides my beliefs and action.  Those words are from the book by Randy Frazee, “Think, Act, Be Like Jesus.”         
 
3.)        The Bible is unique.  Did you know that the Bible was written over the course of 1500 years by 40 different authors?  It has many different styles that communicate God’s truth.  How could people in different generations write in such a way that the words fit together?  Here is what Jesus said about the scriptures.  “I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”    (Matthew 5:18 and Mark 13:31.)  The words are eternal, the Bible will never go away. 
            Each of the major religions all have some type of “holy book” or writings.  Islam has the Quran as its source of teaching.  Here is the Quran that was given to me. Contrast the Bible with the Quran.  I discovered that the Quran was started in 609 and finished in 632.  It was written by Muhammad over the course of 23 years.  One author over 23 years compared to 40 authors over 1,500 years.  Which one to you appears to be more unique?     
 
4.)        The Bible is a love letter.  Psalm 119:41 says “May your unfailing love come to me, o Lord, our salvation according to your promise.”   God loves us and wants to be in relationship with each of us.  We read God’s word as a love letter.    
 
5.)        The Bible is inspired.  Paul wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. “All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”   
            God breathed is another way to describe being inspired by God.  
God’s word about His plan and purpose were revealed to people.  God’ speaks through the Holy Spirit to the spirit of the different authors. 
Each of these authors began recording the words of God.  This was done primarily on skins and parchments and scrolls and passed down to each generation.  These words were able to be translated from the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic into other languages.  When we read the scripture we are reading God’s words from the past, inspired by the Holy Spirit, seeking to teach, rebuke, correct and train me as a disciple.      
We had a woman in December who worked for Wycliffe Bible Translators who was getting the Bible in some Philippine language.  The Holy Spirit was using their knowledge of the scripture to put it in the language of the people so they could read and hear it. 
            The early church determined which books were authentic and had authority.  There are differences in some traditions of what are the main inspired books.  The Catholic Church, I understand, believes that the Apocrypha are also inspired, but most Protestants don’t agree.    
 
6.)        The Bible is light.  Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”   We need light to show us the path that God would have us walk on.  People, pastors, music, tradition, experience, reason can guide us but if we don’t look to scripture as our primary source of light to guide us we might get off the path.   
 
7.)        As we affirm our belief that the Bible is the inspired Word of God how will this affect our behavior?  When was the last time you read the Bible?  Yesterday, last year, a long time ago?  Are you willing to start reading the Bible?  Start with Mark, or the New Testament, or using the Upper Room with scripture each day, or get into a class with others.  Let your belief guide your behavior! 
 
8.)        I believe a person comes into a right relationship with God by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  I want to look at a few aspects of God’s grace. 
 
9.)        Grace make us whole.  Ephesians 2:8 says,   “It is by grace you have been saved.”  The word saved in Greek is sozo, and that means salvation.  We have salvation, sozo, when God’s grace, unconditional love comes inside and brings wholeness, healing, hope, new life, fullness.  This all happens when we put our faith in Christ and have a new relationship with God. 
 
10.)      Grace is a gift.  We don’t do anything to earn or achieve God’s grace.  It is the unconditional love that God has for us that comes 100% from God.  We receive this gift with joy.    
 
11.)      Grace, as taught by John Wesley, was expressed as Prevenient Grace, Justifying Grace and Sanctifying Grace.  Wesley helped us understand these different expressions. 
            Prevenient Grace is the love of God that goes “before” our awareness or understanding.  All the things you experienced in your lives that were good, that were great, that were gifts of joy, were God’s grace at work.  Grace wanted you to pay attention to the gift of God. 
            Justifying Grace is the love of God that forgives you 100% for your sin by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Your sin was forgiven by the blood of Christ.    
            Sanctifying Grace is the love that leads us on the path that makes us more like Jesus.  We continue to grow in grace, God’s love, as we allow more of God’s Spirit in us.      
 
12.)      Grace flows to us when we have faith.  We allow God’s love to be real to our spirit by our faith.  One method of letting God’s love, grace, flow to us is by celebrating Communion.  We believe God will use the bread and juice to be for us the body and blood of Christ.  We remember Jesus and we are different after Communion because we have the assurance of being whole, forgiven, healed and loved.  We behave in a different manner when we know and believe in Grace.      
           
13.)      As I was listening to highlights of Milan High School’s 1954 basketball victory I heard Bobby Plump, one of the players, speaking about what he did when he was a young boy.  He said the first vision of a State Championship game came when he was playing basketball with his neighbor, Glen Buck, in his back yard. 
Bobby set up some lights outdoors so he could play basketball at night.  He turned on the radio as the two of them listened to the state basketball championship with Jasper and Madison.  They played each other as the real teams as they were listening.  This Championship game was getting inside Bobby Plump as he played it with a neighbor.  He was living it inside and outside.  Perhaps Bobby was imagining the day he would play in a Championship game! 
 
14.)      As we think of that scene with Bobby Plump and his neighbor let us turn the lights and the radio and let God’s words come to us and let God’s grace be experienced by our hearts.    
            God’s word is meant to come inside of us.  It is meant to be remembered and lived out each day.  God’s grace can shape our future.  Just like Bobby Plump turning on the radio and playing basketball we need to hear the words of God’s as we live out a life formed by God’s grace.
            If we do that together we will achieve great things as the church.  This is our time, and it doesn’t matter how many members we have, or how big our budget is, or the shape of our building, or the average age of the congregation.  Our community needs God’s word, and God’s grace.     
            We believe in God’s word and God’s grace.  Let us prepare to celebrate Communion.