“My Faith is not Totally Mine”

Romans 10:5-17


What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is yours.”   That’s a phrase you may hear a married couple say in terms of their stuff or money.  I consider the car I drive to be my car as I’m the one who primarily drives it, but in reality, I can’t get mad at my wife when I see her pulling out of the garage in it because technically it is our car.  Likewise, when I give my wife a hard time about having to pay for something, her response is usually, “it all comes out of the same account.”

The kids try to use that phrase with Jessica and I in order to get something they want.  However, with them, that phrase usually gets twisted around some.  We typically say to the kids, “What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine.”  They think that’s a little unfair, but again the reality of it is, even though they may use whatever it is all the time … their stuff is technically ours as the parents because, well, we paid for it.

Let’s twist the original phrase a bit more.  What about the use of this phrase? “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours.”  Seems to pretty much be the way the world operates right now.  One example of this is when two people get married who are both wealthy.  Ideally, the wealth each person accumulates before their marriage is their individual wealth so if something should happen and the marriage needs to be dissolved, each person would keep what they started with.  But as that couple’s wealth grows, the lines of whose is what and what is whose tends to get blurred.  Thus why celebrities or other wealthy people may set up a premarital or prenuptial agreement before saying “I do.”

But it isn’t just with money that “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours.”  Turn on the news or scroll through almost anyone’s social media account and you know what I mean.  My opinion, my thoughts, my belief are simply that … they’re mine.  When teaching about the Apostles’ Creed in confirmation class, one of the first questions asked is … “Why do we say ‘I believe’ rather than ‘we believe’?”  We say, “I believe in God the Father and in Jesus Christ, I believe in the Holy Spirit” simply because, I can’t believe for you.  I know what is in my heart, but I can’t tell you what is in your heart.  You may say you believe, but I can’t totally know for sure.  My faith is my faith. 

Paul in our text from Romans 10 says, “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (10:9).  “You” Paul says.  Paul is looking straight at you, you as an individual, speaking to you as an individual.  If this is your confession, if this is what you believe in your heart, then you will be saved.  Not your neighbor, not your cousin, not your auntie or even your children, you will be saved.  You or I can’t confess this and believe this for someone else.  “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours.”

With my faith in Jesus as my Savoir belonging to me, there should come with it a sense of pride and ownership.  This is my faith in God, in Jesus as my Savior.  If it is my faith, then with the help of God in my life, I am responsible for making sure that my faith is nurtured and that it grows.  I can’t expect someone else to do it for me.  Someone else can give you aids or suggestions, but ultimately, it comes down to you.  You and the Holy Spirit living and dwelling within in you.

But Pastor, what about your sermon title?  It says that ‘My Faith is not Totally Mine.”  Ah … I’m so glad you asked that question.  Yes, my faith is mine and your faith is yours.  My faith in Jesus as my personal Savior means that I will be saved.  Your faith in Jesus as your personal Savior is the means by which you are saved.  But … let’s go back and use a phrase similar to the phrases I used earlier … “What’s mine is mine and what’s mine is yours.”  

Now in good Lutheran fashion, we need to ask … “What does this mean?”  Let’s break it down.

What’s mine is mine.”  My faith is just that, my faith.  This is why we say “I believe” when it comes to confessing our faith through the creeds. 

But what about the second part of that phrase … “What’s mine is yours.”  That seems to totally contradict what I just said about how I can only believe for myself.  What is meant by “What’s mine is yours” is something like this … “I’m happy for you to consider my faith as your own.” 

In order for someone to consider my faith as their own … I have to be willing to tell them about it, I need to be willing to share it with them.  And this is about the time where we start to squirm in the pews a little.  You want me to talk about my faith?  Yup, I sure do.

Paul says that “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (10:17).  Faith comes from hearing the message, which means at some point in time, someone shared with their faith with you.  At some point in time, someone shared with you about God, someone shared with you about Jesus and what it was he did for you through his suffering and death and then through his victorious resurrection.  At some point, someone shared with you the hope that was within them.

Sharing … that something I was taught as a kid and something which we try to teach our children to do.  It almost seems that sharing is becoming a lost pastime.  “What’s mine is mine and what’s mine is yours” is taking on a whole different meaning.

Now it is more of … here’s my opinion, here’s my thoughts on matters XY and Z and they should be the way you should be thinking too.  And if you don’t think the same as I do on these different matters, then you are less of a person than I am.

If we really want to be truthful … no one is better than anyone else.  If Adam and Eve were the perfectly created humans God made them to be before they fell into sin … then we are less than human.  We are all sinners who have and continually fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  We are all in desperate need of being forgiven.

And that is Paul’s point.  “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (10:9).  If you truly believe that Jesus is Lord, that after his brutal suffering and death on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins and that God raised him from the dead … then you will be saved.  You are forgiven.

This great news is something which so exciting and awesome that we should not want nor be able to keep it to ourselves.  We should want to confess it, we should want to share it with others just as it was shared with us!

And our world needs this!  Man does it ever need some sort of good news.  And you can do it.  As I say in one of the games I play with a group on my phone … you got this.  You aren’t doing it alone.  You’ve got God, you’ve got the Holy Spirit living and dwelling in your heart and he is just bubbling at the seams wanting to get out and tell others about what God has, is, and will do.

My faith is not totally mine.  What’s mine is mine and what’s mine is yours.  You don’t have to be a Bible scholar in order to share Jesus.  You don’t need to be a pastor or a DCE or a Deaconess to share Jesus.  The easiest way to share Jesus … meet the person who you have a relationship with at a point in their life which you have in common and start there.  Meet them where they are.  You aren’t taking the Bible and beating them over the head with it nor are you yelling at them to believe.  You meet them where they are, you relate, you open up and share without judging or casting judgment.  And share with them the good news of Jesus. 

Plant the seed, walk along with them in their faith walk.  As you do, you’ll notice your seed of faith growing as well.  And who knows … that person who you are ministering to and sharing the good news with may actually be the one who is doing the ministering and sharing with you.  Amen.   

The peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, guard your hearts, minds, and faith in Jesus Christ our Lord, now and forever. Amen.


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