Sermon Previews: Living By Faith

Preview: June 11

This Sunday, we will conclude our spring sermon series on living by faith. As we conclude, we want to ask, “What is a victorious Christian life?” If we are successful at living by faith, what will our victory march look like? To answer that question, we’ll turn to Genesis 32 and the story of Jacob meeting his estranged brother Esau after fleeing from him years earlier to escape the consequences of stealing the blessing and birthright. As Jacob prepares to reenter the promised land, Esau reemerges as a threat to Jacob, his wives, his children, and his wealth. Jacob tries to impress Esau, then he tries to bribe Esau, but ultimately Jacob must meet Esau as a humble and broken man. How does he get to be that way? By a midnight encounter with a stranger, who Jacob only later learns was God himself. That encounter, and Jacob’s resulting lifelong limp, is a good analogy for you and me as we consider our Christian life: the victorious Christian life will look different than you might first suppose. You will finish your victory march with a limp, and it will testify to you and to the world of your dependence upon the grace and mercy of God.

Preview: May 28
How can you tell if you are living by faith; how can you know if you are living by faith? Last week, we looked at honesty as one of the fruits of living by faith, an indication that your life is grounded in the confidence that God will fulfill his promises. This week, we’ll consider another fruit of faith: forgiveness. The only reason that we can forgive someone for their sin against us (and the only power source we can draw upon to truly offer forgiveness) is because of our trust in God—both what he has already done in raising Jesus from the dead, and in what he promises to do in me and the rest of the world. Without that future expectation, I would be forced to exact justice today. With that future confidence, I can let God exercise justice and live as though his just verdict has already been announced and enacted. Forgiveness is a gritty and earthly embodiment of my resurrection hope. When I forgive, I am living by faith, putting into practice “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”   ~Pastor Eric Landry

Preview: May 21
Thus far in our sermon series on Living by Faith, we have stayed at the “30,000 foot view.” We’ve been working our way through over-arching topics and the big idea of what it means to live by faith. For the next several weeks, we want to apply those ideas to areas of our lives that need to feel the radical adjustment that living by faith brings with it. First up is honesty. This week’s text is Ephesians 4:25-27, where the apostle Paul commands the members of the church to “put away falsehood” and “speak the truth with his neighbor.” Those commands sound like pious advice, the kind of moralism that many people associate with religion. The radical nature of Paul’s commands, however, goes to the heart of what it means to live by faith. To understand why, I invite you to join us on Sunday as we begin to explore the fruits of faith.  ~Pastor Eric Landry

Preview: May 14
Is it possible for your faith to grow? Can you experience a greater level of trust and hope, joy and confidence, in Jesus as you walk your pilgrimage? This Sunday, we’ll turn to John 6 and see one of the greatest impediments to the growth of our faith: our expectations of Jesus. Sometimes, like the ancient Jews, we are attracted to what Jesus can give us—and that blinds us to who Jesus is for us. It’s only as our expectations are realigned that we are willing to follow Jesus into an uncertain future. If our expectations of Jesus aren’t shaped by the person and work of Jesus, our faith will remain stunted and the struggle of our pilgrimage will grow too great to bear. Join us this Sunday to learn how to increase your faith!  ~Pastor Eric Landry

Preview: May 7
So far in this new sermon series on “Living by Faith,” we have given faith a definition, and we have explored how this life of faith is expressed toward God and our neighbor. This week, we turn to Galatians 3:1-6 to think about “The Power of Faith.” Too many of us try to live the Christian life in our own power, but eventually that well runs dry. So many stories of famous pastors or other Christians who have experienced moral failure sound the same tune: They had stopped living by faith, it was all a charade, they were pulling from their own resources to keep up appearances. The apostle Paul tells the Galatians that such a life will lead to ruin: We can’t be made perfect by our own works! The power of faith is a gift from the Spirit, given primarily through the preaching ministry of the church. Join us this Sunday as we consider “The Power of Faith” from Galatians 3:1-6.  ~Pastor Eric Landry

Preview: April 30
So, what does faith do? How does faith work? If faith is the way we live this side of Easter, and if faith is how we fight back fear (which we learned last week), how does it work? This week, we turn to Galatians 5 and Paul’s important statement that faith works through love (Gal 5:6). This is a controversial passage! Our Roman Catholic friends think that this verse supports their belief that justification is contingent upon our sanctification, but is that what Paul is saying? No, consider these words from Martin Luther’s Commentary on Galatians: “Paul therefore in this place setteth forth the whole life of a Christian, namely, that inwardly it consisteth of faith towards God, and outwardly in charity and good works towards our neighbor.” Join us this Sunday as we consider how faith realigns our relationship with God and our neighbor.  ~Pastor Eric Landry

Preview: April 23
This week, as we begin a new sermon series on “Living by Faith,” we turn to Hebrews 11 for a definition of faith. If we don’t understand faith, it will be impossible for us to live by faith! John Calvin’s definition of faith (grounded in his own exegesis of Hebrews 11) remains a compelling one today: “[Faith is] a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” Join us this Sunday as we begin to put faith into practice as the operating principle of our pilgrimage. ~Pastor Eric Landry