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Jan 14, 2018

Coexist

Coexist

Passage: Luke 10:25-28

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: Coexist Sermon Series

Category: Faith

Keywords: religions, sermon series

As we learn about other faiths, we are looking to strengthen our faith and our commitment to love our neighbor even as we seek to love God.

Devotional

 

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
— Ephesians 2:4-10 (NIV)

If had to pick one Scripture to share with someone interested in Christianity — not yet a believer, but a seeker — this would be it. These aren’t verses you’ll see on signs at a football game, or on a highway billboard. But for me, it sums up my understanding of Christianity: God, in His mercy, saved us. This is all His doing, not ours. And now that we’re saved, God invites us to join in His plan.

Personally, this Scripture, especially verse 8 — For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — is the intellectual underpinning of my faith. Don’t get me wrong, faith is a heart thing. You know it and really live it when you feel it bone-deep. But this verse provides an answer to the question, “Why your God and not another one?” because it speaks to who God is. He is not a divine self-help author, giving us a checklist to achieve happiness, but a God of power and mercy. God does the work. He takes my weakness, my sin, my failure and makes me whole, makes me clean, and invites me to be part of His work. 

And God gets the glory. I get to rest in His work, but I don’t get to boast in it. I’m not deserving of His mercy. It’s grace, and it’s available to everyone. That’s the message of love from an eternal God.

Prayer:

Heavenly, gracious God, we thank You for Your mercy and Your grace. As we seek to understand other faiths, let us start with humility, knowing that it is the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ, that saves us. Strengthen us to share Your love and Your mercy with others, in a world that desperately needs You. We ask this in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Written by Jon McHenry. Jon leads our devotional team, is a council member, worship speaker and part of the men’s ministry at Arcola Church. He is a devoted husband and father.