Sunday, January 2, 2022

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Simple Instructions for Every Moment

If there is one thing I can say with certainty, almost every individual, at one time or another, has overthought and complicated a situation. Instead of trying to find a simple solution to a problem, we often overthink the problem and come up with an overly complicated solution that doesn’t address the problem. In fact, our solution often makes things worse. You know exactly what I’m talking about. We have all done this. Taken a simple problem that could have been resolved with a simple solution and messed it all up by overanalyzing.

There is a problem-solving principle, Occam’s Razor, which teaches us to find the simplest solution without complicating or multiplying the situation beyond necessity. In short, the simplest answer is often the best answer. This philosophical approach to thought and problem solving keeps us from coming up with solutions that cannot be easily proven as right. Simple is truly better in, I would add, all cases.

The same holds true when it comes to the Gospel. You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to teach others about the love of God and His plan for salvation for everyone. All you have to do is understand a couple of passages and you have the entire meaning of the Good News summed up.

John, in chapter three of his Gospel, writes, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

A very simple and easy to understand message that fully explains God’s love and His plan for all people. Other religions tend to complicate things and try to provide their followers with a whole host of things to do and commit to memory. They chant and say things that have no meaning to them or are just words often during particular times and for certain situations. The words are often said without passion and sound more mechanical. The Good News is more than just words or rituals. It is the core and foundation of our faith.

The other simple truth is that we are all sinners and have fallen short of God’s standard.

In chapter three of his letter to the Romans, Paul writes, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

Just as simple as God’s plan of salvation and why He did what He did, Paul’s words tell us the simple truth of our sinful existences. The only way for us to be justified in God’s sight is to realize that we are sinners and to understand that Jesus became our sacrifice. Paul also tells us later that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord”. Once again, the message is clear and very simple to understand. There is no way for us to escape the sentence of death due to our sin. We cannot save ourselves or each other from the horrible penalty of death. It is only through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord that we can be spared and be made righteous. 

Part of remaining righteous is remembering God’s place in our lives. God should be the center of our lives and we should look after those who need help. In the past, communities worked together to take care of the needs of widows and orphans. Before there was Social Security and life insurance, everyone had the Christian responsibility of taking care of the needs of others.

Jesus, when asked about the most important law, responded, in chapter twenty-two of the Gospel of Matthew, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.

If we were to do these two things, living in this world would be simpler and a whole lot easier. By keeping this and other principles in mind, it is for us to embrace and live our lives in accordance with the simple instructions given to us by Paul. We must follow these simple instructions daily as we walk along the path of righteousness. Although it is a simple set of instructions, they often prove to be very difficult to follow. When we accepted Jesus into our hearts and asked him to be master over our life, it didn’t exempt us from daily temptation. We always face temptation and difficulties in our lives. It is part of living in this fallen world. 

Paul, in chapter sixteen of his first epistle to the church at Corinth, provides them with a simple set of instructions when it comes to living their lives as followers of Jesus, “Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.”

These are very simple to remember, but, sometimes, rather difficult to live. We are always faced with temptation and need to be on guard for it. We need to be alert and ready for Satan. He will whisper in our ears his vile lies in order to get us to stray. If we remain firm in our faith and keep God in the center of our life, we can overcome temptation. We cannot be timid in our faith. We must be bold, courageous and strong. God provides us daily with the strength to stand against evil and the armor to withstand Satan’s attacks.

Lastly, we must do everything in love. We must not only love God, but we must also love our neighbors and our enemies. When we do that, we bring honor and glory to God. We do these things for Him and not to receive accolades from men. Our reward only comes from God.

As you continue to enjoy the new year and look forward to serving God, I ask you to remember these simple truths and instructions. You should not only live by them, but you should also share them with those who don’t have a relationship with God. Share with them these words. When you demonstrate your faith for all to see, God sees your actions and will reward you in Heaven. Live your life in accordance with God’s plan and follow the teachings of Jesus. When you do those things, you can stand firm in His grace.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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