Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:
‘Salvation through Faith and Trust’
© October 19, 2014 by Steve Mickelson
Message Originally Shared with BLCF on Sunday, August 1, 2010
Announcements and Call to Worship, an Adaptation of Psalm 91:
Leader: Let we who live with faith in God proclaim,
People: “Lord, You are my refuge and my fortress, my God I will trust forever.”
Leader: Let we who trust in the Lord know that holy love surrounds us.
People: God’s protection will follow us throughout our days.
Leader: When we call out to the Lord,
People: We know that we are heard.
Leader: God is with us in every trial and temptation,
All: Therefore we will rejoice in the salvation of the Almighty!
Opening Hymn # 484: It Only Takes A Spark; Choruses Prayer and Tithing Hymn #572: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Scripture Verses: Acts 1:1-14 (Faith and Trust); Acts 2:1-41 (Salvation and the Holy Spirit)
Let us pray…
Good morning, the lesson I bring today, Salvation through Faith and Trust, begins with a Scripture taken from the Book of Acts, that deals with Faith and trust in the Lord. The message between deals with why faith and trust are required to received God’s gift of Salvation. The conclusion of the message deals with that Pentecost upper room gathering, where the Lord released the Holy Spirit to all who believe. All who have shown faith and trust in the Lord.
Acts 1:1-14 (ESV) The Promise of the Holy Spirit
1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
4 And while staying[a] with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.[c]
Footnotes: a. Acts 1:4 Or eating b. Acts 1:5 Or in c. Acts 1:14 Or brothers and sisters. The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated “brothers”) refers to siblings in a family. In New Testament usage, depending on the context, adelphoi may refer either to men or to both men and women who are siblings (brothers and sisters) in God’s family, the church; also verse 15
Up to the time that Jesus ascended into Heaven and sent us the Holy Spirit, the biggest obstacles to a close relationship between God and his people were faith and trust. The Bible is filled with testaments of chosen prophets, leaders and disciples who had either misgiving with respect to their ability to fulfill God’s calling, and in some instances, questions as to whether it was really God who called them in the first place!
What is faith or belief? The Greek word translated faith and belief is pistis, which Strong’s defines as persuasion, moral conviction, assurance, belief. The word for trust is elpidzo, meaning to expect, to have confidence in. The three terms, then, basically mean the same thing: to be persuaded of something, to hold something to be true, to have confidence in. Hebrews 11:1 (ESV) By Faith:
11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
When each of you entered the church this morning, you walked in the Sanctuary, perhaps greeted a friend or two and took a bulletin and proceeded to sit down in a pew or chair of your choosing. When you approached the pew, you became seated. I am sure before you took your seat you didn’t inspect the pew for structural integrity. You didn’t test the pew to see whether or not it would support you. You likely didn’t give a second thought as to whether the hidden dowels and screws which hold the pew together, the unseen components would keep their structural integrity and not collapse under your weight. You just acted in faith that your pew would support you, without tipping or collapsing. Yours was an act of faith. The only conscious decision might be whether the pew had a hymnal and Bible, whether its location provided a good view of the service, perhaps you may have given conscious as to its location with respect to a fan or an easy exit at the end of the service. That same faith-based decision is needed as Christians. We may give some thought as to which church we attend, whose sermon we would like to hear, but the act of faith in God is made on an unconscious level, just like our decision to sit in the pew. We may stand to sing or pray, but we then resume our seat again without a thought. Acts 10:43 (ESV):
“To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”
Everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins. We had a friend of the family, named Earl, who became known to many as Elder Earl, a sign of respect for his service in his church. Earl had known Sophie’s family for years, often dropping by for a visit. Though he never married, I believe Earl felt a part of the family. I remember on one occasion, the extended family was having a bar-b-cue at my mother-in law’s house and Earl dropped in for a visit. Around the back yard were a number of old wooden folding chairs, not unlike the deck chairs portrayed in the movie Titanic. The chairs were made from oak and were almost the same shade as the pews in this church, which are also made of oak. They looked much sturdier and were much more comfortable than the nylon and aluminum folding lawn chairs that were popular at the time.
Earl was a large man, both in height and girth. I remember that he chose an empty oak chair for his seat. As Earl dropped his frame in the chair, it promptly collapsed and disintegrated into a pile of broken pieces under him. It was quite a funny moment, and luckily Earl suffered no injuries, except to his pride. My mother-in-law had only two of those folding wooden chairs and one was broken beyond repair. The other chair suffered the same fate, when a couple of years later at another back yard function, when our friend Earl, the perpetrator of the first chair’s demise, had the remaining chair collapse underneath him.
Earl again escaped unscathed, except for a bruised pride again, likely did not have the same trust and faith in folding chairs. While Earl was a man of strong faith in the Lord, who never lets us down, his faith in chairs, like anything the word, can lead to disappointments in life. Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV):
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.”
A man is drowning in the sea, and a lifeline is thrown to him from a passing ship. The man grasps for and clings to that lifeline believing that it is his salvation. He has faith that it will hold him. He trusts in it. Like that drowning man, by ourselves, we are doomed to die from our sins. Alone our fate seems hopeless. But God loves you and me so much that He has thrown us a lifeline that we may use to save ourselves. That lifeline is Jesus Christ, who has taken the burden of our sins, has taken our doom, our death upon himself. He is our hero, our lifeguard, our Saviour. He died so we may live. John 3:16 (ESV):
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
This verse tells us that whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life.
But how does one qualify in the easy of God to receive the gift of salvation and the comforter in the Holy Spirit? What does the Lord expect us to do? Acts 2:38 (ESV):
“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost”
After confessing our sins, what else is expected to become justified to God? Galatians 2:16 (ESV):
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”
Salvation is God’s gift, given under His terms. Ephesians 2:8 (ESV):
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”
Up to the time that Jesus ascended into Heaven and sent us the Holy Spirit, the biggest obstacles to a close relationship between God and his people were faith and trust. The Bible is filled with testaments of chosen prophets, leaders and disciples who had either misgiving with respect to their ability to fulfill God’s calling, and in some instances, questions as to whether it was really God who called them in the first place! Matthew 17:20 (ESV):
“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”
The Bible does record miraculous achievements, when God is allowed to guide the way, whether it is surviving the Great Flood, the Exodus from Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, being sustained by manna from Heaven, tearing down the walls of Jericho, feeding the multitude, walking on the Sea of Galilee, none of these miracles would have happened without faith in the power of the Lord and trust that He has power over everything in Heaven and Earth. John 3:36 (ESV):
36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
He who believes in the Son has eternal life. Sadly, Satan often uses as obstacles, our lack of faith and trust, to try to keep us at arm’s length from believing or having faith that Jesus had died for our sins, or if we do believe, keep us from trusting in Him. Satan wants to keep us from God’s glory. For, as believers in the Gospel, not only do we receive redemption in God’s eyes, we are given the gifts of power and comfort in through the Holy Spirit! Romans 5:2 (ESV):
By faith we are justified and have access to grace. How much power and comfort we receive is directly proportional to how much we trust we have in Him in our lives. For many, Sunday worship is a time where we attempt to renew and replenish our faith, so that we may coast through the rest of the week. Our faith should be sustained through the week by daily prayer, reading of Scripture, fellowship and witnessing to others by our thoughts, words and deeds. Sunday’s should not only be a day of worship, but a day of praise and celebration of the achievements of the previous week, with a renewed recommitment to continue Our Christian walk in faith and trust.
The Day of Pentecost
Which brings us to Pentecost and the gift of the Holy Spirit, and you may ask what do me mean, when Christian believers refer to the day of Pentecost?
“Pentecost” is derived from the Greek word for “fifty”. The day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts Chapter 2, occurred 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection and 10 days after His ascension. Pentecost is regarded as the birthday of the Christian church. Pentecost is the festival when Christians celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit to the disciples following Jesus’ ascension. It is celebrated on the Sunday 50 days after Easter. Pentecost is regarded as the birthday of the Christian church, and the start of the church’s mission to the world.
The Holy Spirit is the third part of the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that is the way Christians understand God.
Pentecost is a happy festival. Ministers in church often wear robes with red in the design as a symbol of the flames in which the Holy Spirit came to earth. Hymns sung at Pentecost take the Holy Spirit as their theme.
The symbols of Pentecost are those of the Holy Spirit and include flames, wind, the breath of God and a dove.
The first Pentecost
Pentecost comes from a Jewish harvest festival called Shavuot. Now you may recall that on the evening of his resurrection, after appearing to two disciples on the Road to Emmaus, Jesus appeared to the disciples, save Thomas who was away, and gave the disciples the Holy Spirit. In a sense this way the first of a series of Pentecost experience which happen when believers are baptised by the Holy Spirit, following faith conversion, even to this day. Following the Pentecost experience on the day of Christ’s resurrection, the Holy Spirit came upon believers in the same upper room 10 days following the Lord’s ascension.
Acts 2:1-41 (ESV) The Coming of the Holy Spirit
2 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”
Peter’s Sermon at Pentecost
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.[b] 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:
17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants[c] and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus,[d] delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
Footnotes: a. Acts 2:3 Or And tongues as of fire appeared to them, distributed among them, and rested b. Acts 2:15 That is, 9 a.m. c. Acts 2:18 Greek bondservants; twice in this verse e. Acts 2:23 Greek this one
On the 50th day after the Sabbath Passover week, the Jews celebrated a festival of thanksgiving for the harvest. Pentecost was known by number of other different names:
Feast of Weeks – (Exodus 34:22, Deuteronomy 16:10):
Exodus 34:22 (ESV): 22 You shall observe the Feast of Weeks, the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end.
Deuteronomy 16:10 (ESV): 10 Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you.
Feast of Harvest – Exodus 23:16 (ESV): 16 You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the firstfruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor.
Day of First Fruits – Numbers 28:26 (ESV): Offerings for the Feast of Weeks: 26 “On the day of the firstfruits, when you offer a grain offering of new grain to the Lord at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work
The “Feast of Weeks” was the second-most important festival for the Jews. The most important Jewish festival is Passover. This explains why so many people from all over the Roman Empire were in Jerusalem on the day when the Holy Spirit was sent, who heard the Galatians speaking in various tongues.
The inspiration of the Spirit upon the disciples sounded like a mighty wind and looked like tongues of fire.
The disciples showed their faith and trust the Lord by remaining in Jerusalem as instructed by the Lord. And that is the Lord’s expectation for us at Bloor Lansdowne, so that we may have salvation. He wants us to keep His faith and to trust in Him, in our thoughts, words and deeds. What we do and how we act, must be motivated by faith and guided by the Spirit.
On the subject of salvation, the Reverend Billy Graham said:
“Faith is essential for salvation. But we must be absolutely clear on what we mean when we speak of “salvation by faith.” There are various kinds of belief or faith, and not all are linked to salvation. In the New Testament, faith means more than intellectual belief. It involves trust and commitment. I may say that I believe a bridge will hold my weight. But I really believe it only when I commit myself to it and walk across it. Saving faith involves an act of commitment and trust, in which I commit my life to Jesus Christ and trust Him alone as my Savior and Lord.”
Acts 1:8 (ESV) The Great Commission
8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
It is sad that some Christians view Sunday as so different from the rest of the week, that they conduct their faith accordingly. We are expected to be witnesses of the gospel of Christ every day, not just one in seven. And some churches seem only to observe Pentecost solely on a Sunday some 50 days after Easter. Salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit may occur any place, on any day, at any time. It can occur anywhere inside or outside a church. There is no 10 day waiting period for the Spirit to arrive to the new Christian believer. So Pentecost is not limited to one Sunday or one day a year. The Great Commission given to us by Jesus, as his apostles or messengers has unlimited boundaries, to everyone, unto the ends of the world.
Let us pray…
Closing Hymn #581: There’s A Sweet, Sweet Spirit
Benediction: (Based on Romans 5:1-11):
May your faith give you peace and may God’s Spirit give you love. May the grace of God give you hope and may the love of Christ give you strength. Amen.