A Sermon from Sherborne

No-one can come to Christ except by gift of the Father

A sermon for Evensong preached on Sunday 27 August 2017 by The Reverend Guntars Reboks, Assistant Curate

 

“Faith”. What is faith? Sometimes we use the word “faith” and mean by it a religious system, a religion: the Muslim faith, Buddhist faith, Jewish faith and so on. Let me make clear first that, just as Christ says, not many have faith. If we look at religious systems then Islam and Judaism have only the law: The Torah says or the Quran says their followers have to obey the law and that’s it. Buddhists have knowledge: they have to discover the truth by themselves. “A scandal to Jews and a stumbling-block to gentiles” as Paul puts it. For those who have the law it is a scandal that someone claims that there is something more than the law. For those who seek knowledge it seems ridiculous to trust in something that you don’t know as empirical fact.

I believe that faith is something given by God. Not all people have faith. And faith does not mean your religion: You can have a religion, you can even be a Christian, but have no faith. To cut a long story short: faith means that you trust in God who is unknown to all of us. The only way to know him is by following Christ.

So what do we do with this “gift”, as Christ calls it? Let’s compare it with something practical: money. What would you do if you had £10,000 to spend however you liked? There are many possibilities. You could spend it in different things, but if you wanted to plan for the future you would need to make more money out of it. So you would have to invest it somewhere. In a business maybe? Or perhaps you would start your own company? You could secure your future in that way, and – more than that – you could create jobs for other people.

Christ also used economics in his parable about the three servants who received money from the Lord: the first two servants invested it and earned more money, but the third one just hid the money and did nothing with it. So it is with our faith: we have to do something with it just because we have it and it’s a gift. We have to be not just spiritual about our faith but really practical!

“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”

So there it is: people lose faith because they do nothing with it. Let us thank God that we have this gift and let’s put our faith to work, and into action. Amen

The Reverend Guntars Reboks, Assistant Curate 27/08/2017
The Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin, Sherborne