Ways to practise faith

Giving alms and making sure that we don’t become slack in our commitment are some practical tips that the Sunday services in September will offer. The focus will be on “Becoming righteous” and “The Sermon on the Mount”.

The first two Sundays in September will focus on how we can become righteous before God. And the last two Sundays, with Bible texts from the Sermon on the Mount, will concentrate on how we can live our faith on a daily basis.

By faith alone

The first Sunday service in September will be based on Romans 5: 19. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Paul draws a comparison between Adam and Christ: it was through one of them—namely Adam—that sin entered into the world, and it was through the other—namely Christ, who took upon Himself the sin of human beings—that sin was overcome.

Adam symbolises sinful man, that is, humanity in need of redemption. The only person who did not need redemption from sin was Jesus Christ. His sacrifice makes it possible for human beings today to become righteous before God. And that is precisely what the divine service will take a closer look at: neither our own merit nor good works will help us reach the goal of our faith. Only those who believe in and follow Jesus Christ can be saved and made righteous.

One for all

The sermon on the second Sunday ties in with this. It will reinforce that no one can earn salvation. The service will be based on Revelation 22: 12: “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” Jesus Christ, who lived without committing sin, earned the reward with His sacrificial death that makes it possible for all human beings to have their sins forgiven. The sermon will unfold how one can participate in this merit both in the future and already today.

Doing good and doing it discreetly

“But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” In this part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ made it clear that it pleases God when we give alms and do good and, on top of that, do it discreetly. It’s the motivation that counts! The kind of help recommended by the Lord includes giving material gifts such as food, water, and clothing. However, it is also important that the spiritual needs of others are looked after: being kind to strangers and visiting prisoners.

Don’t lose your enthusiasm

When salt loses its flavour it becomes useless. What is chemically impossible has a deeper meaning figuratively. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavour, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Matthew 5: 13). On the fourth Sunday, the salt of the earth mentioned in the Bible text is interpreted as an image of the gospel and the teachings of Christ. If we are to be this salt, the gospel and teachings should live within us and be an essential part of our being.

What this means in concrete terms becomes clear in the divine service: through our behaviour and actions we demonstrate what it means to live in Christ. We can be an example and inspire others if we live according to the gospel. Let us spread the gospel and share with others that Jesus is coming. The regular attendance of the divine services and fellowship with our brothers and sisters will prevent this salt from losing flavour.

Photo: SvetaZi - istockphoto.com

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Katrin Löwen
Divine service