This is the sermon for Sunday morning, December 14th, 2008.
Memorial stones part 5
Sola Fide (Faith Alone).
This morning we are preaching concerning another Memorial Stone, and this stone being Sola Fide (Faith Alone).
Things have not changed much at all after 2000 years of Christianity. Even during the time of Paul, and throughout church history there were those who would try to be justified by doing works of the Law.
Paul makes it very clear that you cannot be justified by works of the Law. Before we go and dig out the truths in our Scripture text, Romans 1:17, lets read of a similar problem that Paul had as well as Luther, and many people within churches and the churches themselves today.
Galatians 3:1-3 ISV – 1 You foolish Galatians! Who put you under a spell? Was not Jesus Christ clearly portrayed as crucified before your very eyes? 2 I want to learn only one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? 3 Are you so foolish? Having started out with the Spirit, are you now ending up with the flesh?
The Galatians had the gospel of grace preached to them, but Judaizers, those who believed you must keep the Law to be justified before God came behind them. Paul states that they didn’t receive the Holy Spirit by doing works of the Law but by believing what they heard. He states this fact with rhetorical questions. Also, by living by faith they were in the Spirit, but now by trying to please God by doing works of the Law they are in the flesh.
This tells us something: according to the New Testament walking in the flesh is more than just sinning, but it is also trying to find favor with God by doing works of the Law. Let’s go on further in Galatians.
Galatians 3:5 ISV – Does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you because you do the works of the law or because you believe what you heard?
Why did God supply the Holy Spirit and move amongst them? Was it because they did good works and pleased God, or was it because God was the supplier and they believed the Gospel message?
In our day we must ask the same question: Does Jesus pour out His Spirit and heal today because of our lifestyle of obeying the Law, or is it because He supplies the Spirit and we must believe in the message preached? The answer is the same in both cases.
Galatians 3:10 ISV – Certainly all who depend on the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written, “A curse on everyone who does not obey everything that is written in the book of the law!”
If you are trying to please God by doing works of the Law, you are under a curse. Why? Because you and I cannot be obedient to the law perfectly, and thereby we will be judged and fall short of the perfection required.
Galatians 3:11 ISV – Now it is obvious that no one is justified in the sight of God by the law, because “The righteous will live by faith.”
Here we see that we are justified in the sight of God by faith, not by the Law.
So our main point is what Sola Fide stands means, “We are justified before the sight of God not by works of righteousness, but by our faith in the finished work of righteousness Jesus did at the cross.”
The Greek for faith in this passage means, “Trust and assurance; a Conviction of a truth.”
The object of our faith is not trinkets, or our own faith and ability to be obedient to God’s Word as some wrongly teach; the object of our faith is the person of Jesus Christ Himself alone.
Let’s now read our text, and dig into the truths found therein.
Romans 1:17 ISV – For in it God’s righteousness is being revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, “The righteous will live by faith.”
What is the “it” found in our text?
“For in it…”
Well, there can be a lot of speculation, but let’s allow the Scripture to tell us. The answer is actually found in verse 16 and I will underline it for everyone.
Romans 1:16 ISV – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for the salvation of everyone who believes, of the Jew first and of the Greek as well.
The “it” is the Gospel message.
What is the Gospel message? Well, let’s again allow Scripture to tell us. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15.
1 Corinthians 15:1 & 3-4 ISV – 1 Now I’m making known to you, brothers, the gospel that I proclaimed to you, which you accepted, on which you have taken your stand, 3 For I passed on to you the most important points of what I received: Christ died for our sins in keeping with the Scriptures, 4 he was buried, he was raised on the third day in keeping with the Scriptures—and is still alive!—
The Gospel is very bare-boned in its theology. We’ve added so much to it that it has lost its meaning to multitudes of people.
We’ve added things like works, trinkets, faith in our own faith, the Law, styles of worship and things of this nature.
What is being revealed by the gospel – God’s righteousness.
“…God’s righteousness is being revealed…”
This phrase is rather simple but deep in meaning.
First off, righteousness comes from God alone because He alone is righteous.
Secondly, He deals with us righteously and justly.
Thirdly, we are declared righteous when we put our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Paul says something similar in Philippians.
Philippians 3:9 ISV – not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through the faithfulness of Christ, the righteousness that comes from God and that depends on faith.
This righteousness is revealed from faith to faith.
“from faith to faith..”
What does this expression mean? Well, there are many different interpretations, but I feel it means that it begins in faith, it continues in faith, and it ends in faith. In this expression we find the perseverance of the saints.
You see, true faith in God will continue, it won’t be a one time thing and then fade away. The reason we see so many people come forward for salvation and do not stay and backslide right back into their own sinful lifestyle is because they did not have this true, biblical faith that continues in Christ.
This righteousness being revealed from faith to faith confirms the Old Testament Scripture.
“The righteous shall live by faith.”
Paul is quoting from Habakkuk 2:4. So we must understand that true biblical faith is not some New Testament principle, but it is a God principle.
How is this faith produced in the individual?
Romans 10:17 ISV – Consequently, faith comes from listening, and listening comes through the word of Christ.
If you look at the context of Romans 10, this passage along with the others before it is talking about how someone obtains salvation.
So faith comes from listening to the Gospel being preached.
Faith is not produced by our seeker-sensitive services, our plays and productions, or the fact that we don’t preach against sin – it is only produced as we preach and proclaim the whole message of the gospel.
We must come back to this message if we want to see true conversions in our midst.
What should you do with this message this morning?
Well, understand that God’s righteousness isn’t earned, it is received as you put your faith in Christ and His work.
If you are a believer, share the gospel with others about Jesus. It is not your responsibility to save people it is Gods.
Finally, we don’t find favor with God by keeping a bunch of rules. We have found favor with God through Christ and Christ alone, so don’t put your faith in your ability to please Him, but put your faith in Christ alone and rest in God’s favor.