October 30, 2016
Has anybody seen the movie ‘The Saint’? If you haven’t I recommend you do. It is in the same kind of genre as James Bond or Mission Impossible. However, that movie does not even come close to defining a saint or sainthood. The Roman Catholic Church has very specific guidelines as to who becomes saint. I will not convey to you all the steps and procedures, as it would take my whole sermon time. This too is an unfortunate and misguided attempt to classify or make a distinction between a saint and a believer. The truth of the matter is that God defines sainthood within the following three categories.
A saint is a sinner: Here is a philosophical statement for you. Every saint is a sinner but not every sinner is a saint. Last Sunday I quoted the passage we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There is another even more important passage from I John.
If we confess our sin he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9
That is the distinction. A sinner who does not confess is not forgiven. One cannot be a saint if God has not forgiven them. Sainthood is not about living a perfect life. It is about admitting brokenness and allowing God to forgive it.
A saint is a disciple: I often here people talk about the 12 disciples/apostles of Jesus as a closed and final group. To this I say, the 12 disciples were the first disciples but not the last disciples. We too in the 21st Century can become disciples. The requirement to become a disciple is simple. Learn from scripture, learn from Jesus and learn from the guidance of the Holy Spirit. A disciple is merely one who is willing to be a student of the Faith.
A saint is a Soldier: There are people who tell me they do not like the song “Onward Christian Soldiers” because of its battle imagery. Paul states:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12
There is a battle. Every day we see evidence of the battle. People die from war, starvation, murder and suicide. Physical, emotional and financial abuse is constantly exposed in the news. There are addictions of every kind. A saint is somebody who recognizes the real enemy. It is not people but the devil and his legions of cohorts. The devil does not make us do anything but the devil is crafty and finds people who can be enticed into the trap of sin.
A saint is somebody who readies for battle every day. This requires putting on the whole armour of God as stated by Paul:
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Ephesians 6:14-18
All the armour of God is necessary but I also include verse 18, which talks of praying in Spirit on all occasions. There is a movie called the War Room. I highly suggest that you see this movie as prayer is described as a weapon and one who prays is a warrior.
So when you wonder in your heart if you are truly a saint.
Ask these three questions:
Am I a person who confesses my sin?
Am I a disciple of Jesus Christ?
Am I a person who battles against the evil of this world?
If you answered yes to these 3 questions then you are a saint of God. If you cannot answer yes to these 3 questions what are you waiting for? Confess your sin, become a disciple of Jesus Christ and join in the battle against evil so that you too can become a saint of God.
Let us pray