– *Sermon for 10.03.21*
– *Text: Romans 4:1-8*
– *Theme: Faith alone*
– Sermon for 10.03.21
Text: Romans 4:1-8
Theme: Faith alone
– *In the Name of the Father…Amen.*
– *The sermon text for this morning comes from Paul’s letter to the
Romans, chapter 4, starting at verse 1, where we hear these words:*
o What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according
to the flesh? (2) For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something
to boast about, but not before God. (*3) For what does the Scripture say?
“Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” *(4)
Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his
due. (5) And to the one who does not work but believes in him who
justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, (6) just as
David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts
righteousness apart from works: (7) “Blessed are those whose lawless
deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; (8) blessed is the man
against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
– *Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:*
– Gracious God, grant us hearts that have faith like that of Abraham,
who trusted in You alone. Thank You for declaring us righteous before You.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
– *Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God the Father through our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.*
– *This sermon is the first in a series of sermons focusing on the SOLAS
of the Lutheran Reformation: Sola Fide (Faith Alone)*
– *There is no such thing as a free lunch. *
– Every day emails are sent out, promising something “free” but almost
always you have to buy something or do something in order to get it.
– You always have to pay somehow.
– *Well, how much do we have to “pay” to go to heaven? *
– What about $50 or $100?
– Frances, Aunt Harriet, Ian, Derek, and I went to a concert a couple of
months ago where the tickets were $50 a piece.
– *Tickets to heaven have got to be more expensive than that. *
– You certainly can’t get them on Ticketmaster.
– Perhaps you have seen the TV ads for the VISA credit card: “Two movie
tickets: $20. Popcorn and movie snacks: $30. Spending time with your son:
– Heaven is also priceless. It is worth much more than money can buy.
– Money won’t get you into heaven. What will?
– *Getting to Heaven by Being Good*
– *Many years ago, George Barna did a survey and asked, “How do you
think a person can get to heaven?” *
– Almost everyone answered, “By being a good person.”
– Well, then the question is: “Are you a good person?”
– Many people would think that Abraham was a good person.
– Abraham was one of the heroes of the Bible.
· Jesus himself said that Abraham was already in heaven.
– *However, Abraham worshipped idols before he came to follow the true
– And even after he started trusting in God, Abraham on several
– committed adultery,
– put his own wife in danger,
– permitted his slave girl Hagar to be abused, l
– eft Hagar and his son Ishmael out in the desert,
– and perhaps did other things that we don’t know about.
· *B. Romans 4 says that Abraham was not justified by his good
works. (v. 2)*
– *In that sense we are all just like Abraham. *
– We want to be good people, but we still fall short all too often.
– When doctors operate on a patient, they thoroughly wash their hands,
put on gloves and a surgical gown, and sterilize their instruments and the
– The doctors are extremely careful because they know that even a little
infection can threaten not only the patient’s health but even their very
– And yet, in spite of all the precautions, there are still some
patients who come down with a secondary infection after their surgery.
– *Well, we too, in spite of all our efforts, fall short all too often. *
– Even without bad intentions, we always:
– let nasty words slip out,
– or unkind thoughts take root,
– or we do something we shouldn’t
– or fail to do what we should.
– *Going to the office one day, I saw it: a squirrel.*
– He was halfway across the street when he noticed me
– I didn’t have room to stop
– He froze in the middle, he started across, started back, totally
– And didn’t know which way to go
– He doesn’t have a clue which way is best or safest
– *Have you ever felt like that Squirrel?*
– You don’t know which way to turn, you feel confused, scared, in danger
– We have something the squirrel doesn’t – the Word of GOD
– We have God’s word that tells us to take the road less traveled
– *We have God’s word that tells us that the law cannot save us,*
– That we will never be able to live up to the standard of perfection
required by the law
– We have the Word of God that tells us that the way to gain acceptance
– The way to have a right standing before God – to gain righteousness
– Is by Faith alone, in Jesus alone, by the grace of God alone – He has
marked out the path for us with his blood, with the cross point us to HIM
– *Wow, God is sure picky, isn’t he?*
– Well, actually, no,
– God isn’t really picky.
– He just wants us to do what is right.
– He wants us to be like Jesus.
– That’s not too much to ask.
– *The problem is that we are so immersed in sin, in doing wrong, that
we just can’t accomplish what God asks. *
– We are like a kid who is playing outdoors and comes to the house after
stepping in mud and on wads of used chewing gum and dog poop and who knows
– Then he gets annoyed at his mother for insisting that he take off his
shoes before walking all over her clean.
– “Aw, Mom, you’re so picky!”
– No, she’s not, it’s just that her son is not very considerate.
– *Jesus said that no one is truly good except God himself (Mark 10:18).
– Romans 3:10 says, “There is no one righteous, not even one… There is
no one who does good.”
– *II. Getting to Heaven by Being Religious*
– *So we can’t get to heaven by being good, because we are not good
– We also can’t get to heaven by being “religious.”
– *By nature we feel that we should be able to go to heaven if we pay
for our wrongdoing. *
– If we can’t pay with good deeds, perhaps we can pay by fulfilling our
– Perhaps if someone prays a lot, that will pay for their sins (at least
– If that person is very faithful in their church attendance, perhaps
that will count toward at least a few of lapses in judgment.
– Or if someone gives generously to the church, surely God will take
that into account.
– If we do enough “religious stuff”, that ought to balance the times we
have done wrong, shouldn’t it?
– *Well, Abraham fulfilled his religious duties. *
– Wherever he went, he built altars and worshipped God.
– Abraham also gave a tithe, that is, an offering of 10 % to the priest
– Abraham also prayed more than anyone else.
– *Everything Abraham did in this sense was good. *
– It was what God wanted him to do.
– Jesus said that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart and
with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength. (Matthew
– When someone goes around saying, “I don’t have to go to church to be a
Christian,” that just shows that his love and faith are all too weak.
– *That’s like a lover saying, “I can love my fiancé without spending
time with her.” *
– Or again, when someone says, “I think it doesn’t matter if you are a
Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist or a Christian,” that just shows that he
doesn’t take God very seriously.
– That’s like a lover saying, “I think it doesn’t matter which girl I’m
with, they’re all the same.”
– No, they are not the same.
– Our commitment to the one true God is important.
– *However, Romans 4 says that it was not through keeping religious laws
that Abraham received God’s promise. (v. 13) *
– In fact, verse 15 says that the law just brings wrath, condemnation.
– Because everything Abraham did – pray, worship, give, help, encourage
others – was just the minimum that he ought to have done, and Abraham –
like all of us – didn’t even do that as well as he should have.
– Romans 3:20 says, “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in
[God’s] sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become
conscious of sin.”
– *III. Getting to Heaven by Being Forgiven *
– *So, we can’t get to heaven by being good nor by being religious.*
– The Bible tells us that we have failed all too often in doing what is
good as well as in our dedication to the Lord.
– So how can we get to heaven?
– Only through faith in Jesus Christ.
– We can’t begin to pay for all of our wrongdoing, but Jesus already
paid that debt for us.
– On the cross, Jesus took our sins upon himself and paid the penalty in
– *Yes, there are things in this world that are free because someone
else has paid for it. *
– Jesus has given us free tickets to heaven.
– Now, don’t go thinking that this didn’t cost anything.
– On the contrary, Jesus suffered incredible torments in order to get
these tickets for us.
– Jesus paid, not with gold or silver or with VISA or Mastercard, but
with his blood and with his life.
– What that means is that we don’t have to pay anything, because Jesus
has got us covered.
– We have a place in heaven, not because we’ve been good or been
religious, but because we’ve been forgiven through Jesus.
– *Abraham also was forgiven and saved through faith. *
– The Bible says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as
righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3)
– Martin Luther said that justification by faith is the article upon
which the church stands or falls.
– That is, there is no other Bible teaching that is as important as
– We have eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.
– Most if not all of you know this already.
– But it is important now and then to go back to the basics.
– “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”
– Faith in Jesus is the main thing.
– *This needs to be made clear. *
– This “faith” that I’m talking about is not simply knowing that God
– Even the demons know that much.
– But this “faith” is trusting that Jesus died for me and rose from the
dead for me.
– Through Jesus, I (just like Abraham) am forgiven, saved – and I am
going to heaven.
– *Now, again, let’s be clear. *
– When we believe in Jesus, the Lord also starts to change our lives.
– He pushes us to do good works.
– He moves us to love him with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength
and make him our top priority.
– This is important!
– *If you are not growing day by day in God’s love, something is not
right in your life.*
– However, do not depend on these good works, nor on your love and
dedication, to be able to get into heaven.
– It won’t work.
– Because just like with Abraham, we may get better but we still stumble
and mess up.
– The last thing I want you to be unsure of your salvation!
– Jesus did everything!
– We are saved through faith in Jesus.
– *Throughout the years of ministry, I have gone to many conferences and
– One of the things to do at these events is to stop and visit the
different booths that are there.
– Whether it is Lutheran Hour Ministries, Trinity: Hope, or Lutheran
Women’s Missionary League, there are plenty of materials given out that are
– There are still some things that are free in this world, because
someone else has paid for them.
– Just remember the main thing: through faith in Jesus, heaven is free.
It is free indeed!
– *Let us pray:*
– Lord I believe!
– Assure me when I doubt, and strengthen my faith in You.
– *2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love
of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.*
– *The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen. *
– *In the Name of the Father…Amen.*