Today is the First Sunday IN Lent. Note the emphasis of IN and not OF Lent. In the season of Lent the Sundays are not counted . Sundays are to be days of celebrating the resurrection. The resurrection is the foundation stone of our faith. The resurrection is the basis for our hope. Paul puts it well when he writes in 1 Corinthians 15:13-14 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
Today, the passage I am going to preach from is Romans 10:8-13. It contains perhaps the first true creed of the faith. Paul states Romans 10:9 Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
I believe Jesus is Lord
I believe in my heart that God raised him from the Dead
I believe I will be saved.
This is not compromise-able. These is not negotiable. This is the way, the truth and the life.
Three simple statements, but oh do we have such a hard time living by them.
If Jesus is Lord that means the things we do in this life we do for him. I would not advise sitting down and taking a moment by moment inventory.
If we believe “in our hearts” then this belief is the core value that guides our behavior. If it is our core value then we would seek every opportunity to be involved in the celebration and proclamation of this emotional/spiritual treasure.
If we believe we will be saved then that means we understand the danger of this world. It means we understand we will stand before God and give an account. It also means we grasp our responsibility to tell others of the danger and there need.
The importance of the promise of the resurrection became very, very real to me this week in the death of my mother. I do believe I will get to see here again. I believe because Jesus has given me this hope. I believe because I talked with her about what true faith is.
The journey of life is filled with things that will challenge our faith. Scripture, Experience, Tradition and Reason provide us with the strength to endure. Lent is a tradition that calls us seek to live like Jesus. It feeds on the Scripture that calls us to prepare. It provides us with the experience of the Spirit through spiritual discipline and self denial. Is it not reasonable that we seek every opportunity it offers us to make the creed of Christ more real in our lives.