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  • Writer's pictureFirst Pres Bakerstown

God's Faithfulness is Your Foundation by Pastor Paul Becker

In his sermon "God's Faithfulness Is Your Foundation," Pastor Paul Becker directed us to Acts 13:1-5 to see the Holy Spirit working through the church leaders in Antioch. Prompted by the Spirit, these leaders sent the Apostle Paul and Barnabas on a missionary journey to proclaim the good news about Jesus. This short account is just one of many in Acts that show that the Lord works through local churches to fulfill God's plan to redeem sinners. In these accounts, the Lord establishes particular leadership roles, each complimenting the other roles. God's purpose in raising different kinds of leaders is to keep the local church on its mission to make disciples of Jesus.

Paul and Barnabas went to many towns and cities, often starting at synagogues, to tell Jewish people about Jesus, who he was, and how putting faith in Jesus led to freedom from fear of God's judgment and wrath. Throughout the gospels and the Book of Acts, we see that under the teaching of the Pharisees, Jewish religious life was reduced to knowing God's rules, following them, and fearing punishment for breaking them.

Like the Jews described in the gospels and Acts, Christians can be caught in a performance trap that reduces discipleship to knowing God's rules, following them, and fearing punishment for breaking them. Two special things happened on Sunday.  First, it was Mother's Day.  Second, we received the Confirmation Class into church membership. Pastor Paul addressed Moms and the Confirmands and asked if they felt pressured to live perfect lives as Christian Moms or Church Members. Pastor Paul addressed everyone else in the room and asked if they lived under the expectation that they should be perfect.  

Pastor Paul declared that we can't be perfect, God doesn't demand perfection from us, and that our faith and assurance of salvation are established, not on our goodness according to the law of God, but on the foundation of God's faithfulness to us.  Turning to Paul's sermon to the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia, Paul gave an abbreviated history of God's relationship with Israel. Israel has a long-standing history of failing to live according to the terms of their covenant with God. And by all rights, the Israelites were deserving of death according to the terms of God's covenant with them. So yes, they were caught in a performance trap, fearing God, failing to see the many times God was patiently and repeatedly calling them back to himself.  Paul's sermon turned to Jesus, and he said,

"Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man (Jesus) forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him, everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39)

God's faithfulness to Israel, Christians, Christian moms, and new and long-standing church members is established on Christ's perfect fulfillment of God's covenant with Israel. By faith in Jesus, our sin is transferred to him and punished by death.  By faith in Jesus, he gives us his righteousness so that when we stand before God, we stand without sin and in righteousness. The great exchange motivates our gratitude to pursue righteousness. And though we sin yet again today, the Lord remains faithful. He bids us to come and confess our sins and hear the most incredible words of grace, "Your sins are forgiven."  God’s faithfulness is your foundation for life.

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