Throughout the Gospels and, also other Old and New Testament narrative sections, look for phrases that add to your congregants’ understanding of saving faith. These phrases provide an opportunity to explore what saving faith is and what it does. Like a cut diamond, saving faith and genuine Christianity contain many facets.
For instance, in Luke 20:27-40 Sadducees approach Jesus to ask Him about what life is like “in the resurrection” (a concept they don’t believe in). In the middle of Jesus’ answer, He states, “but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead…” (v. 35).
That phrase is one way to describe a genuine Believer or follower of Christ. This is what genuine saving faith creates: a person who is “considered worthy to attain to that age…” Saving faith takes people “of this age” (v. 34) and transforms them into those “considered worthy to attain to that age…”
It is tempting to spend the majority of sermon time on Jesus’ cryptic description of life in the resurrection. It demands much attention because any exposition has to come to grips with the revelation Jesus provides in vv. 35-36. Jesus corrects the Sadducees’ understanding. He wants them to know that “the dead are raised” (v. 37) and that God is “not the God of the dead, but of the living…” (v. 38).
Leave room, though, to answer the question Jesus doesn’t answer: How does a person become “considered worthy to attain to…the resurrection from the dead…”? That question inevitably delves into what saving faith is and does.
Before Sunday, see if your preaching portion contains any phrases that explain a facet of genuine faith and Christianity. Over time, the cumulative effect of this kind of exegesis will help limit the number of surprises at the Judgment.
Preach well so God receives glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21).