The Final Four
By Pastor Larry Schram
The final four.
These will be the final sermons I preach as lead pastor of SBC. I want to encourage and inspire us to continue to Follow Jesus Together; to change lives and families one heart at a time; and to continue to trust that our Lord is in control. I believe we will get there if we grow stronger in: Grace; Faith; Hope; and Love.
Why these four? Why not: Truth; Prayer; Bible; Missional, or some other four? I have personally experienced the transformational power of those four gifts in my life and believe that without them all other truths are easily misdirected and misconstrued. What do I mean? Truth without Grace becomes legalism. Prayer without Hope is fatalism. Teaching the Bible without Faith quickly becomes false teaching. Being Missional without Love always degenerates into manipulative salesmanship or hyperactive availability. These four words are like the cornerstones on which we live our life of following Jesus. I can think of no greater truth to grasp and no more crucial gift to leave with you. God’s gifts of Grace, Faith, Hope and Love will change your life, transform our world and keep you from losing your way. Let me explain.
We have the opportunity to grow strong in grace (2 Timothy 2:1). We begin our life with Jesus by grace, live by grace and are designed to be vehicles of grace. Yet too easily followers of Christ become graceless and lose their purpose and way. Do you want to grow stronger in grace and finish the race?
We can only follow Jesus by faith (Romans 1: 17). Yet so often we slip into the trap of thinking of faith like a commodity with phrases like: I don't have enough faith for that! Faith is not a commodity that we exchange for a spiritual blessing, it is a relationship of trust that we keep growing in. Are you willing to live by faith?
We are sovereignly designed to overflow with hope (Romans 15:13). We should never settle for self generated optimism when we have a promise to overflow with hope when we trust in him. Do you want to overflow with hope?
Finally, the ultimate sign that we are following Jesus together is love (John 13:35). In the Old Testament there is a notoriously difficult word to translate. There is no Greek or Latin equivalent because this word is rooted in the very character of God and only people who know God can live it out as he lives in them. It is the Hebrew word hesed which translates best as: the long stubborn love of God. The point is this: as followers of Jesus we are being transformed to love this world with the long stubborn love of God. In other words: We. Never. Give. Up. Are you willing to grow in the long stubborn love of God?
These final four are my hope and prayer for you. May the Lord continually transform us so that we grow ever stronger in Grace, Faith, Hope and Love. If we do, our lives will reflect his glory and we will always Follow Jesus Together.
To listen to the sermons in this series, please click here.