Sunday, September 12, 2010

Theology & Good Works

2:10 PM
Today was my penultimate Sunday at Watermark, my home church. Next Sunday will be my last week there before leaving as a full-time missionary. It’s bittersweet. I’m super excited about my missions journey, but I’m super bummed about leaving my church family. I adore Watermark and the people that make it home. This Sunday’s sermon was an exact reminder of why I love my church so much.

Tommy is preaching his way through the book of Hebrews [so disappointed to be missing this series!] and taught today on Hebrews 2:1-8:
"We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet."

As Tommy pointed out today, the book of Hebrews is a unique blend of theology and ethical living, whereas most books in Scripture are either one or the other. Using this passage, he talked about the correlation between theology and ethical living. And as a missionary about to step foot on the field, it really hit home.

As Christians, our ethical behavior [i.e. good works, feeding the poor, helping the hurting, etc…] is directly connected to our theological beliefs. If we don’t have a right view of God, our ethical behavior will ultimately fail. Think of it like polishing the brass on a sinking ship. What’s the point? Good works without the right theology is not sustainable. We have to believe that Christ as Lord is the only one who can and will renew this world, and whether or not we make the world a better place, is not on us. It’s on Him. Because as sinful, unholy, imperfect people, there’s nothing within our grasp we can ever “make right”. It’s a comfort in a way, as I begin to prepare my journey of a missionary. Knowing that in no way is the responsibility of fixing this world, or the problem of human trafficking in Cambodia, on me. I can’t do that. But God can. He can use me how He chooses. To provide comfort, to educate, to cause awareness. But righting the wrongs? That’s all Him. So what does our ethical living represent? Why do good works? Because, ultimately its worship. It’s just another facet of praising our God. How beautiful.

This sermon reminded me that as I venture off, to not only keep studying His Word, but to continue to increase my knowledge on theology. Because if I ever lost sight of that, all I’d be doing, accomplishing, would be pointless. As I prepare, I’m asking God to help me keep His perspective as I go about this new ministry. To not give up when it gets hard, when it seems impossible. Because in my strength it IS impossible, and only God can make the impossible possible. I love that I can attend a church that educates, convicts, encourages, and uplifts all in one sermon. I will miss this place.

This is the beautiful song that Tommy closed the service with. It's one of my favorites.

About the author

Joy Muldoon is a full-time missionary and part-time blogger. Read about her travels, adventures, and missions here!