Wednesday, July 30, 2014

SERMON: Faith matters more than our success

By DAVID BILDERBACK, Special to The Ottawa Herald | 3/28/2014

In the first few verses of 2nd Timothy Chapter 4, the Apostle Paul speaks of his impending death.

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come (2nd Timothy 4:6).

In the first few verses of 2nd Timothy Chapter 4, the Apostle Paul speaks of his impending death.

“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come (2nd Timothy 4:6).

Paul uses the word “already.” The apostle sees his death as inevitable even though it may be some time away.

He says he is being “poured out as a drink offering.” This is another metaphor for death. The language is taken from the Old Testament sacrificial system. A drink offering of wine was poured out in the sanctuary as an offering to God.

Paul then refers to “my departure.” Paul held steadfastly to the hope and assurance of a destination beyond the grave. Paul’s major concern with these statements is not whether he has been successful, but rather whether he has been faithful to the Lord.

In the Book of Hebrews, the author details a group of individuals who are listed specifically because they were faithful to God through the end of their lives.

God lists Abraham, who by faith obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. God lists Moses who forfeited the treasures of Egypt and led the Hebrew people out of Egypt. Others mentioned are Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Rahab. All these people had one common thread. They lived by faith.

“They desired a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11:16).

The Old Testament believers themselves realized the hope and promises to which they looked forward to in faith were heavenly, and not merely physical. Simply what they longed for could not and would not be realized in this life.

The scriptures, as well as your and my lives, have vivid examples of people who started out well with passion for God and for some reason never advanced past that or they stumbled at some point and lost or damaged their witness for God.

Paul had a legitimate concern. By the world’s standard, our measuring rod is success. God’s standard is faith. If we allow success to determine our faith, it will be circumstance based or based on our own efforts. If we allow faith to determine our success, it will be based on God’s effort through us.  

Understanding and following this guideline will allow us to be faithful to the end of our life, which is all that God asks.

comments powered by Disqus